Fact # 1

The majority of lighting dimmer systems are replaced unnecessarily every year. Most of the time, only the control electronics have become obsolete. Lighting dimmer systems can often be retrofitted in a few hours at a fraction of the cost (typically 10-20%) of complete dimming system replacement. As an additional benefit, electrical contracting is eliminated in most cases reducing costs and facility downtime.

          Fact # 2

ALL SCR based dimmers (the vast majority of dimmers on the market for the past 40 years) consist of 3 major components. A power device, a circuit breaker, and a choke. It doesn’t matter who manufactured the dimmer, they all have the same design. It is the control electronics where most dimmers differ from each other. In lighting dimmer system electronics, newer is often better. Lighting control consoles are often upgraded, why not the dimmer electronics?

          Fact # 3

Since the 1990's, DMX512 has quickly become the data protocol standard for lighting dimmer systems. Older systems ran everything from AMX to to EC-MUX - what they have in common is that they are obsolete. Although perhaps reliable, most of these older lighting dimmer systems have become obsolete due to technical design limitations - they were state of the art when they were first designed but now they are no longer supported. Some facilities try to interface new lighting consoles using a protocol converter. However, it does nothing to address the aging or defective electronics that exist in the lighting dimmer rack. You still have old control electronics connected to a new console. Most users end up experiencing poor performance - often slow, laggy dimmer response.


          Why Retrofit?

  • Retrofitting system electronics is cost-effective
  • System retrofit capabilities meet or exceed most new dimming equipment
  • Retrofitting often need minimal or no electrical contracting
  • Most facilities can be retrofitted in one day
  • Replacing only the dimming system electronics saves unnecessary waste at landfill sites

Completely replacing a dimmer system can be expensive and substantial labor costs are incurred in replacing the existing lighting wiring network. The majority of lighting dimmer racks are solidly made and the flakiness that users report and complain about often come from aged electronics. As the electronics age, the problems experienced will increase until finally full failure occurs - often at the worse time.

              What Equipment Do You Retrofit?

  • Strand Lighting CD80 dimmer racks

    CD80 dimmer racks are the industry workhorse and were available over the years in various configurations and control electronics.  The most basic and common rack the the original CD80 ramp card rack.  After that came the CD80AE or Advance electronics rack which introduced DMX though it was a hybrid analog / digital system.  After that the rack change and the dimmer modules did too to lower cost.  The CD80SV or Supervisor dimmer rack was the result.  It was later phased out for the C21 dimmer rack which was a throwback to the CD80SV rack after the disaster of the SLD96 rack.  All these racks were available is rolling rack versions, both 48 and 96 way.

    CD80 ramp card cage
    CD80AE card cage
    CD80SV processor module

    Emlight has chosen to support and distribute Johnson Systems Inc.’s CD-2000 and CD-3000 retrofit kits.

    The original 2000 Series offers a full system retrofit for applications where it is desirable to re-use existing house control wiring and back boxes. When used with Johnson Systems 2800 Series retrofit controls, the on-board architectural software functions and features eliminate the need for a separate house light control system and provide unparalleled value.

    New for 2010, the 3000 Series products deliver exceptional state-of-the-art performance at a very low cost. Designed for applications where a DMX or Ethernet front end is required, these feature laden systems deliver powerful performance and ease of installation.

    Johnson Systems CD-2000 retrofit

    Best choice where existing building LV controls (house) require a cost effective retrofit. Works with JSI CS-2800 & CS-2900 retrofit control stations. For applications where existing house control stations require replacement and it is desirable to re-use existing back boxes and LV wiring. Upstream house light control system is old, damaged or obsolete.

    CD-2000 MSRP $7495.00
    (for CD80 ramp card racks and CD80AE racks)
    Emlight price $7120.00

    CD-2000-SV MSRP $7495.00 *
    (for CD80SV racks)
    Emlight Price $7120.00

    CD-2000-RR MSRP $POA
    (for 96 way rolling racks 2x48)
    Emlight price $POA

    * = includes credit trade in of old electronics

    POA = priced on application

    Johnson Systems CD-3000 Retrofit

    Best choice where only dual DMX protocol input is required. "Green" and power saving features - for installations that operate from an existing or planned DMX upstream control system. Dedicated inputs to easily interface with any Building Management Systems (BMS).

