How to Troubleshoot Issues with Commercial Lighting Controls

How to Troubleshoot Issues with Commercial Lighting Controls


Installing and maintaining commercial lighting controls can be complex. As an electrician, I often get called in to diagnose and repair issues that building owners and facility managers experience with their lighting control systems. In this guide, I'll walk through the most common problems I see and provide tips on how to troubleshoot lighting control systems effectively.

Gather Information from the Customer

The first step when troubleshooting any lighting control issue is to gather as much information as you can from the customer. Here are some key questions to ask:

Thoroughly questioning the customer provides critical clues for isolating the root cause of the problem.

Inspect and Test Components

Once I gather information from the customer, I start methodically inspecting and testing components, beginning with the most likely sources of failure.

Check Control Panel and Modules

I first inspect the lighting control panels and connected modules for issues like:

I power cycle the control panel and modules during testing to see if it resolves intermittent issues.

Verify Sensors and Switches

Next, I check all digital and analog sensors linked to the system:

This confirms inputs are functioning and communicating properly.

Inspect Communication Wiring

Communication issues are common with lighting controls, so I thoroughly inspect the low-voltage network wiring:

Addressing any wiring issues can quickly restore communication.

Update and Back up Control Settings

Lighting control settings can sometimes become corrupted or lost, especially after power outages.

I recommend Facility Managers take these steps regularly:

Keeping controls programming up-to-date and backed up helps avoid issues and makes troubleshooting faster.

Leverage Technical Support

For complex lighting control issues, I leverage the free technical support offered by most manufacturers. Support teams have extensive product expertise and can quickly help identify problems.

Here are tips for getting the most out of technical support:

Technical support can relieve a lot of the troubleshooting burden, especially for unfamiliar systems.

When to Call for Professional Help

While many lighting control issues can be resolved with proper troubleshooting, there are times to call for professional assistance:

Don't hesitate to call a qualified lighting controls technician to ensure problems get resolved quickly and safely. The right expert can save you time and prevent costly mistakes.


Troubleshooting lighting control systems involves methodically gathering information, testing components, verifying settings, and leveraging technical support. While it can be frustrating dealing with malfunctions, staying calm and following a structured approach helps identify and resolve the root cause. With patience and persistence, you can get your lighting control system back to working order.