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Question Lutron Homework with regular switch pushbutton ( AVS Forum Home Automation )
Updated: 2010-08-03 23:55:03 (41)
Lutron Homework with regular switch pushbutton

I am renovating my home and our contractor has insisted on using the lutron's homework. We are impressed at what it can do, however, i am not altogether fond of the look of the switch. Thus, I proceeded to asked the contractor to change the switches to a different brand, however, he said it was not possible. My questions are; Can I change the brand of the switch/pushbutton without changing the system? Or perhaps, is there an interface that lutron produces that can be used with other brands? Am I wrong in that a switch is basically a switch and I can even "hardwire" the lutron's switch to a different brand ?

Thanks in advance.

Answers: Lutron Homework with regular switch pushbutton ( AVS Forum Home Automation )
Lutron Homework with regular switch pushbutton

i asked my dealer this same question as well since he carries and installs both products. he advised me to stick with the lutron. take it for what its worth, they are both too close in price to compare. not sure if one is better than the other since i have never used vantage, but lutron is one of the leaders in lighting technology so it was an easy choice for me. that, plus i like their keypads!!


ps. neurorad, is there any mention these touchscreens can be retrofitted into existing homework systems? the look uber cool.

Anthony A.

Lutron Homework with regular switch pushbutton

Quote:
Originally Posted by westcojack
We are dealers and integrators and exclusively use Vantage Controls equipment. (Cause it;s the best solution.)
It is head over heels easier to install than Lutron and other systems, and extremely easy to troubleshoot (even over the internet) if you ever have any problems (very rare).
They have several new keypad styles, and a well educated electrican can take direction from a Vantage dealer and easily install the system.
Atleast consider it.

If you pick any system, we feel that the the system will work the best if you have the best programmer provide it. A badly designed system is hard to use and can be complicated. A great system will su*k if its installed by a bad or novice dealer.

Jack
If you exclusively use Vantage, how do you know how easy or difficult Lutron is to install? I've sold, installed, and maintained both, and Vantage in my opinion is certainly no easier to install than Lutron. The systems use practically the same architecture.

ddave12000

Lutron Homework with regular switch pushbutton

We are dealers and integrators and exclusively use Vantage Controls equipment. (Cause it;s the best solution.)
It is head over heels easier to install than Lutron and other systems, and extremely easy to troubleshoot (even over the internet) if you ever have any problems (very rare).
They have several new keypad styles, and a well educated electrican can take direction from a Vantage dealer and easily install the system.
Atleast consider it.

If you pick any system, we feel that the the system will work the best if you have the best programmer provide it. A badly designed system is hard to use and can be complicated. A great system will su*k if its installed by a bad or novice dealer.

Jack

westcojack

Lutron Homework with regular switch pushbutton

Quote:
Originally Posted by Neurorad
What about Lutron's new touchscreen, that's shaped like a keypad?
[IM G]http://www.cepro.com/images/slideshow/lutron_touchscreen_interfaces2.jpg[/IMG]
hmmmmm... they might've gotten around it by having an on and fav button at the bottom

Hyperite

Lutron Homework with regular switch pushbutton

What about Lutron's new touchscreen, that's shaped like a keypad?

Neurorad

Lutron Homework with regular switch pushbutton

Hi Q,

I've run into it before as well. The IP66 switch we use for dock lighting operates as a cc device. We run power through the cc, an spdt relay, and 2 cc inputs. Works well.

Its not the only way, you could also get the original system interfaces running stand alone, and bridge communications from the comm ports over. The chances the original system doesn't have comms is unlikely. I'd probably hook both systems up to a QM-RMC, to port the correct button presses and feedback to Lutron, but thats' just me.

jcmitch

jcm

Lutron Homework with regular switch pushbutton

Quote:
Originally Posted by 39CentStamp
When you say 'physical switch' are you talking about an actual dimmer / switch, or a keypad?
Either one, just can't be a touchscreen.

Hyperite

Lutron Homework with regular switch pushbutton

You may want to also review what keypads Vantage offers. The Bticino ones are great. www.vantagecontrols.com

alexsquared

Lutron Homework with regular switch pushbutton

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hyperite
They do.


