Looking for the ideal controller for your lighting project?
Creating the most beautiful LED lighting projects with the proper control method
The emergence of smart technology has transformed our daily lives, including the way we control our lighting. In professional environments, such as offices, shops, hospitality venues, and at events, the control of LED lighting plays a crucial role in creating the right atmosphere and functionality. Discover how technological developments are transforming the way we control LED lighting.
In this article, you will learn which control options are available on the market, which methods you can use in a given situation, and what to think of when choosing the right controller.
- These control options are available in the market
- Tips for a particular control method per application
- How to choose the proper LED controller
The current control methods for LED lighting
By being aware of all possible control methods and the application possibilities in various situations, you can create lighting solutions that exceed your customer's requirements. These are the control methods you can choose from.
Manual control using a switch or a dimmer.
You switch the LED lights on or off manually with the switch. Or you use a manual dimmer to adjust the brightness of the lighting. Dimmers are ideal for spaces where variable lighting is desired, such as homes, meeting rooms and restaurants. The LED lighting is connected directly to the switch or dimmer.
Remote control convenience
Control the luminaires remotely with a wireless remote control. This method offers more convenience than traditional switches because you do not depend on your location for control.
Modern remote controls for LED lighting are often equipped with integrated functions such as colour selection, brightness control and pre-programmed scenes. As a result, the remote control itself acts as the control device and allows you to adjust lighting directly. This allows the user to easily select the desired lighting settings without the need for an external controller.
It is important to ensure that the remote control is compatible with the chosen LED lighting products. Check the specifications carefully to make sure the remote works well in combination with the lighting products. If the remote is compatible with the luminaires, you can control multiple luminaires at the same time.
Practical analogue 0-10V dimming
Analogue 0-10V dimming is a method to modify the brightness of LED lighting using a variable voltage between 0 and 10 volts. This technique is widely used to control the light intensity of lighting systems.
When 0-10V dimming is used, a special dimming controller is required. This controller generates an adjustable voltage ranging from 0V (minimum brightness) to 10V (maximum brightness). Adjusting the voltage output of the dimming controller changes the brightness of the LED lighting. A higher voltage results in more current and thus more brightness, while a lower voltage results in less current and thus reduced brightness.
In general, 0-10V dimming is often applied in situations where simple and reliable dimming control is desired without the need for sophisticated automation or complex lighting scenarios. This can be in offices, shops/shopping centres, restaurants/hospitality/hotels, leisure and sports facilities, exhibition and gallery spaces, industrial environments and educational institutions.
Clever controlling via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth
Control the LED fixtures by using an app on a smartphone or tablet. The app acts as the virtual controller, providing a direct connection between a smartphone/ tablet's existing Bluetooth/Wi-Fi network and the lighting fixtures. Users can change colours, set simple lighting scenes, synchronise light and music and managing timetables.
Both technologies have their advantages. Wi-Fi offers wider coverage and advanced features, while Bluetooth offers easy installation and direct control.
However, for more advanced options and integration with other smart devices, adding a dedicated controller is very valuable. Especially when LED lighting is used in a professional environment. These controllers offer more control over the lighting and allow the user to create complex scenarios and automations. A well-known controller that works through an app, and uses the bluetooth connection, is the CASAMBI controller.
This control method is widely used in homes (home automation), offices, shops, restaurants and at parties and small events.
Innovative control via voice command
The emergence of voice control has led to a new dimension of convenience and innovation in controlling LED lighting. Instead of using physical switches or mobile apps, you can now control lighting with simple voice commands.
Voice control for LED lighting uses smart voice assistants such as Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Apple Siri. These assistants, which act as virtual controllers, are built into smart speakers and devices such as smartphones and smart displays. By simply speaking a voice command, you can adjust lighting. For example, "Hey Google, turn on the living room lights."
To enable voice control, you need to have smart lighting products compatible with the chosen voice assistant. This control option is mainly used in homes (home automation).
Efficient control thanks to motion sensors
Motion sensors offer a smart and efficient way to automatically activate lighting when motion is detected. They contribute not only to energy and cost savings (by reducing unnecessary energy consumption), but also to convenience, comfort and safety in both indoor and outdoor spaces.
Generally, no controller is needed for this control method. Integration of the sensors with smart lighting and building management systems does require a controller. Periodic maintenance and calibration are required to ensure that the sensors continue to function correctly.
