Lutron AuroRa Wireless Lighting Control System Page 2

The Short Form

Price $600 (as tested) / / 888-588-7661
A programming-free, install-it-yourself system that lets you sample lighting control for a price that won't shock you.
•Simple to install •Easy-to-follow instructions •No programming
•Limited expandability •Only one "scene."
Key Features
•Entry system includes 5 AuroRa dimmers, 1 master control, 1 wireless controller, and 1 central antenna •Available in white, ivory, almond, or light almond •Dimmer loads from 50 to 600 watts •Up to 9 wireless controllers can be added ($50 each) •Expandable to 10 dimmers with second AuroRa package

Of course, even if it included a boatload of dimmers for $600, the Entry system would be staggeringly overpriced if dimming were all it did. The magic comes from being able to turn lights on and off from different places in your home - and this is where the tabletop master control and the wireless controller come in.

Pressing one of the five room buttons on the master control produces the same result as touching the button on the dimmer: A single press brings lights to the level set by the dimmer, and two presses produce full bright. A red LED on the master control illuminates whenever that room's lights are on - and the LED activates whether the lights are turned on via the control or at the dimmer itself.

The master control's All On and All Off buttons did exactly that, and my five dimmers responded with no noticeable delay. It was a treat to sit on the couch with the remote and power down lights for movie viewing without having to get up. Further, Lutron's radio-frequency system is about as close to bulletproof as I've ever seen; the dimmers always responded to remote commands. Even so, some users will be comforted to know that if anything does happen to the master control, the wireless controller, or the antenna, the dimmers can still function independently.

The wireless controller has an uncanny resemblance to a garage-door opener and, though limited in its control, can be used inside the house or from a vehicle in the driveway to activate lights. In addition to All On and All Off buttons, it features one marked Favorite that turns on all lights to their current dimmer settings. Of course, if anyone adjusts a dimmer in the house, your Favorite scene is gone; but if you can set the dimmers and leave them be, that should do the trick. In bridged systems, the All On, All Off, and Favorite buttons affect all 10 dimmers.

Bottom Line For small homes or apartments, Lutron's AuroRa is a perfect starter system. At the same time, once you experience lighting control and understand the lifestyle concept, you may find that the AuroRa's limitations - no programmable lighting scenes and a maximum of 10 dimmers and two master controls - will make it a natural gateway to one of Lutron's more advanced systems, such as RadioRA. As with a garage-door opener or an A/V remote, once you've enjoyed the convenience of lighting control, going without will seem like you're living in the Dark Ages.

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