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RA2 Dimmer Behind Blank Wall Plate
This thread has 52 replies. Displaying posts 1 through 15.
Post 1 made on Saturday March 24, 2012 at 10:50
SB Smarthomes
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Can anyone confirm if a RA2 dimmer switch will fit behind a blank wall plate if you remove the front cover, LED light pipe and that little clear plastic piece that makes contact with the switches down on the circuit board?

Doing a retrofit/remodel and have several banks of switches (4-7 gang) with no where to hide the switches.  Crazy idea is to place the switches down low at outlet height with a blank cover over them painted to match the wall and then use a wall keypad for control.

Client and designer don't want to see the switches, but no closets or accessible attic or crawls space to hide them... this is the only thing I could come up with to minimize the visual impact.

Won't work unless I can strip off the front of the switches and get a blank to fit over the top.  I was worried about the air-gap disconnect that swings out from the front of the switch disabling the switch if the cover is removed, but I'm pretty sure the switches still work with the cover  off.

Other issue might be heat dissipation?
www.sbsmarthomes.com
Santa Barbara Smarthomes
Post 2 made on Saturday March 24, 2012 at 12:02
TRCGroup
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That's just a bad idea in general, not to mention being against code, most likely. It sounds like they should have planned a lot better when they were desinging the house if they didn't want to see switches.
Hybrid keypads will help some.
"You can't fix stupid."
Post 3 made on Saturday March 24, 2012 at 12:35
tweeterguy
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Heat would be my concern (well that and the obnoxious look of it). There is no electrical code for switch height requirements in a single family dwelling (except in an ADA situation). You do still need to maintain proper switch distance requirements from room entry points but it sounds like you have that covered by the keypad(s).

There HAS to be some where they can relocate them that makes logical sense AND wouldn't be an eye-sore...this home has absolutely no closets or storage rooms anywhere?

If they are so concerned about wall clutter and they are doing a remodel, it's time to open up more walls/ceilings and re-route the switches properly IMO.

I'm not familiar with the Ra line or model youre using but 7 gang? There's going to be heat issues and some major de-rating going on there.
- Chris
Post 4 made on Saturday March 24, 2012 at 13:48
Ernie Gilman
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On March 24, 2012 at 12:35, tweeterguy said...
If they are so concerned about wall clutter and they are doing a remodel, it's time to open up more walls/ceilings and re-route the switches properly IMO.

+1.

It's a remodel. Things need to be done right. They didn't plan before, they have to solve now.

Remember your liability as the person who installed this electrical, high voltage, subject to NEC, nightmare. There's no reason for any electrician or inspector to expect active components behind a blank cover plate, and the insurance company will be all over you if there is even the slightest puff of smoke.
We can't give you a good answer, or maybe any, without the make and model of everything.
"The biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place." -- G. “Bernie” Shaw
Post 5 made on Saturday March 24, 2012 at 14:41
Neurorad
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Maybe some of the multigangs could be replaced with Grafikeye units?

Lutron Experience Center 2 hrs away, in Irvine. Might help sell the needed home-run loads, for a really beautiful finish. Also, might be time for QS training, since you seem to attract the clients for it.

Lutron rep can help with the RF Grafikeye specs/design.
TB A+ Partner
Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense. -Buddha
Post 6 made on Saturday March 24, 2012 at 14:55
Ernie Gilman
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Grafik Eyes need very deep electrical boxes. And they are visible -- there's the whole front panel with lots of LEDs.
We can't give you a good answer, or maybe any, without the make and model of everything.
"The biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place." -- G. “Bernie” Shaw
OP | Post 7 made on Saturday March 24, 2012 at 15:16
SB Smarthomes
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Just got back form meeting with the client, interior designer and general contractor.

Grafikeye is a good solution, but I showed literature to the designer and client previously and they actually prefered the look of 6 switches ganged together but don't want that either.

The house does have all the walls opened up, but it's still not possible to get wiring to any other locations to propery hide the switches.  House is entirely on slab and absolutely no attic space (none).  I've had to trench conduit around the outside and install conduit on a flat section of roof to get low voltage wiring around, so there may be some possibilty to do this for high voltage.

Client and designer are ok with placing the switches low in less conspicous places and then coving with a blank wall plate painted to match the wall.  This was actually the GCs idea and is something I hadn't thought about but may be a reasonable solution?

I'm meeting with the electrician Monday.  It will be up to him to see if this is in violation of any code and I'll call Lutron to see what they have to say about heat dissapation or any other possible issues.

No chance of getting the client to spend half a day to visit the Experience center (unless maybe I charter a helicopter that picks him up in his front yard).  We were all there on a Saturday morning because it's the first time he's been able to meet at the jobsite in about 6 weeks.

