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Alternatives to Crestron - Page 3  

post #61 of 106
Quote:
Originally posted by AJF
I got the names of the two installers directly from AMX and went with the one which the regional rep felt was the better of the two especially with the programming end. After conferring with them about what I would like to do in the next year or two ( after my wallet cooled off a bit ) they prewired my house. I wasn't happy with their work at all. It became more and more evident that they had done few if ANY whole house installations. I did not want them doing any more work beyond the prewire. And these guys were recommended by AMX directly!

I feel for you. Unfortunately, mediocrity is the norm in our industry and even if a company sells the best lines it is no indication they know what they are doing. Manufacturers are in a tough place too. They could set extremely stringent competency requirements for dealerships in which case they would see their market share evaporate with any number of other manufacturers that would be more than happy to fill the void. There's no short term solution except to say that it is a viscous cycle fueled by lack of competency and/or required licensing on the dealers part and a public that makes it even worse by almost always looking for the lowest price and then complaining about the result. But that's a rant for another day.

Quote:
Well at least the house was wired. Then, a short time after this some guy buys AMX (or Phast) changes the name to PANJA !?!? and pushes some kind of wireless internet access. Now it's back to AMX and I'm just completely turned off to the company especially since someone on this thread made a comment about their stock taking a nosedive.

Currently at $2.69. AMX bought a company named AudioEase somewhere around 8 years ago and incorporated the line under the AMX line. Some of the AudioEase systems ran in the six figures. AMX stopped selling it after a while and sent out notices that they would no longer support the product and that parts would not be available for many repairs. They also won't learn new IR codes for the system (even the dealer couldn't learn IR codes) so if you want to add a DVD player to your six figure system you're basically f___ed. Does that help you decide if you want to do business with them?

I have Crestron systems I have had in the field for near 10 years now that still operate reliably and when we need service on them their is no problem. I had one experience with Crestron where we had a touchscreen that was probably 3-4 years old that developed some problems. We sent it in for repair and it came back and worked for a while and failed again. Repeated the procedure once more and they fixed it and said if it happened again they would replace the touchscreen! Never had to take them up on their offer but since it was unsolicited I have never forgotten it.
Quote:
I must admit that I am just now taking a more serious look at Crestron mainly because of this thread. Wildcatter77 was good enough to PM me about a Crestron system he's having installed and I must say that I found the $$$$ discouraging.
As I said earlier, the thing about it is that it can vary tremendously. You can get a Crestron package for 10K but you can just as easily get a Crestron package for 100K. Nor does everything have to be Crestron. For instance, you might use lighting from Lutron etc., touchscreens and control processor from Crestron, etc. It might be helpful if you don't mind telling us if you have allocated a budget for the (entire) system (lighting + A/V + thermostats etc.) and if so what it is.
post #62 of 106
Q -

A Crestron system for $10K? C'mon, maybe there's some hardware and very limited functionality that you could implement for $10K, but there's not much point in getting a Crestron in that price bracket. The Crestron programming alone for my system will run probably twice that amount. I understand the point you're trying to make, and I largely agree with it, but I really feel, having taken a hard look at Crestron and the alternatives (and having chosen to go with Crestron) that under $50K or so it's going to be very hard to justify a Crestron system vis-a-vis the alternatives.
post #63 of 106
Wildcatter:

Yes and no.

Many, many people buy a Crestron portable RF touchscreen and control system for less than 5K (for a home theater for example) and consider it the the best purchase they've ever made. Those people will read your post and think they can't afford one and it's NOT the case.

There are many, many Crestron options for less than 50K. For instance, for $7500 FULL RETAIL they have a complete system that includes an 8 zone matrix audio switcher, 6 keypads, 6 room power amplifier, a control processor with IR/RS-232/relays etc. Replace three of the keypads with small wall mounted touchscreens and you can easily be below 10K. This type of system does NOT require 5K in programming. Now you have a full featured system that blows away most other systems with real touchscreens with two way feedback and an almost unlimited upgrade path.

