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post #1 of 33 Old 04-04-2017, 08:06 AM - Thread Starter
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Help needed for new Home theatre lighting, etc control

I'm in the process of building my semi budget HT in my basement.
Its currently an unfinished room and work has begun.

I have a dedicated thread about it but I think there might be too many topics there.

The room is 11x26 and I'm planning three rows of seating with the following light zones.

Zone 1 = 4 front most can lights over seating.
Zone 2 = 2 rearmost can lights over seating.
Zone 3 = LED Rope light around soffit. I want RGBW and dimmable if possible within budget.
Zone 4 = LED rope lighting around risers and steps.
Zone 5 = Soffit can lights
Zone 6 = LED rope lighting around screen border (back/edge lit)
Zone 7= possibly sconce lights on shallow columns.
Zone 8 = Maybe even some screen pool lights if I figure out what those are for. (advice?)


Now, it may be reasonable for the riser and soffit lights to be one zone, not sure.
It may be reasonable to combine others.

I'd like the room to light up upon entering. I may one day add a star ceiling down the line in paint. Would like to be able to quickly set rope to dim low at movie start,a dnw ould be so cool if the lighting rose at pause somehow.

For budget, I may not get all of these installed the initial go round and add later.

I've read about the graphic eye 3104 controller, Lutron switches, Insteon switches, etc.

I HAVE Smart things in the house already controlling a few things. mainly it locks my door when leavinging and turns on and off my porch light accordingly.


Long term as I continue to tinker I could see maybe adding some auto sequence to rim lighting, play an intro video and then launch the movie or something. i have no idea how to do that now.

The budget for this room build is loose, but probably between 5-8K all in, or at least thats all in 2017 as I might tinker more later.

Noone talks about ST around her emuch on the theatre lighting. I def want hardwired type smart swiches 9not gimmicky screw over battery operated smart switches).

I'll be roughing in electrical in the next couple weeks so I need a rough plan of where to run circuits, and whether to use outlets controlled by switches etc.

PLEASE offer me some advice! and help

As for the LED rope, I'm looking at the stuff on aliexpress (also on ebay) that is around $70 bucks for 40 feet of ropw light, amp, controller, connectors etc. The ebay listing of what looks like the SAME product says dimmable, and has some kind of wifi controller.


the main wall where I can easiest install a multigang box has yet to be framed, its just OUTSIDE the theatre doors, and would need an IR repeated if I tried to use a remote from the seating area. I'm ok with that, I just need a plan to wire to.

I'll have a space behind my screen wall that I could put some type of junction or programmable box if that is what is needed.

I want something fairly rebust, but not budget breaking.

I've read good things about the insteon switches and it mentions an insteon hub. Would I not need that if I have a ST hub? again, advice so appreciated!!!!
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post #2 of 33 Old 04-04-2017, 04:17 PM
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If you have ST you have the option of zwave and Zigbee dimmers, out of the box. As of a month or so ago, ST also supports Lutron Caseta.

Caseta is at the top of the consumer diy products. Zigbee you have to check compatibility with ST. Zwave switches will work without issue but the cheapest versions don't support instant status reporting. Each light bank will need its own dimmer.

Either way, you will need some kind of in-room controller. With ST that can be your phone, a dedicated media room tablet, a zwave/Zigbee remote, or even add an IR transceiver so your existing theater remote can control the lights.
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post #3 of 33 Old 04-04-2017, 06:14 PM
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I've never done any home theaters, but I will share my thoughts as an EC.

I really like Lutron grafik eye products for this type of lighting control setup, but with that many zones, it can get really expensive really fast.

Another product I would consider is the Legrand RF lighting control. You have a couple of options here; a dedicated RF universal dimmer for each zone connected to the Legrand scene controller, or you could even use their dimming control modules that connect to their scene controller. Legrand offers a lighting control hub that offers an app to control lighting from your phone, or you could use an intuity automation module that gives you the option of connecting other home systems.

You can do this setup with their lighting hub for less than $1k.

As for having the lights come on when you enter the room, you'll need an occupancy sensor, and with the Legrand controls there isn't a way to make this functional the way you need it to.

