Where to buy Lutron Homeserve RF - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 78 Old 02-28-2004, 09:56 AM - Thread Starter
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I'd like to install a Lutron Homeserve RF lighting system in my home but can't find anywhere to buy it locally or on-line.

Any suggestions?
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post #2 of 78 Old 02-28-2004, 10:32 AM
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There are many Lutron contractors in every region of the country that sell Homeserve. Additionally, Lutron has added the distribution chain ( electrical supply houses ) to their list and you can obtain it there. They will not be able to help you specify the job but they can sell it to you. And you can find certified contractors on the Lutron web site, www.lutron.com.

Alan
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post #3 of 78 Old 02-28-2004, 01:13 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks Alan. Have you used this system? I've heard it's extremely reliable considering it's RF and not hardwired.
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post #4 of 78 Old 02-28-2004, 01:56 PM
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The system is ROCK SOLID.
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post #5 of 78 Old 02-28-2004, 03:15 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks QQQ. That's the enthusiastic vote of confidence I was hoping to hear.
Do you usually install Lutron or do you use Crestron's lighting products?
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post #6 of 78 Old 02-28-2004, 09:44 PM
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The short answer for me is it depends on the user interface. I think Crestron lighting is superior by just a hair but they lack RF lighting products, Graphic Eyes ( although there is a work around ) and Lutron's keypads are better looking.

But if I will have primarily a Crestron user interface than Crestron lighting will be less expensive, provide more features and is easier to integrate as there is no information to parse. They also offer an 8x1 module as opposed to Lutron's 4x1 and they offer high current modules for devices like HID lights or motors that can back feed huge amounts of current back and fuse relays. The other cool feature is that a Crestron light switch can also act as a keypad. There are 1 large and 2 small buttons. The large button controls the lighting load ( on/off and cycle dim ) while the 2 smaller buttons might be programmed to control other lighting loads or even your thermostat or audio system. Of course you can use them to raise or dim the lighting load as well. Lutron's smart devices are just light switches.
But in my opinion Lutron has the superior industrial design.

I agree with Q that the Homeserve product works without a problem within the Lutron system. There are one or two integration issues but that is more of an issue for the integrator of what not to do than a warning about the product. Determine your application and if you need a RF solution than you are in a Lutron world.........for the time being.

Alan
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post #7 of 78 Old 02-29-2004, 07:07 AM - Thread Starter
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I've seen the Crestron dimmers and they are pretty odd looking. I was surprised that a company with such an intuitive user interface would produce such a product for the simplest interface in a home; a light switch.
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post #8 of 78 Old 02-29-2004, 07:53 AM
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You should not be surprised. They are an engineering company not a design company. Their original keypads ( CNWP-10 and CNWP-29 ) were ulgy but fuctional. They began to address this by OEMing keypads from Lightolier and Lutron; then Xantech. Their keypad designs have gotten better but lag beind Lutron

Alan
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post #9 of 78 Old 03-09-2004, 02:57 PM
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Is HomeServe RF different than the Lutron RadioRA? I cannot find any information on the lutron site about the HomeServe RF product.

Thanks,
Andrew
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post #10 of 78 Old 03-09-2004, 03:00 PM
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HomeServe has none of the limitations that Radio Ra has. You could do hundreds of switches with HomeServe. It's part of HomeWorks Interactive. Technically speaking, I don't think they are calling it HomeServe anymore.
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post #11 of 78 Old 03-10-2004, 08:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by QQQ
HomeServe has none of the limitations that Radio Ra has. You could do hundreds of switches with HomeServe. It's part of HomeWorks Interactive. Technically speaking, I don't think they are calling it HomeServe anymore.
So, I went looking at the lutron site at the "RF Products for HomeSite" and compared it to the RadioRA. It looks like they are the same thing. So, the only difference between the two is the size of the system you can have? It looks like the "Chronos System Bridge and Timeclock" in the RadioRA system is a scaled down version of the "RF Processor" in the HomeSite system. Otherwise, all the dimmers, switches, and controls look the same between the two systems.

I'm just starting to research some of the wireless home lighting systems, and just want to make sure I'm not missing some other key difference between these two systems. I'm not sure I need the additional capacity of the HomeServe product, but don't want to get stuck with something that doesn't have a feature I might want in the future.

