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Homeworks vs RadioRA for the DIY'er or low-maintenance dude(eh, me) - Page 2  

post #31 of 77
The scalability and programming flexibility are the big two as far as I'm concerned. Even with a Chronos, the RA has a hard limit of 64 devices. (you could conrol more than 64 loads if you can group some into Graphik RAs) but the hard cap is there.

To me, if you need more devices than the standard 32 for RA, then moving to homeworks makes sense.
post #32 of 77
As Vivek says, we have no problem with the argument that critical systems should be under the control of the simplest device possible. I'm not sure that lighting scene necessarily falls under that category though. Given that most lighting systems still work via the wall switch whether the automation system is connected and working or not, I'm not sure I'd be too worried about it. HVAC, security, duct control, and that sort of thing are of course completely different balls of wax, but not being able to invoke 'Love Doctor' mood lighting at a touch of a button for a couple days probably won't be life threatening.

That is not an argument one way or another as to whether you want to put your scenes in the lighting controller or not (and you can store scenes in RadioRA which is what the 'Master Buttons' are for), just making a general point. If I had a system that could store scenes, I'd store them in the hardware system since they can then be invoked potentially from the hardware siwtches as well as the automation system. But I wouldn't be too paranoid if my only scene control or sunrise/sunset control was at the automation system level either.
post #33 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dean Roddey
HVAC, security, duct control, and that sort of thing are of course completely different balls of wax, but not being able to invoke 'Love Doctor' mood lighting at a touch of a button for a couple days probably won't be life threatening.
Dean,

Haven't you already been asked by the moderators twice now not to talk about the lighting scenes you've set up for you and your inflatable nurse doll?
post #34 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by QQQ

It's been a while since we've had sopme fun giving each other a hard time and now you've remotivated me....DIY Boy :D.
I wear that moniker proudly...Judging from your post count (there was a time we were equal) you haven't missed me ;)
post #35 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by QQQ
OK Robert, here are a few things I can do with Homeworks. I'll leave it up to you to do the Ra comparison :)
Whoa there buddy....I never said I was any RadioRa expert...I only know from what I've read...But I'll try my best :D

Quote:
1. Program a single button to operate much as a 3-setting lamp. Tap the button once to set the room to high. Tap it again to set the room to medium. Tap it again to set the room to low. Tap it again to set the room to off.
Didn't these go out of style circa Grandma's house? The ony 3-way I wanna see I rent from the local video store.

Quote:
2. Program a button to go to one setting on a single tap and a different setting on a double tap.
That might be confusing for those of us with the alcohol shakes.

Quote:
3. Program a button to set a scene on tap. Press and hold the button to dim the scene.
I'm not too hip on these multifunction buttons....Too confusing for us DIYers that never graduated 6th grade. I'd much rather have purty pictures on my 'puter screen to do those functions.

Quote:
4. Create "global scenes" that you want to be able to call up from keypads all over the house. So you program the scene ONCE. Then just put that scene on as many kaypads as uou want.
Oh, I get it now...We're talking about keypads. Why all this fuss over keypads when I have nice touchscreens to do all of the above?

Quote:
5. Astronomical clock built in that tracks sunset and sunrise througout the year. For example, you might want to set the outside lights to always go on at sunset.
Well, in that we are talking about the two systems within the context of CQC control, in all honestly all of the above could be accomplished with RadioRa with the CQC front end. Sure it would take some additional programming in the CQC end, but you have the advantages of those 'purty pictures without another multifunction multibutton doodigit that's not intuitive to Uncle Billy Bob when he comes to visit and sprays the toilet seat in the middle of the night cause he forgot to double tap.

Quote:
6. A variety of shade integration capabilities to numerous to detail (so try to refute that one Robert :D).
Okay, give you that one.

Quote:
7. Conditional programming. That's huge. Program the away button so that if you press it at 9 AM it turns all the lights off. But if you press it at 8 PM it turns all the lights off and turns a few security lights on. And of course if you press it at 9 AM it can watch until sunset and if no one has returned home by then it can activate a few security lights. Endless scenarious here.
And endless macros in RadioRa to do the same.