I'm not sure about Lutron; i haven't researched that function of the grafik eye systems.


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post #4 of 33 Old 04-04-2017, 09:36 PM
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One thing I will point out is a straight up occupancy sensor may result in lights kicking on mid movie when someone enters the room. You will want a more nuanced set of actions. Off the top of my head, I'd put a power monitor on the AV rig to know if it is live. 1500W appliance modules are under $50. Depending on your design plan, a door open/close sensor might also work better than an occupancy sensor.

So your rules would be something like
When entry is detected and AVWattage is <50 then zone 1,2,5,7 on
When AVWattage becomes >=50 then zone 4,6 on, 1,2,5,7 off
When AVWattage becomes <50 then zone 4,6 dim off over 1 minute, 1,2,5,7 brighten on over 20s
When entry is detected and AVWattage is >=50 then zone 4,6 on and zone 7 @10%
When entry was detected 1 minute ago and AVWattage is >=50 then zone 7 off

I chose 50W because I don't know how many vampire devices you might have. Those 5W draws add up. Of course you could also use the appliance module to cut the power to the stack.

For survival's sake, be sure to have at least one or two dimmers on the wall. And/Or a multiple button scene controller labeled with your most common use cases (all on, all off, theater, sports, etc) so the non-geeks in the family can push the buttons and marvel at your genius.

Programming is the kicker. Good programming is the difference between automation and just remote control. There is a logic app for ST you should investigate. It's called something like "rules engine". It should be an app you can download.

To be honest, programming is what justifies the pros. Most people aren't programmers even if they are electrically handy. If programming isn't fun, or at least rewarding, get a professional quote. If you go diy and give up, don't be surprised if a pro uninstalls everything you put in and charges you for the time it takes them to rip it out.
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post #5 of 33 Old 04-05-2017, 03:58 AM - Thread Starter
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Wow, thanks all for the input here.

I am trying to digest all of this.

I guess I'm first off, surprised that noone mentioned the insteon stuff, when a lot of what I read about pointed towards Graphik eye, or Insteon switches.
I guess I'm still a tad overwhelmed becasue I simply don't know what this stuff is that you guys are describing.

I really need to put together a rough in electrical plan so I know where to drop power, outlets, switch gang boxes etc, and I'm still at a loss for that.

I'll try to post a rough room layout and maybe that will make it easy to ask you guys to offer a little more explicit help.

Thanks again all!
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post #6 of 33 Old 04-05-2017, 05:31 PM
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Insteon Inc is a company that sells automation gear using the Insteon communication technology. Insteon works well but it's like Apple; they make what they make and no one else can make it so you better like what they sell.

If you go Insteon you will need a controller, like the Universal Device ISY994i. That is the brain that would run then rules logic. There is a 994 variant that is IR controlled so you could put it in your AV gear.
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post #7 of 33 Old 04-06-2017, 05:36 AM - Thread Starter
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Guys,
Thanks again for all the input.
Attached here is a wiring and lighting layout.

Also, there is a soffit detail that I'd like input on how to build it.

I've shown a multigang box outside the theatre room doors.

Depending on whether i go with in wall switches, controlled by SMART THINGS, or Insteon, or other, I can use an IR repeater if I need to and have shown one here.

I'm still confused on what lighting control to do and therefore where to put what switch box wiring. I'm SO LOST!

You guys throw out so many good suggestions, I can't quite follow the pros and cons of each.

I want a solid reliable flexible system so if I go smartthings, (already have the hub and a few bulbs) I'd do inwall GE style switches I guess. (recommendations?)

If I go insteon, its proprietary, which might be pointless considering how popular smartthings is now.

Also, if I went Graphik eye, I'm limited to 4 zones. Caseta is also limited or no?

I'm showing 4 main elec circuits, but not sure I need that many.
Input and help appreciated.

Another thing, is for riser lighting, I need a place INSIDE the riser, to hide that switched outlet AMD the rope transformer and all that hardware. Can I just cut a hole, use some kind of box ring, with a cover, and go in behind that cover and have another box with outlet and place to stash transformer?

