Customer gains peace-of-mind thanks to ETC’s compatibility testing

Date Posted: 7/28/2014

Dimming lighting loads can be quite tricky, especially when it comes to LEDs; many lack smooth dimming transitions and step-through from one level to the next. Testing fixtures and the driver together is an essential - and often overlooked - step to avoid unnecessary headaches associated with dimming lighting loads, particularly when it comes to architectural installations. 

Benjamin Franklin National Memorial

Longtime ETC customer and owner of Coventry Lighting John Coventry knew this all too well, which is why he called upon ETC's testing services in the middle of a big lighting installation for the newly redesigned concert hall in Gaillard Auditorium in Charleston, South Carolina. "ETC responded unflappably to my frantic phone call," explains John Coventry. "They had a great response time." 

The LED fixture that Coventry wanted to test was from Cooledge Lighting, a manufacturer that specializes in LED Light Sheets -- paper-thin, flexible LED light strips that can be affixed to oddly shaped objects and walls to create custom lighting fixtures. "The LED sheet and driver are being used as the light source inside custom sconces, which are being installed in a new concert auditorium," elaborates Coventry. Therefore, it was critical not only for the fixture to dim smoothly from level 0 on up without noise, but it also had to light at a steady level when at full or partial power.

The Gaillard Auditorium installation already contains Sensor3™ and Sensor+ SineWave™ dimmers and ETC LED luminaires, making ETC a no-brainer when it came time to test the new Cooledge fixture. Furthermore, Coventry already had the exact fixture and driver specified from Cooledge that required testing. "John's preparedness helped eliminate a lot of extra troubleshooting that often occurs during the testing process," says ETC Project Manager Ted Ozimek.

The fixture was tested on an ETC Sensor3 DRd dimming rack with exceptional results. Says Coventry: "The Cooledge driver and LEDs exceeded expectations based on the dimming performance. They dimmed much better than most and without flicker at the low end." This is rare according to Ozimek, who says that "most LED fixtures of a similar nature do not have smooth dimming, particularly from a zero level on upwards. This often looks very visually displeasing to an audience member or viewer." 

After testing was complete, plans were made to implement the fixture into the existing dimming system in Gaillard Auditorium. "We managed to make adjustments to the ETC dimming system to dim the new Cooledge LEDs, which required a 0-10 four-wire system," explains Coventry. After it was all said and done, he was very pleased with the fixture and its performance. 

Finding the right dimmer or driver for a lighting fixture can be tough, particularly with the advent of LEDs. ETC tests dozens of fixtures each week and is committed to helping its customers gain confidence and peace of mind in their choice of lighting equipment.