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Lutrons RadioRA2 - Page 27

post #781 of 964
That new RF Relay Module with Softswitch looks identical to one of the TriPak modules. I guess it's re-branded as RA2.
post #782 of 964
Thanks neurorad, that looks worth waiting for.
post #783 of 964
Quote:
Originally Posted by pschloes View Post

Looking for suggestions:
I currently use a URC MSC-400 attached to my RA2 main repeater via RS-232 to integrate lighting with my remotes (MX-5000 and MX-980). This has worked well with being able to control lights/shades/AV/thermostats through these remotes by including RA2 phantom buttons in my macros.
What I'd like to do is be able to have the RA2 keypad button press trigger events (i.e. when I press "all off" on the RA2 keypad as I leave, this would shut down my AV system as well as all of my RA2 devices, or alternatively, I could create a "TV" RA2 keypad button that would trigger turning on the AV stuff in addition to setting all of my RA2 devices to a preset level). As I understand it, the MSC-400 is RS-232 output only, otherwise I could use it to sense a RA2 button press & use that to trigger a macro. Anyone know of a solution that wouldn't be cost prohibitive given the equipment I currently have?
Thanks!

Simplest solution would be RR2 Switch, VCRX, power-pack(PowrPak) or 3rd party current switch controlling a small transformer wired to the VS-1006 for the MSC400. I'm not an expert on the URC stuff but this should do the trick.

This is for the MRX-1 but is also used with MSC400, someone correct me if I'm wrong (page 10):
http://www.universalremote.com/resources/pdfs/MRX-1%20Installation%20Manual.pdf

You could use our Current Switch (monitoring a lighting load) and Transformer wired to the VS-1006. Current Switch is 24.00, you probably have some sort of AC adapter laying around or can source for $10-$20 (I have them as well). + VS1006 & you have a solution for less than $100 it seems (with no additional RR2 parts, the hard part is to get the wiring from a controlled light through the current switch).
post #784 of 964
First day of the electrician putting in the switches and it's going smoothly. The only unknown was how to wire the 4-way lights. With the RD-RD units they apparently don't really 'switch' anything. Thus all they need to do is make sure to use the same traveler wire across all of them, and then splice the #3 of 4 with the traveler from both ends. That presented some coordination issues between the electricians as they weren't used to being as picky about the traveler wire colors.

The other hassle was having to sort of which loads went where when different types of switches were used. As in, needing to be specific about making sure the RRD-6NA was the one feeding the low voltage transformer, not the other ones on RRD-6D dimmers. A bit more time with the continuity tester than they typically prefer... But this was the main floor and had a lot of lighting. The others should be a lot simpler.

Best news is none of the magic smoke got out of any of the switches!

The downside was discovering they'd wired up all my outside floods as one 4-way, instead of each flood to it's own dimmer. But I can probably correct that later by putting some dimmers in the finished attic later and using the keypads instead. I'd specifically asked them to be separate, and yet they're not... Ah well, pretty trivial otherwise.
post #785 of 964
Sorry for the dumb question, but what is a "current switch?"
post #786 of 964
Quote:
Originally Posted by pschloes View Post

Sorry for the dumb question, but what is a "current switch?"

Simply senses current on a single conductor (wire) and closes a switch when it senses current:
http://www.hankselectric.net/detail.aspx?ID=6368

In this case, passing a single conductor from an associated light through the current loop will turn on a small transformer supplying the low voltage to the voltage sensing switch for the MSC400. You could lose the current switch all together if you simply switched the transformer along with the light(same switch leg) or used a magnetic type transformer as the VS-1006 can see a range of voltage (if dimmed~ vs. switched). [~ sorry didn't think of this in last post]

The current switch would make it possible for any number of lights to pass through the current coil so if any or all where on it would trigger without the loads being wired together (all monitored loads need to be on the same phase or they will cancel each other)
post #787 of 964
What does making an http browser connection into a RA2 repeater provide? Is there a web page for the devices programmed into it, like the ios & android apps?

if so, where are the login credentials configured? Because the telnet logins do NOT work.
post #788 of 964
I don't think there is any web interface. The only thing it is for is uploading/downloading the xml configuration file so that other controllers like the app can use it.
post #789 of 964
So is there a PC interface program, a la the smartphone apps? It'd be handy to have either a web page or small program like the smartphone apps.