Now realistically, if you are looking at wiring your entire house for A/V/, communications etc. and need speakers, source components, Crestron, programming etc. for 10+ rooms, 6 or more small touchscreens and a couple of larger touchscreens - sure that is going to be closer to 50K or more. Most of our whole house Crestron systems are over 50K.
post #64 of 106
Wildcatter I'd be curious to see who was doing your programming. I've done the programming on 50k square foot houses for less than $20k. Futher, there's no reason you can't get a single theater Crestron system up for around $7.5k. Since $20k at 85/hour (standard residential rate) is 235 hours that'd be 5 standalone bedroom systems (with house control), a house system feeding a couple dozen different zones, HVAC, security and lighting and maybe 3 or more touch panels for whole house control, 20+ keypads and a complex theater. Granted for me that'd have to be AMX and I'd still have 60 hours to spare, but I could probably do it with Crestron for around that.

Regarding the whole Phast thing, I'm sure AMX meant well, but most Phast installers weren't very good. "Real" dealers were doing Axcess. That was really represented in the Landmark creation software which was all drag and drop (more so than Crestron's Simpl Windows.
post #65 of 106
Quote:
Originally posted by GregH
Regarding the whole Phast thing, I'm sure AMX meant well...
I'm not sure but you make it sound like PHAST is a thing of the past. AMX is still selling PHAST under the name of AMX Landmark.
post #66 of 106
I was expecting a whole house system to cost $40-50K
max. Not that we're planning to move soon but whenever you make improvements to your house you have to consider whether you'll get that money back when you go to sell. Over $50K I would not get back.
I could do with 1 touchscreen for the theater and 3 or 4 wall mount touchscreens. I have speakers already installed and using a Niles 4630. We don't have a huge music collection and I'm happy with the audio from sat. and FM. The systems I'd most like to control are :Video distribution and lighting.


Quote:
Originally posted by David Richardson
Have you even seriously talked to one or more dealers ? Telll them what you want to do.

Your money. Are you going to take some FREE advice and go talk to one of them.

Dave
I guess I'll look into Crestron a little more seriously. The reason I've been pushing for a ballpark figure is because I don't want to waste an installers time if it's way over of my budget. You installers I'm sure can appreciate that?

Crestron question: I know that touchscreens are the ultimate interface but also expensive, is it possible to control everything from an on-screen guide on the tv's using IR remotes?
post #67 of 106
AJF:

YES, I do appreciate that. I'm running out but I'll offer some comments later when I have time.
post #68 of 106
Q et al:

I do concede the point that a relatively inexpensive Crestron system could make sense for a home theater. However, I took this thread to be about home integration and distribution. And I still have to say that if you're talking about a system with a few push button wall mounted units and distribution of only a couple of audio sources to a handful of zones, sure you could use Crestron for that but there are tons of cheaper and just as capable alternatives.

As for the programming cost, I put together a very specific RFP on the job and got three different firms to bid on it. Bids on the programming piece ranged from $17K to $26K. So I guess I could be getting taken to the cleaners, but if so it's endemic to the industry.

AJF, I tend to agree with your point that there is going to be little residual value placed on the system by a perspective home buyer. Even if it's someone who's into tech stuff, they are likely going to have their own preferences which are different from mine. And the technology is moving so fast that 3-4 years is enough to obselesce a good proportion of your equipment. Even wiring requirements are likely to change in five years or so. I'd say that your estimate of $50K residual value may even be high.
post #69 of 106
I'm aware Phast is now Landmark, but the same point is true. Landmark dealers are not the same quality of AMX Axcess in regards to programming install. That's why we can do either and they are restricted to Landmark.
post #70 of 106
AJF:

I have some questions regarding your want list:
1. "Control of 25 light switches". Are the light switches existing and if so what type? If they are standard light switches do they have any type of wire run to them (other than high voltage)?
2. Why do you prefer to distribute four DSS receivers to the eight TV's as opposed to just having a DSS receiver with each TV?
3. For the CD jukebox, is the ability to display cover art important (as opposed to being able to browse by category, artists etc. but with no cover art)?
4. For the CD jukebox, do you want to view the content on touchscreens, TV's, or both.
5. What wires are run to the TV locations other than the RG-6?
6. Is there a whole house TV GUI that you have seen? Please tell me a little bit more about about how you envision this feature working?
7. Are the speakers wired so that they can play local room sources in addition to the main area sources?
post #71 of 106
QQQ:

1. All light switches are simple Decora. There's a run of Cat5 to each switch box location whether there is 1 or several switches in the box.

2. There are 4 people in our house hence 4 receivers, but we do have 9 TV's. I thought that one of the main objectives of video and audio distribution is for all zones to be able to access any source. To put a receiver at each TV would be like putting a CD player + DVD player and audio receiver etc. It kind of defeats the purpose of A/V distribution as I see it. (I hope that doesn't sound snide because I don't mean it to be.)

