Frequently Asked Questions Relating to:

+ Technical Overview

What is the Power Server Module (PSM)?

The PSM is the heart of Nextek's power distribution system. It is the device that efficiently converts power from multiple sources into standardized, low voltage power for use by up to 16 channels of (primarily) LED luminaires. It also has the power to interpret sensor (occupancy and daylight) data and control commands to adjust light levels on a per channel basis.

What is a Microgrid?

Microgrids are small-scale versions of the electric grid within a facility. At a facility-central location, power conversions and control commands are made from which power is distributed to loads (such as LED lights). Doing so makes the use of high-efficiency power converters and state of the art controls economically practical.

+ Installation

Why should we consider implementing Nextek's Microgrid system?

The Nextek Microgrid solution is custom designed to:

  • Shorten the return on investment (ROI) period of LED lighting system

  • Provide a safe and flexible working environment in which lights can easily be reconfigured

  • Provide a more robust control infrastructure to building managers and the end user

  • Make smart controls financially accessible to new buildings and retrofit projects by reducing the number of control units needed per square foot

What is the cost of Microgrid compatible products compared to their traditional scattered infrastructure alternatives?

Comparable. The cost of Microgrid components (luminaires, wiring, controls, devices) is comparable to their traditional equivalents. In most cases they are the same device with only the power input circuitry altered to operate on DC power. Certain Microgrid devices may also be less expensive because they do not need an internal power converter.

Can Microgrid fixtures be wired together in a single run (daisy-chained), or do they need to be wired in dedicated runs back to the PSM Unit (Microgrid power supply).

The Nextek PSM unit can supply each of its 16 channels with up to 95 watts. This could accommodate multiple lower wattage fixtures in a daisy chain arrangement, which is then connected to the PSM channel.

Do licensed electricians need to wire and install the 24VDC components and fixtures, or can General Trades personnel do that work?

Installation of the PSM should be performed by a licensed electrician as the process deals with high voltage wiring. Once installed, PSM channel cables can be installed by general trades personnel. At 24 volts, these installations and reconfigurations can even occur while the PSM is powered on.

Is there a separate color standard for DC wiring so that it does not become confused with AC wiring?

There is no specific color standard for wire markings for DC systems. It is recommended that DC wiring and devices have a different form of identification than similar AC components.

Won't there be a loss of power through wiring for 24vdc distribution cables?

The length of low voltage cables that connect power to the DC devices or an Energized Ceiling Grid are defined within the Emerge Alliance Standard as follows: Power Cable Assemblies should not exceed the lengths noted in the table below for circuits that are designed to carry full load currents. Circuits dedicated to sensors, user controls, and other low-power devices may exceed these limits.

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Do I need to replace light switches with DC rated switches?

Existing switches may be used with Nextek products. The nature of the PSM allows advanced controls to seamlessly integrate into your lighting. This upgrade from basic traditional switches can reduce costs, increase lighting flexibility, and provide tailored lighting solutions to the workplace.

+ Safety

Why doesn't the PSM output from the channels shock me?

The PSM outputs regulated 24 VDC power. This touch-safe voltage is not high enough to cause pain in most people.

Is there a danger when the low voltage channel cabling gets wet?

No. Low voltage cables are UL listed and are rated to survive a wet event. However, they are not intended to operate in an underwater condition.

+ Service

What happens if the Power Supply Module (PSM) loses power?

If you lose power to a PSM, all of the electrical devices connected to the PSM will also lose power. When power is restored to that PSM, power will be restored to the connected devices. The devices will generally reset to the state at which they were running at the time of power loss.

What happens if we lose Internet connection?

In the event that Internet connection is lost, the system will continue to operate locally. This means that PSMs, hardware switches, motion sensors, and dimmers will all continue to function normally. Device settings and 'scenes' cannot be changed without an Internet connection and live logging data / remote support will be disabled. Once Internet access is restored, the system will resume full functionality.

