Building our first home - Smart-Home Lighting?

Discussion in 'Networking, Telephony & Internet' started by birdie, Sep 26, 2019.

  1. Zee

    Zee Member

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2002
    Messages:
    11,146
    Location:
    SYD/MNL/SIN/SFO
    RA2 select has *literally* just been officially released. As in Tuesday last week, and the dealers are getting price lists on Monday (that is when I am expecting mine).

    RA2 select is easy enough to be installed by any electrician, and you can do the set up in the app yourself. It's seriously simple stuff. Like I said previously, Z-wave pucks are generally 2 wire (live in and live out) and RA2 Select requires active/neutral in, and active/neutral out, and must be placed in front of the first load.

    Price wise, if you do the Pi and home assistant (Jesus, don't do it!), it will be cheaper for sure.

    I'd seriously look at using a Fibaro HC Lite, as your night running core home electricals through an open source garage project. As I said before, though, that's just me, and I'm all about stuff working 100% every time.

    Lutron can be cheaper in some situations (kinda depends on layout, and I need to see house plans with lighting/wiring diagrams to actually price up properly), needless to say, as a rough guess, Lutron would be a few hundred bucks more expensive overall, and I seriously wouldn't be putting too much weight into pricing when the difference between, say Pi and Home Assistant, to Lutron (with Fibaro in between, but closer to Lutron end) would be about $800. In the overall scheme of things when building a house, I'd ignore that difference and seriously pay more attention to the system overall.

    Now, as for pricing, you'll struggle to get much better than about $120/puck with Fibaro (yes, there are cheaper ones, but again, I stress reliability, I can't stress this enough), as Fibaro margins are razor thin (I've been dealing with them for about a year now, and going through the trouble and cost of becoming an offical dealer has not been offset by the slightly cheaper wholesale pricing).

    Margins for Lutron, being a high end product, are significantly greater. Though, you are unlikely to get many people offering discounts, in the same way you don't really get Porsche offering discounts. Not to say you can't save yourself some cash, but you kinda need a friends in the right places.

    Z...
     
  2. whatdoesthisdo

    whatdoesthisdo Member

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2011
    Messages:
    8,609
    Location:
    Gold Coast
    Sorry for my ignorance but whats a puck?
     
  3. OP
    OP
    birdie

    birdie Member

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2002
    Messages:
    2,869
    Location:
    Bundaberg, Queensland
    Ok cool, so I’m thinking that I probably won’t go with any system as part of the build to keep the build costs down and keep the bank happy.

    So it sounds like if I go Z-wave I don’t need to do any real special changes to the build other than choice of bulbs mainly? If I want to keep my options open for the RA2 Select I need to ensure the neutral wire ran down behind the switch as well? Is that not standard?
     
  4. whatdoesthisdo

    whatdoesthisdo Member

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2011
    Messages:
    8,609
    Location:
    Gold Coast
    Neutral is standard nowadays, has been for as long as I can remember.

    EDIT: well it has in QLD
     
  5. Zee

    Zee Member

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2002
    Messages:
    11,146
    Location:
    SYD/MNL/SIN/SFO
    A "puck" is what most integrators call a Z-Wave actor/module. Say, a dimmer, or switch. They look like a small hockey puck with a wire antenna hanging out the side.

    Z...
     
    whatdoesthisdo likes this.
  6. whatdoesthisdo

    whatdoesthisdo Member

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2011
    Messages:
    8,609
    Location:
    Gold Coast
    Ahhh so they go in the wall behind the switch? Like a sonoff or shelly?
     
  7. Zee

    Zee Member

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2002
    Messages:
    11,146
    Location:
    SYD/MNL/SIN/SFO
    You shouldn't need to do any special changes with either system. It's just a matter of knowing where the first load in any zone (individually switched group of lights) of lighting for RA2 Select - your electrician should be able to mark this out on the plans.

    Both systems work on bog standard wiring. I won't get into why star wiring is better, but, I will say the old looping system needs to die.

    Now, *if* the neutral wire runs behind the switch as well, then it means you can install the RA2 Select module in the wall, instead of the ceiling, just be sure you have a cavity that allows for it. All the RA2 Select keypads are wireless, and don't need any electrical connections.

    Regardless, both Z-Wave and RA2 Select are designed to work with old school wiring layouts.

    As for Neutral down walls... I am still not seeing it very often on job sights around Sydney... I should check the current code (I'm not 240v rated - I sub 240v stuff to a good electrician, knowing the code is his job!).

    Z...
     
  8. Zee

    Zee Member

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2002
    Messages:
    11,146
    Location:
    SYD/MNL/SIN/SFO
    Yup, that's pretty much it.