Quote:
I could keep going. It'll be interesting to read Robert's response (really). You can keep me up to snuff on my Ra knowledge :).
No doubt that HW is a much better standalone system from what I've read and gleaned from Sir QQQ and Alan. However, within the context of IVB's original question, I don't see a whole lot that HW provides over Ra when integrated with CQC. I do like the fact that with the HW system, most of the intelligence is offloaded onto that processor. But at a 2K hit, that's hard to swallow for those of us who anticipate less than 32 zones and don't need the Chronos.
post #36 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by robertmee
And endless macros in RadioRa to do the same.
No amount of macros can do the same.
Quote:
But at a 2K hit, that's hard to swallow for those of us who anticipate less than 32 zones and don't need the Chronos.
I believe he has indicated he will likely go over 32 zones at some point, hence one of the reasons I think this is likely the correct choice for him.
post #37 of 77
Thread Starter 
At this point, i think it's getting clearer that homeworks is a better fit for my needs. this is b/c:

1) I'll probably be at 45ish switches in the 3-4 year timeframe, once we remodel
2) Richer protocol allows a more robust set of control
3) Better shade control

There's also minor reasons, such as no need for switch/keypad level intervention, scene saving, etc, but that wouldn't be a deciding factor.

I still haven't decided which way to go with the rules, OTOH I want everything in one place, OTOH I would imagine the HW GUI is simpler for this as that's what it's meant to do.

This may very well mean that I have to wait another few months in order to afford the extra cost, but assuming this has a 5 year lifespan, i'd rather delay 3 more months to enjoy the next 5 years rather than rush into something and regret it.
post #38 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dean Roddey
As Vivek says, we have no problem with the argument that critical systems should be under the control of the simplest device possible. I'm not sure that lighting scene necessarily falls under that category though. Given that most lighting systems still work via the wall switch whether the automation system is connected and working or not, I'm not sure I'd be too worried about it. HVAC, security, duct control, and that sort of thing are of course completely different balls of wax, but not being able to invoke 'Love Doctor' mood lighting at a touch of a button for a couple days probably won't be life threatening.

That is not an argument one way or another as to whether you want to put your scenes in the lighting controller or not (and you can store scenes in RadioRA which is what the 'Master Buttons' are for), just making a general point. If I had a system that could store scenes, I'd store them in the hardware system since they can then be invoked potentially from the hardware siwtches as well as the automation system. But I wouldn't be too paranoid if my only scene control or sunrise/sunset control was at the automation system level either.
Here I fear that we have but one more example of a brilliant coder who could use some time in the field as an integrator. 1. It is assumed that the only UI will be from his control system alone. I have integrated 37000 sq ft homes and I've done 2500 sq ft homes. What they have in common is that there are always more keypads than touch panels and price is rarely the reason. NEC says you need the ability to control lights at every means of entry and egress. A Keypad is the simplest and least intrusive means of accomplishing this. Placing a touch panel on a door to your every terrace or patio is unusual and I'd wager that even on this board frugality would win out over cool, especially if a wife has any say over the aesthetic decisions. If you permit you control system to control and retain the settings for lighting scenes how will a keypad recall them? By the control system reading the press and release of the keypad? Just because you can does not mean you should.

More to the macro programming issues I discussed earlier, unless Mr. Roddey has discovered a new coding technique--and then I would be all aflutter to learn that technique--the biggest technical problem behind this coding paradigm would be accomplishing a raise/lower command. Serial commands can be sent and received one at a time and need to be staggered. If you have 4 or 5 loads on you would have to stagger 5 separate dim commands to the lighting system. Doing that smoothly is very hard to accomplish, especially when you are communicating at 11500bps. Even on a Crestron lighting system sending simultaneous ramping commands required special software coding by Crestron and management by the programmer using their tools. Now if Mr. Roddey has hacked the Homeworks source code and is sitting on their bus sending commands as a Lutron device would it might be different. But communicating via serial --and the NIC built into a Homeworks H8P5 (and is not found in a H4P5 to the best of my recollection) is still communicating via serial, though at faster speeds-- limits the number of commands you can send. The buffer in a Homeworks processor is small, in part for economic reasons and because Lutron made the reasonable determination that Mr. Roddey's suggested coding technique is not necessary. So you will have to be prepared to queue up these ramping commands, which is the example most likely to suggest the error of this technique and spread them out over time.