And let me add, I'm just talking a simple interface directly with the repeater, not a full-on automation program. THOSE I'm familiar with, and I'll likely be wandering down that road once we've moved into the house. I was just asking whether there's a simple PC app like ones for the smartphones.

As for the smartphone apps, eh, they 'work' but they're not exactly 'elegant'. It's a bit annoying how they default to alphabetical ordering.
Edited by wkearney99 - 10/13/13 at 3:51am
post #790 of 964
Not that I know of. It is intended to be integrated or used with the apps. In a pinch you could probably run the Android App inside BlueStacks.
post #791 of 964
Quote:
Originally Posted by az1324 View Post

Not that I know of. It is intended to be integrated or used with the apps. In a pinch you could probably run the Android App inside BlueStacks.
Figured as much, just seemed like a natural idea. Especially given there's apps for phones.
post #792 of 964
The apps are running locally on the device providing the interface. The only thing leaving the device are the commands through the telnet and status messages received back.
While not as convenient as a webpage, i.e. point and click, but in a pinch you could issue specific commands through telnet. It is also very informative to just open a telnet session to monitor the activity of the control.
post #793 of 964
I'll have more to post in the coming weeks, but I want to give a shout-out of huge thanks to Paul at Hanks Electric (spiwrx here on the forums). He's been an absolutely tremendous help in analyzing what I need. If you're looking for a RA2 supplier you'd be hard-pressed to find anyone else that does as good a job.

Meanwhile we're in the middle of moving into the new house.

My first tip is make sure your 'main light' into a room is on a paddle, not a keypad. It's a little fiddly using a keypad to get your best light into the room. Sure, you 'get used to it' eventually but nothing's as easy as just tapping a big paddle switch when the room's dark.

Second, put the dimmer part of a N-way lighting setup in the most visually desirable location. As in, where you'll see the little LEDs on the side. It helps when you're walking around in the dark. I've got one for the outside lighting that the electricians configured with the load up in the master bedroom. Down at the doors there's only companion switches (no LED to show state). This has made for a few late evening phone calls from an adjacent neighbor asking to have the floodlights turned off.

I've since set up a timed event that triggers one hour before dark that turns off all outside lights. This gets around the problem nicely.

Like I wrote, more to come as time allows. But meanwhile if you need RA2 stuff, talk to Paul.
post #794 of 964
I was able to log in using lutron/lutron. I don't see how anything can be done with this though.

Eric





Quote:
Originally Posted by wkearney99 View Post

What does making an http browser connection into a RA2 repeater provide? Is there a web page for the devices programmed into it, like the ios & android apps?

if so, where are the login credentials configured? Because the telnet logins do NOT work.
post #795 of 964
Quote:
Originally Posted by trx250r87 View Post

I was able to log in using lutron/lutron. I don't see how anything can be done with this though.
Curious the /deviceIP mentions an ftp port but it doesn't respond to a connection to it.

