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I'm trying to to figure out which one i need.

I'm probably not going to expand past what I already have

On my first floor I have  a TV, receiver, Tivo, and a 4.1 configuration

In my basement I have a projector, a receiver, and a Tivo mini

Can I get away with a ea3 or do i really need an Ea5

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18 minutes ago, MAMBOC4 said:

I'm trying to to figure out which one i need.

I'm probably not going to expand past what I already have

On my first floor I have  a TV, receiver, Tivo, and a 4.1 configuration

In my basement I have a projector, a receiver, and a Tivo mini

Can I get away with a ea3 or do i really need an Ea5

What matters more is how many Control4 devices that you have on your Zigbee network, like light switches, etc. AV equipment is not an issue.If you don't care about using the C4 on screen display or sending audio to those rooms then there are even non-controller solutions, especially if your devices all have IP drivers.

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Also the EA5 offers a few more audio streams, more I/O, etc

If you literally just have 2 tv set ups an Ea3 could work or even 2 EA1s behind each Tv.

again would depend on the make/model to know if your devices are IP or need IR/RS232, etc

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4 hours ago, zaphod said:

What matters more is how many Control4 devices that you have on your Zigbee network, like light switches, etc. AV equipment is not an issue.If you don't care about using the C4 on screen display or sending audio to those rooms then there are even non-controller solutions, especially if your devices all have IP drivers.

Interesting point - I’m switching to C4 from DIY and have dueling opinions from integrators: one says EA3 other says EA5. Neither said CA1. Given what you’re saying about number of C4 devices being key, I’m wondering if I should start with a CA1 since I would have no C4 devices at start? At start I will have about 65 zwave devices through vera; 15 hue bulbs via hue bridge; 4 zwave locks through C4 zwave bridge; Honeywell security system with about 60 zones; Hayward OmniLogic pool automation; 9 UniFi security cameras; 7 lutron picos via lutron smart bridge pro; monoprice multiroom receiver and amp via third party driver; possible geothermal HVAC control via driver. So at start no C4 devices - does that mean a CA1 could handle all this? Or would EA3 or EA5 be better. In future will add 4+ TVs, 7+ touchscreens, more multiroom audio zones, Neo remotes, gate control, door stations, theater, gym, keypads, etc. so at that point I know I’d need an EA5 and EAs behind the TVs - but this is all far down the road.  For now can I get away with a CA1 - maybe even add a touch screen in that case? This way money is going to onboarding current devices and slick touch screen rather than for AV features I won’t use off the bat? Or better to just start with EA3 or EA5 given number of current devices - even if non C4 devices?

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1 minute ago, JSTRONG said:

If you want any streaming audio then ca1 won’t work for you. I would start with an ea3 

 

Thank you for quick feedback. I forgot to say I have a Sonos connect for streaming to whole home audio receiver. Could CA1 use that for streaming? Does that change your recommendation or would you still suggest EA3? Any other reasons why EA3 over CA1 for my use case? Really appreciate your thoughts. 

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Once you expand your system the only thing the ca1 will most likely only do is zigbee. So maybe start with an ea1 so at least it can be your on screen navigator and do some ir 

 

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EA5 based on the list of lights and devices you stated. It's how many things does the controller need to watch over and pay attention to.

Things includes: lights, locks, security, audio zones, av equipment, software drivers, etc. Doesn't matter if they're Control4 switches, or Lutron, they count equally in overhead and CPU.

If it was JUST the two TVs systems, then 2 EA1s. If it's watching over all that other stuff too, and an expanding system, then EA5 is necessary.

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13 hours ago, JSTRONG said:

Once you expand your system the only thing the ca1 will most likely only do is zigbee. So maybe start with an ea1 so at least it can be your on screen navigator and do some ir 

 

Great points thank you 

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6 hours ago, RAV said:

EA5 based on the list of lights and devices you stated. It's how many things does the controller need to watch over and pay attention to.

Things includes: lights, locks, security, audio zones, av equipment, software drivers, etc. Doesn't matter if they're Control4 switches, or Lutron, they count equally in overhead and CPU.

If it was JUST the two TVs systems, then 2 EA1s. If it's watching over all that other stuff too, and an expanding system, then EA5 is necessary.

I see so total number of devices from anyone not just C4 - that makes sense. Thank you. 

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1 hour ago, Dueport said:

I see so total number of devices from anyone not just C4 - that makes sense. Thank you. 

I believe it depends on the device.  If they are being regularly polled then you need more CPU headroom.  But something like a TV or Roku only takes CPU resources when you are sending it commands.

I have an HC800 as my primary controller although I have an EA-3 and an EA-1as well and I have a couple hundred devices and I think the system performs ok.

One reason to buy an EA-3 now is that the EA line of controllers are almost five years old (release date is Jan 2016).  You would think that a new line of controllers will be released in the next year or so.  An EA-3 should continue to work for many years, so you could buy an EA-3 now and as you grow into more devices in a couple of years you could buy the new high end controller and use the EA-3 as the secondary controller.

I personally almost never use the On screen display - I use SR250 or SR260 remotes, keypads on the wall, my phone or iPad. I find the easiest way to watch TV is one click on the keypad on the wall.  Then grab the remote and start what you want.

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2 hours ago, zaphod said:

I believe it depends on the device.  If they are being regularly polled then you need more CPU headroom.  But something like a TV or Roku only takes CPU resources when you are sending it commands

Well not quite - there are full two way drivers (such as Roku), which get and parse data back as well - though that certainly doesn't take up as much headroom than having to poll states.

 

2 hours ago, zaphod said:

the EA line of controllers are almost five years old (release date is Jan 2016)

While true, they've received a refresh already in V2 versions in 2018.

