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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am wanting to add lighting control to my house. I think I have settled on Leviton RF+ (but would consider something else if there was a good reason). I have initially planned:

(5) switches

(8) dimmers

(2) 3 way dimmers

(2) fans

(2) recepticals

If everything goes well, the system could double in size (to encompass the whole house). I'm planning on controlling it with scene switches and RF->serial adapter->TCP adapter. I'm ok with struggling through some programming to get it going, but I am wanting something that works RELIABLY and is not a headache to use or is breaking/acting up. Any suggestions/comments?


Smarthome site says that Z-wave doesn't strengthen with installed components, but I have read differently on avs. Which is correct?


What are my layout/configuration options for 3 way dimmer switches?
 

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leviton are good but i have issue with the physical layout of the switches. people tend to love it or hate it. cooper wiring aspire rf have a good physical look but are expensive and are toggles instead of rockers. the cheap intermatics which i believe are discontinued usually served well for switches.


for dimmers stay away from ones built into the paddle. look for external dimmer controls live leviton and the cooper wiring have.


if you go with leviton you can cover everything in one shot with one look and feel


zwave is a mesh topology so depending on what you mean by strengthen it could be true. the network becomes more redundant but they power/range of each device does not change. also there is a limit to how many hops commands can go so at some point it does not increase the circumference of the network.


last piece in my real life experience is 1 problem node and through a whole network off. this is why i recommend some analysis tools are larger setups like homeseer or controlthink has. when we did our iphone/itouch zwave app based on the leviton serial controller we had 1 node causing issues on our 45 node test network. replacing the node and rediscovering the network made a world of difference. if you can't see how the network is functioning though you may never know where the issue lies.


also typical best practice is to lay out your setup in a circle circumference starting from the middle and working your way out like ripples on a pond. that has been my experience.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
If Cooper is option that doesn't really offer anything over Leviton, I'll just stay with Leviton. Does anyone offer a Z-wave -> TCP control vs. what I originally posted (having a serial conversion in the middle)?


Lutron RadioRA2 has both serial and TCP on their controller. RadioRA2 seems to be the rave in this forum, but it seems most of the praises were written before the product was even released. Some of the things I have read generally paint RF / Z-wave as bad and RadioRA(2) as good, but don't they both work with radio frequency waves? I think I would probably put RadioRA2 at the top if I was allowed to have the software (probably possible) without it expiring (probably not possible). Plus, I haven't found any of the normal HA online vendors that offer RadioRA2...


I haven't touched a Z-wave device, so I assume your comment about laying them out is: Using a central location and numbering the nodes higher as they get further away. My house is compact. Really only the master and exterior lighting will likely fall out side a 30' hemisphere, but everything would fall within a 60' hemisphere.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by shaun5 /forum/post/18241415


If Cooper is option that doesn't really offer anything over Leviton, I'll just stay with Leviton. Does anyone offer a Z-wave -> TCP control vs. what I originally posted (having a serial conversion in the middle)?


Lutron RadioRA2 has both serial and TCP on their controller. RadioRA2 seems to be the rave in this forum, but it seems most of the praises were written before the product was even released. Some of the things I have read generally paint RF / Z-wave as bad and RadioRA(2) as good, but don't they both work with radio frequency waves? I think I would probably put RadioRA2 at the top if I was allowed to have the software (probably possible) without it expiring (probably not possible). Plus, I haven't found any of the normal HA online vendors that offer RadioRA2...


I haven't touched a Z-wave device, so I assume your comment about laying them out is: Using a central location and numbering the nodes higher as they get further away. My house is compact. Really only the master and exterior lighting will likely fall out side a 30' hemisphere, but everything would fall within a 60' hemisphere.

All RF is not the same.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by shaun5 /forum/post/18241415


If Cooper is option that doesn't really offer anything over Leviton, I'll just stay with Leviton.