Any time there's something connected to the network and it's not either fully documented or configurable it worries me. Security through obscurity is not the best recipe for control systems. Granted, there's only "so much" you're going to able to fit into an embedded system. But I'd still rather not see telnet, ftp or any other clear-text connections, when possible.
post #796 of 964
The telnet connection is used by third party control systems to control the RA2. I have a system by RTI controlling my RA2 main repeater over IP/telnet and it works great. The main repeater also supports RS-232, but the ethernet connection is more convenient.
post #797 of 964
Sure, I get why the connectivity is there. I do wonder which is 'better' to use ethernet or serial. From a consistency of connection standpoint it would seem like a serial connection would be more reliable. And certainly 'easier' from most 3rd party hardware setups as they usually have serial ports for the purpose. But with the advent of more recent stuff like arduinos and the like it seems like using a net connection offers a lot more versatility. But then you're at the mercy of available connections and network reliability. Whereas a direct serial connect is always there and dedicated to the purpose. I could see situations where a DOS attack could tie up enough connections to possibly make legit links fail.
post #798 of 964
It's not the most secure connection in the world. They could have done better, but it's probably good enough. It does require a login, so make sure you set a good password on it. It is a telnet connection, so all data is in the open, even the username/password I think. So you'd not want to use it much over a external connection, i.e. never port forward the connection and log directly into it remotely. Within the network it's probably safe enough. If you have someone inside your network you have plenty of other things to worry about. If the automation system is the only thing talking to the Lutron, it will almost never actually do the login, since it will only need to do it once upon connection. So someone would have to wait a long time to catch the username/password being sent, and as long as they don't have that, they can't get control over the Lutron system.
post #799 of 964
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dean Roddey View Post

It's not the most secure connection in the world. They could have done better, but it's probably good enough. It does require a login, so make sure you set a good password on it. It is a telnet connection, so all data is in the open, even the username/password I think. .
Agreed. It's the use of telnet and cleartext that's annoying. It's not "that hard" to have an ssh connection, on either end. And given the price-points of this gear it's really pretty inexcusable not to have it. The target audience for this stuff is also likely to be a target of annoying computer abuse, so better to have it at least start with using encrypted traffic, not just plain clear text.

There's a ton of stuff out there that's poorly secured, so it's not like they're alone in making this choice. But that doesn't make it a good choice.
post #800 of 964
Quote:
Originally Posted by wkearney99 View Post

Second, put the dimmer part of a N-way lighting setup in the most visually desirable location. As in, where you'll see the little LEDs on the side. It helps when you're walking around in the dark. I've got one for the outside lighting that the electricians configured with the load up in the master bedroom. Down at the doors there's only companion switches (no LED to show state).

I fully agree with you on the above, I actually reconfigured/rewired two multi-way for this reason, i.e. moving the master dimmer to my preferred location and two masters next to each other for visual appeal.
A nice trick I discovered late after having the system is that you can turn on a light with the dimmer rocker (both master and slave dimmers) instead the paddle, and this way it will be on its lowest dimming level, so in dark if you do not want to be blinded, just feel for the rocker and a single click on the top one will turn on the light at its lowest dimming level. Sometimes if you keep the default 1% level for lowest level for dimmers, you will have to push a few times on the raise to get the light on. This is a good indicator for the right LED dim levels when you get the lowest level on with a single push on the raise rocker.
post #801 of 964
Unfortunately we're already drywalled so moving the load/dimmer isn't practical (especially since the exterior walls are spray foamed). Lesson learned, experience shared...

I agreed on the dimmer as a turn on feature, I believe you can use the software to set the thresholds for them to avoid what you're talking about. I don't know if it's possible but I'm going to look into what can be done to reset the default dim levels based on times. Using something 3rd party, of course. It'll take a little while before we get all our dim level preferences figured out.

Which, along those lines, makes me a bit disappointed in my selection of master bath vanity fixtures. They're LED and dimmable but th lowest level a 6NA has been able to set is stlll WAY TOO BRIGHT. Fortunately there's an MR16 halogen in the nearby steam shower that acts as a perfect 'night light'. there's a button on the entry keypad for it. And I'm probably going to add either a timeclock event that brings it up automatically or a motion sensor.

