By Lisa Johnston
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Schneider Electric is expanding the multiroom audio options under it Square D brand with the introduction of a multiroom audio system that integrates with Square D's Clipsal series of home lighting-control systems.
Square D already offers structured-wiring systems with optional multiroom-audio hubs to complement the voice, lighting, video, and broadband-data hubs installed in the brand's structured-wiring enclosures. The company launched its residential lighting-control products last year.
The new multiroom audio system can be controlled from the Clipsal in-wall keypads and touch screens without installing third-party gateways or using other custom integration techniques, the company said. In the future, Schneider plans to add control of HVAC, security, irrigation, and other home-system controls to the Clipsal keypads and touch screens.
The keypads and touch screens use CAT-5 wiring to connect to a centrally located Clipsal Audio Matrix Switcher, which provides up to eight zones of audio output from four source inputs. The switcher also uses CAT-5 to connect to Clipsal amplifiers in each room.
The digital amps, available in desktop and custom installed versions, output 10 watts when powered through the CAT-5 cable and 25 watts when powered with optional power supply to drive up to two sets of 8-ohm speaker pairs. The local amps also feature a local input for connecting CD and MP3 players.
The switcher also features two mono annunciation inputs that are provided for connection to intercoms or other systems. Annunciation input can be given priority over other source inputs.
Clipsal keypads and touch screens that control the multiroom audio system include the Neo and Saturn keypads with Dynamic Labeling Technology (DLT). The keypads feature programmable keypad buttons and customized labels that appear next to each button on a back-lit LCD screen. Each of four control buttons and one scroll/page button can be programmed with two different labels for a total of eight control buttons and two scroll/page buttons.
The editable LCD labels can display text, symbols and graphics , including dynamic graphic displays such as bar graphs. Bitmaps can be downloaded for each group address or scene.
One five-button keypad with DLT replaces many single-operation switches, on/off toggles, dimmers, and timers, Schneider said. The five keypad buttons are lit with blue LEDs. The keypads also provide four timed lighting-scene controls that can include 10 lights per scene.
Schneider and Square D market residential, commercial and industrial lighting and automation systems. Schneider Electric, headquartered in Paris, generated sales of $14.5 billion in 2005.
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