Home Automation Lighting

a2geminiMarch 10, 2012

We have a very old X10 lighting system in the house using plug in modules and a few wall switches. I use X10 timers to automatically turn on a few lights.

I saw the Lutron system and it looked great and was basically an x10 on steroids and budget also.

So I gave up the idea but am now re-thinking it when I looked at the LeGrand plug mold strips and saw they have a system that looks more reasonable.

The reason for considering a system - less light switches on the backsplash.

I could have 5 different lighting scenarios built into the system (not sure if this one can handle LED lighting but I think the ZWave can)

Thoughts on the home lighting systems?

I would have LED LV lights, incandescents, and Halogen on the system.

We are underway, so need to move quickly - the cans have been installed - I thought I knew where to put them all but had to modify with the underlying structures (aka beams)

These 2 lights straddle the cooktop. I have 7 cans total - 6 over counter and one by the entrance to the walk in pantry. 6 are on one switch and the 7th is on its own over the sink. These will be LED

In addition, I will have LED light bars (down to 2 brands) undercounter, a pair of LED or xenon pucks in one glass cabinet, 2 decorative center lights.

In the sunroom, I will have a 3 light chandelier (thanks for talking me into the smaller version), and LED tape lights an a shelf and above 2 cavenets, (spelled wrong on purpose - his and her caves! aka storage cabinets)


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It's time to ditch the X10 system (and Insteon too). X10 is rather tweaky and slow - I had switches bouncing between on/ off, delayed or no responses to commands. It helped burn out a good number of CFLs.

The Lutron system is not X10 on steriods. The description fits Insteon more appropriately. Both utilize signaling across electrical wiring @ the sine wave zero crossing. Insteon adds the option to broadcast over RF. However, it does not do both simultaneously.

The RF based systems - Lutron, Z-Wave, Zigbee, ... all rely on mesh networking.

The Lutron system is probably a better package solution than Z-wave since Leviton dimmers aren't all that great.

If you're interested in IEEE standards based RF home automation, Zigbee is the answer. Take a look at Control4 solutions.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2012 at 4:54PM
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As always, thanks David.
I agree on the x-10, but didn't want to spend 3-5 grand for the kitchen.
I don't use the x10 on cfl but better than nothing until I switch over.
At least the house looks lived in and the price was right!
Will check out it your recommendations

    Bookmark   March 10, 2012 at 7:59PM
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Lutron's Radio Ra and HomeWorks RF use a "fixed" rather than mesh network. Individual dimmers and keypads within range can speak to each other but they don't repeat the command for other devices to hear. The system uses repeaters for that. Lutron feels this is more reliable. The link explains.

Here is a link that might be useful: Mesh or Fixed?

    Bookmark   March 15, 2012 at 10:53PM
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The Lutron Radio RA2 system I don't thin eliminates switches either. You still need a switch for each light/set up lights you want individual control/diming ability. Then you need to add a keypad for the scene control (if you want that) this is another wall wart. I am debating this now or thinking how I can make this work. However, those individual switches don't have to be in the same room and take up wall space. They could be in the walk in pantry/laundry room/basement hidden, as long as they were within range of the repeater. You then just need to have the scene controller on the room or maybe some of the individual switches.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2012 at 4:51PM
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Thanks dim4fun and todds
I decided not to put in a total system at this time - just too expensive for my needs.
I really only want a "security system" so that I can have lights going on and off on their own when gone.
I liked the idea of the scene lighting and the single panel of switches but just too much to do right now.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2012 at 12:50PM
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