At the CEDIA Expo in London, Helvar launched two lower cost products. In the case of the 458 dimmer, it is the unit itself that is more affordable but the other new offering, the digidim LINK, keeps costs low for developers while leaving upgrade options open for home buyers, writes Simon Croft.
With eight dimmable channels rated at 10 amps, the new 458 is suited to whole-house residential application and is Helvar's cheapest dimmer to date. It is around £1,100 retail, according to Nick Van Tromp, UK residential specialist at Helvar. That equates to about £100 a channel.
"We have been developing the product for three years and feel that it sets a new standard in dimmer design for home lighting control systems," said Van Tromp. "It's a high-performance product that is going to appeal to lighting designers wanting a system that's reliable and simple to install, programme and commission."
The 458 is compatible with Helvar's established Imagine and Digidim systems. It also has a new construction that means an electrician can install the basic box and check the connections, with the 'smart' electronics module introduced later in a very quick process which sees the new module locked into place and the already proven connections routed through the module.
The new digidim LINK system from Helvar enables a developer to incorporate an affordable but traditional lighting system that leaves homeowners with wide scope for implementing intelligent control if and when they choose.
A key element to this is the digidim LINK's use of standard two-core mains wiring for data transmission. As a result, intelligent control can be piggy-backed onto conventional wiring topology, with all the cost savings that implies.
For the CI who is not afraid of writing a custom interface, it would be possible to go as far as using one of Helvar's existing Ethernet-based router boxes to upgrade a system from one that was based on light switches, to one that could even be remotely addressed via the web - and embraced other devices within the installation.