Thanks again all!!
Attached Files
File Type: pdf 6 revised LIGHTING AND WIRING layout dimensioned 04-06-2017 ROTATED.pdf (82.4 KB, 22 views)
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post #8 of 33 Old 04-06-2017, 05:49 AM - Thread Starter
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As for the soffit, I'm looking at building out the walls, roughing in electrical, and then hiring a guy to do the drywall work.

Since the ceiling is gonna be a layin, and the structure above is wooden I joists, I'm trying to figure out the order I should do the soffit vs the drywall.

I'm thinking now I should do the following.

1. frame walls
2. put strips of drywall up 12" dn from the top
3. Add horizontal blocking from the wall, parallel to the I joists to stick a horizontal strip of drywall on the width of the soffit.
4. Add a ledger board and frame the soffit.
5. Rough in all electrical.
6. Have the drywall guy come and do the walls AND whatever part of the soffit is to be drywall.
7. Then finish the soffit.
8. then have the drywall guy come back and do the layin ceiling (might hire this out just to speed the project along)

This is all before risers or any of that stuff.


Alternately, if NONE of the soffit is to be drywall, then I could just do the framing, roughin electral except for power in the soffit,
Then have the drywall guy come and do the walls all the way up, and then I build the soffit out and box it with MDF (if recommended).


As for the layin, I'm confused on where that should go at the soffit, and also/especially at the front where I want to match the stage with an arced curve.

Should the boxing and sheetrock happen and try to butt the layin against it, or should the boxing be done such that the T grid can slide ABOVE the boxing and that way when the tiles are put in, they will lay right down against the sheerock along that curve?

Thanks a BUNCH ALL!
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post #9 of 33 Old 04-06-2017, 06:07 AM - Thread Starter
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I'm looking at this rope lighting kit.

I found this on Aliexpress, (SAME PRODUCT), except I didn't see the Milight WIFI controller and those don't specifically say DIMMABLE, but here it has that wifi thing, the remote and those 4 controllers, all in a package for $111.

This happens to be 64 ft of lights. To go all the way around the soffit is about 70 ft, so I really need 2 separate kits with only 35-40 ft of lights each, as I think I'll need to split it to minimize voltage drop at this distance.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/20M-5050-RGB...5EmDjdLJ5I7uKA

Can anyone explain what kind of functionality I can get out of this? I had read if I make the switched outlet dimmable, with dimmable LEDs, that I'd be able to dim them from the smart wall switch (not this included remote)

Thoughts?

I would need a third set of this to handle the riser lighting, and figure some way to shove extra rope and the transformer and (controller?) down inside my riser which by this point will have already been finished and carpeted. Suggestions? Not sure if that controller is IR from the remote or wifi from the MILIGHT, so would it need to be somehow visible.

Again, as always, help appreciated SO MUCH.
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post #10 of 33 Old 04-10-2017, 04:39 AM - Thread Starter
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bump for any help and suggestions. much appreciated.

Thanks
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post #11 of 33 Old 04-17-2017, 04:59 AM - Thread Starter
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Not sure if anyone is still following my thread.... comments appreciated.
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post #12 of 33 Old 04-17-2017, 05:44 AM
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The rope light is becoming a commodity. All coming out of the same city in China.
The devil in the details is the lighting controller.
I think you would be better off to do Z-Wave lighting, and use a Z-Wave RGB controller like one from Fibaro.
I would not use the kit you found because it will be difficult to find a Master Controller that inter operates with the kit's WiFi controllers. Our myServer system does integrate with a couple of similar but it requires some research and testing to see if it will with the one you selected since there is no standard.

That way your non-rope lights and your rope lights can be all controlled from the same system.
That helps if you do decide to do something like automating lights when someone comes in the room to orchestrate which lights.

With regards to not turning on when the movie is on, that is pretty basic as long as you use a "Master Controller" that is also orchestrating the movie playing. ie: The controller is what is knowledgeable that a movie IS playing. This is a function that a normal "hub" cannot do.

I would use Caseta before Grafik Eye. Less expensive and what Lutron is putting their development into with more and more functionality. And it works. And it integrates with myServer and other automation controllers. Caseta supports 50 devices. RadioRa goes to (from memory) 100. I haven't checked if Caseta supports RGB rope lights. I somewhat doubt if they have a device for that yet.

