Canadian Electrical Industry News Week

June 15, 2021

Lighting ControlsBy Steve Mesh

My blog post from April 1, 2020, entitled Lessons Learned from Living Lab, describes a research project about retrofitting existing spaces with networked lighting control systems (NLCs). It contains recommendations on how to avoid typical problems that may be encountered on an NLC install. This article will elaborate on some of those “lessons” and offer recommendations.

The discussion in the previous blog post centred around systems deployed in two of the four quadrants. Here’s a brief summary of the equipment in each.

Quadrant 1

• Individual pendant-mounted 5' LED fixtures with separately controlled uplight vs. downlight components

• Wireless NLC with central server; controllers use 0-10V dimming protocol

• Standalone wireless sensors and switches

Quadrant 2

• Continuous 28'-long rows of pendant-mounted LED fixtures; uplight and downlight could not be separately controlled due to the fixture design

• Each row consisted of (3) 8' segments and (1) 4' segment, butted together to form a continuous 28' row

• Wired NLC with central server; fixtures used DALI drivers

• Standalone wired sensors and switches (using a proprietary protocol)

As mentioned, the previous blog post did list some recommendations on how to avoid some of the issues that arose during installation. We’ll elaborate on them now, so here goes.

Quadrant 1, Issue 1

The fixture manufacturer said that they could not pre-install the controllers in the fixture housing, and therefore the electricians had to install two controllers for each fixture remotely in the plenum, bringing a total of 9 wires down two separate SJ cords.

• Ask fixture vendors for dimensioned drawings or — preferably — sample fixtures so that you can check beforehand if there is room to pre-install controls components.

• If there is room to install controls components in fixtures, and the fixture vendor doesn’t have a good reason not to, but won’t – then use a different fixture vendor.

• If there is room to pre-install controls components in fixtures – then do so. It saves a huge amount of time and vastly reduces installation complexity on-site. This will probably require that the fixture vendor buy the control components on an OEM basis from the controls vendor, so make sure you allow sufficient time for this to happen.

• Ask fixture vendors to use standard wire colours.

• Whether using standard wire colours or not, ask fixture vendors to label all wires.

Quadrant 1, Issue 2

This NLC vendor had UL924-rated controllers for EM lighting but only in wired versions. They had to be tethered to a port in a nearby wireless controller. The diagram explaining this wasn’t incredibly clear, so the electricians didn’t really know how to wire these EM-rated controllers on the first night of installation.

• Make sure vendors provide job-specific drawings for any non-standard conditions, especially if they are not shown anywhere else such as on cut sheets.

• If a controls vendor provides on-line resources such as PDFs of drawings, and/or YouTube videos (for example showing wiring for non-standard conditions) — great. However, you should still require that they print out and include such drawings with their shipment anyway.

• If a controls vendor has a system that requires third-party equipment (such as UL924 EM relays, plug-load controllers, etc.), consider using a different system that already contains those pieces of equipment — or where a UL924 listing has been obtained for what are otherwise standard devices such as controllers.

• Ask fixture and/or controls vendors to label fixtures to indicate if they need normal power or emergency power.

Quadrant 1, Issue 3

When fixtures were initially energized — and before the lighting control system was commissioned — some fixtures only came on to minimum light levels. The electrical contractor claimed that it was because of defective drivers (which wasn’t true). As a result, they insisted on getting replacement drivers, which held up the installation work. (Sidebar discussion: if you’re using 0-10V dimmable drivers and they are dimmed before commissioning of the NLC, then the likelihood is about 99.99% that they shorted the 0-10V wires.)

• Assuming it’s possible, ask the fixture vendor to pre-install controls components in fixtures. This will eliminate wiring problems because the electrician will only have to connect line-voltage power wires (black, white and green) on the job site.

• Ask the fixture vendors to test all fixtures for proper operation in the factory prior to shipment to the job site.

