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Okay this makes sense. How would myserver integrate into the above when I am able to get it?
Where ever you see "automation controller" replace that with "myServer" :)

This is why one ALWAYS picks the automation controller FIRST. Because it then dictates all next decisions.
For myServer (the system I know best) here is "what you should do"

Others can chime in for competing systems on what they know best.

Inputs:
Harmony remote > Harmony Hub > ethernet > myServer Harmony driver / myServer automation system
and
Your smartphone browser > wiFi (in home - not cloud) > myServer web server / automation system

Outputs:
myServer > myRaz Z-Wave controller > Z-Wave RF Qubino (or other Z-Wave) RGBW controller > RGBW LED strip lights (needs a low voltage power supply too)
myServer > ethernet > Caseta pro hub > Lutron RF > Caseta lights wired in wall to standard lighting

Other future Stuff:
myServer ethernet your AV equipment
myServer streaming media content player(s) > amplifier > speakers
myServer ethernet Internet Cloud server (like ecobee) Internet ecoBee thermostat (in home)

If you don't have an automation controller selected up front, then you will be hit and miss on what works and throwing stuff away.
 

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Discussion Starter #22
Well, in reviewing the budget, I need to limit what I am doing. Now I want to just try and get the lights to dim when playing a movie. In order to just get the lights to dim by pushing play (on BD or Plex) will I need a harmony remote to interact with the smart things hub and Zwave dimmer switch? When funds allow I will add LEDs and an automation controller.
 

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As long as Caseta can fit your needs I would go that route. The biggest reason is its reliability. I had it at my last house and it worked great and was reliable. I know they use to have a pro hub but I don't think they offer that anymore and there is just one option. Worse case scenario buy one of their bundles that includes the hub, dimmer and a pico remote for a 3 way setup. If you don't like it you can always return it.

I would double check, someone on here may know, if they still pro hub as there were some additional features for a minimum cost
 

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When I bought my Caseta hub (a year or so ago) you had to get the Pro to integrate with other automation systems. Or that was my understanding at least. I hadn't heard that they eliminated that, but I haven't been looking, either
 

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X10 all the way! :D

(runs and hides)

Yes, I'm joking, but I used X10 stuff in my dedicated HT since the late 90's through about 6 years ago. Aweful wireless over stock X10 brand RF control, but pretty good when I used IR remotes and receivers/blaster interfaces over powerline control. Had good zone control and dimming of lights for 80's tech- bought my first X10 modules and serial PC interface in the late 80's! Full GUI Mac interface way back then, too

HAve been adding in generic wifi and IR LED strips and controls past 5 years, and plan to try TP-Link Kasa soon. Maybe try Caseta stuff if the Kasa and generic wifi RGB bulbs/strips don't pan out.

I like IR control for reliability, though recent wifi stuff is pretty good if you add wifi extenders/access points as needed for coverage. Have some dead spots in my basement HT without wifi extenders/boosters/added AP's.
 

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Even with the caseta / pro hub...is there a native integration with Harmony? Without a control system in the middle? Not aware of that.
I question the need for a dedicated control hub for routine home control, ie most DIY'ers and common HT's.

With recent vintage direct wifi and bluetooth control, plus powerful IR blaster hubs like the Harmony and other wifi IR blasters/IR ubs, your home wifi router and smartphone are the "hubs". If you have range/reception issues over wifi, use addon wifi accesspoints/range extenders/repeaters from TP-Link or similar.

The principal is to use stock, standard wifi, Bluetooth and IR infrastructer for control, avoiding proprietary control systems that lock you into a restricted ecosytem.
 

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TT

I question the need for a dedicated control hub for routine home control, ie most DIY'ers and common HT's.

With recent vintage direct wifi and bluetooth control, plus powerful IR blaster hubs like the HArmony and other wifi IR blasters, your home wifi router and smartphone are the "hubs". If you have range/reception issues over wifi, use addon wifi accesspoints/range extenders/repeaters from TP-Link or similar.

THe principal is to use stock, standard wifi and Buetooth and IR infrastructier for control, avoiding proprietary control systems that lock you into a restricted ecosytem.
hmmm, well...
"most DIY'rs / common HT's"...yes. Most don't need anything. Just a standard IR remote control.
Once your system grows (as an "advanced" DIY'r or as one who like to add more toys that require control) then it starts becoming the "drawer of IR remote controls" problem that existed before the "universal remote control" came out.
What further creates this control problem is not all devices are IR.
As a general statement, IR is the worst control system to implement. No status, line of sight, reliability issues (both mechanical - emitters falling off of hardware and devices not "seeing" the IR). There are definite reasons IR isn't used on any commercial quality implementation. When the ability to control the system affects the business.

The common paradigm is "remote control". Automation is another level of capability not understood or implemented by most. Just the "advanced DIY'rs" and pros. If the control system is living on your phone - how does the automation work when you leave for work?

