This is a very quick project and is a device that I have been building for some time.  It’s actually trivial in design, there is no complexity here, but I thought I would document this anyway since it uses some off the shelf parts to make a Lutron RadioRA lighting system control devices that it was never meant to control.

What is it?

Lutron makes a house lighting control and automation system called RadioRA, it’s a rather well designed system and I’ve been using the v1 since 1997.  They have since updated it with a newer RadioRA2 system (which is far more capable and easier to program).  RadioRA is designed to control lights.  You replace your regular light switches with their RF enabled switches, and install control keypads into the wall which then talk to these RF switches.  A control pad button can be programmed to make any number of switches set to a reprogrammed dimness value.  It makes it very easy to quickly activate complex lighting scenes (where multiple dimmers are involved) with a press of single button.  It’s great!

What RadioRA doesn’t do, is control anything other than lighting equipment (well, you can get them to control Lutron window shades…), which is rather unfortunate, because there can be useful scenarios where you want a non-lighting device to react in concert to a lightning scene change.  One that I use often is to make my projection screen drop from the ceiling when I activate the “I’m about to watch a movie” lighting scene.

So how do we do this then?

Given the Lutron does not make a device that does this, we can easily build out own.  Now, you might be thinking, wait, don’t they sell something like this?  Partially.  RadioRA1 had a table top dimmer module, the RA-300TL.   This device is optimized for dimming lights, and there are several problems with using this to control appliances.  First off, it is limited to 300W.  Second, it has a slow voltage ramp up, so it won’t switch immediately to 120V, but instead ramp up over a few seconds.  This is not really ideal with any electronic devices.  And finally, it has dimming functions.  Again, not ideal since you would never want this device to output any voltage other than full 120V.  Finally, the RA-300TL is not a grounded device and not intended to power 3-wire (grounded) loads.

The Solution, DIY Lutron RadioRA Appliance Module

Combine a Lutron RA-8ANS Switch with a standard electrical outlet in a double gang box and add a faceplate.  That will turn a Lutron switch into a standalone appliance module.  Pretty easy and only takes a few minutes a bit of wire.


Lutron RadioRA DIY Appliance Module

Note:  Lutron RA2 users already have a good solution, the Appliance Module, which effectively combines these two parts into one package.  RR-15APS-1

I’ve been surprised as to how many applications I’ve found for these packages.  From turning on audio amps in a room to standalone fans.  It’s a good way to surface appliances to a Lutron keypad and be able to tell if that device is turned on or not.

The Schematic.

Link to Lutron RA-8ANS installation PDF.

The Output of the RA-8ANS gets wired to a standard electrical outlet.

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