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Thread: RA2 Select Large Reno Planning Advice

  1. #1
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    RA2 Select Large Reno Planning Advice

    We are about to undergo a large reno on a 20+ year old home. I’m a network/server/tech nerd and not scared to get my hands dirty on the config/management side of things. Most importantly I want full homeowner control over my lighting/shade system config and management. I want to get away from a single propriety system so I don’t want systems like Control4, Savant, Elan, etc. (I'm very familiar with Control4) After a lot of research I think Lutron RA2 Select makes sense for lighting/shades in my reno retrofit. I’m not personally going to be wiring the inline dimmers or performing any electrical work myself. My contractor will be using subs. That said I have a couple questions. Admittedly the questions over lap a bit: 1. I would like to hire someone or a company to give me advice on thinks like device count, Pico placement, scene thoughts and any other ideas that only come with experience setting up RA2 Select systems. (I don’t think our designer/architect is well versed enough in RA2 Select to help.) I have thought the setup through but a second pair of eyes to double-check my research and setup thoughts would be welcome. Is this "consulting-portion" performed by a home automation company, a Lutron-certified electrician or someone else? Or should the consulting portion just be part of the bidding process and ultimately whoever does the install? 2. When I get electrical bids for the rest of the project should the electrician we are using for the rest of the project be the SAME one wiring the in-line dimmers, shades and the rest of the RA2 Select gear? ...Or is this step performed after the circuits are in place and done by some sort of specialized company in RA2 Select? Much appreciated, -S

  2. #2
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    RA2 Select Large Reno Planning Advice (Fixed HTML)

    We are about to undergo a large reno on a 20+ year old home. I’m a network/server/tech nerd and not scared to get my hands dirty on the config/management side of things. Most importantly I want full homeowner control over my lighting/shade system config and management. I want to get away from a single propriety system so I don’t want systems like Control4, Savant, Elan, etc. (I'm very familiar with Control4)

    After a lot of research I think Lutron RA2 Select makes sense for lighting/shades in my reno retrofit. I’m not personally going to be wiring the inline dimmers or performing any electrical work myself. My contractor will be using subs. That said I have a couple questions. Admittedly the questions over lap a bit:

    1. I would like to hire someone or a company to give me advice on thinks like device count, Pico placement, scene thoughts and any other ideas that only come with experience setting up RA2 Select systems. (I don’t think our designer/architect is well versed enough in RA2 Select to help.) I have thought the setup through but a second pair of eyes to double-check my research and setup thoughts would be welcome.

    Is this "consulting-portion" performed by a home automation company, a Lutron-certified electrician or someone else? Or should the consulting portion just be part of the bidding process and ultimately whoever does the install?

    2. When I get electrical bids for the rest of the project should the electrician we are using for the rest of the project be the SAME one wiring the in-line dimmers, shades and the rest of the RA2 Select gear? ...Or is this step performed after the circuits are in place and done by some sort of specialized company in RA2 Select?

    Much appreciated,

    -S

  3. #3
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    Most home automation/AV dealers don't do consulting only. They want to do turnkey projects including supplying the product. You may be able to find an electrician that is RA2 certified but they will likely want a turnkey project as well.

    Some Lutron dealers have staff that can swap install the RA2 products. If not, they have arrangements with electricians. If you have an electrician on site, they would be the best option. They are less expensive and faster. Typically you want to put mechanical switches in for testing to make sure there are no problems. Then swap them for the RA2 devices.
    Convergence Technologies Raleigh, North Carolina
    www.convergenceusa.com

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by randyc View Post
    Most home automation/AV dealers don't do consulting only. They want to do turnkey projects including supplying the product. You may be able to find an electrician that is RA2 certified but they will likely want a turnkey project as well.

    Some Lutron dealers have staff that can swap install the RA2 products. If not, they have arrangements with electricians. If you have an electrician on site, they would be the best option. They are less expensive and faster. Typically you want to put mechanical switches in for testing to make sure there are no problems. Then swap them for the RA2 devices.
    This makes sense. Good point on roughing it in with physical switches. I think after we plan the lighting layout and going to bid the electrical portion of the project we will factor in if they are comfortable with ra2.

