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Thread: Lutron's upcoming announcement

  1. #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by PAR-Designer View Post
    Reviewing the info that's been posted here and on the new RA3 site, I'm still left with some questions about compatibility.

    DIMMERS: In several places, I've seen suggestions that the RA3 processor is backwards-compatible with pretty much all RA2 devices (Grafik Eye being a glaring exception). But under "compatible RA2 controls," the only Maestro controls actually listed are the Pro LED+ dimmer (no 6NA, 6ND, 10ND, etc.), the 8ANS, and the fan control. Can anyone clarify? Since the Pro LED+ is relatively new, I'm sure the vast majority of existing RA2 installations use lots of the older dimmer models. Are they truly not compatible with RA3, or is Lutron just being obtuse in their marketing?

    SHADES: Are the new wire-free Palladiom shades...so unceremoniously added to Caseta and Select but not RA2...compatible with RA3?
    The 6NA, 6ND, 6CL, 10ND, 8ANS, and 8S-DV are all available in the Designer software (you have to add them to the toolbox). The Grafik Eye and Grafik T dimmers have been left behind. Not a fan of the Grafix T but I'm sure there are people out there that are going to be upset that they won't be supported in RA3. It's amazing to me that Lutron is supporting some clear connect devices but not all. It's got to be some marketing guy since from a technical perspective it should not be that difficult to support them. This thread would have been pretty quiet if they had just continued to support all the existing hardware as they move forward with new hardware and possibly new software features. It seems they are more focused on growing revenue by forcing people to replace perfectly serviceable hardware than enhancing the value of existing installations through software and the addition of new devices.

    As for shades, I don't know much about them except they are expensive.

  2. #62
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    Quote Originally Posted by scruzguy View Post
    It seems they are more focused on growing revenue by forcing people to replace perfectly serviceable hardware than enhancing the value of existing installations through software and the addition of new devices.
    .
    Yeah I really hope that Lutron understands that this is course of action is a false economy. I've been with Lutron for almost 20 years and know how enthusiastic their sales and marketing people are but the landscape has changed a lot from when multi-millionaires would buy a mansion and give a blank check to their assistant and tell them to give them the latest and greatest and keep things going no matter what. I'm sure there are still customers like that on Homeworks jobs, but those are a lot more rare now and especially with Ra2 jobs, it caters to more hands-on customers who watch every dollar. One of my radio ra2 customers who lives in a $3 million + house and has a very large system was unhappy that the decorator had marked up light bulbs and she goes to amazon herself to order light bulbs to save, 20 bucks or whatever it is she's saving. She was also asking why the shade pico costs $50+ while the light pico is like $20. "It costs more just for the icon?". You want me to go to a customer like that and tell them their Grafik Eye won't work?

  3. #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by SparkyCoog View Post
    One of my radio ra2 customers who lives in a $3 million + house and has a very large system was unhappy that the decorator had marked up light bulbs and she goes to amazon herself to order light bulbs to save, 20 bucks or whatever it is she's saving. She was also asking why the shade pico costs $50+ while the light pico is like $20. "It costs more just for the icon?".
    Likely why she can afford a $3 million + home with an large RA2 system. Just because you can afford it doesn't mean you don't look for value.

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  5. #64
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    I tried to open a couple of RA2 files in RA3. Tried. It says I need 12.x software to edit the file.

    The issue with 2.4 is crowding. I've seen this with Zigby systems. It's way more prominent than 434 stuff. Most 2.4 devices have some kind of buffering so a momentary lapse isn't a big deal. When the client presses a button they expect the light to respond. If there is any delay they press the button again, and again...

