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Why Should Commercial Lighting Controls Have a Real-Time Clock?

Feb. 24, 2023

Even a broken clock is right twice a day, the adage goes. But a broken or out-of-sync lighting control system can spell disaster for days on end.

In many lighting control systems, a central controller or hub dictates time schedules for all connected components. Installers set the time at the primary controller, and then that single controller communicates the time (and schedule) to all the other devices within the system.

Think of this like a music conductor who serves as the timekeeper for a group of musicians within an orchestra. If he’s doing his job well, the ensemble stays in rhythm and makes beautiful music.

But what happens if the conductor loses his place in the score? Or worse yet, what if he leaves the stage altogether?

The individual musicians – or individual lighting control system components - are left to fend for themselves, and the rhythm goes out of sync.

In the real world, a central controller or hub may fail due to a power outage, an individual component failure, a reset to a local area network, or any number of unpredictable reasons.

When a failure occurs in a centralized system, ON/OFF schedules can get shifted, and important settings can be reset. This leaves facility managers with the unwelcome task of reprogramming devices and troubleshooting issues system-wide.

The ARISTA™ Advanced Lighting Control System solves this dilemma by integrating a real-time clock (RTC) chip into its controllers. Once a controller is installed and onboarded via the ARISTA mobile app, it automatically syncs time schedules with the other devices on the system.

Think of ARISTA controllers as a group of metronomes, all of which follow the same reference point for time. A metronome is tool musicians use to practice playing at a specific tempo or rhythm.

Unlike our conductor-less musicians, each metronome (or ARISTA device) is able to keep the beat, regardless of who else is performing or conducting the ensemble.

In the unlikely event that an ARISTA device fails, communication between the remaining devices ensures that all time schedules stay in sync. This is possible because of the built-in RTC.

Not only does a dependable time clock help avoid nuisance maintenance issues, but it also empowers users to create schedules using ARISTA’s Astronomic feature.

Astronomic scheduling uses approximate latitude and time of year to mirror the natural sunset and sunrise times of wherever the ARISTA system is installed. This means a user can confidently program lights to turn ON at dusk when ambient light wanes and OFF at 8 p.m. once the business closes, for example.

By combining time scheduling, occupancy sensing, and light sensing with the continuity of a real-time clock, ARISTA helps maximize energy efficiency and occupant comfort over the long haul.

Are you in the process of choosing a commercial lighting control system? Read our recent white paper, The Advantages of a Room-Based Bluetooth® Mesh Lighting Control System, to learn how ARISTA’s unique design delivers lasting performance and contractor-friendly features.

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