The ?controlling? power has been built into each individual switch and scenes can be programmed and selected from pre-programmed switches in the house. Electricians and installers no longer have to learn special wiring schemes as they can wire a house using standard AC wiring methods, and run UL rated CAT5E cable drops into each junction box.

To Centralize or De-Centralize your lighting control: That is the question!

Don Johnson | Electronic Design Technology


by Don Johnson, Sales & Marketing Manager
Electronic Design Technology

The "controlling" power has been built into each individual switch and scenes can be programmed and selected from pre-programmed switches in the house. Electricians and installers no longer have to learn special wiring schemes as they can wire a house using standard AC wiring methods, and run UL rated CAT5E cable drops into each junction box.


It was common knowledge that controlling lights with computerized panels throughout an entire home is a luxury that only the wealthy can afford - until now!

In general, there are two fundamental categories of lighting control: Centralized lighting and de-centralized lighting. For years, centralized lighting control has been something that required highly trained electricians, installers, and programmers to setup. Once installed and programmed, the homeowner could activate different "scenes" from the centralized control panel. If the homeowner wanted to change a scene, he had to go through an extensive process to learn how to do it or call on a trained programmer. This, of course, was difficult and costly in those days.

Today not much has changed regarding the need for specialized training for electricians and installers in order to install and operate a centralized lighting control system. Some lighting control companies have tried to simplify things evidenced by their newer designs. However, there is still an ever increasing demand for simplicity in programming and ease of operation by installers and electricians (not to mention the homeowner!).

A Centralized lighting control setup contains the typical unattractive box or panel with many buttons (also known as "The Controller"), and the desired number of dimmers and toggle switches wired throughout the building. Each switch would need to have its wires "home-run" back to the centralized controller panel as illustrated in Figure 1. The scene capability of the switches would then be controlled by the central controller. Without the Controller, the switches could not do what you would think they were designed to do. The centralized controller system is complex to install and program, has limited capabilities of individual switches, a limited number of devices per controller, multiple home-runs are required - meaning more hours on the job for installers and electricians (that translates into hundreds and maybe thousands of dollars!), and it is not providing the homeowner with true convenience and simplicity.


Figure 1

Companies like Electronic Design Technology (EDT) thought outside the box to develop a "decentralized" distributed lighting control solution. The basic philosophy is that EDT believed a lighting control system should be: simple to install, program and use; Elegant in its aesthetic design making a great first impression; reliable in its operation; easily expandable (up to 255 devices); and affordable for the average homeowner.

The i-LiNE™ series of lighting control products eliminate many of the complexities and frustrations associated with the installation and configuration of existing lighting control products. This philosophy has been extended to the user interface allowing simple system programming, yet at the same time, providing many advanced features only found on much more expensive and complex system. The i-LiNE™ lighting control system has been designed so that it can be used as a fully functional lighting control system without the need for a controller.

The "controlling" power has been built into each individual switch and scenes can be programmed and selected from pre-programmed switches in the house. Electricians and installers no longer have to learn special wiring schemes as they can wire a house using standard AC wiring methods, and run UL rated CAT5E cable drops into each junction box. The CAT5E cable connects to each switch in a daisy chain series using RJ-45 connectors as illustrated in Figure 2.

The i-LiNE™ lighting control system address acquisitioning and configuration is automatic upon power up, eliminating the need to manually set dip switches or dials on every device. Scenes can be setup in seconds. The i-LiNE™ system will integrate with other third party products through RS-232 or contact closure connection.


Figure 2:

There are advantages and disadvantages to both a centralized and de-centralized lighting control system. The choice is up to the consumer. The bottom line is this:

The choice will either cost you and add to the complexities of life, or save you some time and money and give you simplicity and convenience! It's about payback! Yours!

For more information on the i-LiNE™ lighting control solution please visit our website or email us at info@edt.biz.


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