I've done enough RA & RA2 to go for QS training, but we have a local electric supply that pushes Homeworks through the elecricians.  The electric supply seems to provides all the design and programming for free to the electrician and then the electrician sells the product at low margin so it's difficult for me to be competitive with the Homeworks products.
www.sbsmarthomes.com
Santa Barbara Smarthomes
Post 8 made on Saturday March 24, 2012 at 16:00
Hasbeen
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Have you seen that tru fig stuff by sonance?  I just saw it for e first time last week during a training.  Thought it  was cool, but not my market.  It's definitely your market.

It can essentially take a outlet etc, and make it flush with the wall, then. You can match it to the decor.

Maybe that will help?
That would be a better solution. But the client's two sons disagree. And they know more than me because they work in finance. -Fins 2013.
OP | Post 9 made on Saturday March 24, 2012 at 16:08
SB Smarthomes
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I'm familiar with the Trufig stuff, but haven't seen it in person.  I think it's even out of the range of most of my jobs.

I really don't do high end.  My niche seems to be doing lower end solutions for high end clients.
www.sbsmarthomes.com
Santa Barbara Smarthomes
Post 10 made on Saturday March 24, 2012 at 16:25
oex
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Stick banks of switches behind art work in a few areas?

Just an ugly thought

Hybrids would also help a bit in some areas
Diplomacy is the art of saying hire a pro without actually saying hire a pro
Post 11 made on Sunday March 25, 2012 at 10:57
Hasbeen
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On March 24, 2012 at 16:08, SB Smarthomes said...
I'm familiar with the Trufig stuff, but haven't seen it in person.  I think it's even out of the range of most of my jobs.

I really don't do high end.  My niche seems to be doing lower end solutions for high end clients.

Have you noticed the houses you work in are the size of strip malls?   :)
That would be a better solution. But the client's two sons disagree. And they know more than me because they work in finance. -Fins 2013.
Post 12 made on Sunday March 25, 2012 at 11:09
BisyB
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House is slab and no attic, eh? Slim chance and doubtful but is the electrical wired through conduit instead of romex? I mean it could be a royal pain but one could rework the switchlegs back to the panel and work in a lighting control panel if there is good conduit in place and you can avoid those pesky code things like conduit fill and derating...

Long shot but still a shot.
Rule #1 - Don't Sweat the Small Stuff
Rule #2 - It's All Small Stuff
OP | Post 13 made on Sunday March 25, 2012 at 13:22
SB Smarthomes
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On March 25, 2012 at 11:09, BisyB said...
House is slab and no attic, eh? Slim chance and doubtful but is the electrical wired through conduit instead of romex? I mean it could be a royal pain but one could rework the switchlegs back to the panel and work in a lighting control panel if there is good conduit in place and you can avoid those pesky code things like conduit fill and derating...

Long shot but still a shot.

Yeah, slab and no attic.  Not even any space above the ceiling anywhere.  It's all open beam ceilings with exposed joists.  The roof/ceiling construction is 1-1/4" T&G for the ceiling with 1" insulation above that, then plywood with the roofing material. 

All the electrical, plumbing and HVAC ducting was run through the slab.  There is conduit in place, but the house has been expanded & remodeled a few times and everything is a mess.  All the conduit is already overstuffed, collapsed and full of crap.  They did a lot of saw cutting to rework the electrical and mechanical, but still didn't really resolve these 3 areas where there are big banks of switches.

The hybrid keypads will help a little, but these locations have 6-9 switch legs run back to them.  I think that hiding behind art will be risky.  If the art ever moves or gets replaced then you have a big bank of switches in a very conspicuous spot on the wall.

I'm still leaning towards ganging up all the dimmers down low with a blank cover if possible.  Furniture and furnishings will hide most of the locations, just had to find out for sure if they will physically fit behind a blank and if there are any code issues.  Hopefully sort some of this out tomorrow.
www.sbsmarthomes.com
Santa Barbara Smarthomes
Post 14 made on Sunday March 25, 2012 at 14:59
WhiteVan Lifestyle
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7 gang? There's going to be heat issues and some major de-rating going on there.

+1
Safe 'n Sound Central Coast CA www.mysafensound.com [Link: facebook.com]
OP | Post 15 made on Sunday March 25, 2012 at 15:03
SB Smarthomes
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I've already accounted for the derating.  Most of the load are fairly light (80w-300w) which will help.  Not really sure if the switches would heat up more behind a blank wall plate compared to being installed normally. 
www.sbsmarthomes.com
Santa Barbara Smarthomes
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