Lighting Control Systems

Without the right control systems in place, your lighting fixtures might as well be bare bulbs. Use this guide to lighting control systems and you’ll be sure to get the scoop on all of your lighting control needs. Whether it’s for your bathroom, kitchen, den, bedroom, basement or living room, a lighting control system can provide you with complete control of all lighting in your home; even when you’re not at home.

The Panel

A lighting control system allows the user the ability to control one, a set of, or all the lighting fixtures in the structure from one spot. The control panel is a computerized device that is hardwired into your electrical system. It allows the user to control lighting times and needs, even when the user isn’t at home. This can provide better security as well as create a more energy efficient lighting system. From huge commercial systems to the basic residential control panel, lighting control systems offer a range of flexibility and control that simple switches just can’t match.

Wireless Systems

Many of today’s modern lighting control systems are a basic plug and play system. Lighting fixtures are controlled wirelessly, allowing greater flexibility is design and cost. Wireless systems work best when existing lighting conditions are already in place and rewiring the entire structure can be an impractical choice. Many wireless systems allow appliances as well as light fixtures to be accessed through the user interface device. This can increase energy savings greatly as appliances that have constantly lit displays sap energy 24/7. Known as “phantom loads”, these energy sucking vampires can be turned off with one switch when not in use.

Controlling Categories

Many controllers use several methods to allow you to manipulate lighting fixtures and appliances in various ways. Here are the most common ways a lighting control panel can be programmed:

  • Chronological Setting (time of day)
  • Sunrise/ Sunset
  • Motion Sensors
  • Photovoltaic (daylight shuts it down)
  • Security Alarm is Triggered
  • Programming Multiple Events

Some lighting fixtures can be controlled using a photovoltaic switch that simply dims the light source instead of shutting it down. Known as daylight harvesting, this dimming with the rising sunlight levels allows the same amount of light to enter the space, and turn up or down as needed when natural light grows or diminishes.

More intricate and high-tech lighting control systems can provide the user with walk into the room lighting. A motion detector or RFID tag can trigger the lighting to come on when someone enters the space. The light automatically shuts down after the RFID tag leaves the room, or the motion sensor fails to trigger the light fixture after a certain amount of time.

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