Why choose Lutron Radio RA2 (or Radio RA3) over Caseta for Home Assistant users?

Since Home Assistant and Lutron Caseta seem to be well integrated, and you can create your own HA tablet and mobile dashboards for full home control, and apparently even get around the Caseta 75 device limitation by bridging two Lutron hubs with HA - why would someone want to pay the extra cost to go with Lutron’s Radio RA2 or Radio RA3 systems instead?

I have a large new construction 4100 sq. ft. condo being built and I’m working with the low-voltage installers to run multiple Cat 6a cables to every room for PoE sensors, cameras, multimedia devices and TVs, etc. What benefits, if any, would Radio RA2 or RA3 give me over Cat6a-connected devices and Caseta for switches/dimmers?

FWIW, I’m a software engineer/architect by trade (so programming is no inconvenience), and I’ll be running a full Ubiquiti Unifi rack/switches/etc, in a central closet. I’ll probably run one physical server with a hypervisor (VirtualBox, ProxMox, whatever), with Home Assistant in a VM.

Would Lutron Radio RA2 or RA3 benefit me in any way? What would I be missing with ‘just’ Caseta?

Thanks!

Well unless you get bootleg software or take Lutrons class you can’t program RadioRA2 or 3.

That being said RadioRa in a new build is awesome. Switches can get put in a closet or mechanical room and then each room can just get a keypad. It’s super clean. From a pure lighting control perspective Ra can do more than Caseta also. That’s sort of negated by home assistant but these products are designed for the masses and RadioRa is targeted at a clientele who generally isn’t trying to DIY stuff. They want to go in their family room hit entertain on their keypad and have that scene turn on.

Cool, thanks. If I go with RA3, I’d definitely take the Lutron class. From what I understand the class only about 4 hours.

What do you mean by this?

Yeah you can take level 1 online which always for 150 devices but no shades. Level 2 gets you to 300 devices and the ability to do shades but is an in person thing.

Regarding switches. Let’s say your kitchen has 6 switches that would normally be all together in a box. That’s big and ugly on the wall. Those 6 switches can be installed out of site instead of at the entrance to the room and then where they would normally go a single keypad can be installed. The buttons on the keypad can then be programmed as basic as turning on and off an individual light or they can be a scene say turning on all 6 switches to different preset light levels.

The other thing with RadioRa is until your Lutron certified you can’t actully purchase it. You can find it online being sold through unofficial channels but I’m pretty sure Lutron won’t warranty it. They want people who know the product installing it so the end user always has a good experience. It’s not meant to be installed by consumers

Thanks so much for the clarification and example!

I did a lot of research, talking with other Lutron customers, and reading on Reddit’s r/Lutron community, and, while I now understand what you’re saying and could envision how it would look super clean, I personally think this isn’t such a great idea.

It’s a nearly permanent solution (barring ripping out drywall everywhere) that forces you and all subsequent homeowners to use the Lutron system indefinitely. If “Technology X” arrives in 10 years that makes all those hardwiring changes obsolete, or requires a different protocol, or whatever, well, now you’re stuck with a ton of electrical wires routed to a closet somewhere and anytime you want to change or work on anything, or troubleshoot, or swap out to a different technology or solution, you’re screwed and forced to work with that setup.

It’s an extremely heavy-handed solution for a home that will in all likelihood survive longer than RA3 as a technology choice and force that hard-wired/routing decision on every single owner for the next 50 (or more) years at least.

Based on this, I personally prefer to stick with a paradigm where the controller/switch is always at the load location. Anyway, just my personal opinion, I know others could likely disagree.

But!

There is one type of location where I think this setup could work without much difficulty: a walk-in pantry that shares a wall with the kitchen entrance, or a walk-in closet that shares a wall with the master bedroom entrance, or similar. Then you can put the switches just inside the pantry or closet, directly in the same location as they would ordinarily be installed, just facing into the adjacent pantry/closet/whatever. If a future owner (or you) wanted to revert this or use a different technology, you just cut a hole in the backing wall, flip the switches around, and you’re back to ‘normal’.