    CD-3000 MSRP $5495.00
    (for CD80 ramp card racks, CD80AE racks, CD80 48 way rolling racks)
    Emlight price $5220.00

    CD-3000-96RR $6195.00
    (for CD80 96 way rolling racks)
    Emlight price $5885.00

    CD-3000-SV MSRP $5495.00 *
    (for CD80SV racks and CD80SV 48 way rolling racks)
    Emlight price $5220.00

    CD-3000-SV-96RR MSRP $6195.00 *
    (for CD80SV 96 way rolling racks)
    Emlight price $5885.00

    CD-3000-C21 MSRP $POA
    (for C21 racks)
    Emlight price $POA

    * = includes credit trade in of old electronics

    POA = priced on application





  • Strand Lighting CD80 portable packs

    The CD80 dimmer pack was the industry workhorse and was available over the years with 2 different controllers.

    CD80 AMX Pack Controller
    CD80 Digital Pack Controller

    Emlight has chosen to support and distribute Johnson Systems Inc.’s CD-PACK and PT-PACK retrofit kits.

    The PT-PACK (Professional Touring) version offers features that exceed the OEM control electronics, while the CD-PACK is a lower cost solution designed for facilities with more permanent installations and needs. Both units are designed as direct replacement for the existing control electronics tray and simply "plug-in". DMX input and state-of-the-art high speed processing make upgrading these ruggedly built CD80 dimmer packs fast, simple, and inexpensive.

    Johnson Systems CD-PACK retrofit
    MSRP $1450.00
    230VAC unit add $45.00
    Johnson Systems PT-PACK retrofit
    MSRP $1950.00
    230VAC unit add $45.00

    Emlight Design pricing:

    CD-PACK $1375.00
    PT-PACK $1850.00

  • Strand Lighting Environ 2 dimmer racks

    Strand Lighting Environ 2 dimmer racks were the architectural standard — with over 10,000 installations of this workhorse architectural dimmer, it was the defacto standard for high performance dimming in hotels, museums, theater lobbies, etc.  There were 3 major classes of program modules for this rack:  the programmable units that spoke Environ 2’s proprietary language - the 7820 and 7825 program modules, the analog modules that spoke either 0-5VDC or 0-10VDC - the 7810 and 7811 program modules, and the expansion modules that listened to AMX-96 - the 7830.  They all look alike except for a few front panel features.  


    Top to Bottom in order:
    Environ 2 7830 Expansion Module
    Environ 2 7810 Analog Control Module
    Environ 2 7830 Expansion Module

    Emlight has chosen to support and distribute Johnson Systems Inc.’s ENVY retrofit kits.

    The Envy Retrofit allows an Environ 2 rack to finally receive industry standard DMX.  An optional daughter board allows 24 channels of analog to be used if simpler 0-10VDC analog control systems are desired instead.


    Johnson Systems ENVY retrofit
    MSRP $1695.00
    24 channel analog daughter board add $275.00


    Emlight Design pricing on ENVY retrofit: $1610.00

  • Strand Lighting Digital Environ (DE90) dimmer racks

    Strand Lighting Digital Environ (DE90) dimmer racks have to be one of the most reliable dimmer racks in the world.  Basically a DMX update of the Environ 2 rack with a fully programmable processor.  Aside from an early rash of failures of the rack backplane board, one rarely sees these fail.  Unfortunately this attribute is also its largest liability: spare parts are EXTREMELY rare and the units that have failed have done so in a spectacular fashion.  Emlight considers all DE90 racks as ticking time bombs.


    Digital Environ (DE90) processor

    Emlight has chosen to support and distribute Johnson Systems Inc.’s DE90-3000 retrofit kits.

    The DE90-3000 retrofit kit replaces the original DE90 processor and the backplane with new control electronics.  It has a unique power saving standby mode that uses less than 1 watt of power.  To save you even more money, it has a unique lamp warming feature to lower the in-rush current to the dimmer by up to 70% to increase lamp filament life.  Each dimmer output of the DE90-3000 are high resolution and can assigned individual dimmer profiles.  There are also dual DMX inputs that are isolated along with analog, load shed, and dry contact inputs to interface with alarm and building management systems.  The DE90-3000 retrofit saves you money and time.  What’s not to love?


    Johnson Systems DE90-3000 retrofit
    MSRP $2850.00


    Emlight Design pricing on DE90-3000 retrofit: $2700.00

  • Strand Lighting CD80SV compact rolling rack

    Strand Lighting CD80SV Compact Rolling Rack

    The Strand Lighting CD80SV compact rolling rack (single wide 48 channel unit that succeeded the older compact rolling rack that used two 24 channel CD80 digital pack controllers) is a strange beast.  It was meant as a replacement to the easy to use CD80 compact rolling rack but using the powerful CD80SV processor that would confound studio personnel with its myriad of options when all you wanted to do was set the DMX address.

