One of the hallmark’s of any home automation system is automated lighting control. When Control4 first came to market with all of their products they utilized keypads that could replace light switches as their only method of lighting. While the system worked remarkably well, it didn’t solve one of the biggest challenges of a lighting system: getting rid of all the large banks of switches in rooms with a large number of lights. They have now address that problem with their new product line.
When you swap out a traditional lighting system with an automated lighting system there is a lot that has to happen. In a traditional system all the wiring runs from the main breakers to the light switch, and from there to the lights that switch controls.
In an automated system there is an additional step. From the breakers the wiring runs to a lighting module. These modules vary based on what types of lighting they control, but they generally can control anywhere from 4 to 8 lighting circuits. Let’s look at an example.
In a typical living room you might have 5 light switches. One controls the cans, one for the scones, one for an accent light above the fireplace, one for some cove lighting, and one for some lamps. Each of these switches lives in a bank of switches with which we are all familiar.
With an automated lighting system these five switches disappear, replaced with one low voltage keypad and a lighting module. The keypad resides on the wall in the place of the switches. The lighting module lives in a central location close to the breakers, usually in a utility room or closet.
When someone presses a switch on the keypad a signal is relayed to the lighting module telling it which lights to turn on and to what level. This allows each lighting circuit to be controlled individually. A typical “ON” button might turn the cans on to 75%, the scones to 65%, and the other lights on to 50%.
These pre-programmed buttons are called scenes. Each keypad has multiple buttons on it, so you can have multiple scenes per room. This allows you to have one standard on/off scene plus one for entertaining, night time, or whatever you like.
One of the biggest benefits of a lighting control systems is that you can control all the lights on the system from any keypad. So if you’re ready to go to bed and want to turn out all of the lights you simply press the “House Off” button on the keypad in your bedroom.
The same would go for turning everything off. A keypad by the entry door might have a “Home” button on it that allows you to turn on the main rooms of the house.
In terms of convenience it is difficult to beat a lighting system. But they also have some additional benefits.
You can further automate these systems to save even more on energy. Occupancy sensors can be installed in rooms. These monitor whether or not they are in use and adjust the lighting accordingly. A lighting system can also monitor the amount of ambient light in a room and lower the lighting to create a consistent amount of light.
The new Control4 lighting allows you to do all of this and more and is a great addition to their line of products.
This video from Control4 gives you an idea of how the system operates.