Originally Posted by coalcracker79
Total home automation newbie here. Be gentle...
My future home is mostly gutted to the studs for a major remodel, and I have the following wish list for an automated system:
-Lighting: all of first floor, master bed and bath, maybe some outside lighting. ~30 switches in all. home is about 4000 sq ft. total, first floor around 2000.
-HVAC: 2 separate units and thermostats.
-Music: Downstairs and master bedroom audio. I'm leaning toward Sonos. As a non-audiophile, they have sounded fine to me at relatives' homes.
-TV: we don't watch much TV and are happy with our current LED/soundbar setup. I don't see much need to automate anything here
-Alarm system: we don't have an alarm system at our current home, but want to install one here. Was thinking wireless. I am unsure how important integration of this system into future automation might be for me.
-Garage doors: We have a detached garage about 100 feet from the main house
-Other??? I'm open to suggestions
Now, on to my questions.
Our contractor and my limited research has led me toward control4 and lutron RA2 select systems. I need some help understanding how these systems are related to other HA technologies such as Crestron or Savant.
It seems to me that the RA2 select system is a self-contained, out of the box system that I can set up myself without programming knowledge, and a little help here or from Mr. Google.
What, exactly, are Crestron, Savant and Control4? Are they software layered on top of the lutron RA2 hardware? Different hardware altogether that controls the lutron dimmer switches? What is the advantage of using these instead of just the apps and keypads supplied the RA2 select system?
In general, a DIY hub or a Custom install hub (Control4/Crestron/Savant) will tie various devices together. And gives you level of automation based on time of day, weather, security or any other variables you can image.
Control4/Crestron/Savant are Home automation platforms. They work with 10,000's of devices, some are their own devices, others are 3rd party devices (Lutron). As an example, Lutron sells lighting, as does Control4. So you can use either lighting within a Control4 environment. But what if you want your lights to turn on, music to go to a predefined channel, doors unlock and alarm get turned off when you press a code to enter the house. That is where larger hubs like Control4/Savant/Crestron come into play - they can take lights, hvac, security, audio, video, etc and automate it all together.
There are many posts on here about DIY platforms and DIY hubs. You can get Vera/Wink type hubs for $150 or less and those could also control Lutron lights or some HVAC applications, some security systems, etc. Just more limited in function. These hubs can be a bit more limiting when it comes to whole home audio and video. options are there, just not as plentiful.
You need to define your appetite for wanting to support/do it yourself vs having an installer/programmer you pay.
Control4/Crestron/Savant are custom install - aka you need a dealer. That said, Control4 is the most DIY friendly of the bunch. With Crestron/Savant you need a dealer 100% of the time. In Control4, you need a dealer to create your project, and you need a dealer to add new things into your project (buy a new TV, need your dealers help). But control4 sells software called Composer Home Edition. With that you can program 100% of the system. Want a new doorbell sound, you can do that. Want to add a new code for someone to come into the house and create a program upon their arrival (like i mentioned, disarm, open doors, put on music, lights, etc) you can do that in Control4 Composer HE. Want to get a text message every time something happens - you can program it on your own.