New Remote Time

xx Brian xx

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I've had a number of different smart remotes over the years and have decided to try yet another one in our home. I ran different Harmony remotes for a number of years, URC for only a year and in the last 5 years I've had Control4. I thought about updating the Control4 system but they still run the same remote I already have. So I am going to try RTI. I will give my impression after I get it programmed and installed.

I talked to RTI late last week and have an XP6s processor, T4x remote, T1b remote and an 8 button keypad on the way. Unfortunately when I installed Control4, I also changed out a few light switches to Control4. Now I need to change the switches again to work with RTI. I'm still deciding if I will use Lutron Caseta switches, that I have a few already at the house, or jump into the Lutron RA2 system. Anyone have a preference one way or the other?

I am always curious what others are using and why. I really liked the Harmony remotes for ease of programming and how good they worked but they are only one room solutions and don't do whole home automation. URC was too archaic and I didn't care for the remote itself. I could have upgraded to a different URC remote but decided to switch to a different control system anyway. Control4 has been great. It has done almost everything I have asked it to from controlling the AV components to controlling lights, fans, fireplace and the thermostat. The only thing I have grown bored with is the Control4 remote. It is the same remote for years with no touch screen and is limited to only 3 buttons that can be mapped. With RTI, the T4x has a 4" touch screen so I can make my own buttons to do exactly what I need. What does everyone else use for control and automation?

I will post pictures of the new processor and remotes next to old ones when they come in.

Brian
 

Dave Upton

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I've had a number of different smart remotes over the years and have decided to try yet another one in our home. I ran different Harmony remotes for a number of years, URC for only a year and in the last 5 years I've had Control4. I thought about updating the Control4 system but they still run the same remote I already have. So I am going to try RTI. I will give my impression after I get it programmed and installed.

I talked to RTI late last week and have an XP6s processor, T4x remote, T1b remote and an 8 button keypad on the way. Unfortunately when I installed Control4, I also changed out a few light switches to Control4. Now I need to change the switches again to work with RTI. I'm still deciding if I will use Lutron Caseta switches, that I have a few already at the house, or jump into the Lutron RA2 system. Anyone have a preference one way or the other?

I am always curious what others are using and why. I really liked the Harmony remotes for ease of programming and how good they worked but they are only one room solutions and don't do whole home automation. URC was too archaic and I didn't care for the remote itself. I could have upgraded to a different URC remote but decided to switch to a different control system anyway. Control4 has been great. It has done almost everything I have asked it to from controlling the AV components to controlling lights, fans, fireplace and the thermostat. The only thing I have grown bored with is the Control4 remote. It is the same remote for years with no touch screen and is limited to only 3 buttons that can be mapped. With RTI, the T4x has a 4" touch screen so I can make my own buttons to do exactly what I need. What does everyone else use for control and automation?

I will post pictures of the new processor and remotes next to old ones when they come in.

Brian
Brian,

Interesting reading this, because I just recently decided to go with the Harmony Elite over a Control4/RTI solution, as my needs are more focused on a single room.

At @Adam Gregorich 's suggestion, I installed RA2 Lutron switches, which work very nicely so far.

Are you self-installing/programming or are you working with an RTI dealer?
 

Adam Gregorich

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I've had a number of different smart remotes over the years and have decided to try yet another one in our home. I ran different Harmony remotes for a number of years, URC for only a year and in the last 5 years I've had Control4. I thought about updating the Control4 system but they still run the same remote I already have. So I am going to try RTI. I will give my impression after I get it programmed and installed.

I talked to RTI late last week and have an XP6s processor, T4x remote, T1b remote and an 8 button keypad on the way. Unfortunately when I installed Control4, I also changed out a few light switches to Control4. Now I need to change the switches again to work with RTI. I'm still deciding if I will use Lutron Caseta switches, that I have a few already at the house, or jump into the Lutron RA2 system. Anyone have a preference one way or the other?

