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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey everyone,

I've followed the huge RadioRa2 thread for a long time now, but I'm posting this separately in hopes that someone can help verify a couple of things for me this weekend. On Monday we're finishing up the boxes and wiring in the theater build and on Tuesday we're scheduled to start sealing it up behind drywall. Thanks for any help.

What I mainly need help with is confirming that we're hard wiring the locations appropriately and that we're selecting the correct size/gang boxes. I don't want to wish I had more room, but I also don't want a ton of unused box space. Finally, I want to make sure I understand the role of the dimmers and switches as well as the hybrid keypads.

Theater Zones being wired:

1 - Main can lights (6)
2 - Behind screen can lights (3)
3 - Screen wash can lights (3)
4 - Back bar can lights (3)
5 - Step lights (3)
6 - Star Ceiling

Each of these zones is wired as a separate circuit and will have it's own discrete dimmer/switch to be controlled independently. At this point, I can run the wires anywhere I want (ceiling and drywall is down).

Attached is a top-down picture of the basic layout of the theater doors and the location of the switches. At first I thought that I would need one dimmer for every circuit, PLUS whatever keypads I wanted to use. However, do I understand correctly that the hybrid keypads double as a single dimmer? So for every hybrid keypad I use, I need one less dimmer? For the 6 theater zones, if I want 2 hybrid keypads (one inside of each door) I would only need 4 additional dimmers, correct?

Also attached are images blowing up the 3 box locations. I will have two boxes inside the theater, one by each entry door. I will have a third box in the game room outside of the theater. The game room box will house the extra dimmers for the theater circuits as well as a keypad for future use in the game room. The box by the main theater entry will be 2-gang to accommodate expansion (probably a keypad to control wireless honeycomb blinds) and the game room panel will have one unused circuit for expansion in either room.

Does this look like it is laid out properly? I have access over both rooms in the attic, but I'll be sealing the walls up for good on Tuesday. Hopefully this mess of a post makes sense to someone and thank you for any feedback!
 

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Since you have the luxury of customizing things with new construction, you might consider putting all of your dimmers and switches in a closet somewhere out of view--i.e. "wiring closet". Then put only keypads at your regular "switch" locations. This give a cleaner look with a single or double gang box(es) in plain view. Make sure your keypads and dimmers can communicate with your repeater since this is wireless RF technology.

Although the hybrid keypads are fairly flexible in term of loads, the greatest flexibility in design is to not use hybrid keypads at all. If you can build into your design a distinct dimmer for each load, then you can use models like RRD-6CL which offer technology not found in hybrid keypad/dimmers.

Is there a closet where you can run all your loads to? If so, give it some consideration. You might run power cables in "smurf tube" conduit to your doorway keypad locations. The smurf tube conduit gives you the option of running more wires or reconfiguring later.

If you choose to keep your load dimmers at doorway locations then install the highest cubic inch capacity box for the number of gangs you are installing. Ideally Raco or similar 3-1/2 deep masonry boxes. You or your electrician will thank you for the extra volume.

Remember the keypads just send commands to the repeater triggering a scene or load depending on how you have programmed it.

Finally if your house is not full on with RadioRA2, then a Grafik Eye solution is sometimes an easier way to set up for one or two room lighting control.
 

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If you don't already have RadioRa2 in your house, and you don't need future RadioRa2 expansion, then you might give some serious thought to one 6 zone Grafik Eye controller and some hardwired seeTouch keypads communicating over a low voltage, wired QS network. This would be a robust solution for your home theater. With this configuration, you would install one 4 gang box (you MUST use the 3-1/2 deep masonry box for this) and carefully pull all your loads to this one box. Then run special low voltage Lutron cable to your keypad locations at your doorways. Often you can find used or even new Grafik Eye QS unit on EBay, but be careful I what you buy. One seller right now is trying to pander off a GRX as a brand new QS. Look for model QSGRJ-6P. Omit the RJ if you don't need wireless control via ClearConnect devices.
 

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I have a similar setup and used the GrafikEye QS as well. Two things - first, always get the RA2-capable models these days, they are the same price. Second, on using SeeTouch keypads, they work very well, but there is a serious limitation with the GrafikEye and the low-volt link to the SeeTouch. If at some point in the future you DO want to install RadioRA2, and therefore tie in the GrafikEye into the system, those SeeTouch keypads will NOT work... Turning on the wireless RA2 support in the GrafikEye disables the low-volt communication link. So if you go that route, make sure you run romex to the SeeTouch keypad locations as well as the PELV cable, so that those keypads can be swapped out later.