3. Cover art would be nice but not nec. What I would really like is a CD/DVD jukebox and was going to buy the Kenwood Sovereign until I found the thread on this forum describing some of the problems that some people are having withg them. But, with a combo player like that ( which does store cover art), you could kill two birds with one stone.

4. I would like to view content on both but if I had to chose just one, TV would be fine.

5. I have 2 runs of RG6 to each TV, 2 runs of CAT5 at receptacle height but not necessarally near the TV and 2 CAT5 at keypad height to every room. All wires are homerun to a hub in first floor utility closet. I also had the builder run a chase from the basement to the attic.

6. I envision a GUI that comes up on the TV's that is activity based similar to what I've seen on Crestron touchscreens. Picture 8 or 10 buttons: Watch TV, Watch DVD, Listen to Music, Lights, Thermostat etc. A touch of one of these buttons would bring up sub menus pertaining to what's chosen. "Watch DVD" would bring up the cover art or genres' of the movies I have.

7. All speaker wires are home run to hub. When I had the house wired there was no A-Bus nor CAT5 distributed video.

One of the reasons that I wasn't happy with the installers recommended by AMX/Landmark/Phast/Panja/AMX (LOL) was that they didn't use structured wire because they said they'd rather run RG6 and CAT5 seperately because they saw no reason for the CAT5 to be at the TV location. CAT5 is used for computer and telephone so why not run those to the locations where you want those things. I should have had them do both.
post #72 of 106
AJF:

What are you using with the Niles 4630? Do you have Niles keypads all over? You said you wanted "audio in 10 rooms". Does that mean you want to replace the Niles or supplement it or what?
post #73 of 106
AJF:

Listed below are a number of thoughts regarding your system. Please don’t interpret any of them as trying to talk you out of what YOU want or into more than you asked for. I am going to list some retail pricing examples at the end. This is for example only and should not be interpreted by anyone as a quote.
Quote:
Control of 25 light switches
1. There are a number of “communicating†light switches that might work in your application, although technically many of them are supposed to be used with communications wiring rated for high voltage (NOT Cat 5). To keep things simple I am going to price Lutron Radio Ra RF switches, but there are probably more cost effective switches that will meet your needs and I’m sure someone else will jump in and tell you about them.
Quote:
8 keypads for lighting
2. You could use lighting keypads here (from the company providing the light switches) or you could use Crestron touchscreens (as your lighting keypads), which would serve the dual purpose of also controlling all the other components in your home. I will price Crestron touchscreens.
Quote:
Both thermostats
3. There are a few options. Enerzone, owned by April Air is probably the best known and most widely used and that is what I will price.
Quote:
Eact TV to receive and control 4 DSS receivers
4. I’m sure everyone will have an opinion on this one. We DO install video distribution systems when the project calls for it BUT I believe that many people go with video distribution because they think it is the thing to do when it is not (or because someone sold them on the concept). The thing to keep in mind is that audio distribution (which we always do in one form or another) and video distribution tend to be substantially different by nature. For instance, if you load up 400 CD’s in a CD changer, it makes perfect sense to want to listen to all of those CD’s from anywhere in the house. And who wants a stereo system in every room?

Some people do consider it a big bonus to have a VCR located centrally so that they can watch the tape anywhere in the house. On the other hand, I think most people find it a pain in the ass and don’t want to load a VCR tape in the basement (or wherever) so they can watch a VCR tape in the master bedroom. A more practical example for video distribution is the 200 disc DVD changer you requested. Some people do it because they don’t want to have to locate a VCR in the kitchen or bathroom for the kitchen or bathroom TV and that is an argument in favor of video distribution.

Now to DSS. You can now buy a decent DSS receiver for $99. $49 on sale. So that’s $900 for nine TV’s max. If you instead go with a video switcher and the necessary equipment in order to simplify control of the remote DSS units and you are EASILY over $900. Add to that the fact that you must distribute the signal in composite form over RG-6 (with a video switcher) so you can’t use the S-video out which is best and you can’t distribute ANY HD satellite signals (over a single RG-6). Now add in the fact that all the HD satellite receivers are starting to become available with DVI copyright protection which also can’t be sent through your switcher. This may not be an issue for some people but with HD TV’s at reasonable prices I want my clients to be able to watch HDTV in any room (yes you can distribute HDTV but it is very expensive and that is a discussion for another day). So that's one of the reasons I usually want to have DSS receivers (and other video sources) at the TV.