    Angkor Lighting 800048-RT retrofitAngkor solves this problem by its forthcoming 48 channel retrofit that is based on the unit from their 48 channel rolling rack.  It features bump buttons, bringing back a beloved feature from the original CD80 compact rolling rack, and a simple mechanical dial for setting the DMX address.  That’s it.  No architectural features you will not need, no mess, no fuss.


    Ankor Lighting 800048-RT CD80SV CRR Retrofit
    Emlight price: $2516.00

  • Strand Lighting CD80 single dimmer

    Angkor Lighting single dimmer controller

    The Strand Lighting CD80 single dimmer is a very popular product with studios.  They were available is 2.4kW through 24kW sizes.  These units were tough and made to take abuse - all but their controllers which included teeny tiny little DMX address switches that required a fine tough or a small tweeker sized screw driver.  Invariably a little to hard of push and the switch would bend back and snap apart.Strand CD80 single dimmer retrofitted

    Angkor solved this problem when they designed their own stand alone single dimmer.  They had the forethought to design their controller in such a way that it could easily retrofit into the Strand CD80 single dimmer.  And thus magic was born: virtually unbreakable DMX dials.  What the owners of the these single dimmers wanted they could now have.  Reliable controllers that an end user would be hard pressed to damage just when setting up.


    Angkor Lighting 750001 Retrofit Control Module for CD80 Single dimmer
    Emlight price: $630.00

  • Electro Controls Quad dimmer racks

    The Electro Controls Quad dimmer rack are a mixed bag to support for only this reason: they were almost all semi-custom in design, varying in dimmer count, ancillary equipment in the rack and the capability to accept just analog or having a RS-422 receiver module for languages such as EC-MUX.  Before retrofitting, a site survey is HIGHLY recommended.  These racks have received a sort of bad reputation as flakey rack in recent years.  It can all be traced to the electronics in the racks and in the dimmer modules.  They have not aged gracefully at all.  The basic design of this circuit boards predate CD80.


    This is a half-rack example of an Electro Controls Quad dimmer rack.  The control electronics are at the bottom.  Each dimmer module also has a firing card that tends to drift with age and should ideally be changed when the rack is retrofitted.

    Quad module retrofit firing card

    Emlight has chosen to support and distribute Johnson Systems Inc.’s QD-2000 retrofit kits.

    The QD-2000 retrofit completely replaced the old Electro Controls Quad electronics card cage at the bottom of the rack.  It is compatible with the OEM wiring in the rack to facilitate installation.  The QD-2000 includes dual isolated DMX inputs and 16b analog inputs.  It is compatible with all Johnson Systems control stations and also features auxiliary 128 channels of DMX output to control other DMX capable equipment and or racks.  It includes extensive architectural support features including DMX snapshots, power management, and infrared system setup printout  plus over 40 more features.  Multiple racks can be easily networked together and with the QD-2000, the Quad dimmer rack finally has a thermostat installed to prevent the racks dimmer modules from overheating due to a malfunctioned fan module (unlike the original control electronics).  A few “older” Quad racks will require drop down cable to be installed because they were never built with them.


    Johnson Systems QD-2000 retrofit
    MSRP $7495.00
    Economy analog version MSRP $3995.00

    Drop down cables per 32 channels MSRP $200.00
    Quad firing card (1 per dimmer module) MSRP $225.00
    Quad dimmer module retrofit kit (firing card and 4 heavy duty SCRs) MSRP $649.00


    Emlight Design Pricing:
    QD-2000 retrofit $7100.00
    Economy analog version $3795.00
    Quad dimmer module retrofit kit $615.00


  • Electro Controls Alpha Dimmer wall packs

    The Electro Controls Alpha Dimmer wall packs are quite unique.  Each dimmer is completely standalone and requires only AC, a DC control voltage, and a circuit breaker.  Often times, these dimmers are found in racks to create a pseudo dimmer rack named for example  Alpha Dim PAC 9 for nine Alpha Dimmers in one rack, etc.  Based on Quad dimmer technology, the firing card is again the culprit based solely on age.  The best thing to do is retrofit a new firing card on to it along with a replacement SCR.  There are a few different type of Alpha Dimmers out there, including a decidedly rare MRI dimmer that send high voltage DC to its load.  For the most parts most of these dimmers are the incandescent variety and that is what we retrofit.

