Pinpointing the cause
Singapore, Saturday 16th June 2012
I spent a large part of the day yesterday analysing the chain of components and variables that could possibly influence the LED lighting infra-structure and its resulting lighting performance. The challenging thing in lighting is that there are so many components and variables part of the lighting chain of events that it is sometimes hard to pinpoint where the cause or origin of a malfunction, failure or under performance lies. The lighting manufacturer/ supplier will be quick to point the finger to the dimmer manufacturer who in turn will be looking at laying the blame on the installation contractor and the electrical infra-structure who in turn will be pinpointing the operator/ end user for careless or unauthorised usage.
The only way to keep your head clear is to be systematic and eliminate one by one any probable or possible cause even if it may seem far-fetched, like rats eating cables. Is the power supply consistent? I remember a project situation where we did not seem to be able to get the expected light output for the lamps. We replaced the lamps, changed the transformers checked the dimmers, even rewired, all as a result of people pinpointing to others. In the end someone had the bright idea to measure the incoming power supply and we found that the line voltage was only 195V (!) instead of the all assumed 230V we were supposed to have. Once the power was restored to its proper voltage level (I don’t remember the cause of the drop) everyone was smiling. The morale being that the final lighting performance can be dependent on one small part (normally the weakest!) of the chain.
This is also very much an exercise in people and ego management. People don’t like to be wrong(ed), so making sure it is diplomatically resolved and preserving the relationship is to me also an important factor. People are presumed innocent and in the project process we are all (supposed) to have done and delivered our very best. Pointing fingers and blame generally does not help much resolving the problem. Accepting responsibility and acting on it does..
Light & Learn 3-15: Below a schematic to help understand the chain of components that ultimately have an influence on the final lighting effect. It is generic and by no means meant to be complete but certainly helps to understand the little bits and pieces contributing including the weather!