AVS Forum banner

1 - 20 of 79 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
258 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I know I know.. another post asking for your suggestions. SORRY!!


I recently bought my first home (approx. 4 months ago). I was luckily able to bid on the home while it was in the beginning stages of construction, so I was able to get in there and run quite a big of wiring I wanted before the drywall got put up. In-wall speakers in the living room, in-ceiling speakers in various rooms throughout the house, component and HDMI cabling in-wall for my wall mounted 52" LCD.


Anyhow, Im starting to get the itch to do a couple of other things to make my house unique from most of the other home owners I know. First upon these is begin swapping out many of my light switches for automated style dimmers.


I currently havent purchased any hardware and thats where I am looking for some help. This would be my first stab at completing such a job. I am an EE and have a pretty good knowledge of how everything works - but since not having used any of the products not sure what direction to head in. I had originally been looking into Insteon products, and recently came across Lutron as well.


Our house has a pretty open floor plan with the living room, dining room, and kitchen all open to one another. So for starters I am definitely wanting to get started on these rooms. I have another thread in the remote control category as well - as Im also looking for a universal remote. I would like to get lighting products that I can control with a single remote - I dont want to have a dedicated remote for lighting only.


The following remotes have already been suggested:

Nevo Q50

Harmony 890

URC MX-900

URC MX-980


Along the lines of remotes - I want something that is single hand usable.


With the above as the criteria for my Automated lighting needs.. what do you guys suggest?


NOTE: Most of the locations where the switches are located are not in direct LOS with my main sitting area - thus I asked for remotes that had RF capabilities (and/or Z-Wave). So obviously the dimmers would need to follow suit.


Thanks in advance for your suggestions.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,813 Posts
I would not rely on a remote control for lighting purposes. How many times have you misplaced the remote and had to dig it out of the sofa pillows? Can't imagine doing that to manage the lights.


If you want some wow, put an in wall touchscreen in with your home's floorplan and graphical renditions of your lighting / fans etc. With a click on the touchscreen, you are controlling your individual lights or light scenes. Not to mention all other subsystems in the home as you get addicted and add more.


That's not to say you can't also operate lighting scenes via the Remote control, just shouldn't be the primary method. An in wall touchscreen is always in the same place, with a much better UI capability to control the overall house. Hard to do well via a small remote control.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
258 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Honestly - Ive rarely had to dig around for any of my remotes. Im pretty meticulous with all of my possessions. (Heh, unless of course my wife touches it - which then causes reprimand - usually negative reinforcement :) )


In any case, my current vision for the system is to keep from having to get up while watching TV - walk over to the wall and adjust lighting - if I have to get up in the first place I may as well not do anything automated as I could walk to the actual switch.


Ive seen that some dimmers have physical controls as well where you could still manually turn lights on and off. So "misplacing" the remote wouldn't be the end of the world as I could still get the lights on to find the thing.


I guess having an alternate remote of some sort wouldn't be a BAD idea, and I may change my mind at some point. But for now, Im only planning on doing 5-8 switches at the most. Which should be able to be controlled by a single universal remote... right?


Back to the original question though.. product suggestions?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
463 Posts
Hi,

If you really want to separate your house from the others on the block you can look into Crestron. You will have one remote (a wireless touch panel) that will control EVERYTHING. You entire AV system (Home theatre, Multi-zone audio, iPod, etc), Lights, Shades, Drapes, HVAC, Security and a whole lot more.


With a Crestron system you can automate everything with in your house. For example light can dim up to 50% at Sunset, dim to 25% an houre before bed time and off at bed time. You can control every room and every light switch from any touch panel anywhere. In your family room, living room, den, kitchen, bed room, even outside (Crestron makes a waterproof remote).


Shades/Drapes can automatically close at Sunrise in the bedroom or any room that get the morning eastern sun. During the day as the sun passes over the house, the rooms where the sun starts to come in will automatically close and the rooms where the sun has passed the shades/drapes will open.


When you start a movie, you press one button to turn on the TV start the DVD player, lower the lights, close the shades, and lower the HVAC.



At any rate you get the idea. Hope this helps.


Any questions let me know.