Thanks,
Andrew
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post #12 of 78 Old 03-10-2004, 08:49 AM
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Andrew,

There are actually a lot of differences. I'll write a little bit about them in the next day or two if someone doesn't beat me to it.
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post #13 of 78 Old 03-10-2004, 09:43 AM
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I'd like to hear the diffs from QQQ. In the mean time, I found a good overview article on HomeServe.

http://www.findarticles.com/cf_dls/m.../article.jhtml

1 major diff is that RadioRA is limited to 32 circuits and HomeServe can go up to 1024.
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post #14 of 78 Old 03-10-2004, 10:01 AM
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THe Homeworks group "redesigned" the Mistro switches. They are not the same as regular Mistro or a Radio Ra Mistros. One difference is that a HomeServe multi location dimmer can be located anywhere in the 3 way system. The others need to be located where the feed and switch leg is situated. An other difference is that Homeserve Mistros can be used with interfaces such as the ELVI, FLDBI, or power boosters and the others cannot.

Radio Ra operates on one AM frequency. HomeServe operates on FM and Frequency hops among any of 100 frequancies. Homeserve can be self addressed. Radio Ra MUST be manually addressed through the main repeater. Radio Ra has a limit of 32 switches and 12 keypads. This is a fixed number and if you need more you need to install a second Radio Ra system and you can only communicate to each system via contact closure or a third party control system and RS-232 between both Radio Ra systems. Keypad LEDs can be programmed in groups of 5 as either scene or room. Homeserve has for all intents and purposes no limitation on the number of keypads and led logic can be whatever is required for that button. One button can be programmed for scene logic, pathway logic or room logic. In essence the True/false logic that determines when a keypad led will illuminate.

Radio Ra is slow. Homeserve is as fast as a wired network (actually untrue but it is so fast that you will not notice the difference. Differences in milliseconds are not noticeable to the eye.) Radio Ra can not be programmed with conditional logic but HomeServe can. ( If it is Wednesday and night is true and the button is pushed execute program else do not ). HomeServe has a built in astronomical and time clock. Radio Ra depends on a third party astronomical time clock and closure interface. So you are limited to the number of events you can program in fact. Homeserve Repeaters have greater distance and reliability in terms of data transmission redundancy.

Radio Ra is intended for the DIY and HomeWorks ( including HomeServe ) is not. If you are in New York make certain you order the New York version of Radio Ra. You may be able to purchase either product from your electrical distributor but installing a Homeserve system requires quite a bit more knowledge in terms of system setup and programming.

Alan
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post #15 of 78 Old 03-10-2004, 11:42 AM - Thread Starter
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Alan and QQQ,

Do you ever use occupancy sensors in conjunction with lighting systems ( or other automation ) such as in a hallway, to turn lights on or off ?
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post #16 of 78 Old 03-10-2004, 03:53 PM
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Yes. You can create what Lutron calls an automatic sequence. Upon setting off the closure you can activate a number of preset(s) and on termination of the sequence you can have the system to something else ( like turn the lights off.

You can do something similar with a light sensor. As light intensity changes it pulses the system and you can activate a sequence. Each pulse a different preset.

Timing an off can get tricky in high traffic areas. I was asked to program a Homeworks system installed by someone else in a commercial installation. They intended to use 12 PIRs in the system but it was difficult to get the system to operate perfectly as the sensor they chose either held the closure too long or refused to hold the contact if people were in the room.

Understanding how the occupancy sensor works is also very important.

Alan
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post #17 of 78 Old 03-10-2004, 04:24 PM - Thread Starter
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COOL!
What brand or type do you prefer to use with Lutron ? Does Lutron sell an RF PIR that directly communicates with their system? Are there sensors that detect when a person is in an area or just movement?
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post #18 of 78 Old 03-11-2004, 06:23 AM
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Lutron does not offer a PIR. Usually, PIR devices are tied to a Lutron system via contact closure. There are two ways of doing this, one is via a CCI-8 Contact closure input board, and the second is via the pair of contact inputs on the rear of some Lutron Keypads. There is now an Rf contact closure board, HR-CCI-6 as well. The requirements for the closure according to Lutron are:
1. Switch inputs must be momentary
dry contact closures.
2. Switch closures must be from common
to selected input.
3. Momentary switch inputs require a
minimum closure time of 40msec.

