|Originally posted by mbrew
I wasn't aware of CentraLite.
Not many people are -- I can't figure out why they're not marketing it more heavily. However, I can say from personal experience that Centralite rocks!
When we were building our house, Lutron, Lightolier, Vantage, etc all cost far more than we were willing to spend for lighting control. Just when I was about to reconsider X10 (after swearing it off a few years earlier), I came across a newsgroup post mentioning Centralite.
Being an engineer, I *really* liked Centralite's design -- instead of putting a network interface into the light switches and charging $150 for each one, they use simple contact closure switches connected to muxes that debounce the presses and translate them into press/release events sent to the central controller. Cost per switch (1-4 buttons with engraved labels and feedback LEDs): ~$20.
That's cheaper than a decent single-button X10 switch! Granted, you still have to pay for the muxes, the central controller, and the home-run dimmer panels, but the bottom-line price was still about half that of a comparable system from Lutron et al.
I did pay more than I would have for an X10 system, but what it bought me was discrete reliable
control over almost every light in the house (minus a few closets), with full two-way RS232 control. I can configure any button in the house to cause any light (or set of lights) in the house to move to ANY dim level (1% increments), at virtually ANY ramp rate (255 rates ranging from 0s to over 10 minutes).
The "Sleep" button in my son's room turns on his bathroom vanity toe-kick lights at 20% (so he can find the bathroom at night ;-), ramps his overhead light to off over 5 minutes while I tuck him in, ramps the rest of his lights to off over 15 seconds, and sends an event to the music system to start playing lullabies. When I arm my security system to "night" mode, it tells my Crestron processor, which then tells Centralite to dim the basement and garage lights to "off" over 90 seconds (in case someone's down there).
Sorry for gushing/bragging, but I *really* like this system. My only connection to Centralite is as a customer (who can't figure out why more people aren't using Centralite).