On the other hand, with video distribution, there is the advantage of being able to connect the DSS receivers to the central stereo system. When we locate DSS receivers locally we usually accomplish that by “intercepting†the speaker level signal and running it through an automatic A/B switch. When the TV is on with any local source, it takes precedence (over the central system) and plays through the speakers, otherwise the speaker receive the sound from the central system. In your case if you locate the DSS receivers with the TV you will have to get a dial tone to the receivers with a wireless phone jack or your other Cat 5 wires.

I’ve written a lot about this because I think a lot of people make things way to complicated (and add unneeded expense) with video distribution. Also, keep in mind I’m not saying it’s always one or the other. For instance, you may find it more practical to have DSS receivers with some of the TV’s but want a couple of centrally distributed Tivo unit you can access from anywhere.

I’ll give you an option with an 8 zone video switcher.
Quote:
DVD CD juke box
5. Lots of options. I’m going to go high-end here. I like things that work well without bugs and offer backup features. Audio Request is fantastic. Check out their web site. I'll add a dedicated DVD changer. Other people can give you other options.
Quote:
Audio in 10 rooms
6. I’m not sure if you are asking for a replacement for your Niles Audio or not. I’m also not sure if you already have Niles keypads all over. The Niles has no RS-232 control and is somewhat limited in its integration capabilities. I’m going to include a Crestron audio switcher and power amp. If that’s not what you want/ need, you will need to work out how you will integrate the Niles with Crestron in a way that makes sense.
Quote:
Minimum of 2 touchscreens
7. See my notes with pricing.
Quote:
Ability to control all through GUI using IR remote
8. Hmmmm.


APPROXIMATE Pricing (FULL Retail)
1. (25) Lutron Radio Ra dimmers $4750, (2) RF repeaters $800 and (1) RS-232 interface $700
2. (8) Crestron LC-1000 toucscreens (control A/V WITH feedback (radio station, selected CD etc.), control temp and lights WITH feedback etc.) $6800
Picture below except I'm quoting grayscale, not color. The side buttons are normally custom engraved.
http://www.request.com/shots/CT-1000Manage.jpg
3. (2) Enerzone stats $800
4. RS-232 8 zone video switcher $2000
5. Audio Request CD Hard Drive + DVD changer TBD $5000
6. Crestron 8 zone audio switcher, 8 zone power amplifier, use your existing Niles as amps for two more rooms, Crestron AM-FM tuner, Crestron Pro2 control system (the brains running the operation, you need some version of this no matter what) $10,500
7. (1) STX-1700C Two –way RF touchcreen (you’ve already got 8 wired ones :D ) (1 RF gateway) $5000
8. I’m leaving this out (GUI) for now. Instead, I’m going to quote (9) Universal Remote MX-700 remote controls. $3600. Just create a screen (on the remote itself) for each item you want to control. You won’t have two-way feedback but you could have several macros with clearly spelled names on the LCD screens. Aim at the rooms IR sensor and adjust temperature, lights, a/v components etc. (performed by the Crestron system based on an IR command from the MX-700).
9. Programming (WILD ASS GUESS) $10,000 NO more.
10. Installation (WILD ASS GUESS) $5000
11. Additional items & materials $3000
Total $58,000 without tax.

This is at FULL retail with more than you asked for and with prices purposely high. I thought it would be more helpful if I gave you a thorough option instead of one that tries to cut every unnecessary penny out. I’ll leave that up to you and your customer installer :).

Again, I want to emphasize that these are ideas and I am not saying this is exactly how I would do things and in fact I’m sure I would do things differently if I had more info. But hopefully it will help your decision making process. And I hope I have presented it in a way that makes it at least half understandable, since it can be hard to visualize the end result based simply on a hardware list.

Some of the custom installers out there ONLY want to focus on the ultra high-end exotic projects and it sound like maybe you ran into one or tow of them. But there are plenty of shops (at least in my area) that are more than eager to work with someone that has your budget (which is HARDLY low end!). The bottom line is that I would sure as hell hope there are some good people in your area that would want to undertake this type of project and I can’t imagine why their wouldn’t be!
post #74 of 106
p.s. You could integrate the alarm system into the Crestron without any more equipment IF you're DSC system has the capability (some of the DSC systems do). Ditto for your shades if you wired for that option.
post #75 of 106
Quote:
Originally posted by AJF

3. Cover art would be nice but not nec. What I would really like is a CD/DVD jukebox and was going to buy the Kenwood Sovereign until I found the thread on this forum describing some of the problems that some people are having withg them. But, with a combo player like that ( which does store cover art), you could kill two birds with one stone.

