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New construction-- radiora2 or HW4

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Would like to start with around 30 loads with switches hidden in closets and control via keypads in the common areas. Eventually more loads will be added after the home is built.

So which system would be more cost effective in this situation, HW series 4 or RadioRa2?

Also, since the lighting system will be integrated with the main automation, is the lack of conditional programming for RadioRa2 a non-issue?

The only downside I can see with using the conditional programming of the main automation is the potential for a delay as all the signals are sent to another processor...
post #2 of 10
If you may go with HW, try Vantage controls, it may suit you better.
post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 
Vantage definitely has a slick setup. Can anyone comment on the delay when using the main automation controller for conditional programming of radiora2?
post #4 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Decelerate View Post

Would like to start with around 30 loads with switches hidden in closets and control via keypads in the common areas..

If it's new construction and you want to bury switches and use 1 gang keypads to control things, you may as well use a remote panel system or something along the lines of GRAFIK Eye's or Crestron Ilux controllers (which Crestron offers wireless communication versions of the Ilux).

Reason being; aside from the swiss cheese effect of your closet walls; is you're likely to spend as much on doing RA2 or something similar as you would using something like Homeworks, Vanatge, Crestron, Litetouch, or any other remote-panel dimmer system.

The value in a solution like RA2 or Crestron Infinet, etc. is they can be retro-fit in or they can be a lower cost solution than remote systems. But, when you start trying to make them work like a remote dimmer system you quickly begin adding cost because you are no longer using your light switches as one of the user interfaces.

In addition to the user interface issue, it is much easier on an electrician to land wires into a nice dimmer panel than it is to wire switches; takes like 1/2 the time per switch leg.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Decelerate View Post

So which system would be more cost effective in this situation, HW series 4 or RadioRa2?

I kind of answered this above, but the truth is without having a lighting design and a functional specification drawn up for how YOUR system needs to function, anyone who tells you an answer doesn't really know. But, if we're comparing RA2 to something like Homeworks; for 30 loads and with it being wired the way you described; it fair to say hardware wise would be similar.

In fact, we just recently went down this path on a lighting control specification for a new client. Functionally, the RA2 system is all they need but with the desire to minimize wall clutter being a big reason for wanting lighting control; the cost of the RA2 ended up being pretty much the same cost as doing Homeworks (or Vanatge, Crestron, etc)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Decelerate View Post

Also, since the lighting system will be integrated with the main automation, is the lack of conditional programming for RadioRa2 a non-issue? The only downside I can see with using the conditional programming of the main automation is the potential for a delay as all the signals are sent to another processor...

Yes, delay is a concern and depending on the complexity of the variables you want created, this could turn into a big point of frustration for you &/or others in the home (who may be less understanding of "why the damn light switch" doesn't work the way they want it to work).

I have been creating lighting designs & specifying lighting systems for many many years... I have a really good understanding of all the things that clients do and don't like with lighting systems. The fact is; aside from the wiz-bang stuff like firing all the lights in a room with a single press, they had better work pretty much identically to a 49cent toggle switch... a task that VERY FEW people who do lighting control systems understand.

I personally would never configure a lighting system to receive it's variables from the main control system... just too much traffic. It will ultimately put a lot of undesirable strain on your main control system processor and depending on what you're doing, will likely jam up the lighting system communication as they often times can't accept large amounts of data in a timely manner. Oh yeah, and as soon as your main control processor crashes or loses communication from the LAN; it no longer knows the lighting system state.


I gotta run now. if you want to discuss more or would like more information, including the negatives of remote systems I'll be more than happy to chat a little more.

I don't subscribe to the threads but I do have my account set up to e-mail me when someone sends me a private message through the system. You can also message me through my web site or facebook page; both of which are listed below.
post #5 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thanks a lot design guy. That info definitely helps.
I would really like to sink no more than 10k or so for this system during construction. If ra2 and the centralized systems are more or less in the same range for 30 loads during construction, then how do they compare cost wise when more dimmers are added?
Logically I would assume that since HW wireless dimmers operate off a similiar architecture to the ra2 dimmers, the dimmers should be roughly the same cost.

I am really leaning towards a small centralized to start as the complexity of bringing the main control system into the mix has me concerned about the long term reliability of the system.
Assuming that ra2 and the centralized systems come in at roughly the same cost for 30 loads during construction, my decision will hinge on the cost/load for future expansion using wireless dimmers.
post #6 of 10
Where did you get the idea that HW4 would be a good option?
post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Neurorad View Post

Where did you get the idea that HW4 would be a good option?

I was under the impression that HW has conditional programming.
post #8 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Decelerate View Post

I was under the impression that HW has conditional programming.

Perhaps he was referring to cost... Because a standard RA config should generally be less than HW.

Also, if your only considering the number of loads, a RA2 or Crestron Infinet, etc really is all you need.

One thing I didn't mention in my previous post, if you were to use Crestron Infinet stuff, the programming is the same, so you can do all the conditional stuff you want, use Infinet Ilux modules which are less expensive than 6 individual dimmers & have conditional programming... You can have it all in the event you are not crazy about remote .

While I personally believe Lutron makes a better built product; mainly in terms of it being less susceptible to power anamolies; Crestron allows you to treat all their lighting products the same from their lighting software... Even the lower cost Prodigy stuff can be programmed like a remote panel system. There are a couple other things you can do with Crestron programming that can't be done with others as well.

The reason Crestron may not be a good solution is if you want to use a different brand of control system. I personally can make Savant, AMX run a Crestron lighting system via ethernet, although it's not something I typically suggest folks do... Typically we only do this when someone has a Crestron lighting system but they want a different brand of automation system for everything else.

Here is some pretty simple math we tell interior designers, builders, clients & architects to use.

Unless your talking about the really low end wireless switch products and you are in the 30 circuit range, a standard wireless replacement dimmer system; such as RA2; tends to average in the $300-$400 per circuit range; installed/programmed (without tons of crazy programming). If your talking something like HW, you want to think $400-$600 per circuit. Now keep in mind I can't speak for where you live... Depending on labor rates & who you're procuring your system from it may be different...

While that is a pretty big difference in cost, remember the "standard" term used for the RA system is the key... If you ultimately end up with 2 or 3 keypads per room to control your lighting presets, your cost per circuit increase exponentially.

If you want to discuss further send me a message thru private message or my web site or Facebook page. If you have some idea of lighting plan & you have a set of plans, you can email them to me and I'll be happy to spend a few minutes reviewing them & make some recommendations.
post #9 of 10
HomeWorks QS has replaced HW4, for the most part.

The only person that can give you a price comparison of RA2 vs QS is the Lutron dealer doing the install, as prices vary considerably from dealer to dealer.

QS provides options for centralized loads, wireless, and hardwired configurations. I'd spend the extra for QS from the start.

You aren't aware that QS has replaced HW4, yet you're asking about conditional programming. Who told you HW4 would be a good choice?
post #10 of 10
Thread Starter 
Nobody recommended that I look at HW 4. I assumed that HW 4 is at the lower end of the HW line and thus the most comparable to radiora2 in terms of cost.

I was not aware that QS replaced HW 4. The lutron website seems to suggest that QS is an entirely different line. But thank you for letting me know that HW4 is being phased out.

Let me get something straight regarding conditional programming. Radiora2 will not be able to turn on/off lights "x" minutes before/after sunset or trigger lights based in motion detector input, right?
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