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Thread: Pre-wiring for shades

  1. #1

    Pre-wiring for shades

    We're at a stage of remodel where I need to run wiring for some Lutron automated shades. (There's a general preference for wired over battery-powered devices.) After window replacement, the walls are still open around several of the potential locations. The shades will be added to the existing RA2 lighting system.The exact window treatments, however, have not yet been selected. It seems to have been narrowed to roller shades or honeycomb blinds on the windows, but no direction yet on coverings for two sets of French doors. Is there a "universal" wiring approach that will accommodate whatever treatments are eventually chosen? I.e., can we run something like 2-wire 18AWG to the upper left corner of the windows (back to a central power panel location), and be confident that that will work with whatever treatments are eventually selected?We'd like to get the drywall up ASAP and not have to wait until all the window coverings have been selected, as it looks like that may take awhile.

  2. #2
    Senior Member
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    18/2 is big enough for most shades. If you get up to 8'x8' I'd look at larger wire.

    It's a good idea to keep the wires on the same side. You specify the motor side when ordering so it's not a big deal if you have some with motors on the right.

    I know you favor wired power but the battery versions are much, much easier to install. The price is comparable to a wired shade with a power supply.

    If you are considering an inside mount, I would fish the wire while the walls are open. Pull the wire through about 6" from the end (so it clears any mounting brackets.
    Convergence Technologies Raleigh, North Carolina
    www.convergenceusa.com

  3. #3
    Thanks very much for the guidance. I probably would have put the wires too close to the corner. Sounds like I should run 18/2 to the windows and 16/2 to the doors.I agree that the battery-powered options would be an easier install. (And if something like Triathlon honeycomb are used, a couple retro-fit windows might get them.) But we favor wired because their headrails are smaller than the battery alternatives in most cases. We want a minimally-obstructed appearance when they're open, and these particular windows provide only 2" of depth for inside mount. The top casing will add another inch of depth to work with, but maintaining a clean, flush look rules out the bulkier Lutron options (for depth), and the battery-operated treatments add more "vertical bulk" that we want.Thanks again for advice on the wiring help.

  4. #4

    What cables do I need to install now....

    We are just completing first fix electricals, and have made the decision to bite the bullet and go electric for our blinds with our Homeworks QS. Alongside the wired homeworks we will be installing 2 x Homeworks Hybrid repeaters which should cover the whole house. Various blind sizes, some small and others quite large, e.g. w1565 x d2450w1850 x d2450. We are mid-contract and our electrician has not given us honest pricing for variations.....so we need to get someone else to do pre-wiring and then figure out who to use to connect our blinds.What wiring should we be running to the windows? Power cable only, or is there a need for Lutron cable or cat 6? Any inputs gratefully received....Steve

  5. #5
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    You are in the RA2 forum but you mentioned HomeWorks twice so I'll go with that. Lutron makes 3 products that you can use.

    QS Wired is available in all form factors (roller shades, roman shades, drapery track, etc.). You will need a power supply and a 4-conductor cable for each shade. 2 conductors for power and 2 for data. They wire directly to the QS bus on your HomeWorks processor. Power panels are available for larger quantities.

    QS wireless is available in all form factors as well. It requires a 2-condcutor cable for each shade. They communicate by RF so you will need a RF link on your processor. A power panel is also available

    Triathlon are QS wireless shades that are battery powered so you don't need any cable. They are available in Honeycomb and roller shades. They have just released battery powered wood blinds so they may not be available in your area. Triathlon are super easy to install and don't require any wiring. They also communicate by RF.

    For QS Wireless I would use 18/2 for power. For QS Wired I would use 18/2 for power with 22/2 or 24/2 for data (4 conductors in 2 cable). I would NOT use CAT cable for shade power/data. Longer runs may require larger size cables. Your shade dealer will be able to calculate the proper size.

    Lutron shades are not inexpensive but they are the best.
    Convergence Technologies Raleigh, North Carolina
    www.convergenceusa.com

  6. #6
    Thanks so much for this detailed response Randy - most helpful!Will let you know what we end up running with.

  7. #7

    Wink Itty bitty nitpick

    Quote Originally Posted by randyc View Post
    Triathlon are QS wireless shades that are battery powered so you don't need any cable. They are available in Honeycomb and roller shades.
    Far be it for me to quibble with one of the forum's most helpful & knowledgeable contributors, lol, but just a tiny nitpick as clarification for future googlers:

    Triathlon shades are often described here as the battery-operated version of QS Wireless shades. The dealers and installers know this, of course, but others might not realize it isn't quite that simple. There are some notable differences.

    (1) Triathlon shades CAN be battery-operated, of course, but they can also be hard-wired. When ordered as such, they have an integrated power cord and can be used with either a plug-in wall wart or connected to a central power supply. The battery-powered and hard-wired versions of the honeycomb shades differ in spindle & motor placement, as the hard-wired versions don't have to allow space for battery packs.
    (2) Triathlon is the the only option for honeycomb shades in a RA2 systems- don't know why they were dropped from the QS Wireless line.
    (3) Triathlon shades run on 6-12vdc, while QS Wireless is a 24vdc system.

    Small differences, but they can matter a lot in some cases.

  8. #8
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    You are correct. I think the biggest difference is the look and feel of Triathlon. The fabric wrapped fascia is awesome. The metal/architectural fascia is not.

    Lutron migrated all the QS stuff to 35v. 24v and 35v parts are interchangeable.

    I've never seen a 6v shade from Lutron.
    Convergence Technologies Raleigh, North Carolina
    www.convergenceusa.com

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by randyc View Post
    I've never seen a 6v shade from Lutron.
    Triathlon motors are spec'd as "6-12vdc." (I would imagine Serenas are as well, but I don't have personal experience with those aside from a demo unit.)

    In some shades, battery-pack space is limited to fewer than 8 batteries, the minimum needed to produce 12vdc. So for example, a shade that uses 4 D-cells is running on 6vdc, while a shade using 6 D-cells is running on 9vdc. I've seen similarly-sized honeycomb shades where one used 8 AAAs (12v) and the other used 4 D-cells (6v). All hard-wired Triathlons are presumed to operate at 12vdc (though still labeled 6-12vdc), as that's the only power supply voltage Lutron sells for them.

    I don't know how Lutron chooses, during manufacture, between the "higher voltage" or "higher capacity" option for any given battery-powered shade, nor whether operating at the lower voltages impacts a motor's reliability or longevity. In cases where I've converted a battery-operated shade to hard-wired, I use 12vdc, regardless the original battery configuration.

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