4. I would like to view content on both but if I had to chose just one, TV would be fine.

6. I envision a GUI that comes up on the TV's that is activity based similar to what I've seen on Crestron touchscreens. Picture 8 or 10 buttons: Watch TV, Watch DVD, Listen to Music, Lights, Thermostat etc. A touch of one of these buttons would bring up sub menus pertaining to what's chosen. "Watch DVD" would bring up the cover art or genres' of the movies I have.
Have you seen the new Windows XP Media Center Edition PCs? You could buy four of the ABS models for $1150 each and modulate them to all of your TVs. This would give you a very nice GUI to control all of your digital media - audio, video, pictures, and TV (PVR) - with a regular IR remote and TV or monitor. Automation controls don't exist now but I wouldn't be surprised to see Microsoft or a third-party developer add this in the future. Or, you could always link to another program like Homeseer, etc.

With the right encoding you can even rip DVDs to your hard drive with very good quality for about 1 GB each. With a RAID-5 array you could have virtually unlimited storage capacity with built in data redundancy. MCE would let you categorize and browse DVDs the same way you would MP3s, with thumbnails of cover art and folders for each category.

This may not be exactly what you are looking for, but I thought it was relevant enough to bring up in case you or anyone else is interested.

http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/m...s/MyVideos.jpg

Thanks,
Alan
post #76 of 106
FINALLY, someone has given me some concise information on this subject. I know that it took some thought and time on your part QQQ and I can't thank you enough. I know that every installation is unique and requires more info than we've touched upon on this thread but it gives me a great starting place. You've given me a lot to think about, but I do have a few immediate questions and comments:

As simple as it sounds, I had never considered having a sat rec. at each TV, I thought that since DVD would be distributed so would all video sources.

I had considered using Radio RA but hate to see that CAT5 not be used for it's intended purpose. Would Crestrons switches be more expensive? Also I think Lutron has switches that are controlled by CAT5 called HomeWorks I believe (the Vareo switch looks like the one used by AMX)

I would probably keep the Niles for some of the rooms that don't require a lot of control.

One sticking point might be the on screen (TV) control. As you can tell by the 9 TV's we do a lot of watching and it would be great to have feedback; if you're watching TV in bed and want to raise the temp. it would be nice to get a confirmation that it was done. Couldn't that be set up just like a the RF touchscreen except that the remote is "pressing the button"?

BTW, I e-mailed a local company I found on Crestrons site and hope to hear from them soon. Again thanks for
all of the valuable info. I know you were reluctant to do so because there are so many variables for each install and I will keep that in mind.

AJF
post #77 of 106
Thanks Alan, that is similar to what I'm talking about as far as appearence and control but at this point I don't think I want a computer based solution.
Thanks;
AJF
post #78 of 106
Quote:
Originally posted by AJF
One sticking point might be the on screen (TV) control. As you can tell by the 9 TV's we do a lot of watching and it would be great to have feedback; if you're watching TV in bed and want to raise the temp. it would be nice to get a confirmation that it was done. Couldn't that be set up just like a the RF touchscreen except that the remote is "pressing the button"?
AJF:

The piece you could use would be a Crestron TPS-TPI. This is a touchpanel interface that allows you to create a GUI and display it on a TV. You could distribute this to each TV and navigate your GUI with a remote control. It would be one zone only (unless you used multiples). In other words, it could only be in use on one TV at a time or you would be “fighting†other users (probably not much of a negative, just want to make sure you're aware). It retails for $4200 with a video output card.

http://www.crestron.com/products/sho...bcat=12&id=215

One of the biggest challenges with home automation is that it should make your life simpler, NOT more complicated. Some of the things you are requesting like a GUI at each TV could be really cool but unless they are pulled off really well could also end up making things complicated. Be careful as you proceed and make sure you do everything possible to understand EXACTLY how your system will operate in the end. Sometimes reality conflicts with people’s vision of what they are expecting. I’m not giving you this warning because you are requesting anything I think is “wrongâ€, just that the more cool stuff you want, the more the possibility that it won’t be done right or might actually add complication.
post #79 of 106
Yeah, the TPS-TPI looks pretty cool and I would probably use one of those if I was dropping $50k on an automation system. But unfortunately I'm not. A poor man's alternative is Homevision, which you can get for under $600. Pretty damn ugly but just about as functional. In fact, it even has a built-in web server and 2-way IR control.