+ Compatibility

Can PSM units be connected to 120 VAC Power?

It is recommended that PSM units be connected to at least 208 VAC power. See the PSM product page for exact specifications.

Does Nextek's system require batteries?

No. DC storage batteries are optional for our systems. However, Nextek's system is designed to utilize battery power in the most efficient way possible, so implementing a battery backup system would be even more practical with Nextek's system.

What available products can be powered by Nextek's system?

Nextek's system is Emerge Alliance registered, meaning it will power all Emerge Alliance registered products. This list is vast and continues to grow every day. Please visit the Emerge Alliance website for a full list of standardized products: www.EmergeAlliance.org

What AC light fixtures are compatible with Nextek's DC Ballasts?

Most AC fluorescent lighting fixtures are compatible with the Nextek DC Ballasts. Many manufacturers now produce factory-assembled fixtures that include Nextek DC Ballasts, which require only a simple retrofit procedure. For an up-to-date listing of these fixtures, refer to the registered products section at www.EmergeAlliance.org or give us a call: 313-887-1321 / email us: info@NextekPower.com

Can AC powered fluorescent and CFL fixtures be converted to DC by just swapping out the ballast from AC to DC?

In most cases, existing, popular style AC fluorescent luminaires can accept a replacement Nextek DC Ballast. Each luminaire needs to be assessed to determine its compatibility. The AC wiring to existing luminaires would most likely need to be replaced with new wiring designed to connect with the Nextek PSM unit. A Nextek Retrofit Kit for 1-Lamp, 2-Lamp, and CFL Ballasts is an easy-to-install conversion product. Note that in this potential application, the modified product would not be UL listed or Emerge Alliance Registered.

Are DC Microgrid system designs covered by the NEC?

Yes. Components, wiring, and overall system design and function for a DC Microgrid system are in the voltage range of the systems as defined by the NEC.

Can Nextek Ballasts run on AC and DC power?

No. The Nextek ballasts for Emerge Alliance based systems can only be connected to 24 VDC Power.

+ Return on Investment (ROI)

Do Nextek Microgrid systems qualify for rebates or credits?

Yes. There are many forms of tax credits, rebates, and other financial incentives in the marketplace to support the purchase and implementation of DC Microgrid systems and components. Each system will qualify for a unique array of local and Federal financial incentives based on configuration and location. Specific incentives are constantly changing.

Do I get LEED credit for implementing a Nextek power distribution system?

Possibly! You can apply for a LEED innovation credit for using Emerge Alliance registered products in an overall reduced energy use solution. Using Emerge Alliance registered products can help lower your energy usage, which may also help you achieve the criteria for other LEED credits.

When implementing renewables (solar power), is the Nextek Microgrid system more efficient than using an inverter based traditional system?

Yes, very much so. By eliminating an inverter-based system, direct use of DC power can produce an increase in overall system efficiency of up to 40%. Many factors of an overall system design will ultimately define the specific efficiency gain when compared to a traditional inverter system.

+ Emerge Alliance

What is the Emerge Alliance?

The Emerge Alliance is an open, membership-based, not-for-profit industry association formed in 2008 to create and promote the adoption of new standards for Direct Current (DC) power distribution within commercial buildings to improve their flexibility and sustainability. Visit the Emerge Alliance website at: www.EmergeAlliance.org

Where do I find Emerge Alliance registered products?

Emerge Alliance registered products can be found at: www.emergealliance.org/products/registeredproducts

What type of lighting controls can I use with an Emerge Alliance registered system?

Any Emerge Registered control device can be used.

What type of connectors can I use with an Emerge Alliance registered system?

Any Emerge Alliance registered connector can be used.

Can I get LEED credit for using an Emerge Alliance Standard based system on my project?

You can apply for a LEED innovation credit for using Emerge Alliance registered products in an overall reduced energy use solution. Using Emerge Alliance registered products can help lower your energy usage, which may also help you achieve the criteria for other LEED credits.


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