Quadrant 2, Issue 1

A specific type of low-voltage cable for the peripherals (sensors and switches) was not on site on the first night of installation. There was a note on the drawings that the electrical contractor needed to order that based on the total length required — in advance. This was not done! As a result, they actually opened up the ceiling tiles on three separate occasions: 1) to bring power to the fixtures; 2) to bring the low-voltage DALI wires to the fixtures; 3) to run the special low-voltage cable to the sensors and switches. Opening ceiling tiles on multiple occasions in a retrofit project is extremely problematic.

• At the outset of the project, decide who will be the point person responsible for reviewing all contract documents (such as submittal drawings), and who is also responsible for communicating to everyone else involved in the project (controls vendors, distributors, contractors, owner, etc.). This person would have been responsible for pre-ordering any special cable (or any other required hardware).

• Consider using control systems that don’t require the vendors, distributor or contractors to provide anything non-standard. For example, there are in fact DALI-compliant sensors and switches, and therefore they do not require the use of things like special cable provided by a third party.

• Alternately, consider using a system that uses wireless peripherals (sensors, switches, etc.), even if the fixtures/controllers used a wired protocol (such as DALI).

• Consider using MC cables that contain separate sets of jacketed conductors. These can provide conductors for the line-voltage (power) part of the controllers or drivers, as well as separate conductors for the low-voltage (communication or dimming) part of the controllers or drivers — whether they use 0-10V or digital (e.g., DALI) protocol. This way, all required conductors are already contained in a single MC cable.

Quadrant 2, Issue 2

Each fixture segment had its own driver (and junction box) in the plenum. However, because the fixtures were supplied as mostly 8' segments, they couldn’t separate some of the 4' EM segments within the normal powered (8') segments as indicated on the drawing. This had an impact on the power supply from the emergency generators. If this had been installed throughout the entire building, the impact on load on the generator would have been huge. By the way, by code, you can’t mix drivers for “normally powered” segments and for EM segments in the same junction box.

Sidebar discussion on EM loads on the generator

In Quadrant 2, there were (10) EM segments. So, we can assume that on each floor there would be about (40) EM segments total. (40) EM segments per floor x (43) floors = (1720) total EM segments.

Drivers for 4' segments were 29 watts. Drivers for 8' segments were 48 watts. The incremental difference was therefore 19 watts.

THEREFORE … if EM power had been connected to the longer 8' segments throughout the building, that would have resulted in an incremental increase of load on the EM generator of 1720 segments x 19 watts = 32,680 watts.

Moral of the story: this is a very consequential determination. This is not something to deal with casually.

• If an installation requires the contractor to figure out what goes where, the point person should make sure that precise drawings are on the job site during installation.

• Needless to say, the point person should also approve “submittal” drawings after verifying that the fixture and control vendors will be providing what the owner and/or specifier expect.

• This is particularly important in the case of fixtures mounted in linear rows comprised of individual segments, especially if they are not all the same (as is the case when some segments may be designated for EM lighting).

• The point person should also be on site at least at the start of installation to ensure that the contractor knows exactly what to install where.

• Preferably, there should be a pre-install or even pre-bid meeting to review these types of issues.

Quadrant 2, Issue 3

The controls manufacturer didn’t make LED drivers using the DALI protocol. They said that drivers made by a particular company which were based on the DALI protocol could be used instead. However, these drivers were kind of like DALI+ (because they add extra code on top of the normal DALI coding). However, it turns out that the NLC system and the drivers weren’t 100% compatible, and the fixtures didn’t dim in response to the photosensors. (Just to be clear, both the NLC from one vendor and the drivers from the other vendor are great products. Unfortunately, they are not 100% compatible.)

• Make sure that fixture and controls vendors have tested samples of all equipment prior to fabrication and can verify that they perform as required.

• Ask vendors to provide a written statement to the owner and/or specifier verifying that all equipment performs as required.

• THEREFORE, if any equipment as installed doesn’t work as required the onus will be on the vendors to remedy the problem at their expense.

Quadrant 2, Issue 4

Control devices in panels weren’t marked to indicate which wires needed to be landed where. A site visit by a factory rep was scheduled for a later date to review this and provide markings (on blue painter’s tape!) before installation could be completed. Needless to say, that delayed completion of work in this quadrant.