Of course, Mr. Roddey has never really coded a lighting system. He's played with Radio Ra but that is a very basic and small system but it demands that you send to it the raise/lower command and it manages how and to which devices the commands are sent. He has not played with larger systems or mixed systems which are possible with a H8P5 processor. Centralized modules, wired devices and wireless and shades all communicating with different protocols and different speeds. If you want your control system involved with setting scenes in run time then use the scene saver commands. Personally, I use QQQ's technique of walking around the home with my computer communicating with the lighting processor via wifi. I store all lighting commands in the crucial lighting sub system processor. If all you have are touch panels then I suppose the point is moot. If you have what my experience tells me is more common, a mixed system, then you want your keypads recalling the same scenes from the same place--the lighting system. Having decentralized smart dimmers and switches may be all that Mr. Roddey is familiar with but it is not the only kind of system nor ought it to be the preferred system. The reason you put a lighting system in a home is not for the geek who drools at the idea that his computer can also control his lights. You do it to take advantage of cleaning up the walls and not having electrical gang boxes that have 6 or 8 devices in them. You hide those electrical devices or remove them entirely to a special centralized back box.

I believe that this is bad coding technique and unwise advice. You use the lighting processor for all lighting data and your control system to recall those settings and to parse the data and display it on the control system UI. I think this again shows the difference between integrator with field experience and familiarity with lots of systems and installations and a brilliant coder. Now if he has discovered or is using a coding technique that bypasses these issues I would love to learn of it. It would prove most helpful, especially when sending volume commands to receivers for zones 1,2 and 3 at the same time.

[edited to correct speall check "corrections" that resulted in more mis-spellings]

Alan
post #39 of 77
[edited to correct speall check "corrections" that resulted in more mis-spellings]

Alan[/quote]


Now that is funny Alan!

I agree with your analysis of the Lighting situation. Let the Lighting processor handle it!
post #40 of 77
Thread Starter 
Quote:
The reason you put a lighting system in a home is not for the geek who drools at the idea that his computer can also control his lights. You do it to take advantage of cleaning up the walls and not having electrical gang boxes that have 6 or 8 devices in them. You hide those electrical devices or remove them entirely to a special centralized back box.
Could you explain that a little more? I might be that target geek audience you're referring to, as it was my understanding that the answer to "And why would you want to automate your lighting" was
1) Implement scenes
2) Allow non-lighting events to trigger lighting (ie, I open my mud room door - the appropriate scene comes on if the security system is armed and it's dark outside)

Neither of those would require a touchpanel at points of entry/exit (although I happen to have them for CCTV, security system, and audio purposes).

But, you're saying there's more.

Thanks for the taking the time to respond. I want to make sure I'm clearly understanding the point of all this, so I take full advantage before I design&implement [or have someone come in to do that].
post #41 of 77
I am speaking broadly as opposed to those participating on this board, who happen, pro, DIY or hobbiest to be geeks. But geeks often have wife's who are less enamoured with the wiz bang feature sets of control systems and more interested in having a room or house that looks like it came out of "House and Garden" The reason most people install lighting control systems is that placing a keypad in a room to control 4 loads is aesthetically more pleasing than placing 4 light switches. You could try to get around this by placing a Grafik Eye in the room. But you are still limiting your flexibility as to what you can do a) because of the way Grafik Eyes work ( save on a Homeworks panel ) and by limiting the flexibility of what other loads can be controlled from that high voltage device without jumping through hoops.

