– Jim Loughrey and Ken Sinclair
James F. Loughrey, Inventor, Entrepreneur, Logica
Lighting Controls, LLC
Jim has been a Minnesota resident since 1949,
when his parents left
rural Iowa and brought their young son to the St. Paul area, where he
would spend the rest of his adult life. He graduated from
Macalester College in St. Paul in 1963 with a BS in Business
Administration, a minor in theatre. He worked sales jobs in
Building Maintenance, Real Estate sales and Property Management, before
settling into the area of his real passion: theatre lighting and
design. He first started this work in 1968 with Strand Electric
of London, England in theatrical control sales. The
entrepreneurial bug finally took its dominating bite and he started
Stage-Brite in 1970 and sold it in 1982 to Sterner Lighting of Winsted,
Minnesota. He worked out his obligations to Sterner in 1987 and
started LINK Corporation. Not content with traditional analog
lighting controls Jim began designing a digital system of light-level
controls that didn’t involve dimming in 2007, creating what is now
Logica Lighting Controls, LLC. He holds patents to his
Lighting Controls, made simple
By putting a microprocessor in the
ballast of the
fixture you will be able to turn on one lamp at a time and provide
multilevel illumination without using a dimmer.
What is the current state of
lighting control in commercial buildings?
- Currently the wall switch is the dominant lighting
control device in occupied spaces of commercial buildings. In the
large areas of commercial buildings the circuit breaker panel is the
main lighting control.
- Even in the large buildings with BAS systems the
most sophisticated systems are relay panel systems where the lights are
controlled by low voltage relays on a circuit by circuit basis.
- Central control for the lighting is either on or
How would you change the way we
control the lighting in commercial
- The obvious thing to do is what the HVAC industry
has done with all their controls and devices. Add a
microprocessor to the lighting fixtures so we can address them and send
and receive commands to and from them.
- By putting a microprocessor in the ballast of the
fixture you will be able to turn on one lamp at a time and provide
multilevel illumination without using a dimmer.
- The fixture will be able to know when a lamp is
burned out and report it. The microprocessor will skip deal
lamps in its rotation when lighting the fixture.
Would the existing wall switch and
circuit breakers still work if there
was a microprocessor in the fixture?
- Yes. The fail-safe operation of any lighting
system requires that the occupant of the space is able to have light
when they need it, even if the lighting control system isn’t
- If energy saving is the goal, the ballast should
turn on with only one lamp on in the fixture so that there is light but
using the least energy possible.
- If more light is needed the existing wall switch
must be able to increase the light level without any other control
- The lights in s hypothetical warehouse and shop
should work so that you don’t have to turn on all the lighting in a
space just to walk through it. You should be able to adjust the
lighting levels in any space.
What’s wrong with using a
dimmer? Aren’t DALI dimming systems the
standard in commercial buildings?
- A standard fluorescent dimmer is not a linear
device. In other words it doesn’t provide 50% light at 50% of
energy use. Therefore it is good for creating a mood or setting
light levels on a continuous scale in small spaces like conference
rooms but not for energy efficiency or large-scale applications.
- O-10V dimming controls have grown faster than DALI
controls and have become the de facto standard for fluorescent lighting
controls where energy saving wasn’t the first criteria.
- It is my experience that fluorescent lamps do not
like to be dimmed. It is being done very successfully but Ohm’s Law
hasn’t changed. When you lower the voltage the current increases.
Increased current in a fixed load creates more heat and heat leads to
- DALI ballasts have been around for over a
decade. The system was intended to become the industry standard
in lighting controls. They haven’t reached their goal because they are
more than the customers, complicated to operate than the customer will
tolerate and too expensive to purchase, install and commission.
Will the retrofit market be able
to use a smart ballast?
- Yes. It’s an ideal application for this
technology. You can do one fixture or you can do an entire
room. Wherever you have fluorescent fixtures controlled by a wall
switch the ballast will provide energy savings and still allow the
occupants of the space to have the light they need.
What if I don’t want to have to
stand there and toggle the light switch
to get the light level I want?
- Then we can provide low voltage push button wall
switches for the fixtures you want to control that allow you to select
the level of light desired.
- You can do this by running a low voltage telephone
type cable between the fixtures in the lighting group and connecting
them to the Low Voltage wall switch or go RF, utilizing a radio
transmitter operated by a hand held wireless controller, wireless
kinetic wall switches or from a computer with a gateway transceiver.
- In Churches, warehouses and spaces where it isn’t
convenient to run low voltage wires from fixture to fixture simply
install an RF transceiver on each fixture with its own address and you
will be able to control it individually or by lighting zones.
What if the customer wants to use
LED fixtures in some areas?
Will they work on your proposed lighting system?
- Yes. LED fixtures are either dimmable using
a 0-10V control or they are not dimmable at all. If they are not
dimmable then they can be controlled by on/off per lamp or LED array so
that multiple levels of light are achieved.
- If they are dimmable with 0-10V control use a Low
Voltage Preset dimming control with the wireless RF controls so that
you can have four levels of preset controls. Four levels of
controls are usually sufficient to provide the lighting levels needed
for all the different tasks that take place in a space.
