Inovelli, and Zooz or Lutron and Picos

I'll be honest. I have NEVER understood the whole Lutron/ Pico thing other than its expensive. A few years ago, I asked and even though I got a lot of replies, I still didn't have much more of an understanding.

Fast forward to today, I have a stash of Inovelli and Zooz switches and dimmers waiting to be installed for when I can afford to hire an electrician or find someone who wants to hold my hand and walk me through all the installations (any takers?).

So, before I get too far down that rabbit hole, I figured I’d try to get a better understanding of Lutron (I can always sell the stuff I have, it’s all new in boxes).

So, here goes.
• Lutron - Is it Zwave, Zigbee or its own thing.
• Is Caseta something different?
• I know there's in integration with Hubitat, do I still need the processor? RA2 select, Radio RA, 2, 3, homeworks? Does it matter which one? Which is better
• Devices, I see they have a ceiling mounted presence sensor, is this different that a motion sensor, better? Can I use it to control non-Lutron devices, like a ZigBee bulb?
• Pico’s, are these standalone devices, so I could again use them with say a Zwave switch or Dimmer, or do they only work with the Lutron stuff?
Can you think of anything else I should have asked by didn’t think to? Throw it in!

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It's own thing called ClearConnect that uses a lower frequency than z-wave and therefore propagates really well through brick, wood, drywall, etc.

Caséta is one of several product lines that Lutron has. it is their lower-end line, but still supports Pico remotes. A Caséta bridge supports about 75 devices. RA2 Select supports 100 devices. RadioRA 2 supports 200 devices. Homeworks supports much larger configurations.

That motion sensor works with Hubitat only if it is paired to RadioRA 2 and then integrated with Hubitat. Even though there are similar motion sensors that are part of their Caséta ecosystem, they are not exposed via the telnet integration that Hubitat uses to "talk" to the Caséta Pro bridge.

You will need at least a Caseta Pro bridge to use Pico remotes with Hubitat. Once available to Hubitat they can be used as button controllers to control any other device paired to Hubitat. Not just Lutron products.

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First off, I don't think you'll find any volunteers to hold your hand while you are handling potentially hot wires lol. Jokes aside, you need a Lutron Bridge Pro to integrate various Lutron devices including Caseta line, as @aaiyar mentioned above.

Check out this awesome document put together by Lutron:

https://www.lutron.com/TechnicalDocumentLibrary/Clear_Connect_Technology_whitepaper.pdf

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I'll hit a few high points...

Lutron has a few smart tiers - the main ones you hear here are Caseta, RA2, RA3. These vary in terms of DIY -- accreditation with Lutron training is required for working with RA2/3.

So Caseta is a nice sweet-spot balancing DIY friendliness with price (admittedly relative, ha!) at the expense of missing some bells-&-whistles and more features available with RA2/3.

Lutron uses a proprietary wireless protocal (ClearConnect) that is darn good & bulletproof -- it's way more powerful than its advertised ranges.

If you go Caseta, get the PRO2 hub (NOT the old PRO or plainer consumer Caseta hub available at big-box stores). The PRO2 hub has telnet capability, which is the magic ingredient for HE integration.

With telnet, you can add Picos and use those Picos for anything else in HE (not just Lutron). Since basic 5-button Picos are relatively cheap as far as remotes go, that's a nice feature. There are some users here who have a PRO2 hub just for that Pico capability alone.

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I have three sets of can lights in my family room/ kitchen/ nook and all of them have 2 or three switches that can control them. I'm not real great with wiring, and have no clue where to even begin. That is why i've been holding out for an electrician. But if someone want to walk be through it in tiny little baby steps...... lol

Hard to learn basic electrical overnight, but you can definitely learn it -- consider starting with a basic residential wiring how-to book. There are some really awesome internet resources, but like with all things on the internet, you have to be careful not to end up with crap - and there's a LOT of crappy "ja, I am electric super expert - behold my wisdom" chuckleheads on the internet.

Once you get your feet under you a bit (book, community ed class if available), then you can better separate wheat from chaff on the internet.

Hands-down and by a mile, the best DIY forum on the web is diychatroom.com -- the mods there are very diligent about not tolerating non-code or otherwise sketchy answers, and they have some really awesome regular contributors (pros and non-pros). That site has totally saved my bacon on numerous occasions over the years with electrical, plumbing and HVAC projects.