You could even do Caseta for the primary home lights, and Z-Wave for the rope lights, door locks etc. myServer can support both "hubs" for both technologies.

I would stay away from "cloud" based controllers like Wink, even though the Wink supports both Caseta and Z-Wave due to it's latency issues and internet uptime issues (of your connection to the Internet). But it would work (most of the time). This would be a decent budget choice though. myServer does control the Wink. You can do things in phases too to spread the budget issue out across time.
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post #13 of 33 Old 04-18-2017, 07:16 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smoothtlk View Post
The rope light is becoming a commodity. All coming out of the same city in China.
The devil in the details is the lighting controller.
I think you would be better off to do Z-Wave lighting, and use a Z-Wave RGB controller like one from Fibaro.
I would not use the kit you found because it will be difficult to find a Master Controller that inter operates with the kit's WiFi controllers. Our myServer system does integrate with a couple of similar but it requires some research and testing to see if it will with the one you selected since there is no standard.

That way your non-rope lights and your rope lights can be all controlled from the same system.
That helps if you do decide to do something like automating lights when someone comes in the room to orchestrate which lights.

With regards to not turning on when the movie is on, that is pretty basic as long as you use a "Master Controller" that is also orchestrating the movie playing. ie: The controller is what is knowledgeable that a movie IS playing. This is a function that a normal "hub" cannot do.

I would use Caseta before Grafik Eye. Less expensive and what Lutron is putting their development into with more and more functionality. And it works. And it integrates with myServer and other automation controllers. Caseta supports 50 devices. RadioRa goes to (from memory) 100. I haven't checked if Caseta supports RGB rope lights. I somewhat doubt if they have a device for that yet.

You could even do Caseta for the primary home lights, and Z-Wave for the rope lights, door locks etc. myServer can support both "hubs" for both technologies.

I would stay away from "cloud" based controllers like Wink, even though the Wink supports both Caseta and Z-Wave due to it's latency issues and internet uptime issues (of your connection to the Internet). But it would work (most of the time). This would be a decent budget choice though. myServer does control the Wink. You can do things in phases too to spread the budget issue out across time.
tHANK YOU FOR THIS FEEDBACK

I did find the Fibaro controller. I think I'll order the same chinese lights, without the Milight wifi part.

I DO need a bigger amplifier/transformer I believe becasue just around my soffit will be about 60 feet of strip.

What i'm confused about is, is the Fibaro just a smart controller or is it also the amplifier/transformer?

If I use the fibaro, which I am leaning towards, do I need a certain kind of transformer?

Where does the fibaro unit mount? Does it go into a switch box on the wall, or up in my soffit? should it be right near the transformer physically or can it be some distance away with some wire link?

Does the fibaro wire in, or plug right into an outlet, and then i use a smart switch if I want to energize that outlet which then would allow the fibaro to "return to previous stage" (aka ON) and that would allow me the ability to use a wall switch to turn those on, or use a smart sequence with smartthings to turn on the switched outlet and THEN have full control of any sequences with the fibaro?


Also, will one fibaro control all my strip light?
I will have that around the soffit, plus another 30 feet around the risers, plus another 20 feet around my screen perimeter.


Or do I need a fibaro for each area?

Thanks in advance all!!
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post #14 of 33 Old 04-18-2017, 07:31 AM
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RGB automation

https://www.fibaro.com/en/products/rgbw-controller/
That is the RGB Z-Wave device. It is one of several that can do this task.

Any good Z-Wave controller (like our myZWave device) should be able to tell the RGB controller what color you want.

Any good "Master Controller" (like our myServer) should be able to tell the Z-Wave controller (like our myZWave hardware) to coordinate the lighting with rest of automation and media management.

So: myServer <> myZWave controller <> Fibaro RGB controller > RGB power supply > RGB rope lights.

The power supply + and - are wired to the RGB controller. The rope lights are too.