    Z...
     
  9. OP
    OP
    birdie

    birdie Member

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2002
    Messages:
    2,869
    Location:
    Bundaberg, Queensland
    I’ve been doing some reading this morning, it appears there is a lot of people that say the same thing as you Zee, the Lutron system appears to be a lot more reliable than Z-wave. It appears the main advantage of the Z-wave is they tend to be cheaper. It does appear that the hub is cheaper with the Lutron vs the Fibaro hubs?

    I think my best bet is to wait and save a bit longer and go with the Lutron RA2 Select.

    With the RA2 Select system:
    • Do you use regular wall switches or do you use the Pico remotes?
    • Do you need a puck in addition to the Pico remotes?
    • Do they they have a suitable system for ceiling fans as well?
    • It appears the Pico remotes can be wall mounted like a regular light switch (so they don’t get lost)?
     
  10. Zee

    Zee Member

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2002
    Messages:
    11,146
    Location:
    SYD/MNL/SIN/SFO
    Yes, the Lutron hub is a bit cheaper (about $400rrp vs $600rrp for the HC Lite, and $1100rrp for the HC2). Hence why I said that, in some situations, Lutron can be cheaper. For the average project of the type that this range of gear is marketed at (say, 6 zones of lighting), it's not that much more expensive than a Z-Wave alternative (maybe $500 overall, allowing for discounted Fibaro pricing, and non-discounted Lutron pricing, and using a HC Lite. If you use a HC2, it's pretty much identical).

    In your case, I counted 8 zones, but did not see anything about a kitchen, dining room (same shared space? two rooms? Multiple light sources int he kitchen for bench top illumination and general lighting?) or laundry. As a guess, a 10 zone system will end up being about $1000 more with RA2 Select vs a Fibaro based Z-Wave system, using the HC Lite (again, with street priced Fibaro vs RA2 Select @rrp).

    To Answer the questions:

    You can only use Pico remotes, though the range is decent, and they actually look and feel pretty good. I like them, anyway, and much prefer the button mechanism in feel to, say, Clipsal or HPM button press modules.

    Pico remotes are totally wireless - there is nothing else you need for them. You do not need the cable in the wall behind a wall plate. Pico's are totally flat, and nothing extrudes from behind. They have the screw holes to allow mounting to regular wall boxes, like any other wall plate. They also have Euro style (squre plates), and US style (rectangular plates, like what we have). There's also a range of finishes.

    For ceiling fans, it kinda depends. There is a 0-10v module, and I know 0-10v ceiling fans exist, and there is also a 16amp relay module. There is no specific fan module, though integration with fans must be possible in some way, shape or form. I don't know enough about 0-10v gear to understand exactly how it works, but I'll look into it on Tuesday (I presume Monday is a public holiday for QLD, too?).

    Yes - Pico remote are wall mounted, Basically, the RA2 Select Pico remotes (or any Pico remote, actually, as they are all the same across all systems in the range) are a small hand held remote, and they have a 2 piece wall plate. The back part of the plate has the mounting holes to allow screwing to a wall box and behind plaster bracket, and also has the mount for the pico. The face plate snaps on over the top and locks the Pico into place. If you don't know that it comes apart, you'd probably never figure it out. The complete three piece unit (back plate, face plate and Pico) feel quite solid, and being a perfectly flat back, it means you can mount it anywhere - you're not limited to the wired locations. So, if you decide you want a bedside Pico, you can add it 5 years later, and you can mount it and set it up yourself in the amount of time it takes you to drill two whole, and/or screw two screws (depending on the wall type).

    The main disadvantage to RA2 Select, is the limited range of modules, especially compared to Z-Wave. There is no RGB LED driver, for example. Not a big deal for most, and you can just use the 0-10v module for LED strips, but there is no denying that for ultimate reliability, your trade off is range of modules.

    Here is a link to the RA2 Select PDF (not sure if I posted this earlier). It's the European one, which is the same (mostly) as ours, though we run a different frequency.

    On a side note re fans -
    Z...
     
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2019
    TheWedgie likes this.
  11. OP
    OP
    birdie

    birdie Member

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2002
    Messages:
    2,869
    Location:
    Bundaberg, Queensland
    So am I correct that I’d need to remote plus the module for each room? and the remote with the plate can mount over where the original switch was mounted?

    I guess if the fans can’t be controlled then I’d just have a plate for the fan knob and mount the Pico remote beside it?

    I don’t mind that there’s not a RGB module, the only light in my hue lights that I actually use colour on is the led strip on the back edge of my desk, and I guess I could stick with it or get a Lifx strip and use HomeKit as the overall control.