Motion sensors are mainly used in toilet areas, corridors, stairwells meeting rooms, flexible workstations, storage areas.
Dynamically programmable controllers
Dynamic programmable controllers (DPCs) are an advanced and powerful tool for the control of LED lighting. What sets DPCs apart is their ability to create and control complex lighting scenarios using programmable logic. They offer unrivalled flexibility, customisability and creative capabilities for creating various unique lighting effects and lighting scenarios in various applications.
Examples of Dynamically programmable controllers are:
- DALI controllers
- DMX (Digital Multiplex) controllers
- RGB controllers
- KNX controllers
Other controllers are Art-Net controllers (Ethernet networks), Kling-Net or sACN (Streaming ACN).
This control method can be used in office environments, shopping centres and in shops/ showrooms, restaurants, hotels, theatres, event venues, museums and exhibition spaces.
Professional lighting scenes and lighting direction with DMX control
DMX, or Digital Multiplex, is a communication protocol originally developed for controlling lighting and effects in the entertainment industry. With the ability to create complex light shows and visual effects, a DMX controller offers endless creative possibilities and contributes to an impressive visual experience.
A DMX controller is a device used to control and preset DMX-compatible lighting fixtures and devices. It transmits digital sequences of signals via DMX cables to the fixtures, enabling various functions and effects to be activated. There is one-way communication from controller to luminaires, with no feedback of status information.
Each DMX-compatible device is assigned to a specific channel (individual address) on the DMX controller. The DMX controller sends digital signals to the fixtures, with each channel indicating the action or setting to be performed. In doing so, it is possible to make real-time adjustments during the performance.
DMX makes it possible to create complex and synchronised light shows and effects by controlling multiple devices simultaneously.
- Stage lighting: theatres, concerts live events.
- Entertainment venues: discotheques, nightclubs
- Events: fairs, exhibitions, shows
Precise individual control with a DALI controller
DALI, which stands for Digital Addressable Lighting Interface, is a standardised communication protocol for digital lighting control. It uses two-way communication between controllers and lighting fixtures to enable precise control of brightness, colour and other parameters. A DALI controller can communicate with individual luminaires or groups of luminaires to control functions such as switching on/off, dimming and colour settings.
A DALI controller is a device used to control and regulate lighting products that are compatible with the DALI protocol. Each DALI-compatible luminaire has a unique address by which it can be identified. The DALI controller communicates with luminaires by sending messages via the DALI protocol.
One of the advantages of DALI is its two-way communication, which means that the controller not only sends commands to the luminaires, but can also receive feedback on the luminaires' status and performance. DALI controllers can be programmed via software or configuration tools to create lighting settings and scenes.
DALI is particularly suitable for applications where individual control of each luminaire is desired. For example, office buildings, commercial spaces and hotels.
Create a positive impression with RGB-controllers
Using an RGB controller in business applications offers a range of benefits, from visual appeal to flexibility and brand identity. By creatively using colour and lighting, businesses can make a positive impression on customers and employees, select a desired colour and use it to adjust the ambience in a room and create a unique atmosphere that reflects their corporate identity.
This controller is used to adjust and regulate the colour and brightness of RGB LED lights. It sends signals to the RGB LEDs to generate different colours and dynamic effects, such as colour change, colour gradient, fading, strobe, flashing and pulsing. In the process, the RGB controller controls the intensity of the red, green and blue LEDs to create different colours by mixing them. Users can select colours via remote control, smartphone app or physical buttons on the RGB controller.
This control option is widely used in homes, restaurants, bars, hotels, showrooms and shops.
KNX controllers are the key to integrated building automation
Cleverly combining KNX controllers and LED lighting opens up a world of possibilities for flexible and advanced lighting solutions. With proper planning, compatibility and programming, users can benefit from precise control over their lighting environment and create the desired atmosphere in various applications.
KNX is a globally recognised standard for building automation and control. It provides a uniform language by which different devices and systems can communicate and cooperate.
The protocol coordinates communication between various KNX devices and systems, including lighting, heating, ventilation, security and more. KNX controllers can support either wired or wireless communication, depending on the needs of the project.
KNX controllers help create the desired atmosphere and enhance the lighting experience. It is widely used in office environments, shops and shopping centres, in restaurants and hospitality venues and at event venues.
Pulse Width Modulation (PWM)
Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) is often used as a control method to accurately and flexibly control LED lighting. With options for adjusting brightness, colour, effects and automation depending on the specific requirements of the application.