You can't run long lengths of rope light due to voltage drop. You can run the rope lights wired in parallel. Keep track on how many bulbs vs the rated capacity of the RGB controller and the power supply. myServer can control multiple RGB Z-Wave controllers if you need more than the one.
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post #15 of 33 Old 04-20-2017, 01:10 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smoothtlk View Post
https://www.fibaro.com/en/products/rgbw-controller/
That is the RGB Z-Wave device. It is one of several that can do this task.

Any good Z-Wave controller (like our myZWave device) should be able to tell the RGB controller what color you want.

Any good "Master Controller" (like our myServer) should be able to tell the Z-Wave controller (like our myZWave hardware) to coordinate the lighting with rest of automation and media management.

So: myServer <> myZWave controller <> Fibaro RGB controller > RGB power supply > RGB rope lights.

The power supply + and - are wired to the RGB controller. The rope lights are too.

You can't run long lengths of rope light due to voltage drop. You can run the rope lights wired in parallel. Keep track on how many bulbs vs the rated capacity of the RGB controller and the power supply. myServer can control multiple RGB Z-Wave controllers if you need more than the one.
I ordered some lights of fleabay, and a fibaro and a couple random connectors I think I'll need. I'll have to set this up and see how it works and then figure if theres any more pieces I need to make it a go before I buy the other sets for the riser and screen.

If I want to use these with Zwave in wall switches lke the GE ones or the Home Seek ones, I know those hard wire into an outlet box like any switch would, and physically break a circult to regular non smart fixtures.
There only difference is that I can SMART switch that physical circuit in the wall via an app or remote or scene.

As for the outlets that these LED lights would be plugged into, is there a good reason to wire that outlet to a switch, and any value in having that switch be a smart switch (since the fibaro itself is smart and could be activated or deactivated from a different switch)?

Between the soffit, screen, and Riser, that would be at least 3 switched outlets, and possibly 3 smart switches.

If I end up in the future adding any light boxes, or anything lit up in the adjacent room as you enter the theatre, those would then cause a need for additional switches or smart outlets. (wondering if I should provide any prewiring for the adjacent already finished space as I'm wiring for this new space.
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post #16 of 33 Old 04-20-2017, 02:07 PM
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You are aware that you need a way to control Z-Wave devices - right?
You need a Z-Wave controller (like myZWave) and software (like myServer)

Did you get the right voltage power supply that the Fibaro RGB controller supports, and the same voltage rgb lights?

Last edited by smoothtlk; 04-20-2017 at 02:10 PM.
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post #17 of 33 Old 04-21-2017, 10:34 PM
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You are aware that you need a way to control Z-Wave devices - right?
You need a Z-Wave controller
He has a smartthing. It'll do for at least proving everything works. Maybe he will be one of the lucky ones with no cloud lag.
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post #18 of 33 Old 04-22-2017, 05:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kigmatzomat View Post
He has a smartthing. It'll do for at least proving everything works. Maybe he will be one of the lucky ones with no cloud lag.
That's kind of like saying can we make the speed of light quicker?
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post #19 of 33 Old 04-23-2017, 07:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smoothtlk View Post
I would use Caseta before Grafik Eye. Less expensive and what Lutron is putting their development into with more and more functionality. And it works. And it integrates with myServer and other automation controllers. Caseta supports 50 devices. RadioRa goes to (from memory) 100. I haven't checked if Caseta supports RGB rope lights. I somewhat doubt if they have a device for that yet.

You could even do Caseta for the primary home lights, and Z-Wave for the rope lights, door locks etc. myServer can support both "hubs" for both technologies.
I have a similar situation as the OP. I want to run about 4-6 zones with canned lights, sconces, and have multiple sets of RGBW strip lighting - ceiling, speaker columms, etc.

So going the Caseta route vs Grafik Eye, what type of functionality would I be losing? Caseta has a proprietary hub, right? Will the Grafik Eye integrate better and have better compatibility with controllers and software?
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post #20 of 33 Old 04-23-2017, 04:44 PM
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When you design the electronics as a system: If Caseta, then lutron pro hub and myServer...there isn't much you can't do as it relates to lighting. I mean to simplify, lights go on / off / dim value....scenes can be controlled by myServer.