Most codes still require a physical switch within x feet of a doorway
When you say 'physical switch' are you talking about an actual dimmer / switch, or a keypad?

39CentStamp

Lutron Homework with regular switch pushbutton

Quote:
Originally Posted by jcm
You could have these 3rd party controls if you really want them. Lutron has a few options for low voltage interfaces with 3r party equipment. If you kept it to a few locations, there are 2 contact closure inputs on the back of most Lutron HomeWorks keypads. It would not be hard to use these to communicate with a nearby control. There are also contact closure input boards available for HW wired and wireless systems.

jcmitch
I really doubt this is possible - at least not in any sort of simple fashion. Those keypads are probably part of a different type of lighting control system (almost looks a bit like Vantage) which is sending communications on a 2 or 4 wire bus system. In order for those buttons to work with contact closures, each button would need to output a signal to the contact. Now, if someone had a lot of time, and wanted to engineer a crazy solution I'm sure there's a way. Doesn't really seem worth the time and energy IMO though.

ddave12000

Lutron Homework with regular switch pushbutton

Dave, I guarantee you are right, not a simple solution, almost guaranteed its part of another proprietary system. I'm also certain its possible, if they really really want it, it could be done.

jcmitch

jcm

Lutron Homework with regular switch pushbutton

jcm,

I actually had reason to research this issue in some depth for a project. The results of that research, which included actually testing such a scenario, was that it would not work well, although it will operate as jury rig. You need to think about the intelligence that is built into a keypad press that we taken for granted. It's very easy with a keypad to have a button both turn a load on and off and raise or lower it because the system instantly recognizes the state with the keypad. With a contact closure with Lutron, the system has to wait a period of time after a contact has been closed before the same contact can start to initiate another command. In our scenario we just used an up/down contact to attempt to turn a light on or off and dim it up or down. If I recall once you issued the contact closure button, you had to wait 5 seconds to get the same contact to start to dim the lights. And if you pressed it before that it would either turn them off again, or do nothing, I cannot recall which. The operation was confusing and not acceptable.

A contact keypad probably will work fine if all you ever want to do is activate a discrete scene from it. But I would not want to sell a system a state of the art automation system and then tell them they were stuck with that limitation.

QQQ

Lutron Homework with regular switch pushbutton

You could have these 3rd party controls if you really want them. Lutron has a few options for low voltage interfaces with 3r party equipment. If you kept it to a few locations, there are 2 contact closure inputs on the back of most Lutron HomeWorks keypads. It would not be hard to use these to communicate with a nearby control. There are also contact closure input boards available for HW wired and wireless systems.

jcmitch

jcm

Lutron Homework with regular switch pushbutton

I wouldn't expect a contractor to know much about Lutron design styles.

Find a lighting store/integrator showroom, that 'does' Lutron HomeWorks, to see examples of all of the different HW keypads.

This document reviews the different HomeWorks keypad styles. Colors/finishes listed at the end.

http://www.lutron.com/resi/hwkeypad.htm

Neurorad

Lutron Homework with regular switch pushbutton

Thanks everybody for your input. The contractor showed me the Seetouch switches.

I used to work in Paris, and our house used to have pretty nice switches. After some googling, the switches that I had in Paris were pushbuttons and using low voltage 12 or 24V. But from the previous replies, am i right that there is no way to have my contractor have these touch buttons to communicate with Lutron?



Again, thank you everybody for your help!

zeushk

Lutron Homework with regular switch pushbutton

use a single button seeTouch keypad?

jkv

Lutron Homework with regular switch pushbutton

Quote:
Originally Posted by 39CentStamp
And i dont know if they have multi gang plates for this proprietary format.
They do.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 39CentStamp
Or just had your lighting commands put on a touchscreen like these.
Most codes still require a physical switch within x feet of a doorway

Hyperite

Lutron Homework with regular switch pushbutton

Quote:
Originally Posted by zeushk
I am renovating my home and our contractor has insisted on using the lutron's homework. We are impressed at what it can do, however, i am not altogether fond of the look of the switch. Thus, I proceeded to asked the contractor to change the switches to a different brand, however, he said it was not possible. My questions are; Can I change the brand of the switch/pushbutton without changing the system? Or perhaps, is there an interface that lutron produces that can be used with other brands? Am I wrong in that a switch is basically a switch and I can even "hardwire" the lutron's switch to a different brand ?

