1Does LumenCache have UL safety certification?
The Proof-of-concept LibRE product passed UL2108 Low Voltage Lighting certification in 2017 by Intertek and we transferred the certificate to SGS for production convenience in 2019. ReNetA will have UL certificates for several categories including UL924 Emergency Lighting. You can participate in the Early Release Program to get early access to ReNetA, but the UL certification will be completed after this early batch and should be in place by the first production batches near June 2024. Thanks to the Class 2 Power of the system, most inspectors will approve the system as low voltage regardless of the UL status, but BE SURE to ask them first! It's always good practice to show them everything long before installation and inspection so they have time to learn about DC lighting and know what codes to inspect to.
2Can I use any light fixture or only the lights from LumenCache?
Most LED lights on the market are compatible after you snip off the AC to constant current LED driver box. But this requires some electrical skills and safety knowledge, so be sure to ask a qualified person or learn what's required before attempting to alter a product. You can use any E26 bulb fixture as LumenCache is producing many styles of bulbs with drivers made specifically for DC power. They dim perfectly to 0.1% and we tested up to eight 7W lights on a single Cat5 for chandeliers. See the section on "Fixture Types" for clarification.
3Is Cat5 wire required? Can other wire types be used?
The first PDM is the RJ45 jack style. A second model will support 2-4 conductor wires for standards like Single Pair Ethernet, Power Line Carrier, DALI, 0-10V, and similar wire topologies. The RJ45 PDM was selected for this campaign because the wires are easy to tip and test, the system can easily utilize sensors in the lights and switches, and we can do this at a very low price that makes Builders smile. It's possible to convert from Cat5 to 2 conductor wires at the panel using a short patch cable (we make the SIB-K for this purpose), but you'll need a separate cat5 wire for the switches, or use wireless switches and a gateway if you can live with the inconsistencies of wireless devices.
4Can I use wireless switches?
Yes, you can always use wireless devices and join them together using a gateway like Hubitat, Home Assistant, or other gateways, hubs, and 3rd party control systems that have drivers to the LumenCache platform. Hubitat plans to fully support the ReNetA platform. Dealers and customers have made Home Assistant interfaces already. If your favorite system does not yet have drivers written, please nag them to get with the future of lighting and make the simple interface! You can also use the MQTT interface in LumenCache that most gateways already support.
5Don't the small wires have a big resistance?
Cat5 wire is 24AWG with 40ohms resistance/1000ft. A 70ft run in a home loses 0.252 Watt for a 12W light, or about 2% of the efficiency loss for that fixture. AC LED bulbs have negligible wire loss at the expense of heavy copper wires and their drivers are 89% efficient on average with Power Factor of 0.7, so total efficiency of AC is 62.3% compared to 84% for LumenCache after the initial AC/DC conversion (95% with Power Factor Correction, 0.97).
6Doesn't tipping the Cat5 wires take longer than connecting AC lights?
A skilled installer takes about 60 seconds per tip to terminate, and another 60 seconds to test the wire. All said, it's about 5 minutes to install each light.
7Does LumenCache require internet or a service contract to operate?
LumenCache does not require an internet connection or monthly service fees. There are optional services you may subscribe to that may have fees and firmware updates will require a connection to the internet or a smartphone with WiFi or Bluetooth.
8How big a light can I attach to LumenCache?
We have 2x2, 2x4 office lights, 4ft shop lights, and some 8000 lumen UFO style warehouse high-bay lights. Expect to see 15,000 lumen (60W) UFO style later this year, and larger units next year. This generation of LumenCache is not made for large street lights, Stadium Floods, and lights over 80W. As efficiencies continue to improve, most devices have lower and lower power requirements.
9With all the wires homerun to the panel, isn't that actually MORE Copper?
The Copper cross-section of the Cat5 wires is much smaller than the Copper in 14/2 AWG AC wires. A typical AC wired home uses 2000ft of 14/2 (some builders still use 12 AWG for lights!) and about 60% is for lights and switches. That's about 1200ft. Using LumenCache, you about double the total wire length, so 2400ft. That's only 2.5 boxes of Cat5, which costs less than the 1200ft of Romex and that's including the Cat5 connector cost.
10Is LumenCache compatible in all countries, or only in the USA?
We worked hard to make LumenCache available to everyone, everywhere, without allowing politics to get in the way. Basic setup requires no software tools or APPs. Advanced setup uses a browser interface over local WiFi hotspot created by the PDM. Currently it uses some English prompts, but we will expand that to include many languages. The interface will securely receive updates automatically if connected to the internet. The Gateway slot allows any country to use their own cloud connections.
11How long is the Warranty?
The warranty starts upon first activation and power-up, and is 5-10 years on most of the products. Be very wary of startups offering warranties longer than they have been in business. LumenCache has been in business since 2011, so we can confidently offer warranties up to 12 years this year! :-)
12Are Solar Panels and a Battery required?
No. Most LumenCache installations use the AC power adapter to create 48V DC inside the panel. Connecting a battery is an easy upgrade you can do at any time during or after installation. Connecting directly to a battery can eliminate the AC to DC converter altogether, which is a significant cost and material savings. Why convert to AC just to convert back to the DC that all devices already require internally? We're making adapter modules to communicate with popular battery management systems (BMS) via protocols so ReNetA can help you control your loads and improve the battery life and runtime.
13We're a large production home builder with thousands of homes per month. Can you handle our orders?
LumenCache produces products with top factory partners all around the world (including Made in USA!). They can produce 200,000 lights per month in 2023 and enough LumenCache modules to match. If your needs exceed this, you have our undivided attention. In exchange, we need you to do one thing: Plan ahead and order early. Supply Chain is everything, and while we're certifying 3 variants through UL to reduce component risks, order early to help us to help you. Factories do NOT work on credit, and neither can we. We can help connect you with credit agencies, but we don't directly offer any credit services at this time.
14I want to use LumenCache in a current project? Can I get the specific products I need and the special discount too?
The key decision points are your project schedule, when we have ReNetA available, what your Code Inspector finds acceptable, and how much LibRE inventory we have if your schedule is before availability. Please follow these steps: 1. Contact Us to confirm schedule and availability. 2. Get a system quote from your lighting plan. 3. Pre-Order ReNetA products. 4. We'll loan you LibRE products to help get you through inspections, then fill your pre-order as ReNetA is available and you can schedule your swap-in.
15What happens if LumenCache goes out of business?
This is a reasonable question after watching so many highly funded startups come and go. See our Mission and Vision statements to understand how seriously we take Sustainability. That includes doing everything possible to ensure the Company itself is sustainable. Look at the many competitor products that use the same wiring, lights, and power supplies to recognize that, even if LumenCache were to close, you'll easily find products to replace the basic lighting capability over the same wire type in the walls.
16This so so groundbreaking and unique! Is there a Patent on this?
Yes, LumenCache has a granted Utility Patent on the core technology of the modular system. There's several additional patents pending with the new system. As an open platform, we value the Brand and our Partner products coming along with the ReNetA release. There is great power and momentum in the Community and Ecosystem around LumenCache.
17Temporary lighting for large MDU projects can get pricey. Can LumenCache be used for temporary lights?
Yes! Because LumenCache is safe with low voltage, you can energize it early in the construction phases and have bright construction lighting. This can save over $30,000 for a 60 unit MDU for example. Plus, you know all the wires are good and working by the time you paint so there's no need to dig up a wall or ceiling to repair a pinched or cut wire.