Had I known that, I'd have done the same, but frankly, since the only delta to go RA2 with this setup is the cost of the main controller, I'd just install RA2 + GrafikEye from the start.


Jeff
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you.

Okay, you bring up some good points that I hadn't considered, CSO, thanks for the reply.

I do not have a wiring closet anywhere near where we're wiring the lighting circuits. However, it is possible to locate these switches in the wall behind the future lower bar cabinetry. They would be accessible via the lower cabinet doors. This is actually not a bad idea. Assuming that they would be located in a lower cabinet space approximately 12" wide, 22" deep, and 34" tall, do I need to worry about the switches getting too hot?

One thing that I had not considered is the limitations of the hybrid keypads as dimmers. Of the dimmers potentially replaced by hybrid keypads, all three control between 3-6 Halo H7ICATs which are incandescent fixtures. I do not see replacing these fixtures in the future, and thus I do not see value in C/L dimmer technology for these locations. Are there other limitations to the hybrid keypads or technologies other than C/L dimming capabilities that I should consider? If so, I would probably consider the additional cost of the separate switches.

Excellent idea on the switch boxes. I'll look for Raco masonry boxes. I've struggled with this in other locations in the house where I've encountered shallow boxes.

One question about the hybrid keypads. I understand that the custom buttons only send an RF signal to the control unit. But what do the up/down arrows at the bottom control? Are those specifically for dimming the circuit wired to the keypad? In the rear of the theater there is a rear entry that feeds a back bar area. Above the seating for this back bar are 3 can lights on their own circuit. I would like for people back there to be able to control these lights on a dimmer without having to mess with any of the scenes. If I could wire the 3 back bar can lights to this hybrid keypad (for scene control back there as well) and have dimming on that keypad for those 3 lights wired to it, that would be great. Or do the hybrid keypad up/down arrows control everything that's currently "on" in the selected scene?

Finally, I did look at the Grafik Eye controllers. My whole home is not already done with RadioRa2, but when speaking with my Lutron tech he recommended against it due to the number of circuits. The whole game room will be done as well, bringing up the number of discrete circuits to 10 or more. Plus, I'll probably bleed out into the kitchen and who knows where else once I get started. So I think we're sticking with the RadioRa2 system due to the plan for expansion.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Grafik Eye with RA2, eh?

I have a similar setup and used the GrafikEye QS as well. Two things - first, always get the RA2-capable models these days, they are the same price. Second, on using SeeTouch keypads, they work very well, but there is a serious limitation with the GrafikEye and the low-volt link to the SeeTouch. If at some point in the future you DO want to install RadioRA2, and therefore tie in the GrafikEye into the system, those SeeTouch keypads will NOT work... Turning on the wireless RA2 support in the GrafikEye disables the low-volt communication link. So if you go that route, make sure you run romex to the SeeTouch keypad locations as well as the PELV cable, so that those keypads can be swapped out later.

Had I known that, I'd have done the same, but frankly, since the only delta to go RA2 with this setup is the cost of the main controller, I'd just install RA2 + GrafikEye from the start.


Jeff
Thanks for the reply, Jeff. I had dismissed the Grafik Eye from my list of options due to the number of circuits that I have, but now you have me wondering (or maybe just confused). Since I'm going RA2 in other locations, I probably wouldn't go down the route of installing low-voltage communication links and SeeTouch keypads. If this were JUST limited to the theater, that's probably what I would do. But within a RA2 system, I don't understand that the Grafik Eye does. So, here's my question about that:

Compare two systems, both limited to the theater and limited to 6 zones/circuits.

System 1: 4 RA2 dimmers and 2 RA2 hybrid keypads (front/rear) with custom scene buttons.

System 2: Grafik Eye, 1 RA2 keypad (rear) with custom scene buttons.

Why would I go one route over the other? What's the difference? If the Grafik Eye is compatible with RA2, can I push a button on the Grafik Eye to have it control 10 zones? Is system 1 just for people who are retrofitting and their switches are all over the place, while system 2 is for people who can wire a bunch of circuits back to a single location? What's the cost difference?

