To dim, or not to dim, that is the question!
Lighting Control Effects
Generally for lighting, greater flexibility is achieved when a circuit is dimmable. This means that any light wired to a particular circuit, that is then controlled via a dimmable channel, can in effect be dimmed up or dimmed down.
With a lighting control system, this then allows ‘scenes’ to be created where groups of lights can be set at pre-determined levels, to create a particular visual effect.
An example may be a hotel dining room – rather than staff having to manually switch on and off, or dim up and down, banks of lights to achieve the desired affect for breakfast, lunch or dinner – three scenes can be set up to complete the task automatically.
The first scene “Breakfast” may have bright, welcoming ‘wake up’ lighting in most areas. Lux level sensors may detect good levels of natural light however, and the lights by the windows are therefore turned off, as they are not needed.
The darker areas of the dining room continue to be lit however, with good focused lighting also illuminating the breakfast buffet.
As a contrast, the “Dinner” scene offers more subdued, mood lighting. The reception area is lit sufficiently to offer a welcome to the evening diners, but in the dining room there are lower levels of ambient light to create a more intimate dining experience.
Interest is created through accent lighting on artwork and architectural features of the room. Task lighting over the buffet, provides just the right level of illumination for the food choices to look inviting, and for dining staff to maintain.
Lighting Control Scenes
Relay channels still have their use as part of the lighting control system. Where circuits only require on/off control they usually represent the more cost effective option.
They may be used in areas such as plant rooms or service rooms, or for outside lights where dimming isn’t required.
Table lights can be incorporated into lighting scenes, when the socket outlet into which they are connected, is controlled by a relay channel as part of the control system.
Included in the “Dinner” scene above for example, there could be an ‘on’ command for the small table lights on each dining table turned on via relay. At the end of the evening, when the restaurant closes, the ‘All Off’ scene, dims every lighting circuit to off, and switches off the table lights.