Andy Douglas, Managing Director at Timeguard, introduces the company’s new Automatic Switch Load Controller that you can retroﬁt with nearly all makes of smart switch.
We all like innovation and over the past decade LED development within the lighting industry has continued to leap forward. Coupled with smart switches and home automation systems, LED has revolutionised the lighting industry, in particular when it comes to energy saving. However, as with so many new technologies in the past, Timeguard understands LED brings its own collection of problems for the installer.
You only have to look on the internet forums to see electricians desperately trying to find answers to the same problems with LED lighting: more often than not they have suffered the problem of replacing a customer’s old incandescent lamps for new energy saving LED lamps only to ﬁnd that the damn things will not switch off. No matter what you do they just glow or ﬂash. Or the customer asked for an automatic light switch (PIR, timed, delay, or remote control) to be ﬁtted to their state of the art LED lighting installation, only to ﬁnd the automatic switch has stopped working after a week.
What’s causing the problems?
The main reason we all want to use LED lighting is to save energy. LED lamps use a fraction of the power of incandescent or halogen, so quite logically they only need a fraction of the power for them to illuminate. So any small voltage/current within the circuit will cause the LED lamps to glow or flash – just the sort of current that is always present in the case of most two-wire automatic switches offering PIR switching, timing, delay or remote control.
Most of these automatic switches are designed to operate as a replacement for a standard two-wire light switch, where there is normally no neutral connection available at the switch. On the face of it, that’s good news and an easy install for you, but for these switches to function, a small amount of power is drawn down through the switched live connection to operate the switch whilst in standby. That was never a problem for incandescent or halogen because the current was too small to have any effect, but it has emerged as a big problem with LED lighting. Another common problem arises when LEDs are switched on: due to the circuitry needed to power the actual LED chips, a momentary power surge is created – commonly known as an inrush current – and this can be enough to damage many switches and equipment controlling them.
What’s the solution?
Until now, there hasn’t been much you can do about it. Changing to a diﬀerent LED lamp manufacturer is the most commonly shared answer, but that rarely works. You can try changing the automatic light switch, but you will only be going back to change it repeatedly if the switch has a low LED rating or, as is usually the case, no properly tested LED rating at all.
Now Timeguard has developed a patented device that creates an electrical environment for automatic switches and LED lamps to operate in harmony, without having to modify the automatic switch or LED lamp by diverting the current from the LED or CFL lamp. This new device is called the Timeguard ZV900 Automatic Switch Load Controller.
The ZV900 is small, inexpensive, easy to install, slips neatly through a standard 50mm ceiling aperture and you only need one per switching circuit. It will work with just about any make of smart switch and LED or CFL lamps so you can go out and ﬁx existing customer problems at a stroke.
The Timeguard ZV900 is specifically designed to alleviate issues with switching LEDs and CFL lamps without the need for extensive extra wiring and, in most cases, no extra wiring at all. The features of this patented unit include:-
- Eliminating LED & CFL glow and ﬂicker in two-wire automatic light switches, IE: Timed, PIR, Delay/Timelag, Security, Audio and Photocell automatic switches.
- Built in surge & current inrush suppression
- Boosts 99% of automatic switches LED switching capabilities to 200W
- Under 1W power consumption
- No additional cabling to the switch required
- Fits in the ceiling through a 50mm hole
- Only 1 x ZV900 needed per switching circuit up to 200W LED/CFL