    Electro Controls Alpha Dimmer rack

    Electro Controls Alpha Dimmer wall pack.  This wall pack or dimmer rack contains 10 Alpha Dim units in it and includes two cooling fans at the top.  The load breakers for this unit was located in an electrical distribution room two doors down.  They may also be installed below the unit or in a panel above the actual dimmers. 

    Emlight has chosen to support and distribute Johnson Systems Inc.’s Alpha Dim Retrofit Card.

    The Alpha Dim retrofit card is fitting on the rear of the unit.  As the units have changed over the years, sometimes drilling of new screw holes for the standoffs are required as to if replacing the SCR and the original one was what we term a “gen 1” SCR.  Unless you had a later generation unit, often termed as Alpha Dim II, you will want to have this unit retrofitted by a qualified shop.

    Electro Controls Alpha Dim retrofit

    Johnson Systems Alpha Dim Retrofit card
    MSRP $250.00
    Retrofit heavy duty SCR MSRP $119.00


          • Digital design eliminates curving/adjusting.
          • SCR drive outputs.
          • Selectable curves and pre-heat.
          • LED status indicators line up with the frame "trim" holes.
          • 30 Amp power terminals.

    Emlight Design Pricing:
    Alpha Dim Retrofit Card $235.00

  • Kliegl K-96/100 dimmer racks

    The Kliegl K-96 and K-100 dimmer racks are old battle horses from a company that was at the forefront of dimmer and lighting technology.  The electronics have not age well at all.  For those few facilities that have not replaced these racks because of electrical contracting cost, there is hope.



    The Johnson Systems KD-2000 and KD-2100 retrofit kits are the ONLY choices.


    The KD-2000 and the KD-2100 is a professional retrofit electronics package designed specifically for Kliegl K-96 and K-100 dimmer racks respectively. This full-featured, state-of-the-art unit converts dual DMX inputs with protocol manager to 96 PWM and 128 DMX channels of output. Standard software includes architectural features such as DMX snapshots, scene storage, time clock, power management, auto scheduling, dimmer rack diagnostics and much more. Designed to install in minutes, this product is the proven and much talked about solution for K-96 dimmer racks.

    The KD-2000 and the KD-2100 make expensive replacement of antiquated dimming systems completely unnecessary. At a fraction of installed replacement cost and downtime, this engineered long-term solution puts state-of-the-art dimming technology at your fingertips!

    • A full-featured cost-effective solution for K-96 and K-100 owners requiring a long-term, user-friendly front end for their dimmer rig.
    • Compatible with O.E.M. dimmer rack wiring for fast easy installation.
    • Dual opto-isolated DMX inputs with built in protocol manager.
    • 16 analog inputs and an infrared LED link for wireless printouts of programmed data.
    • Modular design with only two "plugable" modules.
    • Site programmable via a user-friendly, intuitive and self-prompting menu structure. No laptop computer or special software is required!
    • Powerful architectural software features include DMX snapshots, power management and over 40 more.
    • Auxiliary 128 channel DMX output for incorporation of peripheral DMX devices into the system's architectural control.
    • Supports all Johnson Systems control stations.
    • Networking between multiple KD-2000's allows for integrated control of multi-rack installations.

    Johnson Systems KD-2000 retrofit for K-96 racks
    MSRP $7495.00
    Johnson Systems KD-2100 retrofit for K-100 racks
    MSRP $7495.00


    Emlight Design Pricing:
    KD-2000 or KD-2100 retrofit $7100.00


  • Electro Controls Playmate dimmer pack

    If you own an Electro Controls Playmate dimmer pack, you may look at the Strand CD80 dimmer packs and wish you could upgrade your pack too.  Well now you can!


    The Johnson Systems JS-EC12P retrofit kit is the ONLY choice.

    EC-Pack-PCB_smallEC-Retrofit-Lamacoid_smallThe JS-EC12P is a direct DMX 512 retrofit controller specifically designed for facilities with an existing Electro Controls (EC) Portable Playmate dimmer packs. This product will upgrade existing dimmer packs to current dimming technology in minutes. The EC12P is pin to pin compatible with O.E.M. factory wiring for ease of installation. DMX input and state-of-the-art high speed processing make upgrading these ruggedly built "work-horse" dimmer packs fast, simple and inexpensive!

    JS-EC12P Features

    • Direct "plug-in" retrofit compatible with OEM dimmer pack wiring.
    • DMX addressing and configuration accessible via the original face panel.
    • New "self-adhesive" face panel overlay provides accurate upgraded information.
    • DMX input XLR connectors (IN and THRU) pre-wired to "break-away style" connectors permit fast and easy installation.
    • Hi-speed processor ensures accurate dimmer output levels and smooth fades.
    • LED Status indication of power, data receive and over-temp.
    • Face panel "DMX Termination" and "Panic" switches.

