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MK Electric brings star quality to wireless lighting control


MK Electric is enhancing the possibilities of wireless lighting control with the launch of astral™ – a ‘MESH’-based system that uses proven radio frequency (RF) technology to control lighting applications within residential, commercial or hospitality environments. The system offers significant benefits that will appeal to the installer, specifier and developer depending on requirements.

MESH networking is a way to route data between nodes (devices) using RF communication, making it suitable for any installation where flexibility and versatility are important. The technology’s flexibility is due to it not requiring ‘line-of-sight’ to successfully send operating instructions between devices or points. Instead all mains powered devices in the system are ‘linked’ together (the ‘MESH’), providing multiple and alternative routes through which the RF signals can travel. The more devices in the overall installation, the more robust the communication path becomes.

Astral devices – the initial range comprising controllers, dimmers and switches – have the capability to control lighting in one particular room, but also lighting throughout the entire property. Each device is effectively a transceiver – both receiving and transmitting RF signals. Signals are detected by all other astral devices within range, or any other device with Z-Wave™ as its inherent RF “language” and when programmed to do so, will control the lighting connected to them; or they will forward the signal to the desired destination device via the most effective and efficient route.

This means the user may control lighting anywhere in the building, either turning it on or off, dimming it up or down, or setting lighting scenes. The ability of the signal to ‘hop’ from device to device increases the distance over which the system can communicate, opening up more possibilities for larger installations than traditional RF based systems. A signal can hop up to five times between devices. There is no central hub – all intelligence is distributed between the devices, this offers maximum system range and flexibility

Most installations will have a remote control with the capability to control four preset scenes and groups. Each scene or group can theoretically control up to 64 switches and/or dimmers, instructing them how to respond. Other wall-mounted controllers are available that can be mains- or battery- powered. Battery-powered controllers can be portable and by their nature are extremely quick to install and ideal for system expansion

Furthermore, a switch directly connected to a lighting circuit is able to control, via its inherent RF capability, a number of other switches or dimmers in a group. Similarly, a dimmer can also control other switches or dimmers in a scene or group.

For the installer astral provides the following advantages:

  • Easy to design and expand; simply requires the new device to be within range of existing mains powered device;
  • Easy to retrofit; all mains powered devices can be installed in a 35mm back box and dependent upon the device and lighting connected can use just the existing 2 wires found within traditional wiring circuits
  • Easy to configure, commission and programme.

For the specifier astral provides a number of benefits:

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