Canadian Electrical Industry News Week

Feb 1, 2021

LightingBy Steve Mesh

Are you an electrical contractor? Are you new to the world of Networked Lighting Controls (NLCs)? Are you looking for new opportunities to strengthen your business in these uncertain times?

If you answered yes to all three of these questions, read on. NLCs are a (relatively) new introduction to the lighting industry. I say “relatively” because, in point of fact, some networked control systems have been available for decades. If you haven’t had any prior experience with installing NLCs, then you might think these are fancy and highfalutin. Are they really? Let’s see. By definition, a “system” is automatically complex. But really, how complex are NLCs? I’d say they are at the low end of the complexity spectrum.

If you are an electrical contractor, have you ever installed a low-voltage relay panel in a commercial or institutional building (shown in the photo of a Wattstopper panel, left)? I’m willing to bet that you have. If so, then you’ve already had experience installing a lighting control system. In a low-voltage relay panel installation, the operation of the lighting system is centralized at the panel. The power to all lighting loads emanates from the panel. All peripheral devices such as switches and sensors connect back to the panel via low-voltage wires. Obviously, this is completely different from wiring a line-voltage wallbox switch or dimmer to the hot conductor of a switch leg. So, if you’ve installed any low-voltage relay panels at all, then you’re almost an expert in installing NLCs already!

Lighting

Some electrical contractors have even installed “room controllers.” These are small panel systems that are designed to control a limited number of lighting zones, and a limited amount of load. For example, some room controllers contain 3 relays (to control 3 separate lighting zones) — and can be used on a 20-amp branch circuit. That might be totally adequate to control lights in a classroom, or perhaps a small office space. Just like in a low-voltage relay panel system, peripherals such as switches and sensors connect back to the room controller via low-voltage wires (sometimes using Ethernet cable, for example). However, these room controllers also have the ability to send dimming signals to each of the three zones of lights. In fact, the ability to send dimming signals to lights is one of the biggest factors that distinguishes these new NLCs from older controls such as low-voltage relay panel systems.

 

 

Lighting

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In a “room controller” system ( shown above: Wattstopper’s DLM room controller), the zoning of lights is determined by the physical switch legs emanating from the centralized room controller itself. In that sense, these are not unlike low-voltage relay panel systems. In addition to line-voltage wires to power the lights, you also typically run low-voltage wires to send dimming signals (such as 0-10V dimming). Since the vast majority of LED fixtures have 0-10V dimming drivers by default, it made perfect sense for room controller manufacturers to build in this function.

In the most recent versions of networked lighting control systems, “controllers” are often pre-installed in every light fixture. If so, then every single light fixture — as well as switch and sensor — has its own unique “address.” Once that happens, then you can group fixtures into zones using the system’s software. Zoning is no longer determined based on the physical wiring. That also means that the zoning can easily be changed at any point, by anyone who has learned how to operate the software. At this point, digital LED drivers are available that may either use a proprietary protocol (language) to talk to the network, or an open protocol such as DALI (Digital Addressable Lighting Interface). These are all basically just different flavours of NLCs, so it’s simply a matter of learning how a new system works. In essence, however, all NLCs must have the same essential features and benefits.

Does this sound incredibly complicated? I hope not! Just to make a point, please note that I went to an art school. I do not have an engineering background, nor am I a licensed electrical contractor. But I am a virtual expert in how to install, commission, program and operate six different networked lighting control systems. Why? Because as a recognized lighting expert and teacher, I have created classes on NLCs for a variety of audiences. In most of these classes, I bring actual NLCs with me so attendees can wire them up. Obviously, this means that I had to learn how to wire, troubleshoot, commission, program and operate each of them. For six different systems so far! And I’ll probably learn more as time goes on.

Again, all six of these were basically just different flavours of NLCs with the same basic features and functionality. So, once you get your feet wet installing one, you’ll probably be amazed how quickly you can learn the ins and outs of another system. The differences are typically not huge.