    Johnson Systems JS-EC12P
    MSRP $1695.00

    Emlight Design Pricing:
    JS-EC12P retrofit $1600.00

  • Analog Control Dimmers

    There are several dimmers that use analog control voltage and are not wide spread like the Electro Controls Alpha Dim units.  Their relative scarcity can be because the they failed and the end user could not repair it, or it was assumed that they were beyond repair because of issues like shorted SCRs or flakey firing card.  Well, no more.  Now, we can salvage and modernize just about any dimmer out there.  Ironically, these older analog dimmers are for the most part better built than the new stuff.



    Electro Controls analog dimmer
    Electro Controls anaog dimmer retrofitted
    Dimmer 50 percent
    To the left is an Electro Controls analog based dimmer rack made up of 6 individual dimmer modules of the 6kW variety.  One that failed (to the right) was removed and was retrofitted with a Johnson Systems firing card, an FC-22EC Bolt In to be precise.  The dimmer is pictured 2nd to the right being tested after a refit.  In this case the SCRs were also replaced as one had failed killing the original firing card which is what started this repair.  Upon installing it became obvious how bad the dimming curves the original  firing cards generate.  It’s always best to retrofit all the dimmers at once.  The 3rd picture to the right shows the load output at 50% DC input.  The new cards are rock steady and exactly on as evidence by the RMS reading of 86.7Vac-rms.  That is about as close as you can get to 50% rms.  Whether you are retrofitting SSR, SCR, or triac based devices, we have a card for you.  Whether you need 0-10vDC or 0-15VDC - or even DMX inputs, we can find a solution, even if we need a custom PCB.

    FC-DMX MSRP $395.00 Emlight $375.00
    Digital universal DMX/analog-in firing card (SSR/SCR)

    FC-MACRO MSRP $395 Emlight $375.00
    Direct replacement for Macro dimmers

    FC-22AB-SCR MSRP $250.00 Emlight $235.00
    Digital universal analog-in firing card for SCRs

    FC-22AB-Triac MSRP $250.00 Emlight $235.00
    Digital universal analog-in firing card for triacs

    FC-22EC Bolt-in MSRP $250.00 Emlight $235.00
    For most Electro Controls and Control Ltg. dimmers

    FC-ADC-1 MSRP $195.00 Emlight $185.00
    Universal analog firing card (SSR/SCR)

    FC-233 EC Modular MSRP $225.00 Emlight $210.00
    Direct replacement for Electro Controls Modular dimmer

    FC-190 Strand JTM MSRP $250.00 Emlight $235.00
    Direct replacment Strand JTM Series dimmers

  • Universal Dimmer Controller

    The UDC-24 provides the industry's most flexible and capable dimmer controller available. This 19" unique multifunction unit is specifically designed to convert up to 24 channels of DMX512 lighting protocol and 24 channels of analog 0-10 Volt DC into precise pulse width modulated (PWM) control of Solid State Relays. Hi-resolution control of lighting loads allows for precision fades that outperform most dimmers.


    The UDC-24 incorporates an unprecedented array of "smart" features that include back-lit LCD display, phase reference patching, state-of-the-art voltage regulation, analog patching, bump buttons, full diagnostics and much more. Available in either 19" rack mount or desktop models, this powerful product will allow for easy retrofit of virtually any dimmer model/type. Truly universal, the UDC-24 will operate from 85 to 265 VAC with any power arrangement at 50 or 60 Hz, thereby permitting global application.

    • Opto-isolated DMX inputs (front and rear). RDM ready.
    • Up to 24 (0-10VDC) analog inputs with grand master input.
    • 24 individual bump buttons with programmable lockout.
    • State-of-the-art, 100% digital voltage regulation for extreme speed and accuracy.
    • 9-bit hi-resolution PWM outputs for superior fade quality.
    • LCD display and user-friendly programming permits ease of setup and operation.
    • Programmable voltage limit for each dimmer.
    • Individual PWM output profiles include square, linear, direct and non-dim curves.
    • Analog patching allows for multi-room dimmer control.
    • Infrared LED output with optional handheld wireless printer.
    • Low profile 19" wall mount enclosures available for multi-unit applications.

    Johnson Systems UDC-24 MSRP $2750.00
    Emlight Price $2600.00

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