Poselco self-contained emergency lighting conversions
For the mains luminaire maker self contained emergency is better both commercially and logistically. For the architect and designer it’s a question of better specification control leading to better peace of mind.
Better for safety, better for aesthetics, better for quality, better for warranty. Better Together!
The rise and rise of LED lighting over the past five years has seen a marked drop in the numbers of commercial downlighters being specified as self contained (maintained) emergency luminaires. Recent fashion has been to install an additional LED point source in the ceiling specifically for non-maintained emergency use.
In the slightly distant past when the majority of downlighters were not LED but compact fluorescent, low voltage tungsten halogen or HID it would have been anathema for a specifier to consider anything other than having the main luminaire converted to self contained emergency. The thought of seeing a non-maintained stand-alone fixture such as a 35 watt MR16 sitting next to the main light source would bring most architects and designers out in blistering boils."Something else to clutter and spoil the architectural lines of the ceiling along with ghastly air conditioning units and smoke detectors"!
Why in 2014 do we see such acceptance of the 40mm LED non-maintained ‘bullet’ being used as an alternative to self contained maintained emergency? The answer is not a simple one but lies in who is making the specification and who is making the conversion. When aesthetics ruled the ceiling the architect and designer would always ask for self contained, a much cleaner and safer solution maintaining surface lines and 'one warranty' supply etc. Now we find consulting engineers and electrical installers removing self contained from specifications due primarily to unit price* or because of a perceived lack of proficient LED emergency conversion companies.
Compact fluorescent and linear fluorescent emergency conversions were relatively inexpensive and many back street operators were able to make a few bob by carrying out the work themselves. LED emergency conversions however need care, investigation and testing, but the LED self contained solution is just as good if not better than fluorescent ever was!
It is of course fair to say that LED stand-alone units are slightly smaller in diameter than halogen counterparts, more efficient in performance and are available in self test and DALI guises. They are also cheaper by unit than self contained conversions, are they not*?
*The technology for converting high wattage LED downlighters up to 42 watts and beyond is improving and efficiencies are seeing a reduction in conversion prices. More emergency control gear manufacturers such as Tridonic are entering the market with high-wattage LED emergency module offerings The ICEL re-engineer is becoming more proficient in making the conversion and with a wider choice of modules and batteries available to him, can be competitive on the price. When you add to the stand-alone unit price a cost for additional cabling and labour, the self contained option must now be considered as an extremely viable alternative.
Probably the strongest argument for specifying self contained over stand-alone is where product warranties are concerned. The luminaire manufacturer together with their conversion partner will guarantee the performance of both the mains and the emergency sides of the self contained luminaire, in many cases for two years and beyond; certainly longer than the one year offered by many stand-alone manufacturers. The client has the comfort of knowing that one manufacturer will take care of both mains and emergency.
The worry for both the mains luminaire OEM and in due course the responsible specification market has to be the march of the stand-alone unit towards commodity status. Are we just a short journey away from seeing these life saving products arriving as blister pack specials in the wholesaler’s bargain buckets? Will the stand-alone become the new 8 watt bulkhead with the inevitable erosion of quality and performance that comes with ill-informed and uncontrolled competition? The lighting market is awash with low quality Chinese NiMH batteries servicing the grey specification market! How long before these entirely inferior products find their way into the general lighting food chain?
The time has come for the high wattage LED downlighter to be responsibly converted to self contained emergency by the mains luminaire OEM. A conversion that utilises quality components and promotes realistic market warranties.
Mains luminaire and self contained emergency - Better Together