remote-controlled lighting options

Discussion in 'Accessories, Cables, and Remotes' started by MarcusDiddle, Aug 26, 2004.

  1. MarcusDiddle

    MarcusDiddle Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2004
    Messages:
    69
    Likes Received:
    0
    Am I not using the search correctly? I could find no info on this topic. Seems a bit odd for HTF...

    ...At any rate, I've got some light switches that I'd like to swap out for IR switchplates, so I can control the lights from a remote (and a fireplace also). What are my options? I've already got a capable remote (Sony RM-AV3000). I've checked out www.smarthome.com and www.x10.com, but still a bit hazey on exactly what I need. Any help or advice would be appreciated!
     
  2. Tom D

    Tom D Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2000
    Messages:
    140
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hi, Check Lutron, they are available at Home Depot, they provide for all kinds of lighting control.

    Regards Tom
     
  3. MarcusDiddle

    MarcusDiddle Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2004
    Messages:
    69
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks Tom, I'll drop by there on my way home from work and see what they offer.

    Anyone else have experience with Lutron? Is it just a swap of the light switches? Any additional wiring needed?
     
  4. Adam Gregorich

    Owner

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 1999
    Messages:
    15,680
    Likes Received:
    675
    Location:
    The Other Washington
    Real Name:
    Adam
    The Lutron Spacer is just a swap on an existing lightswitch. Very easy install. I had one for several years with no problems. I learned the codes into my Pronto. I think there are a few versions available. One with on/off and dim, and another with a few additional presets (I think).
     
  5. Eric Samonte

    Eric Samonte Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 1999
    Messages:
    1,327
    Likes Received:
    0
    I moved from X10 to Lutron a few years back. I was always annoyed by the sudden coming on of lights for the former. Lutron provides u with a slow bright and even a slower dim if desired.
     
  6. Eddie L

    Eddie L Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2003
    Messages:
    110
    Likes Received:
    0
    I use Lutron's Grafik Eye and a Harmony remote, and am very pleased with the combo
     
  7. MarcusDiddle

    MarcusDiddle Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2004
    Messages:
    69
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks Adam, I looked into the Spacer system, and it looks like what I would need. I went to Home Depot last night and found a ton of Lutron switches, but none with IR receivers on them. I found a cheaper brand of switch which has an IR receiver and came with a remote, but it didn't do dimming or anything other than on/off. Was I looking in the wrong section possibly? Or maybe I should try a bigger Home Depot. Is there anywhere online where I can buy these?
     
  8. BrianKR

    BrianKR Second Unit

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2002
    Messages:
    498
    Likes Received:
    0
    Home Depot online has the Lutron dimmers w/remote.
    It might just be possible that your particular Home Depot doesn't stock them. Try a different HD in your area.

    What I would like to know is if you can purchase 5 Lutron remote switches to work in one room with one remote.
    The Grafik Eye looks out of my reach technically. It looks to complicated to install.
     
  9. Adam Gregorich

    Owner

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 1999
    Messages:
    15,680
    Likes Received:
    675
    Location:
    The Other Washington
    Real Name:
    Adam
    When I bought mine several years ago I had to have Home Depot order it for me. You may find better pricing on line. Search for Lutron Spacer. There are a few different models so you may want to research them on Lutrons website.
     
  10. MarcusDiddle

    MarcusDiddle Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2004
    Messages:
    69
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks for looking that up for me! That's exactly what I want, but $60+ per switch is a bit out of range for me. Personally I think that's a bit outrageous! But I guess you've gotta pay to play...I may try out the cheaper ones I found at Home Depot. They were only $20/switch. That I can handle! [​IMG]
     
  11. Adam Gregorich

    Owner

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 1999
    Messages:
    15,680
    Likes Received:
    675
    Location:
    The Other Washington
    Real Name:
    Adam
    If you go the $20 route let us know how it works. I know that the Lutron works and I haven't had a problem with it since it was installed almost 4 years ago. If the $20 switch works just as well that would be good to know.
     
  12. MarcusDiddle

    MarcusDiddle Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2004
    Messages:
    69
    Likes Received:
    0

    I'll swing by and pick one up tonight and report back tomorrow [​IMG]

    In the meantime, because I haven't tried programming a light switch into my Sony RM-AV3000, anyone got tips for doing it? I know how to train my remote with other remotes, but is there a way to assign different "levels of dim" to various buttons?
     
