Lutron questions


Hi, I'm comparing lighting systems and I'm trying to work out some questions. Any input is greatly appreciate!

1) Does anyone know what would happen if I bought RadioRa dimmers and installed them without a repeater or any other control mechanism? Would they still function as dimmers until I got the rest of the system installed?

2) Homeworks can run on RF too, right? What's the difference between RadioRa and RF Homeworks? I've seen vague hints like "feature set" - where can I compare exactly what I get with each?

3) What is the minimum set of equipment necessary to get started with RadioRa? The starter kits on ebay come with dimmers, master switches, and a repeater. Is it possible to start with just dimmers and a repeater, and use CQC to fill in the role of master switch? Is there a serial port for RS232 on the repeater or do I need a separate module for that? How does that module communicate with the receiver? (RF?)

Thanks in advance.

Welcome Randy!

RadioRA dimmers will work just like a regular dimmer if you choose to install before adding the control bits & pieces.

Homeworks has several series of products which include wireless devices. The short answer is that it's much more scalable (RadioRa will only support 32 loads native or 64 loads using the Chronos device which bridges two RadioRA networks together). Homeworks is also a "dealer only" products so should be difficult to obtain for a DIY installer and also requires the dealer only software for configuration & programming.

The RadioRA Master Controller is really the brains of a RadioRA system and is required (it's what you link all the switches to). For even a small RA installation you need at least one Master Controller and one Signal Repeater + your dimmers.

To connect a RadioRA system to an automation controller or PC based automation software you need either the Serial Interface or the Chronos Bridge which also has RS-232 built into it.

Welcome to the forum! I hope I can answer your questions.

1) Yes, they will function as regular dimmers.

2)The difference between RadioRA and Homeworks is quite vast in terms of capability. I installed a few RadioRA devices as I was going to go that route until I decided to go with Homeworks. Some of the major differences are:
a) computer programming vs. tap-tap method
b ) Homeworks dimmers can also act as a controller ie. a dimmer can also control other dimmers
c) larger selection of keypads. RadioRA has a couple of styles, Homeworks has 1-7 button plus a couple of Favorite Scene
d) with RadioRA, the entire keypad must be designated as either room logic or scene logic, with Homeworks, each button can be designated
e) Homeworks has conditional programming. When Button A is pressed, if Light 1 is on turn on Light 2, If light 1 is off then turn on Light 3. Simple example, but quite useful.
f) Homeworks has more advanced timer functions. You could set lights to turn on a midnight on one day a year of you chose to.
g) While both will do 64 devices, with RadioRA you must use the Chronos phantom keypad of 17 buttons to control devices between the sets of 32. Homeworks is native 64 devices.
h) Price, while RadioRA is not cheap, Homeworks is about 40% more.

3)The minimum would be a dimmer, a repeater and a controller(keypad). The repeater is required to make the keypad control the dimmer. The repeater does not have a RS232 port. You would need the RS232 module. But by the time you buy a repeater and the RS232 module, you might as well get a Chronos which acts as a repeater and has the RS232 port and you will be ready for future expansion. It all communicates via RF.

Room logic vs. Scene logic: Room logic means the light on the keypad button is on as long as any controlled device is on at any level. A second press turns off remaining lights. With scene logic, the keypad button light is on only as long as every controlled light is on at its preset level. Example: A keypad button turns on 3 loads. Someone uses the local dimmer to turn off one load. With room logic, the keypad button will turn off the remaining 2 loads, but with scene logic, it will turn back on the load that was turned off. A second press then turns off all 3 loads.

Hope this helps. Let me know if you have any more questions.