It’s been almost a year since I posted about how much I liked my new Lutron Radio RA2 lighting control system. The programming software for RA2 has continued to evolve with input from dealers around the country like Audio Advice. Now, the big, big, big news is: the full blown RA2 iPad app is here!
Lutron had an earlier app for the iPhone/iTouch that you could enlarge for iPad, but it was not designed to take full advantage of iPad real estate. The new app does, and it rocks! On the old app, you had to scroll through pages of dimmers to find a specific one. The new app shows your rooms on the left of the screen and you can get to any dimmer with one or two clicks. You can also add favorite dimmers for even faster access.
Another great feature is called the iPhone keypad. First, to explain: Lutron RadioRA2 keypads have buttons on them that can turn a group of lights on or off, and perform advanced features with a single button press. The new iPad software lets you access the keypads in your home from the iPad. The cool new part is what you might consider a “phantom” keypad. When we set up the iPad software for you, we can create iPhone keypads on the iPad app. They can control anything we want, and save you lots of money by providing grouped control on the iPad!
In my home I made an all-purpose keypad. A set of buttons controls the lights in the two rooms for watching TV. From my iPad I can easily bring up the phantom keypad and control the lights with one button press! At the bottom I placed a “goodnight” button which I use to shut the lights down, and a “panic” button that can light the house up. Since I seem to be tethered to my iPad all the time, this is much faster than getting up to push a button on a wall mounted keypad. And in a few weeks, Lutron will introduce their own line of thermostats that can also be controlled from the iPad app!
I’ve saved the best part for last. Anyone with a lighting control system soon finds it is one of the favorite parts of the home. It’s certainly this way at my house. You also find yourself playing with different light levels for preset scenes. In the past, changing these levels required a visit from one of our lighting control techs. With RA2, this is no more! Yes, the homeowner now has the ability to change scene levels within the iPad app. This is just awesome!
I did a little quick math on the cost of getting into Lutron’s new RadioRA2 system. I created a system with 25 normal dimmers, 5 high power dimmers (for big chandeliers and large circuits), 3 wall mount keypads, and some accessory dimmers for three way circuits and the back end gear. This will control 30 circuits of lights, which in many cases may be an entire main floor and exterior. The price for all of this, installed, is under $8000! This is almost one-third less than it would have been for a system this powerful just five or six years ago.
It’s so amazing to me how the iPad enables home control companies like Lutron to incorporate its control capability and to give us such a cool interface. More importantly, not only is it fun, Lutron RadioRA2 will save you energy and enhance the security of your home!