• Require vendors to submit drawings showing all connections/terminations that the contractor must make on-site.

• Alternatively, provide indications on the equipment itself showing all connections/terminations.

• Alternatively, require that a factory rep is on-site at least at the beginning of installation to assist the contractor in determining exactly which wires to land where.

• D.) All of the above!

This is a very comprehensive laundry list of issues that arose during a real-life NLC deployment on a retrofit project. It’s not meant to scare you or convince you that it’s hard to deploy an NLC in a retrofit (or even a new) project. It’s not. But selecting, specifying, installing, commissioning and operating any system requires you to dot “I’s” and cross “T’s”.

Are there any major summaries we can draw from these observations? Yes:

• For any NLC deployment — whether for a new or retrofit project — you absolutely must commit to dotting “I’s” and crossing “T’s”. This is really not very complicated stuff. But you cannot not commit to the minimal effort required beforehand to ensure that you will prevent easily avoidable problems.

• It’s disheartening to see how casual many people and companies are when it comes to retrofitting or deploying NLCs in new buildings. For example, if the base building fixtures are used for EM lighting (as they are in most spaces), making changes to either the fixtures or the controls (or both) will automatically impact the EM lighting. Since this is a life safety issue, someone qualified (e.g., an electrical engineer) really should be signing off on these deployments to verify that they will still provide emergency egress lighting required by code. This isn’t the most complicated thing in the world. But don’t let this be the tail that wags the dog just to find out that an inspector won’t sign off your project.

• There are a lot of really great vendors, products, salespeople and sales reps out there for NLCs. Having said that, it was remarkable how little documentation or other informational material was provided, even for a project in a 43-storey office tower in NYC. The point person you designate should make sure that he or she understands every single aspect of the equipment and how things connect, and how they work — beforehand. Do not automatically assume that any vendor will hold your hand throughout the entire process. If you have any questions at all, ask them.

• Many of the issues that arose were due to the fact that the electrical contractor had to wire controls components in the field. If you use an NLC with fixture-integrated sensors (and controllers) — typically called LLLC (luminaire level lighting controls) — then that would eliminate many of the problems that cropped up.

• Some of the issues that arose were due to the fact that the quadrant used a wired NLC. If you use a wireless NLC, that will certainly eliminate the possibility for miswiring that may occur using a wired NLC system.

Does this mean that you have to use an NLC with fixture-integrated sensors and controllers (LLLC)? And that you have to use an NLC that’s wireless? No. There are situations where a wired system may be warranted or desired; for example, because of security concerns. But if your most important goal is to prevent installation problems, then it’s a safe bet that a wireless system using LLLC (fixture-integrated sensors and controllers) is the way to go.

Hopefully, you will decide that these are very simple precautions that, if taken beforehand, can help guarantee an extremely successful deployment of a networked lighting control system.

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.

Photo: Jimmy Tompkins on Unsplash

Changing Scene

  • Prev
The federal governemnt has officially launched a call for proposals (CFP) for the  ...
The Electrical Contractors Association of BC (ECABC) has announced the impending departure of ...
The Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, Carla Qualtrough was at ...
The launch of the Apprenticeship Service stands to help overcome financial barriers employers face ...
The National Electrical Trade Council (NETCO) is pleased to announce that they will be rolling out ...
43 years ago, Steve Silverstein bought a table saw and a delivery van and began a revolution in the ...
E.B. Horsman & Son (EBH) has announced their Victoria location will be officially moving to a ...
 The Maritime’s largest Mechanical and Electrical event took place last Wednesday and ...
IDEAL INDUSTRIES, INC. is calling all professional and student-apprentice electricians to come out ...
Vivi White has been appointed to the Board of Directors of the Electrical Safety Authority ...

Become a Wiser Approved Installer

Wiser Approved Installer

Get access to exclusive benefits, product discounts and resources that will help you drive more business, and lower energy bills for your clients.

