I got a call last week to check out a problem with lighting in an MRI suite. There are two separate LED lighting circuits in the room with the MRI. One set of lights was working and the other set was "off" and the switch/dimmer control failed to turn them "on". After a few minutes of troubleshooting it appeared the problem was at the switch/dimmer control. I got lucky and after momentarily removing one of the wires at the back of the control the lights turned "on". Didn't solve the problem since the switch/dimmer control couldn't turn the lights "off". For the moment, having the lights permanently "on" is better than "off". My boss looked at what it would cost to buy a replacement control. He was a little shocked to find out it would be $1300. So what makes this control so special?
After reading about the product and how it's designed for the MRI suite I assume it's all about the R&D that goes into making a lighting system that works with little maintenance and minimal interference with the imaging. A few years back there was a MRI suite renovation that I worked on and heard about how the maintenance staff had to routinely change the incandescent bulbs nearest the MRI because the magnet would damage the filaments. We upgraded the lights to LED but apparently there was imaging problems after. Could it have been due to dimmer control interference? I do not recall that the LEDs and control we used were designed specifically for an MRI suite.
The documentation for the expensive dimmer control for the MRI suite I was working in last week describes how a typical LED dimmer, that uses PWM to vary the light output, creates a square wave which can cause interference with the MRI's imaging results. The expensive MRI designed dimmer apparently creates a trapezoid wave which supposedly minimizes interference with the image quality. But is it worth $1300? Apparently this manufacturer claims that 3rd party 0-10V dimming control will work but only if you buy a special module to interface the 3rd party dimmer and their proprietary dimming system. I can only imagine how much that would cost.
At the end of the day I guess you can look at the big picture and start adding up how expensive MRI's are to install and operate and then the $1300 dimmer control doesn't look very expensive. On the other hand it's a publicly funded system that is always trying to find money so any time you can save a dollar...some administrator with zero accountability will find another way to waste two