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Thread: RA2 vs RA2 Select

  1. #1
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    RA2 vs RA2 Select

    I currently have part of my house outfitted with Caseta switches, but I’m thinking about upgrading to RadioRA 2 or RA2 Select exclusively for additional occupancy sensor functionality. I actually have a couple of my Caseta switches, for my walk-in closet and shower light / fan, paired to Radio Powr Savr occupancy sensors already, and the sensors work phenomenally. They are so much more sensitive and so much faster to respond than my Hue Motion sensors, which themselves tend to get great reviews from people who haven’t used Lutron sensors. But my Caseta switches can’t be paired to the bridge when they’re paired to the occupancy sensors, so I lose HomeKit and Alexa control, which is fine for my closet and shower, but not so fine if I want to set up occupancy sensors in places like my kitchen, living room, office, etc.

    I have a few main concerns with the upgrade:

    1) The price. Dayum is the RA 2 main repeater and connect bridge expensive (almost $700$), just to get a bit of extra occupancy sensor functionality. Some of the switches themselves actually aren’t that much more expensive because I had been buying PD-5NEs for $100 a pop since I discovered that my expensive can light LEDs flickered and buzzed with the cheaper $54 PD-6WCL due to no neutral wire. The Maestro RRD-6ND for RA 2 and Select is only a little more at $113. The non-dimming switches, fan controls, and lamp dimmers are indeed 2-3 times the price of Caseta though. Not really a question here, just provided context.

    2) Fan control. I want to be able to control my fans from HomeKit and from Alexa. Being able to set the speed from HomeKit and Alexa would be great, but it’s not required. I rarely use my fans, and if I do, I would usually be fine with just the low speed. I currently use a plain on / off Caseta switch for the one fan I have hooked up, and I can set it to show up as a fan in HomeKit and it’s fine. I read that the RRD-2ANF fan controller may support HomeKit when using RA2 Select, but not when using RadioRA 2? Is that still accurate? And what about Alexa support for the 2ANF from each system? I’m not even 100% sure my Craftmade fans would support the 2ANF, so I might just go with an 8ANS switch for fans, but can anyone confirm whether you can set that device to fan type in HomeKit? I read somewhere that the RadioRA 2 Connect bridge can only expose 8ANS as a light to HomeKit and it can’t be changed to fan in HomeKit. Not sure if that info is still accurate?

    3) Can you configure the default single tap on behavior of the Maestro RRD switches when using RA2 Select? I would want the dimmers to either turn on to the last state when the button is pressed or turn on to a preset level that is not 100%. Some lights I will never want at 100%. According to this guide (http://www.lutron.com/TechnicalDocum...ry/048247e.pdf), the dimmers should support something called protected preset, but I read somewhere that if you pair the dimmers to RA2 Select, that feature gets locked out? Is that true? If so, then RA2 Select is inferior to even Caseta, as the Caseta PD-5NE as least has the center programmable favorite button for cases when you don’t want to turn on to minimum or full brightness.

    4) Assuming number 3 isn’t a dealbreaker for RA2 Select, and I was only upgrading to RadioRA 2 to expose occupancy sensors to telnet so that I could have the lights come on to say 100% during some hours, but 30% during other hours, what if I went with RA 2 Select and did this instead: Set the occupancy level of the paired switch to 2%, and then set up a rule in HomeKit or whatever automation hub is used to raise the switch to whatever actual value I want for that time period whenever the switch is turned on to 2%. Has anyone done something like this? Other than being slightly hacky, is there any reason this wouldn’t work just as well as having the occupancy sensor exposed to telnet to trigger a light level? Also, is it true that even with full RadioRA 2, you still have to pair an occupancy sensor to at least one switch to be able to get the telnet events to your home automation hub?

    5) Even though I only have 12 Caseta switches installed, I really don’t want to replace them all right away if I upgrade to RadioRA 2 or RA2 Select. Other than looking a little different, which isn’t a huge deal to me, the ones I already have installed are fine, and I would prefer to not outlay a huge amount of money and time to replace all 12 of those right up front. I would rather do it over time and as necessary for additional functionality. As far as HomeKit goes, I don’t think this presents a problem. I would just have to log in and out of different accounts when I set things up in the Lutron app if I went with RA2 Select. However, it might be a problem with Alexa because the Alexa Lutron Caseta / RA 2 Select skill only allows you to pair one account. So I guess I would have to get some other hub that supports RA 2 Select and can expose those devices to Alexa, like maybe Hubitat? Anyone have experience with this? But it looks like RadioRA 2 has a separate Connect skill for Alexa, so I wouldn’t need an extra hub for Alexa support if I went that route. Although the main reason for going RadioRA 2 would be the occupancy telnet support, so guess I’m stuck needing another hub either way :(.

    6) Has anyone found any really good motion or occupancy sensors for HomeKit or Z-Wave or Zigbee that are close to as good as the Lutron occupancy sensors so I could avoid all of this BS and just stick with the otherwise fine and much more affordable Caseta?

