Lighting control systems as part of a Home Automation system can give us some really great benefits in our home. We can set the perfect scene or mood, create safety and comfort for our loved ones, save energy, control blinds, irrigation, and all simplified with easy to control user interfaces.
There are many installations we see that don't provide these great features, and for a number of reasons. It may be due to the effort of the installer or programmer, or simply more features become available as time progresses and technology advances.
We'll list some things you can do here, many pictures and ideas related to a Dynalite lighting control system.
Improvement 1 - New keypads
New keypads on your lighting control system can make a major improvement to the look and feel of your system. Engraved buttons make the system easier to use, and simple to control, while the new LCD keypads allow greater control of your entire home in high use areas.
The improvement in keypads on a Dynalite system doesn't require an upgrade to the lighting controllers which are the most expensive part of the system. You can keep your current lighting controllers and simply upgrade the keypads.
Antumbra are a great new cost effective keypad that can be labelled.
Improvement 2 - Upgrade to LEDs
With rising electricity prices it's just not practical to run halogen and incandescent lights any more. LED technology greatly reduces energy consumption, while retaining or even improving light levels. However, it introduces problems with dimming on lighting control systems. We've taken perfect dimming for granted with the old, energy hungry lighting technology. Now a difficult task is finding compatible LEDs and LED drivers that dim well, especially with lighting control technology.
Dynalite has leading edge and trailing edge dimming capability. Trailing edge dimming has been an effective way to dim LEDs well. Recently Philips Dynalite introduced the DDLE801 leading edge controller, made specifically for LED technology. We've had great results with dimming using these. However you still need to take care in selecting and testing your LED lighting fixtures. The only way to really know is to install the lights onsite, and test over a period of hours or days.
Improvement 3 - Add an Envision Gateway
A recent addition to the Dynalite lineup is the Envision Gateway. It is an IP interface which allows control of a Dynalite system over network or internet, allows scheduling and schedule editing over HTML, as well as access to your system via iPhone or Android device. It will also allow you to control your Philips Hue wireless lamps with your Dynalite system.
The Envision Gateway is relatively well priced, and with the emerging Internet of Things technologies it paves the way to all sorts of control possibilities inside and out of the home. Control with your iPhone or Android device is a great feature, allowing lighting and systems control, scenes, and scheduling from the palm of your hand.
The lighting and systems schedules can be modified yourself via HTML. You may want to add or remove lighting from your external lighting scene, or modify timing to other daily lighting schedules.
The Envision Gateway will allow seamless control of Philips Hue lighting from your Dynalite system, which means you can add lamps and other lighting fixtures over wireless control. This is a really great for home owners that don't have a cable run in areas that require new lighting.
Improvement 4 - Add blind and shutter control
Blinds and shutter control on you lighting control system means you can allow more or less natural light in depending on time of day or the sun's position, or add privacy when it's required. It's quite nice to have it on your keypads that you use for lighting. For control direct from Dynalite more cabling is required, however if the cabling can't be brought back to your Dynalite equipment easily there are other options. Somfy systems allow you to add power from any source and control the blinds from a remote control. Somfy sells a 485 interface which works directly with Dynalite. So you can control your Somfy blinds and shutters from your Dynalite interfaces without complicated cabling.
Improvement 5 - Add lighting scenes
A great feature of lighting control systems is the ability to set scenes with a single button press. This might lower your lighting to set the perfect mood, or set your lighting in your home to the perfect entertainment setting. Welcome buttons can set your home to the lighting setting you want when you arrive home, where a goodnight setting will shut everything down for the night. Any serious installer will consult with the home owner on their lifestyle and offer these options, however we see homes from time to time that simply switch on and off lights, and that's not what lighting control systems are designed for.
Improvement 6 - Dimming
Light dimming is a must in our eyes to achieve the perfect lighting throughout the home. Full light levels may be required during daylight or early evening hours, where low level lighting is preferred for relaxation in the later hours. It can also make late night movements around the home more comfortable and less intrusive on other occupants. LED dimming can be difficult to get right but with Dynalite's new DDLE801 controller LED dimming is possible. Swapping out a controller or 2 may allow you to achieve this.
Improvement 7 - Add schedules
Scheduling can help you set the appropriate lighting throughout the home based on time of day, improve security in the home, and help reduce power consumption.
Lighting levels can be modified based on time of day. Lights on in the bathroom late at night may only come on at 20% where daytime usage is at full intensity.
External lighting can be turned on at sunset, following day and night hours no matter what time of year to improve security around the home, blinds can put down when sun is at it's most intense. You can reduce power consumption by turning off lights outside or in the home as part of a daily schedule.
Improvement 8 - Add power saving features
Great power saving benefits can be achieved with the use of a combination of user interfaces. This might be features built into keypads, or by using sensors and timers.
You may have features programmed into keypads that can help you greatly reduce power usage. One idea might be to have a single button that turns of a particular area or floor of the home that contains bedrooms and bathrooms to easily turn off areas that have been left on by family and kids. A "goodnight" button can switch off the home inside and out with a single press.
Movement sensors are a great option in store rooms, garage and other spaces where lights are easily left on. You may even put sensors in the kids rooms or bathrooms which simply turn of lights if no one is detected in there for 20 minutes or so.
Timers are a great way to help with energy efficiency. You may enable sensors with your timer to work during the day only to switch of lights if no movement detected, or to turn off lights externally at sunset. The possibilities are endless.
Improvement 9 - Add some cool features
The options are endless with Dynalite and lighting control. These are some of my favourite "cool" features that you can achieve with this system.
- lighting scenes that are turned on staggered or in a domino effect. This can look really impressive and is great to show of to your friends. Just makes you feel powerful too.
- goodnight scenes that switch off lighting from back to front upstairs then back to front downstairs. Kind of like the one above... it's just cool.
- a client of ours requested a "sexy time" button in the bedroom which sets the perfect mood scene for... well... you know... sexy time.
- lighting control from the iPhone. This can be quite nice to set some lighting, blinds and aircon when you are just about to arrive home. One of our customers requested this feature so he can turn on the lights at his helipad when he is one his way home in his helicopter.
- a simple, but personal favourite of mine is to set the hallway and toilet at a nice low level for the little ones at night. This can be on a "path" button which they can push as they go out, and may switch off on a timer.... ours in on a sensor. It's just nice to know they've got a safe path to take when they need to.
You really can do anything you want with a good lighting control system, and we encourage you do!
Improvement 10 - Integrate with other systems
Dynalite and other lighting control systems integrate well. Integrating with security adds an extra level of security and piece of mind. Turn on lights when the system is disarmed as you arrive home, or turn them all on when in "alarm".
You may integrate lighting control into your home entertainment system so the lights dim down when you start the movie or back up when paused for a snack break.
Many 3rd party integration control systems can include lighting control which means you can also control your lighting with customised iPad or iPhone apps.
Who can help me make these improvements?
We can!!! Control Co are lighting control specialists. Let us know how we can help.