Occupancy Sensors - Help with what system supports my scenarios - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 06-24-2013, 01:07 PM - Thread Starter
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Hey everyone,

Been diligently doing my homework reading, but I'm still a bit confused on which systems support what in terms of occupancy sensors. In particular, if I understand it correctly, Lutron sensors work differently between RadioRa2 and Homeworks systems.

Here's the plan. I'm looking at 2 zones. If they take with each other, great. If not, no big deal.

Zone 1 - Master Suite (takes up the whole floor)
Controlling lights and HVAC.
Modes:
- On - All lights on, HVAC "normal"
- Evening - Lights dimmed (think wind down, watch TV), HVAC "normal"
- Off - Lights off, but bathroom occupancy sensor active and turns on light when occupied, off when not. HVAC +/- ~5 degrees
- Vacation - Lights off, random lighting, HVAC +/- ~5 degrees

Q: Will the occupancy sensor in a RadioRa2 system do this?


Zone 2 - Main Floor and Basement
Conntrolling Lights, HVAC, Door locks and garage door.
- On - All light switches in manual, HVAC "normal", notify if dors or garage are open
- Home Office - Office lights on. All other lights off. Lights on when room is occupied and room is dark below a threshold. HVAC "normal", doors locked, garage closed
- Off - Lights off, but occupancy sensor for stairs and kitchen lights active. HVAC +/- ~5 degrees, doors locked, garage closed
- Vacation - Lights off, random lighting, HVAC +/- ~5 degrees, doors and garage locked.

Q1: Will the occupancy sensor in a RadioRa2 system do this?
Q2: How do I get the garage piece into this?

As for budget, willing to spend ~$2000 and don't mind DIY. I'm both technically savvy and have some electrical work experience. I thought this was a RadioRa2 fit, but I'm unclear on the occupancy sensor and how to do the garage interface.

Thanks!

-LW
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post #2 of 8 Old 06-25-2013, 08:13 AM
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You described several scenarios that require conditional logic, which Radio RA2 does not have. Radio RA2 only has a time clock function, so if you can structure your scenes/events based on time, it can be done.

For example, using your requirements:
7:00AM - 6:00PM - On - All lights on, HVAC "normal"
6:00PM - 10:00PM - Evening - Lights dimmed (think wind down, watch TV), HVAC "normal"
10:00PM - 7:00AM - Off - Lights off, but bathroom occupancy sensor active and turns on light when occupied, off when not. HVAC +/- ~5 degrees
Vacation mode - Lights off, random lighting, HVAC +/- ~5 degrees

Since you have different dimming requirements for different times, you will require multiple occupancy/vacancy sensors.
The garage door can be connected to Radio RA2 system by using the visor control receiver, but the functionality is limited to turning on some lights/scenes when you open the door and closing the door based on time-clock functionality, say your garage door always closes between 6:00PM and 10:00PM at the top and bottom of the hour. Notification of open garage door is limited to a small led on a keypad at best. One caveat is the risk to property/people/pets by closing the garage door automatically.
Radio RA2 does not have module for entry door locks, which itself represents a number of special requirements, depending on AHJ for your place, such as emergency egress, loss-of-power and other alarm conditions.

The overall functionality can be extended to cover everything you described and more, by using a third-party home automation system to connect with Radio RA2. You did not say how many rooms and what size of house, but the budget you mentioned will hardly give you Radio RA2 with Visor Control Receiver and 10 dimmers/switches if you get certified and DIY. Homeworks QS, which has conditional logic in the controller, will not be available for you as DIY, and it is a very different budget anyway.
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post #3 of 8 Old 06-25-2013, 01:22 PM
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LW,

Like lleo mentioned, I think you would need third party automation software to do some of the tasks you are requiring due to the logic.

We've recently added Lutron RadioRa2 to our list of supported hardware in the past year if you want to take a look at our DIY software: Cinemar

For things like closets, laundry and bathroom...I put in these occupancy light switches: http://www.leviton.com/OA_HTML/ProductDetail.jsp?partnumber=ODS15-IDW&section=38557
They turn on instantly as you walk past the sensor.