If you install a keypad a single gang device takes the place of a dedicated high voltage device and it can control any device on the system. You hide the high voltage smart devices so that you talk to them but the end user does not have to interact directly with them. I sell no lighting system to a "real" client, ie., someone willing to pay me. They are not interested in wiz bang features, even scene creation ( though they will buy into it once explained ), automatic sequences, astronomical time clocks, vacation mode ( though this also makes sense as most "real" clients, while not technophiles, are security conscience. I want to remove as many high voltage devices from the room as I can. In a pure retro-fit you cannot do this as you cannot reasonably relocate the high voltage wires. But as you move forward and renovate your home you can take advantage of the superior build quality of a centralized lighting module, or of superior aesthetics by hiding the smart devices. Which looks better? A single gang box on the wall or a 6 gang electrical box full of dimmers?

You also get some added benefits, you can have buttons recall different scenes based upon whether it's day or night ( so scene 1 can be different for day and night ). You can easily accomplish 3-way switching without having to deal with the extra electrical wiring. You might even find that you want to add some scene to the keypad that whose high voltage wiring is somewhere else entirely; like a goodnight scene or some pathway. But the primary reason people install lighting systems is because it makes the walls in their homes, and hence their house, more beautiful. They also gain the benefits of scene lighting, which if the high voltage devices are in the room, often means they must turn on each light individuallly--unless you touch panel is located above those switches. Real people like to take advantage of the wiz-bang features of a lighting system, triggers from third party devices turning on lights, vacation mode, scene programming, programming flexibility, conditionalized logic, but the reason why most people install them is that they consider the keypad a part of their decorative budget. They are investing a small fortune in cabinets, coutertops, hardwood floors and window treatments, mouldings and trim and anything that contributes to the aesthetic beauty of the room will be seen as valuable.

Obviously, in a retro-fit it's hard to address all aesthetic issues as you cannot always move the high voltage wiring. But since this is a DIY board and sweat equity is considered a viable option, running low voltage control wires into those boxes allows for lower priced smart devices, even Grafik Eyes, which are much more attractive then individual smart devices. Unfortunately, only Radio Ra has wireless Graphic Eyes. Lutron has WPM's, a Graphik Eye without the fancy front ( though you can use real Grafik Eyes ) which are intended to be a less expensive option when the high voltage device can be hidden, say in a closet or attic. In either case, these are Grafik Eyes technically and require a wire and require that the wire be looped from Grafik Eye or WPM to Grafik Eye. Not so easy to do in a retro-fit.

Alan
post #42 of 77
Thread Starter 
Ok, thanks again for that very detailed response, I think you just opened my eyes to something that I didn't realize was possible but wife/I fight on a daily basis.

Our bathroom was wired such that the control for the light & fan are in a double-gang box inside the bathroom, but the vanity light is just outside the bathroom. Needless to say, this is a very irritating wiring run as we have to open the door to turn on the light, which makes the cold air rush in if you've just taken a shower.

I was intially contemplating rewiring it, no idea how. In your scenario, I could have a single-gang keypad with 3 buttons, one for each light, one for the fan, and they'd communicate with the controller, which would then tell each light to turn on? Furthermore, I could even move the actual lightswitch to some remote location?

In that case, I think that I also just mentally switched my position from "automated lighting is optional, ok if the PC dies for a few days" to "mission-critical" as well.

One outstanding question: If the moving to a remote location is true, then why doesn't lutron make some cheap switches, rather than the $2xx variety?
post #43 of 77
Quote:
Of course, Mr. Roddey has never really coded a lighting system. He's played with Radio Ra but that is a very basic and small system but it demands that you send to it the raise/lower command and it manages how and to which devices the commands are sent.
I've done drivers for RA, Homeworks, and GrafikEye, in the Lutron family, as well as Vantage Q, Z-Wave, and X-10. I'm as familiar with home lighting system protocols as anyone here I'm sure.

