Rako for my house, a few questions!

Discussion in 'Smart Home, Climate Control & Security Forum' started by souljas, Nov 7, 2005.

  1. souljas

    souljas
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    I am currently planning on kitting out my lounge with a Rako contol system.
    Basically I have 3 main channels going to my dimmer switch, they are
    1. my 4 halogen spots
    2. my 2 side wall lights
    3. my lampshades

    these have already been wired and want to fit a Rako system to make a scene lighting environment. The thing is im not quite sure how the wiring would work! At the moment all the wires from the 3 circuits are coming to the dimmer, but with the rako system the conrol unit (if im not misunderstood) does not actually accept any wires (unlike the futronix P400 system which i previously almost bought). I am a bit confused about where the dimmers go. I have drawn a picture of how I think it works www.mavjee1.plus.com/plan.jpg (soz bout the font, didnt know how to change it in paint!). Just wondering do the wires from the circuts have to go anywhere after they have entered the dimmers, i.e. do they have to go to a central point (like they currently do to the dimmer?)? Also I noticed that there is an adapter for making the control unit not battery dependable (Rako-RAPSU). Is this easy to wire and can the power be taken from the light circuits? (as shown in the plan.jpg pic

    thanks
    soul

    i was going to get a futronix p400 for this job, but i see rako seems more expandable!
     
  2. andybed

    andybed
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    The Rako control unit does not require any wires. It is a stand alone unit that can be placed anywhere in the room, thus making it very easy to install in rooms where the lighting is already pre-wired. I think the controller comes with a spacer so that it can be fitted in place of the existing light switch over the back box. Otherwise, as I said it can be placed anywhere in the room, it can even be replaced with just a remote control and hence you can have full control over your lighting from your seating position.

    The dimmer modules for halogens and incandescent lighting have to be wired into the lighting circuit somewhere between the light switch and the lights themselves (on the switched_live wire circuit from the switch). You will need access to this part of the circuit to fit it and in the future in case of any problems (ie. a fault with the dimmer module).

    The dimmer module for the lamps are wired directly between the lamp and the plug somewhere along the flex.

    As far as I know the batteries in the controller lasts a long time so I don't think it is worth the trouble of wiring in a separate power supply.

    Andy
     
  3. souljas

    souljas
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    thanks for the reply. Im still a bit confused about the wiring though! If I get a Rako system does it mean that I keep my current 3 button dimmer switch and have a Rako control panel?
     
  4. andybed

    andybed
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    Sorry I missed the fact that the lamps are also controlled from your current dimmer. In this case the dimmer module for the lamps could be wired as I said before or it could be wired in closer to your current dimmer as with the other two circuits. Which ever way you did it you would just have to make sure you got the correct dimmer type. Some have external aerials for hidden away applications (ie. halogens, wall lights with wiring in the ceiling void) and some have internal aerials for in-room applications such as table and floor lamps.

    The alternative ways of fitteing the Rako dimmer are:

    1)Replace you existing dimmer with a 3 gang switch and place the rako controller anywhere else in the room, or have a remote instead. This way when the your switches are turned off your dimmers will be de-activated and the relevent lights will go off. And when they are turned on you will have full control of them via you Rako controller/remote control.

    2)Take off the 3 button dimmer (obviously after switching the electricity to the light off) and then join (using a connection block) the incoming live/s that come to the dimmer, to the three outgoing Switched_lives that go to the three lighting circuits. You can then place the Rako controller over the existing backbox, using the supplied spacer if the backbox is not deep enough.
     
  5. souljas

    souljas
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    cheers for the promp reply! I dont really like option 1, much prefer option 2! Im going to have to leave it for an electrician to wire-(is it easy for them to fit and understand even if they have never fitted one in before?). Just to make sure with option 2 will it mean that I will have no external switches or dimmers. so the only thing that will be on the wall is the rako control panel?
     
  6. andybed

    andybed
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    That correct.
     
  7. souljas

    souljas
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    cheers mate, if poss could u just take a look at my wiring and tell me if it should be ok to have a rako system before i actually order it? www.mavjee1.plus.com/wires.jpg. Oh yeah, and can you use these Rako dimmers with my halogens which have transformers?

    cheers
     
  8. andybed

    andybed
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    Yes Souljas your wiring looks OK for a Rako system. I'm not an electrician but I am pretty adept at electrical rewiring having done most of my own house myself before the new regulations came into force.

    The red wire that comes down to the right hand dimmers 'COM' terminal should be your 'LIVE'. This is then looped to the other two dimmers. The red wire that come from all three dimmers 'L1' terminals is the 'Switched' or in this case 'Dimmed_Live'. These are the wires that go to the lights and it is these a long with and a 'Neutral' wire and an 'Earth' that need to be connected to each Rako dimmer module. This 'Dimmed_live will need to traced back, along with the 'Neutral' and 'Earth', to a suitable point where it is convenient for the Rako dimmer modules to be installed. An electrician will be able to do this very easily.

    The transformers that are used with your Halogens must be suitable for leading edge dimmers other wise they will have to replaced. You will also have to de-rate your loading on the Rako dimmer by 10% ie. a Rako RD250 module will only be able to have 225w of lighting connected to it and likewise the RD500 only 450w.

    Best thing to do is, if possible, to download all the relevant installation information from the Rako website and then get an electrician in to take a look.
     
  9. souljas

    souljas
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    thanks for your help u've been really useful! I bought these light fittings a few years ago (8 altogether) www.mavjee1.plus.com/light.jpg however there is a problem with most of the fittings (flawed designed i think?) which causes a bad contact to occur (www.mavjee1.plus.com/fitting.jpg) between the fitting and the ceiling fitting! after about a one and half years only 1/8 of them remain working, so i am going to replace them with spots, however the cutout is too big (85mm) to do a straight swap! So I need to get a plasterer in to fix the cutout sizes etc. Once that is all done ill post up the restults!
     
  10. souljas

    souljas
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    Im going to use low voltage downligters with my rako system. Just wondering, will the dimmer buzz with these low-voltage lights?
     
  11. andybed

    andybed
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    Hi again Souljas

    Unlike conventional dimmers there's is no physical connection between the dimmer controller and the lights themselves so it does not matter what kind of lighting you use, the controller will not buzz.
     
  12. vex

    vex
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    You need to make sure that the transformers that you are using for the lights are 'dimmable' as these will sit AFTER the Rako dimmer pack, which will run at 230V (Mains)

    In terms of buzzing as the controller on the wall does not have the dimmer in it, it will not buzz. However the dimmer pack that sits in line with the light may well buzz slightly but as it will be burried in a ceiling it should not be detectable.

    The Rako design is very good and from what I remember of our demo system it generated very little noise.

    Chris
     
  13. souljas

    souljas
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    cheers guys for the prompt reply. Its still gonna be long before my lounge/dining room is complete (maybe only in the new year) but I will keep you posted of how its going!
     
  14. souljas

    souljas
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    hey people sorry to bother you again but i have another slight issue before i buy the system.

    Basically I have a -lounge with a through -dining room. Basically I am going to have the Rako installed with 3 circuits in the Lounge, and 2 circuits in the Dining Room. Therefore im going to have to get 2 control plates, and 5 dimmer modules. Is there a way of having these both rooms manually dimmable, but have them also share scene settings?
    cheers
     

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