Most control systems bridge across many of the proprietary device and communication methods (WiFi / Bluetooth / Serial / IP / IR / Zigbee / Z-Wave / X10 / Insteon / UPB / DMX / MQTT etc) so the end user doesn't need to understand any of that technical doo dads. The days of a control system ONLY working with it's own hardware / services is pretty much gone now. Certainly the bigger players (google / Nest, Amazon, Crestron) continue to try to force one into their ecosystem and keep them there. But there are plenty of alternatives that are more open.

Using a smartphone as your "hub": how does that help anyone else in the house? You have a party, stream music from your phone and then get a call...kinda annoying for your guests.

Just from a definitions perspective, a Hub is really an automation controller. It typically includes communication radios (several), Rules processing, User interface support, variables for status, security, external access rights.

A User Interface device can be a handheld remote control, a wall switch, a smartphone UI, an on wall touch panel, a PC desktop UI, a Voice to Text to Natural Language Processor integration, etc.


A dedicated control system is just another piece of sophistication and advancement.
The evolution: Local device control - no integration, handheld remote control (IR and other), Universal remote controls, smartphone app that controls it's stuff (Denon Heos, Sonos etc), smartphone app that controls several groups of stuff (iRule and others), Basic hub (SmartThings, Vera, ISY others), Dedicated Controllers (Vantage, Homeworks), Full featured automation and media control (myServer, Crestron, Control4, Homeseer, Savant, CQC, etc).

Nothing wrong with any of these levels. Each meet some needs, each has a complexity and cost. Generally the more stuff that needs to be orchestrated (like in a Sports Bar or higher end home), the more need for a more capable control system that works 24x7x365 with no trendy phone to rely upon. No different than people's definition of a "home theater". Some think a BestBuy box system is great, others pay $hundreds of thousands on just the construction aspects...



I see you are SE Michigan- so are we :)
 

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Discussion Starter #31
A quick question about the qubino rgbw controller...it says that it is only good for 33 ft of led lights. I need to get to 60’. Does that mean I need 2 of these? If not, how do I extend the led strips?
 

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A quick question about the qubino rgbw controller...it says that it is only good for 33 ft of led lights. I need to get to 60’. Does that mean I need 2 of these? If not, how do I extend the led strips?
What Qubino really (should) be saying is that the RGBW controller is good for X volts and Y amps of current.
Then, you calculate how many feet will work depending on the LED lights you choose.
"supports up to 156W loads on 12V and up to 312W on 24V." from their specs.

There are really four channels of light that are individually controlled via the single Qubino RGBW. They can be all white LEDs or RGB or RGBW strings. What type of LEDs are you installing? The rated load is all four channels together (added up). Or roughly 38 watts each @ 12 volts.

so, if your need exceeds the capacity then yes, you double up the controllers.
You also need to confirm voltage drop down the strip. For long runs you split the length and wire each half separately to the controller(s).

You also need a power supply(s) with enough capacity (amperage) for the LED string that will be attached (one or both strings).

Cosmetically you should figure out what makes most sense of how to split. Possibly lights across the front / back and a second on left and right so they can be managed separately.
Again, the automation controller is what makes it easy to coordinate the multiple controllers. Otherwise you are doing this by button pushes on your Harmony.
Also, how will you control color via a Harmony remote? An automation controller makes that easy. A Harmony? Not so much.
 

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I have been reading about this all day and can’t figure out what to do...Insteon, Caseta, Hue???

I would like my home theater to be automated (hit play lights dim to nothing, pause lights up, end of movie lights up). I will have three switches - 1 for 11 lights around the room, 1 for riser lights, and 1 for LEDs in the soffit. I don’t know how to go about this but like I said have been reading all day trying to figure it out.

It seems the hue is most expensive. It looks like for the Caseta I need 2 switches (riser would just be on off) and a hub and a harmony remote and this all would work with regular lights but you don’t get the cool colored of the hue. Also how does this work with the LED lights? Is this the recommended way to go? Is Insteon the same thing? Other recommendations?
To address the OP's original intent, ie "Affordable" light control that meets his specific use case/project described above:

You could do the actions you want via the Harmony Hub by programming a Sequence with the MyHarmony desktop app for Windows.
This blog post describes exactly what you want- press play to start a movie/video, lights dim, and PAuse will stop the movie and bring lights back up.
https://blog.logitech.com/2010/05/18/harmony-tips-and-tricks-creating-a-sequence-of-commands-on-a-harmony-remote/

THis is assuming an IR light control. I have an in wall Lutron IR controlled light switch, which looks like a normal Decora large paddle light switch with an added IR sensor.

My Harmony Hub controls the Lutron perfectly, even though the Hub sits on a center channel speaker on a stage angled up towards the seats. The Hub appears to emit a significant blast of IR in all directions, controlling all my gear behind a drop down electric screen, the Lutron dimmer wall switch and the IR controlled electric screen. Of course you can add and run wired IR blasters as needed for any gear not able to see the Hub's IR.

My Lutron Decora wall switch IR dimmer controla 6x sconces with incandescent bulbs

Plenty of low cost IR controlled RGBW LED strips and RGBW Led bulbs/spots on Amazon.
 
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