************************

James
Digital Studio Werks
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
258 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
I definitely understand the capability of what is available. However, this is my first home (3br, 2ba, approx 1500sq ft). There is practically no reason I would want to that much of an investment into the home I am currently living in. It is highly likely move within the next 10 years and very likely have a house built at that time; there is a very UNLIKELY chance that I would ever see the money back for an investment like that as it would generally take a similar niche of person to actually understand the system. This would very likely be different in other areas, such as large cities, where it would be easier to find someone else thats interested. However, the community I am in is a new development that is 80% military families who all move within 2-4 years of being stationed in the area. Something of this level would not be worthwhile in this home. If I knew I were going to live in this house the rest of my life - or at least 15-20+ years it may be a consideration.


Depending on the quality and future life of the equipment I do purchase, I may even consider removing the dimmers and other equipment when I move - this would obviously depend on the local market at the time, but it definitely does look like anyone else would really care at the present time. I actually only know of about a 3-5 people who have currently have any sort of lighting automation in their home in my area.


At least I got a product suggestion - would you recommend Crestron for doing a small system such as 10 dimmers and maybe 1-2 fan controls? Or would you think it to be too much of an investment over something like Insteon or Lutron?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,813 Posts
You can install Insteon / ZWave / UPB switches and take them with you when you move.


You can use MainLobby on a wireless handheld tablet (UMPC like a Samsung Q1 or other) with the Server software on a PC server with all of your media files and your neighbors will never know it's not Crestron
But your bank account will.


The server software can get your IR remote control commands via supported IR transceiver hardware. With that you can use your IR remote control from the easy chair to invoke lighting scenes, launch media, play a song playlist, etc. Whatever you have configured in the Server automation software.


Everything James speaks to is very possible with the software. Take the PCs with you to the next home as well.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
463 Posts

Quote:
Originally Posted by drvnbysound /forum/post/14240475


At least I got a product suggestion - would you recommend Crestron for doing a small system such as 10 dimmers and maybe 1-2 fan controls? Or would you think it to be too much of an investment over something like Insteon or Lutron?

If you are looking JUST for lighting you can start small with a Crestron system and when you move take it with you. I personally do not recommend Insteon, ZWave, etc. Some people will swear by them but in my experience as a dealer they are not as reliable as Crestron or Lutron for that matter.


As far as Lutron goes you can definitely go with Lutron. In fact if you pass on Crestron my second recommendation would be Lutron. Keep in mind Lutron's main function is Lighting and Shades/Drapes. In the future if you want AV control you will have to look at something else. Crestron can do everything Lutron can do BUT Lutron can not do everything Crestron can do. In fact Crestron can even control a Lutron system.


As far as "taking it with you when you move. With both Crestron and Lutron, and basically any other automation system, you can take it with you when you move.


Another key piece, which you have not yet mentioned is your budget. That will play a factor in what you want to do. You can go to Lowes, Home Depot or any other hardware store and by Lutron switches for lighting, etc BUT if you spend a little extra and go for a small Crestron Lighting system you will not regret it. As you can easily expand it, as your budget allows, to cover AV, Shades, etc.


As far as small projects go, we have done Crestron projects for Apartments that are as small as 1200SqF which included, AV, Shades, HVAC, Lighting, and Security.


Hope that helps.


Any other Q's let me know.


************************

James
Digital Studio Werks
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
96 Posts

Quote:
Originally Posted by GoGo Delicious /forum/post/14240766


As far as small projects go, we have done Crestron projects for Apartments that are as small as 1200SqF which included, AV, Shades, HVAC, Lighting, and Security.

What was the ball park price for this type of system and configuration?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
258 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
So I began searching through the Crestron website and then did some google searching to try and get some ball park figures on some of their dimmers - to no avail was I able to find any pricing within about 3-5 minutes of searching.


This led me to search through the Lutron site to try and get a ball park price on some of their items.. looking through I was interested in the Maestro Wireless dimmers (as I believe this is what I would need - please correct if I am wrong). I did a quick google search on a couple of the Maestro Wireless dimmers to find them priced at approx. $125 or so online. Is this legitimate pricing for dimmers that would fit my needs?


If so, I would like some sort of intel on what on earth makes these so much better than something like the Insteon dimmers that are priced at around $40 ea.... I mean really.. you are replacing a $1 manual switch with something that is RF based ... I personally dont see myself paying $100+ or really even $50+ for individual dimmers. I understand paying a considerable amount for control software, to actually automate the process.. but Im unlikely to pay those amounts for the dimmer switches alone.


That being said.. would I be limited to using products along the lines of an Insteon?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
535 Posts
For under $50, you'd probably have to go Insteon (or X10 if you want to go really cheap).


