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post #1 of 52 Old 02-26-2013, 08:12 PM - Thread Starter
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I'm having a hard time figuring out how to meet my lighting needs and was looking for some advice.

I'm thinking of using Lutron Maestro or spacer system but not sure if I also need to incorporate an IR repeater (was reading about buffalo IR repeaters).

I want to be able to control my can lighting with my harmony 900 in a way to where when i push play the lights dim down, when i hit pause the lights come up half way, and when i hit stop the lights come back up. It would also be nice to have other setting like a gaming setting or others that would use different lighting brightness.

I also want to be able to dim my accent lighting (rope lighting in the crown molding - once i build it).

The light switches are on the wall to the rightand slightly in front of the seating area, approx. at a 75-80 degree angle so pointing it would be required unless i went with a repeater. In that case I suppose i would have to put in on the front wall?

If i get two maestro's or spacer systems can my remote differentiate between the two, i assume it can but still curious?

All suggestions are welcme!

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post #2 of 52 Old 02-27-2013, 04:17 AM
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Check out here on my build http://www.avsforum.com/t/1289897/mysticaljet-theater-2-0/120#post_21712919

Used insteon light switches, not Lutron. My Harmony one controls the lighting and scenes are set up. When I hit play, lights dim to off, pause the lights come up to a certain level, hit stop and they come up to a different level. This includes rope lighting as well.
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post #3 of 52 Old 02-27-2013, 04:24 AM
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Insteon is OK, but do what the pros do and use a 3, 4 or 6 zone Lutron Grafik Eye. It is ONE high-voltage fixture that has all of the different lighting zones home-run to it, is easily controllable via IR by any control system and will allow for up to 16 different lighting scenes with four made available via the hard buttons on the front of the unit. The Insteon has its place, but the dimmers get extremely warm if ganged together, have some reliability issues from time-to-time and require a lot more work to get individual switches unrelated to one another to start working together in comparison to other lighting control options, including Grafik Eye. Get yourself out to eBay and pick up a used one for even bigger savings.
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post #4 of 52 Old 02-27-2013, 07:51 AM
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I agree. I debated this same argument for months and I just pulled the trigger on a six zone GE I found. Check ebay daily and you'll find a good deal. Now I just need to find a good deal on a black cover for the GE. I am going to install it in a Raco 698 masonry box.
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post #5 of 52 Old 02-27-2013, 08:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wraunch View Post

I am going to install it in a Raco 698 masonry box.

Not needed. I would just get one of the full-depth 4-gang plastic boxes and be done with it. One HUGE suggestion I have for you is to get yourself a couple of 8-port push-in electrical connectors for all the neutrals and grounds. Using huge wire nuts in a tight box is no fun. These 8-port connectors, especially the long, flat one, can lay perfectly flat at the back of the box and make your life easy since you don't have to fight a pile of twisted wires and huge wire nuts.

Here's a link: https://www.platt.com/platt-electric-supply/Wire-Connectors-Push-In-Type/Push-Connector-8-Port/search.aspx?zcid=60&CatID=308&SubCatID=4699&viewAllCats=1&ctl00_ctl00_MainContent_uxSearch_gridViewChangePage=1_50&morePromoDesc=44

Stay Classy Wrauch!!! (Sorry, just couldn't help myself)
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post #6 of 52 Old 02-27-2013, 08:12 AM
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I was wondering if I could get by with the plastic box. Everyone in the GE thread seems to think the Masonry box is the only way to go.
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post #7 of 52 Old 02-27-2013, 08:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wraunch View Post

I was wondering if I could get by with the plastic box. Everyone in the GE thread seems to think the Masonry box is the only way to go.

Send me the link to that GE thread and I will get them straightened out!!! The plastic makes your life easier since you don't have to ground it, have one-way wire insertions incorporated into the box, plus it does not conduct heat. There are two depths of plastic boxes - you want the one that goes the full 2x4 depth which is the only one that will work. It is possible to use wire nuts and compress all the wires behind the Grafik Eye but it is a total PITA and you really have to plan out where your wire nuts will go so everything can fit flush. Those 8-port wire connectors lay flat beautifully in the box, keep the wires really organized and allow plenty of room to nest the Grafik Eye with no issues whatsoever. I have 4 GRX-3106 Grafik Eyes, each with the recommended 12-2 wire and no issues whatsoever using the push-on connectors or during installation.
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post #8 of 52 Old 02-27-2013, 08:31 AM
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Wait, they tell you to use 12/2? All of my lights are on 14/2. is that a deal breaker?
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post #9 of 52 Old 02-27-2013, 08:43 AM
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Also do I need to have my electrican run anything differently to the GE location? Is it just as simple as having everything run back to the GE and then a homerun to the subpanel?
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post #10 of 52 Old 02-27-2013, 09:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wraunch View Post

Wait, they tell you to use 12/2? All of my lights are on 14/2. is that a deal breaker?