Believe it or not, I'm working with a very capable, responsive, and certified Lutron installer. However, for reasons unrelated my contractor kicked things into high gear this week and I wasn't anticipating having to have this sorted out so soon. I couldn't get in touch with my installer on Friday afternoon, so I'm reaching out to you guys. I really appreciate the feedback!
 

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Why would I go one route over the other? What's the difference? If the Grafik Eye is compatible with RA2, can I push a button on the Grafik Eye to have it control 10 zones? Is system 1 just for people who are retrofitting and their switches are all over the place, while system 2 is for people who can wire a bunch of circuits back to a single location? What's the cost difference?
GrafikEye is effectively 6 of the -6D dimmers plus a keypad in one, 4-gang package. Acts that way in a RadioRA2 system, too. Cost is similar, but since you'd be using 100% of the unit, the GrafikEye is probably cheaper than 5 dimmers plus a hybrid keypad.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
GrafikEye is effectively 6 of the -6D dimmers plus a keypad in one, 4-gang package. Acts that way in a RadioRA2 system, too. Cost is similar, but since you'd be using 100% of the unit, the GrafikEye is probably cheaper than 5 dimmers plus a hybrid keypad.
Huh...

Okay, I think I'm starting to understand the overlap between these two systems. A Grafik Eye is basically a pack of dimmers and a keypad in a single package, but it functions exactly the same as individual dimmers and a keypad. Are there limitations to the Grafik Eye with respect to CFL, LED, non-dimming? Would it be a good choice for a star ceiling? Based on the design tool on the Lutron site, it looks like there are no limitations and my loads would all be fine.

So, let's say I went this route. I would need a 3.5" deep 4-gang box installed inside the theater, and all 6 of my theater zones would have to be wired directly to this 4-gang box. But I wouldn't need ANY GRX-CBL-346S cable run anywhere if the rest of my system was RadioRA2, correct? So the keypad at the back of the theater (assuming it's a RA2 keypad) could communicate wirelessly. Any any shade/window module that communicates wirelessly with the RA2 system could be controlled by the Grafik Eye? When you add shade groups in the design tool and you get shade buttons on the left hand side of the unit, do those require hard wiring to shades? Or can all buttons added to the unit control any RA2 devices. I understand that I'll need a RA2 main repeater for this to work.

Simply put, in a full house RadioRA2 build, I could install a QSGRJ-3P/4P/6P anywhere I already have 4/6 switches in lieu of 3/5 RA2 dimmers and a hybrid keypad. The functionality would be the same?
 

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On your RadioRa2 hybrid keypads, you can configure each button to trigger a scene (i.e. turn on a list of loads to a preset table of intensities) or to trigger a single load--it doesn't have to be just the load connected to the hybrid keypad. This is all configurable through Lutron's Essentials PC application. If the keypad is equipped with raise lower buttons, then the R/L buttons can be used to brighten or dim the entire scene grouping if the most recent button selected is configured as a scene, or the r/l buttons can brighten/dim a specific load if the most recent button pressed is configured as a single load. Think of a hybrid keypad as a standard dimmer without a face and a keypad combined into one package. The hybrid works very well with many loads, especially incandescent loads--just make sure your wattage doesn't exceed listed capacity. Observe multigang de ratings--250W middle of gang, 350W end of gang, or 450W not ganged.

Don't forgrt that any RadioRA system needs a main repeater. This is the brain of the system and houses the programming for how scenes operate. It has an antenna and needs a wired Ethernet and wall wart power connection. It also needs to be near the devices to which it is wirelessly communicating--30 feet is the number I think.


Changing topics:
A Grafik Eye controller has a lot of flexibility for different types of loads but you need to plan carefully for your star ceiling. Is you star ceiling low voltage? What kind of transformer will it have? magnetic low voltage? Electronic low voltage? A Grafik Eye can handle all of this but if your star ceiling uses an electronic low voltage power supply, then you will need a phase adaptive power module--basically a two gang device that is wired down stream of the Grafik eye. This power module uses a two gang box. It requires two sets of cables in. One cable is constant power on. and the other cable is the zone in black w/control neutral from the Grafiz Eye. Your star ceiling power supply then would connect to this module as a load. Lutron's documentation for this is generally excellent.
 