A few things Cooper offers:
  1. Cooper has have 2-wire AND 3-wire dimmers. If you have neutrals at your switch locations, install the 3-wire types. That way, the switch will always remain active in the network, even if the load drops out (ie bulb burns out). Leviton only offers 2-wire dimmers.
  2. The Cooper switches have a "delay-off" feature which, when set, allows you to cross the room and jump between the covers before the light goes out.
  3. The Cooper switches feature a "panic mode" which is designed to flash all switches in the home (except those programmed to exclude from this mode).
  4. The Cooper switches have a "child lockout" mode that either requires the switches to be operated with a special sequence of paddle taps or only allows the switches to be operated remotely.
  5. The Cooper switches have an onboard "away mode" that allows the user to schedule certain devices to turn on for a period of time when on vacation or away from home.
  6. Cooper dimmer switch ramp rate is remotely configurable (via software) and our software can globally adjust ramp rates for selected rooms or floors; Leviton ramp rate must be changed at the switch.
  7. Cooper controllers support the full Z-Wave network specification (232 devices); Leviton controllers support up to 128 devices.


What Leviton offers:
  1. Leviton offers a fan speed switch (VRF01)
  2. Leviton offers load carrying scene and zone controllers (VRCS/CZ4-MRX); nice if you're replacing a load carrying switch with the controller.
  3. Leviton includes 3 paddle colors with each switch; Cooper colors must be specified at the time of order.


The build quality level is excellent for both brands - FYI.


Mark
 

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A few corrections and a suggestion...

1. Cooper has have 2-wire AND 3-wire dimmers. If you have neutrals at your switch locations, install the 3-wire types. That way, the switch will always remain active in the network, even if the load drops out (ie bulb burns out). Leviton only offers 2-wire dimmers.

Leviton offers both. If you order dimmers that can support either electronic ballast or magnetic ballast they use a neutral. These dimmers will work fine on incandescent loads or a mixture of electronic/magnetic ballast loads and incandescent loads. Electrinic and magnetic ballasts exist in many low voltage track and recessed can fixtures. These dimmers aren't cheap (twice the price of 2 wire model) but they do exist.

6. Cooper dimmer switch ramp rate is remotely configurable (via software) and our software can globally adjust ramp rates for selected rooms or floors; Leviton ramp rate must be changed at the switch.

Leviton ramp rate is also capable of being changed via software. Both require the correct software.




My favorite control currently is Vera from micasaverde.com. This latest unit builtin Z-wave, USB, ethernet and wifi. It's a pretty complete automation system at pretty decent price. It also supports internet video cameras. With the right stuff on the USB port it can also control IR devices, Insteon, X10, security panels, etc.


You use UPNP to ask it to do stuff like trigger scenes, poll device status, control individual lights, control thermostats, etc. You can write scripts in LUA that run on the unit (and don't need any computer to be running). Configuration of the unit uses a regular browser from any computer in the house. Control is also possible from smartphones and ipod touches. You can control everything from the global internet in a secure and easy to configure manner (using either a browser or a smartphone). There's a fairly active forum and the company is extending and updating the firmware at a decent rate (not too fast, not too slow). Firmware is built on OpenWRT and embedded linux. It you were thinking of rolling your own system at the TCP level, you're plenty technical to appreciate and take advantage of Vera. Vera gives you much more bang for the buck and provides a solid working platform to build on.
 

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Just got my RA2 equipment.


5 wall keypads, 1 switch and 12 dimmers, 1 repeater.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Vera looks interesting for Z-wave control. My selection process seems to be an mental tennis match. I'm back to RadioRA2 for the moment....
 

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Hi All,


I am new here and have a question related to light control. I want to gain light control as well and have been looking at the vizia rf as well as lutron. I need dimmers that can carry 1000w loads. I want to be able to control these via a universal remote that works on rf. Problem is for the leviton I believe only nevo makes one and its really expensive. Can anyone suggest another dimmer type that would work with Harmony remotes and give me full control including scene programs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I went with RadioRA2. I got everything (that I needed to get the home theater room working) Friday. Installed (4 dimmers, 1 accessory dimmer, 1 switch, 1 accessory switch, 1 6-button keypad, controller) and programmed everything myself in about 10 hours. I even have the iPad controlling everything over TCP. I was going to wait until the fall to add more, but now I don't know if I can wait...
 
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