Back when I built, I found that trying to turn on lights in these type of rooms wasn't fast enough for my personal tastes when going through say a security system and then trigger the lights. I wanted the lights to turn on instantly, even a second or two feels like an eternity. Especially when they are pitch dark rooms.

I've automated turning on and off other things though. A few examples:
* When someone pulls in the driveway after sunset, the exterior garage lights turn on.
* If someone opens the garage door and then opens the door to the house after x seconds - and it's after sunset, I have the kitchen lights turn on
* When the garage door shuts and it's after sunset, I automatically turn off the exterior garage lights.
* If no motion is detected in the kitchen for 20 minutes, I turn off the lights and the TV
* If motion is detected in any rooms with touchscreens, the touchscreens come out of power save mode
* All humidifiers turn on/off at specified times in the morning and at night for all our bedrooms

Lot's more...but these are just some of the possibilities.
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post #4 of 8 Old 06-25-2013, 03:24 PM
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Premise is a free software option that will work great for occupancy tracking, with any conceivable logic. Follow the links in my signature to download it.

I'd recommend wired motion and door sensors via an Elk M1G assuming you can run wires. You'll be able to use the security system for both security (stand alone), and for occupancy (via Premise or via the Elk M1G itself).

I would stick with Z-Wave. Look at Leviton's ViziaRF+ line. You'll need their USB installer stick, RF installer tool software (free), a VRC0P and some dimmers.

The materials should come under $2k, and you'll have a very nice expandable system you can control with a PC or smart phone.

Premise, a FREE home automation program. Open-source Z-Wave Premise Module found here.
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post #5 of 8 Old 06-26-2013, 04:30 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone for your response. Budget is expandable if needed. I'll also look at Z-Wave, but my research so far shows that it can occasionally be unreliable. Any thoughts on if this is just nit picky, or reality?

Sounds like this is doable, but needs additional software. I'll go back and do more homework.

[Edit] Room Description:
Zone 1 - Open bedroom with closed off bathroom. Total 950sf. Two banks of lights in the BR. Two banks + fan in BA. Has its own HVAC zone.
Zone 2 - Main floor - Open kitchen, dining, LR (3 banks of lights, plus 1 over sink), two BR, 1 BA. Main door and Kitchen door. 1100 sf
- Basement - Open den, bar (2 banks of lights). Separate office with BA. HVAC covers both levels. 1100sf.

-LW
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post #6 of 8 Old 06-27-2013, 10:47 AM
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try looking at a logic controller like an HAI Lumina Pro. It has inputs for Occupancy sensors as well as support for several options on lighting protocols.
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post #7 of 8 Old 06-27-2013, 01:38 PM
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Z-Wave itself is fine. I suspect the folks complaining so much about it are using a product that either doesn't setup the network correctly, are trying to use RF signals over too long of a distance (due to interference, walls, etc), or are using a lot of battery powered devices (IMHO avoid these and don't use any). If you buy what I suggested and read the help files, directions and followed all recommendations, I'd be shocked if you had any issues. I get failure rates in the 1/10000 range. That's plenty good for lighting or almost any application.

I haven't used the Vera itself (which I suspect is where you read the complaints) , but I too have read those posts and would avoid the Vera. Although, not necessary, stick with the ViziaRF+ line only if you are worried about quality issues. The VRC0P will allow Z-Wave to work with other home automation systems (such as HAI Omnipro II, Elk M1G, etc...).

Like I said, I'd avoid any battery powered sensors no matter what you use. Up to you though.

PS: HAI raised their prices this year (double them) and they are not worth the money (IMHO). I'd go with Elk as it prices out much less for similar functionality.

Premise, a FREE home automation program. Open-source Z-Wave Premise Module found here.
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post #8 of 8 Old 07-01-2013, 05:47 PM - Thread Starter
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Cool, thanks!
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