    There is some interesting potential in RA3 but Lutron is still at least 5 years behind the competitors. That's a lifetime in the electronics industry.
    Convergence Technologies Raleigh, North Carolina
    www.convergenceusa.com

  6. #65
    continuing the discussion on this statement: RadioRA 3 is not compatible with these RadioRA 2 & RA2 Select devices: GRAFIK Eye QS Wireless control unit, GRAFIK T keypad.
    The rational is simple for a sales perspective: Lutron looked at sales of the Eye QS and Grafik T keypad and found them too low to continue supporting them. That rational is flawed since every major install probably have at least 1 of theses devices for specific reasons and removing support from them will prevent upgrading and upselling into these existing customer base. The rational should be instead: look at the number of units sold in the Grafik T range and this probably equal the number of existing customers that won't upgrade to the new RA3. This is a lot...

    Lutron admin, could you create a new forum called RA3 with a sub discussion for feature request? It would be nice to hear from the installer and the community what should drive the new updates of RA3 (like support for Grafik EYE and Grafik T keypad).


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  8. #66
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    The Grafix Eyes are going to be just like attendant consoles were in the telephony world for a long time. You dont have a lot in a setup or installation, say 1-2. However, those 1-2 dictate the rest of the setup.
    Quote Originally Posted by alebouthillier View Post
    continuing the discussion on this statement: RadioRA 3 is not compatible with these RadioRA 2 & RA2 Select devices: GRAFIK Eye QS Wireless control unit, GRAFIK T keypad.
    The rational is simple for a sales perspective: Lutron looked at sales of the Eye QS and Grafik T keypad and found them too low to continue supporting them. That rational is flawed since every major install probably have at least 1 of theses devices for specific reasons and removing support from them will prevent upgrading and upselling into these existing customer base. The rational should be instead: look at the number of units sold in the Grafik T range and this probably equal the number of existing customers that won't upgrade to the new RA3. This is a lot...

    Lutron admin, could you create a new forum called RA3 with a sub discussion for feature request? It would be nice to hear from the installer and the community what should drive the new updates of RA3 (like support for Grafik EYE and Grafik T keypad).


  9. #67
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    Heh got an email from Lutron about Ra3...with a testimonial from a guy named Mark in BC saying"" RadioRA 3 is much easier to program than RadioRA 2..." Learn more about the value of RA3 from Mark"...Even though the email named him and his company, I won't name it here but if Mark is on here, I'm curious what makes him say that it's easier when none of us have had a chance to even look at the system, buy the system, or install the system? We can't even add 2 main repeaters yet. I wish instead of this marketing nonsense, Lutron would have an honest and open discussion about this. At the very least a Webinar.

  10. #68
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    Have you taken the RA3 training yet? It's online and easily accessible.

    I did. The RA3 programming software (on the PC) looks like it is based on the HomeWorks software rather than the existing RA2 software.

    I haven't fired it up yet (waiting for my RA3 test gear to ship in a few weeks), but from the training it looks like RA3 is definitely going to be a bit easier than RA2.

    At a minimum, they've done away with the two levels and RA3 software lets you program both new RA3 and older RA2 systems (as long as you don't have the few unsupported modules).

    I also don't understand the complaining here about the Graphik Eye stuff. I've never sold any and never run into any in any client installs. Having been on the vendor side in the past (with a network equipment company, not lighting), I know the kinds of tradeoffs that are made when rolling out new systems.

    For good companies (and I consider Lutron a well managed and very successful company), most of these conspiracy theories about sales decisions are plain wrong. I've had to make and hard decisions like these about how much backward compatibility, which existing devices would be supported, and support policies for existing product/systems, and there is a lot of analysis and tradeoffs to reach a compromise between all the conflicting goals.

    And, at least for the companies I worked with, the presumed desire to push sales and force updates was never allowed to be the driving criteria.

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  12. #69
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    Yes I got trained the first day it came out. The current version only allows for one main repeater so it is not a finished product. Once they allow the addition of a second main repeater, we have not been told whether there will be one or two levels. If you know this for sure please post the reference. I always thought having two tiers one of which homeowners could also get was just confusing. It might be easier for a current QS programmer but a lot of Ra2 programmers never used QS so they'll have fun with the new software. I was doing Ra2 when it first came out too and the early versions of it were extremely buggy so there is a good chance it will take 2 years for this to be stable too.

