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Lutron Spacer Installation 101 (Rev. 1/17/06 - Adding IR Emitters)

Discussion in 'Home Theater Projects' started by Jay Mitchosky, Nov 3, 2004.

  1. Craig W

    Craig W Second Unit

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    Just an update. I have successfully used a Niles IR repeater with the Lutron Spacer System.

    The reason I am doing this is because my Lutron Spacer dimmers and components are at a very large angle from the seating position and the projector is ceiling mounted.


    I have an IR sensor mounted on the wall directly in front of me near a corner so its not behind the screen. The IR sensor is connected to the Niles MSU250 repeater.

    Since I have four spacer dimmers mounted in a gang box I had to use a dual IR flasher and mount one on the right and the other in the left side of the box. I suppose I could have used a single blaster which is larger but the box is already pretty full.
     
  2. Joe Schwartz

    Joe Schwartz Second Unit

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    I was able to use a Sonance Optilinq IR repeater with my Lutron Spacer dimmer, but it took a few tries to place the IR emitter in exactly the right location.
     
  3. MarcCh

    MarcCh Agent

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    I was wondering how I can go about and install this and make it functional if the light switchs are behind my seating area

    Marc
     
  4. Craig W

    Craig W Second Unit

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    To make it work with good reliability I would install an IR Repeater system which consists of an IR sensor, control unit, and IR flashers that repeat the signal.

    There are some cheaper units that are available that run on batteries and use RF to send the signal to the flashers.

    I am using a Niles system that looks more like a professional install. I mounted an IR sensor in low voltage gang box with a Decora face plate. That sensor is connect via CAT5 to a Niles MSU250 control unit that is hardwired to the flashers. This system probably only makes sense if you have your wall stripped bare to the studs so you can do the wiring.
     
  5. Jay Mitchosky

    Jay Mitchosky Producer

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    Hey All

    There was discussion throughout this thread regarding the use of IR emitters to help control the Spacer Remote Master. As I indicated in my original post the only gripe I have with the Spacer system is the Wall Mounted Remote's lousy IR sensitivity. Because the case is clear we proposed sticking IR bugs to the back to facilitate better control. I finally got around to doing this now that my theater is complete and here are the results:

    http://www.hometheaterforum.com/gall...g2_itemId=4664

    First off, just placing the emitter on the back won't work. There are two layers of circuit boards in the way of the sensor. Nor can you place them on the side of the case to flash the sensor directly as there's not enough room to install into the gang box. I chose to install the emitter (actually two emitters - had a dual head kicking around) right inside the case.

    The reason why the remote sensor is so lousy is that it's not even located in the fourth scene button, which I had assumed given the IR pane. Turns out the IR window simply directs the signal to the sensor on the circuit board. I placed the emitters on either side of the inner case to flank the sensor. They are in turn connected via extension cable to my RF base station in the equipment room. I'm fortunate to have a wood basement floor so was able to go below to fish through the wall.

    End result is perfect response (after a bit of a boost to the base station's output - I split a channel to accommodate both the lights and the projector). No more line of sight, with the ability to create slick macros for movie time, intermission, etc. The photos in the gallery will save you much of the time I spent staring at the thing figuring out how I was going to accomplish this. Only challenge is opening the case - the screws are small and they use a non-standard bit. I was able to use a little flathead screwdriver that had enough grip to get them out.

    I'm looking forward to further results from you guys.
     
  6. David_MSP

    David_MSP Stunt Coordinator

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    Hello everyone!

    I just had to chime in and let you all know this thread has been incredibly helpful to me. I want to especially thank Jay for starting this in the first place and making this seem like not such a daunting task after all. I'm typically very savvy with wiring things but for some reason this Spacer System had me wondering about my abilities.

    I'm in the process of finishing the framing in my future basement home theater and the electrical is next on the list. I've got the main home theater room that is about 16' by 28' with an additional 14' by 20' section off to one side towards the back. I've come up with six different zones including ones for step lights, wall sconces, and various recessed cans. Had it not been for Jay's very helpful information, I would not be doing what I'm doing. It's this sort of sharing of information that reminds me of why I stick around the Home Theater Forum.

    Thanks again everyone!
     
  7. Jay Mitchosky

    Jay Mitchosky Producer

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    Hey David

    That's great. [​IMG] I would strongly suggest you also consider running at least a CAT-5 for an IR installation as I documented above. To that you can wire the head for an emitter. Pre-wiring is cheap and well worth it even if you don't decide to do this in the future. Likewise I applaud your multiple zones. Double check before drywall goes up to make sure you don't want any more. A single Spacer master control can operate a total of ten zones split between two 5-gang boxes.

    Good luck and keep us posted.
     
  8. Brian Osborne

    Brian Osborne Stunt Coordinator

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    I have been reading that people are haveing difficulty with the IR reciever having a narrow range? I've got the Maestro IR dimmers and I don't have any problems at all. Just painted all my walls dark red (satin finish) and I can even bounce the signal off the wall and dim all the lights. Perhaps they identified a flaw and fixed it, but I couldn't be happier with the install. So much so that I've relplace a few other switches in other parts of the house.
    I am curious, what is the difference between the "spacer" and Maestro IR?
     
