contactless power for LED lighting

Is the Isotera system suitable for use with led bulbs fitted into traditional lamp sockets?
Answer: No, LED bulbs have a small AC/DC converter built inside and are incompatible with the Isotera system. Small power converters tend to be vulnerable to spikes on the mains, which makes them susceptible to premature failure. So, although LED's may operate for 10s of thousands of hours, these small converters may not. That is why the Isotera system is based on centralised power conversion comprising effective filtering of transients on the mains.
Is it safe to connect led light fittings while the Isotera circuit is live?
Answer:Yes, it is. For 3 reasons:
  1. The iBus cable is uninterrupted. One end of the iBus is connected to the iHub by means of a latching plug, the other end of the cable is shorted with an IDC (Insulation Displacement Connector). Nowhere on the iBus is the conductor exposed, which eliminates the risk of an electrical shock. Furthermore the wires of the iBus are double insulated, significantly reducing the risk of cable damage that could expose the conductor.
  2. Intermediate Frequency AC (50khz in the case of Isotera) is many times safer than 50Hz AC (normal mains) or DC power. 50khz AC doesn’t penetrate into body tissue and therefore won’t cause damage to a human heart or nervous system.
  3. Unlike mains, an Isotera power system is power limited. Furthermore the iHub comprises fault detection, which means that the power is switched off in a fraction of a second in case of a fault. This means that the maximum power that one can accidentally be exposed to is very limited. In combination with the Intermediate Frequency nature of Isotera’s power the impact on the human body is negligible.
Does the Isotera system comply with the wiring regulations (17th edition of bs7671)?
Answer: BS7671 is an installation standard, not a product standard. The Isotera system can be installed in full compliance with BS7671.
Can I install Isotera with standard flexible wire?
Answer: No. The iBus cable supplied by Isotera is a double insulated twisted pair wire. It is twisted to cancel out the magnetic and electrical fields of the Intermediate Frequency current. The diameter of the conductor is specific to keep cable losses down and each of the 2 wires is double insulated to comply with the wiring regulations. Use of a cable that isn’t approved by Isotera is likely to cause problems and invalidates the Isotera warranty.
What is the voltage on the iBus?
Answer: Isotera is a constant current system. This means that the voltage depends on the number and size of loads attached to the iBus. At the far end of the iBus the voltage differential between the 2 wires is zero. The highest voltage is at the output terminals of the Power Hub, which with a 200W system loaded to its maximum capacity is just over 100V IFAC
Is the iBus polarity sensitive?
Answer: No. The iBus is a simple 2 core cable which is shorted out at the end and therefore it does not matter in which orientation you insert the iBus wires into the iClip.
What is the maximum length of the iBus?
Answer: There is no fundamental maximum to the length of the iBus cable (Practical Limit based on current system testing is 150m MAX). Other than practical considerations, the thing to keep in mind is that cable losses increase with the length of the iBus. These amount to 1.5W per 10 meter.
Does the iBus cable have to be increased in size to deal with volt drop?
Answer: No, as the iBus works on a constant current basis, voltage is a variable and does not need consideration. So whether the iBus is 1 or 50 meters long, exactly the same size cable is used.
Will the Intermediate Frequency AC cause EMI problems?
Answer: The short answer is: no. The Isotera system is designed to keep Electro Magnetic Interference well below the international EMC limits. The system has been tested for EMC by an independent accredited test house and is fully compliant.
Is Intermediate Frequency AC (IFAC) harmful for Human Beings?
Answer: No. The Electro-Magnetic Field emitted by the system is extremely short range and very low, well below the ICNIRP limits of what is deemed safe. This means that you can touch the iBus without it causing any bodily harm.
NOTE: ICNIRP is the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection, a publicly funded body of independent scientific experts who in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO) publish guidelines limiting exposure to electro-magnetic fields.
Can I use a Type B MCB for the feed to the iHub?
Answer: Yes, you can. The iHub has been tested with a Type B MCB and it doesn’t cause it to trip.
How do I do an earth fault loop test with the Isotera system?
Answer: The simple answer is: you don’t. The iHub with its built-in fault detection takes care of that as far as the iBus is concerned. Standard testing can be carried out for the mains power supply to the iHub if necessary.
Will an led or iClip failure trip the circuit or affect anything up or down stream?
Answer: No. Although we say that the iBus cable "daisy-chains" from one luminaire to the next, each iClip extracts power from the cable without affecting the current running through it. If one iClip or luminaire would break down, the rest of the system continues to operate. The induction process only works one way so a failure at an iClip or LED fixture cannot affect anything else on the iBus.