Quote:
Originally Posted by wraunch View Post

Also do I need to have my electrican run anything differently to the GE location? Is it just as simple as having everything run back to the GE and then a homerun to the subpanel?

The wire gauge required is based on your total lighting load. If, for example, you have a six zone unit and a total draw of 1600 watts between all lighting fixtures then that 1600 watt load dictates that you use 12/2 on a 20 amp circuit after the line capacity is de-rated. If your total load is only 800 watts, then 14 gauge would be fine. There is a description of electrical requirements in the owner's manual that shows when you should use 14 gauge and when you use 12 gauge.

Very simply, you have a dedicated circuit come from your panel to your GE location. Each lighting zone has daisy-chained fixtures with the last line of each lighting zone homerun to the GE and connected. All grounds get tied together with one ground leader going to the GE ground, all neutrals are tied together with one neutral leader going to the neutral on the GE and each hot (black) wire from each zone gets attached to the appropriate zone number with the hot from the panel tied directly to the hot input on the GE. Simple!
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post #11 of 52 Old 02-27-2013, 10:39 AM
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Can I use this panel? I found a guy that says he'd sell it for $250. He says it's a 3106. I'm skeptical.

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post #12 of 52 Old 02-27-2013, 11:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wraunch View Post

Can I use this panel? I found a guy that says he'd sell it for $250. He says it's a 3106. I'm skeptical.

lutron.JPG 42k .JPG file

I cannot tell from the picture. The model number sticker is behind the front face plate so a picture of the front with the face plate removed is far more useful. It has to be a 3000 series, not a 4000 series, so be careful of that.

And just so you are aware, the GRX-3106 and the GRX-MR-6 are IDENTICAL, they just have different stickers because one is through normal Lutron channels (3106) and the Lutron MR6 was sold as a single-room theater solution.

I have three extra 3106s (MR-6) sitting on the sidelines where I am probably only going to use one. If you are interested send me a PM.
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post #13 of 52 Old 02-27-2013, 08:09 PM - Thread Starter
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Geting back to the original question, and for a simple modest setup (cost being taken into consideration), are there any options to achieve my needs that are more simple than these concerns being discussed above?

I'm trying to use my harmony 900 to control a simple lighting setup. One light for my cans and the other for the accent lights. Can I just buy one spacer and one maestro? Will the remote know the difference between the two when a command is sent? I want them seperate from themselves. I dont think i need a master control or anything like that......?

Anyone able to help me (a novice) figure this out?

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post #14 of 52 Old 02-27-2013, 08:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1Myke View Post

Geting back to the original question, and for a simple modest setup (cost being taken into consideration), are there any options to achieve my needs that are more simple than these concerns being discussed above?

I'm trying to use my harmony 900 to control a simple lighting setup. One light for my cans and the other for the accent lights. Can I just buy one spacer and one maestro? Will the remote know the difference between the two when a command is sent? I want them seperate from themselves. I dont think i need a master control or anything like that......?

Anyone able to help me (a novice) figure this out?

To quote an old adage, "simple costs." Let's back up here and understand your lighting plan at a deeper level. How many zones of lighting do you plan to have for this room? Are any of the lighting zones planned to be over 600 watts? Do you have any Cat5 wire run to the light switch location or is it possible to get a wire from your equipment rack to your lighting switches?

Once I have these answers I will respond further.
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post #15 of 52 Old 02-27-2013, 08:59 PM - Thread Starter
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The switches are in a 2 gang box that was originally for the ceiling light and fan combo, I'm remodeling my bonus room. That might be too mch info but curioius on your thoughts regarding that too. At the moment I have 6 cans being controled by one switch and i am thinking of taking the 2nd switch and wire it to the accent (rope) lighting i'm getting ready to install. I dont have any cat5 runs to the lights but I could install them if i needed to, I'm right at the stage of getting ready to install the drywall i tore down (i modified the wall frames to a staggered stud setup for sound proofing. Why would cat5's have anything to do with setting up a ir dimmer? Too bad they arn't rf like my harmony900.

