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Control/Dimming Solais LR38 LED Retrofit with ETC Sensor CEM Classic

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by Smatticus, May 14, 2017.

  1. Smatticus

    Smatticus Active Member

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    Has anyone out there run into the Solais LR38 dimmable LED lamp? A high school I work at just replaced all of the incandescent lamps in the house light fixtures with these LED lamps. The fixtures are fed by ETC D20 Sensor dimmers controlled by a CEM Classic (five fixtures per dimmer). No adjustments were made to the dimmer settings at the time of installation. Their dimming performance is subsequently not very good. Solais provides recommended dimmer settings but they do not seem to be applicable to the CEM Classic we have installed in our rack. I'm not even sure if the settings are applicable to the CEM+. I don't see any mention of "LED Smoothing Forward Phase" mode in the CEM+ manual. Does anyone have any experience with getting dimmable LED retrofits like these to work with an older Sensor system? I tried switching the dimmers to a linear curve with a 5% threshold but it didn't seem to make much of a difference in performance. With a 4 second fade up from the Unison system the fixtures snap on with a bit of flickering before they begin to fade smoothly They are similar but not as bad when they are fading out. The ultimate question for the near future of this system will be whether it makes sense to replace the CEM with one that can handle the control requirements of these lamps, or to just switch the fixtures back over to incandescent lamps.
     
  2. Amiers

    Amiers Lighting Phoenix 1 Lamp at a Time

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    Ghost load.
     
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  3. Smatticus

    Smatticus Active Member

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    I'm not sure a ghost load is very immediately practical for us. These are permanently installed architectural fixtures. Implementing a ghost load for each circuit would require modification of existing electrical wiring as the fixtures are all wired directly to junction boxes and through conduit back to the dimmers. Even if there was some kind of UL listed ghost load device that the school would be comfortable installing, I don't see it happening. Putting any kind of incandescent ghost load on each circuit seems pretty silly given that the intent of putting the LEDs in was to get rid of the incandescent lamps. Might as well just put all the incandescent lamps back in the fixtures.
     
  4. SteveB

    SteveB Well-Known Member

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    I've tested a Solais A lamp replacement.

    The optimal CEM is the 3 version as there are refined settings for LED lamps. I recall even the CEM+ didn't work well.

    One person to ask is Steve Short at Lite-Trol. He's done a huge amount or research on LEDs and assorted ETC dimming systems

    516 681 5288
     
  5. Malabaristo

    Malabaristo Active Member

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    Steve Short is an awesome resource for many, many things, but in this case it might make more sense to go straight to ETC: http://www.etcconnect.com/compatibility/

    It doesn't look like that particular lamp is in the database, but if you send some samples in for testing, then ETC can tell you whether they can be made to work better by changing settings in your existing system or whether upgrading to CEM3 would help.
     
  6. SteveB

    SteveB Well-Known Member

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    I recommended Lite-Trol as Steve has specific knowledge about the differences between CEM, Plus and 3 when used with LED's, Solais in particular, and as his firm has done LED retrofits at a few NYC facilities. I got to watch a demo at his shop as we dealt with the differences between CEM+ and CEM 3 as example. CEM 3 was a vast improvement as I learned.

    ETC as well will have good recommendations.
     
  7. Smatticus

    Smatticus Active Member

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    Thank you for the suggestions. I was not aware of the ETC Compatibility testing. I think my recommendation to the school is going to be to swap back to the incandescent lamps while we gather more information and send in some samples for testing. I don't have high hopes that there is something that can be accomplished with the classic CEM in the rack. It would be nice if it turns out that way because I'm pretty sure the school isn't going to want to spend the money for a CEM 3.
     
  8. Smatticus

    Smatticus Active Member

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    Just wanted to provide some follow-up information on this thread. The school proceeded with the replacement of the CEM Classic with a CEM 3. The installer used some generic "LED-friendly" settings for the D20 dimmers controlling the LED replacement lamps. That resulted in a slight improvement to the dimming performance. Recently, I realized that ETC has conducted compatibility testing for these lamps. Though D20's are not the recommended dimmers to use, they provide recommended settings. I applied those settings in the CEM 3 and the performance improved slightly. I think it is about as good as it's going to get with this combination of equipment. The fade up is reasonably good but the fade down still has a sudden off toward the end. Bottom line, think about the equipment you have and what it's capable of before you buy a bunch of LED replacement lamps and expect them to dim smoothly... even if the manufacturer says that they are dimmable.
     
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  9. microstar

    microstar Well-Known Member

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    This lamp is quite similar in spec to the GE LED32DP38W830/25 and /40, which are listed in the ETC LED compatibility base as well.
    Interesting how badly the GE behaves with forward phase control dimmers and how well it behaves with reverse phase control dimmers.
    I'm looking at it for a church house light retrofit project and will probably use ETC Foundry dimmers as there is no dimming system installed now. It does require a lot of testing to try to predict how well a certain LED will work.
    GE LED PAR38A.jpg GE LED PAR38B.jpg
     
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  10. Colin

    Colin Well-Known Member

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    I just had the same experience with the Solais product, forced on us as part of a whole building retrofit. D20Es with CEM Classic, bottom 10% of dimming is a full-on freak out. Then I said, "hey guys, remember when I said we should demo a few first?" I got a hot tip about two options that supposedly worked and bought some to try. One made by Green Creative started well but developed flicker after a couple hours at any level. The other by Soraa, the SP38-18-36D-830-03 https://www.soraa.com/products/23-PAR38 is very smooth all the way to zero. I didn't expect to find such a good solution, and certainly not for about $35 per.
     
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  11. microstar

    microstar Well-Known Member

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    The scary thing about finding lamps that work well with the dimming one has is what will happen when those lamps are discontinued in a few years (or months). Hopefully at that point there will be better lamps being made to take their place.
     
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  12. Smatticus

    Smatticus Active Member

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    At least you had an opportunity to suggest that lamps be tested before purchase. I certainly didn't have that opportunity and no one else at the school thought about it. I'm not sure if it's worth suggesting to try a different LED lamp at this point. The Solais ones flicker just a tiny bit at first when you fade them up but are otherwise stable. They fade pretty smoothly most of the way down and then snap off at the end. Not ideal but probably good enough for this venue at this point. I played with the CEM 3 settings for a couple hours before I found that ETC had recommended settings. Those settings seemed to work as well as some of what I had tried so I just went with that.
     
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