 

 

 

Read More


 



Government of CanadaThe federal governemnt has officially launched a call for proposals (CFP) for the Zero-Emission Vehicle Awareness Initiative (ZEVAI). The initiative’s 2022 CFP will help fund new and innovative projects that aim to increase awareness and knowledge of ZEVs and charging and refueling infrastructure thereby increasing public confidence in these vehicles and their economic and environmental benefits.


Natural Resources Canada will provide funding through non-repayable contributions of between 50 and 75 percent of the total eligible project costs, with a maximum funding of up to $300,000 per project. The CFP will close on August 18, 2022.

Read more


 

Omnicable joins ETIMETIM North America announced that OmniCable has joined the product classification standards organization. Headquartered in West Chester, PA, OmniCable has 24 locations throughout North America, and also owns Houston Wire & Cable (HWC). The company partners with many electrical manufacturers and only sells to distributors.

According to John Dean, Director of Marketing & E-Commerce, OmniCable/HWC, “The wire and cable industry is often called commodities, but there are very distinct features and attributes for the different products our manufacturers produce. 

Read More

 


 

Atkore United Poly SystemsAtkore Inc. announced that it has acquired United Poly Systems, a manufacturer of High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) pressure pipe and conduit, primarily serving telecom, water infrastructure, renewables, and energy markets.

“We are pleased to complete the acquisition of United Poly Systems, which strengthens Atkore’s product portfolio, expands our manufacturing capacity and further enables us to meet HDPE customers’ needs,” stated John Pregenzer, President of Atkore’s Electrical business. “HDPE pipe and conduit is a growing market that is expected to benefit from U.S. infrastructure legislation, and United Poly Systems is a great addition to Atkore. We welcome these employees and look forward to working together to continue to serve and support our customers.”

Read More


 

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

 


 

Grimard is More Competitive and Produces Estimates 3X Faster with Procore

ProcoreWhen the pandemic lockdowns started in March of 2020, Grimard (an electrical contractor) had to decide whether to shut down its operations entirely or implement a new platform with people who were now freely available for work. Once they implemented Procore, they found a way to efficiently communicate with stakeholders and offer full transparency in terms of project costs and planning. It also allowed Grimard to utilize historical data to make project estimates more accurate. Grimard was able to streamline its bidding process, which made it more attractive to potential clients and helped the business grow.

Read More


 



 

Iron+EarthThe RenuWell Project partners are excited to announce the groundbreaking of two pilot sites located near Taber, Alberta. These pilot sites are the first of their kind to repurpose inactive oil and gas infrastructure as a foundation for renewable energy development and job creation.

When operating, the solar projects will generate 2,030 MWh annually – enough electricity to power 280 average Alberta households or irrigate 11,700 acres of farmland for an average year. This is roughly equivalent to $200,000 in electricity sales per year with 1,100  tCO2e savings in GHG emissions. Over a 25-year lifespan, the projects will generate 50,750 MWh, with GHG emission savings of 28,420 tCO2e.

Read More


 

David O'ReillyBy Elle Bremmer

Recently, I had the pleasure of sitting down with David O’Reilly, Vice President Home & Distribution and Secure Power Divisions with Schneider Electric Canada for a discussion regarding the Wiser EnergyTM smart home solution, the Wiser Approved training program, and his thoughts on several different subjects, including sustainability and future technologies currently in the works at Schneider Electric. David has been with the company for five and a half years in his role.

We recently published a study (version en français ICI) from Schneider Electric showing a strong interest from Canadians in smart home technology. 

Read More


 

SimplySnap: It Just Works.

SynapseSmart technology is only smart if it works, and SimplySnap? It just works.
Scalable, field-proven, DLC NLC 5.0 qualified, and easy-to-install wireless network
lighting controls are in-stock. Explore energy code compliant SimplySnap
technology here.