 

3 hours ago, Dueport said:

I see so total number of devices from anyone not just C4 - that makes sense. Thank you. 

Absolutely. In fact, generally speaking, C4 devices don't require as many (main controller/director) resources as many 3rd part devices/drivers do.

 

17 hours ago, JSTRONG said:

Once you expand your system the only thing the ca1 will most likely only do is zigbee. So maybe start with an ea1 so at least it can be your on screen navigator and do some ir 

 

and/or provide an audio stream.

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If you are using Sonos for your audio streams then you should be deciding between an EA-1 vs and EA-5. EA-1 has same specs as EA-3 except for a little more IO and dedicated audio processor. Forget the CA-1
 

the ea-1 is the best deal out there in the “custom” home automation scene (it’s what I use). 

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On 9/11/2020 at 6:41 PM, Dueport said:

At start I will have about 65 zwave devices through vera; 15 hue bulbs via hue bridge; 4 zwave locks through C4 zwave bridge; Honeywell security system with about 60 zones; Hayward OmniLogic pool automation; 9 UniFi security cameras; 7 lutron picos via lutron smart bridge pro; monoprice multiroom receiver and amp via third party driver; possible geothermal HVAC control via driver. So at start no C4 devices - does that mean a CA1 could handle all this? Or would EA3 or EA5 be better. In future will add 4+ TVs, 7+ touchscreens, more multiroom audio zones, Neo remotes, gate control, door stations, theater, gym, keypads, etc. so at that point I know I’d need an EA5 and EAs behind the TVs - but this is all far down the road.  For now can I get away with a CA1 - maybe even add a touch screen in that case? This way money is going to onboarding current devices and slick touch screen rather than for AV features I won’t use off the bat? Or better to just start with EA3 or EA5 given number of current devices - even if non C4 devices?

A bit off topic but i'd recommend making sure vera works for you before going down this path... I have vera it is horrible compared to smartthings or any other hub.  I get that you will likely just want to pull the devices into c4 but for me things consitantly drop such as my somfy z wave blinds and half of my other z wave devices don't work at all with vera such as my kiwset locks even tho others from the same brand work fine...  

As far as controllers go, my setup is a Ea3 that runs as main and does onscreen in my theater, ea1 in the living room, t3 touch pannel, security system, 10+ lutron lights, 17 of the old 6 button keypads throughout the house, 10 different IP cameras, 4 honeywell thermostats, 13 audio zones, an HC800 which i use as additional audio streams and IO for things like my doorbell and garage and security panel.  The EA3 runs it just fine although I also was recommended an ea5 to start with. 

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On 9/16/2020 at 12:50 PM, azkid said:

A bit off topic but i'd recommend making sure vera works for you before going down this path... I have vera it is horrible compared to smartthings or any other hub.  I get that you will likely just want to pull the devices into c4 but for me things consitantly drop such as my somfy z wave blinds and half of my other z wave devices don't work at all with vera such as my kiwset locks even tho others from the same brand work fine...  

As far as controllers go, my setup is a Ea3 that runs as main and does onscreen in my theater, ea1 in the living room, t3 touch pannel, security system, 10+ lutron lights, 17 of the old 6 button keypads throughout the house, 10 different IP cameras, 4 honeywell thermostats, 13 audio zones, an HC800 which i use as additional audio streams and IO for things like my doorbell and garage and security panel.  The EA3 runs it just fine although I also was recommended an ea5 to start with. 

Appreciate that point about Vera and your point is very well taken. I can certainly see that as some people seem to have good experiences and others bad. Part of the reason I haven’t installed C4 yet is because I’m moving all the zwave to Vera first and making sure it is stable and reliable. I suspect people’s varying experiences have to do with the specific devices and Vera drivers running on the Vera hub and number of those devices (strength of mesh) and house layout and construction. So far my experience with Vera has been very good with the devices I have. So much better than Hubitat there’s just no comparison there. I’m not running any automations on the Vera just connected the devices and operating through the app and watching for refresh rate and stability generally. So far so good but haven’t installed the C4 system and automation layer there so jury still out. For the record I would use the native C4 zwave dongle integration but C4 has such limited zwave device support through that and my switches and dimmers aren’t supported. Replacing all the dimmers and switches with C4 is cost prohibitive and seems unnecessary since they work mostly fine otherwise (though some flicker now and then on some circuits but not bad enough to spend the money to replace).  Appreciate the feedback on your experience with EA3 too. 

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On 9/13/2020 at 7:46 PM, therockhr said:

If you are using Sonos for your audio streams then you should be deciding between an EA-1 vs and EA-5. EA-1 has same specs as EA-3 except for a little more IO and dedicated audio processor. Forget the CA-1
 

the ea-1 is the best deal out there in the “custom” home automation scene (it’s what I use). 

Hadn’t heard that EA1 and EA3 have same specs except more IO and dedicated audio processor. If that’s the case maybe I should go with the EA1 since I could always upgrade primary controller to EA5 if needed later and shift EA1 to a tv - as @zaphod suggested. so won’t go with CA1. Thank you @Cyknight for your points too re possible higher overhead for third party devices - I may find that with the number of devices I have that will be integrated through Vera. Thank you all for the helpful advice here - I really appreciate it. Given this collective advice, I’ll probably start with the EA1 then and if performance doesn’t work I’ll shift it to a tv and transfer primary control to an EA5.

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On 9/19/2020 at 4:28 PM, Dueport said:

I’ll probably start with the EA1 then and if performance doesn’t work I’ll shift it to a tv and transfer primary control to an EA5.

I think that is the best way to go.

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