Anyway, thanks so much for the insight. I started taking the RA3 course, so we’ll see where that takes me :slight_smile:.

what did you end up going with? I’m deciding between RA3 and Caseta for a remodel. thanks

Hi there. I haven’t exactly committed yet as my condo won’t be available for closing/delivery until around January 2024, but I’ll need to lock in a choice soon enough.

That said, I started the RA3 training via Lutron’s training portal, and based on what I learned there, I’m pretty sure I’ll need to go RA3: my condo unit is long (as opposed to wide), and based on RA3’s radio coverage design standards, I’ll need two Radio RA3 Processors spaced appropriately apart (PoE-powered, ceiling mounted). Because I’ll need two processors, and probably can’t use one, Caseta likely won’t be viable for me. I’ve heard there are hacks where you can control two Caseta hubs with Home Assistant and work around Caseta’s 75 device limitation, but that hack won’t ‘just work’ for a future homeowner. RA3 would work however since it’s not HA-dependent.

Even so, I think this will work out for the better in my particular case - RA3 allows for more devices and it supports the aesthetically-nicer looking Maestro devices, which Caseta doesn’t. As much as I love tinkering and the hobby of automation, I prefer the software side of things, and I’d rather pay the extra $ for hardware that ‘just works’.

FWIW, I cross-posted this question on the r/Lutron subreddit, and got some pretty great insight/context into RA3’s pros and cons (lots of pros, and the only real con - although it’s a big one - is price). Hopefully you’ll find this useful:

https://www.reddit.com/r/Lutron/comments/12e1sxm/home_assistant_users_whats_the_point_of_ra2_or/

Common consensus is that RA3 is on average about 3 times the price of Caseta. Ouch.

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Thanks for posting that link and the entire discourse there. I was reading over your OP and thinking, wow, you sound exactly like me and what I’m looking to figure out.

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FYI, I use both.

Why? Well I started with Caseta and replaced all light switches out with Caseta but found zwave and Zigbee motion sensors didn’t fit my bill.

So I took the class, bought an RA2 and 10 occupant sensors. 10 year battery BTW.

And, it just works 100 percent of the time. Zero issues. Been running this for years.

One of these days I may buy some switches…

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I favor RA2, RA2 Select, and RA3, but for completeness I would like to mention that over that past few years Lutron has added support for their lightning-fast vacancy/occupany sensors to Caseta and also offers a dedicated wireless repeater module.

You still can run into the device limit, but at least range and features is slightly improved.

For RA3, add last year’s outdoor plug module (identical to the Caseta version) and this week’s brand new, first ever for Lutron, the Lutron Lumaris LED tape light.

Other than price, of course, the tape light looks awesome with two different ranges of white color temperature, easy install with clip on connectors, and even includes an integrated LED/driver module and power supply so nothing to DIY at the LED/strip/controller level.

The Lutron app allows setting variable white color temperature and there is some built-in automation for changing the color temperature automatically during the day.

Child’s play for advanced HA or other sophisticated automation systems, but really nice as a “plug and play” easy solution for those not into more advanced programming.

Oh, and chalk it up to marketing or whatever, but the new Lutron LED tape light is only for RA3 and HomeWorks. Not available for Caseta systems - at least nothing announced and I wouldn’t put it past Lutron as using this a wedge for why “RA3 is different than Caseta” for dealers and well-heeled customers to make the choice easier :slight_smile:

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Interesting. I need to investigate more of what Lutron’s new products are.

As for their occupancy sensors and Caseta. Are they exposed vis telnet to be read by automation systems? I thought they were not?

Coming from a similar background, here are some other differences I’ve found in my own research:

  • RA3 is a 2.4GHz mesh topology, not a 400MHz hub-spoke topology. Hopefully this reflects Lutron’s long-term research into what offers the most reliability & distance, not just a way to save costs (the older A Band parts had to be tuned for different frequencies in different countries).
  • All RadioRA hubs and extenders are PoE capable. Caseta hubs require you to either wire extra power outlet, use janky adaptors, or place the hubs in a suboptimal spot for RF propagation.
  • RA hubs have lots of options for shelf- and flush-mounting.

