Lutron Spacer System Question - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 17 Old 07-03-2006, 10:38 AM - Thread Starter
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After some quick searching on Lutron's website and AVS, I still can't get a definate answer as to how the Lutron Spacer System works. Here is my application. I have a dedicated theater room which currently has a 3-gang box with switches operating three different sets of lights- two recessed can lights, and one pair of sconce lights. I want to take these out and put in an IR-based Lutron Spacer System. I want to be able to control the lights with my MX-850 or Logitech Harmony 890 Pro (over RF as the equipment is remotely located- any suggestions on these two is also appreciated, I have used many MX's in the past, but would like to give the Harmony a try). I have used a single spacer dimmre before, but my questions is...

If I have three of these in the same location if I aim the remote there and send say a 60% command it will set all three lights to 60%. I want to be able to have each light at their own percentage. Say, the one set of cans at 20%, the other at 40% and the sconces at 40%. Is this accomplished with a master controller? If so, Will I need three dimmers and a master? I just need a little help. Let me know.

Thanks,
Ryan
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post #2 of 17 Old 07-03-2006, 10:42 AM - Thread Starter
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I think I found the answer to my own question...I need a 5 Scene Master Control and three Accessory dimmers? Will this let me accomplish my objective?
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post #3 of 17 Old 07-03-2006, 11:55 AM
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Ryan

I'm no expert on the Lutron Spacer System, but I did just wire my room with four dimmers and the 5 scene remote control. It works with my Harmony model 659 remote control. Logitech has the codes available for download.

In a nutshell, these are IR controlled dimmers and you'll have to rig up something external to the Lutron system to translate RF codes to IR for them to respond. Each dimmer has 4 'scenes' that you can set to any light level plus full on and off. All dimmers respond to the same code command. If you send a scene 2 code from the remote or with the Master control, ALL of the dimmers will switch to their own scene 2 light level. However dimmer one could be set to 60%, dimmer 2 to 50%, dimmer 3 to 25%, etc.

I have the dimmers mounted in an area not visible from my theater. The master control is mounted on the wall of the theater and can be controlled by my IR remote. It sends the commands through a cable installed in the wall to the dimmers which are in a 4-gang wall box. There is an IR emitter attached to the end of this cable and it sends the signal to the dimmers.

I'm told that the IR receptor on the master control needs a pretty solid head-on signal to respond although I haven't experiemented with this yet -- my room is not finished. I've also heard that it is not necessary to have a master control unit if your remote can send the signals. That could save some money if you don't need the master remote for anything else. In that case you will probably have to work a little harder to get the signal to the dimmers. They do respond to IR, but Lutron has it setup to respond from an IR emitter mounted inside the gang box with the dimmers.

I think the Lutron Spacer system will work fine for my needs. If I had needed one more dimmer, I would have purchased their Grafik Eye system as it is more versatile.

Keep in mind that multiple dimmers mounted in the same electrical box must be derated for their wattage capacity. You have to remove heatsink tabs to get them to fit side-by-side.

There is an old and somewhat lengthy thread about the Lutron Spacer System on the Home Theater Forum site in their construction forum. A search here will also yield more information.

Tom
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post #4 of 17 Old 07-04-2006, 03:05 PM
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Im pretty sure all you need are the three Spacer system dimmers and a remote that has the proper codes. Or you could use Lutrons 4 button remote which has 4 scenes, raise/lower, and on/off. Call Lutron at 1888 lutron1 and they can tell you for sure or take a look at www.dimmers.net.
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post #5 of 17 Old 07-04-2006, 03:45 PM
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I have two spacer systems in my theater controlling two different light zones.

What you basically have is 4 scenes and all on/all off.

You can dim each light to the desired settings, then "set" the lights to a certain scene with the remote.

(e.g., 60% zone 1 , 40% zone 2, on scene 2. When you press "scene 2" on your remote, they will dim to those levels.)

Everything also dims or brightens gradually, like a theater. Nothing just shuts off or on.

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post #6 of 17 Old 07-04-2006, 03:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Harness View Post

Ryan
In a nutshell, these are IR controlled dimmers and you'll have to rig up something external to the Lutron system to translate RF codes to IR for them to respond. Each dimmer has 4 'scenes' that you can set to any light level plus full on and off. All dimmers respond to the same code command. If you send a scene 2 code from the remote or with the Master control, ALL of the dimmers will switch to their own scene 2 light level. However dimmer one could be set to 60%, dimmer 2 to 50%, dimmer 3 to 25%, etc.

That's exactly how they work.

Quote:


I'm told that the IR receptor on the master control needs a pretty solid head-on signal to respond although I haven't experiemented with this yet -- my room is not finished.

Yes; the sensors on the switches are not that sensitive. I use an IR repeater and I have to blast right in front of them...

Quote:


I've also heard that it is not necessary to have a master control unit if your remote can send the signals. That could save some money if you don't need the master remote for anything else.