Grafik Eye is way more expensive than Caseta. It's controller essentially handles a room..that's about it. myServer can handle a building (not just a home). So, if you spend less on each Caseta light load, and add in myServer, you are still way ahead in cost. An there is no comparison on the capability between myServer and Grafik Eye.

We support Grafik Eye too. So if you have a Grafik Eye system, then you can control it plus the rest of the myServer capability.

As far as integration, again, thinking of this as a system - myServer integrates with more things than just about any controller. Including Caseta...so you have integration handled. Caseta then doesn't need to integrate with anything else.

Grafik Eye is best to do nice scene based lighting control and you don't have a "Master Controller". If you do have a master controller (like myServer) then the value of GE starts to minimize.

There are lots of ways you can implement your system. Choose the Master Controller first, then select the hardware that works with it. Don't pick your lights and then cobble together the rest of the system.

Feel free to post specifics of your entire system.
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post #21 of 33 Old 04-24-2017, 06:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smoothtlk View Post
There are lots of ways you can implement your system. Choose the Master Controller first, then select the hardware that works with it. Don't pick your lights and then cobble together the rest of the system.

Feel free to post specifics of your entire system.
Theater Room getting drywall next week 25L X 14w. Currently have a harmony elite remote/hub, Honeywell wireless T-stats/multi-zone. A couple LIFX wireless lightbulbs in family room, but that's the extent of smart devices. Was leaning towards ISY hub and Z-wave, but am unsure. I definitely want keep the amount of automation/smart hubs to a bare minimum.

I need to control colors and dimming for RGBW LED strip lights in my ceiling, riser, and in between my speaker columns - 2 zones there. At least 2 - 4 zones for canned lights and wall sconces. That's really the extent of it – would like to maybe add on Z-wave light switches in other areas of the house.

Need ability to set custom scenes that utilize designated zones, that I can integrate with media software (HTPC). i.e. movie begins, screen cans fade off, rear wall cans fade down to 25%, Led strips change color & dim 50%, etc…..I know this is standard stuff, but as you said, best start with the master controller and light controller and then work my way down to the lights. My electrician will be doing basic wiring for the required items this week as the voltage reqs are included in my theater design/renderings. So I need to make some decisions this week.

Would appreciate your recommendations or advice. I plan to read up more on MyServer tomorrow. With the Myserver application running on a windows PC, is that then the master controller module or do you purchase a separate module to integrate with the MyServer App?

AV equipment:
Marantz AV7703
Emotiva XPA-5
Def Tech CS-8080HD (CEN)
Def tech BP-8060ST L/R X 2
Def Tech SR-8080BP Surrounds
HSU VTF-3 MK3 Subwoofer X 2
HSU MBM-12 MK2 Mid-Bass X 1

Home Theater PC (Windows) HDMI
DirectTV HR-22 (wireless genie for theater)
Xbox one HDMI
PS3 HDMI
XBOX360
Logitech Harmony Elite Remote
Harmony Hub
Epson 5040UB projector

Last edited by Schuyler Bain; 04-24-2017 at 06:39 PM.
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post #22 of 33 Old 04-24-2017, 08:26 PM
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myServer is the "Master Controller"
Within it you can add licensing for "Families" like "Lighting Family" and "Climate", "Security", "Control", "AV Family" etc.
Then you add drivers that know how to talk to the particular hardware or software device. Like one for your DirecTV receiver that uses the AV Family license.
You can then add a user interface. The system includes one for Tablets and another for Phone sized devices.

The user interface is accessible via a Chrome or Safari browser on any device.

Once you have the essentials setup you can then start to customize
Event triggered commands, Timed commands, macros, etc.

You can also completely customize the user interface via the included myDesigner application.

Add streaming music and video media. Add Weather, Add Wine Cellar database....
etc.

With myServer you won't need an ISY hub to use Z-Wave. The automation capability of ISY is redundant and not used when you have myServer.
You will need a myZWave controller that has the Z-Wave radio in it as a Primary Controller.

So for your RGB lights...

