Lighting Control Question

Discussion in 'Home Theater Projects' started by Chris Wittry, Sep 5, 2003.

  1. Chris Wittry

    Chris Wittry Stunt Coordinator

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    Here's a question for you lighting control experts. I have the following setup:

    1 circuit w/ 9-50 watt cans
    1 circuit w/ 4-50 watt cans
    1 circuit w/ 3-50 watt cans

    I would like to be able to control those 3 circuits with a remote (either IR or X-10) and also from a set of switches at the bottom of our stairs. The trick is that I don't want to cut into the wall to install the switches, so I'm looking for some wireless switches that will attach to my wall along with a solution for the IR/X-10 control. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks! [​IMG]
     
  2. Darren Mortensen

    Darren Mortensen Stunt Coordinator

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    X-10 will be your least expensive option. You can get all need at www.smarthome.com

    You can get wireless wall switches that can be placed anywhere there is a flat surface.
     
  3. Gary Silverman

    Gary Silverman Stunt Coordinator

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    Chris, Here's an x-10 switch that will do what you want, although the fact that you want to install it at the bottom of your stairs may be a problem with its operation.wireless x10 switch
     
  4. Chris Wittry

    Chris Wittry Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks for the prompt replies! I don't know much about X-10, but would I need some type of receiver to wire in-line with my lighting cans? Also, from the description, it looks like that switch has 3 on/off buttons and a dimming one, but could I utilize a computer based X-10 system to reprogram the buttons and use all 4 for dimming? Thanks again! [​IMG]
     
  5. Chris Wittry

    Chris Wittry Stunt Coordinator

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    Nobody has any input on this? I thought there were a bunch of electronics experts on this board! [​IMG]
     
  6. Ed O'Neill

    Ed O'Neill Second Unit

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    Ok Chris
    I 'll try to help. First I need to understand exactly how your home theater(lighting) is controlled. You say you don't want to cut any holes in the walls for the switches.

    Are these light permenantly on?
    Do they have switches to turn them off and on?

    If you do have switches all you do is replace the switches that you currently have with new x10 switches (wherever they may be) and use the remote its that simple.

    Wait I think I figured out why your confused maybe you don't really understand about x-10 and the other uys who posted didn't even give you the link to the ORIGINAL x10 company here is the website.......are you ready......get a pen or get ready to click the link ......here it is.............. www.x10.com

    go to the site and read I am sure you will understand. By the way you CANNOT use HALOGEN bulbs in the cans it will overload the switch and melt/burn the swiitch. I learned the hard way, I nearly burnt my house down I left the lights on (4 par30 halogens on for an hour and I came back in the room and there was smoke coming out from the switch plate. I had to replace that switch, the ceiling fan switch and the electrical box as well as repainting the wall.

    Now I have it working with par 30 incandecent lights and all is well.

    Hope all this helps. I also hope people will heed my warning.

    Signed
    Ed O'Neill
     
  7. Chris Wittry

    Chris Wittry Stunt Coordinator

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    Ed,

    I don't have the lights installed yet, but with your solution I could put X-10 switches for the lights back in my furnance room, avoiding any holes in the walls, and then use the wireless switch at the bottom of my stairs to control the X-10 switches....correct? Thanks!
     
  8. MikeWh

    MikeWh Second Unit

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    That is correct, Chris. Or, you could control them with a remote, a computer, or a controller box. I have a keychain-sized remote that can control two different lighting scenes and a "regular-sized" remote that can control whatever I want. I bought a starter kit, which allows for computer programming of scenes. You'll need to either get a similar product or one of their desktop programming controllers, if you want better control over a multi-zone (multi-X10 code) scene.
    http://www.smarthome.com/1142.html

    BTW, you don't need 3 circuits, but 3 zones. A circuit is generally understood to mean a single, complete wire run from the service box on a single breaker switch. You can run all of your 3 zones on a single circuit, as long as you can accomodate the total load. You've got about 7 amps there.

    Additionally, I can (almost) guarantee the 4095 X10 switch will work from the bottom of your stairs. I can control my X10 lights from at least two floors away. As you mentioned, you'll need the cans wired to separate X-10 receivers (one for each zone). Wherever your hardwired switches are (like in your furnace room), you can replace them with standard X10 wall switches (receivers) or you can wire individual in-line receivers to each zone.

    Also, I'd suggest www.x10ideas.com over the x10.com site for basic information re: x-10 capabilities. I can't stand the web design of x10.com. You can't find what you're looking for without popups and annoying colors all over the place.

    Also, the Smarthome site that Darren mentioned offers many other X-10 compatible products (than just those offered by the original X-10 people at x10.com). Their X10 primer is here: http://www.smarthome.com/about_x10.html
     
  9. Ed O'Neill

    Ed O'Neill Second Unit

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    Chris ,
    like Mike said ..The answer is yes ..He covered more than I did.

