Jump to content


Photo
- - - - -

New house, zero automation now, what dimmers for future automation


  • Please log in to reply
83 replies to this topic

#1 Linwood

Linwood

    Dedicated Cocooner

  • Registered
  • PipPipPip
  • 392 posts

Posted 03 March 2019 - 11:43 AM

OK, unexpectedly had to move to a new house, and it has zero automation, but (mostly) LED lights everywhere in non-recessed fixtures (i.e. bulb is not replaceable).  Nicely placed switches, lots of 3-ways.  Zero dimmers.

 

Eventually I will add stuff, probably first cameras, then likely security (I'm also debating whether to change to impact windows, and I do not want to start down the window contact path until I decide).  Eventually some automation.

 

But lack of dimmers is making me nuts.

 

So without (hopefully) opening the whole debate about which automation hub (or non-hub, or cloud, or etc) .... 

 

What dimmers will give me the most reliable, long term service remaining compatible with most (at least many) home automation systems? 

 

Some quick reading leads me to Caseta.  RA2 looks expensive and troublesome as a DIY with hoops to jump through.

 

UPB, which I've used before and like a lot, seems stagnant; should one invest in a lot of them now?

 

I absolutely want local control (i.e. a wall switch one can use gracefully without needing a phone or voice).  Ultimately integration, maybe with Google, a bridge, etc.  But right now I want a really good dimmer, that works well with LED's, that preserves a lot of my options later.

 

Opinions?   Candidates? 

 

Linwood



#2 wkearney99

wkearney99

    Cocoonut

  • Registered
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1487 posts
  • Location:Bethesda, MD USA
  • Experience:guru
  • Software:EventGhost, Girder, Mister House, NetRemote
  • Tech:X10-PLC, X10-RF, Z-Wave, ZigBee, RadioRA, RadioRA2, Crestron, xAP, xPL
  • Audio:Russound
  • Video:Windows Media Center
  • CCTV:analog, dvr
  • Phone:Asterisk, Grandstream, Linksys PAP2, OBi100/110, POTS, VoIP via ISP

Posted 03 March 2019 - 11:46 AM

Lutron Ra2.  Spend once, done.  Works every time and stays that way.  High spousal approval factor for not coming across like cheap, ugly crap.

You get what you pay for.



#3 pete_c

pete_c

    Cocoonut

  • -=Gold Supporter=-
  • 9244 posts
  • Location:House
  • Experience:average
  • Software:Main Lobby, Open Source Automation
  • Hardware:HAI OmniPro II, Mi Casa Verde Vera, Ocelot
  • Tech:X10-PLC, X10-RF, UPB, INSTEON, Z-Wave, ZigBee, 1-Wire, xAP, xPL, ALC
  • Audio:Russound
  • Video:MythTV
  • CCTV:analog, ip, dvr
  • Phone:Asterisk, FreePBX, Ooma, POTS, VoIP via ISP

Posted 03 March 2019 - 12:07 PM

Personally here still sticking to UPB.  Works 100%.  Gives me local control.  I understand it is long in the tooth.
 
They are installed which was a PITA to do like any other automated switch.  I am too old now to replace them and do not feel like spending the money on new.
 
I still tinker with other technologies. 
 
You are at a juncture to do with what you already know or venture in to what you want to learn.  
 
I like local control and dimming and LED lamps.  That said not really seeing any LED lamps which dim just right yet. 
 
Just upgraded the kitchen cans here and not happy at all with the dimming.  It is just one dim value or full brightness. 

#4 wkearney99

wkearney99

    Cocoonut

  • Registered
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1487 posts
  • Location:Bethesda, MD USA
  • Experience:guru
  • Software:EventGhost, Girder, Mister House, NetRemote
  • Tech:X10-PLC, X10-RF, Z-Wave, ZigBee, RadioRA, RadioRA2, Crestron, xAP, xPL
  • Audio:Russound
  • Video:Windows Media Center
  • CCTV:analog, dvr
  • Phone:Asterisk, Grandstream, Linksys PAP2, OBi100/110, POTS, VoIP via ISP

Posted 03 March 2019 - 12:18 PM

 Just upgraded the kitchen cans here and not happy at all with the dimming.  It is just one dim value or full brightness. 

 

Yup, not all LED elements and dimmers are compatible.  Thus Lutron continues to put a lot of work into testing and publishing what they find.  It's astounding how crappy a lot of LED lights are.  And likewise how poorly a lot of dimmers operate.  People have been conditioned to think LEDs are just straight replacements for incandescents.  They're not.  Now, whose fault is this and what's the solution?  I'd lay the blame at the light makers as they know when they're creating.  They're pumping out crap they KNOW won't work with anything other than an on/off switch.  Meanwhile the inventors of the dimmer are faced with a pretty no-win situation of trying to tell the market "LEDs are a TRAIN WRECK if you don't buy quality ones".



