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WiFi lighting controls for an apartment?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Hey Folks,

I just moved into an apartment where all the light switches are at the front entrance and whether I'm looking to turn off the lights for a movie, turn off the lights to go to bed, or turn on the lights in the morning etc, I feel like I need to pack a lunch because of how far I have to go to adjust the lighting.

I know a lot of the conversations here revolve around homeowners doing the big installs with the big name brands, but I was curious if anyone has any ideas on a non-permanent solution that will simply allow me any my roommate to control the lights from the couch with my Harmony 890 or our HTPC/iPhone/Android devices?

I've seen a couple solutions that plug into the outlet and take an ethernet cable for control, but my friend thought there might be bulbs that come with everything needed built right in? Or a small device that screws in between the bulb and socket?

Some searching has brought me to smarthome and Loew's Iris, but I wanted to check in with AVS to get some feedback I can trust.

Thanks in advance,
post #2 of 10
You might be able to use a Lutron Maestro switch.
post #3 of 10
Philips hue, Insteon LED bulb.
post #4 of 10
I would definitely also recommend Lutron maestro switches or a Radio Ra2 system. The ra2 has an iPad app as well as iPhone I believe. And if/when you move it's as simple as removing the switches and possibly the main repeater with you and installing them in your next home.
post #5 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the input. I contacted the Lutron Customer Service through email with a floor plan and some of my thoughts. They forwarded me to a local rep but I got a voicemail. I'm not sure how much they'll help though because their site looks like they do a lot of commercial jobs rather than HT/HA work.

For what it's worth here's the floor plan with my added notes:




* The large central room with the green labels is our entertaining/home theater area. That zone has no dedicated lighting nor switches so currently we have 3 lamps that we manually turn on and off.
* The red labels are the fixed lighting for the kitchen area, and this is the only zone that has switches for the lights, other than the bedrooms.


After what you guys have said, my roommate and I have considered two Lutron Maestro's (one for the red zone, one for the green zone), we have also heard about the Lutron Spacer, and we have looked a little at the Phillips and Insteon bulbs as well. If we can incorporate the two bedrooms for little additional cost then that is a plus as well, but not a requirement.


With the Maestro, how do I separate zones (what is the brain of that system)? Can we just buy individual lamp dimmers for the green zone? Or do we need some other a la cart grouping of components?

TLDR - The goal is to have at least two separate zones (red and green) but we are unsure what hardware is needed to facilitate that. We'd like to program the Harmony 890 for both zones, but if they also include pico remotes and/or wall dimmers/switches then so be it.
post #6 of 10
if you have an 890 you should only (or at least first) be looking at z-wave. check out the GE dimmers and outlets at lowes they are affordable, easy to get lowes coupons for additional discounts, and easy to return if you don't like them. Also ge z-wave handheld remotes are really cheap on ebay. If you want web control add the iris hub or vera.
Edited by az1324 - 12/20/12 at 5:22pm
post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 
Reporting back with the solution I've come up with after doing my research.

- Harmony 890 was already having volume button issues and since posting the screen also died. I wanted a HarmonyOne but since they're discontinued I went with the Harmony 900. I know the Harmony Touch is out now but I wasn't sure I'd like that.

- For the HT area (green) I'm going with 3x Lutron Spacer Lamp dimmers SPS-300LD-RP which I will have work off the Harmony using IR and one off the RF/IR blaster since that dimmer will be tucked behind a couch.

- For the Kitchen (red) I'm going with a Lutron Maestro Wireless base package which includes a Pico Remote and one Wall dimmer MRF2-600MTHW-WH . Might pick up a second Pico remote and make a fake wall dimmer out of it so you can turn the kitchen lights on/off from walking out of either bedroom. For now I'm okay with having control over only one of the lights in the kitchen, and as money allows, I'll consider expanding to more dimmers or switches in the future.


If I had the budget I would have considered going with a URC MX remote and directly integrating with the Lutron system.. but alas it was not meant to be this time around. I also found it was near impossible to deal with URC without going through an "authorized programmer" and I couldn't be bothered with it.
post #8 of 10
Interesting. Maybe share your reasons for going with two different Lutron product lines over other options which could have given you more control and features. Especially since you are thinking about expanding in the future.

3 Lutron Spacer Lamp Dimmer, 1 MRF2 Dimmer Kit = $300?

3 Insteon LampLinc, 1 Insteon SwitchLinc Dimmer, 1 RemoteLinc 2, 1 IRLinc Receiver = $340
post #9 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by az1324 View Post

Interesting. Maybe share your reasons for going with two different Lutron product lines over other options which could have given you more control and features. Especially since you are thinking about expanding in the future.

3 Lutron Spacer Lamp Dimmer, 1 MRF2 Dimmer Kit = $300?

3 Insteon LampLinc, 1 Insteon SwitchLinc Dimmer, 1 RemoteLinc 2, 1 IRLinc Receiver = $340

Originally I was thinking of a URC solution and I know that Lutron has some dimmers that integrate directly with URC's RF remotes. I guess even once URC was off the table, I already had my eye on Lutron and I ended up sticking with them.

I'll only be spending $250 on the Lutron solution when it's complete. It turned out I was mostly interested in getting the HT (green) section squared away and my roommate was more concerned with the kitchen (red) so it sort of works out that he can pay for the Maestro and keep that when we part ways, and I'm buying the Spacer dimmers and I'll keep them.

Wish you mentioned this Insteon solution earlier! Definitely seems to take care of everything I'm looking for in one system for not terribly expensive. $100 isn't chump change but the convenience of an all-in-one solution is tempting.
post #10 of 10
Sorry about that you had mentioned Smarthome so I assumed you looked through the Insteon options.
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