Control 4 System for the 'smart home'

compumomSeptember 11, 2010

We're in the midst of an extensive remodel and are planning to install a home network hub. Recently, at the "Dwell on the Design" show, we saw the Lutron Smart Home systems and were intrigued, however the prices were way beyond we're willing to invest in this kind of technology.

We've been talking to two "low voltage" companies about wiring the house and integrating our audio/visual components into a home theater system. As such, the one that our contractor likes to work with (and he's less expensive than another who bid the job), specified a component made by a company called "Control 4" which will allow him to electronically integrate the system. It's really cool, it can be controlled by the TV or any device that will network wirelessly.

Mark informed us that this controller also has the capability to control lighting and almost anything else using radio frequency. All we will have to add are special rheostats with RF receivers. Since we are installing new electrical switches anyway, the additional cost wasn't that much more. I want to know if anybody has experience with this system. Feedback ASAP please, the electricians are planning to install light switches soon!

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I just had a home automation system installed. I looked at Control4, but it is not an open source system. THis means that any time you weant to change the configuration or change the programming, you will have to go back to yur installed and pay him/her to do it. HAI has free downloads of their software so you can do it yourself.

My lights are UPB. If you are doing the whole house, the wireless rheostats might be O.K. I think Control4 used Z-Wave. If you have several components spread out around the house, this should be O.K. I don't have direct experience with such a system, but my initial research said that if you have a lone component such as, perhaps, a driveway sensor, it may not work very well because the range of the network isn't very far.

Good luck.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2010 at 9:08AM
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Hello and thanks for your informative reply! I'm a newbie-- can you please explain or give me a name for UPB and HAI? I'd like to be totally informed!

    Bookmark   September 20, 2010 at 11:58AM
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UPB is less reliable technology than Control 4 or Lutron's Radio RA2. HAI and Control 4 are better partnered with Lutron lighting controls than with their own lighting controls.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2010 at 10:39PM
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Control4 uses zigbee wireless (2.4ghz) protocols which are an IEEE standard unlike Z-wave and Lutron's radio Ra.

1. There are multiple sources for the chips unlike z-wave.
2. Zigbee implements a mesh network which ensures that signals are more consistently delivered.

1. Not as mature as Lutron's.
2. Can get expensive quickly. Multiple devices are required to form a good mesh network.
3. May have issues with led or cfl (more likely) lighting.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2013 at 10:35PM
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hm, i wasn't aware of the LED lighting issues w/Control4, though i do see you say "may".

I'm going to be doing an addition this year and am also very interested in Home Automation and Control4 looks like the cheapest way to at least get the bones of a good automation system in my house without breaking the bank. Anyone else have thoughts on this?

    Bookmark   January 14, 2013 at 3:02PM
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@ $100+ per Control4 switch, the cost adds up pretty quickly.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2013 at 1:56PM
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Yes, they are costly. We have had Control4 for two years. The jury's out. When it works (and lighting always works)we love it. The hvac, not so much. The thermostats aren't the most reliable. My biggest complaint is needing to wait for our tech to schedule when we do have a problem. He logs in remotely, but if he has to be in house, it can take a week.

If we had more control over the programming feature, our son could easily do it for us.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2013 at 3:09AM
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Sorry to hear that you're having issues with Control4 and the hvac.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2013 at 7:05PM
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Hello Compumom, I have a solution for you. The control4 system has many features which enable homeowners to monitoring and control of devices and access it from anywhere via a simple internet connection. But you can use some other better control system such as Crestron. It is a leader in home automation. It gives you a reliability, simplicity and full personalization with the one touch. You can adjust it in every room of your home for activity like watch, listen or anyway.

Here is a link that might be useful: Kensingtonav

    Bookmark   April 25, 2013 at 1:40AM
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