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Let There Be Light
By: Jim Loughrey

The lighting system in St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church in West St. Paul, Minnesota, was over 20 years old. Several dimmers were burned out, and the controls were beyond repair. The systemís manufacturer was out of business. The church had estimates to replace the dimming system, but it was too expensive and didnít answer the fixture failures they were experiencing.  

The lighting in the sanctuary consisted of 6 elements:

* There were 18 pendant Cylinder lights with 500 watt Quartz minican lamps on dimmers. Most of these lights worked but without any dimming controls.
* There were 16 recessed downlight cans that were dimmable and worked intermittently.
* There were 8 flood lights mounted inside the dome shining up that hadnít work for over a year.
* There were 2 sections of residential track with 4 fixtures each.  These lights were aimed at the ICON wall at the front of the altar.
* There were 2 architectural spotlights mounted over the altar that were aimed at the altar table. 
* There was additional track lighting installed in the choir loft to provide enough light for the choir to see the music. 

The church was dark, and there was no way they could adjust the lighting for the various services held in the sanctuary. All of the lighting was fluorescent or incandescent, and their electrical bill was a significant expense item.

Our proposal for the sanctuary was to convert to all LED lighting sources. We replaced all the down lights with LED inserts. The pendant mounted downlight cans for general illumination were replaced with custom 30Ē Ambience Bowl LED fixtures with DMX wireless dimming controls. Ten theatrical spotlights were installed with DMX wireless controls to light the ICON wall and the altar. In the sanctuary, we didnít want to have any fixtures in the dome.

Our desire was to illuminate the dome from the bottom and hide the LED light source behind a valence so that no light source would be visible.  We used LED modules and put them on a 45 degree angle, curved board that fit on the new bottom of the dome.  The placement of the 321 LED modules in the dome lighting were all aimed at the center of the ICON at the top of the dome. 

The spectacular lighting results in the dome enhanced the new paint and finish of the dome. The old spotlights were removed and a new bottom trim board was installed around the dome.  Continuous LED lighting was mounted on the top of the bottom board to provide a smooth and intense light that was aimed directly at the ICON at the top of the dome. It is fully dimmable using DMX wireless controls. 

There is a new laptop computer running the latest DMX computer software so that single push button controls run all of the lighting cues for any service.

All of the existing fluorescent lights in rest of the church were replaced with ballast compatible T8 LED tubes. They were inserted into existing fixtures so they would never have to replace a ballast. If a ballast fails, they simply bypass the ballast using the existing wiring, tombstones and power feed. 

In the fellowship hall, the incandescent lamps were replaced with dimmable LED Par 38 lamps that worked with the existing wall box dimmers. They provide energy efficiency while permitting smooth flicker-free lighting adjustments. All of the other inside fixtures were converted to LED lamps.

One of the problems from the inception of the project was to solve the problem of the failed dimming system. We are experienced in DMX wireless dimming controls, so we offered a wireless solution for controlling the new LED lights in the sanctuary. 

One of the advantages of LED fixtures with DMX drivers is that the dimming is performed in the driver so no dimming system is needed.  All of the control is accomplished by digital commands being sent directly to the fixtures. No analog controls are used and, therefore, no low voltage wires are required.

With the use of DMX controlled drivers, all of the fixtures in the sanctuary are being controlled by the same computer program. Simple scene settings in the program can be accomplished by anybody simply toggling a pushbutton to step through all the cues.

Jim Loughrey is president of Logica Lighting Controls, www.logicalightingcontrols.com.

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