What Does Your Store’s Lighting System Look Like?

Circuit Breaker Panel

You might be wondering what lighting has to do with your consignment software or your consignment store’s computers, but it’s just another piece in the technology puzzle — and one that can have a negative impact on your computers and software.

We work with a lot of consignment store owners all across the country and the systems + software we manage, is under the roof of a variety of *types* of stores:

  • Older buildings with outdated or ‘unique’ electrical setups.
  • Stores that are forced to turn-off/-on lighting via the circuit breaker panel — e.g. there are too many lights to turn-off/-on each night/morning.

Both of the above can splash over into your systems, whether it’s power fluctuations caused by systems on the same circuit as lighting, or systems losing power/being affected when the circuit breaker panel is accessed each night/morning.

The latter is probably one of the more-common ones we see and both for the electrical issues that can be triggered by using a circuit breaker panel to turn off lights (i.e. it’s physically shaking other breakers in the panel and causing them to trip), as well as for the simple convenience — or lack thereof — of being able to easily turn-off/-on lights each day.


Automate Your Lighting

It’s 2022 — you don’t have to turn-off your lights by hand at the end of the day each day.  While there are a variety of ways to achieve “smart lighting,” what we don’t want is smart lighting that relies on the cloud.  So that typically means an automation hub, such as Hubitat + Z-Wave/Zigbee light switches, or the lighting system professional builders have been using for years — Lutron Caseta.

With a Lutron Caseta system, you get the benefit of physical light switches that work as normal.  You also gain the ability to control your light switches from the mobile app, as well as from remotes.  And the key benefit is, scheduling your light switches to automatically turn-off each night and turn-on each morning.

The center of a Lutron Caseta system, is the Lutron Caseta SmartBridge Pro -> https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00Z8AXQCQ/.  It’s a very user-friendly box you just plug-in to your network, then use the Lutron app to connect-to.


Lutron Caseta Bridg Pro


After that, it’s just a matter of choosing whether you want standard on/off switches (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B017LRCGR4/)…


Lutron Caseta Switch


Or dimmer switches (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00KLAXJFC/)…


Lutron Caseta Dimmer


You can add Pico Remotes anywhere too (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00KLAXNJE/), so you can have either hand-held remotes, or “light switches” anywhere — even in places where you don’t have actual switches installed!


Lutron Caseta Pico Remote


Benefits

Your lighting can be fully automated.  Now, instead of your “daily routine” where you go around and switch off/on lights, or flip circuit breakers to close/open each day, your lights just…happen.  🙂


Lutron App


This helps prevent issues triggered by hitting the circuit breaker panel every day — there’s a reason stores with that kind of set up tend to run into issues more than others — and helps prevent accidental “Oops, I hit the wrong switch and turned-off the wrong side of the store!” issues.

And since the Lutron Caseta system is ‘smart’, you can choose to include it with your automation system, such as Hubitat, or include it with Alexa and turn your lights on and off with your voice (or even automate via Alexa Routines, but those do require cloud access in order to run).

All of this though, works without the cloud, so you never have to worry about your very-important and public-facing store lighting not working when Internet is down + you gain the benefits of an automated, remote-controlled lighting system that isn’t complicated and works just like the standard light switches you’ve been used to for decades.  🙂

The wiring is extremely flexible, which is great for older buildings.  Single pole with no neutral required, which is a common setup in older electrical installations.  Please, only use a professional electrician or someone extremely comfortable with and experienced in swapping-out light switches (it’s easy to do, but it’s still electricity!)

Do yourself — and your store — a favor – start switching out light switches for Lutron Caseta switches!

I am a consignment software specialist, System Administrator for hundreds of consignment workstations across North America, and developer of Peeps' Software! I've been helping consignment & resale store-owners since 2003. I started The Computer Peeps in February of 2010. After 18+ years of working with consignment stores, I understand the unique challenges consignment & resale store-owners face. From electrical issues in old building or strip malls, to advocating for them when their consignment software keeps crashing. I now manage hundreds of computer systems, servers & websites for store-owners all across North America and I am the developer/programmer of Peeps' Software -- the only software written FOR consignment & resale stores specifically.

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