Contact Closure Compatibility: The input closures
are intended for use with devices that provide maintained
or momentary outputs in the form of dry contact
closure or open collector outputs meeting the following
criteria:
£ On saturation voltage: < 1.0 VDC at 2 mA
£ Off leakage current: < 10.0 µA at 12 VDC

Most PIR devices are activated by change.

jcmitch
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post #19 of 78 Old 03-11-2004, 06:42 AM
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We find that there are three major limitations to RadioRA that are overcome by the HomeWorks Rf product. First is the 32 device limitation (which is increased to 64 with the Chronos system bridge allowing 2 systems in 1 install). Second, the user interface, both the keypads themselves (the micro buttons with the equally micro labels), and the keypad capabilities (Scene vs. Room mode only) can result in a less than intuitive operation. Third. decentralized programming (run around the house and press the buttons) is less than efficient and can't be saved or backed up. Add that to the fact that the pricing is similar, and its no contest ... For this group, the only "challenge" is that the product is not offered in an Over the Counter form, you need an integrator. For most clients, that's true anyway. BTW, the design of this product, coupled with an RS-232 to Ethernet bridge, would allow an offsite programmer to set up your system.

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post #20 of 78 Old 03-11-2004, 06:53 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the info jcmitch. How do you like their programming software? When you install a HomeWorks Rf system, is the client given any software so that they can make changes or do they have to call you to do it?
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post #21 of 78 Old 03-11-2004, 07:10 AM
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The software may be the finest piece of kit I have ever had the pleasure of using. Its a little more challenging to keep track of the two different addressing schemes in use at the moment (the wired products use a fixed address set on each device via dip switches and the wireless products are addressed via the software) than it was before the Rf product was introduced. Generally, we do not distribute the programming software for any of our products to clients, Lutron or otherwise. It isn't a very good idea on systems that require a working program for proper operation, especially ones like our Lutron systems that are tied to Life Safety equipment. There are a small number of execptions. We do however provide all clients with a copy of thier source code or base program, so that a client is able to arrange for service outside our firm if they wished to. Its something that I feel strongly about, but isn't the accepted norm.

jcmitch
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post #22 of 78 Old 03-11-2004, 07:24 AM
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There is a Lutron dealer in your area, Enterprise Electrical in Danbury, CT and you aren't too far from Opus A/V, who has a very fine reputation in the trade. Heck, I've even got clients in the Danbury area, but its a bit of a drive from Rhode Island.

OPUS AUDIO/VIDEO INTERIOR
85 WILLOW ST
NEW HAVEN, CT 06511
Phone: 203-4980407
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post #23 of 78 Old 03-11-2004, 07:52 AM - Thread Starter
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I'd like to install it myself. I'm sure I can handle doing all of the hardware but I'd also like to try the programming. Not to belittle what you and the other pros do for a living, but I really want to try and do it myself. If it's over my head, I've had a few offers from programmers to do it for me.
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post #24 of 78 Old 03-11-2004, 08:08 AM
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Well, if you'd like to take a look at the hardware, and the software requred to program it for that matter. We are running an exhibit at the Rhode Island Home Show this week, now through Sunday, with a working model of HomeWorks Rf product. I can make myself available to meet with you and discuss your project if you'd like, or you can talk with one of the sales representatives from Lutron today (Thursday) or Saturday. The booth # is 708 and the event is being held at the RI Convention Center.

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post #25 of 78 Old 03-11-2004, 08:56 AM - Thread Starter
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I appreciate the offer and REALLY wish I could make it but can't . Tell me a little more about your company; is it a lighting company, automation, do you own the company etc...
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post #26 of 78 Old 03-12-2004, 08:19 AM
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I really like the internet concept of this forum for the free exchange of information and ideas, and would rather not add to sales, advertising, etc clutter that tends to happen. If you'd like to contact me offline, we can continue the coversation.

(FWIW, We are a custom installation firm that offers lighting control and automation products, and I do not own the company.)

jcmitch
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post #27 of 78 Old 03-12-2004, 08:36 AM - Thread Starter
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That's refreshing !
Usually guys have to be reprimanded for trying to do just that .
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post #28 of 78 Old 03-12-2004, 12:04 PM
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jcm,

Thanks for your input on the forum. I like your style :).
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post #29 of 78 Old 03-13-2004, 12:14 AM
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Alan and jcmitch,

Thanks for the info on the differences between RadioRA and Homeserve. Sounds like Homeserve would be the way to go. I would prefer to do it myself though, and I'm thinking of only automating my home theater room and a few other lights in the house (i.e. to be able to turn hallway and kitchen lights on and off from the theater). Think RadioRA would be suitable for my needs, or do you still think HomeServe would be better?

Thanks,
Andrew
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post #30 of 78 Old 03-13-2004, 12:17 AM
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If you are just doing a few lights Radio Ra would likely serve you just fine.
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