Remember that these days, NLCs are most commonly installed with “individual addressability.” Because it’s easy for vendors to make “fixture-integrated” controllers with low-amperage ratings, it’s no big deal to install a system where every single fixture has its own embedded controller. As a refresher, these controllers have to do three things:

1. provide power to the LED drivers (and contain a relay to turn that power ON and OFF)

2. send dimming signals to dimmable light fixtures (typically using 0-10V protocol)

3. have some means of connecting to the NLC network

The first two are accomplished by connections within the fixture itself. The third — making a connection to the NLC network — can be accomplished by wires or wirelessly, depending on the system. Remember that you have to run line-voltage power wires to all fixtures anyway. What if you can — at the same time — also run Ethernet or some other form of low-voltage wiring to establish the network? In fact, you may already have had experience using special MC cable that allows you to run separate sets of jacketed conductors in the same cable (line- as well as low-voltage conductors). That might just be the ticket for a wired NLC installation.

What if, instead, you installed a wireless NLC system? If the controllers are pre-installed in fixtures, and those controllers communicate wirelessly with a gateway (think “router”), then all you actually have to do is connect the line-voltage power wires like you normally would. There are literally no other connections necessary. How easy is that? Very!

Where can you get more information about NLCs? And training? There are a variety of great sources, including:

• Lighting Controls Association — there are on-line courses (Education Express) about NLCs and related subjects right here on this website; https://lightingcontrolsassociation.org/

• DesignLights Consortium (DLC) — this organization has a “Qualified Products List” for NLCs that meet certain specifications. That makes it very easy to find NLCs that are particularly well suited for any project; www.designlights.org/lighting-controls/search/

• DesignLights Consortium (DLC) — DLC also created a full-day class on NLCs. I’ve taught this class 56 times since 2017! These are offered through certain participating electric utilities around the country, so you may want to check with your local utility to see if they will be offering the class any time soon. As of May 2020, due to the restrictions of the COVID pandemic, I figured out how to teach this class virtually — even allowing attendees across the country to program an NLC sitting my dining room table!

• Lighting Design Lab — this is very reputable centre for lighting education based in Seattle. Instructors from the Lighting Design Lab actually offer classes not only in Seattle but throughout the Pacific Northwest, including classes on NLCs.


• Manufacturers — some lighting controls manufacturers have robust educational offerings. Some may have short or even longer classes that teach people about their own systems, but some may also have classes that generically explain how NLCs work. Check with your preferred vendors, or search on the DLC Qualified Products List for systems you might be interested in. Then ask those vendors if they have on-line (or in-person) classes you can take.

Lighting

Having gone to an art school, with a 100% non-technical background (!), I can tell you that these systems are not extremely complex to learn about. As mentioned, I’ve taught classes on NLCs (56) times on behalf of the DesignLights Consortium for utilities all across the country, from Boston to Honolulu. And in other venues such as LightFair and other events. These classes have exposed thousands of people to the benefits of using NLC systems. So far, not a single attendee has ever failed to correctly wire, commission, program, operate and even troubleshoot a system we used in a hands-on class! Not a single one! Have “issues” ever arisen during classes? Of course. But there has never been a problem yet that arose in a class that the attendees haven’t been able to resolve, within the duration of the class, and without outside assistance from the manufacturer. (Shown above: Wireless system diagram — excerpt from DLC class PPT.)

What does that tell you? It should tell you that these systems are very well designed, easy to install, easy to troubleshoot if problems do arise, and easy to commission and operate. And by the way — there has always been a very diverse mix of attendees in these classes including electrical contractors, architects, interior designers, electrical engineers, “energy experts,” utility staff, and many others. Not to beat a dead horse (!) — but I went to art school, and I am now considered a virtual expert in NLCs.

My personal feeling about whether or not to delve into the world of Networked Lighting Controls is as follows. Are these more complex than line-voltage devices cut into switch legs? Of course. Is this at the level of “rocket science”? Not even remotely. It doesn’t take much to develop proficiency in understanding these systems, and installing, commissioning, troubleshooting and operating them. But of course it takes some extra effort. Is it worth the effort to learn about these reliable and easy-to-install systems? Well, that depends on how badly you want to have new sources of revenue, especially in these uncertain times. If I were an electrical contractor, I would not remotely hesitate. Good luck in your journey to learn more about these systems – and add more arrows in your quiver to offer more value to your customers!