Thanks in advance.
Your contractor insisted on Lutron HomeWorks because it is a very solid and robust lighting solution.

You say your not fond of the switch. Can you please post a photo/model number or use google images to find something that looks like what your talking about. Lutrons switches look pretty much like everyone elses.

This is a typical Decora lutron switch.



Is this what your not happy with? If so then you really don't have much in the way of options. You cant swap them for a different type. They are 'intelligent' devices that communicate with a control processor and programming.

There is another style called Vareo. Swapping your dimmers and switches means your basically buying them twice. Your contractor may be willing to take them back minus a restocking fee but i wouldnt count on it. And i dont know if they have multi gang plates for this proprietary format.


An option thats most likely not possible now is having modules centrally located in a basement or closet. Then you could have had your walls completely clear of switches and dimmers and put a a Lutron keypad or your control system keypad to control the lights in a given area.

You could have had a single keypad like this in each room.





Or just had your lighting commands put on a touchscreen like these.




39CentStamp

Lutron Homework with regular switch pushbutton

Quote:
Originally Posted by spinsic
If you plan on using an automation system, (i.e.Crestron, AMX), you can use their keypads or touchpanels to replace Lutron's. Crestron controller then sends commands to lutron.
This option would only work with a fully homerun HW8 panel; if there are any local controls, he's boned. And in my opinion, seeTouch is far higher quality and aesthetic than any of the Crestron keypads.

Hyperite

Lutron Homework with regular switch pushbutton

Quote:
Originally Posted by ddave12000
I also wonder what keypads/dimmers you have been shown. I find that often people don't necessarily like the look - i.e. it's plastic, not high-end enough, but after use they find that they work solidly and like them.
Perhaps you're referring to a post of mine in another thread.

I played with the RadioRa2 dimmers at CEDIA, and I didn't think they were anything special. The plastic felt flimsy, just like the wired Maestro dimmers at HD/Lowes. No, they won't break, but I wish they were more solid. I think using a different Decora plate, if possible, may solve this 'problem'.

I am pretty obsessive about quality, to a fault, though I've improved over the last few years. I've become more accepting.

I've decided that I will use the Lutron dimmers, RR2 or HW QS, in my home.

"If one understands, things are just as they are; if one does not understand, things are just as they are."

Neurorad

Lutron Homework with regular switch pushbutton

If you plan on using an automation system, (i.e.Crestron, AMX), you can use their keypads or touchpanels to replace Lutron's. Crestron controller then sends commands to lutron.

spinsic

Lutron Homework with regular switch pushbutton

Quote:
Originally Posted by Neurorad
No, you cannot replace the switches.

The basic components of HomeWorks are the switches themselves, plus the central controller.

HW 4 or HW 8? New HW system being released in the spring, to replace current HW system.

Lutron Homeworks has quite a selection of switches. Most people say that Lutron HW has the best choice of switches.

Perhaps he is installing HW4, where the selection is much more limited, compared with HW8.

If you get HW 8, you will quite likely be very pleased with the selection of switches.

Can you provide a link to the switch he wants to use?

I'm guessing he wants to install HW4, and he wants to use the Maestro switches.

The contractor could make more money installing HW8, it's more expensive.

If the construction isn't finishing until the spring, you could get the new HW system, termed HomeWorks QS. Probably the same switch choices, though.

Physically go to a showroom, to look at the different Lutron HomeWorks styles.
Unless I'm mistaken, QS wireless isn't coming out until April of 2010, and wired isn't coming out until September 2010 so that's not a solution I would count on for a spring finish.

I also wonder what keypads/dimmers you have been shown. I find that often people don't necessarily like the look - i.e. it's plastic, not high-end enough, but after use they find that they work solidly and like them.

ddave12000

Lutron Homework with regular switch pushbutton

Quote:
Originally Posted by Neurorad
Lutron announced a new dimmer at CEDIA, the Vierti. Great for a contemporary space.