If Z-Wave, (like Fibaro RGB controller), you would need myServer running on a Win PC (7-10), myZWave controller on the network, Lighting Family license, the myZWave driver.
You would discover the Fibaro controller with myZWave.
Then Discover the myZwave controller within the myServer Raspberry driver (myZWave runs on a Raspberry Pi3). The RGB lights should be discovered.

You can then turn the lights on / off.
We will work with you on the RGB user interface as we have developed very advanced UI for RGB lighting that you can use.

Wiring: For RGB lights, this requires a four conductor wire to the lights.
In the equipment rack will be:
myServer
Fibaro RGB controller
RGB light power supply
The four conductor wire(s) connect from Fibaro to lights. You can't run really long lengths of RGB lights but you can run another 4 conductor wire parallel with the first RGB light strip to attach to the second (or third - fourth). This is because voltage drops down the long RGB lengths.

BTW, we use 12 volt RGB lights most often. So the power supply would be 12 volts, the controller needs to support 12, the RGB lights 12 volts.

Here's a more deluxe way to control RGB lights:
myServer <> DMX USB or IP transmitter <> DMX cable > DMX RGB receiver > RGB lights
This is how we do our own installs as it is more reliable and very fast responding for neat lighting effects (like changing colors to the beat of the music etc.
The 4 conductor wire is same for Z-Wave RGB or DMX RGB...so you don't need to decide now, wire away!

You might want to plan your RGB lengths if you want diff colors on part of the room then put that run on one "channel" and the other string on another set of channels. So you can control independently. We also support pixel level control but that's a more advanced topic

Last edited by smoothtlk; 04-24-2017 at 08:44 PM.
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post #23 of 33 Old 04-25-2017, 04:01 PM
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SmoothTlk,
Thanks for breakking all that down -nice to know that I can get all the electrical in place now, while I research. The DMX receiver sounds like a great path to explore.
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post #24 of 33 Old 04-26-2017, 06:19 AM
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There are lots of ways you can implement your system. Choose the Master Controller first, then select the hardware that works with it. Don't pick your lights and then cobble together the rest of the system.

Feel free to post specifics of your entire system.
I'm going to disagree with this approach. I think the first step is to pick your lighting system - this will vary massively depending on needs, house topography, budget, aesthetics, willingness to do DIY/put up with bugs, etc. And this is the system that (hopefully) lasts the longest, and is the most difficult and expensive to replace/upgrade. Plus you need to know before the walls are closed what type of system you'll be using so that the electrician can wire appropriately.

The master controller, if it's a DIY, should be easy to upgrade/change. It will probably have the shortest lifespan as this technology rapidly improves. Based on my DIY experience, I would actually recommend just putting in the operating level systems (Lighting, Thermostats, Security, whole home audio, AV, etc) without a master controller. Live with it a little to see what sequences you find yourself frequently repeating, or what other automations would be useful. Figure out if you find using separate apps to be annoying and you'd appreciate one interface for everything. Figure out if you'd really utilize fixed wall controls for audio/automation, or if you find phone apps sufficient or better. Once you know what you want, then go ahead and find the best solution for a master controller and integrate everything. Yes, you might need a basic controller (smarthome, vera, insteon's hub, basic Logitech Harmony, et al.) to get things going at first and end up getting rid of it if you upgrade to something beefier, but that's a very small (like $100) price to pay in the scheme of things.
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post #25 of 33 Old 04-26-2017, 06:32 AM
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freeoscar,
We engineer media control and home automation as a System, not discrete parts.
Time after time we find that users end up ripping out, throwing out, selling on eBay equipment that doesn't integrate with X Y or Z.
The ideal case is the homeowner knows what ultimately they want to do.
We then engineer the system, including phases of execution to minimize budget issues being cognizant of installation issues like what wiring is needed to do a certain task, with a certain technology.

Nothing integrates with everything. That's why one needs to be careful and plan ahead. The Master Controller is the hub of all the action. Thankfully the good ones (the mature ones) integrate with lots of stuff to pick from. None of the controllers are easy to add a new technology that they don't already support. The good ones are easier if the company is receptive towards supporting the need. The need is balanced by who is funding the development and testing and how many folks want similar to offset that cost. This one new device integration effort can cost a good percentage or exceed the cost of the hardware.