  2. #2
    Senior Member
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    Jan 2019
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    Go with RadioRA2. It isn’t just about a little bit better motion sensor functionality, you also get full seeTouch keypads, better neutral-based dimmers, etc. to create a locked preset or change fade times. The RadioRA2 PC software allows you to do that easily. RadioRA2 is not cheap but it is money well spent. Hope this helps!
    Evan Kirkhart- Home Electronics Solutions
    evan@homeelectronics.solutions

  3. #3
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    Hopefully my line breaks will work, otherwise sorry for the wall of text.1. Yup it is a bit step in price for what is technically a lower resource processor. But as a note you can find dealers with way better pricing. I pay under $90 for 6NDs brand new. The place I work with does a lot of volume, and doesn’t stock the RA2 stuff normally from what I’ve seen, so when I order it takes a couple weeks to get it, but it comes to me boxed in a way that appears how it was shipped to them from Lutron.2. Full Radio RA2 does not allow control of fans via HomeKit. The same fan controller on RA2 select does work with HomeKit. I’ve had both system and have hands on experience with both. If this is as annoying to you as it is for me, please call Lutron and ask for Mike S. Tell him how annoyed you are about this. I don’t want to necessarily harass him maliciously, but he is who I had discussions about with it and should know what you’re referring to, and hopefully will keep track of how many people complain.3. When paired to RA2 select last level is the only option. That is the default option out of the box for the dimmers, and when paired to Select the settings on the dimmer are defaulted, and there is no way in the app to change those settings. Only high and low end trim is available.4. You can do this but there are caveats. First off in Full RA2 you do need them paired to a device to see the output on Telnet, however Radio RA2 allows for virtual devices. You add a dimmer in the software, but never “activate” it (RA2 pairing). Also in my experience when running either a RA2 select OR a Radio RA2 system along with Caseta, telnet commands to the Caseta will be delayed by the Caseta system when originating from an Occupancy Sensor. So the occupancy sensor triggers on RA2/Select, the telnet integration shows that (or your paired device status for Select), telnet integration triggers Caseta, Caseta shows the update in the app but the dimmer doesn’t come on for 5 seconds. I confirmed this with support. On RadioRA2 you can go into advanced mode on the repeater and change the radio channel and it fixes this, but I don’t think you can do that in Select. When you do this you have to manually program your Picos and Occupancy sensors to change the channel. The software explains how to do it if you change the repeater’s channel.5. I use HomeSeer for this, but the Lutron plugins cost extra. One plugin does up to 4 Caseta and/or Select hubs, another one does Radio RA2. Hubitat can also do this, and I believe to some level is built in. The HomeSeer plugins support keypad buttons and LEDs on full RA2, not sure if Hubitat does that or not.6. I tried many different Z-Wave motion sensors. That is an important distinction: Z-Wave stuff is motion sensing, Lutron is occupancy sensing. Basically on motion sensing the original motion starts a timer and then after that it goes non-motion and/or re-triggers on motion again. With occupancy sensing the original motion starts a timer, and any additional motion resets the timer, so until there has been no motion for that time will it go to unoccupied. Depending on what software you are working with it can be trickier to get the programming right on motion sensors when you want them to behave like occupancy sensors. I also found that every PIR Z-Wave motion I could do a minimum of 1 second of motion in front of them before they triggered and sent a Z-Wave signal out. Many of them blink when motion detected, and you could wave in front of it for a second before it would blink. The Lutron stuff has been way more responsive for me. Occupancy was the primary reason I started moving from Caseta to RA2 Select. I then ran into the RA2 Select issues and moved to Radio RA2.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shawn Parr View Post
    Hopefully my line breaks will work, otherwise sorry for the wall of text.1. Yup it is a bit step in price for what is technically a lower resource processor. But as a note you can find dealers with way better pricing. I pay under $90 for 6NDs brand new. The place I work with does a lot of volume, and doesn’t stock the RA2 stuff normally from what I’ve seen, so when I order it takes a couple weeks to get it, but it comes to me boxed in a way that appears how it was shipped to them from Lutron.2. Full Radio RA2 does not allow control of fans via HomeKit. The same fan controller on RA2 select does work with HomeKit. I’ve had both system and have hands on experience with both. If this is as annoying to you as it is for me, please call Lutron and ask for Mike S. Tell him how annoyed you are about this. I don’t want to necessarily harass him maliciously, but he is who I had discussions about with it and should know what you’re referring to, and hopefully will keep track of how many people complain.3. When paired to RA2 select last level is the only option. That is the default option out of the box for the dimmers, and when paired to Select the settings on the dimmer are defaulted, and there is no way in the app to change those settings. Only high and low end trim is available.4. You can do this but there are caveats. First off in Full RA2 you do need them paired to a device to see the output on Telnet, however Radio RA2 allows for virtual devices. You add a dimmer in the software, but never “activate” it (RA2 pairing). Also in my experience when running either a RA2 select OR a Radio RA2 system along with Caseta, telnet commands to the Caseta will be delayed by the Caseta system when originating from an Occupancy Sensor. So the occupancy sensor triggers on RA2/Select, the telnet integration shows that (or your paired device status for Select), telnet integration triggers Caseta, Caseta shows the update in the app but the dimmer doesn’t come on for 5 seconds. I confirmed this with support. On RadioRA2 you can go into advanced mode on the repeater and change the radio channel and it fixes this, but I don’t think you can do that in Select. When you do this you have to manually program your Picos and Occupancy sensors to change the channel. The software explains how to do it if you change the repeater’s channel.5. I use HomeSeer for this, but the Lutron plugins cost extra. One plugin does up to 4 Caseta and/or Select hubs, another one does Radio RA2. Hubitat can also do this, and I believe to some level is built in. The HomeSeer plugins support keypad buttons and LEDs on full RA2, not sure if Hubitat does that or not.6. I tried many different Z-Wave motion sensors. That is an important distinction: Z-Wave stuff is motion sensing, Lutron is occupancy sensing. Basically on motion sensing the original motion starts a timer and then after that it goes non-motion and/or re-triggers on motion again. With occupancy sensing the original motion starts a timer, and any additional motion resets the timer, so until there has been no motion for that time will it go to unoccupied. Depending on what software you are working with it can be trickier to get the programming right on motion sensors when you want them to behave like occupancy sensors. I also found that every PIR Z-Wave motion I could do a minimum of 1 second of motion in front of them before they triggered and sent a Z-Wave signal out. Many of them blink when motion detected, and you could wave in front of it for a second before it would blink. The Lutron stuff has been way more responsive for me. Occupancy was the primary reason I started moving from Caseta to RA2 Select. I then ran into the RA2 Select issues and moved to Radio RA2.
    Wow, that is super helpful! Thank you! I think I'm settled on full RA2. An extra $450 or so up front, but better than buying a Select and then deciding I want full in a year and having to buy it and set everything up again. One follow up question though... you mention that the fan controller does not show up in HomeKit with full RA 2, but if you have HomeKit and also any of the plain 8ANS switches, would you mind opening that devices setting in the Apple Home app and seeing if it lets you change the type there from light to fan?