    I still don't understand whyyou don't put the switches in the room?

    Talk to you later
    Ed
     
  10. Gary Silverman

    Gary Silverman Stunt Coordinator

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    Not to get too far off topic, but, Ed, there's no reason to NOT use halogen fixtures. I would guess that you had a bad connection, or possibly a bad switch. I've used halogen fixtures in lots of installations, and never had a problem. Also, you have to be careful not to exceed the rating of the switch, but I don't think that was your problem, since you only had 4-par30's.
    Chris,from the looks of you post, unlike Ed,you're using low voltage halogens. Just for the hell of it, I e-mailed x10.
    Here's what I got back:
    Unfortunately, www.x10.com does not currently offer a wall switch or lamp module that works with low-voltage lights. Many users have success controlling low-voltage lighting with appliance modules, but the most reliable results are found when using a switch specific to the type of lamp you wish to control. For now, we recommend visiting http://www.x10pro.com or http://smarthome.com/x10wallsw.html for low-voltage compatible modules.
     
  11. Ed O'Neill

    Ed O'Neill Second Unit

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    Gary,

    Point well taken.. All I know is I had an electrician install the lights and switch. If I am not mistaken the instruction booklet said to use incandecent light.

    Here is what I used and it does say incandecent only
    http://www.x10.com/automation/x10_ws12a.htm

    Either way it really did happen and of course the electrician didn't take any blame but he did re-do the box and switches took him all of 15 minutes.

    talk to you
    ED
     
  12. Dave Milne

    Dave Milne Supporting Actor

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    Chris,
    You might want to check out Lutron products. Their Spacer and RadioRA systems are pretty clever and include wireless remote capability. Don't know if they have a "standard-wallplate-looking" remote, however. I've liked the way their dimming controls work much better than X-10. The X-10s I've used are clunky --you have to choose the station first, then hold a bright/dim button to get the brightness you want. The Lutron's offer scene lighting to automatically take all lights to a variety of preset levels.

    And Ed, there's absolutely no reason why 110V halogen bulbs would cause your problem. They are electrically equivalent to standard incandescents. Now, 12V halogens are a little different because they require a transformer. With magnetic transformers (conventional iron and copper "thingys" we've all come to know and love), they also behave exactly like incandescent bulbs. With "solid state" transformers (actually switch-mode power converters - usually triac-based) the current spikes can be substantial and the switch-mode operation will wreak havoc with conventional dimmers.

    I'm running two lighting zones in my theater with eight 12v halogen cans (MR-16s with magnetic transformers) on one and four 120V halogen sconces on the other. They all work fine with standard dimmers.
     
  13. Ed O'Neill

    Ed O'Neill Second Unit

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    Dave,

    Do you know my electrician because he said almost the same thing to me. Like I said all I know is that is what the manual says. By the way I just checked out Lutrons site and what do you know they say incandescent alos.

    I never really looked into the lutrons because they don't have the universal remote for audio/video.I reeally didn't want to another remote hanging around. The other thing was the price was astronomical, some thing like $50 at Home Depot.

    I agree that it may be a little clumsy, I like the idea of preset controls of the lutron. who knows I may switch.The other thing worth noting is that x-10 manufactures the lutron wireless products, Radio Shack, as the old RCA.

    Talk to you soon
    Ed
     
  14. MikeWh

    MikeWh Second Unit

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    Dave--
     
  15. Gary Silverman

    Gary Silverman Stunt Coordinator

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    Chris,I edited my post. I thought that would bump it. It didn't.Check out what x10 has to say.
     
  16. MikeWh

    MikeWh Second Unit

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    hmmm... I didn't even think about low-voltage halogens.... Is that what you're using, Chris?

    As Gary found out, the Smarthome switches are better made
    than the traditional X10 products. The SwitchLinc switch I bought is capable of handling low voltage lighting. This matrix of features should help out, if you decide to get some of these switches:
    http://smarthome.com/manuals/SHD-Matrix-decora.pdf
     
  17. Dave Milne

    Dave Milne Supporting Actor

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    Mike
    Thanks for setting me straight on X-10... I should have figured they'd improved their line since 1990 :b

     
  18. MikeWh

    MikeWh Second Unit

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    Hey, I love low-voltage halogen fixtures... there are so many great designs. Unfortunately, they can get so expensive, compared to the cheapest incandescent cans. If you can afford them though, they really are great.
     
  19. Ed O'Neill

    Ed O'Neill Second Unit

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    Mike wh,

    I remeber on x-10 website that they said they made all those companies wireless lights. The ra system that you refer to may be something total diffrent I know nothing about them. I have been using the x-10 system since 1994 in my old home . The lights I used were not recessed lights or halogen bulbs.

    Now as for the comment: Hey,
     
  20. MikeWh

    MikeWh Second Unit

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    Ed--
     

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