http://www.csi3.com/homevis2.htm
post #80 of 106
Quote:
Originally posted by AJF
I had considered using Radio RA but hate to see that CAT5 not be used for it's intended purpose. Would Crestrons switches be more expensive? Also I think Lutron has switches that are controlled by CAT5 called HomeWorks I believe (the Vareo switch looks like the one used by AMX)

Crestron's individual (local) light switches are not available yet and I don't know what the release date or pricing is but I think it (release date) is a way off. Yes, the Vareo switches are more cost effective but you would have to purchase a Lutron Homeworks processor to interface with them which might shoot them back up into Radio Ra range. That is the way I would go (Vareo) if it is more cost effective.
post #81 of 106
Thanks QQQ. The audio & video portion of the Crestron system would be $12K+, what do you think about the new offerings from Niles,Russound & Xantech? They seem to be fairly sofisticated (RS232) and much less expensive?

If all my questions are starting to wear you down just tell me; you've already answered more questions on this thread than I've had answered in the last 3 years and I am very grateful. I'm sure that the lurkers on this thread are grateful too.

AJF
post #82 of 106
I’m afraid I can’t really give you a very good comparison of Crestron versus the manufacturers you mentioned. I have not used RS-232 to control any of those manufacturers systems.

If you decide on a Crestron system, it probably makes sense to use other Crestron components in most (but NOT all) instances where that is possible. Even though Crestron can integrate with any RS-232 component, their own components can be programmed together seamlessly and powerfully. One analogy I would use is that even though computers from any manufacturer can be networked together, it still makes more sense to have 10 Dell’s instead of 10 PC’s from different manufacturers. The other thing that enters the equation is that writing lots of RS-232 code can be time consuming depending on the products and features wanted, so you MIGHT decrease hardware costs but increase programming costs.

That said, you could certainly use multi-room audio components from any manufacturer though I would make sure to use one with a robust RS-232 command set. It is done all the time.
post #83 of 106
Quote:
Originally posted by QQQ
This is true to some extent but if Jim is not a do-it-yourselfer this can be a tough road to travel. Most higher end successful designers/installers are not interested in complicated prewires (which SHOULD involve CAD blueprints etc.) without a commitment from the client on a system.
I am not a dealer and I am relatively new to this exciting area. I was having a new home built and was unable to choose the pre-wire installation group because the builder had made a deal with a particular company. The sales person knew less than I did (after recommending the book "Smart Homes for Dummies" to me). I tried to impress upon him that I wanted to future proof the home to handle anything (except for going ahead with fibre optic cable). Suffice it to say that I didn't feel confident going ahead with this group to choose the componentry. I decided later to look at an Elan system through another dealer and found that the pre-wiring that they had overcharged me for was not sufficient even for that! So I believe that the prudent advice would be, if you have the option and the time (neither of which I had), to work with a designer/installer who can explore all of the options with you in advance of any pre-wire. Also, I believe that if you are going to make this kind of investment, you should arm yourself with more than a basic knowledge of how these systems work.
post #84 of 106
QQQ:

Since you mentioned it I have taken a serious look at Lutron RadioRA and I am extremely impressed! Sometimes you can become so narrowly focused that you don't consider other alternatives. RadioRA would have the follwing advantages for me:

1. I can do most of the work myself. ( I've done quite a bit of electrical work but know my limits)

2. I can do it now so I at least have some lighting control right away.

3. RadioRA is MUCH more sofisticated than I had realized. It has many interfaces and ways to control it even without a smart controller.

4. They have a new version of Homeserve that will allow much more control AND the ability to mix RA and their low voltage wired switches & keypads. It also allows up to 64 RA switches and 32 master keypads!

5. Lutron is an established leader in this area and will be around in the future. They also continue to improve their products rather than rest on their laurels.

The only negative would be reliabilty. It also does'nt give true feedback in a Crestron system.

