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rebelwopause
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Have a customer who is interested in a control unit that would allow operation of all interior and exterior light fixtures from one bedside location. Have checked on a Lutron system which , according to the supplier, could run anywhere from 5 to 10 grand.... Anyone have any other suggestions?
 

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Thom
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Use an X-10 type system. There is a newer system (I forget the name) that should be a little better.

People ask for this type of crap, you do a lot of work determining costs, then they say it's to much. As a practical matter, I don't think the ones that get installed get used after the first year.
 

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rebelwopause
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10 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thom

Thanks so much for the speedy response, am researching the X-10 system /components as we speak....You're probably right regarding the short lived usefullness of this type of system , but I don't want to walk away from this one just yet..... work has been very slow in this area lately ... thanks again for the help..... by the way, moved here from Rio Rancho, NM in July of 2007 at the request of my son who asked me to come out of semi retirement to help him with his business... we may even know each other , or know some of the same folks . Had a condo in Country Club Villas near the golf course..... small world......
John
 

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We installed a Litetouch system in a residential home to do exactly that sort of thing ( plus you could tie in via the internet to adjust lights and such while your at the office or away on vacation )

The whole thing worked off of computer controlled relay systems.

We were told when we talked to the sales rep it took no more wire to do it that way than the standard way ..... He was lying!

Every light fixture, every controlled receptacle, all the control devices had to wired on a home run system back to the control board ... easily 10 times the material and labor cost of doing it the normal way.

What ever system you go with ( if you go with one ) make sure the customer knows that every additional function or convenience they ask for comes with a pretty hefty price tag attached.
 

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Contractor of the Month
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If you want some X10 stuff PM me because I have a pile of ths sh!t.

I've done a bit of it and it SSSSUUUUCCCKSSSSS.

It sucks.

Did I mention it sucks?

Feel free to install it but beware it sucks.

Budget system look Control 4, all wireless can be put inplace of existing system or swapped out to a normal uncontrolled lighting system.

Not into the restricted dealer network of control 4?

How about HAI? I've never done one but have heard decent things.

Vantage and Lutron are the two big hitters, you really can't go wrong with them.

Oh BTW X10 sucks!
 

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I have a pile I'd love to sell!

I just don't feel comfortable installing them in client's houses. Maby the newer ones are better but the ones from a few years ago gave me nothing but trouble.

You end up with interferance problems out the wazoo, stacking filters, changing low-voltage transformers, forgetting to quote phase couplers. I'm all for trying new things but if you don't have any expierience installing a lighting control system prepare yourself for alot of hair-tugging. I'm not saying sub it out, but I'd look to get a control guy in to show you the ropes with your first couple systems (I didn't and I paid the price).

It has great potential for being a total pain in the arse. Don't ask me how a wireless solution like Zigbee or Z-wave is better and low-cost but they are. I have a Control4 in my house that I've never had a lick of trouble.
 

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rebelwopause
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks to all the speedy responses to my post eyeryone... the info was most helpful and enable us to talk homeowner out of his desire for this type of system, saving us a load of future headache and grief.... Inner 10 , sorry we are not able to take that pile of **** off your hands , but if we run across anyone who is really set on this type of install, will give them the link to this thread and have them get in touch with you.... Here's hoping we can all stay busy enough to get through this crunch.. Stay well and work safe......:thumbsup:
 

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the info was most helpful and enable us to talk homeowner out of his desire for this type of system, saving us a load of future headache and grief
I wasn't trying to talk you out of it, don't under-sell your job. The first control pannel you install you probably won't make much money lord knows I probably made 3 bucks an hour on the first one. After you get get a good idea of the person's lifestyle and helpful means of control lighting control can not only be profitable its really freaking slick. I've had numerous people tell me they didn't know how they lived without lighting control!

Lutron is very expensive but it is solid. If someone wants X10 try your best to upsell to a "real" system.
 

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Have a customer who is interested in a control unit that would allow operation of all interior and exterior light fixtures from one bedside location. Have checked on a Lutron system which , according to the supplier, could run anywhere from 5 to 10 grand.... Anyone have any other suggestions?
Man, 5 to 10 g's to turn on a few lights-Yeow!!!!!!! Lutron has gone nuts with their dimmer switches too! Suggestion: Throw a couple of contactors next to the Main Panel & a couple of switches next to their bed for the control voltage of the coils of the contactors.............. & They can turn em on & off as much as their heart desires..............
 

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C4 only requires a $450 (retail) controller and $140 per dimmer...Beats a $5000 pannel if you only want a few switches.
 

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not2late
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34 Posts
Not being an electrician by any means I wonder why you wouldn't consider a PLC for this purpose.

In my other life I built packaging machinery. We used PLC's for machine control, prices are more than reasonable and the programming is as simple or complicated as you need it to be. With a touch pad for the main control, say by the homeowners bed, all the other switches or inputs could be low voltage. Household line voltage to the device (lights) only. A set of contactors with low voltage coils would be turned on/off by the outputs for the actual device control (lights, receptacles etc..). Easy to program in on/off delays, no motion/motion, almost anything you can think of.

A laptop to set up the initial program with various timers/parameters changeable by the homeowner on the touch pad. The main program in the PLC non-accessible to the homeowner. Allows you to charge for program changes as needed in the future.

I always had very good service life using Modicon or Automation Direct PLC's.

Just a thought.
 

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not2late
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If I remember for around $1000 you could get a PLC and a customizable touch pad (MMI) which would have enough I/O to do pretty much anything you would need to do in a house. If you needed more I/O you just keep adding modules. Automation Directs pricing is all on line. You'll be surprised how reasonable this stuff is. And reliable.
The Modicon, Allen Bradley stuff can start to run up some dollars. Maybe a few more features but to run house lighting control I can't see ever needing them.
 

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Guess I wish I read this yesterday. Just ordered a little x10 stuff to try at the house. Intested in the whole home automation thing, but have not messed with it to date, figured I be my wn guinea pig and instead of making 3 bucks an hour I'd do it for free:clap: Only ordered a handful of really basic x10 pro recept and switches. Just wanted to get the feel for it. Not really sure why, but I do not like the idea of the wireless systems so I thougt I would try x10.

I'll update later after I get the stuff in and cuss alot, or maybe get lucky and it is better now.
 

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If you like the X10 then I'd be happy to unload a bunch of the stuff I have...my collection is of various vintages though.

call up the PLC boys to get a price. Just make sure you sit down first
PLC automation is not a cheap easy lighting control solution. PLC has many practical applications, simple lighting control isn't really it.
 
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