Meanwhile I think know where I am going to put a VCRX... Near the steam shower. It can use an external momentary contact closure to start the cycle. It'd be great to have it come on via keypad or tablet control. Like right now, fire it up while I'm fixing the coffee, instead of schlepping all the way back to the control for it...
post #802 of 964
Quote:
Originally Posted by wkearney99 View Post

Unfortunately we're already drywalled so moving the load/dimmer isn't practical

If you look at the wiring diagram, you don't have to have the load connected to the main dimmer. If you are using a switch that requires a neutral it may not be possible to move boxes. Otherwise, it should be fine.

http://www.lutron.com/TechnicalDocumentLibrary/369-225_English.pdf
Edited by az1324 - 11/2/13 at 1:46pm
post #803 of 964
Quote:
Originally Posted by az1324 View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by wkearney99 View Post

Unfortunately we're already drywalled so moving the load/dimmer isn't practical

If you look at the wiring diagram, you don't have to have the load connected to the main dimmer. If you are using a switch that requires a neutral it may not be possible to move boxes. Otherwise, it should be fine.

True, but apparently not if you/re not using a hybrid keypad as the dimmer. But even then you'd still have the problem of no light at the other locations. Which in my case would be a problem as I'd want all of them to show an indicator. Had the electrician actually wired it AS I REQUESTED this wouldn't be an issue. I'd have a dimmer at each location. But noooooo, yet another sub decided to "interpret" instead of just implemented what they're told AND was on the plans.

But that's not as bad as their assumption that when I asked them to MOVE the wiring for what had been a column but was now a pedestal. These are at the base of the stairs. The wire was coming down from the ceiling. There's a switch on one of them for the chandelier above. They didn't move the wire. No, they removed the wire entirely and made the assumption they'd just put in a 'wireless switch' to handle it instead. Um, no. There's going to be $15k of switches installed and just some random 'wireless' one won't cut it. Thankfully there was a nearby outlet, so we just pulled a load from it to power a keypad.

I'm going to have to 'fine tune' a few device locations. Put a hybrid in place of a few dimmers, changed some dimmers from 6D to 6NA (or something better suited for some LEDs that are acting quirky on a 6D). But for the most part it's coming along nicely.

The real challenge will be in stabilizing the keypad uses enough to pull the trigger on getting them engraved. I'm seeing a few ways they might need to change.

I'm also planning on picking up a few occupancy sensors. I'm definitely starting to notice a few places that could potentially make good use of them. This can be difficult to do for an entirely new custom home. Sure, lots of design 'rules' might apply but you never quite know until you're actually occupying the space and using it day to day. Retrofitting an existing home might have it's share of hassles but at least there's already a body of knowledge as to how the occupants use the space. The upside is with the wireless sensors it should be trivially easy to try them in a few different locations to get their best placements.
post #804 of 964
Quote:
Originally Posted by az1324 View Post

If you look at the wiring diagram, you don't have to have the load connected to the main dimmer. If you are using a switch that requires a neutral it may not be possible to move boxes. Otherwise, it should be fine.

http://www.lutron.com/TechnicalDocumentLibrary/369-225_English.pdf

This is a great document, haven't seen this one before. A lot of good info on min/max & wiring. Also lists phase adaptive / power module requirements.

The point to be made, is footnote #4 from the document linked above. Basically any neutral connected device, switch, dimmer, hybrid keypad requires the main device to be on the load side of the 3 or 4 way. [4 Neutral wire Dimmers / Switches must be connected on the Load side of a multi-location installation.]

Of course Lutron broke their part number logic on the hybrid keypad, we could just say any device with and "N" in the it had a neutral connection(excluding prefix & color), then they added the Hybrid. So I don't think there are any other with "H" in RR2, so we can now say any "H" or "N" designations in the mid-part number require neutrals & load side multi-location connection/installation.

I feel like I'm beating a dead horse, but it's not as crucial on a switch and/or dimmer as it may be to a Hybrid, as wkearney99 found out. The fix maybe putting keypads at either end, but that up's the ante a bit.

