DEEP DIVE SERIES
LITETOUCH AUTOMATION SYSTEM
Troubleshooting or replacing your aging LiteTouch system can be a challenge, we understand that. So at the Smartest Builder, we are committed to gather as much information on the topic and place it in one single deep dive series for you to read. In our deep dives, we scour the internet for research and couple that with our in field knowledge and training to provide our independent research on the LiteTouch system. Scroll down to learn more about our research series into the LiteTouch System and why we think Loxone is the best solution.
LiteTouch was a home automation company in the late 70s with very advanced lighting control capabilities. Their system was reliable and able to do just about anything you wanted them to. One of the key features of LiteTouch was the ability to have customizable and reliable controls from a local controller. This involved no use of an app or an Internet connection because everything was hard-wired in your home and simply worked. Mind you, 40+ years on, some problems did arise.
LiteTouch is a hardwired, panelized home automation system. It uses different “modules” to control functions such as for dimming lights or controlling relays. These modules are wired and enclosed in panels. The user interfaces with the system by way of keypads that are placed throughout the house. The keypads are comprised of a range of multiple buttons, ranging from one button to 9. Each button is programmed to control individual loads or pre-programmed scenes. When a button on the keypad is pressed, a signal is sent to the Central Control Unit (CCU) which processes it and carries out the programmed command. All commands are run through the CCU as it is the brains of the automation system. Programming of the CCU is done through software called LiteWare, which is run on a computer that is locally connected to the CCU via a cable.
While LiteTouch was a reliable system, after some years things started to break down. In this blog we’ll go over some common issues you’ll encounter if you have a LiteTouch system and what you can do to fix them. Some of these can be fixed relatively easily but others will require a specialist or replacement of a module or even replacement of the entire system. Some of the fixes here have come from the following blog: Should You Repair Your LiteTouch Lighting System? Or Should You Upgrade?
After Savant pulled the plug on LiteTouch in 2015, it worked directly with Lutron to offer a replacement package. LiteTouch replacement kits essentially are new systems that replace every keypad/dimmer/relay/other module in the house while utilizing the existing wiring where possible. LiteTouch keypads requires a three-conductor cable but they recommended the installer run a four-conductor cable to allow one conductor for spare and future-proofing. Unfortunately, some installers didn’t use a four-conductor cable so if you are considering replacing your LiteTouch system, you should always check the wire running to your keypads so you can determine your replacement options. In TSB LiteTouch Series 6: Replacing LiteTouch we discuss the wiring a little deeper. Another important note about the existing wires in your LiteTouch installation is that the wires to the Keypads are typically not shielded or twisted, which can be an issue for some automation systems, especially since the industry standard for most automation systems today are to use twisted cable for communication with keypads.
In our last blog in this series, we recommended Loxone as a replacement option for LiteTouch because of its ease of replacement, reasonable price and focus on privacy, all while keeping the same functionality and providing the home owner more control.
Loxone is a reliable system that once installed keeps working. I’ve had issues with different cloud-based controllers in the past but the Miniserver, the brain of the Loxone system, has been very reliable in my experience and I have yet to have any issues with a system not working after it has been installed. In fact, Loxone claims to not have one miniserver go down due to internal hardware or a Loxone software issue since its inception.
If you’re thinking of replacing your LiteTouch with another system, there are a few things you should have ready for a rapid, cost-effective and hassle-free installation.
LiteTouch Enclosure Schedule
First, we recommend you find and have the documents like in Figure 1 from the team who installed your LiteTouch system. This document set provides a clear breakdown of the modules, circuits and loads in each enclosure (panel), where the enclosure is located and what modules are in each panel. This is a tremendous help for whoever is doing the LiteTouch replacement because it provides a clear technical picture of your current LiteTouch system. If you have these documents this will be the primary piece you will need to share to get a quote for replacement. Any professional automation company can make an accurate new automation quote for you and make sure they size the new components appropriately for your system based on these documents.
Replacing a LiteTouch system with Loxone is a simple and straightforward process. Loxone can be wired using the same wiring architecture that LiteTouch used. This means there is less of a chance that you need to run new wire through your walls. The Loxone dimmers can also work with almost any type of bulb so you can make use of your existing bulbs. Best of all, the Loxone Automation system can do all the same things LiteTouch did and more! If you want to see how Loxone compares to LiteTouch, you can read TSB LiteTouch Series 5: How Does Loxone Compare to LiteTouch to see more.
Chances are if you have LiteTouch keypads and especially if you’re reading this, some of the buttons have stopped working. This then requires you to open the keypad and try to do a quick fix with something like scotch tape or, if this doesn’t work, buy a refurbished one online. If you’re having these problems and other issues with your LiteTouch system, consider replacing it before the entire system fails. One of the systems we recommend to replace your old outdated LiteTouch system is the Loxone Automation System. We’ve discussed in TSB LiteTouch Series 7: How Easy is it to Replace LiteTouch with Loxone on the main difference of the hardware, but now let’s talk about the main differences as experienced by the homeowner, namely, the switches.