Cynics at Large Indigo: Cynical Lutron

Cynical Lutron Plugin

Download Cynical Lutron (Release Notes)

This plugin gives Indigo partial control over some Lutron home control installations. Specifically, it lets you work with motorized shades, drapes, and blinds connected to a wired Lutron control interface device. It is not a complete Indigo interface to all Lutron systems, so please don't get your hopes up too high.


Supported Devices

Cynical Lutron requires a QSE-CI-NWK-E control interface that is wired into the Lutron 4-wire bus and connected to your Macintosh either through Ethernet or a serial port. This interfaces goes with Lutron's wired installations. The wireless type uses a different interface and is not supported.

The only device types you can control are drape, shade, and blind devices. You can have other Lutron equipment on your network; Cynical Lutron will ignore them and do them no harm.

This is not a full-fledged Lutron interface supporting all devices made by Lutron - that would be a rather gargantuan task. Cynical Lutron manages just shade devices, and just wired Lutron installations. This is what I have in my house.


Control Interface Device

This is the Indigo device representing the Lutron network interface (the QSE-CI-NWK-E) itself.

To use the Ethernet interface of the controller, simply enter the hostname or address of that interface. To specify a non-standard port, write hostname:port.

To talk to an interface connected to a local serial port (via a USB adapter), enter the full path to the serial device (starting with a slash). The plugin will configure the serial port appropriately.

To talk to an interface that is connected to a network serial adapater, enter the address and port (separated by a colon) of the interface device. You need to configure the serial parameters on that network device.

The system device's state tracks the receiver's general state:

It may take a while for the exploring phase to conclude. This is where the plugin interrogates the interface to find all configured devices and their capabilities. The more devices are in the Lutron network, the longer this will take - epect about a second per device, supported or not. (This is how long it takes the Lutron interface to deliver its report.)

The Lutron network will be re-discovered every time the plugin is started or restarted. If you ever make changes to your Lutron network - wiring in new devices or removing any - be sure to restart the plugin. Note that disconnected or otherwise dysfunctional Lutron devices are usually still reported by the interface, though they won't respond to any commands. (If someone knows how to purge zombie devices from a Lutron installation without completely re-initializing it, please let me know.)

Shades Device

A Shades device represents a motorized roller shade or drape. These devices can open or close linearly. Indigo sees them as regular Dimmer devices, and you can control them by telling them to "dim" - off means closed, on means open, and a dimming level is simply a position in between. It's really that simple.

Shade devices also respond to the custom Move action, though they ignore any tilt action requested. Use this to move a shade to a calculated location.

Venetian Blinds Device

A Venetian Blinds device represents motorized Venetian Blinds - an array of slats moved by a motor. These devices can open and close just like shades, and they can also tilt their slats in various directions. Their motion has two dimensions.

You can command blinds to any position and tilt angle using the custom Move command. But blinds are also standard Indigo dimmer devices. The dimming action can control either the position or the tilt of the blinds, depending on how you configure the device:

In Indigo, the tilt angle of venetian blinds ranges from -100 to 100. Zero means open (parallel to the ground). 100 is fully overlapped (closed), with the slats pointing upward as you look out. Negative numbers indicate reverse orientation (looking down). Negative tilt values tend to keep out the sun more but may make it easier to look in. Experiment.

When you connect the dimming action to the tilt angle by checking the Dimming Changes Tilt checkbox, the standard brightness range of 0-100 is mapped either to positive or to negative tilt values, depending on the Tilt Negative checkbox. This makes the action more dim-like. Note that 0 means open and 100 is fully closed. If you need to control the full tilt range of a device, use the Move action.

Whether you link dimming to position or tilt, you get to decide what happens to the other setting. If you leave the Default ... field blank, it will be unchanged by dimming. If you set it, then any dimming action will also set the complementary value accordingly.

The Lutron system does not provide feedback for the tilt angle of venetian blinds. Cynical Lutron tries its best to keep the device state up to date, but if blinds are tilted by other means (say, a Lutron button or remote control), the device state will not always update to track the change. The position of blinds is always tracked correctly.

Phantom Button Device

In addition to providing a network interface, the QSE-CI-NWK-E also contains up to a hundred software Phantom Buttons that can be programmed to move any number of blinds, drapes, and shades to arbitrary positions. Cynical Lutron does not currently provide a means to create or alter these buttons from within Indigo; but it does allow you to trigger them. In effect, each phantom button can act as a Lutron-managed group of Lutron devices.

When defining a Phantom Button device, Cynical Lutron will show you a menu of all phantom buttons programmed into your network interface. Simply pick the one you want:

You can move the devices of a phantom button in three different ways:

Lutron systems do not report state for phantom buttons. Cynical Lutron creates a synthetic dimmer state indicating the maximum position of all member devices. In other words, a phantom button device will be fully open (100) if all its devices are fully open, and will be fully closed (0) if at least one of its devices is fully closed. Phantom button devices have no tilt state, and the device state always tracks the motion position regardless of the Dimming Changes Tilt setting.


Move Action

Explicitly moves a shade, drape, blind, or phantom button device to a given position and/or tilt angle. You may give either a position or a tilt or both; leave any aspect you want unchanged blank. Note that both position and tilt are dynamic, and thus can be calculated values.

Positions range from 0 (closed) to 100 (fully open). Values in between are proportional - 50 is half open, etc.

Tilt values range from -100 to 100, as described for Venetian Blinds devices.

Stop Moving Action

Tells a device to stop moving and stay in whatever position and attitude it currently finds itself. If the device was not moving, this does nothing.

Press Phantom Button Action

"Presses" a programmed phantom button on the control interface, causing every programmed device to move to its pre-arranged position and attitude.

Send Low-Level Command Action

This is the expert option. It lets you send any low-level command to a Lutron device. This will require that you understand the command language of the control interface. Cynical Lutron will still process any resulting state updates and set device state accordingly.

Release Notes

About This Area 29 Oct 2019 20:37