Everything is relative. If someone is considering the RA system, and will likely have 32 or fewer loads, it wouldn't be much of a strain to do scenes externally as long as some basic support is available in the lighting system, namely to start ramping to a given level over a given time. If it has the ability to send a command to multiple loads, or to groups, that would make it even easier. It might not be as smoothly coordinated as a built in scene capability, but many people wouldn't consider the difference worth a $1K.

Though, as already pointed out, RadioRA does support scenes, 15 of them anyway, via the phantom buttons, and they can be invoked by the automation system. And of course the automation system can invoke more than one of them at a time, to create 'meta-scenes' if desired which would provide more possibilities.

Obviously if you have a system that provides on-board scenes, then use them, since they are then available via wall switches potentially. And if you have a seriously slow system it will be less coordinated, though if you have < 32 loads in the whole house, you aren't likely to have a lot of them in a given room where any one person would notice staggering of the dimming when setting a scene on that room.

Even on slow system like Z-Wave you can turn on all the loads in a single room so quickly the user won't notice much of a lack of coordination in the ramping, and of course it supports groups so you can really set multiple loads at once if you want them at the same level.

Anyway, the point is that it's all relative. There's no one answer, and I never said there was one answer, just that it can be done multiple ways, based on what you can afford and what you want to achieve and what the hardware will allow.
post #44 of 77
I was hoping you had a secret coding method to get around this problem--which could be solved if the protocol included a all zone ramp command but only matrix AV switchers seem to include this feature. I merely think that it's easier form of coding to permit the lighting system to handle this task and to my way of think easier and simpler are better than harder and more complex. Allowing the lighting system firmware to do what it was designed to do and evaluating the feedback from the lighting processor seems a more common sense approach, I think, to systems integration. QQQ and I differ with respect to pools, which I do not think of as a critical sub-system any more than I think of distributed audio as a critical system. Writing the fail safe code for a pool is not especially difficult and if a control system's processor died, even on the hottest day, it would not be the worst situation in the world. Still in your example, I'd assume that there would be at least some few Radio Ra keypads in the system and having the scene code in the Radio Ra would make sense, despite the actual running around you need to do to program that system.

IVB wrote:
"One outstanding question: If the moving to a remote location is true, then why doesn't lutron make some cheap switches, rather than the $2xx variety?"

I listened to Santorum and Cassey on "Meet the Press" last week. Why cannot politicians just answer a simple question with a simple, direct answer rather than double-talk or "dance the sidestep"? Corporations charge what they think the market will bare. They will lower prices only when the market forces them to lower them. Homeworks is perceived as a luxury item and luxury items are expensive. It is marketed to upper end homes where the purchaser, I suppose it's assumed, can afford the added tariff. Then there is the value added the integrator brings as in most cases the system is sold through small integration firms or larger high voltage contractors. The concept of value added dealers is not well accepted on this board, but if you look at this thread, on the Home Theater forum when specific parts and installation methods were discussed, our design experience can be useful. Best Buy can take advantage of the deep pockets to obtain volume discounts and use their marketing might to make a profit by moving merchandise quickly. But they are merely moving boxes. I have can provide none of those strengths. I don't just sell the parts I sell the system. If something happens I'm expected to fix it. That may be an electrician's mistake ( like putting a 20A fuse on the load side of a transformer's 6A load ), it may be design experience with locating keypads, it may be design experience with respect to fixture location or it may be installation experience with the product or its software so I know how to get from point A to B no matter how hard the manufacturer makes that journey. Even an electrical supply house only sells the parts. They have no idea what parts are needed or how they go together. We have lots of responsibility and no control. Lutron changes its protocol and adds an extra 0Dh and suddenly my tested parsing routeen has to be redone ( True story. ) You pointed out how much time you've spent on your automation journey. I do this every day. Yesterday it was swapping out a Sony 1252 CRT for a Digital Projection Mercury only to discover that the lower weight of the DLP caused the seizor lift not to sway and not close correctly. Assume the same thing across the board for any system or sub-system I touch. Shades don't work? My fault. Lighting control doesn't work? My fault. Remote doesn't work? Must be my responsibility to change the batteries. A/V contactors are often the smartest contractors on a job and almost all of them are idiots. Lutron understands that they need to provide those of us who market to the upper end of homes an economic incentive to sell into that market, especially when, should the lights not work, we will receive the service call, I'll have to send my top tech or myself to figure out what is wrong, while the electrician can rely on me to solve the problem and have one of his "C" techs fix the problem.