  5. #5
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2018
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    28
    I use Hubitat to glue RadioRA 2, Caseta, Philips Hue, Z-Wave dimmers, Zigbee switches together. It works great for all those purposes. It is fully compatible with the seeTouch keypads. It makes them really versatile and able to do many conditional actions not possible in the base system. It's also on sale now. The reason to get the Lutron motion sensors is for reliable communication and battery life. I've had good luck with Zooz Z-Wave motion sensors, with pretty close to instant on. Many people prefer Zigbee sensors over Z-Wave. For both Z-Wave and Zigbee you need to have a good mesh to get reliable communication. That often (always for Zigbee) means having powered devices (like plugs or dimmers) as part of the mesh. (And I wish that this forum software would be maintained/fixed...)

  6. #6
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    Aug 2019
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    Well, I just bought a main repeater, connect bridge, 3 6ND dimmers, and 1 8ANS switch for a total of $994 including tax and shipping. I feel like I got pretty good deals considering it's all new and from reputable stores, not from eBay, but man, buying this stuff is kind of a pain compared to Caseta. Most dealers won't show their prices unless you call them or submit a quote request, and a lot just flat won't sell to you if you're not a business owner wanting to open a credit line with them.

    As for hybrid keypads, I have a few questions:

    1) I'm looking at something like the RRD-HN4S so that it could replace an existing switch and also act as a keypad. As long as I hook up the neutral, is this going to behave similarly to the 6ND dimmers, apart from having a max LED wattage of 100 instead of 150 I think?

    2) I doubt the scenes are exposed to HomeKit, but do the hybrid keypads like the RRD-HN4S expose at least a dimmer to HomeKit for controlling the connected load?

    3) How does the engraving process work? I have found some really good deals on horrible colors of the RRD-HN4S. If I understand correctly, there should be some type of coupon in the box that can be redeemed for a set of custom engraved buttons? When I request these buttons, can I ask for white color, and will they send me a full white front for the switch (making color of the original purchase irrelevant), or do they just send individual buttons that you pop in, or do they only let you get the same color as your original keypad?Thanks again everyone.

  7. #7
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
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    I don’t currently have any switches, only 6NDs and a couple hybrid keypads. For your new questions:
    1. Basically yes, IIR they may be more like 6CL where you can use without the neutral, or with it. I have neutrals where mine are so I use them.
    2. Yes, the local load appears as a dimmer in HomeKit.
    3. Make sure they come with the certificates. Program them exactly how you want them in Essentials, including the color choice and putting the text on the buttons when in program mode. Then run an engraving report and check the ones you want to submit. Finally save that report as a PDF and take pictures of the certificates and email to the address on the report. I just got my first two yesterday. I ordered SN colored keypads, but in my design one is SN and one is MN. The engraved versions were SN and MN as per my engraving report. I emailed them on the 1st, and got them on the 13th. Considering a couple of weekends that is pretty good. You can also get different colored inserts for all the Maestro devices, so if you paint your room, you can swap out colors on your dimmers/switches.

    One note on the dealers. Official dealers are not allowed to publish pricing for these things, unfortunately. But if you find a good dealer that does a lot of volume they can discount it heavily.

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