Written by Admin in Home Automation
Aug 18 th, 2011
Depending on the type of lighting control system used, a homeowner can automate some or all the lights in their home. Automated lighting control has a few general benefits such as: providing security, control electricity costs, simplifying routine task, enhance the home during evening hours.
The way lighting control systems operate vary depending upon the type of system you purchase, how much you are willing to spend, the type of installation and the software controls used to manage more complex systems.
The most simple form of lighting control could arguably be a simply timer. Timers can be purchased for very little money and are very easy to install. Timers come in both mechanical and digital mechanisms with digital having the advantage of more flexible scheduling. Timers typically are used to control one lamp and in some case, by purchasing a light switch timer, can control a switched light or two.
The next step up would be what’s considered a Power Line Carrier based system. This means communications and command of multiple light switches in a home is achieved through the electrical wiring already inside the home. Lamp modules used to control lamp are plugged into electrical wall receptacles and former light switches are swapped out with decora style, programmable light switches. This system is an economical way for installing light control in a home and makes for a good Do It Yourself project for the handy homeowner. Control of the switch usually comes from a side table top controller plugged also into an electrical wall receptacle.
Recently released technology called ZigBee allows for the control commands to essentially bounce from one ZigBee light switch to another until the command signals final destination is reached. This system can have advantages over the Power Line Carrier system in that it doesn’t have the risk of noise on the electrical wiring that sometimes prevents signal from reach the intended light switch. The bouncing of a wireless signal in the ZigBee format, and depending on the number of Lighting Control light switches installed affords multi-channel to better ensure reliable lighting control operation.
Some very complex systems involve controlling every light in the house and typically require wiring of the house different from standard methods. Although these systems can be extremely reliable they are both very costly to install and costly to repair.
By adding more and more light switches to your lighting control system you not only increase the complexity of your system you also increase the available benefits mentioned at the onset of this article. With the increased complexity comes the need for matching software to control all the switches. Software options are available to allow for control not only in pre scheduled events such as daylight and dusk but on demand control from smart phone devices too. Computer software can be used to setup all the programming so routine activities go on as the home owner sees fit. And, when desired, the light switches still work manually in their respective rooms.
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