ow will I control my lights? Do I lose manual operation?
An automated lighting system can be controlled in several different ways. The easiest is through keypads or lighting switches which can be placed throughout your residence or commercial establishment. These lighting switches or keypads can be programmed to operate a single light or even group of lights. Similarly your existing light switches can be attached to the automation system using small pucks which fit into the gang box of the light switch and allow that switch to work wirelessly through an automation command or manually by button press.
There are many different ways to operate your automated lighting system. You can use your smart phone or tablet and find an intelligent user interface which lets you select which lights or lighting scenes you want to activate. Similarly you can use a remote control which allows you to choose lighting options through its intelligent menu screen.
The good part is there is always a manual option to control your automated lighting system. Whether it be your original lighting switch or a Control4 smart switch or keypad, users who may not feel comfortable using smart phones or tablets can easily tap a button as before and turn a light on or off. While you still get the option to activate scenes and control individual or multiple lights wirelessly through your smart phone or tablet.
What kind of lights can I automate?
To put it simply all lighting can be automated. What needs to be planned carefully is how much wattage is being put in a circuit to ensure the automation hardware can support that means lights on a single circuit it is controlling. For example, with Halogen lights, you don’t want to cross more then 400 watts of load on a single Control4 lighting dimmer. So if you have 40 watt halogen lights, you want to ensure that you don’t put more then 10 lights on one dimmer. In most lighting environments these limits do not prove to be a challenge. For more information on maximum loads and supported lighting you can refer to our Control4 brochure or contact us for a detailed specification sheet.
What kind of lights can I dim?
Control4 supports phase dimmable and 0 to 10 V dimmable lighting. We would recommend bringing a sample of the lights you would like to have dimmed and have it tested by your automation system provider first. Ensure the lights and drivers you have chosen dim successfully and do not have any flickering or minimum wattage issues which can occur in certain dimmable lights.
How many lighting scenes can I create? Do the automation installer have to create the scenes or can I do it myself ?
With Control4 you can create an unlimited amount of scenes. These scenes are very customizable and can be set on a schedule or even programmed to work with other home automation events. For example if you have friends coming over, you can create a “friend over” scene which sets all the lights in your house to pre-programmed levels, turns on the A/C’s to a set temperature in every room and opens or closes motorized window shadings. If you want to set up a romantic mood in the house, you can have your music turn on playing your romance playlist and have all lights dim down to a set percentage to set a romantic mood.
With the help of lighting automation you can create lighting scenes using your smartphone or tablet. You can even test the scenes before finalizing them to make sure you are happy with the final light levels, or edit existing scenes which you might want to make changes to.
What is the difference between a keypad and a lighting switch?
A lighting switch can control a specific light or group of lights it is attached to. Just as you have a normal switch in your home, a home automation light switch can also connect to a specific light or group of lights called a circuit. It can turn that circuit on or off, and even be pressed down and released to raise or lower the percentages of a dimmable light. One great feature with Control4 lighting switches is they can be programmed to not just be tapped once, but double tapped and triple tapped for a variety of functions. For example if you want to program all your lights to come on in a particular room instead of pressing individual switches to turn on all the lights, you can program that as a double tap on the first light switch when you enter the room. Similarly you can program a triple tap to turn off all the lights in your room on any one lighting switch. That makes it easier to turn the room off perhaps when you go to sleep at night or when you are leaving your room.
Keypads come in variations from three to six buttons. Each button can be programmed to invoke a particular event on your automation system. The common misconception is a 6 button keypad can power up to six different lighting loads or circuits from one keypad. Each keypad can be programmed to control up to six different lighting loads, but they will still need to be powered by individual lighting switches or din rail modules to power them on or off. Those lighting switches or modules can then receive instructions from the keypad to turn that particular light on or off. For example, button one of a keypad can be programmed to turn on one light in every room. So if button one is pressed once, one designated light in every room in going to turn on to a percentage you require. This works by the keypad receiving the command that button one is pressed, and then passing on the command to the particular lighting switch in every room informing it to turn on the light it controls to that particular level.
Keypads not only can be programmed to control an automated lighting systems. Any button on the keypad can be programmed to send an announcement on your speakers in case you want to call a staff member of your household to that particular room. Another option would be to program a button to turn on your music system and start playing your favorite playlist in your room all from one button tap. Rather then executing a whole sequence of events to play your favorite music, the procedure can be shortened to a single button tap. You may like your outside lighting to come on every evening at 7 pm, and have it all turn off once you go to sleep. We can place the lights on a schedule to come on every evening at 7 pm, and by keeping a keypad inside the house or next to your bedside, we can program one of the buttons to turn off all the outside lighting when it is pressed.
Will there be a delay in lighting if my lights are controlled by my automation system?
If installed properly and using the recommended networking equipment including suggested Wi-Fi routers and Network switches, you will experience no delay in lights being controlled once a command is received. The process will be instantaneous. Once a tap is received on your smart phone or tablet or a lighting switch or keypad is pressed, the light or group of lights will respond within milliseconds. So there is no delay experienced and the entire process works very smoothly and efficiently. If you are experiencing delays in your automation system, we highly recommend checking your home or commercial network to ensure the setup has been done correctly. The network is the backbone of any automation system and is crucial in getting successfully and fast implementation from your setup. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions.