What are Low Current / ELV systems?

Low current or ELV

Most new constructions are specifying systems that provide connectivity, security, safety, and automation to buildings. These systems are sometimes referred to as low current systems and extra low voltage (ELV) systems. Is there any difference between the two terminologies? And what do they exactly refer to?

Low current and ELV are two terminologies used interchangeably to describe a range of systems. The two terms refer to the discipline in electrical engineering comprising systems that function using extra low voltage. In technical terms, an extra low voltage (ELV) system is any device or circuit that operates in the range of 50V A.C / 120V D.C or less[1].

The low current or extra low voltage systems can be generally categorized into 4 main categories depending on their functionality:

1. Connectivity

  • Data Network Systems
  • Telephone Systems
  • Video Distribution

2. Security

  • Video Surveillance
  • Access Control
  • Intrusion Detection

3. Safety

  • Fire Alarm
  • Public Address
  • Nurse Call
  • Master Clock System

4. Automation

  • Building Automation
  • Building management system  
  • Audiovisuals
  • Parking Management

[1] According to the IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission)


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