Basically, I charge what a manufacturer publishes is his suggested retail price. They get to sell boxes while I am tasked with making their system work. Lutron is better than most. They will own up to their responsibility and send an engineer out to a problem job. But if you had any clue to how much unpaid labor I put in to a job as a result of their manufacturing errors and software glitches ( and sometimes their very good tech support finds out that I made a dumb installation error ) you might concede that their pricing structure is not entirely out of wack. Trust me, the real money is being made by the manufacturer though they do need to pay a lot for their tech support personnel.

Alan
post #45 of 77
Thread Starter 
Alan, thinking about this more, you're freakin' brilliant. Either that, or simply vastly more experienced than I :D True to my prior post, I've been completely missing the value add of automated lighting for me - it's not scene control or cross-system integration at all, rather what you said - the ability to have better control over my lights without adding more switches in exposed areas. That is certainly a pain point for us, and one my wife would thank you for solving.

I just walked around the house and counted 5 locations where either the lightswitches are inconveniently located or we've consolidated lights onto a single switch b/c we didn't want more than a double-gang box. Now i just need to figure out how difficult it would be to rewire them. I won't do that myself, but I want to be educated before calling in the electrician so that I don't go down a path that will cost more than I can afford.

As I'm retrofitting, i'm contemplating putting these switches in the attic right above the light fixture as that would be the simplest way to do the wiring. I'm a little bummed about having to pay big bucks for switches that will never be used, so I have to follow that path very sparingly.

So do you usually run all the HV wiring to a room's closet or other such hidden location?
post #46 of 77
Can I quote your praise to my wife? Trust me, when she cannot turn on the TV or listen to music, of find out the weather or any of the other features I've put in she just gets pissed off. Experience is key in all of this. I've been installing lighting systems since 1996. Crestron since 1994. It's not that I've seen it all but I have seen a lot.

"So do you usually run all the HV wiring to a room's closet or other such hidden location? "

Proffessionally, I do not do high voltage work. If given my choice, I'd run everything through a centralized system of your favorite manufacturer. Lighting modules because they do not need to fit into a gang box are a better mouse trap. Better parts, more coils ( gets rid of noise ) more room on the circuit board so that the card can be protected. Assuming a homeworks system, I'd next go to the WPM, the Grafik Eye without the fancy face plate ( because it's assumed it will be located in a place where it will not be touched but controlled via its low voltage link ). There are some issues with load size and type ( 800w per load/no electronic dimming without interface ) but good value for a Lutron device.

By the way, do not plan to control exterior lighting save by time clock or via your CQC panel.

Alan
post #47 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by IVB
Alan, thinking about this more, you're freakin' brilliant. Either that, or simply vastly more experienced than I
See QQQ, unlike you I'm not only a money grubbing rip off artist. I am a smart money grubbing, rip off artist.

THIS IS A JOKE!!!!!
post #48 of 77
Thread Starter 
Quote:
I'd run everything through a centralized system of your favorite manufacturer. Lighting modules because they do not need to fit into a gang box are a better mouse trap.
Sorry for continuing to pester you here, again many thanks for the guidance, but does this mean that my latest thought of putting all of a room or area's lightswitches into a closet and only having keypads where a lightswitch would normally go is a good idea? It's psuedo-centralized, i'd probably need 2-3 of them per floor, potentially one per room if it's got a lot of stuff.

Quote:
By the way, do not plan to control exterior lighting save by time clock or via your CQC panel.
Ok, now back to feeling very stupid, but why is this a bad idea? I thouht that was why the car visor HW remote was offered?

