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Upgrading a Light Control System

The Calvary Assembly of God in Winter Park, Florida, is a multi-ministry church in the heart of Central Florida ministering to the people in Orlando and the surrounding areas. Their congregation covers a broad spectrum of ministries from newborns to the elderly, and everyone in between.
The church's 5,000-seat facility was built in the early 80's and was still using the original Strand Lighting Environ 2 house light dimming and control system. With more than 20 years of weekly service, the house light control system was starting to show its age by creating issues that were negatively affecting the services.

In their efforts to correct the problems, multiple lighting companies had advised the church staff that their only choice was to replace the entire house light dimming system. This would include the dimmers, processors, and each wall station. The quoted cost for a total system replacement would have been substantial due to the large number of house lights in use in the sanctuary. Add in the labor involved in replacing the original dimmer racks, and the cost of a replacement system had become out of reach. 

Candela Controls recently completed a major upgrade of the house light control system for the church. The Worship Lighting Division was asked by Calvary Assembly to evaluate the current installation and provide their recommendations. All along, the church staff maintained their stance that they wanted to provide the best possible environment for worship, but they needed to remain very mindful of their financial stewardship.

"One of the first things we noticed as we cleaned, examined, and tested the system was that, despite over 20 years of weekly operation, the Strand Lighting Environ 2 dimmers were still in very good condition," said Steve Arnold, director of systems design and development. "We quickly realized that we could leave the dimmer racks and the lighting electrical loads as they were and concentrate on the control side of the system, thus greatly reducing the cost of the overall upgrade."

Further examination revealed that the control side of the house light system was the real issue and that compatible replacement parts were no longer available. The church also desired to upgrade to a DMX512 protocol control of the house lights from their main lighting console and each wall station. They also wanted to add some of the newer, more advanced features that were no longer available in the older system.

After reviewing the various Strand Lighting systems in use around the entire campus, as well as the architectural control features that the church wanted to have available immediately, Candela Controls proposed upgrading the house light control to the Strand Lighting Vision Net system, along with the Johnson Systems ENVY processors for the house light dimmer racks. 

"The Vision Net system would provide all the features the church required and, in the future, would allow all of the Strand Lighting systems to be networked," said Arnold. "This connectivity will provide remote monitoring, operation, and energy management features as the church continues to upgrade its infrastructure. Furthermore, by replacing the Strand 7825 control modules with the JS ENVY processors, the original dimmers would get a new lease on life, becoming DMX512 based and controllable from the main lighting console."

The church was relieved to hear that the upgrade would cost a fraction of what had been proposed by other companies, and they accepted Candela Controls' proposal for upgrading the integrated control system.

During the upgrade process, Candela Controls also installed the network infrastructure necessary for future upgrades of the production lighting, as well as the other architectural control systems throughout the campus. In the process of doing the upgrade, several incorrectly sized solid-state relay (SSR) units were also found and replaced, and all other performance issues with the house lighting system were resolved.

Candela Controls worked closely with the Calvary Assembly maintenance staff to make the install as efficient as possible, while further reducing the overall labor costs. 

 "Candela Controls did an incredible job," said Pastor Rick Moore. "It seems there are few vendors who do what they say they will. They delivered much more than they promised and went way beyond the call of duty to meet our needs. Our staff has commented more than once about how nice it was to work with them."

The church's technical staff can now control the house light system from the main lighting console, as well as from a new 7" LCD touch-screen located in the booth at the Front of the House (FOH). Additionally, there are now three new eight-button stations located around the sanctuary for remote operation of house light presets to make changing scenes much more accessible.

"We look forward to the next project because we know who to call," said Pastor Moore. "With all of the extras Candela did to make our project shine, they are definitely number one on our list for our lighting needs."
Candela Controls has been providing excellence in lighting system engineering, integration, installation, and service for 10 years and for more than 220 individual projects, ranging from small theaters to some of the largest hotels in the nation, www.candelacontrols.com.

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