Steve Mesh is an award-winning lighting designer who has designed lighting and control systems for a variety of project types (commercial, museums, schools, residential, restaurants, retail, historic, healthcare, etc.). As an educator, he has taught classes and given presentations about lighting and controls across North America and internationally. One of his is developing lighting and lighting controls courses that rely on hands-on and/or interactive content. He has been a repeat speaker at LightFair for many years.

Published with the permission of Lighting Controls Association.


Salex Announces Promotion of Paul Manson to GTA Sales Manager     

Paul MansonJanuary 26, 2021 – Salex, a facilitator of commercial lighting installations and control systems for Canada’s architectural lighting community, is excited to announce the promotion of Paul Manson to GTA Sales Manager. Paul joined Salex back in 2015, and has over 25 years of invaluable industry experience.

Dedicated to the education and promotion of quality, high-efficiency lighting and controls, Manson’s extensive background in on-site electrical installation, national accounts, relationship building, manufacturers, and sales team management at Philips Lighting, will provide valuable experience to fulfill his new role.

Read More


 

Changing Scene

  • Prev
 EWEL has announced the plan to move its Sherwood Park branch into a brand-new facility at ...
Energy Savings for Business supports local skilled trades, contractors, and suppliers such as HVAC ...
Eaton has signed an agreement to acquire Tripp Lite, a supplier of power quality products and ...
Rexel announced it has acquired the Canadian Utility business of WESCO International (WESCO Canada ...
This questionnaire is designed for people who work in the electrical industry as part of a project ...
Organizers behind the MEET (Mechanical Electrical Electronic Technology) Show have announced its ...
Be sure not to miss your opportunity to participate at EDIST 2021 The Power of Resiliency, January ...
Teledyne Technologies Incorporated and FLIR Systems, Inc.jointly announced that they have entered ...
In today's ever changing Canadian work environment, an organization that wants to succeed at ...
B.C.’s building-sector businesses can tap into an additional $8 million for projects to ...


 

www.liteline.com

 

 

 

 


 

Canadian Electrical Contractor Discussion Group: Can You Count the Deficiencies?

EIN CECD 400Have you ever been called to fix the work of a 'handyman'?

"Was supposedly done by a"certified ' electrician....told the homeowner that he got a $266 permit....no record at TSBC. Can you count the deficiencies?"

"There is a second panel change in the triplex also.......even more deficiencies. Think the guy was a glorified handyman. Ones not obvious: 240 BB heat hooked up 120....drier on 2p20....range on 2p50....water heater fed with 2c14 Bx on 2p15."

Go HERE to join the discussion

 


 

electrical apprentice1 400The Canadian government is making targeted investments, so that key groups facing barriers—like women, newcomers, Indigenous people, persons with disabilities, and Black and racialized Canadians—can better find work in the skilled trades through projects led by unions and their partner organizations.

The investment will be $63.5 million, over five years, for 68 projects as part of the Union Training and Innovation Program (UTIP) 2020 call for proposals. The aim is to help certify skilled tradespeople and prepare them to fill available jobs as the economy restarts. Minister Qualtrough made the announcement during a virtual event hosted by one of the funding recipients, the UA Piping Industry College of British Columbia, in Delta, B.C.

Read More


 



LightingBy Steve Mesh

Are you an electrical contractor? Are you new to the world of Networked Lighting Controls (NLCs)? Are you looking for new opportunities to strengthen your business in these uncertain times?

If you answered yes to all three of these questions, read on. NLCs are a (relatively) new introduction to the lighting industry. I say “relatively” because, in point of fact, some networked control systems have been available for decades. If you haven’t had any prior experience with installing NLCs, then you might think these are fancy and highfalutin. 

Read More


 

CEW EWEL Sherwood 400EWEL has announced the plan to move its Sherwood Park branch into a brand-new facility at #130 3001 Buckingham Drive, Sherwood Park, Alberta. Relocation has proceeded in staged phases since late summer 2020 and will conclude by late February 2021.

The new unit space is approximately 9,500 square feet with a 4,500 square foot yard, which makes it nearly three times larger than the previous location. The expansion stems from EWEL’s steady growth over the last four decades, necessitating space for increased inventory, more comfortable spaces for employees, and for more streamlined warehousing processes.

