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PFX System

The powerful all-digital PFX System from Futronix is one of the most advanced commercial dimming systems available for hi-end installations such as exclusive hotel and leading commercial buildings.

PFX System

Accurate, quiet in operation and highly reliable, PFX lighting control systems provide cost effective management of lighting usage combined with increased functionality. The PFX System also interfaces with security and alarm systems, and can be programmed to operate with other building automation systems.

PFX lighting control systems are built around a range of standard-sized PFX chassis, each with its’ own intelligence. This modular approach makes PFX systems of unlimited size and complexity easy to specify, install and commission, and simple to maintain in operation.

The PFX System is designed to control dimming for:

  • airports
  • offices
  • convention centers
  • cinemas
  • conference facilities
  • places of worship
  • restaurants
  • cruise ships
  • control rooms
  • broadcast studios, etc.

Futronix has completed a wide variety of PFX System commercial lighting installations in over 50 countries – including the world’s tallest and most expensive hotel, the ‘World’s Best Hotel’ for 2004, and the largest conference center and shopping complex in Asia.

PFX Systems have been selected by leading companies such as Hilton Hotels, Sofitel Hotels, Sheraton Group, Grand Hyatt Hotels, Peninsula Hotels, Honeywell, Honeywell Aviation, Daewoo Heavy Industries (Shipbuilding), Hyundai Industries (Shipbuilding), Daimler Chrysler, Siemens, Microsoft and IMAX.

Landmark Sheraton Hilton Sofitel Grand Hyatt
Golden Screen Barclays Cap Gemini Ernst & Young Panisula Hotel BNFL
Shangri-la Hotel IMAX Hyundai Honeywell Microsoft
Daewoo Siemens Daimler Chrysler

Installed in a remote location, the PFX System is operated by (optional) remote control or wall-mounted switch panels. Elegant hand-finished switch panels in standard size feature solid-metal face plates to complement any décor.

System programming is simple with the remote control, a PC laptop, or the Futronix Home-Icon© TFT Colour Touch Screen Controller. The in-built timer can schedule selected scenes for atmosphere, special events, or security.

Installation out of sight means that equipment, wiring and accessory components can be arranged for easy cabling, installation and programming, at the same time simplifying inspection and maintenance. Throughout an installation a single 4-core low voltage cable is ‘daisy-

Remote control

chained’ from one switch panel to the next, minimizing cabling and simplifying maintenance. Each switch panel can then be configured at installation to operate a single zone or any number of zones, or to act as a master to them all.

Programming and Setting Up by Remote Control
Programming and setting up of all parameters can be done by remote control, from the (optional) remote control handset, PC laptop or Home-Icon Colour Touch Screen Controller. This keeps switch panels simple and clean.

Remote Control Handset
Dimming levels, master raise and lower, fade rate and sleep timer duration can all be programmed and selected from the convenient (optional) remote control, and lighting levels can be temporarily adjusted without storing them. A major benefit of the remote control is in commissioning and programming of systems where the PFX System dimming equipment and the lighting are some distance apart. Any element of the system can be programmed using the remote control handset, eliminating the need to carry around a laptop vulnerable to damage or theft.

Remote control units for the PFX System are available with 2 levels of capability – limited reprogramming is available from the basic [20 key] RC20 unit, while advanced programming can be performed with the [50 key] RC50 unit. Both remote controls offer password protection, meaning that after handover property management or staff can make an alteration to lighting – either temporary or permanent – using only the remote control unit (no laptop required), while the commissioning engineer can set access priority levels and limits to reprogramming.

Home-Icon Color Touch Screen Controller

The PFX System can also be controlled remotely from the Home-Icon Color Touch Screen controller which links PFX dimmers together and provides for multiple functions, with one-touch macros to run pre-set ‘environments’ for lighting and for whole-building ambient control. The Home Icon timer comes with a 365 day astronomical timer which has the capability for special events and holidays.

The PFX System’s in-built 7-day 24-hour timer is separate from the Home-Icon or PC timer and acts with or instead of them. It can be programmed to select any scene at any time or day of the week – up to 70 different events each week (10 per day), for any circuit. Commercial uses include programming a building’s daily lighting schedules to switch circuits on and off and adjust levels, setting up ‘special event’ programming and lighting displays, and programming lighting for security requirements.

Switch Plates
Outstation Switch Plates can be used as multi-location switches to select scenes in any or all areas or rooms. Designed to complement contemporary commercial décor, stylish Futronix switch plates are hand-finished 2mm solid metal in polished brass, polished or brushed stainless steel, and white powder-coated brass with engraved logo. Now available is the elegant new Futronix ‘Eclipse’ range of switchplates and accessories. Switchplates are standard single gang UK size.

