Alternatives to Crestron - Page 4 - AVS Forum
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post #91 of 106 Old 12-26-2002, 04:03 PM
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For what it's worth, I suspect you will have a much easier time purchasing Radio Ra and installing it yourself. Just about any electrical distributor can sell Radio Ra and it does not require a PC or software to program it. I assume HomeServe on the other hand will be more of a protected line like Homeworks Interactive. You may have a harder time finding someone that would sell it to you and provide the software to you etc (i.e. they might want to install and program it). Not trying to talk you out of it at all - just giving you forewarning. Some dealers may work with you on this.

These are my assumptions only. Lutron could surprise me and open this up to distribution.
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post #92 of 106 Old 12-27-2002, 11:32 AM
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I think you're right QQQ about Homeserve/Homeworks being "protected", could'nt find any sites to buy it on line.
Because their systems are so flexible I can start with RadioRA even just doing one room at a time and then in the future see about whether I want to control it with their software.

Another big plus I forgot to mention is that most of Lutron's switches & keypads fit Decora switchplates so that regular switches occupy the same box. Seems minor until you realize that there are some switches that don't need to be automated.
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post #93 of 106 Old 12-27-2002, 12:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by AJF
Because their systems are so flexible I can start with RadioRA even just doing one room at a time and then in the future see about whether I want to control it with their software.
Make sure that is the case. Our Lutron rep originally told us the RadioRa and HomeServe dimmers would not be interchangeable even though they look identical. That could be bad info and it certainly makes sense they would make them interchangeable if they could. But they may not have been able to since you can address so many more wireless switches with a HomeServe system.

I have not worked with HomeServe yet so hopefully someone can say for sure.
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post #94 of 106 Old 12-28-2002, 08:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by QQQ
Make sure that is the case. Our Lutron rep originally told us the RadioRa and HomeServe dimmers would not be interchangeable even though they look identical. That could be bad info and it certainly makes sense they would make them interchangeable if they could. But they may not have been able to since you can address so many more wireless switches with a HomeServe system.

I have not worked with HomeServe yet so hopefully someone can say for sure.
Good point QQQ. So I e-mailed Lutron with the following question:
"I am considering using a combination of RadioRA and Homework Interactive
switches in my entire house. I see on your site that both can co-exist and
be controlled by Homeserve. Are there only certain (newer?) RadioRA
switches & keypads which can be controlled by Homeserve ?"

Their response:
"all of our new radio ra stuff will work with Homeserve but so will radio ra products from last year. There is not any certain type of radio ra to look at. It should work with all of them. "

Chris Rivera
Tech Support

Not a confidence inspiring answer. Still does not definitely say whether the switches were changed.
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post #95 of 106 Old 12-28-2002, 06:13 PM
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Aurora Multimedia Corp. has started shipping the WACI Jr. and WACI+ 32 bit web server based control system. It is the world's first non-proprietary non-platform specific control system that uses standard web languages and web browsers for control. All diagnostics and ftp is built in.
www.auroramultimedia.com look under products.

We are also sowing the WACI contolling Pioneer plasmas at the CES show.
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post #96 of 106 Old 12-29-2002, 12:15 AM
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I also have Tony Golden's module and have recommended it to others. A huge point in favor of that module (not that you couldn't write it yourself if you had a few years of Crestron programming and field experience;-)), is that it allows USER editable scene selection. This, with the limitation of having only On and Off feedback -approx. 2.8 second handshake, makes for a scene selection controllable system, easily changed at whim and fancy by the enduser. The scene can include several lights set at different illuminations and controlled by one signal-button pressor15 minutes after sunset or after your foot touches the ground on waking up. Scene selection lighting is quite handy and in the field-your house-is really probably all you will ever need. You can set automatic levels of different lights(zones) and tie those to other events, time of day (astronomically calculated for you) and never think about it again.

lutron made a decision early on to have the On/Off feedback as the only feedback with the Ra system. The result is that it just works. I have installed the system effectively in a 10KSFT house with zero problems. Even the kids can set scenes via Crestron touchpanels with Tony's module.

Thank you very much

Fury
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post #97 of 106 Old 12-29-2002, 08:21 AM
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I really hope this thread isn't going to get sidetracked. I am extremely grateful when true professionals ie. those that do this for a living jump in and give their opinions. I have had questions answered on this thread that I have been mulling over for more than 3 years especially by QQQ! QQQ in a very tactful way forced me take a look at alternatives that I had not considered; RadioRA & Crestron. Earlier I listed all of the positive reasons for using RadioRA and it's what I'm going to use for my system.

I think most of us are sophisticated enough to differentiate between a sales pitch and unbiased advice. I think Brent was offering a way for us non-pros to obtain Homeserve which Lutron won't sell to the average end user. But, most of us are not your average end users and although it is dicouraged on this forum, I like being given the opportunity to buy some of the products available only to pros.

Back to the issue at hand. So it sounds as though ( as QQQ had said earlier may be the case ) new RadioRA switches are needed to work with Homeserve. Is that true and if so how can you differentiate?
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post #98 of 106 Old 12-29-2002, 09:05 AM
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AJF

While I have no idea at the moment what the actual difference is (very new product) I would call Lutron in the AM (they are on east cost time) and don't hang up until you find the right person with an answer. Being a dealer I'll ask the tough questions and be persistent enough and in return that has helped me also be a better consumer. "I'll hold on while you find out" type of thing. You might want to ask for the "Home works group" as they generally have more experience. I've been up there for Home works training and there are plenty of people who you can talk to besides the receptionist. :D


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post #99 of 106 Old 12-29-2002, 09:43 AM
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If you are real persistent you can get the radio Ra specialist and maube Ra engineer. They have been happy to take calls fron end users as well as dealers.