A controller or control circuit generates a PWM signal consisting of a series of pulses. Each pulse has an on-time and an off-time. The ratio of the on-time to the total period of the pulse is called the duty cycle. The duty cycle determines the average brightness of the LEDs: a higher duty cycle results in more light (higher brightness) and a lower duty cycle results in less light (lower brightness).
In RGB LED lighting, PWM is used to control individual colour channels (red, green, blue). By adjusting the duty cycles of the different colour channels separately, different colours and shades can be produced.
PWM is used in environments that demand fast and precise brightness adjustments and precise timing, which is crucial for specific applications where visual precision and control are essential. These can include theatres/ event venues, museums/ galleries, medical care environments, gyms/ recreation centres, hotels/ hospitality venues, public buildings, industrial environments, offices a shopping malls.
In these situations, you apply a certain control method
In shopping centres, shops and showrooms, the right lighting is crucial to present products, create atmosphere and attract customers. A suitable LED controller can be a valuable tool to adapt lighting to different presentation needs and commercial goals.
- Shops often use 0-10V dimming to influence the atmosphere in the retail space and improve the presentation of products. Brightness can be adjusted to suit promotions, special occasions and shopping hours.
- Wi-Fi and Bluetooth controllers to improve customer experience and optimise lighting costs.
- DALI controllers for highlighting specific products or displays to attract customer attention.
- RGB controllers for dynamic colour changes and creative lighting effects. You can adapt lighting to special promotions, seasons and events, attracting customers and improving product presentation.
- DMX controllers are often used to create lighting solutions that not only attract customers' attention, but also leave an unforgettable impression. They are suitable for controlling complex light shows and dynamic lighting effects in shops and showrooms that match the brand identity.
- KNX controllers offer the opportunity to create the atmosphere that matches the shop's image. Lighting can be adapted to different parts of the shop and specific promotions.
- In commercial spaces, Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) is used to create attractive shop window lighting and attract customers' attention.
Lighting plays a crucial role in creating a welcoming atmosphere and influencing the overall experience in restaurants, hotels and other hospitality venues. The right LED controller can be a powerful tool to adjust lighting to suit the desired ambience and style of the occasion.
- In restaurants and hospitality venues, 0-10V dimming can be used to create an intimate and welcoming atmosphere. Lighting can be dimmed during romantic dinners or brightened during cleaning. Hotels often apply 0-10V dimming to adjust guest rooms and common areas to guests' preferences and to save energy when rooms are not in use.
- Motion sensors can be used in restaurants to activate lighting only when guests are present. For example, in toilet areas.
- Smart control via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth (such as CASAMBI) can be used in restaurants to adjust lighting to different times of day, such as romantic dinners or lively lunch meetings. In bars and lounges, CASAMBI can be used to create the right atmosphere, ranging from relaxed lounging to energetic nighttime gatherings. For special events such as parties, weddings and theme nights, CASAMBI can be used to design unique lighting scenes.
- DMX controllers are suitable for creating dynamic light shows and mood effects in bars, lounges and party rooms.
- DALI controllers are suitable for restaurants and hotels where flexible and precise lighting adjustments are needed. They can be applied to influence atmosphere and ambience by adapting lighting scenarios to different occasions, such as dinners, parties and meetings. Or create an atmosphere to suit a particular theme, event or time of day.
- RGB controllers are ideal for bars, lounges and clubs where vibrant and creative lighting effects are desired. It can be used to influence the atmosphere and ambience by adjusting the colours and brightness of lighting based on the time of day and occasion. In hotels and lobbies, RGB controllers can create a welcoming atmosphere through dynamic lighting scenarios that reflect the mood and style of the establishment.
- KNX controllers provide optimum ambience by controlling lighting scenes to suit different times of day and occasions.
- Use Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) to adjust the brightness of the lighting in different parts of the restaurant, depending on the time of day or the desired mood effect. For example, during romantic dinners, lighting can be dimmed to create an intimate atmosphere, while during busy lunches, lighting can be set brighter for a livelier ambience.
In modern offices and work environments, good lighting is essential for promoting productivity, concentration and employee well-being. LED lighting offers energy-efficient and versatile solutions, and with advanced control options and LED controllers, lighting settings can be precisely adjusted to meet users' needs.
- Motion sensors detect movement and switch on lighting when someone enters the room, and switch off when there is no activity. Perfect solution for restrooms, corridors, stairwells and meeting rooms.
