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Thread: Where to start? bought house with full lutron system that is now obsolete

  1. #1

    Where to start? bought house with full lutron system that is now obsolete

    Hello everyone, stumbled upon this board this year (no idea how I missed it). First time poster - hopefully can get some information and start to solve my lutron problems!

    I bought a home that was built in 2001. House is fairly big and has a ton of lights. Somewhere in the neighborhood of ~250 individual light bulbs last I counted, though far fewer circuits / switches. Given an equivalently insane electric bill, I tried to replace with some dimmable LED bulbs in the highly used areas/fixtures. Most went in and worked just fine, but once I got around to replacing the "normal" A19 bulbs, 100% of them audibly buzz regardless of the dim setting (even max) and regardless of the manufacturer (tried Philips, GE, Ecosmart, and Cree). Also, some candelabra bulbs won't turn off all the way. Electrician said it's because of the lighting system, but has no idea how to fix it.

    Former owners both died so they're not around to answer questions and there is zero documentation. I have normal light switches as well as light "pads" with multiple scenes, and it all feeds into an electronic brain downstairs that has a dedicated breaker box and 10 circuit breakers running into it. No labeling (that I can find). If I had to guess, I'd say it's a 15 year old Homeworks system. No idea which version. It's only lighting, no shades or other stuff. Not familiar with Lutron's current lineup either, though I'm trying to get there with what limited info I can find. If there are only 3 systems out there now for houses then I'm on the right track I'd guess.

    Making it worse (impossible?) is that I'm in the middle of nowhere geographically. The nearest homeworks authorized guy (a "company" of 3 people) is 1 hour away - the owner of which is the guy who installed it it turns out - who is retired and doesn't want to lift a finger to help. He came by once, I chased him for price quotes to update my system for nearly a month - nothing. The only thing he did was send his other two guys over once, which basically consisted of me explaining exactly the same thing to them that I told the guy that installed it. They reacted with shock and awe as I relayed my story about my prior experience and begged for them to quote me. And they the promptly chose not to give me a any quotes either. They did plug in their laptop to the serial port on the brain, tell me "you're lucky, this is the last version of this system that can be upgraded to work on wifi", and left.

    The next closest homeworks business is 2 hours away and they aren't interested in working with me because I'm too far. The third closest is 4 hours away, you can guess what they think.

    This is even more frustrating because, while I have a day job, I have rental properties and was trained as an electrical engineer -- this should be right up my alley, but I can't make heads or tails of Lutron's system as there just isn't much information out there resource wise, particularly for a DIYer like me, and I don't have the software or interface to hook into the brain. Hoping this board can steer me in the right direction.

    Ideally, I'd like to:
    1) Figure out what exact system I have
    2) Understand what the upgrade paths are well enough to make an informed decision
    3) Select the one that best meets my needs, keeping in mind that there is slim to no chance of any authorized installer setting foot in this house - it's going to be all on me
    4) If none of the above, what alternatives to lutron there are

    At the end of the day all I really want is to be able to use LED bulbs, utilizing my existing infrastructure as much as possible, without them buzzing and without giving up the ability to dim the bulbs. Doesn't seem like it should be this hard. A huge plus would be to be able to use my iphone to control my lights. Also, I'm not looking to gut and redo the house, not only because of the inability to get a pro in my area to do it (see above), but also because I'm handy (other than this) and prefer to save some money on it.

    Tomorrow I plan to go to home depot and buy a few LED specific dimmers (I understand that is what drives the buzz) and swap out a few circuits to see if that makes a difference; I have a sinking suspicion it will have no impact because of the brain downstairs and/or the brain won't recognize the new switch I put in.

    Any help is VERY!! appreciated! Thanks!

  2. Likes Blair S. liked this post
  3. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Posts
    400
    Hi 2tall

    Best thing here is to contact me by email I can help explain things for you. mcignarella@hotmail.com

  4. Thanks Johnny54, Blair S. thanked for this post
    Likes Johnny54, Blair S. liked this post
  5. #3
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Posts
    1
    What state are you in? We do some work remotely and could help you through this.

  6. Thanks Blair S. thanked for this post
    Likes Blair S. liked this post
  7. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by minpark View Post
    What state are you in? We do some work remotely and could help you through this.
    Upstate NY

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