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One Town Chamber’s Experience with Canto USA’s RETRO Series

CantoUSA RETRO Install for Town Of Cary Chamber Photo

Jason Reeves - VP of Marketing, Sharon Gross - Bandit Lites,

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October 13, 2020

The Town of Cary, a diverse and thriving community in the heart of North Carolina, had a dilemma. The ambient lighting in the Town Council Chambers was in dire need of renovation, but LED retrofit solutions were not lining up with their Mission Statement for cost-conscious growth with comprehensive planning for the future. LED retrofits were either too costly, or they offered inferior performance to the existing luminaires and could not be considered a long-term solution. Furthermore, the existing luminaire layout with wide spacing and mini-candelabra lamps was presenting a logistical challenge: any LED retrofit would need to have wide optics, high output, and either replace the entire luminaire or screw into a mini-candelabra base.

Cailen Waddell (Program Supervisor of Technical Operations for the Town of Cary) was charged with finding a solution for the chamber. Cailen’s extensive background in audio, visual, and lighting production made him keenly aware of the Town of Cary’s challenge to find a quality retrofit that would dim smoothly on camera, operate at precise low levels without flickering during council meetings, and integrate with the current lighting controls. Adding to the pressure, the town had recently identified lamp replacements in the Council Chambers as high-risk and potentially hazardous. Maintenance staff were having to change lamps over seating risers, and the slope of the riser system complicated maintenance. The town needed to act quickly, but it also needed to be the right long-term solution.

To explore fixture, control, and logistical options, Cailen called on Bandit Lites’ Andrew Fisher with the Charlotte office. Cailen and Andrew explored replacing luminaires with wireless, wired, and line-voltage dimming options; however, the labor to install new luminaires and costs to update the architectural control system were quickly adding up to put the project overbudget. The Town of Cary needed an LED screw-in retrofit that would outperform their current Halogen lamps while offering the same line-voltage dimming curve and light quality.

Luckily, the team at Canto USA had been steadily working in the background towards the exact solution Cary needed. The initial line of Canto RLED lamps had always offered mini-candelabra sockets, high CRI tungsten performance, wide optics, and smooth, reliable dimming performance, so when Cailen and Andrew reached out to Shawn Harmon of Canto USA, they were surprised to find out that their new RETRO line of fixtures had more than doubled in output. The newer, high output fixtures would allow Cailen to achieve the lighting levels needed for video production, and the wide optics ensured that the council would be evenly lit, even with the current luminaire spacing. Canto USA offered a solution that was as simple as screwing in a light bulb.

With the lamp replacement dilemma solved, the Town of Cary issued a procurement request for the RETRO-Classics. Once in-hand, the maintenance staff climbed their ladders for the last time and were able to complete the retrofit in-house in half a day. The labor costs were minimal, the energy savings were appealing, and the RETRO-Classic cost was exactly what was needed for the high output, high quality retrofit the town needed.

Ultimately, the Town of Cary utilized 20 RETRO-Classic’s, all at a tungsten-perfect 2700 Kelvin CCT. The RETRO series worked flawlessly with their current dimming system, installed in the existing mini-candelabra sockets, and offered a variety of lenses and lamp extensions to make sure that the beam spreads were spot-on and the lamp fit perfectly in the luminaire and minimized glare. “Not only did the lighting look perfect, Canto USA went above and beyond on this project,” said Andrew, “They worked with Cary to send out lamp and lens samples, they swapped out lensing as-needed, and they supported the project at every step of the process. I can’t say enough about the customer service at Canto USA.”

“It worked and was really easy to complete the project and get back to production right away,” said Cailen Waddell. “We’re extremely happy with the house lights and considering the RETRO-HPL for our stage lights.”

The RETRO Series Line of Products

RETRO-Classic™ – Flexibility & Customization

CantoUSA RETRO-Classic Series Product Photo

The RETRO-Classic our original 0-100% phase dimmable (forward and reverse) variable wattage LED 2700K-6500K 80-97 CRI engine retrofit house light and most customizable RETRO in the entire RETRO family. They are heavier than the Fusion, yet lighter than Passive.

RETRO-Passive® – Absolute Silence

CantoUSA RETRO-Passive Series Product Photo

Being fanless, the RETRO-Passive is perfect for sound-sensitive spaces like museums and concert halls. They also have heavier heat sinks to compensate for not having active cooling.

RETRO-Fusion™ – Lighter & Smaller

CantoUSA RETRO-Fusion Series Product Photo

With the RETRO-Fusion being lighter and lower profile, along with a beveled top edge, it is able to squeeze into more shallow fixtures without having the lens protrude from the front of the trim ring. That reduces any type of glare. This new design opens up more opportunities and applications.

RETRO-PAR – PAR Lamp Replacement

CantoUSA RETRO-Par Series Product Photo

The RETRO-PAR is easy to replace/install, modular, and customizable. Customizable features include active or passive cooling, different wattage outputs, and different optical beam spreads. It comes in PAR 38, 46, 56, and 64 styles, as well as custom.

RETRO-HPL Series Availability

CantoUSA RETRO-HPL Product Photo

The RETRO-HPL is a direct replacement for existing Source 4 PARs in the marketplace, especially those used for house lights.

About CantoUSA

Founded in 2013, Canto USA is a manufacturer of houselight retrofits and followspots. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to our mission: “Our customers come first. In order to do this, we continuously train our team on the latest trends and needs of the industry, while at the same time becoming a trendsetter in the development of new products and technology that no other company has available.” 

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