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Rako wall switches - very short lifetime

Discussion in 'Home Automation, Lighting, Security & Climate' started by greycon, Feb 22, 2012.

  1. greycon

    greycon Member

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    Hi.
    Has anyone out there actually used Rako kit in their homes for any length of time?

    I have awful problems with the wall switches, going on now for years.

    I renovated an old house (Poured concrete walls) 5 years ago, and persuaded my wife that wireless Rako kit was the way to go. I was very happy with the setup, until the switches began to fail, after about 6 months. You have no idea how much stress this causes in my house, people bashing them early in the morning, giving out loudly about "crappy" Rako switches, and of course I'm the idiot who is to blame.

    I contacted the supplier, who sent me a box of replacement rubber pushbutton membranes. These worked perfectly, lasting another 6 months or so.

    I contacted Rako, and exchanged emails with a director in Rako, who sent me a box of replacement rubber pushbutton membranes. These worked perfectly for 6 months or so.

    Never again. Don't touch this stuff, would be my advice. And since there's only two people living in my house, it's scarcely heavy use.

    Retrofitting wired lighting is an awful option for me, not just beacuse of thick walls, but we converted upstairs (bungalow) and all the wiring is under a hardwood floor.

    I have a Rako bridge installed, and we now use iPhones more often than not to control the lights. I'm looking into building my own replacement light switches, but I don't know if I will ever get to it.

    Sorry for the rant, and the question stands, is anyone actually using this stuff in anger, without switch problems?

    Cheers,
    Con.
  2. MrGrumpie

    MrGrumpie Active Member

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    I'm looking at Rako and a friend has it too. Not overly impressed with the switches, although that said, yours are only lasting 6 months? :eek: Do you have a heavy hand? 2 years in and my mate has no issues with his...
  3. LightBrigade

    LightBrigade Member

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    I have had a number of keypads for 5 years. With the eception of one, they have all given me the same problem (it was about a year before they started to fail). I have carried out ongoing repairs by using silver foil and conductive paint as it appear the conductive surface on the inside of the buttons breaks down or wears off.

    Very disappointed with them frankly, and it was this reason I stopped recommending the system to customers.

    Having said that, the control units - dimmers, relays and 232 modules have all proved very reliable. I noticed also, that each unit draws about 9w it seems, which, when you have a few of them starts to add up (thats with the lights off).
  4. supraTTman

    supraTTman Member

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    Requires Annual Keypad Overhaul :laugh:
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2012
  5. MrGrumpie

    MrGrumpie Active Member

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    What do you recommend to customers now? I love the look of Niko switches but I read on here that they've pulled out of the UK? (or something like that).

    What else is there out there that does sexy, but functional and reasonably priced switches?
  6. schford

    schford Member

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    Touch wood - I haven't had any issues with mine yet and mine are about 2 years old. I even bought a stack of spare batteries put not used one at all yet!

    If I did get major issues I would get something else - I have mine set up with my comfort alarm in the middle so the switch sends the singal to comfort then comfort sends the command onto to what ever.

    EG for the switch by the front door I have one of the buttons open the gate and an other close it.

    So I could replace the RAKO switches with anything else than was compatible with comfort eg z wave KNX etc etc

    These look cool - Store | Vitrum. Home Control
  7. greycon

    greycon Member

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    Are you saying that the Comfort controller can process the RF commands from Rako switches? And then contact Rako dimmers? If so, that certainly would be a great way to move forward and buy some decent switches.

    Cheers,
    Con
  8. schford

    schford Member

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    Yup exactly that - its how my whole house works. Comfort (with the right add on) can interface with nearly all the established providers:

    TCP IP interfaces
    RAKO
    RS 232
    KNX
    Z Wave
    X10
    C Bus
    etc etc

    So you can take an input from any of them then activate a response that can be output to any of them.

    Inputs can be PIRs as well, pressure sensors etc etc So I have lights turn off when there is no movement for xx mins and turn on when you walk into room as well etc etc.
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2012
  9. MrGrumpie

    MrGrumpie Active Member

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    Funnily enough I spoke to them, but apparently their switches don't allow on/off functionality a la Lightwave RF. Look lovely though :)
  10. schford

    schford Member

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    They would if you had comfort in the middle of what ever you were controlling ;-) as you would just program an output action depending on the income. eg RAKO wireless are only supposed to have 4 scenes but for my lounge I have 8 hanging off them. Plus all lights off plus Sonos off and on.