A programmable remote works fine with individual switches; you don't need a master switch.

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post #7 of 17 Old 07-04-2006, 04:13 PM
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For your uses I don't think you even need to go up to the Spacers. I bought Lutron Maestro IR (much cheaper, and even available at Home Depot). There is only one signal so I can't control my sconces separately from my cans (except manually) but I decided that would be too much of a hassle anyways. You still get full on, full off (with fade) up, down, and one preset. Very easy to set preset and have the different levels for all three sets (will have to get 3 of them).
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post #8 of 17 Old 01-17-2007, 07:07 PM
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Does anyone know where exactly is the IR receiver on the lutron spacer dimmer? there is certainly one receiver on the front of the dimmer, is there another IR receiver on the back of the dimmer? can it be seen through the clear platic box protecting the circuits?

Stef
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post #9 of 17 Old 01-18-2007, 08:17 AM
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Maestro dimmers don't allow for multiple scenes. Controller2K's post is dead on. Set the switches at the desired level for a scene and have the remote memorize it. Set them to a different configuration and have the remote memorize that as a different scene and on and on...
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post #10 of 17 Old 01-18-2007, 08:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stef2 View Post

there is certainly one receiver on the front of the dimmer, is there another IR receiver on the back of the dimmer? can it be seen through the clear platic box protecting the circuits?

Yes and yes. The housings are clear so the IR can transmit between the dimmers.
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post #11 of 17 Old 02-02-2007, 07:47 PM
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The Maestro IR dimmers do NOT have a clear back and can not transmit IR between switches.
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post #12 of 17 Old 05-03-2007, 08:15 PM
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I would be retrofitting my 4 existing switches with Spacers, which are in different locations throughout the room. If the Spacer switches are not ganged in one box, can I still control the whole lighting (select scenes, on, off) with a single button on the remote?
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post #13 of 17 Old 05-04-2007, 02:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psygnwave View Post

I would be retrofitting my 4 existing switches with Spacers, which are in different locations throughout the room. If the Spacer switches are not ganged in one box, can I still control the whole lighting (select scenes, on, off) with a single button on the remote?


Maybe. You'd need to be able to point the remote or IR repeated source at each individual switch, which in most cases wouldn't get picked up by each switch unless they were all on the same wall or something like that.

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post #14 of 17 Old 05-06-2007, 06:59 PM
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You have a couple of options if they aren't in the same location.

You can link them with the scene controller and a couple of the remote modules, but you will need to pull wire to each location (cat5 is fine) to connect the remote emitters to the master.
The remote emitters are UL rated for use on the box and it will pass code this way. Plus there will be no stick-on emitter outside the box so it looks good.

If they are 3 way switches then you can use the remote spacer switch on the traveler wires.

Depending on the location of the switches, you can also use a flood emitter and just flood the room with IR, the spacers will only respond to the Lut 1-5 commands, so it will work, even for scenes but you will not have individual controls.

Remember to buy Spacer System units, NOT the regular spacers at Lowe's or HD, they won't work for this application.
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post #15 of 17 Old 07-16-2008, 04:19 PM
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you can run cat 5 from your ir base station to each dimmer. Take your spacer unit and on the back side, drill a small hole through the plastic cover being carefull to not hit anything inside the unit. Grab a IR emmiter and split the plastic casing off of it to expose the emitter inside. You can then drop the tiny emitter inside of the spacer case and complete any nessesary wiring. Your three spacer switches can be controlled by setting a different channel on your ir base station for each emitter thus only sending codes to the switch which you intend to control.
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post #16 of 17 Old 10-30-2009, 09:17 AM
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I'm digging up this old thread to keep related information in the same thread (helps newbies like me!)

I'm in the process of buying a few Spacer dimmers as well as a 5WCR control, but I want to make sure it will do as expected. Here is my setup:

* 2-gang box with two dimmers on one wall
* 2-gang box with two dimmers on another wall

I want to put the master control in the second 2-gang box, making it a 3-gang box. The master control would obviously control all 4 dimmers.

Originally I thought the master control could control dimmers that are in the same box... But from what I've read in other threads, this is not possible. Is there a way to have one 5WCR control 2 boxes (a remote one and the one where the control is in my case)? Do you need to use 2 IR blasters, one going in each box?

Many thanks!
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post #17 of 17 Old 10-30-2009, 02:57 PM
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I don't have a Spacer system (I have RadioRA), but from reading the Lutron site and downloading the installation manual, it says the 5WCR should be in a separate wallbox and that "Remote Master is not intended to be ganged with Spacer System dimmers."

They want you do use one blaster per remote wall box, even if that wall box is 1" away. Might give Lutron a call to see why you can't physically mount the master with the dimmers. I'm still waiting for them to answer an email from a few weeks ago, so I don't think email is the best method with them.
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