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My hallway has three switches controlling two sets of lights. And I could not figure out how to get a z-wave switch working with two accessory switches. And this is where Lutron shines. The main switch is now replaced with a Caseta dimmer. And both the other switches with Pico remotes.

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I’ve done exactly the same thing. Has been working flawlessly.

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Options:

  1. Find the main (master) switch and replace it with your switch of choice (I went with Inovelli in my home) then use GE add-on switches for the 2 and 3 ways. Advantage, no batteries to replace in the long run.

  2. Find the main (master) switch and replace it with Caséta switch, cap the wires for the add-ons, then use Pico remotes instead of add-ons. Advantage, could be more liable if the Z-Wave mesh is not strong (or Zigbee mesh for that matter).

  3. Find the main (master) switch and replace it with your switch of choice, cap the wires for the add-ons, then use Zooz Zen 34 instead of add-ons. This is what I did recently in my home. Advantage, the Zen 34 remotes are cheaper than a Pico, nowadays, and you don't need the extra Lutron bridge to use the them.

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#ThisIsTheWay

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Yup. that's the first thing that usually stumps me. How do I know which one is the master?

I actually have a few of these hanging around that I hadn't used yet. I picked them on sale because I thought they looked like the picos, and guessed they would work in a similar way. This may be an option, If I can just figure out which switch is the master.

This is where knowledge and experience are required. Even conversation to Lutron requires you identifying where the main is. If you’re inexperienced with this, I would suggest bringing in an electrician.

Alternatively, with the power off you can learn to do it yourself with a proper publication and the correct tools and measurement devices (i.e. Good quality Non-contact voltage detector , Multimeter). I agree that a free guide from joe blow off the internet could steer you in the wrong direction leading to an unsafe situation. The time required to learn slowly will be shorter than the time it takes to get an electrician in and you’ll save a lot of money.

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Do you have a neutral wire at all of your switches?

I have a tester similar to this one. Cheap ones are OK as far as I know. I ALWAYS test all wires in a box before I touch any of them. I am a complete amateur so maybe that is just me.

Non Contact Voltage Tester Pen, Electrical Tools Electrical Tester AC 12-1000V/48V-1000V, LED Flashlight, Buzzer Alarm for Live/Null Wire Tester Judgment, Wire Breakpoint Finder

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08DV36KNG/

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Do you mean switches? Because outlets will not function without a neutral conductor.

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Apparently so!

Thanks.

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@lcw731 THIS THIS THIS. These things are tanks. They don't drop off. They aren't mesh, they are hub and spoke so one going bad doesn't affect the rest (though I've never seen one go bad). The batteries in the pico's last about 10 years. (I have one on it's 12th year that still works fine). You can mount Pico's in a regular switch box so you can't distinguish it from a regular switch. Pico's run around $15.00 so buying the pro hub even just for pico's pays itself back quite quickly. I also prefer their aesthetics to regular rocker switches.

You could also start with just one switch or dimmer and see how it goes. I find the Zooz 700 series a bit easier because the electronic pod is a bit smaller and leaves more room for the wiring.

Start with a simple one switch, one light circuit. I wouldn't try a two-switch 3-way circuit to start.

Start with one close to the hub so that the Z-Wave link will be easier.

Do it during the day in a room with a window and make sure that the breaker is off with no electricity to anything you are working on.

Have fun!

I will have to check. the house was built in 2019/2020.. I haven't even cracked the plates off the switches yet to look. the 3, 3 way switches have had me pretty much intimidated from the jump. But, I'm getting to a point I want to more that just bulbs.

I think I actually already have a couple non contact testers, and one might actually even work! haha. However I just ordered this set. It seems like it may come in handy for other projects down the road. Ill just need to spend some time figuring out how to use the various components.
https://www.homedepot.com/p/Klein-Tools-Digital-Multimeter-Electrical-Test-Kit-MM320KIT/316734078

This is what i have been contemplating doing lately, as I'm getting irritated with finding an electrician that not a gouger or a complete flake. While I do have a few Inovelli switches and Dimmers, I also have some of the Zooz 700 series switches and dimmers (mainly because they have the toggles that will match the house better) . But that also led me down the road to should I go Lutron, aesthetics aside since I know they only offer paddles and no toggles. Sorta surprised builders are still using toggles these days. On the lesser circuits , I'm ok with replacing the outlets or switches. its these complex ones that have me second (and third) guessing myself.

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Download the Hubitat app