HAI and Lightolier is a product combination that is reliable, fast, flexible and 2-way, a tough combination to beat for an integrated whole house scene-based lighting solution.

Interfacing Lightolier Compose with an HAI Controller

Thomas Morgan | Worthington University

By Thomas Morgan, Vice President
Worthington University

HAI and Lightolier is a product combination that is reliable, fast, flexible and 2-way, a tough combination to beat for an integrated whole house scene-based lighting solution.


When Lightolier Compose was first released, Worthington Distribution embraced the system fully because of the new approaches it took toward PLC lighting. We recognized the power of a complete lighting system solution; however, we also saw that Compose could be taken to a whole new level if it was integrated with a powerful whole house automation controller like HAI. Worthington Distribution made the introduction between the companies and provided a white paper overview of how both companies could benefit through new market opportunities if their products worked together. The results have been a marvelous success and a true testament for how companies can benefit by working together.

Starting in revision 2.1 of firmware, HAI included a plug-and-play driver for the Lightolier Compose lighting system. For HAI, this was a new solution that was straightforward to implement because Compose uses Power line Carrier Technology (X-10 PLC) as the primary data method between keypads and switches. This also marked the beginning of HAI's support for complete 2-way PLC communication that includes automatically updating the status of devices as they are controlled over the power line. The primary difference between Compose and other PLC lighting controllers is Compose is a complete lighting system that addresses interfaces, scenes, and data integrity.

For a complete Compose system three components are required: keypads, dimmers, and a firewall. Dimmers and switches provide individual load control. Keypads provide a simple interface for a room, multiple rooms, and whole house lighting control. The firewall provides complete management of data transmission and noise within the PLC system. The primary advantages of Compose lighting are reliability, expandability, and a scene lighting approach. A scene lighting approach eliminates the need for a controller to send numerous individual load commands. Control of a scene's appearance is instead placed in the hands of the user, not the programmer. A scene can then be recalled with a single command. This is a welcome change for the professional integrator or lighting architect.

Compose functionality was added to every controller in the HAI family, including the OmniLT, Omni II, OmniPro II and the derived controllers from OnQ, including the HMS 800, 950 and 1100. The trick with implementing Compose was to maintain consistency with HAI's current structure. Luckily, after a couple of meetings to fully understand Compose, the system integrated beautifully.


For an HAI to communicate in a Compose system the TW-523 (or PSC-05) must be plugged into an electrical circuit fed from the firewall. That is it! No 'data' conductors need to be run from the HAI to the firewall. Because the firewall ensures the PLC data is distributed throughout the system, the HAI is able to track system communication and issue Compose commands. The integration could not be tighter if HAI designed both systems!

Once the wiring is in place, the HAI must be told which code Compose is using. Under 'setup/miscellaneous' set each house code for 'Compose' (Figure 1). Technically, it is possible to run standard X-10, PCS, Lightolier, Leviton and ALC all at the same time but it is not recommended. The firewall was built specifically for use with Compose and standard X-10 commands. Commands such as extended code are not compatible with Compose. This does not preclude an installer from using standard PLC devices like outlets.

Figure 1: Setting a House Code to Compose format


Sending Compose commands is a snap. Once Compose format is chosen, new 'Scene' options appear in the 'Control' menu for all units assigned to the selected house code. This allows a user to send 'ON, A-L, and OFF' scenes to a room directly from an HAI controller (Figure 2). These commands can be sent manually under setup/command or can be included in any programming line. It could not be easier.

Figure 2: New Scene options automatically appear when a device is set to Compose

2-Way Communication:

As of firmware revision 2.1, all HAI manufactured controllers automatically update unit status when a command is sent on the power line. Therefore, if a kitchen CP keypad is used to set the room to 'Scene B,' the kitchen unit status will be reflected as 'Scene B' (Figure 3) in the HAI controller. While it is nice to see this on keypads, this really becomes helpful when using web-based interfaces like Web Link II or touch screen solutions like OmniTouch, Home Logic, or CorAccess. Showing the true status of a room has been an objective of PLC since its inception. The HAI integration with Compose makes this possible with zero additional programming.

Figure 3: HAI automatically tracks Compose devices

Running Programming Routines:

When an installer wants to run a routine in the controller based on activity in the Compose system, he is required to understand that there are two different scenarios that are programmed differently. For each programming action it must be decided if the action is the HAI controller sending a command or if it is the HAI watching for a command on the power line. The programmer can watch for one event or the other. If the routine is to execute when HAI issues the command, or if the command is received, then use 2 programming lines and watch for both events. HAI separated these two events on purpose; it gives far more options and reduces the likelihood for unexpected system events.

Programming For When the HAI Sends a Compose Command:

The HAI 'WHEN UNIT ON/ OFF' (Figure 4) command only applies to when the HAI controller sends a command. If the HAI Controller receives a status change over the power line it will NOT run a 'WHEN UNIT ON/OFF' routine. This allows the user to choose if they want the routine to run based on received status changes (not always desirable). To run routines based on received state changes use the 'WHEN RECEIVE X-10' option.

Figure 4: Running events based on the HAI sending a command

Programming For When the HAI Receives a Compose Command:

The 'WHEN X-10' (Figure 6) programming section is used for routines that are triggered from events on the power line. Using this feature the programmer can perform routines based on either the user executing any scene (On state) or based on the user pressing a specific scene button. HAI covered all of the bases.

Compose State vs. State Command:

When a user presses a Lightolier CP5BES keypad (Figure 5) they can hit one of 5 scene commands (On,A,B,C,D) or they can turn the room off:

Figure 5: Lightolier CP5BES keypad

HAI allows the programmer to define if they want to watch for an On state or a specific scene. An On state would be any of the 5 scenes. On is both a state (On,A,B,C,D) and a specific button (The scene button marked On). This opens up many options for the programmer. If a user walks into a room with Compose and they press Scene C it will run a 'WHEN RECEIVE ON' routine. It would NOT run a 'WHEN RECEIVE SCENE ON' routine. If the user pressed the On button on the CP5 keypad, both would run.

Figure 6: Receiving PLC commands can watch for a Unit state or a specific command

The HAI driver has been in the field for more then 2 years and is rock solid. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of installations utilizing this solution every day. Compose has solved many PLC dilemmas by approaching lighting as a complete system instead of individual nodes controlled by a central system. The scenes react quickly without the delay found in traditional PLC systems. Add a touch screen or web interface in a second. The integration is truly plug and play. HAI and Lightolier is a product combination that is reliable, fast, flexible and 2-way, a tough combination to beat for an integrated whole house scene-based lighting solution.

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