They're only $180, MSRP. White, gree, blue LED.

!!$180!!

ouch.
Well the Ra Classic dimmer was $199.

Chicagorep

Lutron Homework with regular switch pushbutton

isnt there already an iphone app for homeworks? i remember seeing it on cepro somewhere and thought it looked very cool. btw, homeworks 4 and 8 use the same switches (that i know of), and keypads are what make lutron stand out. you could go with litetouch for a different selection if need be. they have a few nice styles as well and probably just as reliable as lutron. i personally have gone with a homeworks 4 system with 8 control modules in the electrical room and keypads throughout the house. only place i'm gonna put in switches is for the closets and bathrooms. the keypads are super nice imo.

Anthony A.

Lutron Homework with regular switch pushbutton

Lutron announced a new dimmer at CEDIA, the Vierti. Great for a contemporary space.


They're only $180, MSRP. White, gree, blue LED.

!!$180!!

ouch.

Neurorad

Lutron Homework with regular switch pushbutton

Hoemeworks currently has about 8 different styles of Keypads and 2 styles of Dimmer/switches. Do you mean dimmers or keypads?

Chicagorep

Lutron Homework with regular switch pushbutton

The new homeworks system has the option of using an iPhone/iTouch for control... very cool. It was announced at CEDIA

whiskey alpha

Lutron Homework with regular switch pushbutton

No, you cannot replace the switches.

The basic components of HomeWorks are the switches themselves, plus the central controller.

HW 4 or HW 8? New HW system being released in the spring, to replace current HW system.

Lutron Homeworks has quite a selection of switches. Most people say that Lutron HW has the best choice of switches.

Perhaps he is installing HW4, where the selection is much more limited, compared with HW8.

If you get HW 8, you will quite likely be very pleased with the selection of switches.

Can you provide a link to the switch he wants to use?

I'm guessing he wants to install HW4, and he wants to use the Maestro switches.

The contractor could make more money installing HW8, it's more expensive.

If the construction isn't finishing until the spring, you could get the new HW system, termed HomeWorks QS. Probably the same switch choices, though.

Physically go to a showroom, to look at the different Lutron HomeWorks styles.

Neurorad

Lutron Homework with regular switch pushbutton

I have installed Lutron Homeworks, and Litetouch systems as well as Vantage system. I can list many differences, but a few are
1. Vantage uses a single 2 conductor low voltage cable for all wiring between ANY keypad, 120volt Vantage switch, relay station, etc., while Lutron requires different station bus cable for different keypads and 120v switches.
2. Any Vantage 120 volt switch can be programmed to control any load on the system, Lutron can't say this.
3. The Vantage RF switches also can work with the Vantage Infusion system keypads and vice versa, while Radio Ra1 and the new Radio Ra2 and homeworks cannot work with eachother.
4. The Vantage dimming and relay modules are plug in, they do not require double line voltage wiring connections.
5. The vantage dimming modules all are fusable, not so with Lutron.

I can go on.

One good thing I can say about Lutron, is they have an enormously better advertising budget.

Jack

westcojack

Lutron Homework with regular switch pushbutton

Along with what has already been mentioned, I will sometimes program the double-tap on a maestro to initiate an automatic sequence or turn on additional lights.

jkv

Lutron Homework with regular switch pushbutton

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hyperite
The "best" example I can give of this programmatic benefit is if a house has separate switches (or dimmers) for exterior lighting on the porch and garage. With a dumb system, you'd have to turn on the light for the porch, then walk to the garage and turn on the lights for outside the garage. In a homerun-load, keypads are fine, just have a button that says "Exterior" or whatever. But in a retrofit, you'll still need to have loaded devices. Lutron (and Vantage, and more) can be programmed to control the companion devices from each other. Tap the maestro at the front door and all the exterior lights come on to their preset levels.
Like I said, I agree fully with that type of thing , no need to convince me.

