Lighting control systems
Time is moving forward, smart grids are developing, lighting control systems are gradually coming to all segments. Lighting has become the latest segment where automatic lighting control has only recently begun to appear. The electric power industry has long been developing SCADA, stage lighting – KNX, and general lighting is dominated by DALI lighting control system protocols. But is this protocol really suitable for ubiquitous lighting applications?
We know that automated lighting control systems are wired and wireless. The former are usually designed in advance for the client. Wireless are more often used when the lighting is already installed and automation needs to be added to the existing system. The wireless system is more expensive. It allows you to scale the network and add new fixtures to the system at no additional cost. A luminaire with a wireless communication protocol is more expensive than the same wired luminaire.
Lighting Control System Protocols
The PWM 1…10V protocol is inexpensive and simple, and therefore more reliable. It controls the power of the luminaire from 0% to 100% power by simply changing the voltage applied to the control terminals. It has no more advantages, as well as disadvantages. DALI and KNX provide more options for controlling luminaires. They allow you to assign each lamp its own address on the network and control them separately. Accordingly, the automation sets the mode individually for each lamp.
This solution is more expensive and requires additional control cables for control. Special drivers or controllers with support for the DALI or KNX protocol are also required. If you want to control every luminaire and there is no way to lay additional cables, then use wireless lighting control via ZigBee. In this case, each lamp receives its own controller, which is also a transmitter. With their help, the lamps are connected into a single network.
Auto Light Control
Let’s look at the PLC protocol developed by a Belarusian company Nero Electronics. It allows control signals to be transmitted over existing 230/400 V wires, so it is more advantageous than DALI and KNX. However, according to the German specialists of the Vossloh-Schwabe concern, this type of connection does not work well in our networks. Various interferences “walk” along the old unshielded wires, which drown out the signals to the controller. Because of this, the lamps work with a slowdown or do not respond to signals at all.
This problem can be solved by upgrading the existing network with new shielded wires or cables. installation of filtering devices that will eliminate harmful interference from the network. Both cable routing and filtering solutions are quite expensive, so the cost of the final system with PLC will be comparable to ZigBee. The PLC system will successfully fit into new construction or reconstruction, when networks are created from scratch and these features of automation can be taken into account when designing.
Lighting remote control
I would like to note that for the production of our lamps we use various communication technologies depending on the client’s tasks, but in practice we are more inclined towards PWM 1 … 10 V and ZigBee. We see great prospects in working with the PLC protocol, however, due to the problems described above, we can only offer it to customers with new shielded electrical networks. It remains only to wait until the developers of this protocol eliminate these shortcomings and confirm the words with positive results in field trials.
Using the ZigBee protocol, you can link up to 256 luminaires with transmitters to one router. In total, up to 65536 luminaires can be connected to one network. This protocol is by far the most expensive. His development company demands a round sum from everyone for the right to use ZigBee. Although the cost of the electronic components of the device itself does not exceed $5. On average, one ZigBee module costs from $40 to $80 in the market. That is why it is advantageous to integrate them only into powerful lamps.
Get a 1% discount on all orders while you subscribe to the newsletter.
Wireless mesh lighting
Wireless lighting control of LED lamps using the ZigBee communication protocol is based on a mesh structure. This means that the luminaires are connected to each other, and not directly to the dispatcher. The signal contains the address of the luminaire and instructions for execution (switch off or on, dimming or other action). It is transmitted from the dispatcher to the nearest luminaire, from this luminaire to the next one, and so on, until the signal arrives at the luminaire with the given address.
This principle is very convenient, because even if any lamp fails, the remaining network continues to work and execute commands. However, there is one limitation – luminaires must be within the range of ZigBee transmitters in order for signals to be transmitted over the network. At the moment, this distance is about 86 meters, but in fact it may decrease due to weather conditions, poor condition of the antennas and other interference that may occur in the signal path.
We recommend our potential customers not to save on a good automation system. But even the most expensive solution will not always solve all your problems at once. Here it is better to maintain a balance between frankly cheap lamps with controllers that do not always work correctly and a well-established system with street lamps. In this regard, ledz luminaires are somewhere slightly above the middle segment. Our price is lower than many competitors, and the components used are German, Belarusian and Russian.
Specialists of the Elredy group of companies will be able to solve any of your problems, because we have been working in the lighting products market for a long time. We have implemented many objects in various segments, and the result has always pleased our customers. ledz engineers will audit your lighting system free of charge and prepare lighting calculations. If you are interested in street lamp with programmable operation mode without any control systems and communication protocols, read this article!