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post #16 of 52 Old 02-27-2013, 11:11 PM
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I'm currently in the same boat as you so I'm subbing to this thread. I was ready and set on 2 lutron dimmer switches with IR controls and 1 regular switch for my full on "cleaning" white lights all in a 3gang fixture. Hmmmm, also wondering about that cat5... ?
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post #17 of 52 Old 02-28-2013, 04:53 AM
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Cat5 can be used to extend IR emitters, so having an emitter extend from your Logitech Harmony blaster device in the rack to an emitter placed on or near the IR target on the switches will improve reliability and be very handy for sleek control. One other comment regarding the Logitech Harmony - if you haven't already, get the RF kit for this remote. It will make your life TONS easier and have far more reliable operation.

My recommendations have not changed from above. Just get yourself a two-zone Lutron Grafik Eye. There is one on eBay right now for $115 Buy-It-Now. Used but in perfect cosmetic and operational condition from a reputable seller. By the time you have two Insteon dimmers you are already spending more than what this costs. There is an IR target on the front where you can feed the emitter up through the edge of the box and attach directly to the IR target. There are more advanced ways to hide the emitter so it is not seen at all, but let's take baby steps for now and get you up and running.

Here's a link to that auction: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Lutron-Grafik-Eye-GRX-3102-Preset-Lighting-Control-Dimmer-White-/181078978200?pt=Home_Automation_Modules&hash=item2a2925ee98
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post #18 of 52 Old 02-28-2013, 09:17 AM
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Ahh!! Great, this is what I was looking for... I just didn't know there were cheaper options (The Grafik Eye's I had seen were $350+ used and thousands new).

TMcG, do you know any model #'s or if there is a 3 zone one?

**EDIT - Found a 3zone new http://www.ebay.com/itm/Lutron-Grafik-Eye-GRX-3103-3-Zones-Of-Dimming-Or-Preset-Scenes-/321081156661?pt=Home_Automation_Modules&hash=item4ac1eda435
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post #19 of 52 Old 02-28-2013, 09:25 AM
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Yes, Lutron makes 2, 3, 4 and 6 zone Grafik Eyes. Multiple Grafik Eyes can be linked together to form a seamless number of lighting zones beyond this single units. For example, if you had 14 lighting zones you could use two 6-zone units and one 2 zone unit. You could also get the 4 zone instead of the two zone so you have a couple of spares if you wanted to add lighting down the road. The flexibility of the system is nice.

My argument for this approach is that it is simple and reliable....and without the need for transcoders, adapters and all the other stuff needed to make the other lighting systems work well with automation and control.

Another great resource for lighting control IR codes is remotecentral.com.
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post #20 of 52 Old 02-28-2013, 10:29 AM - Thread Starter
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TMcG -
Thank you for clarity, I think I can follow most it. I already have the rf setup for the remote but the mini blasters are all connected to main only allowing a few feet in length. So is the emitter I'm placing in the 2 gang box from the eye? How is it connected and is it then receiving a rf signal from the remote and sending an rf signal to emitters which send the it signal to the lights? Or am I just way off in left field?

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post #21 of 52 Old 02-28-2013, 10:51 AM
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Subbing

I too want to do this however I'm going to try the Lutron IR dimmer route for 6 overhead cans. I will use low voltage for some LED riser lights.
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post #22 of 52 Old 02-28-2013, 11:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1Myke View Post

TMcG -
Thank you for clarity, I think I can follow most it. I already have the rf setup for the remote but the mini blasters are all connected to main only allowing a few feet in length. So is the emitter I'm placing in the 2 gang box from the eye? How is it connected and is it then receiving a rf signal from the remote and sending an rf signal to emitters which send the it signal to the lights? Or am I just way off in left field?

Extending an IR emitter is extremely easy. Just take one emitter with the 1/8" jack on one end and the emitter on the other end and cut the wire in half at the meatier part of the wire (i.e. closer to the 1/8" jack vs. the skinny wire at the emitter end). You will see that one side of the wire is either ribbed and the other side is smooth. There will also be writing on one side of the wire and not the other, fyi. All you have to do is strip back a bit of wire from each side of the emitter wire you just cut so you will now have 4 exposed tips. Use ONE pair of the Cat5 (I usually use the blue pair) and attach the blue wire to one of the wires attached to the 1/8" emitter jack. Use the blue/white wire to attach to the other wire of the emitter jack. Do the same thing at the other end of your Cat5 when you attach the emitter end of the wire, but the only thing I have to say is that you MUST BE CONSISTENT. In other words, it doesn't matter whether the solid blue wire is used to extend the ribbed side of the emitter wire or the smooth side, you just have to be consistent in your connections at both ends.

So that is all there is to it. There are length limitations to extending the length of an emitter with a Cat5, but I haven't even come close to hitting it - even for a TV located 100 feet away from my main rack with the control system. Some more advanced units will allow you to tailor the power of the IR light output, fyi.