I am always curious what others are using and why. I really liked the Harmony remotes for ease of programming and how good they worked but they are only one room solutions and don't do whole home automation. URC was too archaic and I didn't care for the remote itself. I could have upgraded to a different URC remote but decided to switch to a different control system anyway. Control4 has been great. It has done almost everything I have asked it to from controlling the AV components to controlling lights, fans, fireplace and the thermostat. The only thing I have grown bored with is the Control4 remote. It is the same remote for years with no touch screen and is limited to only 3 buttons that can be mapped. With RTI, the T4x has a 4" touch screen so I can make my own buttons to do exactly what I need. What does everyone else use for control and automation?

I will post pictures of the new processor and remotes next to old ones when they come in.

Brian
Brian-
I would recommend you go in between the Caseta and RA2 and do a RA2 Select system from Lutron for several reasons:

1) Compatibility - The RA2 Select switches are compatible with with a full on RA2 system. This means that if you ever decide you want to go all in, all the switches you have purchased to date can be used with the RA2 system. You will just have to replace the repeaters/hub. A full RA2 system has additional switches and keypads above and beyond what a RA2 Select system supports, but all your select switches will work with it. Caseta switches aren't compatible with a full RA2 system so they would all have to be replaced.

2) Cosmetics - This may come down to personal preference, but I really dislike the Caseta switches. They are too busy and have too many buttons. The RA2 Select keypads are based on the Lutron Maestro switches and are a lot cleaner. They also come in a lot more colors, close to 30 if you include both matte and gloss finishes. Additionally, if you decide at some point that you want to change the colors, they have a color change kit that just includes the visible plastic part of the switch so you can change the color without buying a new switch. It looks really slick to gang a pico remote with the switches. I did this in the rec room and kitchen.

B0CEDF19-2869-487A-8E47-A43DDE193B7A.jpeg


3) Capacity - This may or may not be important, but the RA2 Select hub can handle more devices that the Caseta, so you can have a bigger system.

One thing to note: Certain Lutron shades are compatible with one hub or the other. Prior to adding the lighting, we had some shades installed that only talk to the Caseta hub. It wasn't a big deal in the room as we had a pico remote to control them, but at the time we could only have one hub or another in the app. They just came out with the ability to have a second homes hub in the app, so I set up the Caseta hub for the blinds as my "second home" so I can now control them through the app, I just have to switch to my second home.

Overall it will come down to preference. Either line works well, plays nice with others (google, alexa, apple home kit), but if you are starting out I would push you towards the RA2 Select. We started with the kitchen and dining during a remodel then added a room a time as budget allowed: master, rec room, and as of next week will add the office, stairs and halls.

I used to use the URC 750 (both independent and tied to Crestron). I played with the MXHP-R500 recently, but it didn't work as well with the FireTVs that we use as I had hoped. I played with a Harmony Elite which worked great with all the devices but it was frustrating because you have to do it their way and only their way. For instance with URC products I would build my macros with just the AVR input command as that will turn Denon/Marantz products on and to that input. I couldn't find an easy way to bypass that with the Harmony. I also needed a bigger hub with more IR outputs than the Elite (which they now have (the Harmony Pro 2400). I looked at Rti several years ago, but I'm sure they have upgraded everything since then.
 

xx Brian xx

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Thank you both for the great feedback! Dave, I will be installing and programming everything myself as I did with all the other remotes. I will also install and program the switches. I would say you definitely went the right way with Harmony for a single room. The Harmony remotes started my addiction to total home control. I pushed my Harmony's to the limit on what they could do before I switched to whole home systems.
Adam, I agree on the RA2 select but ended up ordering a few Caseta switches today to keep costs down. I already have a number of the Caseta switches installed and didn't want to change out everything. I will probably switch to RA2 eventually. I like the RA2 switches better than the Caseta but for the most part, I never look at them because everything is either voice controlled or automated. Anyone interested in lighting control needs to read your Lutron writeup, the RA2 switches really are amazing. Thank you.

Brian
 
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Adam Gregorich

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One other note about the RA2 Maestro switches, there is a lot of customization that I don't know if the Caseta switches have. For dimmers you can set how long the light will take to come on and turn off (I like a second or two fade to off), turn the indicator lights on or off, do a delayed fade and set some other things as well.
 