#5 pete_c

pete_c

    Cocoonut

  • -=Gold Supporter=-
  • 9244 posts
  • Location:House
  • Experience:average
  • Software:Main Lobby, Open Source Automation
  • Hardware:HAI OmniPro II, Mi Casa Verde Vera, Ocelot
  • Tech:X10-PLC, X10-RF, UPB, INSTEON, Z-Wave, ZigBee, 1-Wire, xAP, xPL, ALC
  • Audio:Russound
  • Video:MythTV
  • CCTV:analog, ip, dvr
  • Phone:Asterisk, FreePBX, Ooma, POTS, VoIP via ISP

Posted 03 March 2019 - 12:28 PM

Best luck so far has been with the clear bulbs with LED filaments which have replaced the old clear incandescent bulbs. 
 
The outdoor clean candlabra LED candlabra bulbs do well but not looking still like the old ones cuz of the base in an all glass coach lamp.
 
I have tried one of those flat can looking like LED lamps over the shower here (now installed 2 years ago) and it does well.  This is though a 12VDC lamp with a tiny transformer.  This is not a replaceable bulb rather an entire fixture. Looks perfect. Just do not know the longevity. I know though many contractors were purchasing these in bulk and installing them in new homes recently and way more easily installed than a regular 120VAC can.

Same functional dimming as another set up I have here that is using a UPB switch to dim a LED dimmable 120-12VDC power supply.  Much more granularity over the dimming and closer to the old 120VAC incandescent dimming.  I do not know though if I want 12VDC transformers everywhere.  The Kitchen LED under the cabinet lighting dims perfect which I am impressed with.  It was a PITA to hide the microminature power supply inside of the wall box and switch though. Also did build one off 12VDC programmable LED controllers; tiny things with 1% granularity in the dimming both by automation and manual which I like. One pot which controls on and off and dimming (using a digital dimmer) and using WiFi (circuit is the size of my thumb and totally programmable) and already starting to get UL approval for use in the US.

I am cheap though and while already spending over 10-15k on light switches. I do not want to spend same amount total to beta test new LED bulbs. I started the Kitchen can stuff because one early generation LED lamp had failed after 3 years.

#6 LarrylLix

LarrylLix

    Cocoonut

  • Registered
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1204 posts
  • Location:Northern SouthWestern Ontario
  • Experience:guru
  • Software:Custom
  • Hardware:ISY-99, Custom
  • Tech:INSTEON, 1-Wire, Custom
  • Audio:Custom
  • CCTV:ip
  • Phone:Ooma

Posted 03 March 2019 - 01:02 PM

Sure. Make a compact device with power supply caps and then allow it to heat up to a skin burning temperature and see what happens. I am surprised most last more than a month. I am more surprised they haven't produced warnings not to use LED bulbs in insulated ceiling fixtures. Sent from my SM-G930W8 using Tapatalk

#7 pete_c

pete_c

    Cocoonut

  • -=Gold Supporter=-
  • 9244 posts
  • Location:House
  • Experience:average
  • Software:Main Lobby, Open Source Automation
  • Hardware:HAI OmniPro II, Mi Casa Verde Vera, Ocelot
  • Tech:X10-PLC, X10-RF, UPB, INSTEON, Z-Wave, ZigBee, 1-Wire, xAP, xPL, ALC
  • Audio:Russound
  • Video:MythTV
  • CCTV:analog, ip, dvr
  • Phone:Asterisk, FreePBX, Ooma, POTS, VoIP via ISP

Posted 03 March 2019 - 01:05 PM

Curious about the WAF. 

 

Here wife is fine now with the automated switches but historically the migration from a $5 wall switch to a $50-100 wall switch was really much more to make me happy in my tinkering.



#8 pete_c

pete_c

    Cocoonut

  • -=Gold Supporter=-
  • 9244 posts
  • Location:House
  • Experience:average
  • Software:Main Lobby, Open Source Automation
  • Hardware:HAI OmniPro II, Mi Casa Verde Vera, Ocelot
  • Tech:X10-PLC, X10-RF, UPB, INSTEON, Z-Wave, ZigBee, 1-Wire, xAP, xPL, ALC
  • Audio:Russound
  • Video:MythTV
  • CCTV:analog, ip, dvr
  • Phone:Asterisk, FreePBX, Ooma, POTS, VoIP via ISP

Posted 03 March 2019 - 01:12 PM

I am more surprised they haven't produced warnings not to use LED bulbs in insulated ceiling fixtures.
 
