09-24-2009 07:17 AM
Hi all, I am interested in adding lighting automation to my living room. I want to start small, so I was thinking I would just get 1 dimmer switch for now and possibly expand later if I get this working.
So what do I need to get started? From browsing other threads, I know I need the IR543 controller to accept signals from my Harmony remote, and the light switch itself (was thinking either a Leviton dimmer, or an Insteon dimmer set to X10).
Do I need anything else? Like a "receiver module" or something? Or will I be good to go with just the IR543 controller and the switch itself?
Your feedback is much appreciated! Thanks!
09-24-2009 12:53 PM
The IR543 sends commands over the power line, so that's all you need to get started. If you wanted to use any RF X10 remotes as well, you'll need a transceiver module like the TM751. I'm not sure how X10 mode works on Leviton or Insteon. If it really works over your power lines, you're fine with just the IR543. Also keep in mind the IR543 only works with house code "A", so you're limited to 16 modules. The more expensive IR543AH does all 16 house codes, for a total of 256 devices.
Another thing to keep in mind is that the IR543 seems to be very sensitive to noise from other devices, so set it several inches away from any other electronics. I had mind setting on top of my stereo and had all kinds of problems until I figured out the issue.
09-25-2009 04:08 PM - edited 09-25-2009 04:14 PM
Get a Lutron Maestro or Spacer switch and it will work right out of the box. harmonies already have Lutron codes. Maestro has one preset plus dimming, and Spacers have 4 presets, plus dimming. You can buy the Maestro version off the shelf at any Home Depot. (http://www.homedepot.com/h_d1/N-5yc1vZ1xr5/R-10039
Replace the switch, add it to your Devices, and you're done. You also automatically have the ability to add a preselt light level to an activity.
I've used banks of Spacers in home theaters to control multiple zones of lighting automaticaly with one shot from the remote.
Lutron also has Maestro IR Fan and Fan/Light switches for ceiling fans. Not only do you get IR control from your Harmony, but 7 speeds on your fan, instead of the normal 3.
09-25-2009 04:13 PM
I'd love to get the Lutron Maestro -- problem is, the switch is 90 degrees to my right, and I'd prefer not to have to point the remote directly at the light. Unless there's some kind of work around to this?
09-25-2009 04:21 PM - edited 09-25-2009 04:24 PM
If the switch is in front of you, it will probably still work. The Harmonies have a pretty strong IR output. If not, you can stick an IR prism over the window to catch the IR from the side.
The Spacers are nice because they have clear bodies with internal IR receivers, so you can place an emitter inside the electrical box and blast them from the back. Just follow codes of you do.
After looking at all of the lighting control systems out there, nothing beats Lutron for ease of use, reliability, and installation. As I said, for a single light, I use the Maestro. For a room, I use the Spacers. For whole house, the Radio RA system can't be beat.
09-25-2009 08:44 PM
X10 is old technology, but it works fairly well and is very expandable and affordable. You can control them from anywhere. They're not line of sight. You can do some serious automation with an inexpensive controller and even control your system over the internet. It also works out of the box with harmony. Total cost for an X10 wall switch similar to lutron plus the IR interface is about $25.
My small 16 light system has worked pretty well for nearly 20 years. I've controlled it with every universal remote I've ever had during that time, as well as from my PC and my phone. I even wrote my own control program for my PDA. It was pretty easy since the protocol is so well documented.
11-30-2009 01:48 AM
Does the Harmony One send RF signals or just IR? I have the 880, and it just sends IR, I thought that the only ones that did RF was the 1000 and the 890 *edit* I just looked it up, and no the ONE does not support RF, you may want to get you an IR543 like I did, which converts the IR into X-10 signals.
11-30-2009 09:34 AM
The Harmony One is strictly IR only the 890, 890 Pro, 1000, and 1100 can control it's own RF extender, they cannot control proprietary RF devices also the 900 can control it's own RF Blaster
12-29-2009 10:10 PM
I just installed 12 or so X-10 dimmers in my home and plan to change all other switches for complete automation (10 more). I want to be able to control them using the same remote as for my video/audio set up. My set up consist of 2 DVD players, dish box, yamaha receiver and Philips plasma TV. I cannot decide on what to get for best results. Many people recommend Harmony 880 or 890 but they can only control up to 15 devices and their interface with X-10 is not clear for me. This mean that I can only control 11 of my switches and 4 audio/video devices and will not able to add anything more. Does each X-10 switch consider to be a device or all my 12 switches can be set as part of one devise. I also purchased X10 IR/RF mini controller IR 543 because I was told neither one of remotes (Harmony, MX-3000 or Pronto) can directly control X10 switches. I want to be able to make settings on remote and change the whole audio/video/lighting scene with the touch of the button. X-10 switches that I have are standard X10 switches with no memory so they should receive dimmer setting every time from the remote ‘cause they do not have memory for scenes. I research as much as I could – called each of those 3 manufactures and still cannot come to the final conclusion what to choose Harmony880, or 890, Pronto 7000, MX-3000 or anything else. Price is also a factor. Please help! Thanks in advance for everybody input.
12-30-2009 06:10 AM
I control all of my X10 devices with my 880, Harmony One aAnd my 900 with no problems. You just need a IR543 X10 receiver to convert the IR from the remote to the powerline.