    Are you suggesting I will need to supply the gear and an electrician will install or they will supply?

    I’d rather the electrician supply and install if feasible.

    Thanks for the input randyc

  5. #5
    Hello! Thank you for your inquiry. Head to www.lutron.com/WhereToBuy to find local dealers near you that specialize in Lutron products. They'll be able to help spec out a system and order the right parts.

  6. #6
    I did something similar - however I used the full RadioRA2 system and NOT select. Reasoning is Im already at 97 devices including shades (I have 21 shades in total) and wanted the ability to potentially use more advanced controls that Select doesnt offer. Consider buying the "lutron training" for Ra2 as youll get a "starter kit" thats worth more than what youll pay for it. If your relatively handy you can do all your own programming (and you WILL learn a ton from the 3 day class... I thought it was hokey till I actually took the class - its good!

    Replacing switches yourself isnt difficult, just have to keep the travelers straight in multi-location areas. I used the RRD-PRO-WH dimmer for everything (other than switches) as its super easy with most all your loads. Watch your fixture wattage carefully.... I had one huge chandelier that required a power supply, so plan accordingly with your rough-in wiring for something like that (I didnt and had to pull a 20A line after drywall, a real PITA).

  7. #7
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    I'm not going to be living in the state where the reno is happening so I'm probably not going to be doing any of the "real work" myself. I'm definitely interested in taking a course just to learn more and I'm not afraid of the config and really understanding what's under the hood.

    I thought the RadioRA2 required electrical runs to be centralized back to the "lutron brain" (I don't mean the small square hub but more like an electrical panel). That's why I was considering RA2 select over RadioRA2 for a reno. I thought that RA2 Select uses the In-Line Dimmers (tucked away in a wall/ceiling) so it's easier for a reno where you won't have easy access to running electrical wiring. Am I off base here?

    Thanks for the input!

  8. #8
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    Full RA2 and RA2 Select both work the same way. The repeaters are different, but the electrical wiring is the same. You don't need to run all of the wiring back to the repeater in either case. Full RA2 has a wider range of devices and keypads available, and can handle a larger quantity of them in a system. Also, full RA2 uses Windows software for programming vs a phone app. In both cases (RA2 and RA2 Select) the primary controls are wall switches and dimmers that replace existing wall switches and dimmers. "Hidden" or "inline" modules are also available, primarily for full RA2 I believe, but I think they are more intended for specialty situations.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by gt3mike View Post
    Full RA2 and RA2 Select both work the same way. The repeaters are different, but the electrical wiring is the same. You don't need to run all of the wiring back to the repeater in either case. Full RA2 has a wider range of devices and keypads available, and can handle a larger quantity of them in a system. Also, full RA2 uses Windows software for programming vs a phone app. In both cases (RA2 and RA2 Select) the primary controls are wall switches and dimmers that replace existing wall switches and dimmers. "Hidden" or "inline" modules are also available, primarily for full RA2 I believe, but I think they are more intended for specialty situations.
    OK thanks for the clarification. I don't know why I was thinking things needed to be run back to a "home base".

    I was also under the impression that I - as the homeowner - would have full control over the config/management of RA2 Select and that Radio RA2 you needed a company to do it and they maintained control after the install. I definitely don't want that. That's what I'm dealing with now at my current home with Control4. It's frustrating as hell. Is this something that is "negotiated" with the install company to ensure I maintain keys to the kingdom?

  10. #10
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    Homeowners can take the level 1 (L1) RA2 training self-paced at home. Once completed, you can download and use the RA2 Essentials software yourself.

    Where it gets tricky is if a pro touches your project using the RA2 Inclusive (L2) software, then the Essentials (L1) software won't be able to open the project anymore. A couple of ways to get around this are:
    1) I think Lutron can modify the project so that Essentials can open it again.
    2) In some cases, Lutron or a distributor may be willing to upgrade your Essentials (L1) software to Inclusive (L2) so that you can continue to maintain your project.
    3) You can take the L2 class. It costs money, but it is available remotely these days, and it is GREAT. Also when you sign up you get a bunch of devices to use in the training for your "lab" that you get to keep. These devices are worth 2-3x what you pay for the training.

    Mike

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