ETC Paradigm® lighting control sets sail
The owners of the luxury yacht Genevieve approached Entertainment Lighting Solutions (ELS) of Auckland, New Zealand, to provide solutions on how to "warm up" their interior lighting and reprogram the current control system on the yacht. An ETC Unison Paradigm system was chosen to handle lighting-control issues.
Initially, ninety halogen MR16 fittings had been installed throughout the yacht. A Spanish boat refurbishment company replaced them a couple of years ago. They installed a special marine-lighting control system designed around low-voltage lamps and load circuits (12-24V). Unfortunately, the system did not have the capacity to carry the load of all the installed fittings, so they replaced the dimmers and put in some 1W 3200K LED fittings that were cold and did not dim well.
The boat itself was built by Alloy Yachts in the mid 90's in Auckland for an American owner. It was wired for 110V. "Initially we were going to just upgrade all the fittings to 2700K dimmable MR16 LED lamps; however, we changed our minds once we discovered that the system was over-capacity and that some of the work done by the Spanish firm was not up to standard," explains Nick Abel, managing director of ELS. "The lighting control system that had been installed was very limited and could not provide the zone controlling which the customer had requested. It turns out that many of the panels that had been installed were wired in parallel."
Abel met with the owner to explain the issues. The owner requested they retain the existing button panels, as that was the only thing he liked about the old system.
"We proposed to install a new system with all control panels individually programmable," remarks Abel. "We also suggested a new 12-channel dimmer at 110V to properly deal with the lighting load, as well as replacement of all the MR16 fittings with new 2700K LEDs. In the normal install world this would be easy, but we had to fit this all into a variety of nooks and crannies on the boat. We discovered that just as in a small yacht, there was stuff hidden behind every panel and crawl space."
Ultimately, the owner preferred his tungsten MR16's rather than the LEDs, so the tungsten lamps were reinstated with the ability to easily switch back to LEDs at a later date if required.
With six contact-input panels installed, the ETC Paradigm architectural control system drove the dimmer modules (carefully hidden behind cabinetry) via DMX and a 0-10V analogue controller.
"We had a short time to do this job and needed a solid operating system we had worked with before to deliver the right control for the customer," adds Abel. "Naturally, we looked at Paradigm as the system that would work for us. It is also available in an 110V version made for the North American market, so it made the voltage part easier for us."
According to Abel, the customer took the yacht out for a two-week trip after the installation and was over the moon with his lighting control finally being exactly how he wanted it. "It has performed seamlessly," says Abel. "Six months on, we have had no technical issues from the customer."
"This project was certainly an experience for us as it was a very different and challenging environment from our regular theater, entertainment, and commercial lighting control projects," says Abel. "There is nothing like going for a sail in the Hauraki Gulf while programming a Paradigm controller!"