Home A Few Weeks with Lutron Caseta Dimmers

Discussion in 'HomeKit, HomePod, CarPlay, Home & Auto Technology' started by ActionableMango, Feb 27, 2017.

  1. ActionableMango, Feb 27, 2017
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2017

    ActionableMango macrumors 604

    ActionableMango

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2010
    #1
    A few weeks ago I updated the lighting in my bedroom and discovered that my dimmer switch now made an extremely loud buzzing noise. I decided this was undesirable and possibly unsafe, so I replaced it with a Lutron Caseta dimmer switch kit which came with a Pico Remote and a Hub. At the same time I bought a Caseta lamp dimmer, which has two AC sockets for two lamps.

    It's been a while now, so I thought I would provide a review.

    Pros:
    • First of all, I was worried that all of the "smart" device complications would lead to a less than 100% reliable product. But other than an initial configuration hiccup that I had to fix, I am happy to report that these are both completely and utterly reliable.
    • The Caseta switches are also quite attractive, as are the Pico remotes.
    • Quality of everything seems decent.
    • Hot wires can go in any connector--there's no "wrong direction".
    • No neutral wiring required.
    • When you switch to full on or full off, the switch ramps up or ramps down over a few seconds instead of going immediately to 100%. This has a surprisingly pleasant effect, as opposed to most switches which immediately blast you with light or dump you into darkness. I imagine that it also reduces thermal shock, thereby extending the life of incandescent bulbs, CFL ballasts, and LED electronics.
    • The Pico remote has a button with a configurable "favorite" dimmer setting. This is great because the overwhelming majority of the time I like my lights at 50%. This button also "domes" upward so it is easy to activate in the dark by feel.
    • Controlling lights with Siri is awesome.
    • Easy to configure.
    • Easy to pair remotes.
    • Can use switch and remote right away without configuring (no smartphone features of course).
    • No lag.
    Cons:
    • The main switch doesn't have that "favorite" button that the Pico has, despite having an otherwise identical size and layout. So if I want to go to 50% when I walk into a room (which is how I typically want it), I have to stand there and press and hold the "increase brightness" for a few seconds. With the old dimmer switch of course I could put it halfway in an instant, so this is a big step back and a multiple-times-per-day-annoyance. Why not include that favorite button? Odd design choice.
    • The switch and Pico remote buttons are all perfectly flush with each other (except for that one dome button on the Pico), so it's hard/impossible to know which button your finger is on. You also can't really activate it with anything other than your finger (hip, elbow, water glass, plate, whatever box you're carrying in both your hands, etc.)... I never knew how much I did that with a normal switch until I wasn't able to do it with a flush buttons.
    Notes:
    • I have LED bulbs in the two lamps. Although the bulbs are the same brand and model, they were purchased a few months apart and are from different lots. Unfortunately they dim very differently so at any brightness other than 100%, they are noticeably different.
    • This is just a trial with one switch--I haven't done the whole house yet. I believe the upcoming Leviton Homekit switches will solve both of the two "cons" on my list. If so, I will be highly tempted to put those in instead of the Caseta.
     
  2. gsmornot macrumors 68030

    gsmornot

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2014
    #2
    I too am waiting to see what the Leviton switches look like and how they work. They match the current switches I have in the house. I have 5 Lutron switches at the moment. 2 are dimmers on outside lights that are always used at 100% and 3 are the on/off style connected to fans. I use the fan switches to turn the fans off at a set time each day if they were left on. I'm ready to expand but waiting to see what we get from the Leviton announcement. The Lutron quality and reliability have been excellent for me. My only complaint is the look of the switch. While not a bad look, just a completely different look from what I have now. I don't need smart switches for everything so having old and new look the same is better for me.

    As for the dimming, it is a common complaint. People have been asking for the on button to return to the previous light level. Full brightness could be had with a double tap but so far not implemented. If you have some lights that you want always at 50% you can adjust the high trim of the switch to only output a set level. It means you will only get that level but it might be all you're looking for. I have Hue bulbs in my lamps and some are set to only come on at 50% each time so in that case the setting would work for me. Most other situations I would like the memory. Maybe in the future. Until then, you could add a second Pico near the switch and use that instead or in addition to. Not ideal really but an option.
     
  3. Debauch macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2013
    #3
    I kind of like the idea of the switches looking different and being able to easily identify which switches are smart and which are dumb.
     
  4. gtg465x macrumors regular

    gtg465x

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2016
    #4
    The solution to the flat button issue is Alexa or Google Home. Not sure if they support Lutron Casetta directly, but if not then they could through a SmartThings hub, which Lutron is adding support for. Then you can just say "Alexa, turn off the kitchen lights" if your hands are full of plates or glasses or whatever, no elbows or anything required. That could also solve your other issue as well because you can say "Alexa, set the kitchen lights to 50%". This is how I control my Philips Hue lights a lot of the time even though I have Hue dimmer switches on the walls that can control them as well. At first it might seem awkward to control your lights by voice, but after a while it starts to seem pretty normal and it's just so much easier than a switch because you can do it from anywhere with no hands required. Siri control is ok, but I found that once I got a Google Home I never used Siri anymore. Google Home is just 100 times better at picking up your voice, even from another room. I assume Alexa is the same.
     
  5. Poob Bubes, Mar 3, 2017
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2017

    Poob Bubes macrumors 6502a

    Poob Bubes

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2007
    #5
  6. xraydoc macrumors demi-god

    xraydoc

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2005
    Location:
    192.168.1.1
    #6
    The Echo supports Lutron directly. It's very convenient and works just as you said.
     
  7. BrentD macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2010
    #7
    If that were the case, wouldn't it make more sense to just get lower wattage bulbs...?
     
  8. gildorn macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2017
    #8
    A lot of the LED light fixtures in the remodel I just completed aren't bulb-based at all. The lighting part of the fixture is replaceable, but other than color temperature, I don't have options for different brightness levels, except from the dimming control.
     
  9. rhett7660 macrumors G4

    rhett7660

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2008
    Location:
    Sunny, Southern California
    #9
    Just because this is your favorite setting doesn't mean you would never want to bring it up to full power or even lower it.
     
  10. BrentD macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2010
    #10
    If that were the aim of the solution that I quoted to base my comment on, sure. But it wasn't. The solution said set the high trim to a set level like 50%, but that it would only allow you to set dimming as high as 50%. My comment was completely applicable to that scenario.
     
  11. rhett7660 macrumors G4

    rhett7660

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2008
    Location:
    Sunny, Southern California
    #11
    It would probably help if I loaded it up the entire thread..... I stand corrected.
     
  12. Jus711 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2011
    #12
    I've had the switches in most of my house for a couple of months and they work great, installation was a breeze, and I use Siri or Alexa almost exclusively with them as a matter of fact I don't use the pico remote at all. Alexa is nice because it works from anywhere anytime but I've found Siri to be less persnickety about how you ask it to turn the lights on or off or set the dimming level. I also agree that LED bulbs don't dim as effectively as incandescent bulbs which is why I'm sticking with the old school bulbs for now.
     

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