I don't actually know why i'd control exterior lights via HW rules, it'd probably be via CQC because the Elk detected motion/intrusion attempt, , but I'd still like to know what the pitfall is there.
post #49 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by IVB
Sorry for continuing to pester you here, again many thanks for the guidance, but does this mean that my latest thought of putting all of a room or area's lightswitches into a closet and only having keypads where a lightswitch would normally go is a good idea? It's psuedo-centralized, i'd probably need 2-3 of them per floor, potentially one per room if it's got a lot of stuff.
You are not pestering. I believe I am speaking for every pro participating here when I say that we too do this for love. We enjoy the discussion, the learning and helping--or we'd not participate. We just don't like it when we are cursed at, called names, or denegrated becuase we expect to make a profit when we are hired to do the work you do out of love.

There are 3 modalities you can follow. 1. Install a centralized system where you have a back box and modules. You bring your switch legs and feeds into that back box and electrically connect your system there. This design has the benefit of using dimming devices that are better built as they don't have to fit in a gang box. They can also be moved around more easily if you find you have an electroninc load as opposed to a magnetic low voltage load. You can put more power on a load then a typical wall box dimmer. The disadvantage is that you need to have every load and feed at the same location. You can move a centralized back box(s) all over the house. Typically we locate them wherever it takes the least amount of labor to run the high voltage. We might have one in the basement and one int the attic, for example.

An other paradigm is to use hidden local devices. This works best in a retro fit as you can sometimes pull the wires up to the attic or down to the basement or into a closet. You can use a Grafik Eye, Wall Power Module or smart device.

The last is to locate the smart device in the existing electrical box and either run a control wire into the box or use a wireless system. Running the wire lets you use less expensive components but you have the labor and materials to deal with. Were I a DIY I'd run the wire.

Quote:
Originally Posted by IVB

Ok, now back to feeling very stupid, but why is this a bad idea? I thouht that was why the car visor HW remote was offered?
You can still use the car visor remote if you want to control lights from your car. You can also use a telephone interface and call in and do things or you can, assuming you can do the networking and you have a processor with a NIC, use an internet device like your cell phone to control the system. The new Lutron also has a web based keypad system to facilitate this. Lutron is the best for a reason. You could do this your self but now you sit on their RS-485 network as opposed to their serial port.
Quote:
Originally Posted by IVB
I don't actually know why i'd control exterior lights via HW rules, it'd probably be via CQC because the Elk detected motion/intrusion attempt, , but I'd still like to know what the pitfall is there.
Experience has taught me that once placed on a time clock--astronomical or via time-- you never will need to activate landscape lighting manually. Should you, your CQC is a better interface then the limited number of keypad buttons. Fewer buttons are better. This is what I'd call a power user function. Better you do this from a touch panel, should you ever require manual control. My opinion. Others might disagree.
post #50 of 77
Thread Starter 
got it, thanks for the info. I've got lot's of research to do to figure out what I want to do before I commit to spending any $$.
post #51 of 77
A lot of folks may choose to put exterior lighting on motion control, to save money I'd think. The little (but fancy) housing development across from my apartment has all the homes set up this way. I walk through there on my nightly walk, and as I walk by each house the lights come on. Some of them seem to have turned it off, and a couple have the lights on all the time, but most of them seem to be motion triggered. It would make a lot of sense to me, though of course you would want to supress the trigger based on sunrise/sunset.
post #52 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dean Roddey
A lot of folks may choose to put exterior lighting on motion control, to save money I'd think. The little (but fancy) housing development across from my apartment has all the homes set up this way. I walk through there on my nightly walk, and as I walk by each house the lights come on. Some of them seem to have turned it off, and a couple have the lights on all the time, but most of them seem to be motion triggered. It would make a lot of sense to me, though of course you would want to supress the trigger based on sunrise/sunset.
I didn't realize the chain from your PC reached that far ;)
post #53 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dean Roddey
A lot of folks may choose to put exterior lighting on motion control, to save money I'd think. The little (but fancy) housing development across from my apartment has all the homes set up this way. I walk through there on my nightly walk, and as I walk by each house the lights come on. Some of them seem to have turned it off, and a couple have the lights on all the time, but most of them seem to be motion triggered. It would make a lot of sense to me, though of course you would want to supress the trigger based on sunrise/sunset.
These are truely inexpensive lighting controls. I think the fixtures are 12.50 at Home Depot. Yet you have described what is wrong with them. This might a place to use your control system, CQC, AMX or what ever, to accept the input closure and act as a trigger. Install a vehicle sensor or magnetic sensor in your drive way; or better yet two. Bring those closures into a DI/O board on your CQC. Based upon a conditional, say if night is true and sensor 1 is ture but sensor 2 is false turn on lights. This bit of code triggers an <and gate> that will generate the code wait 10 minutes then turn off lights. If sensor 2 is triggered first and sensor 1 is triggered second do nothing.

