Remote Light Switches

Discussion in 'Accessories, Cables, and Remotes' started by Chris Huber, May 31, 2005.

  1. Chris Huber

    Chris Huber Second Unit

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    How do you install these guys and where can you get them? Do they require anything special to operate? Anybody here have them?
     
  2. DeweyMiller

    DeweyMiller Auditioning

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    There are a bunch of different systems that provide the capability to remotely manage lighting (and a host of other things as well: hvac, security, HT, etc).

    I'm just getting started in all of this home theater and home automation myself, but have been interested for years. The technology I've chosen for remote lighting control is X-10. Its pretty cheap, and from the research I've done is reliable once everything is set-up correctly (phase couplers, etc). I have my switches and controller and am ready to install once I get the walls painted.

    You can get X10 from a number of on-line sources. I've dealt mainly with smarthome.com and have been impressed with their customer service. In about three to four weeks I hope to have an update on the quality of their X10 relays, dimmers, and controller+software.

    If you want more of a home automation system, leviton, HAI, and a number of others (the name of the system one of my friends used escapes me, but its one of the more popular ones).

    Hope this helps.
     
  3. Chris Huber

    Chris Huber Second Unit

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    How about this? Would this work? I am just looking for something simple for one switch...

    http://www.x10.com/automation/ws12a_s.html

    Also, would this work if the switch is pointed the other way in the room?
     
  4. chris_everett

    chris_everett Second Unit

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    If you just want a single remote control switch, the easiest option is probably the Lutron "spacer" remotes. They can be installed in place of a standard switch, and come with a remote control that lets you dim your lights. It's functions can be programmed into a number of universal remote controls.
     
  5. Matt*B

    Matt*B Stunt Coordinator

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    Hey all,

    My dad has his whole house setup on x-10 automation, and it works flawlessly. I remember that i had a zenith IR universal remote (cheap one) that included x-10 codes, and it works with a wall unit i had plugged into the wall with a lamp attached. Now, unless the zenith had a RF signal as well as an IR signal, the x-10 wouldn't have responded, correct? the reason i ask is that I have a Sony RM-AV 3000 and want to control the theater lights with it. is there any wall switch unit that will work directly with this (from x-10) that doesn't require a transmission box (you know, to convert from IR to RF)?

    Thanks,

    Matt
     
  6. Mike LS

    Mike LS Supporting Actor

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    If you want a simple remote switch without getting into the whole "home automation" thing, check out http://www.vossystems.com/EZswitch.htm

    For $30 it's a super simple fix and it works flawlessly. Installs in a regular single gang electrical box and uses a standard switch cover. In it's default mode, any IR signal directed at the receiver will activate the switch (which is also a dimmer if you hold the button down), or you can program any button on any remote to control it.

    I've had one in my HT for about 3 years with no problems.
     
  7. Jon Bell

    Jon Bell Stunt Coordinator

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    Mike, any experience using two or more of these? I would need two, maybe three for my setup.
     
  8. Mike LS

    Mike LS Supporting Actor

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    I've only got one. I have fluorescent lighting for my main overhead and put my 4 halogen can lights on the remote switch.

    I guess it will depend on your wiring layout...where the switches are in relation to the others...and whether you'd want them to control them individually or not.

    Either way I think it would work fine. The best bet would be to program each one on a different remote button and control them seperately.

    The switches are pretty sensative to the IR signal. My switch is to the rear of my HT area and sometimes the lights will trigger when I'm just adjusting the volume. Granted my remote also has uses RF, so that might cause the signal to carry further.
    That was only a problem when the switch was not programmed and any IR signal would trigger the switch. That's taken care of by just programming a number key (which I never use on my main remote) to operate the switch. No more problems.
     
  9. Adam Gregorich

    Owner

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  10. Chris Huber

    Chris Huber Second Unit

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    Thanks for the link to the EZswitch. Looks good. So, if i am out of direct sight of the switch and it is facing the other way, would the signal get to it? It's got to go up and over right 90 degrees to turn the switch on with a wall there. Would that work?
     
  11. Mike LS

    Mike LS Supporting Actor

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    I'll have to do some experimenting with it tonight.

    I would say no since it does work off of infrared, which is more or less line of sight.
     
  12. Jon Bell

    Jon Bell Stunt Coordinator

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    I saw the Lutron thread, and that product looks really nice. The thing that is holding me back from that product is that you need to buy the Lutron remote, which is a waste for me since I use a universal remote, and I want to program it to operate the dimmers.

    Another question on these Vos dimmers-- since you just use one remote button to operate them, when you push the button, does it make them brighter or dimmer? When it gets to the brightest (or dimmest), what happens when you push the button again? Do they turn off/ on?

    OK, so that was three questions.
     
  13. Mike LS

    Mike LS Supporting Actor

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    You've got the idea.

    A single button push turns the light on. Next push turns it off. When the light is off and you press and hold the button, they lights come on, then after a slight delay they begin to dim at preset levels (don't worry, it's a very gradual dim....not like high medium and low) then eventually dim to off.

    It has a very simple operation. It works the same way at the switch. There's one button on the face of the switch with an LED under it. The LED lets you know if the switch is programmed or not...if it's off, it's set for any button operation, if it's lit, it's programmed.

    One note on the programming. If you're using a universal remote, you'll need to use a button that doesn't change functions when you're controlling different units. Buttons like play, stop, channel + - etc aren't the best choice since they output different signals when you're operating different units.
    I wound up using the number pad buttons (1-10) since they stay the same regardless. Granted, the switch recognizes any number as the programmed "button" so really I have about 12 buttons that I can use to switch the lights, but that actually makes it easier to use the remote in the dark....I don't have to fumble for the one correct button to switch the lights. I have a small section of my remote that works the same.
     
  14. Jon Bell

    Jon Bell Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks, Mike. This looks like a good solution for me, and the cost is about 1/3 of what the Lutron Spacer would have cost.
     
  15. Mike LS

    Mike LS Supporting Actor

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    I did some playing, and it does need a direct line of sight to work correctly.
     
  16. Chris Huber

    Chris Huber Second Unit

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    Thanks for the test!
     

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