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General Chat Thread, Wireless control of lighting in General; I am considering an investigation in to the wireless control of lighting in order to save money. However there are ...
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    plexer's Avatar
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    Wireless control of lighting

    I am considering an investigation in to the wireless control of lighting in order to save money.

    However there are a few issues:

    Multi gang rf controlled switches required, or single gang ones which play nicely in close proximity.

    Switches have to be compatible with floursescent tubes.

    If using a computer to control the lighting do we save money.

    I was thinking of using the permanently wireable switches such as:

    Home Easy Receivers Remote Control Switch Converter

    In conjunction with a tellstick

    Telldus Technologies

    Plus a light level sensor.

    This would be configured to only turn on the lights if the light level was sufficently low.

    One possible issue that springs to mind is what happens if the teacher has the blinds shut to show something on the interactive whiteboard.

    I guess 2 light level sensors could be used one to measure the light level outside and one to measure the classroom, both would have to be sufficiently low before the turn on signal was sent.

    Ben

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    I assume the normal wall switches will remain to work in parallel? Or do you want to replace them altogether?

    R

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    plexer's Avatar
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    The wall switches are an mk grid system, they would be replaced with fish key switches in parallel instead so that in the event of a controller failure they could still be operated.

    Ideally this would be done with an arduino and 2 light sensors with a relay bank, much lower power draw but as a proof of concept we'll see.

    Ben

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    SYNACK's Avatar
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    Given the constand drain of the control system and the leakage in the power supply for it which will probably be more than the board uses itself you would want to look to be saving a signifigant amount each day to justify the additional power overhead.

    Does sound like a cool idea though, I to would like to automate many of the systems 'to complicated' and 'to much effort' - lights, heaters etc. as I think that it could sav a bunch of power and hassle.

    I keep reading the title of this thread as Wireless Control of Lightning and so I keep picturing some kind of weather machine weapon targeting hapless laptop users in some remote corner of the UK. It brings back flashes of The Avengers movie.

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    We've used ceiling-mounted dome PIRs in new builds which depend on a human moving every so often to keep the lights on. They're tweakable and self-contained with pots to alter the time delay and sensitivity under the dome surround. Override is by standard pronged key.

    Main problems we've found are ensuring they're set correctly and that the builders have cleaned any oversplash while painting the ceiling from the domes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pete View Post
    We've used ceiling-mounted dome PIRs in new builds which depend on a human moving every so often to keep the lights on. They're tweakable and self-contained with pots to alter the time delay and sensitivity under the dome surround. Override is by standard pronged key.

    Main problems we've found are ensuring they're set correctly and that the builders have cleaned any oversplash while painting the ceiling from the domes.
    or they have wired them into the correct circuit!

    we have an office at my last place that was next to a toilet with said device in. to turn the light on in the office you used to have to open the toilet door every so often until the sparkies came back and fixed it!

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    +1 for the PIRs.
    This is a fairly standard method in large data centres, lights come on and follow you around -
    spooky at first, but really simple & efficient in operation

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    Some years ago, RS (Radio Spares) wrote an article in their "What's New" mag on the re-lighting of their offices. They went for high frequency tubes, with PIR and light level sensing. If it was daylight, the lamps dimmed, if the room was empty, they turned out. They dipped their toes in the water by doing one floor first, and were amazed by the response from the office staff. They were clamouring for the scheme to be rolled out across the building.

    So, in short, control the lights, but not centrally from a Pc.

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    plexer's Avatar
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    I want to provide some intelligent control and the PC based aspect of it is only for proof of concept initially.

    Ben

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    We have light sensor and T5 light fittings in our DT Dept (and the IT room which is part of that section) and its naff! Really annoying and just gets on my nerves, if I am doing work in the room on the base units the lights don't see me as im crawling along the floor and has too many dead spots despite having 3 PIRs and 2 Light sensors, its not the best so I would keep it very simple and ensure you have 100% sensor coverage and multiple light sensors set to take an average reading otherwise staff will just get annoyed, and remember that even on a sunny day often the White Board / Black Board (of the non-interactive type) often need some more illumination thus staff may need to have those lights on still even though its sunny!

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    We installed a Rako lighting system in to a special provision and it is superb.

    We have little 5 button controllers on the wall as well as a remote. Each button is programmed for different scenes which in our case include colour changing LEDs. It can also be linked to blinds, screens and the usual array of equipment.

    It is probably a job best left to the professionals though.

    Rich

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    p858snake's Avatar
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    Do you have electronic door control/locks? you could possibly tap into that for the control compared to motion sensors for better on/off'ness although that would be required to have the doors setup to swipe for unlock and another to lock.

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