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Be aware that if you go the route of RadioRa2 only, depending on which trim you use with your recessed H7ICAT housings you may be required to use a different dimmer. Assuming your trims allow for 75w bulbs and you have 6 fixtures on a circuit then your load is 450 watts. The hybrid dimmers have a max of 450 watts when used in a single gang application only. If multigang applications are required then you may have to connect this size of a load to a formal dimmer such as RRD-6CL/-6D/-6NA if end of gang or RRD-10D or RRD-10ND if middle of gang due to derating requirements.

Lutron's Essentials app will give you all this info if you design your room in the app.

You have to be very careful as you plan your loads. Don't rush. If you need more time to get your project correct, then delay it. It can be hard to fix things once the sheet rock is up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Be aware that if you go the route of RadioRa2 only, depending on which trim you use with your recessed H7ICAT housings you may be required to use a different dimmer. Assuming your trims allow for 75w bulbs and you have 6 fixtures on a circuit then your load is 450 watts. The hybrid dimmers have a max of 450 watts when used in a single gang application only. If multigang applications are required then you may have to connect this size of a load to a formal dimmer such as RRD-6CL/-6D/-6NA if end of gang or RRD-10D or RRD-10ND if middle of gang due to derating requirements.

Lutron's Essentials app will give you all this info if you design your room in the app.

You have to be very careful as you plan your loads. Don't rush. If you need more time to get your project correct, then delay it. It can be hard to fix things once the sheet rock is up.
I really appreciate you guys taking the time to help me work through this. Your information has been very insightful, and I've made a lot of progress thanks to Lutron's amazingly valuable website. After putting all of this together, here is where I stand...

The Theater will now have 7 zones:

1 - Main can lights (6)
2 - Behind screen can lights (3)
3 - Screen wash can lights (3)
4 - Back bar can lights (3)
5 - Step lights (3)
6 - Soffit accent lighting (rope)
7 - Star Ceiling

Zones 1,2,3,5,6,7 will be wired directly to a Grafik Eye QS QSGRJ-6P inside the theater by the main entry door. On this unit will be presets for Movie/Music/Game/ALL On/Off. Zone 1 is the highest wattage but still only a max of 450W. Zone 7 will be coiled in the attic above the theater for future use. All details for the star ceiling are TBA. I do have full attic access above the theater, so I should be able to accommodate any further power supply needs in that space.

Zone 4 will be wired to a RadioRA2 hybrid keypad inside the theater by the rear entry door. Zone 4 is 3 H7ICAT housings with a maximum of 225W total. On this unit will be presets for Bar/Movie/Music/Game/All On/Off and up/down buttons. The "Bar" function will control the three rear can lights over the back bar. This way people can enter the rear of the theater, push the "Bar" button to turn those lights on to a preset level, and the Up/Down buttons can fine tune the light level of those three lights without disturbing or resetting the scene for the room. And you still have full room scene control if you want it.

A RadioRa2 main repeater will be installed in the attic over the game room on the theater side. There is Cat6 cable up there already wired to the home network, and there is power. The game room will also be fitted with a mix of dimmers and hybrid keypads.

So basically I'm going to have my contractor install a 4-gang 3.5" deep masonry box at the front of the theater for the Grafik Eye and a 1-gang 3.5" masonry box for the rear hybrid keypad. Because I'm using RadioRa2, there is no need for any communication cable or any other connection to or from either box other than romex, correct? This is all I need to know for tomorrow: how big are the boxes, where do they go, and what wires need to go in and out of them? I think I have my answers, unless someone sees an issue.
 

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I really appreciate you guys taking the time to help me work through this. Your information has been very insightful, and I've made a lot of progress thanks to Lutron's amazingly valuable website. After putting all of this together, here is where I stand...

The Theater will now have 7 zones:

1 - Main can lights (6)
2 - Behind screen can lights (3)
3 - Screen wash can lights (3)
4 - Back bar can lights (3)
5 - Step lights (3)
6 - Soffit accent lighting (rope)
7 - Star Ceiling

Zones 1,2,3,5,6,7 will be wired directly to a Grafik Eye QS QSGRJ-6P inside the theater by the main entry door. On this unit will be presets for Movie/Music/Game/ALL On/Off. Zone 1 is the highest wattage but still only a max of 450W. Zone 7 will be coiled in the attic above the theater for future use. All details for the star ceiling are TBA. I do have full attic access above the theater, so I should be able to accommodate any further power supply needs in that space.