Dave Upton

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Thank you both for the great feedback! Dave, I will be installing and programming everything myself as I did with all the other remotes. I will also install and program the switches. I would say you definitely went the right way with Harmony for a single room. The Harmony remotes started my addiction to total home control. I pushed my Harmony's to the limit on what they could do before I switched to whole home systems.
Adam, I agree on the RA2 select but ended up ordering a few Caseta switches today to keep costs down. I already have a number of the Caseta switches installed and didn't want to change out everything. I will probably switch to RA2 eventually. I like the RA2 switches better than the Caseta but for the most part, I never look at them because everything is either voice controlled or automated. Anyone interested in lighting control needs to read your Lutron writeup, the RA2 switches really are amazing. Thank you.

Brian
I'm curious, how were you able to get them to let you self-install? Did you have to become a dealer?
 

DaveF

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I have both an older URC remote and the newer Harmony Elite. Harmony is more user friendly and better design hardware, ergonomically, I think. But the new elite is in some ways worse than the olde Harmony One. And the URC is much more powerful, and has standard features that I’m finding still missing in Harmony.
 

DaveF

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But: Harmony Elite can do whole house automation to some degree. It can connect to HomeKit and other services. But as I write this, I’ve found its lost connection to my thermostats and won’t reconnect. So...yeah.

My opinion of Logitech’s Harmony line is overall declining with the Elite model.
 

Adam Gregorich

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I have both an older URC remote and the newer Harmony Elite. Harmony is more user friendly and better design hardware, ergonomically, I think. But the new elite is in some ways worse than the olde Harmony One. And the URC is much more powerful, and has standard features that I’m finding still missing in Harmony.
What does the URC do that the Harmony doesn’t?
 

DaveF

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What does the URC do that the Harmony doesn’t?
Harmony Elite can’t send AppleTV skip back and forward commands.

Elite touchscreen sometimes ignores presses.

URC has a RF to IR blaster relay that controls a Lutron panel. I’m trying to figure out if Elite can do similar.

I’ve found battery life for URC is much longer than Elite. Elite is huge step backwards from One.

I’m also struggling with ten years of muscle memory from the One. The Elite is close but different, which makes it constantly confusing.

As for URC, it’s buttons are all, literally, creaky. The remote is nice and chunky, but the buttons don’t have the same separation and ergo of the Harmony.

Harmony has great programming app on iOS, huge improvement from One. Much simpler than URC. But after learning the basics of URC, it’s straightforward for basic stuff.
 

xx Brian xx

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Update:
It's been two weeks since I received the new remote and thought I would post an update. RTI is more complicated to program than all the others I have done. With Control4, you program the connections in to the system and Composer will map out what needs to come on and what the inputs need to be set to for each activity. Composer will build the pages based on what you select to be visible in each room. Composer is a programmers best friend.

With RTI, you have to program everything for each activity. RTI is more versatile because you can have it do almost anything. For example, when I hit the Goodnight button all electronics in the house turn off, the fans in the living room and patio turn off, the bedroom light turns on if it's between 8pm and 12am, a timer starts on the living room lights for three minutes and then at the end of the timer, the living room lights turn off and the house alarm sets to Armed Stay. Except for the alarm, I was able to get Control4 to do the same thing but I had to make "dummy" rooms or components to trick the remote to do what I wanted it to do. With RTI, it's just a matter of building the macros and variables.

I was able to program all the electronics, lights, fans, electric fireplace, Ecobee thermostat, whole home audio and alarm system to the remote. It's very time consuming because all the pages have to be put together for each remote plus two iPhones.

So far I am very pleased with the system and look forward to what else I can program into it.

Brian





IMG_0616.jpeg
 
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xx Brian xx

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I've been creating pages for my phone to operate everything in our home. Nothing in my house uses direct IR so I can operate everything from a phone or the different remotes. I created pages for the phone that match the remotes touch screen.

