I bought my first Lutron Caseta product at Lowe's today - the Lamp Dimming Smart Plug Expansion Kit. (My Hubitat Elevation and Caseta Smart Bridge Pro have been ordered but have not yet arrived. I can use the smart plug on its own in the meantime.)
I was ready to love this product given the rave reviews that the Caseta series often receives. I must admit, I expected better quality for the fifty bucks I spent. Here are my first impressions:
Both the smart plug and the remote feel incredibly flimsy to me. Like one good pull to remove the plug from the wall outlet could rip the prongs right off the back of the plug.
The buttons on the remote "tilt" when you press them. For instance, if you press down on the left side of a button, only the left side of the button depresses. I expected that the entire button would depress. Does anyone know if this is by design? The Pico control specification does not mention this behavior.
The instructions to set the upper and lower bounds of the dimming range are useless. First, they fail to say if you're supposed to begin the process with the lamp on or off. Second, regardless of which way I tried it, nothing actually worked. If you start with the lamp off, nothing happens at all. If you start with the lamp on and hold the two buttons until the status light starts flashing, the lamp turns off and the up / down dimming buttons have no effect. I'm very frustrated!
There's a mysterious strip of double stick tape stuck to the clear plastic battery cover on the back of the remote. I can only suppose that Lutron included the tape so you could stick the remote to a wall or something. It would have been wiser to include the tape in the box without actually sticking it to the remote. Those of us who want to leave the remote on a table now have to remove the tape and we all know how much fun it is to remove super sticky tape.
After watching videos of smart devices online, I expected that turning the lamp on and off would be practically instantaneous. Not so. I'm experiencing a marked delay between the press of the remote button and the response of the lamp.
Pressing the off button doesn't simply turn the lamp off, it slowly dims it to off. I don't want the delay of dimming it. I just want it turned off.
Thoughts? Advice? These things are probably nits, but I kind of feel like I've been ripped off with a super cheap product. Should I return this thing and go a different route?
I don't have nor have had the Caseta lamp dimmer so I can't speak for this.
What Pico model came with that "kit"? The typical Pico remotes has a very very slight give on the edges but nothing bad and pressing them does depress the whole button even if pressed from the side.
That plastic piece on the back is not the battery cover. It slides out easily and is where you can then slide the Pico into the wall mount adapter. The wall adapter fits into a normal gang box and works with a standard decora face plate. Also under this plastic piece you can find the model number.
The piece of tape on there is as a in case you want to stick it to a table or something however I don't know of anyone that does that. If you want to have it floating around you can A) don't remove the tape piece or B) remove the plastic piece and keep or toss it....
The On function should be instant with the Caseta. If not then there's something else at play. The Off function for ALL Caseta dimmers is a fade off and this can't be changed.
You may have a defective plug. Was the box sealed? From the sound of the behavior of the dimmer not turning on immediately there could be a problem and it would be worth the time to exchange it.
What I can say is call the Lutron technical support number and talk with them. They are extremely helpful and can help with the adjustment of the trim levels and they take the time to walk you through it not just toss a web link to you and hope for the best.
Are you doing this on the dimmer itself (not the Pico remote)? You are right, it doesn't say to start with the light on or off, but I think you can control it up or down once you are in that special mode.
The advanced install intstructions (not included with the dimmer) give better details about how to set these for upper and lower trim.
Edit: Page 74 of that document also tells how to change it from a dimmer to a on/off switch, which should give a more instant reaction at the expense of dimming.
Mine is Pico model PJ2-3BRL which appears to be the current model. I could possibly take a video tomorrow of how the buttons tilt so you have a better idea of it.
I removed the clear plastic piece and now I see what you mean about it being used to attach the remote to a wallplate bracket. I still find this design choice highly suspect. If I want to use the remote freestanding, if you will, I either have to remove the double stick tape from the clear plastic piece (so the back of the remote will have two screw holes under which dirt can easily accumulate) or I have to discard the clear plastic piece altogether (leaving the back of the remote with sharpish edges and an indentation where a cover should be). These are not great choices!
There is at least a 1 second delay between pushing the button on the remote and the lamp actually turning on. It's quite noticeable!
Yes, the box was sealed and the clamshell packaging inside was intact when I purchased it. Maybe I do have a defective plug. Sigh. Thanks so much for your help! I'll have to call Lutron on Monday.
Yes, I was using the buttons on the plug itself rather than the remote. I was able to enter the special mode successfully (with the status light flashing) but the lamp immediately turned off. Which meant that the up / down buttons were rendered useless so the upper and lower bounds could not be set.
Thank you for including the instructions. Indeed, those were the same instructions that I followed. I'm leaning toward this being a defective plug. I plan to call Lutron on Monday.