Security Sequence
A lighting sequence lasting a few minutes or many hours can be programmed – automatically sequencing through pre-set scenes and displaying each one for any variable length of time – to light specific areas at selected times, or to give the impression that the property is occupied.

The PFX System can be programmed to create subtle or dramatic lighting displays by linking a series of scenes and programming the duration and fade rate. Commercial uses include architectural exterior or interior lighting, special events, retail displays and exhibitions.

Fluorescent dimming
8 channels of 1-10v industry standard fluorescent dimming control are available via an optional card (either an internal card which is pre-wired if ordered with the PFX System, or a wall-mounted add-on unit), and each of the 8 channels can control up to 30 fluorescent ballasts. More cards can be added as necessary. A relay switching unit is available to provide ‘positive on/off switching’ supply power to the ballasts.

Specialist Lamps
Futronix DSD® sinewave dimmers are designed for controlling modern halide lamps such as LED, SON, and Metal Halide. Using patented technology, this range of dimmers varies the amplitude of a reconstructed mains sine wave according to the level of dimming required.

Expansion and Zones
The PFX System can be programmed to create any number of lighting zones, where a zone corresponds to a room or area. PFX System dimmers can be used to build a system with just a few channels or several thousand – virtually unlimited in size. Standard size PFX chassis, each with its own intelligence, come supplied with the option of 6, 8, 12, 16 or 32 channels of dimming on board.

Large areas such as ballrooms or conference rooms can also be partitioned into smaller function rooms, each with its’ own independent controls. Futronix PFX dimmer racks are typically located in separate DB (distribution board) rooms with input from switchplates located in the rooms and service areas. Using automatic or manually-controlled partition position switches (see installation guide), lighting for each smaller area or combination of areas can be controlled as though it was one room, with full scene setting capability.

X-BUS protocol
X-BUS allows all power and data to be sent down a single multi-stranded cable, daisy-chained to each switch plate in turn. This means less cabling and installation, with greater reliability due to fewer components and connections, easier terminations, and more robust cable. The PFX’s X-BUS protocol is an especially useful feature for lighting control for large pillarless areas such as ballrooms or exhibition halls.

Commercial Quality & Durability

For commercial or residential projects with comprehensive dimming requirements, the PFX System’s all-digital design and commercial build-quality assures extremely reliable, trouble-free operation. Easy to install, highly reliable, and able to cope with lamp wattage changes, short-circuits, overloads and wiring alterations, PFX Systems are designed and fabricated for rugged commercial use. The PFX System dimmer features generously rated heatsinks, a very high level of short circuit protection, and robust construction. Futronix designs and manufactures all of its own products, guaranteeing superior quality, proven reliability and extended life.

Backward Compatibility
Since 1994, when Futronix first introduced the digital dimmer, all Futronix products have been designed to be fully compatible both backwards & forwards. In addition to the reliability provided by Futronix advanced all-digital design and superb build quality, Futronix policy of always maintaining backward compatibility means that a substantial investment in a dimming system will retain its value over the years, with maintenance, service and spare parts always available.

Dimming lighting saves energy. The PFX System creates an energy efficient lighting environment, with up to 98% of unused lighting energy saved through dimming, and bulb life prolonged by 30% or more because fading a lamp digitally is gentler on the filament than just switching it on or off.

Windows Software

Programming/operating software runs under Microsoft Windows® using an RS485 interface. Any circuit can be set as any physical channel and programmed to be on any phase, in any zone or set as a switching or dimming channel. For each scene the circuits can be programmed, temporarily re-adjusted, modified, set for on/off switching and block downloaded/uploaded.

PFX System lighting control for luxury residences

In addition to commercial applications, the PFX System also provides the perfect ‘one-touch’ solution for whole house lighting control for luxury homes, and can control many other programmable home automation features including air conditioning and heating, audio visual equipment, curtains – even water features.

The PFX System is ideal for multi-zone dimming control for a luxury residence and grounds, PFX dimmers feature operational flexibility, security, and ease of operation via remote control, laptop or the Home-Icon* TFT Colour Touch Screen Controller (*multiple functions and macros to run pre-set environments are available when a Home-Icon controller is connected to the PFX System).

Typically, separate PFX System controllers - one or more per floor – are linked by an RS485 network to a colour touch screen. Switch plates are located in all rooms, with master switch panels located beside main doorways. Additional master switch panels can be installed wherever desired. Customer requirements for controlling fans and demisters, or curtains, blinds and screens - even Home Cinema and AV equipment - are easily satisfied.

