Rako RF - retaining current switches/dimmers?

adspence

Member
Does anyone have any experience using Rako RF dimmers? I currently just want to control all the lights in my open-plan lounge/kitchen, but would hope to go whole house at some point, which is why I wanted to use an RF system.

I've been looking at Rako, but there is a question mark over how I'd use that if I wanted to retain the current switches (for use by technophobes who baulk at a remote control or a RCP console - ie. parents "Scenes? No, no, just let me switch this one light on!").

I basically have two sets of switch gear at the moment. A 2-gang which contains two dimmers (lounge) and two switches (kitchen), and anothe r1-gang with two dimmers (lounge but different circuits). With the Rako the only way I can see to retain "old style" switches would be to put the new PILL device in behind each one, and fit a momentary switch. However I doubt I'd get 4 PILLs into a 2-gang backbox (or 2 into a 1-gang). They are 50x50x19.5mm, so I don't think there would be space.

Are there any other alternatives? Other than digging bigger holes in the walls.

Using something like the RDL250C in the ceilings by the lights themselves is fine, but loses me any control other than with an RCP or remote control.

Given 6 PILLs and 1 RCP is going to cost the better part of £700 I need to be happy that this is all a) going to fit and b) the right way to be approaching this problem.

Any ideas? This has to be a retrofit project, no extra wiring a la GrafikEye, and I'm not particularly convinced by IR in terms of range and directionality.

Cheers,
Spence.
 

garyb9900

Active Member
If its your intention to change over to a whole house set up eventually then bite the bullet now and just keep it all simple Rako. they really are some of the most intuative lighting switches i've seen compared to all the touch screens and other type of interfaces.
 

Bruce_

Active Member
If a wired system is possible, then you can have an interface with 6/8 inputs. Then have standard rocker switches, or rotary controls. Then it looks "dumb", but can actually be quite smart, with 2way rotary control, house-off at the front door, etc. Obviously not exciting if you're not going to do new cabling though.
 

hornydragon

Distinguished Member
Using something like the RDL250C in the ceilings by the lights themselves is fine, but loses me any control other than with an RCP or remote control.

You can i think keep the normal on/off switches as isolaters I'm not sure if you preset the rako system power on to a specific level infact what happens after a power cut? If you have a 2 switch system where either switch can turn light on or off i cant see why you couldnt retain one swithc and use rako module instead of the other but why not email Rako and ask
 

mikeaitch

Active Member
The Rako system merely requires a supply to function. Why not leave your existing wiring as is, and wire the Rako units in parallel?

The light will work via Rako whilst the manual switch is off, but any scene would be overidden by the switch when it's switched on.

As the Rako controller is battery operated, it can go anywhere, perhaps near your favourite seating position?

Gotta be worth an email to Rako to check..
 

adspence

Member
Thanks all, I'll try Rako email for answers. Its still not clear to me at all.
 

ocdwhiteboard

Active Member
I have retained one swicth (for my main ceiling lamp) in my Rako setup in the living room. It all works fine but the problem would come if people were constantly turning the conventional switch to off. in this case the Rako control would not be able to turn that lamp on, thereby negating the benefit of having wireless control (i.e. you'd have to get off your backside and turn the bloody thing on at the wall!).

When the conventional switch is turned on the lamp fades up to 100% by default, so would do this after a power cut or every time someone flicked the old switch.

As mentioned earlier the Rako wall switches are VERY easy to use, the button most people go for is the one for scene 1 (all lamps 100% on in my room, but any scene you like really).

Save yourself a lot of bother and go with a full Rako setup, possibly with a single master swicth, just in case (though hide it somewhere its not likely to get used by anyone), would be my advice
 

adspence

Member
Thanks Owain, sounds like co-existence of the old switches with the Rako would cause more pain. I'll just have to educate the technophobes. :)
 

Bruce_

Active Member
Here's an energy saving tip, if you're using scene control

Scene 1 is usually the most common used, and is usually 100%. If you reprogram scene 1 to be say 70%, then you'll save 30%. Often you'll find that 70% is perfectly OK for most times. Then use a different scene, or the raise button, for the times when you need a little bit extra.

Also, for rooms with several circuits. Try programming scene 1 with only the lighting you actually need most of the time. Depends on the room, but you might have decorative lights that don't need to be used every time you need light.

It's too easy to just use 100% all the time, but there's a price to pay :)
 

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