There were warning on the external to the ceiling mounted LED bulbs and first ones really approved came from Canada and they were selling these in the big box stores and they looked very much like the all 120VAC in the ceiling mounting with all metal cans and put the 120VAC - 12VDC transformer inside of the little metal box looking very much old school.  Relating to first test of a tiny 120VAC to 12VDC didn't last a month.  It did get hot and failed.  No fire and nobody died in the house that I know of.

Next test found same sized transformers but better made and barely warm driving some up to 8 watts of LED lighting.    Original ones did come from China, not UL approved.   New ones now are compact and part of the switch which puts the switch cost to $150 or more depending on the wattage (and it is UL approved).  Personally here do not want to spend upwards of $100 a switch.

#9 wkearney99

wkearney99

    Cocoonut

  • Registered
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1487 posts
  • Location:Bethesda, MD USA
  • Experience:guru
  • Software:EventGhost, Girder, Mister House, NetRemote
  • Tech:X10-PLC, X10-RF, Z-Wave, ZigBee, RadioRA, RadioRA2, Crestron, xAP, xPL
  • Audio:Russound
  • Video:Windows Media Center
  • CCTV:analog, dvr
  • Phone:Asterisk, Grandstream, Linksys PAP2, OBi100/110, POTS, VoIP via ISP

Posted 03 March 2019 - 01:12 PM

Pete it might be fair to say you've got a wife that's really tolerant of your tinkering.  I know mine is more tolerant than most, but there's limits. 

That and when we've had guests visit and stay over I've noted when they've commented on any of the controls.  Over the years I've heard a number of complaints with other stuff, often due to the cheap feel of the plastics or the noise of the switches.  I kid you not.  But it's little things that build up over time that lead to an overall negative approach to home automation. 

Make the initial and every day experience with the stuff pleasant to use and reliable and you earn yourself a WHOLE lot of leeway when it comes to getting away with more tinkering/spending behind the scenes.  

But slip up on the day-to-day and you're screwed.



#10 pete_c

pete_c

    Cocoonut

  • -=Gold Supporter=-
  • 9244 posts
  • Location:House
  • Experience:average
  • Software:Main Lobby, Open Source Automation
  • Hardware:HAI OmniPro II, Mi Casa Verde Vera, Ocelot
  • Tech:X10-PLC, X10-RF, UPB, INSTEON, Z-Wave, ZigBee, 1-Wire, xAP, xPL, ALC
  • Audio:Russound
  • Video:MythTV
  • CCTV:analog, ip, dvr
  • Phone:Asterisk, FreePBX, Ooma, POTS, VoIP via ISP

Posted 03 March 2019 - 01:25 PM

Years ago testing one external Z-Wave light module connected to an outlet for a table lamp and automated it did do a flash and burn.  So bright that I saw it coronal like effect behind the couch.  Took the switch apart and the entire contents melted. It did not burn the couch. This did make me leary of using ZWave in the beginning of my tinkering with it.
 
The testing LED controller / power supply that failed showed no signs of failure, no burn marks or melted circuit board.  It was like an internal fuse popped and that was that. The configuration is very modular and putting the LED strips in aluminum tracks with diffusers did it. The under the kitchen cabinet LED lamps today are very high on the WAF.
 
Yes Bill wife is patient here or tolerant of me?
 
Off of the OP...just starting to bring up slowly (baby steps) trying (tinkering) with an all electric vehicle (not a hybrid) and justifying it's  use which concurrently stating I prefer the use and feel of using petroleum for an automobile after reading the newest Consumer Reports Car issue this month.

#11 wkearney99

wkearney99

    Cocoonut

  • Registered
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1487 posts
  • Location:Bethesda, MD USA
  • Experience:guru
  • Software:EventGhost, Girder, Mister House, NetRemote
  • Tech:X10-PLC, X10-RF, Z-Wave, ZigBee, RadioRA, RadioRA2, Crestron, xAP, xPL
  • Audio:Russound
  • Video:Windows Media Center
  • CCTV:analog, dvr
  • Phone:Asterisk, Grandstream, Linksys PAP2, OBi100/110, POTS, VoIP via ISP

Posted 03 March 2019 - 01:47 PM

Sure. Make a compact device with power supply caps and then allow it to heat up to a skin burning temperature and see what happens. I am surprised most last more than a month. I am more surprised they haven't produced warnings not to use LED bulbs in insulated ceiling fixtures. 

 

Well halogen bulbs are bright as the freakin' face of the sun and they're in the same boxes, so....

