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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My home currently has Lutron RadioRA (not RA2) for lighting. Being able to program scenes to controllers and incorporate lighting into my URC remote macros has been a great addition to my home. It's made a huge difference to me, and I'd love to expand the system further, beyond just lighting. Some areas that interest me are listed below, grouped into higher and lower importance.


There are many ways to go, as many systems have RadioRA control built in via RS-232, and I imagine I could work out simple control to some that don't by using a RA-IR with learned remote commands. I've come across many names that sound like they would get the job done such as HAI, ELK, Creston, Control4, and HomeSeer; but I have no idea which option would be best for my situation. Any advice would be appreciated.



Higher Importance

--motion/occupancy sensor triggered events

--thermostat control

--video cameras with as little in wall wiring as possible

--long distance monitoring & control via Internet

--nice looking touch control panels

--gas fireplace control

--voice control

--a reliable system that consistently works

--as much control as possible on my URC remote, but am open to new remotes with functionality equivalent to URC

--user programmable and as much as possible can be done myself (I must be able to modify automation trigger & result programming myself)

--good value (not the same as low cost), including highest possible increase in home value per money spent and individual part resale value



Lower Importance

--energy usage stats

--hot water tank control

--door control / lock

--sprinklers

--smoke / CO2 / alarm

--garage door

--intercom

--blind/window control

--additional home automation control (want to control as much of home as possible)
 

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If DIY, then Crestron and Control4 are out. HAI and ELK are probably your best bet. I'm pretty sure that both have drivers for RadioRa, though I could be wrong. Everything else, except probably voice control, are workable.


The HAI will become the main controller and the RA will be a sub-system.
 

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As I understand the RadioRA connections, ELK requires a ELK data bus hub ($40), ELK serial port expander (~$85), and Lutron RS-232. While HAI requires a HAI serial interface module (~$160) and Lutron RS-232. So the extra price for RadioRA support is comparable. The price per functionality of the two systems also seems comparable. However, HAI offers a less expensive no-security option, which I'd prefer, so for me HAI would probably cost less.


The website makes it sound like ELK is a home security company that added on links to home automation components. For example, I didn't see anything about ELK thermostats. Instead you'd go through another company. Many of the these other companies require a port expander and data bus hub like the RadioRA, so I'm not sure if I could use the same extra components for multiple companies (for example both RadioRA & Insteon) or if I'd need two separate data bus hubs and two port expanders. In contrast HAI seems to sell more of their brand name automation components, which I expect don't require additional interface HW. The biggest HAI downside that I see from skimming through the websites is I don't like the style of HAI's touchbutton controls and thermostats. In general I prefer the style of just about everyone else to HAI. Nevertheless, so far HAI is looking like the best option.
 
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