For residential applications, a convenient sleep delay feature for bedrooms switches off lights after a pre-set delay of up to 2 hours, and the timer can be set to fade up bedroom lights in the morning with a ‘wake-up’ scene. ‘Welcome’ scenes – which automatically switch on selected house lights for your return home – or security settings – can be programmed, as well as temporary settings for entertaining.

PFX System Features
All digital control – each PFX dimmer contains the latest generation 16-bit controller and hard-fired digital dimmer circuits
Programmable scenes (20 per area standard, expandable to 120 with Home-Icon)
3 phase dimming or switching
4 selectable dimming curves
Each channel can be set to be a switching only (non-dimming) circuit
1024 step fade resolution for all fade and cross-fade functions
Variable fade rates from 0.5 seconds to 2 hours (to gradually turn lights on/off)

4 data buses including:

  • X bus
  • RS485
  • RS232
  • DMX (option)
No minimum load on any channel
Multi-zoning 256 zones in one local area
15 room multi-partition control
Mains voltage compensation
Voltage stabilization
24-hr 7-day built-in event timer (battery backed)
Occupancy detection
Daylight balancing
Low noise operation - audible noise from a 16 channel 10A dimmer fully loaded at 50%
is less than 30db @ 1m
Energy saving – efficiency <98%

Programming and operation from:

  • remote control handset, infra-red
  • PC laptop
  • Futronix Home-Icon® TFT Color Touch Screen Controller
Permanent memory - in the event of a power blackout pre-set scenes are not lost and re-programming of dimmer is not necessary
Temporary circuit adjustment without save
Master raise and lower
Exit Delay & Sleep Timer
Security settings

Virtual I/O for control of:

  • non-lighting equipment
  • audio and video equipment
  • curtains, shades, blinds
  • water features
  • security and alarm systems, etc.
Direct control of AV systems
Electrician-friendly installation
Table 1

  PFX System - Technical Specifications

  Mains Supply Input

  380-415V ac @ 50/60Hz three phase
  270V ac @ 60Hz
  200-240V ac @ 50/60Hz single or three phase
  110-130V ac @ 50/60Hz single phase

  Dimming Output
(no minimum load)

  5, 10, 20 or 40A per channel continuous tungsten, low voltage, halogen,   neon/cold cathode, and fluorescent (high frequency)

  Dimming Output
  (0-10Volt Optional)

  Fluorescent regulation ballasts

  DALI   Digital fluorescent ballast interface

  Switching Output

  5, 10, 20 or 40A per channel continuous HID, non-dim fluorescent, other loads

  Dimming Unit

  Output devices rated at 40A 1000V peak

  Interference Suppression

  Heavy duty, high inductance chokes 200uS rise time 1.4 mH

  Cable Termination

  200A single or three phase switch disconnector


  MCB 10A, 20A or 40A type B or C

  Cable Entry - Power

  Bottom of chassis 3 x 51mm + 5 x 25mm

  Cable Entry - Control

  Left side of chassis 20mm + 12mm

  Ambient Temperature

  40ºC maximum, generously rated heatsinks limit internal temperature rise to   less than 25°C above ambient temperature


  X-bus protocol network switch panel bus, BMS, PC network, RS485, RS232


  Conforms to relevant UL, BS & EN safety standards; CE approval

  * The M&E (Mechanical and Engineering) specification is also available for download.
Table 2





Height, Width, Depth






980 X 980 X 150mm

3 phase




950 X 500 X 110mm

3 phase




950 X 500 X 110mm

3 phase




950 X 500 X 110mm

3 phase




950 X 500 X 110mm

3 phase




950 X 500 X 110mm

3 phase




950 X 500 X 110mm

3 phase

950 X 500 X 110mm
3 phase




950 X 500 X 110mm

3 phase

Table 3


PFR - 1610



PFR - 1210



PFR - 810




RM-80 Module






Table 4


DSD - 16



DSD - 12



DSD - 8



DSD - 620



Table 4

Futronix also produces the Enviroscene Commercial Dimming System. There is a comparison sheet showing the different capabilities of the two types of systems.

PFX System provides 14,000 channels of dimming for the Burj Al Arab Hotel, Dubai

Futronix are proud to have been selected to design, fabricate and commission the largest single architectural lighting control system ever built – a 14,000 channel installation for the prestigious Burj Al Arab Hotel in Dubai. The Burj Al Arab is testimony to the flexibility of the PFX System to adapt to the most complex of requirements and meet the highest of standards.

[Projects Portfolio]

Futronix Technical Assistance for Major Projects Using PFX Systems