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post #1 of 14 Old 01-10-2013, 11:21 AM - Thread Starter
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Ok, I am almost done framing my theater and I am about to start running wire. You can see my layout here.
Layout 1-10.pdf 388k .pdf file


I plan on wiring the zones as follows:
1- 2 6" cans behind AT screen
1- 3 6" cans for screen wash
1- 9 6" cans over seating
1- Lights under cabinets and over bar area
1- 3" puck lights in soffit
1- Dimmable RGB LED tape/rope lights in crown on soffit
1- Step lights in riser

Questions:
1. Is this too much light?
2. Do you see any zones I could condense/remove? I would like to have a ton of control over the lighting.
3. I would like to have all of this controlled via iRule. I recently bought some Global Cache units to control everything via IP to IR. Do you see any issues with that?
4. How can I terminate all of these zones in one location and also have a dimmer switch/wallstation to give guests a button to hit while I still control it with ipad/android tablets when I'm in the theater?
5. If I use a GrafikEye to control the zones/scenes, what what I need to also have a switch or two to say control the bar lights or change the light level in the room? A wallstation?
6. What system would work best for this? I have read about Lutron GE, Lutron Spacer, Insteon, etc.

Thanks all,
Chris
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post #2 of 14 Old 01-10-2013, 11:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wraunch View Post

Ok, I am almost done framing my theater and I am about to start running wire. You can see my layout here.
Layout 1-10.pdf 388k .pdf file


I plan on wiring the zones as follows:
1- 2 6" cans behind AT screen
1- 3 6" cans for screen wash
1- 9 6" cans over seating
1- Lights under cabinets and over bar area
1- 3" puck lights in soffit
1- Dimmable RGB LED tape/rope lights in crown on soffit
1- Step lights in riser

Questions:
1. Is this too much light?
2. Do you see any zones I could condense/remove? I would like to have a ton of control over the lighting.
3. I would like to have all of this controlled via iRule. I recently bought some Global Cache units to control everything via IP to IR. Do you see any issues with that?
4. How can I terminate all of these zones in one location and also have a dimmer switch/wallstation to give guests a button to hit while I still control it with ipad/android tablets when I'm in the theater?
5. If I use a GrafikEye to control the zones/scenes, what what I need to also have a switch or two to say control the bar lights or change the light level in the room? A wallstation?
6. What system would work best for this? I have read about Lutron GE, Lutron Spacer, Insteon, etc.

Thanks all,
Chris

I am by no means an expert but as long as your going to implement control over each zone it does not sound like to much at all. I have 3 6" screen washes, 6 Sconces, and a Chandelier in the center being controlled with a Grafik Eye and eventually a rope light. My room is all black and sucks up the light even with all those lights on it is not as bright as you would think! One thing I think is good is to have the downward lights like you are over the different seating positions. We really like the look of our chandelier in the room however my wife likes to read while we watch shows sometimes and there is no direct light for her to do that so we end up with some screen wash out. If we had placed some down lights over the seating that would be minimized. For control you can try and find a good deal on a Grafik eye. I lucked out and got a great deal on the better version that can do 1% increments and be controlled through RS232 with an RS232 controller from Lutron which I extremely lucked out on one on ebay but I think that was a total fluke for both I spent under $300.00. If I ever start over again in a new house I think I will go all Insteon as it seems very reasonable cost for each zone.
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post #3 of 14 Old 01-10-2013, 01:33 PM - Thread Starter
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Have you done any research on Insteon? What are your thoughts?
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post #4 of 14 Old 01-10-2013, 04:02 PM
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Just a little bit,

From what I understand is it basically uses power line networking and a central hub to control everything. So the central hub allows your devices like ipads etc.. on the network to communicate to the insteon devices through your homes electrical lines. Prices seem reasonable to me for whats being accomplished. There is a discussion about it in the irule thread right now http://www.avsforum.com/t/1351981/irule/7740_60#post_22812829
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post #5 of 14 Old 01-10-2013, 08:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wraunch View Post

Ok, I am almost done framing my theater and I am about to start running wire. You can see my layout here.
Layout 1-10.pdf 388k .pdf file


I plan on wiring the zones as follows:
1- 2 6" cans behind AT screen
1- 3 6" cans for screen wash
1- 9 6" cans over seating
1- Lights under cabinets and over bar area
1- 3" puck lights in soffit
1- Dimmable RGB LED tape/rope lights in crown on soffit
1- Step lights in riser

Very similar to mine, without the AT screen.
Quote:
Questions:
1. Is this too much light?

Nope. I don't have the cans over the seating area and wish I had more light there for reading / casual viewing (not for movies...).
Quote:
2. Do you see any zones I could condense/remove? I would like to have a ton of control over the lighting.

