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Thread: How I recovered my Luton Homeworks 4 Series system from the dead

  1. #1
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    How I recovered my Luton Homeworks 4 Series system from the dead

    This was such a saga and I want to share for the benefit of others.

    I have a Lutron Homeworks 4 Series H4P5-H48-120 system running only lights. Over time the system became unstable, i believe due to power outages/flickers. It would "crash" and the keypads would scroll / waterfall. Years ago I figured out that you could unplug the power, flip dip switch 1, power cycle, flip dip switch 1 back, and it would come back online. This happened so many times that eventually the 12v prong broke off where I was constantly yanking power.

    It sat for several months before I got around to working on it. After much research, I uncovered the Homeworks Illumination (HWI) software and downloaded 1.65 (the latest). I soldered the 12v power prong back onto the board and got it powered up, but only to boot mode. I bought a serial -> USB cable to connect to my laptop. User randyc was super helpful in walking me through how to get a processor added to a project so I could attempt to connect. Unfortunately my primary laptop is Win 11 and the serial cable would not work. Found a laptop still running Win 10 and was able to connect to the processor in boot mode. I checked and no OS was loaded, likely from the long period of being unplugged and a bad onboard battery.

    I then used HWI 1.65 to load the OS but it still would not boot. Tried several times, hit the internet and found a couple posts on here and elsewhere about low batteries, etc. I bought a replacement battery from Digikey.com - this one, with leads, that exactly matches the original, and had it installed by a local shop for $50. I had to upload the OS again, but still no boot.

    Frustrated, I hit the internet again. I found a post on here saying 1.65 would not restore the OS on certain older processors. So I found a link to 1.64 and paid $10 to access a forum to download it. No change at all. Then I messaged some folks and a different guy told me I would have to use a HWI version above 1.18 and below 1.50. So I went on the hunt for 1.49. Lutron tech support was useless and would not give it to me. Found a guy with access and he shared the software. Uploaded the OS with HWI 1.49 and bam it booted right up. I then moved to 1.65 and uploaded the latest software from it, which worked great.

    So now I had it booted but I did not have a backup of the project file. My original installer was happy to talk system upgrades but went silent when I asked for the project file. Perhaps he lost it, whatever... After much trial and error, and reading the excellent HWI help files, I restored the majority of my project. Everything important works now, and I actually have control over it for the first time which is super nice.

    My only remaining issue is that certain lights do not appear to be connecting to the processor. Oddly, the LED’s on Bus 4 look different from all the others – the RX light is solid bright vs flashing. I suspect an issue with the 12v daisy chain on that bus but have not had time to investigate further.
    I now have copies of HWI 1.16, 1.49, 1.64, and 1.65. I know PM’s are disabled here but find me on Reddit and I am happy to share. There are a handful of knowledgeable folks out there willing to help but they are few.

    Major thanks to:

    User randyc on this forum for his tremendous help. His advice in the beginning enabled the whole thing to play out.

    User floridacommand on this forum for posing about the version issue, tho he totally ghosted me shortly after I made contact via another online communication channel.

    An unnamed Reddit user for providing me the 1.49 software.

    E-Bay user automatedcontrols knows his stuff. I can’t speak for his service, but I would send my processor to him in a heartbeat if I could not DIY the above. Prices sound very reasonable too.

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  3. #2
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    Glad to hear you got it working!
    Convergence Technologies Raleigh, North Carolina
    www.convergenceusa.com

  4. #3
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    Hi WaarrEagle,

    I might have the same issue with my system. Could you please share the software and other info so I can give them a try? Your help would be much appreciated!

  5. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael789 View Post
    Hi WaarrEagle,

    I might have the same issue with my system. Could you please share the software and other info so I can give them a try? Your help would be much appreciated!
    Looking at your other post, it seems like you are facing the same issue I was. Have you tried the power cycle and dip switch #1 trick? That might get you back but I bet your onboard battery is bad. Message me on Reddit if you want the files. PM's are disabled here.

  6. #5
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    Thanks WaarrEagle! Dip switch is located under label Config, as marked in attached photo, right? How can I find you on Reddit? My username on reddit is Michae1789 (number 1, not letter l, before 789).Click image for larger version. 

Name:	DipSwitch.png 
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  7. #6
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    I tried the following sequence: power off (via circuit board switch), flip DIP switch #1, power back, flip DIP switch #1 back. Nothing changes.
    How can I find you on Reddit? My username on reddit is Michae1789 (number 1, not letter l, before 789).

  8. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael789 View Post
    I tried the following sequence: power off (via circuit board switch), flip DIP switch #1, power back, flip DIP switch #1 back. Nothing changes.
    How can I find you on Reddit? My username on reddit is Michae1789 (number 1, not letter l, before 789).
    I used to do the following: 1) power off, 2) flip dip switch #1, 3) restore power, 4) power off, 5) flip dip switch #1 back, 6) restore power. I was yanking the 12v plugs off but that is generally a bad idea as mine eventually broke off the board. I think you can use the onboard reset button instead of physically pulling power but I have not had to try this since restoring my system and replacing the battery.

    If that does not work or the processor stays in boot mode at that point (check LED status), then you need to reload the OS. I sent you a message on Reddit.

  9. #8
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    On Homeworks 4 Series processor, I just noticed that below the PWR label there's a LED light indicator for the power. I didn't pay attention to that light before. When the processor is powered, is that light stayed on or at least flashing? Currently when the processor is powered, no indication on the light at all. Does that mean the 12V power supply is bad? I measured the PowerSupply output without load and it's 13.6V. However, I heard that's not reliable to confirm the transformer is good.

    There's also the possibility that the PWR light itself is bad, how likely that can happen? Is it a good idea to measure voltage between the 2 ends of the LED PWR light when the processor is powered? is that more reliable then measure transformer output voltage without load?

    Attached photo with note about the PWR indicator I mentioned:
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Homeworks 4 Series processor-PowerLight Off.png 
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Size:	1.10 MB 
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  10. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael789 View Post
    On Homeworks 4 Series processor, I just noticed that below the PWR label there's a LED light indicator for the power. I didn't pay attention to that light before. When the processor is powered, is that light stayed on or at least flashing? Currently when the processor is powered, no indication on the light at all. Does that mean the 12V power supply is bad? I measured the PowerSupply output without load and it's 13.6V. However, I heard that's not reliable to confirm the transformer is good.

    There's also the possibility that the PWR light itself is bad, how likely that can happen? Is it a good idea to measure voltage between the 2 ends of the LED PWR light when the processor is powered? is that more reliable then measure transformer output voltage without load?

    Attached photo with note about the PWR indicator I mentioned:
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Homeworks 4 Series processor-PowerLight Off.png 
Views:	8 
Size:	1.10 MB 
ID:	934
    I dont recall what that LED did when I was having issues. What are your 4 status LED's doing, the ones you posted a picture of earlier? Marked 1, 2, P, E...

  11. #10
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    None of the status light was on or even flashing. I thought Power light might be on once the system is powered on, but not sure. If that's the case, it could mean I have some basic connectivity issue on the board and perhaps the processor chip on board doesn't even get power to generate proper status code.

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