Please let me know if this makes sense for you.
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post #23 of 52 Old 03-02-2013, 11:36 AM - Thread Starter
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It's making more sense now, trying to figure out 2 things, do I put an extender in the Lutron gang box ? Since I have the harmony 900 an it uses rf but only has two emitters to send ir signals how can I still incorporate them since my equip is behind me and the rf remote will still do a lot for me?

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post #24 of 52 Old 03-21-2013, 07:04 PM
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Hi All,

I've recently started my build (no thread yet, but coming). I have a Lutron Grafik Eye 3106, and I'm trying to figure out how to use it to dim some LED strip lights. Do I need a separate 12vdc power supply that is dimmable? Do I need the ELVI interface for the GE from Lutron? Neither? Both? Thanks for your help!
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post #25 of 52 Old 03-21-2013, 07:21 PM
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Hi All,

I've recently started my build (no thread yet, but coming). I have a Lutron Grafik Eye 3106, and I'm trying to figure out how to use it to dim some LED strip lights. Do I need a separate 12vdc power supply that is dimmable? Do I need the ELVI interface for the GE from Lutron? Neither? Both? Thanks for your help!

A few things:
- You cannot dim a transformer that is expecting a 120v input signal unless it is a MLV (Magnetic) or ELV (Electronic) Low voltage transformer. I have not seen these types of transformers packaged with strip lights. The best you can do with the Grafik Eye is to set that zone to 100% off or 100% on, essentially disabling the dimming capability for that zone. I
- From the technical specifications I have seen with LED strip lights, you cannot use an outside interface. This is not an all-inclusive statement, fyi. Use the correct amperage DC power supply for your LED strip light run lengths.
- You will have to dim the LED lights using an IR emitter running to the IR eye included with your strip lights
- This is relatively unknown, but you need a 25w minimum load on any Grafik Eye zone for the unit to recognize something is there. If you don't have 25w then you need to add other load until you reach 25w.

I would suggest that you look at LED ROPE light, not strip light. It will plug directly into high voltage and can be dimmed directly, provided you get the right type of rope light that can be dimmed. They sell a number of single-color rope lights.
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post #26 of 52 Old 03-22-2013, 04:07 AM
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You can dim low voltage with the GE in a very select circumstance. There is a decent Lutron tech note on the matter here.

With a strip light you are almost certainly going to use an electronic transformer. That would require the ELVI-1000.... or.. I got the GRX-TVI (ten volt interface) which I am going to use with an electronic transformer that has a 10-volt control channel.

I'm not sure if there is any benefit to either solution, other than I picked up the TVI dirt cheap. I probably won't have my strips installed for a month or so.

Tim
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post #27 of 52 Old 03-22-2013, 04:58 AM
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You can dim low voltage with the GE in a very select circumstance. There is a decent Lutron tech note on the matter here.

With a strip light you are almost certainly going to use an electronic transformer. That would require the ELVI-1000.... or.. I got the GRX-TVI (ten volt interface) which I am going to use with an electronic transformer that has a 10-volt control channel.

I'm not sure if there is any benefit to either solution, other than I picked up the TVI dirt cheap. I probably won't have my strips installed for a month or so.

Tim

You can certainly use a Grafik Eye to dim normal low voltage fixtures which typically have the more expensive transformers. In the case of LED strip lights I haven't seen where this will work, given the type of transformer supplied and even with the low voltage interface.

Have you tried a non-QS Grafik Eye with LED strip lights yet? I would be interested to learn because from a number of perspectives I was under the impression that it cannot work with strip lights - only potentially the Grafik Eye QS and not the 3100 or 3500 series given the type of transformer used for these LED light strips. I'd like to learn if that is wrong.
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post #28 of 52 Old 03-22-2013, 05:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TMcG View Post

You can certainly use a Grafik Eye to dim normal low voltage fixtures which typically have the more expensive transformers. In the case of LED strip lights I haven't seen where this will work, given the type of transformer supplied and even with the low voltage interface.

Have you tried a non-QS Grafik Eye with LED strip lights yet? I would be interested to learn because from a number of perspectives I was under the impression that it cannot work with strip lights - only potentially the Grafik Eye QS and not the 3100 or 3500 series given the type of transformer used for these LED light strips. I'd like to learn if that is wrong.

If you buy the strip light packages, you are going to get an electronic transformer that won't power much strip, and a controller that won't control much strip.

I'm buying the strip in bulk and will pair it with a single large electronic transformer.