To your point, that doesn't necessarily mean that the Master Controller is put in first....you can put in a lighting system, use that companies "app" and then add climate and use that company's app...then add the Master Controller when you want to bring things to the next level of play (like automate the theater experience et al). But when you do decide to make that step, all lives together in tune. And no redo things that don't play nice.

Last edited by smoothtlk; 04-26-2017 at 06:36 AM.
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post #26 of 33 Old 04-26-2017, 11:53 AM
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The master controller, if it's a DIY, should be easy to upgrade/change. It will probably have the shortest lifespan as this technology rapidly improves
I'm not sure that this is true. CQC is now over 15 years old, and has been continuously upgradeable all of that time for existing customers to move forward. Various hardware products have come and gone in that time, ones that you can't really keep up anymore and have had to be replaced, or that are now still viable but not moving forward, just being supported perhaps.

It's really hardware that suffers from technology improvements, because the existing hardware generally can only look out forward so far and keep complexity/cost in check, so eventually the core hardware has to be discarded for something that can deal with the latest tech without being stretched beyond its limits. Software based systems can just continue to move forward endlessly really.

Also, the automation system is where most of your customization will be, and that's the hard part to really replace. That's the really hard work involved in setting up a nice custom solution.

I'd argue that both are important. Look for a good, solid hardware platform. But, if you find one but find out it has weak integration capabilities or isn't widely supported by automation solutions (thus locking you into one that you'd otherwise not have chosen), then probably finding another hardware solution would be a good thing.

Of course you can't go wrong with stuff like RA2, which is as solid a bet as you will find in that business.

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Chairman/CTO, Charmed Quark Systems, Ltd

www.charmedquark.com

 

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Well something like CQC requires a PC to run on. Even if it still supports XP (the prevalent system 15yrs ago), undoubtedly one will have upgraded the hardware (and hopefully the OS as well). Not to mention that, since your work is valuable, a user pays for upgrades over that time - because it is of course a constantly improving platform.
But yes, I agree that unless you are very sure of what you want long term you should opt for widely used platforms that have strong compatibility options. I'm just using my own experience in jumping into DIY home automation that it's very difficult to anticipate what you might want and pre-plan for that, and often a waste of time. Better to 'learn on the job' so to speak.
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A quick and easy solution: Phillips Hue bulbs, for the LED strips, I use https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
to make the strip controllable by the Hue Hub.

With a Phillips Hue Hub, all the lights are individually addressable. I use rgb bulbs on all the lights so I can
adjust the hue as I like. (No pun intended.)

I use the Simple Control app to run the lighting and my theater room. The simple control app and hub
runs on an old iPhone5 I have. It's always on in guided access mode acting as a control server and control.

For playback, I use Kodi. With the Kodi Callback addon, I can have lighting changes on playback started, pause,
stop. Basically, on each of those events, Kodi will send an HTTP command to the running Simple Control app to
call the appropriate scene.

I don't use an occupancy sensor, but with an Amazon dot, I can say: Alexa turn on movies.
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post #29 of 33 Old 04-30-2017, 07:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thai pham View Post
A quick and easy solution: Phillips Hue bulbs, for the LED strips, I use https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
to make the strip controllable by the Hue Hub.

With a Phillips Hue Hub, all the lights are individually addressable. I use rgb bulbs on all the lights so I can
adjust the hue as I like. (No pun intended.)

I use the Simple Control app to run the lighting and my theater room. The simple control app and hub
runs on an old iPhone5 I have. It's always on in guided access mode acting as a control server and control.

For playback, I use Kodi. With the Kodi Callback addon, I can have lighting changes on playback started, pause,
stop. Basically, on each of those events, Kodi will send an HTTP command to the running Simple Control app to
call the appropriate scene.

I don't use an occupancy sensor, but with an Amazon dot, I can say: Alexa turn on movies.
Are you able to dim your LED strips and put them on different zones with this set up?
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post #30 of 33 Old 05-01-2017, 07:10 PM
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Are you able to dim your LED strips and put them on different zones with this set up?
As long as each strip is on it's own https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1 controller,
it's it's own "zone." And yes, you can control the dim level and color.
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