  9. Jay Mitchosky

    Jay Mitchosky Producer

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    Pathetically so. It's my only complaint about the system. I think the big reason is not the sensor itself but rather how it's positioned. The actual IR sensor sits on the circuit board of the remote master, behind and off to the left of the window on the fourth scene button. You can see it here. So unless the IR signal is coming from dead on or slightly to the right of the master you're out of luck. Regardless of remote strength (and I've tried with a Pronto and Home Theater Master MX-850 both of which have very strong emitters).

    If Lutron would have positioned the sensor a) directly below the IR window instead of being offset, and b) closer to the window itself it would perform much better. Someone handy with a soldering pen would be able to remedy this themselves. Alternatively you can just install emitters like I detailed above. If you already have an IR repeater system then the emitter install is the way to go, particularly if you run RF. I no longer have any line of site issues and can flawlessly incorporate lighting control into macros.
     
  10. Kevin-R-S

    Kevin-R-S Agent

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    OK... I read this whole post and would like some qualifications:

    I am in the framing stage ready to do drywall, and my electrician has run all my wiring for the two zones and two dimmer switches I will have in my HT room.

    If I want to make life easy the best thing I could do is RUN CAT 5 to the dimmer switch and then back to my AV rack where I hope to have a RF-IR Repeater which will take commands from my RF remote and pass them through to the IR emitter.

    Is this the correct procedure?

    Thanks
     
  11. johnKap

    johnKap Auditioning

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    This thread has been a huge help to me, thanks! One more question remains, hopefully Jay or someone can answer:

    My plan is to have 1 large rec room in the basement with the HT incorporated into one end of the room. I plan to have 4 zones of lighting with the 4 dimmers in 1 gang box near the center of the room. I'd like to use 2 Remote Masters, one at the entrance to basement and one near the HT, so I'd have control of lighting from 3 locations. Is it possible to use 2 remote masters and run travellers from each of them to the dimmers and place an IR flasher from each of the remote masters on the dimmer at each end of the gang box?

    Thanks for your help!
     
  12. Jay Mitchosky

    Jay Mitchosky Producer

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    The problem with sticky threads: you get used to seeing them there and new posts don't jump out at you. :b Well, well, WELL after these questions were added so they've likely been resolved but just in case:

    I believe Lutron has wiring diagrams that show this. Each dimmer can accommodate only one IR clip. But with four dimmers you could place a clip from one master to, say, Zone 2 and another clip from the second master to Zone 3. The dimmers don't care where they're getting the signal from, and since the clips are central there shouldn't be an issue with commands issued to Zones 1 and 4. You could even use this setup as a means of expanding the lighting scenes available to you. Use the master closest to the theater for "movie" scenes, and the master at the entrance for more recreational scenes. The IR sensors on the masters are very limited so it's unlikely you would accidentally activate a scene from the entrance when you are in the theater.

    I'll expand on this concept further. You could go so far as running IR emitters to each master as I detailed above. By implementing a repeater system that allows you to isolate commands to specific channels you could program your remote for 8 scenes that would be available to you from anywhere in the room. The Home Theater Master MRF-300 that I use can be programmed to output commands for one device out of any (or all) of six repeater channels. So with this example you could have IR commands for Master 1 (entrance) under channel one and for Master 2 (theater) under channel two. Even though the remote commands for both masters are the same (ie. dim, fade, scenes 1-4) only one would receive these commands at a time. I'd love to have more scenes available and in your install this could be a very practical extension of the system's capabilities.
     
  13. todbnla

    todbnla Screenwriter

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    Along the same lines, I wanted to install to Lutron Maestros in my newest theater and my electrician gave me some flak about remotes interfering with each other? Has I understand it, When I install 2 receivers in the wall the only really problem is I will only have one zone since both remotes will work both receivers and in essence one remote will send the same signal to both receivers so the lights will go down all at once instead of two different zones, correct?
     
  14. todbnla

    todbnla Screenwriter

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    The answer to my question is: YES, one remote will work two dimmers in unison. But NOT separate
     
  15. MikeWelsh

    MikeWelsh Auditioning

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  16. machmaniman

    machmaniman Auditioning

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    I don't think my particular question has been answered here, so I'll go ahead and ask it.

    First, my situation:
    -un-constructed combined home theater / family room
    -4 lighting zones
    -each zone needs two wall mounted switches that will be at least 12' apart
    -each zone has 4-8 lights

    Second, my goals:
    -to be able to use compact flourescent bulbs
    -to be able to set "mood lighting" automatically from anywhere in the room via remote
    -to be able to over-ride existing lighting by using a wall mounted switch (to go from partly dimmed to full on or full off at the wall switch without affecting the other zones)
    -at each of the two entrances to the room, which will be into one of two zones, have the ability to turn on all lights to one of the pre-set "moods" without the remote
    -eventually be able to use a Harmony remote to control the lights and AV. The supplied remote will suit my needs fine and, in fact, is preferable in the short run.

    Questions:
    -is this possible?
    -if so, using what Lutron system and what components?
    -can someone explain to the n00b in simple terms roughly what the wiring of this system would look like? I've been all over the Lutron site and unfortunately it doesn't make much sense to me still...

    Qualifier:
    I know these seem like somewhat simple questions, but everything I've read today is just a little too far over my head. Sorry.
     
  17. Porter H

    Porter H Auditioning

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    This is a good question. Even though its months old, a good answer could serve value for future reference. Anyone care to answer?
     
  18. scarr2k

    scarr2k Auditioning

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