    As for Grafik eyes, let me give you two scenarios where this is a major issue. Just because you have never sold one doesn't mean there aren't many already installed. I've got one client with Ra2 that has a wall in their pantry with 5 wall-mount modules which as you may or may not know are 6 zones and use a 4 gang box. That means, there is no going back to dimmers because it would mean that they'd have to buy 30 new dimmers AND rip out their walls. The system works great - there are keypads on the walls and dimmers in some rooms. The issue is that this customer is now stuck in a no-win situation if they want to add anything new to the house. If they want to add the new wire-free shades or the outdoor plug, they can't because they don't work in Ra2. They also can't spend the $800 or whatever the Ra3 processor costs because if they did, they'd have to replace 30 dimmers, plus a whole mess of electrical and programming just to get the new features.

    I also have another client who has an older Homeworks P5 Series 4 processor with which is mostly wireless except for a couple of grafik eyes - one in a fancy study with beautiful stained wood walls and the other in the dining room which also has wood walls. Ra2 would have been the perfect replacement as far as cost and programming went because they don't need Homeworks. Ra3 would have been perfect too had it not been for the grafik eyes. There is no way to cut the walls.

    It would have been very easy for Lutron to make all of the existing Ra2 Clear Connect A devices compatible with Ra3. There was no need to exclude devices.

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  14. #70
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    RA3 and Grafik Eye

    I feel that the grafik eye was a better solution over individual dimmers for a room where you have more than three or four zones. You can place a six-zone unit in the room in a 4-gang box with a solid cover and it is barely noticeable. Six individual dimmers would either have to be spread around the room, consolidated in a six-gang box (very noticeable and ugly), or hidden in a closet. I like to avoid putting devices in closets since it makes it difficult to revert to standard switches and dimmers if one wanted to. It may be hard to believe, but some people don’t like automation and the inability to easily remove it can detract from a home’s resale value.

    The grafik eye had the advantage of providing up to six zones in an attractive package that could easily function stand-alone if desired. The other thing I liked is that the zones could be programmed locally where you could see what the light levels would look like, save them in the grafik eye, and call them from the RA2 program. It also allowed easy changes to local scenes. Setting multiple levels in RA2, uploading the configuration, and displaying the scene only to see it’s not quite right, and starting over is much more time consuming for balancing zones in a single area.

    Quote Originally Posted by SparkyCoog View Post
    It would have been very easy for Lutron to make all of the existing Ra2 Clear Connect A devices compatible with Ra3. There was no need to exclude devices.
    I agree with Sparky, it shouldn’t be that difficult for Lutron to make all the existing RA2 Clear connect devices compatible with RA3. If Lutron doesn’t add grafik eye QS support, they need to come out with a RA3 device that provides the same functionality (6 zones in a 4-gang box minimum). I would also want a keypad and I don’t feel 4 buttons is enough. While a new device would add to the cost of upgrading to RA3 it would offer a more reasonable upgrade path than tearing out walls and re-wiring. It would also provide more options for new installations with areas with mutiple zones as Sparky mentioned in his post. If they made a 6 zone device that included forward and reverse phase that would eliminate the one thing I dislike about the grafix eye, the external phase-adaptive power module when all you need is reverse pahse and not additional load.

    Given the current situation, upgrading to RA3 from RA2 only makes sense for those that have 100% supported devices and even that’s a stretch, currently it’s more suited for new installations. While RA3 may be easier to program that’s really a benefit for the installer, not the homeowner. From the customer perspective, the only reasons to upgrade would be the new dimmer, keypads, and weatherproof switch. And out of those, the weatherproof switch is the only new functionality RA3 offers to a RA2 homeowner (unless you can't live without a line of light in place of LEDs on your dimmers). Upgrading an existing RA2 custiomer will be a hard sell.

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