But yeah, you make a valid point.  In another group I ran across this gem:

Attached File  fried dimmer widget.jpg   43.23K   10 downloads

To which I commented:

And here's a great example of why having switches inside of wall boxes is part of the electrical code. If it had managed to burn further it'd at least have been contained longer inside of a box.



#12 dgage

dgage

    Dedicated Cocooner

  • Registered
  • PipPipPip
  • 588 posts
  • Location:TN
  • Experience:average
  • Software:CQC
  • Tech:RadioRA2
  • Audio:Sonos
  • Video:Windows Media Center
  • Phone:Linksys PAP2

Posted 03 March 2019 - 02:18 PM

Im another one that recommends Lutron RadioRa2 and if I were getting another house, Id be placing another order for RadioRa2. The 6ND is the dimmer Id recommend for most usage with the 10ND for larger sets of lights like a kitchen or similar. Switches would be the 8ANS. 2ANF for fans. And RD is the remote dimmer that would also work with the 2ANF for most fans. The RS is the remote switch for 3-way+ light loads.

Besides near 100% reliability, I also like that the RadioRa2 switches/dimmers acts] like regular light switches and most people wouldnt know they were automated switches unless you used automation with them or asked Alexa to turn on/off the lights.

And for lights that may not need automating, RadioRa2 aesthetically matched perfectly with Lutron Maestro switches/dimmers. I also use Maestro motion switches for items like closets and the laundry room.

Edited by dgage, 03 March 2019 - 02:45 PM.


#13 wkearney99

wkearney99

    Cocoonut

  • Registered
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1487 posts
  • Location:Bethesda, MD USA
  • Experience:guru
  • Software:EventGhost, Girder, Mister House, NetRemote
  • Tech:X10-PLC, X10-RF, Z-Wave, ZigBee, RadioRA, RadioRA2, Crestron, xAP, xPL
  • Audio:Russound
  • Video:Windows Media Center
  • CCTV:analog, dvr
  • Phone:Asterisk, Grandstream, Linksys PAP2, OBi100/110, POTS, VoIP via ISP

Posted 03 March 2019 - 02:19 PM

Off of the OP...just starting to bring up slowly (baby steps) trying (tinkering) with an all electric vehicle (not a hybrid) and justifying it's  use which concurrently stating I prefer the use and feel of using petroleum for an automobile after reading the newest Consumer Reports Car issue this month.

 

There's a homeseer plug-in for the Jaguar ePace.

Me, I'm holding out for Porsche's offerings.  They've just announced the Macan will have an all-electric version.  My wife already asked if I wanted to get that to replace my Cayenne.  Not quite yet as I still like the larger carrying capacity.  A full load of bags and ski gear still fill it up pretty quick, likewise Summer boat provisioning trips.

It'll certainly be interesting for EVs as more of the traditional vehicle companies start rolling out options.  Friends have Tesla vehicles and they're nice enough but I didn't much care for their interiors.  Just not quite right ergonomically (for me) and not of the kind of quality you'd expect at that price point. 



#14 dgage

dgage

    Dedicated Cocooner

  • Registered
  • PipPipPip
  • 588 posts
  • Location:TN
  • Experience:average
  • Software:CQC
  • Tech:RadioRA2
  • Audio:Sonos
  • Video:Windows Media Center
  • Phone:Linksys PAP2

Posted 03 March 2019 - 02:37 PM

I forgot to add that I really like the RadioRa2 keypads, especially the hybrids that include a dimmer for the local load. I was able to put 3 keypads on 3 different sides of the kitchen/breakfadt nook that saved me from changing the wiring and makes much more sense in terms of what youd actuate where. We added a full switch/dimmer for the main kitchen lights where we primarily enter but lesser used items are actuated at the keypads. Works amazingly well.

And with the recent changes to the Tesla Model 3, Im strongly considering the Standard+ or the Perfroamnce Model 3. With the current Tesla SuperCharger network, I cant see myself considering a different electric car in the near term though I expect general charging networks will expand over the next few years.

#15 Linwood

Linwood

    Dedicated Cocooner

  • Registered
  • PipPipPip
  • 392 posts

Posted 03 March 2019 - 02:40 PM

So are Lutron RA2 dimmers really better than Caseta dimmers?  I thought they both used the same underlying RF technology.  Is there a reliability issue in the hardware?

 

Or are you speaking of programming flexibility?  I've read some of the differences, but did not see anything in there which gave me much rationale to jump through the hoops to get training and approval (and still pay more) for the RA2?  But if there's a real reliability difference... ?






1 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 1 guests, 0 anonymous users