LED lighting and other low-voltage applications are causing the demand for wiring and cabling to skyrocket. Industries struggling to comply with government regulations and save money to remain competitive continue to seek innovative strategies for providing adjustable lighting where it is needed. Transparency Market Research predicts an increase in LED technology will create an increased demand for category-type cable. Here’s what you need to know about cabling for LED.
Low Voltage Wiring
LED lighting provides many benefits because it has a lower operating voltage, more like what’s in a cell phone than what operates standard incandescent bulbs. They can’t operate solely off the grid, they require conversion circuitry.
Mobile unit chargers use a device to convert power from wall outlets to a useable form, and the same circuitry is necessary for LED lights, unless the system provides access to low voltage power. A low voltage system provides 12 or 24 volts instead of the standard 120 or 277 volts. In the past, businesses and homeowners have used low voltage systems for things like landscape and recessed lighting.
While copper has been the industry standard in wiring and cabling, many manufacturers are switching to aluminum for industrial applications. The Aluminum Association reports that aluminum has 61 percent the conductivity of copper by volume and 200 percent conductivity by weight.
Currently NEC 310.14 requires an AA-8000 series aluminum alloy building wire for most new construction. Despite aluminum’s cost savings, many cabling manufacturers point out that copper has the longest life cycle, so its energy efficiency and reliability make it a better choice.
Power Over Ethernet
When engineers use Cat 3 or Cat 5 cables to power both communications and power using one cable it’s known as Power over Ethernet (PoE). PoE developed because traditional telephones required both a power and communications line to make and receive calls. When voice over internet phones (VoIP) gained popularity, Cisco developed equipment that required only one connection. The system was so effective that the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) made PoE its official standard.
The same technology works for LED lighting. PoE allows LED fixtures to receive electricity through an Ethernet cable. Businesses save money on electricity because of the reduced consumption LEDs provide, and they also save on cabling installation.
In addition to cost savings, using PoE for LED lighting has the following benefits:
- Operating fixtures through an Ethernet network makes them easier to oversee and access. Each individual fixture can be a separate network destination.
- Organizations can add colored LED lights to create effects.
- Businesses can add sensors to dim LED lights when not in use or when there is sufficient daylight in the room. They can also turn them on to improve security in specific areas at night.
- Installers can add proximity sensing so lights activate a preset response when they sense a nearby smartphone with corresponding technology.
All low voltage fixtures must have a Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTL) certification to pass inspection. When installing for new construction or retrofitting existing structures, contractors and building managers may find PoE facilitates Class Two compliance.
C Enterprises provides cutting-edge cabling solutions for the most efficient lighting solutions. Contact us today to request a quote.