If I can remember to, let me try to set my garage switch trim tomorrow when I won't disturb people. I cannot remember if the light goes on, stays on, or what when doing this.
I think the basic procedure is the same as the lamp module. Unfortunately I don't have the lamp module to test the behavior, but maybe this procedure will give some insight as to what their other products do when trying to set trim.
Tag me in this thread tomorrow if I don't post the results of this test to remind me.
That button wobble is not "right" if it's as bad as you're saying. I have a PJ2-3BRL on my desk in front of me and I checked it and none of the buttons on mine have very much "give" or wobble on any of them. I'm thinking likely bad.
I have several of them free standing that I leave lying around in the office, bed side, and several in wall plates for various purposes. I just leave the little tape on the plastic piece and the paper backing has never come off of any of them. Yes it would be a mess with sticky goo on the bottom (goo gone is great for this or lighter fluid) but those screw holes could pose a problem with dirt like you mentioned. Never actually thought of these issues before I do find it curious though... you clearly said "black tape"? I've NEVER seen a Pico with black tape on it. Which makes me question this Pico even more.
Return your kit to the store and exchange it. This is not normal. I did just have a thought you... what kind of bulb is in this lamp? Is it a normal dumb bulb? Or is it a "smart bulb"? If it's a smart bulb that's not going to work well and could be the delay of the bulb itself.
If it was me I'd be returning it to the store tomorrow for an exchange. Also you can call or e-mail Lutron Technical support 24/7
I do feel like you're looking for an excuse to not like Caseta. If that's the case, nothing any of us can say is going to dissuade you.
That's entirely up to you. However, I really believe you should step back, and give Caseta a chance. I have replaced every switch in my house with Caseta Switches, Dimmers, Fan Controllers, and Pico Remotes. They have worked flawlessly for over a year now. Not one of them has ever failed, nor is performance an issue. The integration with Hubitat has also been 100% reliable and very fast performing. Your Caseta SmartBridge Pro will open up all sorts of integration possibilities, regardless of whether you use Hubitat or not. Caseta works with SmartThings, IFTTT, Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple HomeKit, Logitech Harmony, Sonos, Ecobee, Home Assistant, etc... It can work with all of these systems at the same time as working with Hubitat. With Lutron, you're getting an entire Lighting solution, that can be integrated with other systems, and/or operate entirely on its own. To me, the number one feature of Lutron devices is that they just work, every time, without fail.
With Z-Wave and Zigbee switches/dimmers, you're dependent on a single controller's capabilities (which is quite good with Hubitat, BTW). If you ever change the controller, you have to remove and pair all of the devices again with the new controller. I used to have GE/Jasco Z-Wave switches. I was not impressed with those due to them not being 100% reliable in my home.
Good luck and I hope you find something that meets your requirements, if you decide against Lutron.
Possibly but lets be more understanding. The person has already stated they're new to the whole home automation game and this stuff isn't cheap and it's possible expectations may be set a bit high. Now the not turning off and fading off thing is the way it is with Caseta but many like it and many don't so it is what it is. The Pico complaints ehh maybe a little nit picking considering Pico's are really disposable considering they're so cheap but the buttons shouldn't wobble like has been stated.
WTH I'm being the nice guy???? I do need to sleep I'm delirious.... ugh... Either way jumping in head first into Caseta with no prior pain of the other options and a higher price tag may create some doubts.....
As others have asked, are you using “smart bulbs” in your lamps? Also, if your bulbs aren’t dimmable, there may be odd behavior with the bulb as the module ramps up and down. I do agree, there are situations where the dimming on and off is not desirable, but I do happen to like the effect on all my lights. Getting the right bulb is key for dimming to work well. You can also try on another lamp to see if the effect is the same. As others have stated the Lutron products are pretty rocksolid. So there but there is the possibility that you have a defect. Before bringing back you can also call Lutron customer service, they are pretty helpful in debugging issues. Tech support is 24/7. Lutron Support Link Good luck!
Not black tape, double sided tape. It does appear to be a brand new remote. I'm calling Lutron in a few minutes. Thanks for sharing the link to their online customer service!
Great question. Mine is a normal dumb bulb. I needed to replace the bulb in this lamp anyway, so I used the Lutron LED compatibility tool to find a suitable bulb. This particular bulb is made by GE and is listed on the Lutron site with the note "This is a best dimming bulb recommended by Lutron."
On the contrary! I actually want to love the Caseta products so I can put a bunch of them throughout my house. This is simply an unfortunate introduction to their lineup.
Now that I understand that the "fade to off" behavior is by design, I can live with it. I'm glad to know that this is a Caseta thing and not a problem with my particular device.
It does create doubts, but I'll work through them!