The one situation you could dim direct with a 3000 series is a magnetic transformer <600 watts. The Lutron TB doesn't seem to differentiate between the QS and the 3000 series. That would dim a substantial amount of strip. The downside is they are expensive. I have used Sea Gull transformer (iirc it was 24vdc) for undercabinet lighting on a dimmer (regular dimmer, not a GE) with no problem. You could use this same type of transformer for strips. This is the same type of transformer found in your typical Halo LV can or LV track lights from the big box stores.

For strip lighting it would almost always be cheaper to just buy the ELVI or TVI on ebay and pair it with an electronic transformer. If you had to buy the equipment new I'm not sure how the numbers work out.

I have not tried dimming a typical 12vdc magnetic transformer with e GE (primarily since I don't have one), but I will report back on the TVI when I have the strips installed.

Tim
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post #29 of 52 Old 03-22-2013, 06:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr.Tim View Post

If you buy the strip light packages, you are going to get an electronic transformer that won't power much strip, and a controller that won't control much strip.

I'm buying the strip in bulk and will pair it with a single large electronic transformer.

The one situation you could dim direct with a 3000 series is a magnetic transformer <600 watts. The Lutron TB doesn't seem to differentiate between the QS and the 3000 series. That would dim a substantial amount of strip. The downside is they are expensive. I have used Sea Gull transformer (iirc it was 24vdc) for undercabinet lighting on a dimmer (regular dimmer, not a GE) with no problem. You could use this same type of transformer for strips. This is the same type of transformer found in your typical Halo LV can or LV track lights from the big box stores.

For strip lighting it would almost always be cheaper to just buy the ELVI or TVI on ebay and pair it with an electronic transformer. If you had to buy the equipment new I'm not sure how the numbers work out.

I have not tried dimming a typical 12vdc magnetic transformer with e GE (primarily since I don't have one), but I will report back on the TVI when I have the strips installed.

Tim

I have use for these light strips in one zone of my theater plan, so I bought a complete package that included the 5M spool of RGB LED lights and it came with a 12v DC / 2.0 Amp AC/DC adapter feeding an interface piece that outputs 12v DC and up to 3.2 Amps. Of course I didn't need to pay attention to any of that because I was just plugging the thing in and turning it on using the included 44 key remote.

So in this scenario is it possible to integrate with a single zone on a 3100 or 3500 series Grafik Eye, even with the low voltage interface replacing the AC/DC adapter in this scenario? I realize I would have to set it to one color and "forget it", only dimming and turning off/on....but is that even possiblem with a TVI or ELVI with a separate magnetic or electronic transformer purchase? It just doesn't seem feasible. I'll post pics a bit later of the system I have for your further comments.
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post #30 of 52 Old 03-22-2013, 07:24 AM
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Originally Posted by TMcG View Post

I have use for these light strips in one zone of my theater plan, so I bought a complete package that included the 5M spool of RGB LED lights and it came with a 12v DC / 2.0 Amp AC/DC adapter feeding an interface piece that outputs 12v DC and up to 3.2 Amps. Of course I didn't need to pay attention to any of that because I was just plugging the thing in and turning it on using the included 44 key remote.

So in this scenario is it possible to integrate with a single zone on a 3100 or 3500 series Grafik Eye, even with the low voltage interface replacing the AC/DC adapter in this scenario? I realize I would have to set it to one color and "forget it", only dimming and turning off/on....but is that even possiblem with a TVI or ELVI with a separate magnetic or electronic transformer purchase? It just doesn't seem feasible. I'll post pics a bit later of the system I have for your further comments.

To dim the LEDs using the electronic transformer supplied with your strips I think you would need the ELVI and you would need to make sure the electronic transformer draws the requisite minimum load (40W AC, iirc). Having never tried it, I couldn't say for sure if it would work (or work well), but the scenario does seem to meet the guidelines furnished by Lutron.

You could try with the RF controller inserted between the power supply and the strip, but I have a suspicion it will create problems if you dim power to the controller. Alternatively, I suggest just powering the terminal on the strip directly from the power supply for the color you want.

I recognized this situation from the beginning (having been big into DIY christmas lighting.. I have nightmares about soldering LEDs and resistors), so my plan is for a plain red strip (i forget how many feet I have.. maybe 90 feet/30 meters?).

If you want to add color changing+dimming I think you would have to move to a larger (wattage-wise) controller that would accept a control input like DMX. Or move to a pixel-based ssyetm with a similar controller. I built a few LED controllers that are powered from old ATX power supplies. Of course.. they work great for computer-orchestrated Christmas lighting, but how do you integrate DMX with a theater.. Maybe a DJ mixer board mounted on the wall next to the entrance? biggrin.gif

The RF controllers included in the packages are fine until you need more strip than the controller will power. Mario had an issue with just that in the Cinemar Theater thread.

Tim
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