Kevin Lancaster of CP Electronics explores some of the performance advantages of modular lighting connection systems for installers.
The implementation ofBS7671:2008+A3:2015 (Seventeenth Edition of the IET Wiring Regulations), which were published on 1st January 2015 and came into effect on 1st July of the same year, has had important implications for installers.
One notable change has been around wire protection; unprotected cables run in metal studwork walls now require 30mA RCD protection irrespective of the cable depth from the surface. In certain cases, where there is a 240V wall cable of 50mm or less, installers must ensure that cables are mechanically protected, something which is highly challenging to implement.
One way to overcome this concern is by using a residual current device or RCD on the distribution board. In the event of damage to a cable, this would cause an automatic break in the circuit, eliminating the risk of harm to personnel. The alternative is an SELV or PELV circuit, which can be used with cabling that is, in some cases, as much as ﬁve times less expensive. Many SELV modules feature a pluggable design, allowing the installer to incorporate 230V mains voltage into SELV circuitry, making this a more favourable alternative to RCD’s or conduit. In addition to signiﬁcant cost and time savings derived from using a modular system, SELV modules oﬀer further savings by eliminating the need for an RCD and/or mechanical protection.
Recognising some of the challenges faced by installers, leading players within the market have responded with the development of modular systems which help ease the implementation of the change in wiring regulations. As the name suggests, these rely on a modular design which means that modules can simply be added, depending on the installation requirements. This is due to the use of a progressive design comprised of just two components; a starter module and an extender module, which are connected using industry standard connectors.
From an installer perspective, this ‘modular’ approach boasts a number of signiﬁcant performance advantages. Firstly, the installer wires the circuit supply to a starter module. From there, extender modules can be added to connect additional luminaires as required. Ordinarily, using conventional hardwiring methods, a sudden change in the number of outputs needed for an installation would mean signiﬁcant increases in time and cost. With the modular system, even after the installation has been completed, additional light ﬁttings can be slotted in with minimal time and effort. Using these modular wiring systems or ‘plug and play’ as they are known, is much faster and more versatile than conventional wiring methods. Prewired three or four core luminaire connection leads of 3m or 5m can be supplied, or luminaire plugs, allowing the installer to add cable of any other length.
Put simply, that this kind of solution is, in most instances, substantially more cost-effective and convenient than many alternatives presently available. One such solution is the Vitesse Modular from CP Electronics. Compatible with analogue, DALI and DSI lighting, Vitesse Modular is a solution which offers hassle-free wiring on-site, enhancing ease of installation in a range of locations and offering superior ﬂexibility for installers, making it a more desirable product. It also offers the choice of switching – VITM4 4 pole or dimming VITM6 6 pole, to support the requirements of each project and works with a range of lighting and ancillary systems – including PIR and microwave presence detectors.