As for the advantages discussed in your (excellent) Reddit thread, one worth highlighting here on the HA forum is how ramping up a complex scene over direct RF is much smoother & better synchronized than having HA coordinate multiple devices over IP.

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PS if you want to get into the RA3 ecosystem, you can find used RA2 (non-Select) dimmers and switches on eBay for similar cost to new Caseta equivalents.

All that said, I will probably stick to Caseta myself. I’m fine buying PoE → USB adaptors, sticking to plain white trim, no keypads, and single phase dimming tech – how often are you gonna change from MLV to ELV on the same circuit, anyway? A big driver of this is that Diva designs are finally available in quantity; I really hate the UX of the original Caseta dimmers (no paddles, only flat buttons).

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I think RA3 is a different protocol and certain systems (Elk’s M1) isn’t supporting it. Do we know for a fact that Home Assistant will be able to control Radio RA3 devices and if so which hub is required? Thanks!

The Lutron Caseta integration indicates that it supports not just Caséta, but also RA2 Select, Radio RA3, and Homeworks QSX.

Unfortunately, this integration name is quite confusing (and misleading) because it not only supports Caseta, but also those additional 3 product lines. It’s also confusing because there is another (separate) HASS integration named just Lutron that supports only RadioRA 2 :roll_eyes:.

So, in summary, at least at the time of writing:

  1. The HASS Lutron Caseta integration supports the following Lutron product lines and is reported as used in 5,891 HASS installations:

    • Caseta
    • RA2 Select
    • RadioRA 3
    • Homeworks QSX
  2. The Lutron integration only supports RadioRA 2 (and not RA2 Select) and is reported as used in only 129 installations.

Ideally, IMO, both integrations should merge and just be named Lutron to avoid this confusion for HASS users.

As for which hub is required, RadioRA 3 has its own PoE-powered hub that needs to be installed (most people usually install it in a central location in the ceiling).

Lutron terminology calls this hub/device a ‘processor’: Lutron RadioRA 3 All-in-One Processor. Other RadioRA 3 system devices can be found on their website.

You’d be able to purchase this hub (‘processor’) directly from Lutron and install it yourself after completing the RA 3 online course.

I am finally getting around to messing with my RadioRa3 processor. I can’t seem to get HA to connect to it. I setup the login and password for the integration but I still get an error?

Unknown error
Traceback (most recent call last):
  File "/usr/local/lib/python3.12/urllib/request.py", line 1344, in do_open
    h.request(req.get_method(), req.selector, req.data, headers,
  File "/usr/local/lib/python3.12/http/client.py", line 1331, in request
    self._send_request(method, url, body, headers, encode_chunked)
  File "/usr/local/lib/python3.12/http/client.py", line 1377, in _send_request
    self.endheaders(body, encode_chunked=encode_chunked)
  File "/usr/local/lib/python3.12/http/client.py", line 1326, in endheaders
    self._send_output(message_body, encode_chunked=encode_chunked)
  File "/usr/local/lib/python3.12/http/client.py", line 1085, in _send_output
    self.send(msg)
  File "/usr/local/lib/python3.12/http/client.py", line 1029, in send
    self.connect()
  File "/usr/local/lib/python3.12/http/client.py", line 995, in connect
    self.sock = self._create_connection(
                ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
  File "/usr/local/lib/python3.12/socket.py", line 852, in create_connection
    raise exceptions[0]
  File "/usr/local/lib/python3.12/socket.py", line 837, in create_connection
    sock.connect(sa)
TimeoutError: [Errno 110] Operation timed out

I found another thread that said to use Casetta but it asks for you to push a black button on the back of the bridge - which isn’t there for Radio RA3.

EDIT:

Hey! Just found the button on the inside of the unit behind the cover! Yay me! Looks like its working! Awesome!

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Any notions on whether or not the integration is local? I’ve seen conflicting information on Reddit, where some are saying that Caseta’s integration is but since RA3 is kinda “exclusive” I haven’t found information on it. I’m not as concerned about internet propagation delay, I’m more concerned about “Internet is out, my automations are not working!” :slight_smile: Anyone with RA3 and HA confirm if this integration is 100% local or not?