    Speaking of control, is it common to use a tablet mounted in a wall mount “permanently” somewhere central overall fixed control of not using the Pico remotes, HomeKit/Siri (or other voice control), phones or tablets? I’m thinking a spare (older) iPad mounted in a mount running the HomeKit interface full time could be ok maybe?
     
  12. Zee

    Zee Member

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2002
    Messages:
    11,146
    Location:
    SYD/MNL/SIN/SFO
    Yes.
    Yes - though I suspect there is a way to control a fan, I just don't know it yet, I'll ask the distro Teusday. As I said, brand new product for our region.
    Correct, and you can, from my understanding, control Homekit from the Lutron app, too.
    Very common! I'd suggest a cheap android tablet at whatever size you want, and I think you can even throw them into some sort of "hotel mode" to only allow that specific app to work.

    That battery issue is the only thing to be concerned about - as constant charging will eventually lead to expanded batteries.

    In my case, I normally integrate with RTI or Savant, and they have their own POE powered touchscreens that wall mount.

    Sadly, you'll find that just a processor and touchscreen will be more expensive than your entire lighting system. So, unless you plan to use the full power of either system, that option is out of budget for most.

    Having said that, I am pretty sure there are smart charging wall mount options for Android tabs, and, I'd even suspect that something like Aliexpress may offer a POE powered Android tablet. In fact, I may just check on that...

    For the record, it appears we do get Hunter Fans in Aus, so may be worth checking out the pricing on those, and see if they are within your budget.

    Z...
     
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2019
  13. Zee

    Zee Member

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2002
    Messages:
    11,146
    Location:
    SYD/MNL/SIN/SFO
    For wall mounted Android tabs, here's one from Aliexpress for $450 - POE and 14".

    I'd probably suggest something in the 5"-10" range, as above that it gets silly, but that was a 30 second exercise, so with a bit of time, you'd find a good looking dedicated wall mount POE tab, I suspect.


    Edit - 10.1" for about $350.

    Z...
     
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2019
  14. CrazySmith

    CrazySmith Member

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2019
    Messages:
    5
    smart light switch +1
    I have been using Ctec smart light switches for half my house over last 9 months http://www.ctec.com.au/wi-fi-switches
    Their products are awesome and work with my google home and Siri (Siri shortcut) flawlessly. I found no other smart light switch do 2 way switching but Ctec does and this something must have in our house. I did some comparisons with others before buying them, their quality and features stand out. Other ones are much cheaper but I can feel the poor quality when hold in my hand. Most important thing is my wife only likes Ctec. paid couple hundred dollars extra but worth it. Looking to replace remaining switches in my house by end of year. hope it helps
     
  15. zero_velocity

    zero_velocity Member

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2010
    Messages:
    2,701
    Location:
    QLD
    New build. YMMV
     
    TheWedgie likes this.
  16. Zee

    Zee Member

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2002
    Messages:
    11,146
    Location:
    SYD/MNL/SIN/SFO
    Sssooo...

    A rebranded wifi Aliexpress light switch? Posted by a member with just a single post? Not suspicious at all.

    At least I make it clear that I am in the automation/smart home industry.

    Z...
     
  17. CrazySmith

    CrazySmith Member

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2019
    Messages:
    5
    It's not Wallpad from the link. the app and the switches are made by Lanbon, Ctec's manufacturer I think. I am just telling the fact the switches are well made based on my own experience. that's it. Also let you know I am IT background, yes it was my first post, I only browse the forum since joined in July. Thanks
     
  18. Zee

    Zee Member

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2002
    Messages:
    11,146
    Location:
    SYD/MNL/SIN/SFO
    Just calling it as I see it.

    Edit - also, the reason those don't "look" like yours, is because they are the European square plate design. The US/Aussie rectangular models are also there.

    I guarantee they are the same units, you have no idea how many companies I catch out like this - including some *very large* companies. I recently found one that sells DMX lighting controllers at about $700/pop, the exact same unit are on Alibaba for about $90/pop. Remember, re-packaging an app is also simple.

    Don't feel bad, or offended, it's just business.

    Z...
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2019
  19. Symon

    Symon Castigat ridendo mores

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2002
    Messages:
    4,667
    Location:
    Brisbane QLD
    Not that I am aware of. Good practice yes, but not required by any standard.
     
    whatdoesthisdo likes this.
  20. CrazySmith

    CrazySmith Member

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2019
    Messages:
    5
    SO, what is your point? these products are not good? have you ever used them ? My experience is really good in terms of product quality, features, customer service and etc. Australian approved products distributed by local business with local warranty and service, what's the problem? maybe get one and try it out then express your experience will be more informative
    even Brilliant smart gadgets are re-branded
     

Share This Page

Advertisement: