Smart Homes - 'making light work' on a small scale
We would not presume to suggest that a building boom is imminent but no one would argue with the fact that that the property and building industry is experiencing a much needed up-turn. In the domestic housing market, based around a recovering economy where caution still reigns, there is also a strong trend to refurbish and upgrade homes. The standard of fit out style and demand for gadgets is also well and truly on the up - considered by many to be driven by aspirational interiors TV programmes, media advertising and the proliferation of affordable luxury in the home.
Gone are the days when the biggest lighting decision to be made, when, for example, planning an extension to your home, was where to put the light fittings? A great deal of thought now goes into maximising use of space and creating ambience. For example kitchens with seating at islands, open plan dining and family living space all in one. The lighting in these areas often needs to be flexible and easily changed at different times of the day and night so energy efficient LED lighting and control of lighting levels through dimming Is the obvious choice.
Dimming technology has evolved but it brings with it a number of challenges for the Contractor. The most significant of which is poor operational compatibility between LED lamps and conventional dimmers - every time a contractor is called back to a recently installed job to resolve this problem it costs him in both time and money. But things have recently taken a giant leap forward with Hamilton’s LEDstat – an intelligent LED dimmer which monitors and programmes itself for best performance when used with the same or mixed branded LED lamps. LEDstat is ‘phase adaptive’ which means it ‘Thinks’ before it ‘Acts’. Its sophisticated microprocessor analyses the connected LEDs and determines the best dimming curve necessary to achieve maximum performance – either leading or trailing edge. The dimmer module fits a standard 35mm BS4662 2006 flush wall box, and it’s the same size as standard dimmer and can be mounted onto any faceplate, making it the ideal retrofit upgrade. Wiring these modules is straightforward.
The next step
A not so giant step up from dimming are multi-scene pre-set lighting scenarios which can be straightforward to install and affordable. There are products that can automate an entire home from top to bottom and these are great for projects that warrant them and customers that can afford them. But, for customers with not so grand properties nor such deep pockets who want a taste of the ‘automated lifestyle’, installing an affordable system on a small scale is now a real option. And of course you can really sell the energy- and cost-saving benefits of lighting control systems as a way of helping your clients see the advantage of investing in a system now, when finances may be more challenged.
Light to the touch
Something like Hamilton’s Mercury® Lighting Control Packs are an ideal entry-level lighting control solution. Basic day-to-day lighting scenarios, from simple dimming to scene-setting programmes, can be set, stored and recalled – all at the touch of a button. The encased dimmer hub is straightforward to access and wire-in and for simple applications can work ‘Out of the box’. Also dimmer packs can be linked together to add more circuits using simple dip switch settings. Customers will love controlling their lighting via the wall-mounted control plates available as ‘capacitive touch’ and ‘mechanical push-button’ in a range of styles and finishes, or by infrared remote control or wireless control via iPad and iPhone using a downloadable app. The energy and cost-saving benefits of lighting control systems add to the appeal of this option.
Keep it simple
Simplicity has been at the forefront of the Hamilton Mercury® Lighting Control Packs design. With the electrical contractor in mind we have ensured that very little specialist knowledge is needed to install a basic system, everything inside the control box will look familiar. We have gone to great lengths to retain the aesthetics of the product on the wall while making sure it’s very easy to operate. The end user can simply set up their personal scenes from the wall plate at the touch of a button.
More business with Mercury®
The Mercury® system can also be used in more complex installations using Installer software. With this in mind we are offering selected contractors training on the finer and more advanced capabilities of the Mercury® Lighting Control and Multi-room Audio with a view to becoming a Mercury Approved Contractor. Our mobile Mercury Showcase unit is touring the country during the second half of 2014 offering free installation demonstrations and tutorials. Electrical contractors who successfully complete these sessions and meet Hamilton’s criteria will join the ranks of the Mercury® Approved Contractors. For more information on becoming a Mercury ®Approved Contractor, please call +44 (0)1747 860088 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
This article was originally published in the September 2014 issue of Professional Electrician & Installer
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