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Thread: Homeowner needs advice

  1. #1
    Junior Member
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    Jul 2021
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    Homeowner needs advice

    I acquired a vacation home with a two panel Lutron Illuminations system installed, circa 2009. The system only controls lighting and ceiling fans (no shades, HVAC, etc.). Mix of single light controls, seeTouch keypads, and several grafik eye controllers. The system is horribly unstable, which is inconvenient for me and really a problem for the vacation rental company that manages renters while I am not there. Some -- but not all -- of the seeTouch pads will go out completely with waterfalling leds, leaving me unable to turn some lights on or off at all. Some single load switches don't work at all or are stuck in the on position. I cannot reprogram or control lighting remotely, meaning I am stuck with the lighting combinations and timed on/offs set by some guy 10 years ago. Etc etc etc. Lutron dealer who has serviced the house repeatedly advises that the processors are unstable, the programming files are corrupted (and not fixable by Lutron -- he tried that), and that I am going to continue to have problems unless I upgrade to QS. Let me say first that I believe I will continue to have problems and that he is very knowledgeable and has been great to work with. The house is ~8000 sq. feet if you count porch area (which has lights and fans, so it counts). Lutron customer tech support (not so helpful) rules out a Lutron solution other than the QS upgrade or searching eBay for a legacy parts to fix mine (seriously?!?). I have three questions which I am posting here because the legacy board next next to no traffic at this point:1. I see a fair amount of problems with QS based on the threads here. Is QS really any better than Illuminations was in terms of longevity and reliability? I keep being told that these system have long life spans. Mine didn't, so I'm skeptical. Vacation renters need to turn the lights off and on. Mood setting scenes are not really a value-add. Lighting doesn't drive my moods either, but inoperable lighting sure does!2. My guy presented two options. One replaces the processors, reuses all of the keypads, and makes the updated system work via bridges and software licenses. That's ~$20k. Option 2 replaces every component and completely updates to system to new QS gear. Effectively doubles the Option 1 cost but is presented as the best way to bulletproof the system for the foreseeable future. Commentary welcome on these choices from anyone who has led someone through the before. Remember that the cost will be higher here because problems with the existing file will require a manual mapping of the system for either option (he has to pay his people, I realize, and this is a time consuming process).3. Anybody ever had a customer just rip it all out, free themselves from Lutron captivity, and look to the much wider and ever expanding variety of non-Lutron wifi enabled controls to get some of the group lighting features back? Reasonable to assume a rewire of the house with traditional wiring will be north of $100k these days? I don't want to waste an electrician's time on an estimate if someone here has already seen that movie and can tell me it ends badly.Apologies for the post from a non-techie guy just looking for advice.

  2. #2
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    Jul 2021
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    +1 on this post

    I'm in a very similar situation - would love the advice of the experts...

  3. #3
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    We are sorry to hear about the issues you are experiencing with your HomeWorks Illumination system. The error indicator displayed by the keypads waterfalling indicates a communication problem back to the processor. If all the keypads are experiencing this issue, it could mean the processor is in boot mode (indicated by just the "P" light blinking on the processor). The Illumination processors have backup batteries soldered internally and can begin to experience end of life issues around the 10-15 year mark in their service. These batteries are not field replaceable. Since HomeWorks Illumination was obsoleted in 2015, Lutron does not produce these processors anymore. It may be possible to obtain a replacement by having the installer email obsoleteproducts@lutron.com. The HomeWorks QS upgrade is the ideal path moving forward. The newer HQP6 processor does not have an internal battery, meaning the power supply is field replaceable and the processor would not be put into boot mode with a power fluctuation. Much of the legacy hardware can be reused with a HomeWorks QS upgrade, as well as the existing wiring architecture. The HomeWorks QS system can be customized by a homeowner, as well. Depending on how the installer configures the system, the Connect App (Connect Bridge required) allows for keypad scene modification and lighting level adjustments to be made, along with schedule creation/modification and third party integration.

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
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    2,148
    As noted, the waterfall LEDs indicate the keypads can't find the processor. Depending on the number of keypads they will be powered from the processor and/or a separate power supply. In either case I would get a new 15v power supply for all of the keypads. It doesn't have to be Lutron brand. If the power supply is on the edge of failure it will light up the keypads but when you push a button they go to waterfall.

    If you have Vareo dimmers, you can get replacement buttons from Lutron. They are very proud of them. I hate to say it but you can probably find some used ones online.

    As for remote programming, I would put a small computer on site and TeamViewer into it. I've never had much luck using databases over VPNs.

    Your processor has a lithium ion battery in it that is rated for a 10 year life. You can find them at Batteries+. However, it takes a special technique to solder them. I found a local guy through Batteries+ that will do it.

    HQS is faster, more reliable, has WiFi, app control, etc.

    If your system has remote power panels, they will be the controlling factor when looking at upgrades. I have converted HWI systems to RR2. There are also other options out there.
    Convergence Technologies Raleigh, North Carolina
    www.convergenceusa.com

  5. #5
    Junior Member
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    Thanks folks

    Frustrated with this setup but appreciate the expert insight

  6. #6
    We can help
    Kevin Mikelonis
    Pasolumination
    805.275.1765

  7. #7
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
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    375
    The problems you hear on here about QS is mostly programming gripes. The system once set up is very reliable. The bigger issue with QS is that it is on its way out. QSX is replacing QS but it's missing a lot of features QS had so you have to choose between a soon to be obsolete system in QS, or a nascent QSX which would require you to replace everything. Not a good position to be in.

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