Here I can select the room and then control the lights and ceiling fan in each room.

B9E9B8A4-1E25-4A10-B935-06990A8D4AE7_1_102_o.jpeg



This page is used when watching YouTube TV. My wife asked how to turn it off, so I made a giant power button that can't be missed. I also created quick links for the main three streaming services we use.

FF94EE42-B4CD-40C8-A078-D909FB5AB5E8_1_102_o.jpeg



For the whole home audio, I created a page that can control all the rooms from one page. The icons on the red line at the top will be faded out if the zone is turned off. When we click on a zone icon it will turn on that zone and the icon will change to full color. It will also change to that zone and the name at the top will change to show what zone is under control. Then we can control the volume for just that zone. While in a zone, if we click on the red power button, it will turn off just that one zone. We can click on 'House Audio' and the screen will change to an all volume page to control all the rooms at the same time.

62378E4B-EB39-4273-9A17-81873658F2E2_1_102_o.jpeg



This is still a work in progress but it has been fun creating everything so far. If anyone has suggestions or a remote page they have created, please post it here. I welcome all opinions.

Thanks for checking it out.

Brian
 
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Dave Upton

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I've been creating pages for my phone to operate everything in our home. Nothing in my house uses direct IR so I can operate everything from a phone or the different remotes. I created pages for the phone that match the remotes touch screen.

Here I can select the room and then control the lights and ceiling fan in each room.

View attachment 74725


This page is used when watching YouTube TV. My wife asked how to turn it off, so I made a giant power button that can't be missed. I also created quick links for the main three streaming services we use.

View attachment 74726


For the whole home audio, I created a page that can control all the rooms from one page. The icons on the red line at the top will be faded out if the zone is turned off. When we click on a zone icon it will turn on that zone and the icon will change to full color. It will also change to that zone and the name at the top will change to show what zone is under control. Then we can control the volume for just that zone. While in a zone, if we click on the red power button, it will turn off just that one zone. We can click on 'House Audio' and the screen will change to an all volume page to control all the rooms at the same time.

View attachment 74727


This is still a work in progress but it has been fun creating everything so far. If anyone has suggestions or a remote page they have created, please post it here. I welcome all opinions.

Thanks for checking it out.

Brian
Looks great Brian. How many hours would you say you've invested in programming it so far?
 

xx Brian xx

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Looks great Brian. How many hours would you say you've invested in programming it so far?
Lol, Good question. I would guesstimate that I have between 30 and 40 hours in it so far. Unfortunately I have to create the pages for three different screens plus program a companion remote and an 8 button keypad. Earlier this week I decided to incorporate a Sonos Port so I had to reprogram the music pages. The good thing is that RTI uses "Tags" that are universal across all devices so I only had to make the changes once and all remotes and phones get the update.

Brian
 

xx Brian xx

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Here is the Apple TV page I created. I kept this page pretty plain because Apple TV is fairly limited on what commands it will accept. The volume and surround mode info are pulled from the receiver and give me a real time readout on what is going on. The three surround mode buttons are a quick way to select the mode I prefer for different incoming audio signals. The two buttons at the top are for switching from TV to projector or back again. One press of the button and the receiver output switches to the projector, screen automatically drops in front of the TV, TV shuts down, lights turn blue and then ramp down over 15 seconds and we are ready to watch a movie. Press the Theater Off button and everything switches back to normal TV watching.


4FFCB138-D53B-4871-A04F-138F91703CD9.jpeg
 

xx Brian xx

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After taking some time away from the programming, I started setting up the voice control this week. I'm using Home Butler for this. The reason I chose Home Butler is that it uses Alexa and it's setup to use simple commands. I don't have to say "Alexa, tell Home Butler to turn on Living Room music", instead I can just say "Alexa, turn on living room music." It would be too confusing to remember which devices are controlled by Home Butler so this really simplifies things.

I also received the buttons I had printed for the wall controller. I really like how these turned out. I installed the new buttons and finished programming the controller so that is another thing checked off the list.

IMG_0660.jpeg
 
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