Zone 4 will be wired to a RadioRA2 hybrid keypad inside the theater by the rear entry door. Zone 4 is 3 H7ICAT housings with a maximum of 225W total. On this unit will be presets for Bar/Movie/Music/Game/All On/Off and up/down buttons. The "Bar" function will control the three rear can lights over the back bar. This way people can enter the rear of the theater, push the "Bar" button to turn those lights on to a preset level, and the Up/Down buttons can fine tune the light level of those three lights without disturbing or resetting the scene for the room. And you still have full room scene control if you want it.

A RadioRa2 main repeater will be installed in the attic over the game room on the theater side. There is Cat6 cable up there already wired to the home network, and there is power. The game room will also be fitted with a mix of dimmers and hybrid keypads.

So basically I'm going to have my contractor install a 4-gang 3.5" deep masonry box at the front of the theater for the Grafik Eye and a 1-gang 3.5" masonry box for the rear hybrid keypad. Because I'm using RadioRa2, there is no need for any communication cable or any other connection to or from either box other than romex, correct? This is all I need to know for tomorrow: how big are the boxes, where do they go, and what wires need to go in and out of them? I think I have my answers, unless someone sees an issue.
What you have outlined sounds good to me. Maybe someone else can chime in for confirmation.

The 1 gang box doesn't have to be a masonry box, since I assume it will only have power coming in and load going out. The 4 gang really does need to be the masonry 3-1/2". I've never been able to stuff a Grafik Eye in anything lesser--maybe others have.

For your star ceiling, it might be wise to prepare for Lutron's phase adaptive power module in the room itself somewhere just in case (a 2 gang, also deep box) since it has a max environment temp of 104 deg F--attics can get hot. Remember this device needs 2 cables coming into it (constant on power and zone in from the Grafik Eye) and 1 wire going out from it (load to star ceiling power supply). You can place this two gang about anywhere in the room--try for a less visible location, since it is "wall acne". Be aware that it has a covered heat sink, protrudes 1/2" or so from the wall, and has a LED that emits a tiny amount of light. You can always not use the phase adaptive power module, and cover the two gang box with a blank plate if your application doesn't require it. Also some ELV power supplies are pretty small and can fit in a four gang or sometimes smaller box. You might place an extra box (4 gang?) electrically down stream of the two gang box for the same reason of keeping electronics out of a hot attic. The Radio Ra2 repeater lists a max environment temperature of 104 deg F too, so think twice about installing it in your attic.

Here is a picture of an install with two Grafik Eyes and two power modules in a closet so you can get an idea of what the power modules look like.

Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks for the link to the power module. Looking it over, it looks like it needs a 2-gang box but it doesn't really sit inside of the box. And the heat radiator sits outside of the box in the room. If that's the case, we could install that in the ceiling or soffit where it is in the room but not readily visible. I do appreciate the heads up on this one. I didn't realize they ran hot or required surface mounting in the home. I'll run this past my installer. Also, this (temperature) appears to be an issue with the control module. Thankfully I have CAT6 cable in multiple locations around there so I can probably install it where the rack is going. Everything is still within 30' of that location. I'll need a repeater for the rest of the house anyway.

Thanks again for the help. Much appreciated. As you can see, I ended up changing as well as fine tuning the system after all. We still have a lot of flexibility in the design, but now I know how things need to be wired and where the boxes should be. This was critical and timely, so thank you.
 

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Thanks for the link to the power module. Looking it over, it looks like it needs a 2-gang box but it doesn't really sit inside of the box. And the heat radiator sits outside of the box in the room. If that's the case, we could install that in the ceiling or soffit where it is in the room but not readily visible.
You could leave some slack bundled up in the romex so that if you decide to add one in the future, you could retrofit a dual-gang box at that location, but not have the box there (and visible) until and unless you need it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
You could leave some slack bundled up in the romex so that if you decide to add one in the future, you could retrofit a dual-gang box at that location, but not have the box there (and visible) until and unless you need it.
This is what we ended up doing. We actually made room for two, to be cut as needed. I'm a sucker for "what if?"
 
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