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Is there really a market for this?

Discussion in 'Landscape Lighting' started by irrig8r, May 17, 2012.

  1. irrig8r

    irrig8r LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,533

  2. Steve Atkinson

    Steve Atkinson LawnSite Member
    Posts: 94

    Gregg,

    I heard about this at LightFair. A couple of my contractor friends came by the Brilliance booth to tell me about what they saw at the FX booth. On the surface it sounds like a hybrid version of ABT and the Simply Automated UPB technology.

    The guys were somewhat intrigued by the ability to run a lighting system like a 2-wire irrigation system, but they had some doubts about the user learning curve and especially the cost.

    I like the ability to control a single transformer lighting system in individual zones. I would like to compare the costs of this type of control to UPB that is already in the market. May have some usefulness on higher-end projects, but I do not know of too many big $$ projects that have only one transformer.
     
  3. irrig8r

    irrig8r LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,533

    Steve, a client asked me today about running controlling his lights using Wi-Fi. Anything out there for that?

    Or, anyone controlling lights from Mac. iPad or iPhone? Is there a UPB interface for those?
     
  4. Steve Atkinson

    Steve Atkinson LawnSite Member
    Posts: 94

    There is a way to do this.

    For Simply Automated, with a computer at the network address connected to the internet, and using the UpStart software, one may manually turn on and off lighting, electrical circuits, or appliances using a smartphone that can access the internet.

    Two programs allow the user to see and control that computer: LogMeIn.com or GoToMyPC.com. This allows one to see the program interface and manually turn on or off any station on the network. I have a scenario here in NorCalif where clients driving to their vacation cabin in Tahoe can manually turn on lighting and/or heaters in advance of their arrival by using their smartphone.

    The downside is that the controlling computer must always be on and connected to the internet. Currently there is no direct Wi-Fi method to interface with a SAI network, but I know that SAI is working on a couple of surprise additions for their product line.
     
  5. Zohan

    Zohan LawnSite Member
    Posts: 136

    Wow, looks pretty slick
     
  6. INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting

    INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,102

    It would appear that this new FX transformer/controller will only work with FX LED fixtures. Also the dimming function seems a bit gimmicky to me. Zonal control can be effective but only if you can tie in and sync multiple transformers for larger scale installations.

    There is probably a market for this, but it lies with the professional generalists rather than stand alone lighting pros.

    As for WiFi / app access to UPB controls; There are different interfaces and software available that will work. (Look to HAI and their partners) but when you break down the costs, it is generally better to move to a full scale lighting control system such as Crestron, Vantage, Control4, etc.
     
  7. Lite4

    Lite4 LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,104

    Interesting, I wondered how long it would be until you saw some irrigation control technology effect the lighting side of FX. I used to install Hunter's two wire irrigation system when we did large commercial properties. Sounds like they are simply wiring decoders to each fixture,(albeit, maybe a slightly more advanced decoder), but the technology is the same. Pretty cool idea that you can program not only a zone but a single light fixture within any zone on the system regardless of where it is at and what other fixtures it is wired to.
     
  8. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,830

    Is there a market for zone control in lighting systems? Sure. A small one. I don't think most of my clientele would be up for paying a whole lot more money for those features. But I could see where some clients would.

    The dimming thing seems a little hoaky to me. First of all, I am not sure I agree with the premise that certain parts of your lighting system should be more dim at certain parts of the night. Second, if you are using LED, then your system is already extremely energy efficient. To the tune of $1-$4 a month in energy use. So dimming them for a few hours is going to do what, exactly? Trim that cost down to 50¢ to $2? Really doesn't save much. So I'm not sure what the advantage is to that. But I'm sure someone somewhere would like that feature.
     
  9. Zohan

    Zohan LawnSite Member
    Posts: 136

    Not to sidetrack, but is there any formula to figure this out? Would be great if I could say that to a client, but I want to be accurate.
     
  10. steveparrott

    steveparrott Sponsor
    Posts: 1,171

    'System wattage'/1000 x 'hrs operation'/day x '365 days' x $/KwHr = Annual Cost.
     

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