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[ Industry view: Lighting control systems ]

n Ease/speed of installation n Safety during installation n Instant feedback to avoid mistakes n Adaptability and expandability n No downtime during changes n Reliability

In addition to the above list, there is affordability from the client’s perspective, captured in payback time.

Simplicity in power and control There is now a new system, called iSotera, which meets all of these requirements. It’s a no-frills system, offering seamless integration of lighting controls, power processing and safe (SELV) power distribution for LED lighting systems. In its most basic form, it is a highly efficient centralised

power supply system. Once that is in place, sensors and control modules can be easily added. What is so exciting is that it uses contactless connectors.

This means there is no need for cutting and stripping of wires, which not only saves time but also avoids loose contacts and increases safety. As connections are of a non- permanent nature, the layout of the system can be easily changed, even while the system is live. So the system is not down during alterations, which end-users will appreciate, and it also provides instant feedback to the contractor on his installation work, which eliminates the need for time- consuming fault-finding later on. Another major benefit of the iSotera system is that the

wiring layout is extremely simple, with wires just daisy- chaining from one lighting fixture to the next (without it actually being a daisy-chain). The system allows switching and dimming of each

individual fixture, as well as the grouping of multiple fixtures. Sensors take their power from the central iSotera loop, without the need for separate transformers or battery packs. One of the unique features of the system is that it allows

decentralized controls, eliminating the need for a central control unit. In many occupancy detection and daylight

Control in action: (Below) a conventional AC-mains system with individual drivers is shown on the left, while on the right is the iSotera system

There is no need for cutting and stripping of wires, which not only saves time but also avoids loose contacts and increases safety

linking scenarios that is all you need. Changing links between sensors and fixtures is done in a heartbeat, so it takes no longer (and is certainly less costly) than reprogramming of sophisticated software-based control systems. Even if more centralized control is needed, this doesn’t

lead to lots of home-runs between sensors, fixtures and the central control unit. In the iSotera system, the communication runs over the same wires that provide the power. Further savings can be realised by using the iSotera loop

to double as the emergency lighting back-up and signalling system, eliminating the need for a separate uninterruptable cable run. Due to its modular nature, configuring a system is simple,

and doesn’t require extensive training. The company is planning to launch a web-based design support service to assist contractors in designing the system configuration. In this way, contractors can run projects from start to finish without being dependent on third parties. ECA’s head of technical services, Giuliano Digilio,

commented: ‘The development of this type of new technology means that electrical designers and installers will need to up skill, and keep up to date in the future design and installation methods.’ As if the installation benefits are not enough, the hardware

costs are very attractively priced as well. Even in its most basic form, just as a power supply system, it brings already significant cost and energy savings. The iSotera system is a 100-per-cent British invention,

and the company hopes that its home market will take the lead in adopting the system. The iSotera system is also attracting attention of the lighting industry in North America, where it will be officially launched in 2011. A demo panel of the iSotera system will be on board the

ECA’s technology trailer shortly, so that members in the regions can familiarize themselves with the touch and feel of the system. As Giuliano Digilio put it: ‘The iSotera system is a typical example of how the development of new technology is changing our existing work practices and making energy efficient solutions more affordable in the process.’

Winter 2010 ECA Today 67

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