And yes wkearney99, I'm mid installation myself and watching how my kids are adjusting to a new home, I will be adding a few sensors as well. Non-system wall switches in their bathroom and RR2 battery sensors in the halls and possibly den.
post #805 of 964
The only non-RA switches I've got are the timers for the bathroom fans and the range hood. The latter due to the load it pulls (beast of a 48" range). If/when Lutron comes out with a RA2 countdown timer I'd be all over it.
post #806 of 964
The work around currently is an "Off-Delay" Scene (as described by Lutron Tech. Support). The screwy part is it requires 2 buttons on the keypad(s). One to turn that Scene "On" and another can be used to set an "Off" delay. So immediately after turning it "on" you should toggle the next scene "off". Maybe someone with some spare time could test this? It would be nice if this would be condensed to a single button feature, maybe in a future version. Not sure but this may be "inclusive" feature only. I assume Lutron would prefer you use a sensor for this as well, as the sensor has the timeout built in.

Set the "On" button for whatever you desire (no delay required, set up as normal ~ unless you want an On delay)
Set the "Off" Button to 0% or Off (switches) & Set the desired time before the scene shuts off. Haven't tested it, but assume the fade time is in addition to the off delay.



We have also set timers to turn "off" every 2-3 hours (or your increment) particular scenes for this use. One downside is if someone turns it on, just before the hour expires, or have a catch all scene that turns everything off at say 2 a.m.. Obviously there are some downsides to these methods, but they may be fine for certain areas/scenes.
Edited by spiwrx - 11/4/13 at 10:44am
post #807 of 964
Quote:
Originally Posted by wkearney99 View Post

The latter due to the load it pulls (beast of a 48" range).

We use a fairly small 30amp ($6) relay connected to a 8ANS for most larger loads. The relay is about an inch square (+/-). Easily fit into a gang box by itself, or possibly behind a device in a very deep box.
post #808 of 964
You likely saw my posts over there as well. I'm not sure that solution is better than not using one at all. And it doesn't give any way to use local control to alter the delay period. Given that Lutron makes such a thing, it'd sure be nice to have one with RA2 integration.

I'd be more inclined to attempt something like a 3-way setup, but I'm not sure if one of their countdown timers could be made to work with one. If just for the sole purpose of being able to use 'All Off' functions for the room/area/floor/whole house. As in, someone left a fan running...

I'm having reasonable luck configuring the bottom-most button of 'entry area' keypads for an 'area all-off' function. With delays for the 'most obvious' exit path should the button be used. As in, kill the whole basement, but only turn off the steps going up after a 20 second delay. Same thing with the master suite and the whole house. The only downside is there's no time-of-day conditionals to allow for, say, bringing up the porch lighting when the whole house all-off gets used. But that's pretty trivial. And when I get around to adding something 3rd party I'll definitely look into doing that.
post #809 of 964
Yes, there are a lot of reasons we would all like some conditionals. Lutron has to leave something for the homeworks inclined! I haven't had much time to play with my Arduino since I bought it over a year ago, but I assume we could run some conditionals through that or a pi. I'm not that person right now, but looking forward to figuring it out eventually....
post #810 of 964
I'm leaning more toward an HAI or an Elk. Something designed for the purpose, intended to run unattended in a can 24x7x365.

For other stuff I'll be adding something PC-driven at some point (likely CQC). I've played around with some of the Pi and other devices and they're great fun. But for infrastructure stuff like lights I really want something purpose-built and reliable. You're just not getting that 'baked in' with PCs or other gizmos.

What's a bit disappointing about the RA2/Homeworks situation is there's no upgrade path other than rip-and-replace. And the jump to HW is a bit steep.

It's the same sort of thing with the other semi-automated Maestro stuff, the Serena shades and probably the new stuff sold through Staples. It's tough enough battle getting customers to buy into automation. But to then turn around and say, NOPE, no upgrade path, throw those away and buy all new ones... it's a bit unrealistic.

But that's a whole other thread...
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