Read More

 


 

Product News

  • Prev
Champion Strut is a fiberglass non-metallic channel framing system that includes a complete ...
The PowPak 20 A Relay Receptacle Control Module is a radio-frequency (RF), receptacle switching ...
Occupancy sensor turns ON in low light only and when motion is detected. Turns off after 1 minute ...
Innovative Design for Versatile Applications. Easy to lock horizontally into place with a ...
NightFox Pro Series Photocontrols offer protection to typical, enhanced, or extreme electrical ...
The UHB LED is a round high bay luminaire designed for a variety of mounting heights and customer ...
When designing lighting for a space, why not consider a luminaire that can also solve an often ...
MaxLite expands their RCF Series with wattage and CCT selectable models that enable installers to ...
The Lithonia Lighting® TWX LED family has been re-invented from the ground up, delivering ...
LBR is everything you need in a retrofit downlight at an affordable price. Whether it’s the ...

 

Milwaukee 2Milwaukee HOLE DOZER Bi-Metal Hole Saws new 3.5 TPI tooth design offers you longer life in metal applications. The Bi-Metal Hole Saws also feature Lifetime Tooth Break Warranty and can take on all general-purpose applications.

The ALL-ACCESS SLOTS solve the frustration of plug removal, making you more productive with less downtime between holes.

 

 

 

 

Read More


 

SATCO CCT Selectable Wall PacksSATCO continues to expand its wall pack selection with options that make installation flexible and stock versatile. The latest additions in the line include the CCT Selectable Small Wall Pack and the CCT Selectable Compact Round Wall Pack.

 
The Small Wall Pack is perfect for light commercial uses such a smaller storage units and municipal lighting, as well as commercial Main Street buildings. As with all of the fixtures in this exterior family, these wall packs offer advanced features, are built durable and are able to withstand harsh, all-weather conditions.

 

Read More


 

 

Leviton Mini-Meter Power Meters in Indoor EnclosureVerifEye™ 0.5% Mini Meter Kits offer a fully integrated, line-powered wireless Automated Meter Readings (AMR) solution with 0.5% accuracy for multi-tenant applications.

Designed to provide a simple and effective energy monitoring solution, the 0.5% Mini Meter Kits accurately capture measurements of power consumption and meet the rigorous requirements of ANSI C12.20 (0.5) Code for Electricity Metering. The 0.5% Mini Meters offer an all-in-one, low cost bundled solution for tenant billing applications, new construction and retrofits.

 

Read More


 

Peers & Profiles

  • Prev
“It was quite surprising,” said Stephanie Smith of being named EHRC’s Leader of the Year. ...
As an advanced networked lighting controls company serving the industrial and large commercial ...
Trilliant, an international provider of utility solutions for advanced metering and smart grid ...
For more than a century, ABB has been investing in Canadian technologies and products to support ...
Mackenzie Gillan, a bright young lady from Baysville, Ontario, tells us about how she learned ...
Energy Efficient Lighting is a LED lighting manufacturer with nearly 30 years of industry ...
Dee Durant is an industrial electrician apprentice attending Conestoga College and an Ambassador ...
ECAO recently launched a new program called Future Leaders Advisory Council (FLAC). Their inaugural ...
At 14, Tom Miguel was sitting in the counselor’s office of Silverthorn Collegiate Institute in ...
Meredith Halfpenny is a Wind Site Technician with Boralex where she inspects, maintains, and ...


Libra Smart MeterBy Blake Marchand

Trilliant, an international provider of utility solutions for advanced metering and smart grid systems, recently announced a custom-made product for the North American market with the release of its Trilliant Libra Series Edge-Ready Smart Electric Meter.


The meter’s technology will allow utilities to enter the connectivity sphere by providing peer-to-peer data acquisition and analytics, while enabling new energy management features that benefit both customer and utility. 

 

Read More


 

Copper $US Dollar price per pound

Kerrwil Publications Great Place to Work. Certified December 2019 - December 2020

538 Elizabeth Street, Midland,Ontario, Canada L4R2A3 +1 705 527 7666
©2021 All rights reserved

Use of this Site constitutes acceptance of our Privacy Policy (effective 1.1.2016)
The material on this site may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used, except with the prior written permission of Kerrwil