For a bit more than that, you could add Zwave and UPB to your available options.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,313 Posts
I spent $35/each on my zWave dimmers. Check the site in my sig for a writeup of the whole schebang.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,313 Posts
 Intermatic HomeSettings. They're currently a whopping $37/each, but i'll bet if you contact martin or brandon @automatedoutlet.com with a larger order (ie, >10), they'll cut you a break.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
23 Posts
Creston, AMX, Lutron, etc are all expensive...they may be nice, but they are expensive. A lot of guys here install these systems, and they are excellent, but very pricey. You're more or less in the same situation I'm in (I'm even an EE too), so how about this solution...


I would look into a HAI system. The HAI can control Lighting (Z-Wave, Centralite, UPB, etc), Temperatures, programming, audio, and more...plus security! It has some pretty advanced programming, and it's an embedded system, and very reliable.


You can slowly add on to your system, get a HAI panel first, then add your lighting, HVAC, touchscreens, etc.


Next you can get a Philips Pronto 9400 or 9600 remote, which has wifi, and use the free module provided by HAI to control your entire house, along with your AV equipment. You can even do things like have a "movie time" button, which dims lights, turns on the equipment, etc.


This is actually the same setup I have, and it works great, and it's WAY cheaper than a Crestron. Let me know if you have any questions, I'll be glad to help.


Aaron
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
197 Posts
cheap, simple route.


homesettings zwave light switches/dimmers and a harmony 890. great for DIY also. add some plugins to control power to appliances if needed too. prefer leviton modules in that case. have had better luck with them and they load sense.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
375 Posts

Quote:
Originally Posted by drvnbysound /forum/post/14237936



I recently bought my first home (approx. 4 months ago). I was luckily able to bid on the home while it was in the beginning stages of construction, so I was able to get in there and run quite a big of wiring I wanted before the drywall got put up. .

Did you run low-voltage wire to the light switch locations, by any chance? Or can you do that now via attic or basement/crawlspace access? If so, that opens up other hardwired lighting control possibilities.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
258 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
I did not. The only other wiring I did in the home other than speaker cabling, was wiring for my alarm system, as well as CAT5e for wired internet in many rooms.


I had originally thought about wanting to do automated lighting in the future, but didnt see any reason at the current time to run additional wiring for that purpose. We bid on the house as it was in construction, so I was at the contractors mercy to allow me to run the wiring I did. I actually only had 2 days to complete all the wiring that I did, because the Monday after we made the offer the sheetrock guys were in there hanging the drywall.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1 Posts
I'm not sure what your budget is and how advanced you want to get with everything but as far as remotes go I would suggest looking into RTI (Remote Technology Inc.). These remotes can control pretty much anything, they work standalone, and with crestron systems. you can use it for lighting control, activate relays for powering certain products, and works very well with Lutron products. depending on what kind of lighting control you are looking in to there is RadioRA, Homeworks, and basic is Meistro with infrared control.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
258 Posts
Discussion Starter #19
For now I am definitely only planning to do lighting control, but am considering also updating my HVAC contoller to something that I could manage with the remote as well. Ive seen systems that monitor temperature for each room, etc. and dont have a care for that, but would like the ability to see the temp (that is displayed on the controller) to be displayed on the remote and be able to adjust from the remote as well.


NOTE: That the HVAC is certainly currently a futuristic goal and I dont plan on doing it soon, but having a remote with that capability would certainly be nice.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
88 Posts
While I'm always the advocate for Crestron & believe it's (& AMX) are the only right solutions I can tell you that we've been experimenting with the Nevo Q50s & have had great success thus far with them doing audio, video & some Z-wave lighting.


We've tried numerous times to work with the 890 but those with the RF base is just too buggy for us to feel good about installing them...they just don't seem to have stable firmware.


If you're going to want to add things like HVAC and other subsystems which might need 2 way feedback you really should be considering a real control system & not try to band-aid together a clunky solution with remote controls...but if you're stuborn & you think that you'll save money then you might try the new Nevo Q70 when available or RTI...I warn you though, my experience has told me that once you get into this level of remote you are quickly approaching Crestron prices in a less robust platform.


If you want to discuss this with me further please send me a Private message as I don't spend much time in AVS nor do I have the forums linked to my e-mail.
 
1 - 20 of 79 Posts
Top