Read More

 


 

Product News

  • Prev
Ericson announces upgraded versions of their extremely capable line of Industrial String Lights and ...
Intermatic Incorporated announced its new P40000 Series Load Centers, a set of next-generation ...
Klein Tools introduces new Stand-up Zipper Bags, in a 2-Pack with 7-Inch and 14-Inch sizes, ...
Cree LED, anSGHcompany, announced the launch ofXLamp® Element G LEDs, delivering a new ...
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) estimates 350 employees are killed ...
IDEC Corporation has released a complete product line of S3TL series ferrules, wire strippers, ...
Corning CCH pigtailed cassettes are factory assembled, quality tested, and available in LC and ...
QuickLink delivers the fastest downlighting installation HALO has to offer. Installers can power up ...
Kidde HomeSafe™ is a comprehensive suite of smart home safety devices to help protect against ...
Combination Couplings used to join 3/4" EMT conduit via set screw to 14/2 through 10/3 Steel and ...


Ericson String LightsEricson announces upgraded versions of their extremely capable line of Industrial String Lights and SL, LED Stringlights. These new and updated products have several key features important when safe, code compliant lighting for industrial workspace is necessary.

Infinitely capable, these ruggedly built products have several industry leading & exclusive features including:

Industrial String Lights:

  • A United States Navy Specification since before WWII, they’re time and application tested...

 

Read More


 

 

Intermatic Pool and Spa SolutionIntermatic Incorporated announced its new P40000 Series Load Centers, a set of next-generation panels for pool-only applications, as well as its new PE24GVA 24-Volt Valve Actuator, an easy-to-install valve actuator that allows for tool-free cam adjustments. Both solutions remove obstacles for pool service professionals while delivering lasting performance.

“Intermatic load centers and valve actuators have been the preferred choice of pool professionals for more than 30 years,” says Brian Lamberty, product marketing manager at Intermatic. “The PE24GVA and P40000 Series build on that tradition, helping pool professionals streamline service calls while setting the standard for quality and performance.”

Read More


 

 

Klein Tools Zipper BagsKlein Tools introduces new Stand-up Zipper Bags, in a 2-Pack with 7-Inch and 14-Inch sizes, both designed to handle tough jobsite conditions and stand up so tools and small parts can be easily accessed when working.

Stand-up Zipper Bags, 7-Inch and 14-Inch, 2-Pack (Cat. No. 55559)

  • Perfect for storing pliers, wrenches, screwdrivers, drill bits and other small tools and parts
  • 4 1/2’’ tall zipper bags come in two sizes:
    • 14’’ (36.6 cm) dark gray
    • 7’’ (17.8 cm) royal blue


Read More


 

Emerson HV SafetyThe Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) estimates 350 employees are killed annually in electrocution accidents, which roughly equals one fatality per day. In the face of these dangers, OSHA officials and industry safety consultants alike recommend eliminating potential hazards on work sites, rather than simply relying on contractors or employees to follow safety guidelines.

To help safeguard employees from electrocution, Emerson has launched its Appleton™ Powertite™ Lock Collar, a device that fastens over plug and connector connections and is secured with a padlock, preventing unauthorized personal from disconnecting the cable connection once in place. 

Read More


 

Peers & Profiles

  • Prev
Watt’s the Word is a recently launched Electrical Industry Podcast hosted by Zack Hartle and ...
Allana Kellett-Jamieson loves working in the electrical sector and is proud of the great focus ...
As the head of ABB Canada's electrification business unit, Éric Deschênes is no newcomer to the ...
Karen Pullen knows what it’s like to be the only woman on a construction site, and as a proud ...
As of February 2021, Martin Stephenson is the new President and CEO of Signify Canada.   ...
This past July, Kerith Richards, who has worked for Service Wire Company for the last seven years, ...
EngWorks was formed in 2004 as an electrical engineering and consulting firm by Allan Bozek, “After ...
Headquartered in Concord, Ontario, Mercury Lighting services national retail, ...
Among the recipients of the 2021 Clean50 Awards announced last month is Carolina Gallo, Vice ...
Sarah Silverstein is a principal with Liteline along side her two brothers Mark and Daniel. ...

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
©2022 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