QQQ

Lutron Homework with regular switch pushbutton

Quote:
Originally Posted by westcojack
It is head over heels easier to install than Lutron and other systems.
I prefer Lutron installation, programming-configuration over Vantage any day of the week.

39CentStamp

Lutron Homework with regular switch pushbutton

Quote:
Originally Posted by QQQ
To answer your last question, a Homeworks wireless switch can be programmed to operate any load. I am unsure of whether a Maestro can as I have never had reason to try, I don't find it to be a useful feature. My Client's rarely ever touch a light switch, they use keypads.
The "best" example I can give of this programmatic benefit is if a house has separate switches (or dimmers) for exterior lighting on the porch and garage. With a dumb system, you'd have to turn on the light for the porch, then walk to the garage and turn on the lights for outside the garage. In a homerun-load, keypads are fine, just have a button that says "Exterior" or whatever. But in a retrofit, you'll still need to have loaded devices. Lutron (and Vantage, and more) can be programmed to control the companion devices from each other. Tap the maestro at the front door and all the exterior lights come on to their preset levels.

Now, that's the best example I can give, but it's not great because I usually set exterior lights to a timeclock event.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 39CentStamp
I prefer Lutron installation, programming-configuration over Vantage any day of the week.
I've only seen Vantage programming once, but it seemed worlds behind Lutron's Illumination. And with a new beta release every couple of months, Lutron makes frequent tweaks and fixes to both the software and device firmware.

Hyperite

Lutron Homework with regular switch pushbutton

I agree with you herdfan. The main reason I do not find it a useful feature is because of the way I design my systems and the types of projects I work on. Usually there are keypads for all primary control points. The other limitation is that it has to be limited to logic that involves the switch itself. But I can see where it could come in handy, and I have used it on rare occasion with the wireless system. With a wired system it's always when we are starting from scratch, so I have design flexibility to eliminate the need for it in the first place.

QQQ

Lutron Homework with regular switch pushbutton

Quote:
Originally Posted by westcojack
I have installed Lutron Homeworks, and Litetouch systems as well as Vantage system. I can list many differences, but a few are
1. Vantage uses a single 2 conductor low voltage cable for all wiring between ANY keypad, 120volt Vantage switch, relay station, etc., while Lutron requires different station bus cable for different keypads and 120v switches.
2. Any Vantage 120 volt switch can be programmed to control any load on the system, Lutron can't say this.
3. The Vantage RF switches also can work with the Vantage Infusion system keypads and vice versa, while Radio Ra1 and the new Radio Ra2 and homeworks cannot work with eachother.
4. The Vantage dimming and relay modules are plug in, they do not require double line voltage wiring connections.
5. The vantage dimming modules all are fusable, not so with Lutron.

I can go on.

One good thing I can say about Lutron, is they have an enormously better advertising budget.
I can see you took notes at the Vantage sales class .

Both systems are excellent and arguments can be made for both topologies. Personally I was disappointed when many years ago, just as Cat 5 was becoming the defacto industry standard, Vantage changed from Cat 5 to their non-polarity sensitive 2-conductor system. Their reason was that they had discovered that a large percentage of their tech support calls was due to installers who did not know how to terminate or test Cat 5. Either way, the fact that one system uses a 2-conductor cable and one uses a 4-conductor cable is hardly a relevant determination factor. In fact, anyone who only runs 2-conductor when the industry standard is going the other way needs to have their head examined, because it means you've locked your Client into a totally proprietary wiring scheme which no other company uses, in which case god help you if anything ever happens to Vantage. That is why even when we have worked with Vantage we run extra wire in addition to the 2-conductor. If on the other hand you run a Lutron cable, that cable will also work with Crestron or Vantage (even though it technically does not meet Vantage spec) or LiteTouch.

The ability to simply plug and unplug the dimmer modules and master controllers is a nice feature, but also not a big deal. The counterpoint is that some will argue it's actually a safety hazard and yes I really do know instances of numskulls unplugging a live Vantage dimmer module. With Lutron on the other hand you are forced to disconnect the loads prior to pulling it from an enclosure.

Any Lutron 120 volt switch can in fact program any load on the system. It's a near worthless feature on both manufacturers systems, but it can come in handy at times.

