regarding the question about automated dimmers. I am
using (mfgr) Lightolier (model) MultiSetPro dimmers, switches,
and controllers. The system is, IMO, fairly clever. The wiring
connections, however, are very complex.
Each switch and dimmer has 5 connections: hot, neut, gnd,
switched hot, and data buss. Each controller (and there *can*
be something like 30, if you want.... I have 2) has 3 connections:
hot, neut, and data buss.
Each switch and dimmer can be operated manually just like a regular
switch/dimmer. In this case, you are manually overriding the system.
The controller has 5 "scenes". Each scene can be any combination
of dimmer/switches, and any individual dimmer brightness setting.
To program, press a scene code (for example "A"),
set up your room the way you want it,
then press a set button on each dimmer
or switch. The dimmer or switch remembers how
it is suppposed to act under program code A.
Same for B, C, D. 5th scene is all units "on".
The buss connection is low voltage, low current,
so you can use a single strand of
insulated wire and snake it to retrofit.
In my case, I had the sheetrock off, so I ran
14/3 romex and used the 3rd wire for the buss connection.
Once you program things, it remembers,
even if you cut the mains, so there is
some ePROM kind of thing in each unit.
There is also a wireless remote, if you
are *really* bored.
In my case, I have under-cabinet fluorescents,
halogen task lighting, and halogen
wall-washer accent lighting for each kitchen
counter, plus halogens around the dinner
table. I have different programs for working
at the counter, sitting at the table,
mininal lighting, and "ambience" illumination
of the cabinets I built myself. Since
I have 2 controllers, one at each kitchen
entrance, I can call each program from
either entrance. It is definitely excessive in terms
of kitchen lighting, but I wanted
to fool around with lighting as a design element.
Even if you don't groove on "scenes",
it is very nice to be walking out of the kitchen and
hit the "OFF" button to kill all the
lights in the kitchen, independent of what is actually on.
It all works. My only beef is that each box
is a rat's nest, a real wiring
nightmare. I wanted to try and clean
things up a bit, and was pondering
the idea of crimping the connections.
Hence the original post.
I actually think I'll get a good crimping tool and
try some crimps, but *NOT* in the kitchen.
Instead, I'll just pick a simple place and try one.
The thread has had lots of good info and opinions.
Again, thanks to everybody
who weighed in.