"Ton of control" = lots of zones. If anything, you can move the step lights and the AT screen cans (which may not be the best method to show off the speakers) to simple switches instead of dimmers, as you probably don't need anything more than on/off for them. I may move my step lights off of my GE to gain a zone to separate my entry can from the back-of-room cans.

See my thread's post about lighting for what I did...
Quote:
3. I would like to have all of this controlled via iRule. I recently bought some Global Cache units to control everything via IP to IR. Do you see any issues with that?

I control my GE with IR via iRule / GC-100... Works great.
Quote:
4. How can I terminate all of these zones in one location and also have a dimmer switch/wallstation to give guests a button to hit while I still control it with ipad/android tablets when I'm in the theater?

For GE, you can use a SeeTouch wallstation (I have two). Or, if you plan on any other lighting automation, start building a RadioRa2 system and use one of those keypads. I've found out the hard way that RR2 "mode" on the GE would disable use of the direct-connected SeeTouch controllers. So I'll likely be sticking with IR for controlling the GE.
Quote:
5. If I use a GrafikEye to control the zones/scenes, what what I need to also have a switch or two to say control the bar lights or change the light level in the room? A wallstation?

If you want to expand beyond the zones available in the GE, start learning RadioRa2. You can take the courses online to gain access to the software...
Quote:
6. What system would work best for this? I have read about Lutron GE, Lutron Spacer, Insteon, etc.

Anything but the GrafikEye. Yuck! biggrin.gifbiggrin.gifbiggrin.gif

Jeff

Rock Creek Theater -- CIH, Panamorph, Martin Logan, SVS PB2000, Carada Masquerade, Grafik Eye, Bar table, Green Glue, JVC RS50 
Theater build photos: http://photobucket.com/autor-ht

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post #6 of 14 Old 01-10-2013, 08:31 PM
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If you use Grafik Eye you have to plan out all your lighting zones now, and once installed ... no changes. In addition, you get the added fun of trying to do all those runs back to one central location and the compressed wiring that entails at the controller (look at the box depths of some of the installs). It was great in it's day when there was no other solution, but something like Insteon is much more flexible and you can expand or change your scenes. Or you can have the same scene easily triggered from different switches.

Insteon does not need to use any central hubs - they all talk to each other via the power lines and RF(use the dual mode units). However I would recommend buying a controller like Universal Devices ISY99i or the SmartLinc as it makes programming complicated scenes much easier, and then you can add programs and time-of-day stuff.

I plan to use irules as well, but don't have any experience controlling insteon with irule yet (but i plan to!)
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post #7 of 14 Old 01-10-2013, 08:49 PM
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Originally Posted by andymo View Post

If you use Grafik Eye you have to plan out all your lighting zones now, and once installed ... no changes.

If you run the romex in logical groups and pigtail connections to join runs together at the GE, you can change your mind later. But yes, everything has to come to one point to be able to do this. That is probably the biggest "up front decision" limitation of a GE or similar solution.
Quote:
In addition, you get the added fun of trying to do all those runs back to one central location and the compressed wiring that entails at the controller (look at the box depths of some of the installs).

This is definitely true. I avoided the issue by bringing all the runs to the attic, making most of the connections there (in several boxes), and pigtailing to the GE box. So yes, highly recommend you position the GE backed to an unfinished / attic space so you can do something similar.
Quote:
It was great in it's day when there was no other solution, but something like Insteon is much more flexible and you can expand or change your scenes. Or you can have the same scene easily triggered from different switches.

I'm not a huge Insteon fan, lots of folks here are using it, though. And it can do the job. RadioRa2 would do that as well, but is a higher-priced solution - certainly the initial outlay is going to be bigger.

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post #8 of 14 Old 01-11-2013, 05:28 AM
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Jautor - sounds like you did a really smart approach. I agree that the GE is best positioned where there is ample back space - best if you can actually access it from behind.

For me, I can be holding the paint brush in my hand and still not be sure of the colour of the paint. I need to see stuff in action before I am happy, which makes pre-drywall decisions really hard.

The other great thing about Insteon is that I am now expanding it to already finished areas of the house. It does not need special wiring, so I can just replace existing switches.
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post #9 of 14 Old 01-11-2013, 07:49 AM - Thread Starter
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Do you pickup any interference or noise with the Insteon stuff?

Thanks for the detailed follow-up Jeff. You're theater is one of the main ones I aspire to one day be similar to. On your comment about the cans behind the AT screen, should I use something I can control more like track lighting?