    It's not a cheap solution I agree but its future proof and very flexible.
  11. Wallis

    Wallis Member

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    I wouldn't recommend Rako for a number of reasons the cheap switches are just part of it, the Rako bridge is another whole set of problems and cost. No matter what any of the Rako dealers on this forum say, it really is better to spend the money and get a decent system installed from the start.
  12. MrGrumpie

    MrGrumpie Active Member

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    I'm sure lots of Rako owners will disagree with you, but in the meantime....what do you define as a "decent system" that is in the same realms price wise?
  13. schford

    schford Member

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    Seems to me the majority of your 9 posts are RAKO bashing... Give us some concrete examples or else you might look a bit troll like!

    I'll help you out - I'm not a dealer for anything nor a professional installer and I think my RAKO system is amazing value for money. But I am not tied to it and actually think the best part of my system is Comfort which sits in the middle of everything...
  14. Wallis

    Wallis Member

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    GreyCon has raised a legitimate concern, as have others, about the quality and reliability of Rako. Frankly, you could sound a bit on the defensive?

    My recommendation stands if there is the opportunity to get control wiring to the switches then a quality wired system will always be best - its a pity you see that as Rako bashing! There are plenty of good brands on the market that will work for years and years without problems Lutron, Dynalite & ilight are some examples.
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2012
  15. vex

    vex Active Member

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    I have installed a good number of systems and keypads with little issue being highlighted by my clients.

    TBH I love the stuff and I am sorry you are having problems.

    The only issue I have had has been buttons getting stuck in and draining the battery.

    If I can help then I would be happy to try with Rako (I have a good relationship with them) PM and I'll see what I can do.

    V.
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
  16. pwafer

    pwafer Member

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    How has this been measured?

    All Rako dimmers are capped to 90% out the factory to extend tungsten/halogen lamp life and to save energy (10%).

    If you have measured it when the dimmers are set to OFF, I'm not sure where the 9w is coming from as a typical Rako dimmer (RDL250/500/1200 for example) uses approximately 0.5w
  17. greycon

    greycon Member

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    Hi Vex,
    thanks for your post and offer of help. As it turns out, I wrote to Rako, and they have been in touch, and are being very helpful in assisting me with the problem. I hope to get it all sorted now.

    Cheers,
    Con
  18. LightBrigade

    LightBrigade Member

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    Hi PWafer

    I put a meter on each RDL controller - power on at the wall, so dimmer on and ready to receive commands, but light off (0%) and it showed 9w. These are incandescent floor lamps connected to RDL250 controlers which are then plugged into a walll socket.

    Not very very scientific admittedly, but it was enough to convince me that it was worth turning off the units at power source at night - I only use a small number for floor lamps which are often not in use anyway so it isn't too much of an issue, and the hard wire units are hard wired, so I don't worry about it.
  19. murr

    murr Member

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    Hi PWafer - can you retrofit the new click switches onto the old wallplate PCB's ?
  20. MrGrumpie

    MrGrumpie Active Member

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    Are there new Rako switches?
  21. pwafer

    pwafer Member

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    The face/cover plate button holes are a different size/shape. The new Rako wall plates use a standard 50x50mm Euro module fixing now, opening up a huge range of cover plate options however.

    Yes

    [​IMG]
  22. pwafer

    pwafer Member

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    There must have been some other devices, or the meter used not sensitive enough to measure the wattage. Just had confirmed the 'usage' would be less than 0.5w per dimmer. :smashin:
  23. MrGrumpie

    MrGrumpie Active Member

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    The new switches look identical to the old ones? :confused:
  24. pwafer

    pwafer Member

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    They are a squarer shape, albeit they look very similar
  25. Gadgetman1

    Gadgetman1 Member

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    I had problems with Rako, I am about to have Niko installed and I can't wait.
  26. pwafer

    pwafer Member

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    I thought Niko had withdrawn from the UK?
  27. vex

    vex Active Member

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    From what I heard yesterday, now being imported and distributed by an electrical wholesaler. No Niko input at all.

    Have u seen that USD has reappeared as well!!!

    V.
  28. vex

    vex Active Member

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    That's a big cost, could I be bold and suggest it could be an install / installer problem rather than the product? I have a couple of complete client houses running Rako with no issues at all. Even bumping the wireless signal 50m down the drive to the triple garage.

    V.
  29. illingworth22

    illingworth22 Member

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    Simple Answer to OP..... send them back to Rako, if they are in Guarantee then they will fix free of charge, if not then it's £28 + VAT per switch to have them serviced!

    You can't say fairer than that!

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