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Remote Control Light Dimmer

Now how cool is this? Ok, so it's the height of laziness, and yet another gadget, but I love it. I just recently purchased a Varilight® Infra-Red Remote Control Lighting Dimmer (details of their Infra-red remote control dimmer units can be found at Varilight.co.uk), wired it to operate the two sets of lights in our living room, and configured my Harmony Programmable Remote Control Unit to operate it (true to form the Harmony web site knows the settings for the dimmer).

The Varilight dimmers are easy to use in the UK on 240V AC (scroll down for Lutron Remote Control Dimmers which are for use on 120V). Press and release the touch sensitive buttons quickly to turn the light on/off. Or press and hold to make it dim up and down. Each press+hold reverses the direction of the dimming (brighter or dimmer), and if you just keep your finger on the button it will cycle endlessly up and down from full-brightness to fully dim, until you remove your finger. This method of operation is identical with the buttons you program in your remote. Very nice, very simple.

Theatre Lighting in your Living Room

The dimmer unit works really well with most remote controls. Again its dead easy, and it passes the "wife can work it" test!! I had wondered whether I would have to twist round to point my Harmony directly at the light dimmer unit to make it work, but my Harmony will operate the lights faultlessly even if I point the remote unit at the opposite wall, even though the actual Varilight dimmer is on the wall behind me. Just shows how good and powerful the IR transmitters are in the Harmony.

You need to "teach" the remote dimmer unit the codes, by setting the dimmer into a learning mode (you touch the pad 6 times in succession, then it dims the lights up & down to let you know "yes, I'm ready to learn"). Then you point the remote at it after you've programmed it with the Varilight codes. (You can actually buy a dedicated Varilight remote control pad to operate the lights, but my Harmony worked with it first time after configuration, so there was no need for me to buy it). Apparently there are 8 individual infra-red codes used by the Varilight dimmer, so you could control 8 different light circuits from your remote (you could have 4 double-gang dimmers like in the picture below in one room and operate them all individually!).

Another cool thing about the Varilight dimmers is that you can buy two sets and have them acting as Master and Slave for if you want to operate the lights manually from both ends of a long room.

I think these are excellent little units, and even though a bit expensive, well worth the money if you like the lighting to be "just right" depending on whether you're eating, reading or settling down for a good movie. Sweet. Oh, I'm so lazy!

VARILIGHT REMOTE CONTROL INFRA RED DIMMER (240V AC)

It is a revolutionary new range of touch and remote control dimmer switches.
There is a touch sensitive button in the centre of the plate and a tiny lens in the centre of the button so as to not spoil the overall look of the product.
You can dim the lights using touch control or remotely.

Using trailing edge technology, they can be used for mains or low voltage lighting. It also has a "simulated occupancy" security mode where the lights can be set to turn on and off at the same time every day while the house is unoccupied.

Like the IQ dimmers it also has a soft start to extend lamp life and overload protection with automatic reset.

In learning mode, it can be taught any button of most existing infra-red remote controllers. i.e. use a spare button on your existing TV, VCR or CD remote to dim the lights before settling down to a good movie.

(Full clear instructions with diagrams are included with the product)

Lutron Electronics: Maestro IR Remote Control Dimmer (120 Volts AC)

How about this for convenient, remote control of your living room lights up to 50 feet away from the dimmer? Use the Lutron Maestro Remote Dimmer to turn the light on and off and raise and lower it to the perfect setting, all without moving from the couch. And after you've found your ideal light level for watching a movie or reading a magazine, you can program that setting into the remote's one-touch silver button and recall it easily. And although this dimmer comes with an IR Remote Control handheld, it can also be controlled from the remote that operates your entertainment system, such as the Harmony Remote Control.

  • Full-range dimming possible from up to ten locations
  • LEDs show preset light level when product is off
  • Lights fade up and down smoothly allowing your eyes to adjust to changing light levels
  • Ten second fade-to-off (press & hold switch) lets you leave the room before lights go out
  • Standard 3-way wiring for easy installation and retrofit

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