The problem with PIR sensors, built into a fixture or tied into a control system, is that animals can trigger them as well as people or automobiles. Hence the use of vehicle detectors or loop detectors. Vantage and Crestron have superior software to Homeworks GUI but no keypad or smart device is as attractive as those made by Lutron. No one cares about how sophisticated the software utility is when they visit your home. Most clients could not tell the difference between a lighting module and their security system. But everyone will tell the difference between different styles and industrial keypad designs. One other advantage of wireless Homeworks over Radio Ra. You can use a smart device as a simple keypad. Turn on a load and it will trigger some other scene. So turn on the light to the toilet and it will automatically turn on the switch for the fan. Turn it off and you can simply turn the fan off or trigger an automatic sequence which will wait 15 minutes and then turn the fan off. If you had a dog walk, you could use the light switch for the hall light to trigger the exterior light(s) for the dog walk.

Alan
post #54 of 77
I've installed around 30 homeworks systems in pittsburgh area and 5 RA systems homeworks wins hands down if you want options (you can do almost anything) RA is good for small dimming jobs
post #55 of 77
Quote:
These are truely inexpensive lighting controls. I think the fixtures are 12.50 at Home Depot.
I meant save on electrical bills, i.e. they only come on when they need ot be on because someone is nearby.
post #56 of 77
IVB, someone mentioned it, probably Alan, but don't miss the fact that a Homeworks light switch is also actually a programmable device. That can come in handy if for instance you have a light switch you would like to program to activate a scene instead of a specific light. This is most common when you want a light to be on a Homeworks switch, but don't want to spend the extra money to also put in a keypad at that location.
post #57 of 77
Thread Starter 
Quote:
IVB, someone mentioned it, probably Alan, but don't miss the fact...
So many new facts to learn. I'm still researching what Alan meant by WPM vs GraphikEye vs ..., so I understand what I want to put in and where. I know an installer would help with all this stuff, but it helps if I actually am educated enough to have a valid conversation with them in the first place.

Nothing like feeling like a newb all over again...
post #58 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by audiblesolutions
By the way, do not plan to control exterior lighting save by time clock or via your CQC panel.

Alan
I have a Homeworks systems and have my exterior spots controled via a RPM. That way I can turn the spots on from any of my keypads and also have it tied in to a contact from my security system to flash them in the event of an alarm.
post #59 of 77
This may make your research easier,
http://www.lutron.com/homeworks/4ser...=17000&t=17100

Once you program your exterior lights to turn on themselves you'll discover you rarely ever turn them on manually. Hence exterior lights are perfect for placing on your control system. I did not write that you should not place exterior lighting on your lighting system. I wrote that you should not program those loads onto the few buttons you have on your keypads--or fall prey to the notion that you need keypads with more buttons to accommodate your exterior loads.

Alan
post #60 of 77
Ok..I misunderstood your previous comment. I agree completely with you. I have several exterior lights controlled by the interal system clock and I've never touched them since I set up the system...no need to waste a button on a keypad for them.
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