Day: December 4, 2018

Lutron RadioRA 2 certified

I just became a Lutron-certified something-or-other! We had Lutron RadioRA2 dimmers installed in our house when it was renovated in 2010-2011 and we did some minimal programming but we were unable to make any changes to it without hiring someone who was certified to do it. So we lived with it as-is.

But these days, with Google Assistant and Google Home devices all over our house controlling and automating things, I want to control our lights too. Lutron recently, as in last year, came out with Connect Bridge that lets you use your phone as well as Google Assistant (or Alexa) to control a Lutron system. I bought one, opened it, read the instructions and realized that it also requires one of those Lutron installers to add it to the system. D’oh!

I am still not paying someone to click a few buttons on a computer so I decided to check into what it takes to be certified and get the software myself. I called Lutron. It turns out anyone can get the software by taking their online course and then passing a test. So I started the course thinking it’d just be a couple hours of my time.

Unfortunately, Lutron is deep into Windows. Not only is their software Windows-only, taking the online course requires Windows because it uses Windows Media. Double D’oh!

So I installed the 14-day free trial of Parallels Desktop on my Mac to run Windows 10 on my Mac. Then I watched 6+ hours of interactive videos and then took the online exam, which took me another 2 hours. (Windows is still painful to use and is awfully ugly too!)

I passed, downloaded the RadioRA2 software, configured all our Lutron equipment and can now control it all with my iPhone and my Apple Watch from everywhere I go! I haven’t been able to get Google Assistant to fully work with it yet, though.

Lutron is frustratingly closed (and requires Windows), their software feels like it’s from 1997 and is kinda quirky and prone to throwing up error messages, and a Lutron RadioRA2 (smart) dimmer is expensive. However, I came away from the certification process impressed by Lutron. They clearly value customer service highly, I didn’t know that they invented the light dimmer, about the dimming and radio technology that exists in their dimmers or how innovative and design-focused they’ve been over 50 years.