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i3 Engineering controllers are designed to manage a variety of engineering systems in the house - HVAC, lighting, water supply, security and more. Accordingly, controllers must work properly and safely with different types of devices. But not always, having read the technical characteristics of the end devices, it is easy to choose a proper controller for the task.
As mentioned earlier, the current of our LED lamp at startup reached almost 20A, which is much higher than the value specified on the relay 5A, so it failed. i3 Engineering is very concerned about the correct connection of end devices to our controllers, so we decided to write a few recommendations for you.
Each of these types of devices has its own connection features, and the differences between them are manifested when turning them on or off. This imposes certain conditions on the characteristics of the power elements of the controllers.
Active loads (heaters) are usually characterized by high power consumption (more than 500W). When switched on, the current may exceed the rated current several times for a short time. It is most convenient to switch ON such devices by means of the relay.
Another type of active load is LED strips connected directly to the controller outputs. Dimers based on MOSFET transistors are provided for proper control and the ability to change the brightness.
But switching on devices with capacitive load without taking into account the peculiarities of their operation can end in failure of the control device. It's all about the very large starting current that occurs at the time of switching on. As we noted at the beginning of this article, this current can in some cases be more than 200 times higher than the rated current.
There are several ways out of this situation:
1. Use only high-quality relays with a high allowable starting current. Exactly as used in all Atom series controllers.
2. Use controllers with power elements based on triacs or MOSFET transistors, which not only provide silent load switching, but are more reliable and durable than relays. We recommend the Atom Helium or Hydrogen controller with ACD or ACD + interchangeable modules.
3. Use a relay with a large switching current (10 or 16A) and a large allowable starting current. For example, it is convenient to use Atom Ferrum or Carbon controllers.
4. Use magnetic starters (contactors) or intermediate relays to connect powerful lighting devices. In this case, the best solution is to use an Atom Argon or Argon + R12 controller.
5. Use high-quality equipment with reactive load compensation schemes. That is, such a device when turned on has a starting current close to the nominal.
6.Some manufacturers of electrical equipment have begun to manufacture devices to protect the contacts. These are devices for mounting in the switchboard, which are designed to limit the starting current and thus protect the contacts of the relay from damage when turned on.