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Thread: Waterfall problem in Panama City

  1. #1
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    Waterfall problem in Panama City

    Hello all,

    Residential user from Panama City. First time here and not sophisticated with this, please be gentle. :-)

    ALL our Homeworks QS keyboards suddenly started cascading the green LEDs, top to bottom, cycling rapidly. Both floors. I've learned that this is called "waterfall" (99% sure of that, anyway). And if it is so, it means that the processor is not working.

    A tech came over and confirmed that. He could disconnect it and get various lights to turn on and off via the electrical panel fuse switches. He said he needed a new processor but it could take weeks since they're not readily available here in Panama City, Panama (not Florida).

    He also said that Lutron does not make it anymore, since it's one of the older models, apparently (it's onlly 6 years old). He told me to tell you this is the model that we need (his english is not very good)...

    Lutron Series 8 Processor, H8P5-MI-H48-120

    Does anyone know where I can buy this? I see one used on eBay for $1600, but these things seem to die frequently. Our tech says that this was the 5th out of 15 installations in Panama City. So I'm not sure how much life I'd get out of a used processor.

    Does anyone have some advice?

    Thanking you in advance,
    Ken

  2. #2
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    More specifically, the scrolling LEDs mean the keypads can't communicate with the processor. There could be a couple of reasons for this.

    1. The power supply is failing. Keypads get power from the processor and, depending on the number of keypads, an external power supply. If one or both is failing, there isn't enough power to drive the data. You can convert all the keypads to an external power supply.
    2. The data cable is bad. A nail might have nicked it, a mouse chewed on it, etc.
    3. Most likely, and most expensive, the processor has an internal battery, and it has failed. It was designed to last 10 years or so. If the power flickers the program is lost and the keypads can't communicate with a processor that has no program. You can replace the battery but it does require soldering. This will void the warranty which has probably expired anyway. I've tried an external UPS and they are not fast enough to keep the processor up. My WAG would be $250-$400 for the battery, someone to solder it, and someone to upload the program again.

    FYI, you have the most expensive processor. I'm not sure if Lutron still offers the service but they will make you a brand new one. The last time I saw one it was $5,000. I have seen the processors on-line in the $300-$500 range, depending on options. Unfortunately, you don't have the luxury of waiting for a better price. If you do buy a used processor... see item 3.
    LED, Incorporated
    Raleigh, NC 27614

  3. #3
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    I love duplicate posts. No really....
    Last edited by randyc; 04-11-2018 at 10:48 AM. Reason: If it is worth saying once....
    LED, Incorporated
    Raleigh, NC 27614

  4. #4
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    Good news to resolve waterfall problem

    Thanks very much, Randy, for your help.

    I have new information. We managed to find the knowledgeable tech who did the original work here in Panama City. Lutron no longer makes the processor we use and charges $4700 for an entirely new upgrade (power, processor, etc.)

    So iit seems they agreed that this was indeed a premature failure and will discount the entire new system by 40%. Given the price of a used processor on eBay, this sounds like the safer way.

    The sytem will have to be re-installed and the processor will have to be re-programmed, but all is well-marked and we'll use the same person who did the original work.

    It's going to cost a few thousand dollars, all in, I'd imagine. But we do love the lights. I guess you have to accept that complex systems can have compex and expensive solutions.

    I wonder if we should put a new high-end surge protector in place, too. At 62 floors up, the electrical activity from storms in Panama is often all around us, or not so far above us. Or is that a red herring?

    Thanks again - much appreciated.

    All the best,
    Ken

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  6. #5
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    Glad it is working out for you.

    Surge protection is almost always a good investment. The over-the-counter products are generally not worth the money. I mostly work in large, single-family homes so I don't have a lot of experience with high-rise installs. It would be worth having a pro evaluate your particular application. I know you can spend anywhere from $1,000 up on surge protection.

    BTW, Florida is #1 in lighting strikes.
    LED, Incorporated
    Raleigh, NC 27614

  7. #6
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    Randy, thanks a million for the help, much appreciated. That's exactly what we'll do.

    All the best,
    Ken
    Last edited by KenPan; 04-17-2018 at 12:00 AM. Reason: accidental duplicate sentence

  8. #7
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    KenPan,
    Thank you for your post.
    Here is a good read if interested in a surge protection solution.
    http://www.lutron.com/TechnicalDocum...ary/048097.pdf

  9. #8
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    Excellent, Blair. Thanks very much, am downloading now. :-)

    All the best,
    Ken

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