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Thread: Are Caseta Serena Shades likely to have an upgrade path to a Radio RA2 type system?

  1. #1

    Question Are Caseta Serena Shades likely to have an upgrade path to a Radio RA2 type system?

    Hi everyone,

    I've done a ton of research on shade options, and am very close to spending a few thousand dollars on Caseta Serena Shades. My only hesitation is that I worry I may need to upgrade to a RadioRA2 someday. I understand that today I can't do that without throwing out my investment in Serena Shades.

    The Serena Shades are definitely better for me now. I'm not ready to cover my whole house, so I really don't need RA2. I also really prefer to do more myself and would rather pay Lutron directly rather than a vendor.

    However, I'm worried that if I really like the Lutron shades and use them often, I could see myself doing more and more rooms over time... and may then eventually want a RA2-type system. But I probably would then never be able to justify going to RA2 if I had to throw out my Serena Shades.

    Am I likely to be able to still make use of an investment in Serena Shades if someday I upgrade from a Caseta Smart Bridge to Radio RA2 setup? Or would I be expected to replace a (potentially very significant) investment in Serena Shades with new shades if I need to move to RadioRA2?

    Really appreciate any advice. Thanks!

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
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    641
    I would make sure and use the SmartBridge Pro2, and spend about $100 extra a shade to "upgrade" to Triathlon. Truth be told, the shades are identical except for the transceiver chips. Triathlon will work with SMBPro2 and RA2, as well as HWQS, thus saving your investment if you decide to upgrade to RA2.
    Residential Lighting and Shading Specialist for CED Escondido

    mbalay@cedescondido.com

  3. #3
    Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by SanDiegoRep View Post
    I would make sure and use the SmartBridge Pro2, and spend about $100 extra a shade to "upgrade" to Triathlon. Truth be told, the shades are identical except for the transceiver chips. Triathlon will work with SMBPro2 and RA2, as well as HWQS, thus saving your investment if you decide to upgrade to RA2.
    Are the Triathlon shades on the SmartBridge Pro 2 controllable via HomeKit?

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by SanDiegoRep View Post
    I would make sure and use the SmartBridge Pro2, and spend about $100 extra a shade to "upgrade" to Triathlon. Truth be told, the shades are identical except for the transceiver chips. Triathlon will work with SMBPro2 and RA2, as well as HWQS, thus saving your investment if you decide to upgrade to RA2.
    Hmmm. I don't mind spending more on a more powerful hub, but man... $100 extra, per shade, for basically the same thing seems a little unfair.


    Does anyone have any thoughts on brands of quieter z-wave shades? I like Lutron, but maybe it's better just keep the shades not locked into a hub that can't be upgraded. That would also keep more spots open in my Caseta scenes for lighting stuff... I guess I need to do more research.

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
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    641
    Quote Originally Posted by tannebil View Post
    Are the Triathlon shades on the SmartBridge Pro 2 controllable via HomeKit?
    Yes, if set up properly.
    Residential Lighting and Shading Specialist for CED Escondido

    mbalay@cedescondido.com

  6. #6
    I guess no one has any better answers here...

    I'm glad I figured out that you can get "stuck" with a Caseta dimmers and shades before actually buying a bunch of the Serena shades. Seems like a huge problem with the way that these are sold.

    In case anyone has any feedback, my best idea at this point is to just use Smartthings hub to control Bali Blinds. They are way less expensive than Sivoia QS Triathlon ($235.80 per shade for my 36"x60" windows at costco.com, see screenshot), and you can buy as many as you want if you want to expand your investment in the powered shades over time.

    I'm think I'm going to order just one for now to ensure I'm not missing something (quality/sound/control latency/etc) and will go from there if there's no better ideas on how to stick with Lutron/Caseta without getting stuck.

    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails costco-bali-blinds.png  

  7. #7
    OP, is the Zwave motor new ? Up until a few months ago Bali used Somfy motors, hubs and one needed a Somfy protocol to Zwave bridge in addition to the Somfy only bridge. Costly.
    Plus if u get the Serena at 20% discount its more palatable. I got two shades so far . One was a 96x60 under $600. Bulletproof prof performance and from the same Lutron hub/app is so much better. Unless u can use Smartthings as the sole/direct hub for Lutron lights u r still stuck with multiple hubs.

  8. #8
    The Bali blinds do use a new Somfy motor that has z-wave integrated. There is no extra bridge needed and no Somfy-specific protocol in use any longer. Just the smartthings hub, and as far as I can tell, it just works out of the box for as many devices as you want, at quite a bit lower cost.

    As a long aside....

    I'm increasingly worried that Lutron is falling into a classic case of business model disruption. In the past, pro installers and Lutron have had a cozy relationship with each other, where Lutron artificially withholds their best technology for pros, such that customers have to go with a pro installers, and in exchange these pros promote Lutron. As tech advances and device costs come down, the home control market is growing rapidly with new sets of consumers emerging, especially at the lower end and non-pro side of the market. Lutron has been able to ignore these changes for a long time-- I'm sure their higher-end / pro revenues numbers look good right now, and it will be very natural to resist canibalizing that with a broader market solution. That, in turn, results in experiments like Caseta being handicapped in various important ways (this thread is actually a good direct example), which then depresses demand for Caseta. This lower demand result will internally be used as justification to keep things the same and further slow-roll efforts to change.

    All together, this institutional momentum, the lack of willingness to cannibalize existing business, and the slow-rolling of experiments to change, will ultimately give other vendors critical time to enter the market at the lower-end, and over time progressively improve their product offering until they ultimately are able to displace Lutron or relegate them to a niche player.

    I do have a ton of respect for Lutron's engineering and commitment to quality products, and I really hope I'm wrong about how this is going to play out. Unfortunately, I have some pretty deep experience in another tech sector where something almost exactly analogous happened. The limits placed around Caseta and lack of commitment to an upgrade path are both seriously concerning data points that this won't end well. :/

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