I agree with both you and Andy that I really have to decide now if I go GE or not. That is why I have been digging so hard on this the past few weeks. I doubt I will care about doing lighting control thoughout my house. Maybe my next house will have that. I might have it in one other room one day but that would be all.

I think I will take the can lights off the GE and just have them on a switch. So how do the wallstations tie into the GE? Is it just a Cat5 from the GE to the wallstation? RR2 would let me do that wirelessly? But you're saying if I go RR2 I can no longer use the wired wallstations?


Andy, on the insteon controller. Would you need the SmartLinc to allow iRule to control your scenes? So the SmartLinc is basically your GE with Insteon?
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post #10 of 14 Old 01-11-2013, 08:15 AM - Thread Starter
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Andy, it looks like Insteon doesn't have a great way of controlling lights and av gear like I had hoped. The SmartLinc will take care of all the lights but I really want to use iRule to run it all and do activity based screens that will automatically do lights, change inputs, etc. Are you just using the SmartLinc for your lights? What do you control av gear with?
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post #11 of 14 Old 01-11-2013, 08:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wraunch View Post

On your comment about the cans behind the AT screen, should I use something I can control more like track lighting?

A lot of the screen wall images I've seen use uplights, low-mounted track lights, or art spotlights to highlight the speakers. You want to direct light onto the speakers, not just into the area, or you may wash the screen too much and cause it to act like a scrim and look fairly milky / foggy...
Quote:
I think I will take the can lights off the GE and just have them on a switch. So how do the wallstations tie into the GE? Is it just a Cat5 from the GE to the wallstation? RR2 would let me do that wirelessly? But you're saying if I go RR2 I can no longer use the wired wallstations?

The Lutron "seeTouch" wallstations tie in with a low-volt wire, but it's PELV, which is a rated cable that can be mixed in with romex and meet code. It's not cat5e. One thing I would do differently now is that I only ran PELV to my seeTouch locations. So changing them out to some other keypad (like a RR2 keypad) that runs off of line voltage isn't economically feasible. I should have run romex to those boxes as well and left the other ends capped in a box in the attic. But that advice is not particularly helpful - you'd need the kind of access I happen to have to be able to take advantage of that and be able to change them out. The other possible way to accomplish that would be to wire romex from a nearby switch, so that at least you could hook up a keypad (with no direct load).

RadioRa2 is an RF-based system like the Insteon gear. But if you're not expecting to expand beyond this room, RR2 has a lot of upstart costs that would make it way more expensive than Insteon. In my case, doing it over, I would have used RR2 keypads instead of the seeTouch units, so that everything could run together as part of a RR2 setup. I'll very likely end up just leaving my GE as an IR-controlled island not connected to RR2 controls, which is a shame (technically speaking, I won't really lose any functionality I was planning, just won't be as clean from an engineering / programming perspective).
Quote:
Would you need the SmartLinc to allow iRule to control your scenes? So the SmartLinc is basically your GE with Insteon?

Yes, you'll need a SmartLinc or another controller to bridge from IP or IR to Insteon's RF control method.

Jeff

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post #12 of 14 Old 01-11-2013, 11:01 AM
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Is RR2 DIY friendly now? I see on the Lutron site that they have some information on setting up a single room with RR2 that is controlled by a GE, but it looks like they want you to go through a dealer for a whole home setup. I'm guessing there is a more elaborate (pronounced "expensive") controller for a whole home setup.

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post #13 of 14 Old 01-11-2013, 03:12 PM
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Quote:
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Is RR2 DIY friendly now? I see on the Lutron site that they have some information on setting up a single room with RR2 that is controlled by a GE, but it looks like they want you to go through a dealer for a whole home setup. I'm guessing there is a more elaborate (pronounced "expensive") controller for a whole home setup.

I'll have to look at that, as it does sound familiar, but it wasn't something I was going to do, so have forgotten how it worked, but perhaps that could be a solution for the OP...

"DIY-friendly", well, sort of. If you're willing to spend the time to go through the on-line training web courses, attend a 3-4 hour training session (in person or live streaming on-line, scheduled ~once per month), pass the exam, and buy a "starter kit" or equivalent, then yes, you can get the entry-level dealer software which IIRC will give you 100 devices max. More than that, you're back to a real dealer.

I've done most of the above, just need to take the open book exam, then actually plan my "first pass" $$ design and place an order with an authorized dealer / distributor.

The "main repeater" controller required for RR2 is I think MSRP $500-ish...

Jeff

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post #14 of 14 Old 01-11-2013, 06:44 PM
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Whole home lighting automation is next up on the DIY project list right after the theater. If I can put a system in the theater that I can later expand to the house, then that would be a bonus! I'd certainly be willing to put some time in on the front end.

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