#3 isn't even a relevant point since Lutron offers multiple lines and has for many years offered a Homeworks wireless line that is fully compatible with Homeworks. I'm not sure how the fact that Lutron also offers a budget line that does not integrate with the higher end line is a negative. It's an extra option, it dosn't take anything away!

So you see, it's helps to see all sides as opposed to repeating talking points from a sales class , all of which I've heard verbatim in their classes. Sorry, but you are dealing with a tough crowd and some very informed people here Jack. Bottom line, both systems are excellent. And welcome to the forum.

QQQ

Lutron Homework with regular switch pushbutton

Quote:
Originally Posted by QQQ
To answer your last question, a Homeworks wireless switch can be programmed to operate any load. I am unsure of whether a Maestro can as I have never had reason to try, I don't find it to be a useful feature. My Client's rarely ever touch a light switch, they use keypads.
A HW Maestro can be programmed to control other loads, initiate sequences or set states. They can be programmed just like any other keypad button except they will ALWAYS change the state of the load they are connected to.

I will disagree with QQQ here as I find it a very useful feature. For example, the Maestro as you leave our Master Bath sends on OFF command to all the loads in the bathroom so one press is all you need. Another example is outside lights. For those that aren't controlled by timers or scenes, a press of a Maestro controls the load it is connected to, a double press turns on ALL outside lights. This is consistent throughout the house.

Now, my house was a retrofit, so I had to use Maestros in more locations than I would have if it were new construction. But I still think if I were starting from scratch, there would be more Maestros than a traditional integrator would design for mainly because I (and my wife) find it is easier to tap a Maestro on the way out of a room than try to hit the correct keypad button.

herdfan

Lutron Homework with regular switch pushbutton

Quote:
Originally Posted by westcojack
Sorry, I'm only trying to help someone make an informed decision.


Jack
No apology necessary. I think the only area you get disagreed with is when you say:

"We are dealers and integrators and exclusively use Vantage Controls equipment Cause its the best solution"

As opposed to "I prefer Vantage for these reasons". Don't get me wrong, I don't think all things are equal, I just think in this instance they are about as close as you can get to it.

To answer your last question, a Homeworks wireless switch can be programmed to operate any load. I am unsure of whether a Maestro can as I have never had reason to try, I don't find it to be a useful feature. My Client's rarely ever touch a light switch, they use keypads.

QQQ

Lutron Homework with regular switch pushbutton

Sorry, I'm only trying to help someone make an informed decision.


Jack

westcojack

Lutron Homework with regular switch pushbutton

I can give examples both for and against Vantage.. I don't think a contest of mine is larger than yours is productive, but if you must feel free.

David Richardson

Lutron Homework with regular switch pushbutton

Jack

As QQQ said there are long time Pros around here and most of us have used most lighting brands including myself. They ALL have pros and cons. By being able to use other brands one gains the ability to fit challanges in certain projects or pick up ones. Just be carefull when stepping up on that soap box. Remember there is always something better or someone better you maybe not know about.

David

David Richardson

Lutron Homework with regular switch pushbutton

Really all I said was to try Vantage.

As a Vantage dealer since 1998, I don't need sales classes , the system speaks for itself.
As an example, a home owner who has a system installed for around a year, called and said that his gardener cut a 120v line to his yard lighting transformer. Now none of the 2 zones of yard lights was working as well as 2 kitchen lights.
A simple review of the program on his system and an illuminated led on the module, told me that a fuse had blow in the module (the module itself was ok), and a quick removal of the plug in module, replacement of the fuse, and re-plug in of the module and all is well.
With Lutron or Litetouch, you have to disconnect at least 16 #12 wires, remove the module and either have a replacement handy or send it back to Lutron for repair.
In the Vantage case the cost was 15 minutes of labor and $ 2.25 for the fuse. With Lutron, several days or a week of downtime for the homeowner, and a few hundred or more dollars.

It think it more than a nice feature.

Also, as I am unclear, can a Vareo or Maestro dimmer connected to the Homeworks system control any light on the system?

Jack

westcojack

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