Lighting Controls

Jul 25, 2023 | Lighting

Lighting Controls

ON/OFF Sensors

When using an ON/OFF sensor (be it Presence or Daylight detection, if not both), when the sensor is triggered, the Sensor acts as a relay and switches on the luminaire at its full output. This can be due to a person being detected (Presence Detection) or due to low levels of natural daylight (Daylight Detection). In general terms, a Photocell Sensor can only detect daylight levels but most Presence detection sensors have a capacity to detect Daylight levels to varying degrees of accuracy as well as Presence or Absence detection.


Corridor Function Sensors work in a very similar fashion to ON/OFF sensors but the key difference is that they are designed to work in tandem with Dimmable Control Gear (Drivers). The idea here is that if the sensor detects movement, the luminaire it is connected to lights up to 100% of the predetermined light level/output. When the sensor no longer detects movement, the fitting will dim down to a predetermined level (generally 10%) in order to maintain a minimal amount of light. This is a useful safety feature and prevents someone from having to move in darkness if the luminaire turns off (as it would with an ON/OFF sensor) to re-trigger the sensor. This tends to be more commonplace than you would think if someone is Picking/Packing in an aisle or if work is being carried out in a specific area leading to a minimal amount of movement. The dimming function of the luminaire in conjunction with the sensor can also allow for Daylight Harvesting on some of the higher-quality Sensors.


Simply put, Daylight harvesting systems use daylight to offset the amount of electric lighting needed to properly light a space, in order to reduce energy consumption. This is accomplished using lighting control systems that are able to dim or switch electric lighting in response to changing daylight availability.


The Internet of Things (IoT) describes the network of physical objects—“things”—that are embedded with sensors, software, and other technologies for the purpose of connecting and exchanging data with other devices and systems over the Internet. These devices range from ordinary household objects to sophisticated industrial tools. With more than 7 billion connected IoT devices today, experts are expecting this number to grow to 10 billion by 2020 and 22 billion by 2025.

In the context of illumination, IoT allows us to control fixtures, asset track and personnel track through a number of technologies such as Radio Frequency, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi instead of the traditional methods of running signal cables. This is especially useful in retrofit jobs where running extra cables can be prohibitive.


These sensors detect heat. They do this by measuring the ambient temperature of the room using several detection beams. When a difference in temperature is detected by one of the beams, the sensor is activated, switching on the lights. When all the beams sense the same temperature again, the lights will switch off


These motion detectors emit microwave signals and measure the time taken for the signal to be reflected back to the sensor, this is known as the echo time. The echo time is used to calculate the distances from all the stationary objects in the detection zone, to establish a baseline to work from. A person moving into the detection zone causes a disruption in the microwave beam, changing the echo time and triggering the lights.

Comparison – PIR vs MICROWAVE

When choosing the best sensor for your application, there are many aspects to take into account;


  • Sensitivity  –  Under sensitivity in higher ambient temperatures. Over-sensitive in lower ambient temperatures.
  • Coverage  –  Normally 90o (depending on specific sensor).
  • Detection  –  This can be under-sensitive when walking directly towards the sensor.


  • Sensitivity  –  Consistent detection at variable ambient temperatures.
  • Coverage  –  Normally 360o (depending on specific sensor).
  • Detection  –  Can sense movement through walls.

Because PIR uses the difference in heat to detect movement, ambient temperatures can greatly affect sensitivity. This limitation should be considered if you are looking at motion detection systems for outdoor lighting. The more extreme temperatures outdoors can have a significant impact on devices’ effectiveness. On the other hand, microwave sensors may struggle more with smaller indoor spaces. Because they are able to detect movement through walls, they can be overly sensitive and be triggered by movement you might not want it to be. To counteract a Microwave’s sensitivity, most allow for it to be adjusted easily with the flick of a switch.


Asset tracking occurs when a company tracks its physical assets. In order to do this, you have to equip your assets with a GPS tracking system, a barcode scanner or a radio-frequency identification (RFID).
Your physical assets can be things like generators, vehicles, computers or other technological equipment. Assets provide value to your business and are important for business functioning. Tangible assets are these physical items, while intangible assets are things like contracts, software you own and patents.

Assets are not the same as inventory if you’re working in a business that regularly stocks inventory. The assets are what you use to stock and keep track of the inventory.
It is extremely important to have a detailed asset management system for all of your assets. When you’re starting a business from the ground up, you have to be aware of what adds value and what you could possibly sell or get rid of to make more space in your workspace.

It helps to know what you have so you know what you need to upgrade or replace in order to remain at the cutting edge of your industry. You can cut costs and also find better, more efficient ways of doing things. Your administrative employees will be able to work faster because they’ll have a very detailed log of materials to reference.

Investing in asset tracking is also good for keeping accurate company records and understanding what your taxes will be because of accurate breakdowns for each department. Asset tracking is also required recordkeeping in some industries, so it’s good to stay ahead of the game.


UK fire regulations stipulate that your emergency lights should be turned on and off monthly to test them and have a full service once a year. The latest British Standard recommends that you have a 3-hour emergency lighting test once a year, during which your main light circuit should be switched off and your emergency lights left on for a 3-hour period to find out of any batteries need replacing.

Typically, this is done manually on a key switch with the operator making a manual log to then put on file.

Using DALI2 in conjunction with either IoT or an LCM, this can be carried out automatically by a program which uploads the results onto a database ensuring peace of mind.

The only thing that would still need to be carried out is a visual inspection. The DALI2 system also provides information about failures, battery charge remaining as well as a number of other key pieces of information.