Can I connect multiple fittings to a single iClip?
Answer: In principle you can, but you have to do this with caution. You can only do this by connecting loads in series so that the drive current corresponds with the output current of the iClip. You further have to make sure that the sum of the loads doesn’t exceed the maximum power rating of the iClip. These are risks best avoided. That’s why we recommend using iClip and fittings on a 1:1 basis.
What tools do I need to install the Isotera system?
Answer: Isotera’s approach is plug & play, so we have tried to make the installation of the system as tool-free as possible. The only tools needed are a wire cutter to cut the twisted pair cable to length, a pair of pliers to fasten the IDC on the iBus and a wire stripper and screwdriver to mount a latching plug onto the mains cable.
How do I know I am not putting too many loads on an Isotera circuit?
Answer: One of the benefits of the Isotera system is instant feedback. The moment you overload an Isotera circuit the entire circuit will start to flash. By removing the last iClip you put on, the circuit will go back to normal. The status indicator on the iHub also shows you when you have overloaded the circuit.
How efficient is Isotera’s iClip?
Answer: The typical efficiency of an iClip is 90%. High efficiency means lower temperature, which equates to longer product life.
Does the Isotera system require customised LED light fittings?
Answer: No, it doesn’t. All you need is LED light fittings without integrated driver. The stripped colour coded flying leads of the fitting go directly into the colour coded DC output port on the iClip. This output port can accommodate conductor thicknesses from 0.08 – 1.0mm2. The clamping force of this connector is such that no strain relief is needed.
How do I control all the lights on any given iBus?
Answer: If you are not using emergency lights simply switching the mains into the iHub will control all lights on the iBus. Alternatively you can connect a switch or sensor to the control port on the iHub, which allows you to switch all fixtures on or off with out disrupting the power feed to Emergency Power Modules.
Can I control specific groups of lights or individual lights on an iBus?
Answer: Yes, Isotera deliver an industry leading control system designed in tandem with the Isotera power system to be amazingly simple, easy to use and low cost. Please see the icon section of this site for more information.
Do I have to buy wall switches/dimmers from Isotera?
Answer: No, you don’t have to. Any momentary rocker switch from any of the wiring accessories vendors will work with the Isotera system. By simply connecting the iSmooth you turn every switch plate into a 0-10v dimmer switch fully compatible with the Isotera system. Switching the whole iBus on/off can be achieved by using a standard latching switch without the need of any interface.
Can I connect sensors from other sensor supplier?
Answer: Not if you want to benefit from the simplicity and versatility of icon, the Isotera control system.
iSense, a multi-sensor, is unique in a number of ways: It’s power consumption is extremely low: 50mw, It derives its SELV power from the nearest iClip rather than being mains powered and it is able to control groups of LED fixtures and at the same time communicate with other control groups.
Can I control iClip with a 0-10v control system from another supplier?
Answer: Yes, you can. Please contact us for advice so that we can point you in the right direction.
Can I use cat-5 wire to connect control devices with iClip?
Answer: No. The icon system critically depends on signals traveling down the control cable. Using Isotera’s control cables and RJ11 couplers and T-pieces is the only way to guaranty that the control system works. Bear in mind that the Isotera system is all about keeping things simple to avoid costly problems. If you try to fit an RJ11 connector to a Cat-5 cable, there is no way to make sure that you get the sequence of the wires right, with the risk of disabling the control system.
Isn’t Isotera just another modular wiring system?
Answer: There are similarities between Isotera and modular wiring. Both are aimed at reducing the amount of on-site labour and avoiding the need for cutting and stripping of wires. Isotera is as fast and easy as modular wiring but differs on a few important aspects:
  1. With Isotera you don’t need to worry about having the right mix of cable lengths and number of cores. You just cut the uninterrupted cable at the end of a circuit run and short the end with an IDC or terminal block. No configuration management required, no headaches about missing or wrong cable lengths or wrong number of cores.
  2. Modular wiring is basically pre-fabrication of traditional mains wiring. Isotera only requires mains wiring to the iHub position, everything else is either SELV or inherently safe and the iBus insulation is not breached while attaching the iClip. For maximum ease modular wiring requires mains and control cable management in the LED fixture which with Isotera is simply not needed.
What are the standby losses of the iHub when all lighting is off?
Answer: Standby losses of the PH200 iHub are 5W (when 20m of cable and no iClips connected), but replace the standby power of say 13 individual 15W LED drivers in a conventional system.
Where can I buy the Isotera system?
Answer: We work with a number of national and international channel partners and a few distributors. Please contact us and we’ll refer you to the most appropriate channel.