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The systems that did exist being outrageously priced and hard to get for something so simple, I was forced to come up with my own.
John I. Jones
Technical Lighting Solutions
I had a customer asking me if there was anything on the market that can allow him to control his lighting and HVAC remotely from his office in another state. My background as an Electromechanical Technician in the robotics industry led me to a lot of research on this subject. A simple system to control the parking lot lighting remotely, became a headache for me. I was the first in the area to even ask about this type of system at all the major suppliersaround. With most, if any, companies not using any type of automation system in my area and the systems that did exist being outrageously priced and hard to get for something so simple, I was forced to come up with my own.
wanted something reliable for my customers so I was looking into all
solid state controlling devices. I started with www.Crydom.com to be
the direct connection to the product I wanted to control. They have any
type of power control device you could possibly need. These power
control devices could be switched with any range of voltage that your
controller could put out. It’s basically an electronic light switch or
relay but it’s not mechanical.
next thing was the controller. www.factorymation.com is a supplier of
these type of controllers and an automation system search on the
internet would produce more of these manufacturers out there. The
outputs control the solid state switching device with a mechanical
relay or transistor. I would opt for the transistor type which again is
just a solid state relay device, also making it more reliable than a
mechanical relay. The inputs can be things like a motion sensor to an
existing automation system output. This will allow the system to
operate on it’s own programming if the automation system goes down. The
beauty of this type of controller is the ease of programming. Ladder
logic or block programming is something that can easily be learned by
anyone with basic computer skills. There is free downloadable software
that has a simulator built in for pre-testing of the program you built.
The system is programmed from the keypad or an external computer with a
cable that has a special end that plugs into the controller and the
back of a computer. This computer would be the customers computer that
is on an office network system. This computer will be used to access
the system remotely with the IP address.
Last but not least is the power supply. http://www.acmedmseries.com has a wide range of power supplies but even a standard computer power supply should work. I have found that a 12 volt DC setup will work with all the devices and stay within operating ranges.
Keep in mind that all the products are warranted as long as they are used as designed. Always check the amperage of the system to be switched before you order the control devices. This will make sure they are within the operating tolerances. This also insures the UL listing applies to the product.
Footnote: There are also reporting devices that will send SMS texting to cell phones along with e-mails if there is a problem with the system. You can check with your local industrial security system company and they will set you up with this type of system.
Hopefully this article will increase your knowledge about automation to be able to provide more specialty products to your customers. Feel free to e-mail me with any questions. I’ll try to reply ASAP.
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