The MEGA Lite DECO houselights are a really great and simple system that allows anyone to install these low-voltage lights to cover smaller spaces. They’re just one of the brands that has come out with low-voltage houselight systems that can be used to light small to mid size spaces.
While the DECO system has a lot of options, our go-to models for lights are the RGBW Pendant and RGBW downlights. These excel at heights from about 8′-12′ and up to about 8′-10′ between fixtures. Their variable-white models of the same lights are a little brighter and can be used in slightly taller spaces, or when you don’t need color and would appreciate the slightly higher CRI and brightness.
Installing the DECO system is pretty simple, but we wanted to list all of the steps here!
Step 1: Planning
The MEGA Lite DECO system consists of (2) main parts – there is the LED driver, and the fixtures themselves.
The driver plugs in to regular, 110v AC power or autoranges up to 240v. The included PowerCon input cable here in the US is a standard Edison cable. This is what provides the power and sets up the DMX to each light.
Lights get connected to outputs on the driver, and depending on the driver and light you use, 5+ lights may be connected to each output. Outputs are effectively “Zones” – each light on the same output will respond to the same DMX commands.
As an example, a row of 5 lights on a single output will always be the same color and brightness. It’s important to plan out your zones wisely to fit the needs of your venue!
The lights are a variety of different sizes and shapes of light – they keep adding more lights to the range! Pendants, sconces, recessed can lights, neon flex, LED strip, mini pars and more are available!
You want to start by drawing out the ideal placement of each light and figure out how far you need to place them apart. How many lights you need per output and where you need the outputs will determine which driver to purchase for each segment of your system.
The biggest determinants of where to place your drivers/how to segment your lights are:
- How many watts per output/zone you need.
- How far in cable length your lights will be.
Each driver has different output wattages – most of them are 96w, which is 5 of the pendants, recessed cans, or sconces. The CV24 only has 20w per output, which is a single pendant, recessed can, or sconce. Some of the lower-wattage lights can do 2 fixtures on a CV24 output. While it gives you individual control, it also makes for a LOT of cable runs!
On each driver output to your lights, you can run up to 100′ of Cat6, 23AWG UTP cable. This is thicker than standard Cat5e, so it’s important to get the correct cable. Most 23AWG cable can be terminated with standard Cat5e ends, but it’s easier to use Cat6 ends, which stagger the cable slightly. Even though it is less common, there are many places to find Cat6 23AWG at a good price, including hardware stores and Monoprice.
When you’re calculating wire distance, think about where you can mount your driver (many of the drivers can be wall or rack mounted), and then both the vertical distance and horizontal distance to the light, plus a little extra wire to keep it neat.
If you have 5 lights or more in a chain, the total cable distance cannot exceed 100′. This is probably the biggest limitation, but it can be easily overcome with good planning!
Step 2: Installation
Most of the DECO fixtures mount to standard light fixture electrical boxes. The biggest challenges with installing these fixtures can be stuffing the wire into the electrical boxes – in smaller boxes, it’s really tight, but it does fit!
If you’re replacing an existing high voltage fixture, you’ll want to make sure you remove and properly terminate any high voltage cable in that electrical box – mixed high and low voltage generally isn’t allowed under most electrical codes (and for shockingly good reasons!)
The DECO drivers allow you to set up each output independently with it’s own DMX address. This gives you the flexibility to put multiple outputs on the same DMX controls, or keep them all separate. You could even put gaps between your addresses if you were adding these to a DMX rig that only had a few, scattered addresses available.
You’ll also set up each output as either the color mixing RGBW/RGB or the variable CW/WW mode. Each output can be set to a different mode, so you can use a mix of RGBW and variable-white fixtures on the same driver – but not the same output!
Once you wire the DMX via the terminal blocks or 5-pin DMX connectors, you’re ready to control! If you’re not ready to use DMX when you’re installing, you can still put the DECO driver into a test mode to make sure everything is working great!
And that’s it! Once your system is up, you’re ready to enjoy your new houselights! And if you are looking to get a MEGA Lite DECO system, contact us for a quote through Learn Stage Lighting GEAR! We can help you determine how many lights you need and get you a personalized price on your lights and drivers!
And if you’re looking for more info, see my full review of the DECO system here: