Another RadioRA vs. Homeworks RF ??? thread - AVS Forum
Forum Jump: 
 
Thread Tools
post #1 of 22 Old 03-10-2007, 01:39 PM - Thread Starter
AVS Special Member
 
herdfan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Boondocks
Posts: 2,826
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
I know this has been hashed out before, but the last big thread I found was from 2004, so I thought I would do this again.

I currently have an Insteon system with about 80 devices and I am just about done with it. Too many switch failures to keep the wife and daughter happy. I was waiting for Leviton Vizia RF stuff to come out, but now that it is out and I have seen some of the documentation, it has too many limitations to do what I want it to do.

So that leaves me with 2 real options. Lutron RadioRA or Homeworks RF. I know about Starlite, but the wife likes the look of the Lutron stuff better, so that is the direction I am going to go. She is already unhappy that I am going to rip out all the switches I spent a few months installing, but she is more upset when they don't work, so she gets her way with choosing the new ones.

I was ready to go with RadioRA and as I was doing some research, the Homeworks RF kept coming up. So I did some research on it and from what I can learn, it is close to a wash pricewise in a larger install.

Here is what I have: About 70 loads counting everything from closets to the attic lights. (Insteon actually shines here with their timer relay which can shut off the lights after 15 minutes) and another 23 or so multiway switches many of which will be replaced with controllers.

So I am at the upper end of RadioRA limits of 64 devices. I can do without many of the loads being automated, but low to mid 50's is probably the minimum.

I like that I can buy RadioRa locally or online with ease. The closest Homeworks dealer is 140 miles away. So I would need a source.

This will be a 100% DIY project from installation to programming and I know Lutron frowns on that for Homworks but that is how it will be. Also, the project will be done in stages with a larger initial purchase to get critical areas done and then basically a room or two a month until its done.

But here are a couple of questions:

1) How bad is RadioRA with "staging"? Most of daily button activity will be via controllers controlling 3-5 loads. I have read that RadioRA sends out the commands one at a time and lights come on in sequence. How long does this take? For example, in the MBR, there will be a controller "room" button that turns on the MBR lights and 3 loads of bathroom lights. Will I be able to watch these lights come on in stages or is it quick enough that you notice it, but you are not "waiting" for it.

2) Status light question. Let's say I have 6 controller buttons throughout the house that control 2 loads of outdoor spots. If I turn on the spots via "Controller A", its status light will come on and stay on as long as the spots are on. Will the status lights of Controller's B-F also come on to indicate status?

3) How qucikly do the lights actually respond? For all Insteon's faults, for the most part the repsonse is instantaneous. Aside from the staging issue above, how quickly would a load respond to a controller? I have also read that when using whole house scenes with the Chronos, that there is a 2 second or so delay for the scene to fire. Since Homeworks uses basically the same process 100% of the time, it there a similar delay?

4) Programming. I know what a pain it can be running around the house programming buttons as that was how I programmed much of my Insteon system as it was installed before Powerhome/Houselinc were available. Will the centralized programming of Homeworks be that much better as I expect given the quality of Lutron, I won't be replacing switches on a monthly basis. How hard is it to program Homeworks with the programming software? Keep in mind in the past year I have learned both Powerhome and Houselinc and have dabbled with Homeseer, so I have some experience is how these programs work. Or am I in for trial by fire?

5) Cost. I have read that the cost difference between RadioRA vs. Homeworks converges as the install gets larger. Given that I will require a Chronos with a RadioRA install, I am assuming I will be close in price with either option. Given that I will need a Chronos and it has to be the "main" repeater, it will be part of any RadioRA install from day 1. I have found RadioRA dealers that sell at basically 66% of retail. Can expect about the same ratio for Homeworks RF?

6) Dimming status. I know there is more capability with Homeworks to report status, change levels on the fly etc. But it really doesn't matter much to me as I am more of a "set it and forget it" type person.

7) Keypad controllers. Are the Large-button See-thru controllers available for RadioRA also available in Homeworks RF?

8) Availability and documentation. As mentioned, my closest Homeworks dealer is 140 miles and there is no guarantee the dealer would sell to me anyway, does anyone know a dealer will to sell to a homeowner? And include programming software? Also, RadioRA documentation is readily available, but I have had trouble finding detailed information about Homeworks RF. Most of the homeworks stuff I have found deals more with the wired versions vs. the wireless.

Yeah, I know its a lot and any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks.

Please do not send me PM's asking for software! You will not get it.
herdfan is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 22 Old 03-10-2007, 02:07 PM
IVB
AVS Special Member
 
IVB's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Left Coast
Posts: 5,325
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Liked: 17
I don't know the answers for sure since I don't have either (yet), but here's my thread on it.

It's in the A/V Distro forum as there didn't use to be a HomeAutomation forum here.

------------------------------------
I'm on Google Plus a lot more than online forums now, contact me there if you want something.

IVB is offline  
post #3 of 22 Old 03-10-2007, 04:31 PM
Member
 
Gurkha's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 54
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by herdfan View Post


OK, I am both a Ra and Homeworks provider. I will try to answer your questions piece by piece.

Here is what I have: About 70 loads counting everything from closets to the attic lights. So I am at the upper end of RadioRA limits of 64 devices. I can do without many of the loads being automated, but low to mid 50's is probably the minimum.

Ra max's out at 64 devices, you can trick it out by using Grafik Eyes, but programming becomes pure hell. Homeworks max's at 64 device's per processor, 16 processors per system = 1024 zones.

(Insteon actually shines here with their timer relay which can shut off the lights after 15 minutes) and another 23 or so multiway switches many of which will be replaced with controllers.

Ra no such options that i am aware of, homeworks, all kinds of options, depends on your programmer and equipment specd'

I like that I can buy RadioRa locally or online with ease. The closest Homeworks dealer is 140 miles away. So I would need a source.

Lutron offers start up programs, you can contact them and they will coordinate with you. If you need some additional infoo PM me or drop me an email

This will be a 100% DIY project from installation to programming and I know Lutron frowns on that for Homworks but that is how it will be.

Homeworks is not typically DIY friendly. You may be able to work with Lutron on a startup, but this may be an issue as you intend to add devices room by room

Also, the project will be done in stages with a larger initial purchase to get critical areas done and then basically a room or two a month until its done.

No problem with either system

But here are a couple of questions:

1) How bad is RadioRA with "staging"? Most of daily button activity will be via controllers controlling 3-5 loads. I have read that RadioRA sends out the commands one at a time and lights come on in sequence. How long does this take? For example, in the MBR, there will be a controller "room" button that turns on the MBR lights and 3 loads of bathroom lights. Will I be able to watch these lights come on in stages or is it quick enough that you notice it, but you are not "waiting" for it.

In my experience, the delay in RA is directly proportional to the number of devices in the system, more devices, more delay. Not always noticeable though [see chronos comments below]

2) Status light question. Let's say I have 6 controller buttons throughout the house that control 2 loads of outdoor spots. If I turn on the spots via "Controller A", its status light will come on and stay on as long as the spots are on. Will the status lights of Controller's B-F also come on to indicate status?

Programming dependent, arre your buttons set as rooms or scenes, if rooms, then yes, if scenes, then yes if they are the same scene on two different controllers.

3) How qucikly do the lights actually respond? For all Insteon's faults, for the most part the repsonse is instantaneous. Aside from the staging issue above, how quickly would a load respond to a controller? I have also read that when using whole house scenes with the Chronos, that there is a 2 second or so delay for the scene to fire. Since Homeworks uses basically the same process 100% of the time, it there a similar delay?

As in 1 above, there are little to no delays in a single system. That comment goes out the window as soon as you add the Chronos. I have seen as long as 4-5 second delay. Not a long time, but an eternity in the dark. With home works, there is NO delay.

4) Programming. I know what a pain it can be running around the house programming buttons as that was how I programmed much of my Insteon system as it was installed before Powerhome/Houselinc were available. Will the centralized programming of Homeworks be that much better as I expect given the quality of Lutron, I won't be replacing switches on a monthly basis. How hard is it to program Homeworks with the programming software? Keep in mind in the past year I have learned both Powerhome and Houselinc and have dabbled with Homeseer, so I have some experience is how these programs work. Or am I in for trial by fire?

Luton offers a factory start up program for Homeworks, contact them for better details.

5) Cost. I have read that the cost difference between RadioRA vs. Homeworks converges as the install gets larger. Given that I will require a Chronos with a RadioRA install, I am assuming I will be close in price with either option. Given that I will need a Chronos and it has to be the "main" repeater, it will be part of any RadioRA install from day 1. I have found RadioRA dealers that sell at basically 66% of retail. Can expect about the same ratio for Homeworks RF?

Ra and homeworks typically equate once you cross the Chronos threshold. As far as priciong goes, that is a question between you and where you buy it from. Lutron currently has some packages available for their Homeworks RF line, again call Lutron for details.

6) Dimming status. I know there is more capability with Homeworks to report status, change levels on the fly etc. But it really doesn't matter much to me as I am more of a "set it and forget it" type person.

7) Keypad controllers. Are the Large-button See-thru controllers available for RadioRA also available in Homeworks RF?

Yes they are available

8) Availability and documentation. As mentioned, my closest Homeworks dealer is 140 miles and there is no guarantee the dealer would sell to me anyway, does anyone know a dealer will to sell to a homeowner? And include programming software? Also, RadioRA documentation is readily available, but I have had trouble finding detailed information about Homeworks RF. Most of the homeworks stuff I have found deals more with the wired versions vs. the wireless.

Yeah, I know its a lot and any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks.

Hope this helps

PS

Where are you located?


Edited to correct response
Gurkha is offline  
post #4 of 22 Old 03-10-2007, 09:03 PM
AVS Special Member
 
fletch999's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Livonia, MI
Posts: 1,332
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Gurkha, are you telling the OP that he will be able to do a 100% DIY Homeworks system?
fletch999 is offline  
post #5 of 22 Old 03-11-2007, 04:27 AM
Member
 
Gurkha's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 54
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by fletch999 View Post

Gurkha, are you telling the OP that he will be able to do a 100% DIY Homeworks system?

Lutron will do startups, however I am not sure if they will DIY the software. I reread my post an saw how I inferred that.

However the systems once up and running can be accesed over the internet for software changes. So a dealer 140 miles away could service the system. From a DIY standpoint, homeworks is not user friendly.


Also, what is "OP"??
Gurkha is offline  
post #6 of 22 Old 03-11-2007, 07:04 AM - Thread Starter
AVS Special Member
 
herdfan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Boondocks
Posts: 2,826
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gurkha View Post

I reread my post an saw how I inferred that.

Also, what is "OP"??

There are DIY'ers that have programmed their own HW system. Lutron does not condone or approve of it. You just need a dealer who will provide you the software. Some will, some won't.

OP is me or "Original Poster".

Please do not send me PM's asking for software! You will not get it.
herdfan is offline  
post #7 of 22 Old 03-11-2007, 02:52 PM
jcm
Advanced Member
 
jcm's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Rhode Island
Posts: 653
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
There are some pretty big differences, not the least of which is that RA is essentially preprogrammed, "room" or "scene" logic, HW is fully programmable w/ conditional logic. You might want to ask your dealer about the two new "promotional" HW Rf packages that have just been announced. One is a 10 dimmer kit, the other is 30.

jcmitch
jcm is offline  
post #8 of 22 Old 03-12-2007, 09:40 AM
Advanced Member
 
alexsquared's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Gresham, OR
Posts: 648
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 12
Lutron heavily frowns on dealers releasing software, but some dealers are willing to release. Another alternative to look at is the Vantage RadioLink system. Similar in price/features, and I believe has actually surpassed lutron in with the release of the new Infusion controller (ie. 120 keypads per master).
alexsquared is offline  
post #9 of 22 Old 03-12-2007, 12:45 PM
AVS Special Member
 
fletch999's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Livonia, MI
Posts: 1,332
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
But Vantage is no more DIY friendly than Lutron.
fletch999 is offline  
post #10 of 22 Old 03-12-2007, 12:47 PM
AVS Special Member
 
fletch999's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Livonia, MI
Posts: 1,332
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Also, the Infusion controller can have up to 300 radiolink stations now. The original Q system was limited to 60 per master.
fletch999 is offline  
post #11 of 22 Old 03-12-2007, 02:39 PM
Member
 
Eden's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Nashville, TN
Posts: 67
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Has do the processors compare in pricing RA vs. Homeworks? the same, 20%, 50%, 100% increase? I have always thought the Cronos was expensive for what it does?
Eden is offline  
post #12 of 22 Old 03-12-2007, 05:43 PM
Senior Member
 
MikeB1973's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 341
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Sorry to butt in for a sec, but I'm curious if you don't mind answering - how long ago did you purchase the majority of your Insteon switches, and how many failures have you had?

Thanks!
MikeB1973 is offline  
post #13 of 22 Old 03-12-2007, 06:28 PM - Thread Starter
AVS Special Member
 
herdfan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Boondocks
Posts: 2,826
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
No problem Mike.

I jumped in feet first back in July 2005 with the original Starter Kit which was a Control Linc, 2 signalincs and 2 lamplincs. As soon as switches became available, I was ordering them also. So I have had many Insteon components since the fall of 2005.

I began to see problems in early 2006 when I would come into a room and either the lights would not work, or I would notice a switch without an LED on. The problem was traced to the early version switches having a bad resistor. SH replaced them without question.

The problem was SH had two differnt batches of the V2.2 switchlinc. Early ones still had the bad resistors, but when they came, I thought I was getting the new ones since the ones that had failed were V2.0's. I later found out as I was replacing many of the same switches that some v2.2's had the bad resistor.

I have a keypad that keeps dropping its links. So I gave up on it. The local load works, but it won't control or respond to any other devices.

Then there was the "flicker" issue. This is where load that were not on FULL would flicker when ever there was traffic on the network. Let's just say that my wife was scrap booking with several friends in the dinning room when I set houselinc to spidering. She came down wanting to know what was up with the lights?

Since then it has been intermittent failures of some kind about once a month. It may be a bad resistor, a keypad that dies or most recently the paddle failure issue.

This problem has cropped up frequently on switches that get used daily. The switch just stops responding to paddle presses. It can be either ON or OFF but not usually both. Sometimes it can be fixed by replacing the paddle, sometimes not. Some have reported being able to fix it by removing the paddle and slightly stretching the springs so they depress the button a little harder. I tried it but stretched it a little too far and light stayed on. I have spare paddles so it is easier to just change them out.

I do love it as far as its speed. Most presses respond instantly. I just wish SH would have made a better quality switch. It seems like they were trying to hit a price point and spec'd the cheapest parts and seem surprised when they fail.

So to summarize, and be fair, most of my install is from devices that shipped between the fall 2005 and summer 2006 when I got my last batch of replacements. I have heard they are a revision or two past what I have. Of course that could just mean a firmware update or all new internals.

I do know that they missed quite a few products that were planned according to a "roadmap" that was published on the developer site last spring. So at this point, I no longer have confidence in SH's ability to deliver a high quality product.

That is why I am going with Lutron. I think in this situation, you get what you pay for and if quality costs more, then so be it. This is my home and I don't want it to create stress. I like to tinker, but on my terms. I don't want to come home planning to watch a game on TV only to have the wife tell me the switch in my daughter's bathroom needs replaced. (That one can't wait, although my daughter did give me a funny look when I handed her a flashlight. )

I don't want to change your mind or make you feel different about any decisions you have made, but that is my experience.

Please do not send me PM's asking for software! You will not get it.
herdfan is offline  
post #14 of 22 Old 03-13-2007, 03:07 AM
Senior Member
 
MikeB1973's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 341
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Thanks for the detailed reply. I'm on the tail end of my Insteon install, and I have had a few switches come in bad, none have failed once they were installed. Oldest switch has been in use for a few months I'd say. I'm using all SwitchLinc V2 Dimmers v3.1 (plus some relays & KeypadLincs).