How do you control lights in this
new system without rewiring the
- With the ballast or switch that has a
microprocessor inside it is possible to gang them together in two ways
- The first way is to interconnect them with low
voltage telephone cable. What you connect together will be part
of the same lighting zone. You can connect any type of fixture on
any voltage and from any circuit breaker together and they will operate
together. They are not phase or voltage sensitive. They are
- The second way is to connect an RF transceiver to
each fixture and make all the addresses on them the same so they will
all operate together.
- Let’s assume you are in a warehouse and the
electrical contractor wired the lights in east-west rows. The
space now has rows of shelving run north-south and the owner wants the
lights on motion sensors controlled by row.
- Traditionally you could do it by wiring in power
relays and sensors using one per fixture. This would turn on
fixtures at different times depending on the sensitivity of the sensor
and the location of the occupant.
- Logica’s distributed intelligence method would
replace the ballast or put a remote switch on each fixture and then
connect them together by low voltage cable and put a sensor at each end
of the aisle and not have to have to touch the power wires at
all. This would turn on all the lights in that aisle at one time.
What do you mean by “lighting zones”?
- A lighting zone is
a group of lighting fixtures that you want to be controlled
together. This means both on/off as well as intensity. They
will all act as one.
How important is local control to the
user of the space?
- There are tests
that show the comfort of the occupant in a space can affect their
productivity by 30%. If the lights are too bright or give off too
much glare a headache is the usual result. The real measure in
the space is not intensity but the ratio of the lightest point vs. the
darkest point. If that ratio if 4:1 or less then the eye is
capable of adjusting fast enough so there is no eye muscle
- If the ratio is over 10:1 then it is almost
certain to strain the eye muscle and cause a headache or fatigue.
- Energy usage is less when the occupant of the
space turns on the lights when they enter rather than having the lights
switched on automatically based on a time clock. Also, the
use of computers creates the desire for less light in a space than
- Workers today are much more energy conscious than
in the past so the tendency to turn lights down or off when they are
not needed is much greater now.
How can the building owner sample this
technology to prove that it works?
- One place
that is a real energy hog in older buildings is the hallways. The
old IES standard for hallways was 50 foot-candles. Now it is
recommended that hallways be lit to 15 foot-candles. So it is
very easy to install smart ballasts in the hallway fixtures and then
turn them on by the switch and get only one lamp per fixture. If it was
a 4 lamp fixture then you will have 12.5 FC and if it’s a 3 lamp
fixture you will have 18 FC. Both of these would be acceptable
since the IES levels are only recommendations not mandated exact
levels. Small investment cost, too.
How would you do a grocery store?
- A grocery store is a great candidate for the smart ballast since
have so many aisles and are open so long. The longer they are
open the greater for the potential of savings. The project would
require the changing of the all the ballasts in the
fixtures. If they are continuous-run fluorescents, use 4 lamp
ballasts and connect them together with a daisy chain low voltage cable
running the length of the run. Connect an RF transceiver to the
end of each row so it is on one lighting zone.
- With each row a separate lighting zone you have 4
levels of light in each aisle. You can use occupancy sensors to go
between one lamp on in every eight foot 2 lamp tandem fixture and all
lamps on when a customer is in the aisle. A time delay of over eight
minutes is recommended so that you don’t have too much cycling of the
- You can also use a computer with a gateway to
speak to each of the rows to adjust the light levels to 25% or 50% from
11:00 pm to 6:00 am. This will save a great deal of energy.
How would you do a law office?
- Law offices have
two general types of space. The offices on the outer walls of the
building are usually private offices and have from 2 to 6 fixtures and
they are usually on wall switches. Occupancy sensors are not
usually used in these offices since if the occupant is reading and
still it is very annoying to have the lights go off. So the smart
ballast is perfect since the user can set the light level to what they
- The more important the attorney is they would be
good candidates for the handheld remote and could have several lighting
zones in their office. One over the desk, one over the conference
table, and one controlling the lights on book cases, artwork or seating
areas. The handheld controller can control up to 8 zones and has
a master control so that all lights can be turned off at once when they
- The center of the floors in attorney’s offices are
often bull pens where there are several desks and other work
areas. It is best to control these lights by work area so that
different light levels are possible. How often have you been in
one of these areas and seen that lamps have been removed from fixtures
because the worker in that space didn’t want that much light? It
happens more frequently than you’d expect. It doesn’t save energy
and it reduces lamp and ballast life, since it creates destructive
- Hallways are the next big energy saving area in
- Lunch Rooms, copy rooms and storage areas are also
rooms that should have smart ballasts and controls.
What is the future for lighting
- The future is coming first to California on
January 1, 2014. There is a new Title 24 regulation going into
effect then that requires commercial builds to be able to shed 30% of
their electrical load within 15 minutes. They don’t have to be
connected to the utility at this time but they must have the ability to
do so. Lighting is about the only load that lends itself to being
adjusted so quickly and without any real economic loss to the occupant
companies of the building.
- Another big game-changer in the near future will
be the installation of small building automation systems in buildings
from 5,000 sq. ft. to 250,000 sq. ft. These buildings will have
$500 controllers that will run all the HVAC and lighting
controls. They will pay for themselves in two years or less and
will allow property managers to help control energy costs.
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