  13. Adam Gregorich

    Owner

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 1999
    Messages:
    15,680
    Likes Received:
    675
    Location:
    The Other Washington
    Real Name:
    Adam
    That all depends on the remote that comes with the light switch. I had the basic Spacer model. With that I couldn't. Newer more delux models allow you to. Look at the remote through the packaging and see how many buttons it has. Three of fewer and I would guess that it doesn't.
     
  14. MarcusDiddle

    MarcusDiddle Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2004
    Messages:
    69
    Likes Received:
    0
    Ok, good news and bad news...

    Good news: The $20 IR switch from Home Depot works! It has basic dimming options; hold down to dim up/down, tap button to gradually dim up or dim down. I learned the switch's button to a button on my Sony remote, and it works fine.

    Bad news: It's a two-button remote, one button for up to two IR switches. Which means (as far as I can tell) only two of these switches per room. Otherwise I don't know how it would know the difference between the signals. I may try a couple others though and see how it all works.
     
  15. sean strugnell

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 1999
    Messages:
    21
    Likes Received:
    0
    What is the brand name for the $20 switch?
     
  16. MarcusDiddle

    MarcusDiddle Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2004
    Messages:
    69
    Likes Received:
    0
    The brand is Commercial Electric. The kit is in a plastic case, and I found them next to all the Lutron switches. It has a white switch with an IR panel on it, and a white remote with two buttons, labeled 1 and 2. The kit also includes an switch plate. I can't find them on the web or on HomeDepot's website. It's model number is #724-398 (I think...that's the only number on the package).

    I've currently got it programmed into my remote to turn on whenever the rest of my AV equip turns on, and to turn off when I shut down everything; all with the touch of one button [​IMG] I'm happy.

    I wish I could set different dim levels, but there isn't that option. The closest thing to that option is the light switch "remembers" your last dim-level before you turned it off, so when you turn the light back on, it returns to that dim-level. Also, there's no "quick-on/quick-off" option with this switch either. It always fades up/down. Again, not a huge loss in functionality; I'll give that up for $40 less than the other switches.
     
  17. MarcusDiddle

    MarcusDiddle Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2004
    Messages:
    69
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thought I'd post up a quick pic of these $20 switches. I've now got two of them installed, and they're working out great so far. The only complaint I have is that I can't have more than two in one room. The switch itself has a slider on it to designate it as switch 1 or 2, which corresponds to the 1 and 2 buttons on the remote. You could set more than one to be either, but then you'd be controlling more than one light at the same time, which might not be all that bad. Anyway, here's the pic of it installed:

    http://mjpd.com/images/misc/IR_switch.jpg

    Changed IMG tag to URL as file size exceeds 40MB embedded maximum - Jay
     
  18. BrianKR

    BrianKR Second Unit

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2002
    Messages:
    498
    Likes Received:
    0
    I had those switches and they work great.
    I used 4 of them in one room for over a year.
    Zone 1 for my recessed and wall lighting and zone 2 for my rope lighting on under the riser/stage and around the ceiling. You can program a learning remote to control the switches.

    I am renovating my HT room and I want more versatility now so I am either going to purchase a Grafik Eye or Space Saver switches from Lutron.

    For only $20 bucks a switch you cant go wrong with those Commercial Electric switches! [​IMG]
     
  19. MarcusDiddle

    MarcusDiddle Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2004
    Messages:
    69
    Likes Received:
    0
    Yeah I've got my Sony RM-AV3000 programmed to control the switches. Each switch has it's own button, and then I've got both lights programmed to one button together for simultanious on/off.

    In a dedicated HT room like yours, having only two zones for lighting may not be so bad. However, I'm in an apartment. I've got two main lights in my living room, and then I'd also like to control my kitchen, dining, and hall lights as well. But you just can't do that with these. So I'll have to stick with just controlling the two lights in the living room for now.
     
  20. Jay Mitchosky

    Jay Mitchosky Producer

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 1998
    Messages:
    3,740
    Likes Received:
    0

    I'm going to be installing Spacer switches (dimmers) in utility room for each of my five zones with a single gang remote master control in the theater. It feeds the Spacers with one or two IR repeaters (included with the master). Makes for a cleaner installation if you are planning on a number of different zones. That said do you have experience with installation of the remote master? I don't know how much is involved here. Everything is prewired including the IR runs.

    The thing with spending a bit more on Lutron's stuff is that you know it will work. X10 has some nice aspects but ultimately I found it to be pretty flaky. You are relying on a pretty low level signal travelling through your electrical lines so noise and opposite phases can cause problems. Spacer is a great product in that it gets you much of the Grafik Eye's functionality but at a more attractive price. I ordered my Spacer stuff yesterday in preparation for my room's completion (file under "About F***ing Time").
     

Share This Page