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Thread: How do keypads work with Apple Home?

  1. #1

    How do keypads work with Apple Home?

    Hi everyone, I saw that with the Connect Bridge I can connect RA2 to the Apple Home app, but how does it work with keypads? If I had a 3 button keypad for example, what does that show up as in the Home app, or does a keypad appear at all? Iím just wondering if itís possible to say have Keypad button 2 run a scene on RA2, but then include that button in a HomeKit scene where it then includes other HomeKit devices like Hue etc? So if I press ďParty SceneĒ in Apple Home, it controls HomeKit devices and also toggles the keypad button which in turn runs the RA2 scene? Or would I basically be forced to create the scenes again, in Home adding all the 3rd party lights like Hue I want, and then have to add all the RA2 lights individually to the scene and set them? Was hoping Home could just trigger a RA2 scene so that Iím not having to change the scene twice whenever I modify it if that makes sense.

  2. #2
    Senior Member
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    Keypads keys are programmed to control single loads (e.g. all the lights on one circuit) or scenes, but the Home app sees only individual loads. The Home app does not have any support for the scenes programmed into the Lutron Essentials / Inclusive app. It doesn't see the keypads, it doesn't see scenes.

    You get to control individual circuits, but you can voice address them by a grouping such as a Room. So you can say, Lights on in Office at 50% and all the office lights that are grouped under Office will come on.

  3. #3
    Just thought I'd throw in my two cents' worth, since I've been working with these exact same issues/questions lately.

    As noted, the Home app doesn't see Lutron-configured scenes or automations. It uses its own. IMO, the solution is to choose the ecosystem that best accommodates all your system objectives and try to do everything within that system. For me, that turned out to be HomeKit, because it can see/use most of my smart devices (Lutron RA2, Hue, Liftmaster, etc.). So then with your scenes, there's no reason to do them twice (in both Lutron and Home programming)...just do them in the Home app. This makes it easy to seamlessly integrate your accessories from other platforms (like Hue, etc).

    Unfortunately, the Lutron keypads aren't actually HomeKit-compatible. Their buttons don't appear as operable accessories in the Home app....so you can't operate them there nor directly send a Home command via the keypad buttons. But really, if you compose your scenes in Home, much of the Lutron keypad functions become redundant and obsolete anyway. That's a bit disheartening, considering their cost!

    But all is not lost. The Lutron keypad can still perform most of its previous functions by making it act like a dedicated Homekit controller. Home's triggers and automations are the key. Program one or more keypad buttons to operate at least one accessory in specific ways, and then use those specific actions as triggers in Home. Example: program a Lutron keypad button to set a light to 25%, and then you can use that light at 25% as the trigger for a whole, complicated scene or automation in Home. The light at 30%, on another button, could trigger some other Home scene /automation. And so on. (And you can still program any of the buttons more traditionally in RA2, if desired.)

    Our smart homes often include multiple platforms (with all their annoying little hubs and wall warts!), and figuring out how to make them play nice together is worth the effort.

  4. #4
    Senior Member
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    Programming complex scenes with the Home app is quite sub-optimal.

    There's the "popcorn-ing" problem. The Home app sends one command at a time to the Lutron receiver, so a sequence like All Off can take almost a minute for larger installations.

    There's the missed event problem. Sometimes the Home app, or the Lutron receiver, misses sending/receiving an event (part of a scene). This rarely occurs when activating a Lutron scene, because the receiver takes care of dispatching the events.

    "Automation" within the Home app is quite limited.

    The Home app has no access to devices like the RadioRA 2 Powr Savr occupancy / vacancy sensors, so any utilization of these must be programmed into the receiver anyway.

    The Home app's UI is still very slow and clumsy.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by MisterC View Post
    Programming complex scenes with the Home app is quite sub-optimal.

    There's the "popcorn-ing" problem. The Home app sends one command at a time to the Lutron receiver, so a sequence like All Off can take almost a minute for larger installations.

    There's the missed event problem. Sometimes the Home app, or the Lutron receiver, misses sending/receiving an event (part of a scene). This rarely occurs when activating a Lutron scene, because the receiver takes care of dispatching the events.

    "Automation" within the Home app is quite limited.

    The Home app has no access to devices like the RadioRA 2 Powr Savr occupancy / vacancy sensors, so any utilization of these must be programmed into the receiver anyway.

    The Home app's UI is still very slow and clumsy.
    Your points about the Home app, relative to RA2 capabilities, are well taken. Though I don't think it's nearly as limited, unreliable, or slow as you suggest under typical home use. For large, complex installations, no pro would choose HomeKit over Radio RA2, obviously, but I don't think most typical smart homes...especially DIYer homes...are likely to exceed its capabilities.

    My point, though, wasn't really about the Home app or suggesting that it should supplant all RA2 programming. It was rather that finding an ecosystem to aggregate one's smart systems is a great solution for the typical user running multiple platforms. Apple's Home is the one I chose because it covers almost all my devices (everything except Nexia), handles my automations well, and because I use iOS. For others it may be Amazon, Google, HomeSeer or something else. Using one of these "aggregators" is often the only way to make all the various devices seamlessly play together as one big smart home system. The OP's question about integrating a RA2 keypad and Hue light control is a great example....a third control system that can talk to both of them is how you make them talk to each other.

  6. #6
    Junior Member
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    Aug 2018
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    Here's how to add a Lutron RA2 scene to HomeKit:

    1) Install a Hubitat Elevation hub. It speaks Lutron, Z-wave, Zigbee, Hue, etc. It is an aggregator that is fairly straightforward and at minimal cost.
    2) Install Homebridge on a NAS, Raspberry Pi, PC, Mac, etc. That allows non-official components to work in HomeKit.
    3) Within Hubitat, create a scene (multiple ways of doing it) that includes Lutron settings, Hue settings, and whatever else.
    4) Enable that Hubitat scene within Homebridge.

    If you want to forgo HomeKit and just enable a Ra2 keypad or Pico button to trigger more than a Lutron scene it's even easier with just Hubitat. In my own system, for a Movie scene, I press a Ra2 keypad button, it sets the Lutron scene and then Hubitat sets Hue color lights.

    Hubitat is very minimal added complexity and maintenance. Adding Homebridge is higher level of maintenance effort, but manageable.

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