Thank you very much

Fury
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post #100 of 106 Old 12-29-2002, 09:48 AM
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Thanks guys. I'll give them a call. Either way it sounds like I should wait a little while before buying anything.

AJF
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post #101 of 106 Old 12-29-2002, 11:58 AM
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All I'm trying to do is help - sorry for the thoughts otherwise. I don't need business from here to make a great living.

The basic lutron dimmer lineup is as follows:

Homeworks (wired control):
Vareo - small opening and has been the standard for Homeworks
Decorator - Decora opening and is new

Homeserve (Advanced Wireless Control):
Decorator - Decora opening and is new
Vareo - small opening and is coming in Q2 or Q3

Ra (Limited Wireless Control):
Decorator - Decora opening and the Ra standard

All 5 of these are distinctly different and you will be able to tell so when the faceplate is off.

The Homeserve dimmers won't have address changes and they will be controlled by their serial numbers that you enter into the software and later is dumped to the processor.

Another major difference from Ra is how well the homeserve dimmers respond to changes is lighting scenes - You would think they are wired. It puts every other wireless technology to shame - even Ra.

With all that said - I want to point out that AMX is a great company going forward and a strong competitor to Crestron - regardless of stock price. If you're in the market don't overlook AMX by just listening to Crestron only dealers. I sell both and like both. AMX is hard to beat in a lot of areas and I can say the same about Crestron. Bashing Crestron is not my goal, but pointing out that AMX has a great product line is my point. It's unrefutted that AMX took quite a few awards at CEDIA (beating out Crestron). I will be critical of Crestron in one regard - What where they thinking introducing a $2000 Pronto Pro??? That makes no sense at all.


As far as Escient goes - I'll be spec'ing Fireballs again in 2003. They resolved most of their issues (with a lot of my customer's help I might add.)
The only thing left for them to do is replace the IR chipset to avoid accepting stray IR which is a problem with some of the units. They expected to have that done before the end of the year but I haven't heard anything yet. So no I'm still a dealer for Escient and ReQuest but I havn't speced any new Fireballs in the last half of 2002. Hopefully soon though.

Feel free to ask more questions of me if you like.

Brent
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post #102 of 106 Old 12-29-2002, 12:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by bhuskins
All I'm trying to do is help - sorry for the thoughts otherwise.
I never said otherwise, read the last paragraph in my last post :).
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post #103 of 106 Old 12-29-2002, 12:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by bhuskins


The basic lutron dimmer lineup is as follows:

Homeworks (wired control):
Vareo - small opening and has been the standard for Homeworks
Decorator - Decora opening and is new

Homeserve (Advanced Wireless Control):
Decorator - Decora opening and is new
Vareo - small opening and is coming in Q2 or Q3

Ra (Limited Wireless Control):
Decorator - Decora opening and the Ra standard

Brent
Thanks Brent. So if I went with Homeserve ( wireless ) does that mean that I have to use the software? In other words, there's no way to program it without software as you can do now with RA?
I also read that they will have a backlit wireless keypad, any word on that?
Check your PM when you get a chance.

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post #104 of 106 Old 12-29-2002, 01:01 PM
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No hard feelings triple Q...


Actually you can program the system and do high end diagnostics from the processor's front panel. The panel is very cool looking (unlike the homeworks processor - which will likely be next for a makeover.) The panel for homeserve has an indiglo and offwhite display that looks very impressive. I am considering installing one into a system rack with a custom midatlantic faceplate on one job - It looks that good.

But as for software - this is the only real way to program it. Lutron is coming out with 5.01 for HWI software that will program both Homeworks and Homeserve flawlessly together or separately. Any dealer that is going to sell a DIY'er the Homeserve gear will have to pony up the software as well. Otherwise it would be a pain to install.

As for keypads - Lutron will by Q4 of 2003 have all Homeworks keypads available in a wireless version. This is the best part about Homeserve.

The wireless seeTouch keypad (available in January) is the one that has backlit lettering (as long as your buttons are black - white are not back lit for the lettering) Custom engraving is included in the cost of the keypad. Any seeTouch keypad can convert from 1 button to 6 button with a raise and lower and anything in between - also 7 button no raise/lower is available as a configuration. All you do is change the faceplate. The unit is the same throughout the line - regardless of color (you can put a white faceplate on an originally black one and vice versa). The backlit text is only available in Black because it won't show up well in white. The best look for the seeTouch is black buttons with a satin nickel or the CLA (anodized aluminum (Silver looking) finish - very cool. One of the best keypads on the market for any application.

So you will now be able to get a wireless version of this keypad and it is multigangable. So if you need 20 buttons - get a 6 with raise lower and 2 7 buttons - your good to go.

Also the 5, 10 and 15 button traditional and architrave version of keypad will be available in a wireless version. Anything Homeworks (wired) will come out in Homeserve (wireless) at some point or they are going to drop it from Homeworks - so they say. The reason for this is that they want dealers to always be able to say yes when it comes to homeowners asking, "can I put that there?"

It makes since and I'm looking forward to the gradual release.

Let me know if you need more details.

Brent
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post #105 of 106 Old 12-29-2002, 02:38 PM
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Brent, I appreciate all that info because I was going to start buying some RadioRA to do some of the rooms, but it sounds like Homeserve is worth waiting for.

Is the Homeserve easy enough for the computer/tech literate person to use?
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post #106 of 106 Old 12-29-2002, 04:21 PM
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Absolutely, as long as you have the software it is very easy to set up - especially for basic setup. Advanced control can easily be learned overtime - and people on this forum will surly help - like myself. Lutron Software is one of the easiest to use of all the high end software (AMX/Crestron/Lutron/Vantage/Etc.)
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