- 0-10V dimming is used to adapt lighting to the needs of different tasks and times of day. For example, brightness can be increased for active working hours and reduced for meetings or relaxation.
- DALI controllers can control individual workstations, allowing employees to adjust their lighting for optimal comfort. For meeting rooms, DALI controllers can be used to adjust lighting for different presentation or consultation needs. With DALI controllers, offices can adjust lighting to suit different layouts of open-plan workspaces.
- DMX controllers offer modern office environments a sophisticated and creative lighting solution. They are suitable for advanced lighting scenarios and lighting effects in meeting rooms, for example, such as presentations, brainstorming sessions or video conferences. In creative spaces, DMX controllers can be used to create inspiring lighting scenes that stimulate creativity.
- Wireless controllers, such as Bluetooth and Wi-Fi controllers, offer flexibility and convenience for adjusting lighting. They offer workers the freedom to adjust lighting using smartphones or other mobile devices.
- RGB controllers can be used to create dynamic and atmospheric lighting scenes for meeting rooms, relaxation areas and reception areas. In creative workspaces, RGB controllers can be used to provide inspiring and stimulating lighting. For special occasions and events, RGB controllers can be used to adapt lighting to a specific theme. By customising lighting to match brand identity and desired atmosphere, companies can put their own unique stamp on the lighting environment.
- KNX controllers are used to control LED lighting based on daylight levels and motion sensors. This saves energy and makes the workplace more comfortable.
- Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) is used in office buildings to create energy-efficient lighting systems that can be adapted to different tasks and conditions.
In the vibrant world of the entertainment industry, everything revolves around the right atmosphere and experience. Events, whether concerts, trade fairs, weddings or other special occasions, are often characterised by impressive light shows and atmospheric lighting. The entertainment industry uses advanced control methods and LED controllers to fine-tune the lighting to the desired atmosphere and style of the event.
- During concerts and shows, advanced DMX controllers are used to create dynamic light shows that enhance the musical experience. DMX controllers are also used at trade shows and exhibitions to control and make the lighting of stands and exhibitions stand out.
- For weddings and parties, RGB controllers are used to adjust lighting to match the theme and mood of the event.
- DALI controllers are often used in theatres to adjust stage and background lighting to suit different scenes. During fashion shows, DALI systems can be used to control lighting on the catwalk and highlight models and outfits. For large event spaces, DALI systems can be used to adjust lighting according to the layout of the space and the type of event.
- KNX controllers provide dynamic lighting effects that enhance the atmosphere and contribute to the overall experience.
- Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) is used in stage lighting systems to adjust lighting intensity and create complex lighting effects and colour changes. It is widely used in concerts and live events to create precisely dynamic and vibrant lighting effects that synchronise with the music and atmosphere of the performance. In theatre performances, it enables smooth transitions between scenes, creates spotlight effects and changes the atmosphere to enhance the overall theatrical experience.
How to choose the proper LED controller
When choosing the appropriate control for LED lighting in a professional application, it is crucial to consider several factors. By being aware of these and making the right choices, organisations can benefit from an optimised lighting experience that contributes to the full functionality and ambience of their spaces.
- Define the desired effects and decide what goals you want to achieve with LED lighting. Do you want to increase productivity, improve ambience or emphasise a particular brand identity? The lighting goals influence the choice of control.
- Decide what functionalities you need, such as dimmability, colour control, wireless control or complex effects.
- Think about how you want to control the LED lighting. Do you want a physical control unit, a smartphone app or integration with a larger building management system?
- Choose a system that offers flexibility. The ability to adapt lighting settings to different activities and times of day is essential for professional spaces.
- Consider the scalability of the control system. A space may be expanded in the future and the system should be easily adaptable to the new situation.
- Choose a control method that can be integrated with other smart systems (that may already be in place), such as HVAC systems, security systems and automation systems for increased efficiency and proper monitoring.
- Make sure the controller you choose is compatible with the type of LED lighting you want to use. Not all control protocols are compatible with all LED luminaires.
- In professional applications, reliability is key. Choose a high-quality controller that can withstand the environmental conditions and the stresses of use in a professional setting.
- Look at future developments in LED lighting and control. Make sure the chosen solution has the ability to support future upgrades and compatibility with new technologies.
- An intuitive user interface is vital, especially in professional settings where several people may be responsible for lighting. Lighting management and maintenance should be easy and efficient.
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