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If I came across a PLC lighting system in a house I wouldn’t know where to begin. I have had zero experience with PLC’s. Don’t you need to connect a laptop to program it all?
Yes. The programming software is the same brand as the PLC (and sometimes costs the same). If I ever sell the house, the serial/RS422 connected Windows XP computer and the GE Logicmaster software will be included.
Although, troubleshooting the wiring is simple. Push the button, and the appropriate PLC input light comes on. The program will never change. If it worked yesterday, it will not work differently today. See if the appropriate output light comes on. See if the appropriate relay comes on. Each relay is fed by a separate CB. (In 25 years, I have never had a relay or (lighting) CB fail or trip.)
 

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Chief Flunky
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Quick, straight answer: LV with relays is digital, on-off only because the actual power to the light never goes anywhere near the switch.
You can dim it. You just have to modulate the power feeding the relay contacts. This is independent of the switching. Sort of like a dimmer. They usually have both on/off and light level controls.

With a PLC commercial dimmers and LED drivers accept 0-10 VDC signals. Easy with a PLC, hard with those 60s lighting controls. No Google needed.
 

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Curiously, both the houses my parents owned were done with low voltage switching. The second one had a GE all-electric kitchen, complete with pink pre-fab steel cabinetry and push-button burner controls on the cook top. Anyway, I assume it also used the GE LV lighting control system.

One place LV can shine is when there's an "open floorplan" where there can be multiple entrances to various rooms.

Say you've got a living room with 5 entrances (which I have done). That would be wiring for 2 3-ways and 3 4-ways. Lots of wire. With LV, it's a (cheap) cable from each switch to the central panel.

Except for my parents' houses, I haven't run into any LV lighting controls in my 50 year career. But I'm still looking forward to it.
 

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I'm quoting a residential main service upgrade. The homeowner has a vast array of low voltage lighting and would like the switches replaced. The home was built in the late 60s and was the original model home, formerly owned by one of the general contractors who built houses on the entire block. For how dated the home is, it is very clean and the new homeowner doesn't want to eliminate the lv system. Is there a product line of replacement switches you guys use? I'm going to stop by the SH tomorrow but thought I'd ask here, too.

Ordinarily, I gut and rewire these circuits, so this will be interesting. If I win the bid I'll be sure to take pics of the space age bathroom and orange barstools!
Try Touch plate lighting online www.touchplate.com. Or Kyle Switch Plates.www.kyleswitchplates.com. GE made a lot originally and they may still supply switches, RS232 for example.
 

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I'm quoting a residential main service upgrade. The homeowner has a vast array of low voltage lighting and would like the switches replaced. The home was built in the late 60s and was the original model home, formerly owned by one of the general contractors who built houses on the entire block. For how dated the home is, it is very clean and the new homeowner doesn't want to eliminate the lv system. Is there a product line of replacement switches you guys use? I'm going to stop by the SH tomorrow but thought I'd ask here, too.

Ordinarily, I gut and rewire these circuits, so this will be interesting. If I win the bid I'll be sure to take pics of the space age bathroom and orange barstools!
well, you have an interesting situation. all the switchlegs go to a common place.
you could do a lutron radioRA with pico switches, and it'd be effortless, and wireless.

and dimmable. with scenes, if you like. that is probably what i'd do, to have dimming capability.
 

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Really depends on the PLC. Some have tiny screens that you can see a few contacts. Most however do not. Then comes the rub, was it made when the world revolved around DOS or late
Each brand has a different programing language and some of the old CH branded Toshiba's had DOS and Windoze versions, not compatible. Gotta have the right cord and just thinking I am not even sure my laptop has an serial port for communication. times have changed
 

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Chief Flunky
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Really depends on the PLC. Some have tiny screens that you can see a few contacts. Most however do not. Then comes the rub, was it made when the world revolved around DOS or late
Each brand has a different programing language and some of the old CH branded Toshiba's had DOS and Windoze versions, not compatible. Gotta have the right cord and just thinking I am not even sure my laptop has an serial port for communication. times have changed
DOSEMU and Virtualbox fix this. Then just get a GOOD serial dongle. Many don’t do true RS-232. I’ve run just about any PLC software for years in some virtual machine. Works fine as long as you don’t need really screwy hardware. Hard to do “Synet” for instance without an ancient Ethernet card that no longer exists and can’t plug into a modern PC. I’ve done a lot of this. But at some point it’s cheaper to just start over.

I’ve used those tiny screen PLCs. I think IDEC did those for a while. Best to stick with reliability over a feature that will likely fail. Kind of like X10 and computer driven home automation.
 

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"Best to stick with reliability over a feature that will likely fail. Kind of like X10 and computer driven home automation." I seriously considered X10 & decided it was a gimmicky toy. I can't imagine it still working 25 years later. Fine Homebuilding had an article on home automation the featured three systems. By the time the article came out, two of the three companies were already out of business! I said, "OK! Industrial it is!"
 

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I like ceiling fans & EMT
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"Best to stick with reliability over a feature that will likely fail. Kind of like X10 and computer driven home automation." I seriously considered X10 & decided it was a gimmicky toy. I can't imagine it still working 25 years later. Fine Homebuilding had an article on home automation the featured three systems. By the time the article came out, two of the three companies were already out of business! I said, "OK! Industrial it is!"
We still use X10 in our master bedroom. It's the easiest, most cost effective option that allows both my wife and I to control and dim all the lamps, including beside AND overhead, from each of our nightstands AND by the door.

Until we converted to a smart house, we were still using X10 to control the living room and dining room lights as well, as well as all indoor Christmas decorations. It was still working fine, but once we started using Alexa for other things I wanted to have our lights on smart control, and it was easier and cheaper to just replacing everything, rather than try to integrate X10 into Alexa-- which can be done, apparently. Our bedroom is the only room in the house that isnt "smart."

I first started using X10 as a kid in the late 80s or early 90s. A 30-40 year run isnt bad.
 

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Discussion Starter · #32 ·
Customer called me back and accepted the service replacement. He wants me to throw him numbers for the switches as a separate bid. Sounds like some Ra dimmable lighting might be in this guy's future.
 

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Kyle switch plates has some. Never ordered from them, so no idea what their product or pricing is like.
Yes, i agree with emtnut. i have ordered and replaced lv switches and covers (multi gang too) from kyle. i was satisfied
 

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I was hoping you knew of something I didn’t. It’s only happened once but I had to try and explain why the customer couldn’t have a dimmer on the light.
You can dim it .... if you run a new 120V switch leg to a new dimmer switch. bet they wouldnt want to pay that much ....
 

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I like ceiling fans & EMT
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You can dim it .... if you run a new 120V switch leg to a new dimmer switch. bet they wouldnt want to pay that much ....
Smart bulbs is probably the easiest solution here.

Could also wire a smart dimmer after the relay for that circuit.
 

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I have bought from Kyle a few times. Definitely a reputable company and product got here on time....Prices seemed reasonable for what you got...
 
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