New Dimmer Rack

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by TD-Thom, Nov 8, 2018.

  1. TD-Thom

    TD-Thom Member

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    I am lucky enough that we are going to be replacing our house lighting system and the dimmer racks (144 circuits worth of CD80 dimmers with 2.4k dimmer and non-dim modules intermixed) this summer. We will be installing an LED based house light system (ala the altman chalice) while maintaining our the ability to use our existing incandescent fixtures.
    In talking with the district's contracted engineering firm, whom we will be working with to prepare the bid package, he mentioned going with a "hybrid" dimmer system. A digital portion for the house lights as well as the traditional theatrical dimmers for our incandescents. The only system that I know of that has the capability to move from a dimmer to a true relay is the ETC ranges (CS ThruPower and Sensor3). I have my own preferences for ETC for myriad reasons but he was concerned about being so specific in the bid package to the point where the only rack which would meet the specifications are the Sensor3.
    Long story short do you all know of any other manufactures who are making dimmer racks with integrated true relays as well as dimmers which can be changed on the fly via RDM?
    RonHebbard likes this.
  2. SteveB

    SteveB Well-Known Member

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    Brooklyn, NY
    Without doing the research, note that a lot of dimming manufacturers have so-called "relays" which might just be dimmers driven to full, thus be cautious to tighten the specifications to a system that provides for a mechanical relay on the same module/circuit as a dimmer AND that can be changed from the console.

    That's a pretty specific requirement that you might need to justify, else it'll get challenged as being written to favor a specific manufacturer. One thought might be that you don't want the dimming rack to be accessed by "civilians" who need to be able to easily change a circuit configuration from dimmed to relay and vice versa (school ?), noting that to safely swap a circuit from dimmed modules to relay requires a rack power down. Thus the ability to do it from the console might be a selling point on safety alone.

    The mechanical vs. other so-called relay issue might be justified with research as to why mechanical is what is recommended by XX manufacturer(s), I.E. SCR waveform distortion, etc... citing all the reasons for mechanical. There are numerous threads here on CB that touch on this.

    All of this can reduce what manufacturer can bid on a project.

    Also consider not replacing all your circuits with dimmers, unless you have a current incandescent rig that really needs all those dimmers. If you move to an LED rig in 10 years, you will want relay circuits, but maybe won't need them ever again as a dimmer, thue ThruPower might be a pricey option. I just opened a facility with 300+ dimmers that was designed 10 years ago, before LED was prevalent (I had no option to update the specifications) . With a grant that purchased us 180+ ETC LED fixtures I am now scrambling to move relays around and am likely to buy many more ThruPower modules down the road.
  3. RickR

    RickR Well-Known Member

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    Spokane, WA the great "Inland Northwest"
    There are CD80 relay modules now. :angryoldman:

    IGBT dimmers can be set to different modes, but not by RDM, as far as I know. :wall:

    Most specifiers include language aimed at limiting brands. The trick is to have strong reasons, and multiple points in the spec, in case one gets overruled. ;)
    In a few cases the owners have allowed the competition to come from multiple installers, rather than different gear.
    Jay Ashworth likes this.

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