Have you ( or anyone else reading this thread ) had much experience using RA especially for a wholehouse system?
post #85 of 106
1. You sure can! The only real "work" involved will be if you want to install in-wall keypads, which will require that you retrofit them into the walls. Of course, they also have wireless keypads (not for in-wall) that don't have to be retofitted. The system is also easy to program.
4. This is new and we haven't used it yet. I'm not sure if or how the two systems (Radio ra versus HomeServe) can be mixed and matched.
5. Absolutely. Also, Lutron is well know for their outstanding service.

There is no negative regarding reliability. The system is EXTREMELY reliable. We have never had a problem with reliability on one of these systems. As a worse case scenario, you may have to add an addtional RF repeater. Don't be mislead by the specs on the repeater, which I believe they conservatively rate at 30' (you should doublecheck that). That means 30' in every direction. And the repeaters can communicate when they are 60' away. Two repeaters are usually more than adequate to cover most homes. You can always start with one and move to two if you encounter any problems.

I'm not sure what your definition of "true feedback" feedback is. The RS-232 interface does give feedback but I believe if you adjust a light switch it will not automatically update its status to Crestron. But you can request Lutron system status from a Crestron system and receive feedback regarding the status of each and every light. I will doublecheck this info for you.
post #86 of 106
QQQ is on the ball! I'm not sure about the requesting of status IF the light has been alterated locally. I have Tony Goldens module but have not used it yet. Maybe a PM to Tony will shed some light on this part. RadioRA is solid. The human factor on the other hand. Must read the instructions on this one sorry to say. Too many options available!

Dave


Quote:
Originally posted by QQQ
1. You sure can! The only real "work" involved will be if you want to install in-wall keypads, which will require that you retrofit them into the walls. Of course, they also have wireless keypads (not for in-wall) that don't have to be retofitted. The system is also easy to program.
4. This is new and we haven't used it yet. I'm not sure if or how the two systems (Radio ra versus HomeServe) can be mixed and matched.
5. Absolutely. Also, Lutron is well know for their outstanding service.

There is no negative regarding reliability. The system is EXTREMELY reliable. We have never had a problem with reliability on one of these systems. As a worse case scenario, you may have to add an addtional RF repeater. Don't be mislead by the specs on the repeater, which I believe they conservatively rate at 30' (you should doublecheck that). That means 30' in every direction. And the repeaters can communicate when they are 60' away. Two repeaters are usually more than adequate to cover most homes. You can always start with one and move to two if you encounter any problems.

I'm not sure what your definition of "true feedback" feedback is. The RS-232 interface does give feedback but I believe if you adjust a light switch it will not automatically update its status to Crestron. But you can request Lutron system status from a Crestron system and receive feedback regarding the status of each and every light. I will doublecheck this info for you.
post #87 of 106
The RadioRa system can report individual zone feedback status through the RS-232 port, ie. a Crestron system -- even if the switch is operated locally. However, it only tells if the load is On or Off, not the actual lighting (dim) level.

Although this might seem to be a limitation, most end-users (and dealers) I've spoken with find it to be an acceptable compromise, given the available alternatives for retrofit applications...
post #88 of 106
Quote:
Originally posted by QQQ
I will doublecheck this info for you.
Tony beat me to it. Only thing to add is that you can tell any light to go to a specific dim level (via RS-232), you just can't get feedback regarding the dim level.
post #89 of 106
Quote:
Originally posted by Tony Golden
The RadioRa system can report individual zone feedback status through the RS-232 port, ie. a Crestron system -- even if the switch is operated locally. However, it only tells if the load is On or Off, not the actual lighting (dim) level.
That's what I had read but I don't see it as a major problem for me.

We got snowed in pretty good here in the Northeast so I've had some time to study Lutron's site. I'm confused about the differences between Homeworks Interactive and Homeserve. Can you guys shed some light on this? Also, these systems sound as though they can be programmed with their software, how does that work?
Does it mean programming on a computer and then downloading to a piece of their hardware, or does it need it's own dedicated computer?
post #90 of 106
http://www.lutron.com/nolimits/

PC is for programming only and downloading to the hardware. A PC is not required to run the system. Homeserve is basically the wireless version of Homeworks. It is meant to be used on those jobs that Radio Ra cannot accomodate (32 switches max with Radio Ra). Another common scenario might be a home that is undergoing a large remodel. You might use Homeworks in some areas (where all electrical is new and wire can be easily run) and Homeserve in other areas and have the two work as one seamless system.
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