I agree that I don't want a headache, but I don't think I could have justified the cost of the project if I went with anything more expensive than Insteon.

I hope I don't have all the same issues you had...

Thanks again!
MikeB1973 is offline  
post #15 of 22 Old 03-13-2007, 10:40 AM
Member
 
SoundKernel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 192
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Gurkha,

Thanks for the info. Can you use a Chronos in a single, unbridged system without the delays? I have a small RadioRA implementation that I want to grow but I don't want to throw money away on something that doesn't respond. My house is not large and I think HW is overkill for me but the solution has to work and your Chronos delay comments concern me.

Thanks,
SoundKernel is offline  
post #16 of 22 Old 03-13-2007, 10:12 PM
Member
 
dim4's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 43
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
There is no noticable delay in a Ra system till one uses the Chronos as a system bridge. One needs to plan how the home is divided when combining two systems. Use upstairs/downstairs, inside/outside but don't split a room.

The use of RA Grafik Eyes in large rooms greatly expands the size home a RA system can handle and I don't find this "hell" to program at all. It is as simple as choosing the scene on the Grafik Eye to be activated from the keypad. I've done up to 8000 square foot homes with RA and multiple Grafik Eyes (kitchen, family, foyer, library, living). Each 6 zone GE counts as only one dimmer. Don't try to use a single GE for more than one area.
dim4 is offline  
post #17 of 22 Old 03-14-2007, 06:06 AM
Member
 
SoundKernel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 192
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
So if I implement the Chronos in an unbridged system, delays will not be a problem?

I don't need every load automated- kitchen (3-4 loads), dining room (3 loads), powder room (1 load), entrys (2 loads), exterior lighting (4 loads), and master BR + bath (3-4 loads) There are probably a couple I haven't thought of.

I'll probably install the updated GraphicEye in the media room becasue I don't need this automated globally, just local control.

Any issues with integrating motion sensors with the Chronos? (probably only exterior lighting applications)
SoundKernel is offline  
post #18 of 22 Old 03-14-2007, 06:56 AM - Thread Starter
AVS Special Member
 
herdfan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Boondocks
Posts: 2,826
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by SoundKernel View Post

Any issues with integrating motion sensors with the Chronos? (probably only exterior lighting applications)

If you have a security panel such as the Elk, you can interface motion detectors from the panel to activate "scenes" via the RS-232 port to turn on outside lights.

Please do not send me PM's asking for software! You will not get it.
herdfan is offline  
post #19 of 22 Old 03-14-2007, 03:55 PM
Member
 
dim4's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 43
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Chronos has a few contact closure inputs. Instead of turning on a light direclty the motion sensor closes a relay and the Chronos sees the closure and activates a scene. These must be dry contacts (no voltage). Many interior occupancy sensors can be ordered with a dry contact relay but you can also add your own to a typical exterior sensor.
dim4 is offline  
post #20 of 22 Old 03-14-2007, 06:47 PM
Member
 
SoundKernel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 192
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Thanks guys-

any delay issues with Chronos on modest, unbridged systems?
SoundKernel is offline  
post #21 of 22 Old 03-14-2007, 08:36 PM
Member
 
dim4's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 43
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
There is no noticable delay with a modest unbridged RA. The dimmers instantly begin their fade up or down to the level they are set to. I have to say "noticable" because there is a fraction of a second communications process going on but it is very fast. HomeWorks Wireless is a newer and even more robust design and is faster yet.

The delay when using Chronos as a bridge is because a command that crosses the bridge from one system to another has to wait for the initiating system to process the command before Chronos can repeat it on the second system. This can look odd if you aren't careful how you split up the house. HomeWorks uses multi channel transceivers to allow a system to pass commands to all devices at the same instant.
dim4 is offline  
post #22 of 22 Old 03-15-2007, 05:56 AM
Member
 
SoundKernel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 192
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
dim4- thanks a million. Looks like expanding my RadioRA system will work fine when I renovate later this year. I think I can implement the functionality that I need for about $2200-2400 which is a lot cheaper than starting over with HomeWorks.
SoundKernel is offline  
Reply Home Automation

User Tag List

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off