Whole house lighting automation

Discussion in 'Electrical Forum discussion & Blog' started by Homeownerinburb, Feb 2, 2012.

  1. Homeownerinburb

    Homeownerinburb Member

    Jan 14, 2012
    Los Angeles, CA USA
    Hey guys,

    I was just over at a friend's house. He wanted to chat about some lighting upgrades in his master bedroom.

    He wants a row of three recessed lights to wash a wall for art and accents. Perpendicular to this is the wall he and his wife have their bed up against. Two cans there as reading lights. Perpendicular to that and parallel to the first, another row of three lights to illuminate dressers and a closet.

    Also a fan in the center of the room.

    What we got to thinking about was: what is the possibility that a remote system could be installed? What I am thinking of would be a receiver in the ceiling with the first three cans, then each can on either side of the bed would get its own, and then the last row of three would get its own dimmer/receiver. And of course the fan would be controlled as well.

    Even better would be receptacles on either side of the bed to plug in the bed side lights. Half switched? So that the alarm clocks not be turned off?
    Asking a bit.

    And all this could be controlled from a single gang switch on the wall at the door to the room, and two remotes would be lying on the bedside tables.

    I am really looking to avoid running any switched wires (except between the ganged sets of three cans). Just find the closest power and make a straight run diving thru as few ceiling joists as possible.

    I know of Lutron's and Leviton's various systems that seem to rely on dimmers in switch boxes. I am looking to skip that if it is possible. I don't need pretty receivers, they would be up above the ceiling behind the old work recessed lights. (In proper boxes, of course)

    What direction should I be going in?
  2. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Aug 31, 2004
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    I think it would be a "dumb idea" to conceal all the controls inside the ceiling where you would have to remove a light fixture to service them. The "proper" boxes would have to be plastic, otherwise metal ones would shield them from the signals. Why would you want everything controlled by a single switch? And why by any switch at all, unless the switches were for each individual item and the controller was part of the switch?
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  4. Homeownerinburb

    Homeownerinburb Member

    Jan 14, 2012
    Los Angeles, CA USA
    A few issues that were under consideration and led me to this question:

    My friend lives in a condo, so I will not be able to run non metalic cable. I need to either run flex conduit or mc. These are a bit of a pain, but even more so as the condo is on the top floor, and the ceiling is the roof, if you see what I mean, and it is insulated with fibreglass. So we would be fishing the more difficult stuff over the ceiling.

    The one bit that makes this all ok is that my friend is brilliant at repairing drywall.

    I still say that at some point retrofit recessed lights will be available with remotes built in. All that is needed is for the electronics to get cheap enough. Like that day has not already arrived.
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