First, a little history about LiteTouch

Founded in 1978, LiteTouch was a leader in the customized lighting control industry. They developed products for both residential and commercial properties. They were in a very small specialized market and their systems were costly compared to standard lighting installations.  They did however offer the most futuristic options back in the day. These systems involved true automation by incorporating a central processor (CPU), a specialized wiring system, controllers, power supplies, enclosures, custom keypads and programming.  Pricing for these systems could range anywhere from $25,000 to hundreds of thousands depending upon the size of the system.  They were scalable and could also be incorporated into properties with conventional lighting control as well. You could actually have a home or building in which some room’s deployed lighting control and others had the conventional light switch.

These components were the backbone of the LiteTouch system and required regular support and maintenance, like any electrical/mechanical system with current running through the components, things do happen.  LiteTouch supported these systems by utilizing a network of independent trained integrators, designers and electricians, who were trained to offer support, service/repairs and programming for these systems.  You could not buy LiteTouch on the open market through Big Box retailer or the local hardware store, you would need to work directly with an authorized electrician or integrator.

LiteTouch had some competition. Their major competitor at the time was Lutron, who actually had a majority of the market share. LiteTouch was more affordable and offered customization that Lutron, at the time would not.

Personally, I always considered LiteTouch to be more of a boutique offering for a customized lighting system. If we had a special request from a client, LiteTouch would be willing to entertain almost anything.  I could place a call to the manufacturer and within days have pricing and a new SKU to order to solve my clients’ concerns.  We could customize wall plates to look like wall paper or any painted finish the customer could imagine.

There was a buzz over lighting control.  

Lighting control offered several very impressive benefits to those that could afford the costly installations:

Pathway Lighting

You decide to get up at 1AM, and press one button and certain lights throughout your home illuminate at a very dim light, just enough for you to walk through the hallways, and automatically turn back off in 30 minutes.

Emergency Lighting

You could press an emergency button and all the exterior lights would come on and begin to flash while providing light for a majority of the interior rooms, surely your home would be easy to find for emergency responders.

Reduced Energy Costs  

Dimming your lighting will save you $$ by using less energy.

Better for the environment

Using less energy is good for the environment.

Extends the life of the bulbs

The light bulbs themselves will last longer by reducing their daily consumption.

Preset scenes

Very easily configure certain keypad buttons, such as Night time, to have certain lights throughout the home, inside and out, come on for a set period of time, these are called scenes.

Ability to use schedules

By programming the system, lights can be set to come on and off at predetermined times.

Ability to trigger lighting to come on using inputs/relays etc

We have used this feature to control lights in a nature center, as you would walk by the exhibits the lights would come on and the exhibit would come to life.

Landscape Lighting functioning from an Astronomical clock

It’s nice to have your lights come on based upon when the sun sets and rises without adjusting a timer or using a photocell.

Daylight harvesting

Being able to use the light from outside to automatically adjust the lighting inside, is called harvesting. Sensors would be installed in rooms in which there is natural light to feed information into the lighting control system telling it to dim the lights when there is an abundant amount of natural light.

Increased comfort

When the systems are programmed properly, most owners are very satisfied with the ease of use and the benefits it contributes to easy living in their home or business.

Vacation Mode

One simple button to press when you leave for vacation. The lighting control system can actually remember which buttons and routines run throughout the week. Switching the system to vacation mode actually has the system turn lighting on at random times although somewhat on the regular schedule. In most conventional systems, the “timer” turns the lights on at 6PM every night. With the Vacation mode, one night might be 5:50PM, one night might be 6:20 PM, it gives the house a lived in feel while you are on vacation.

“My favorite” Wall Acne reduced

Yes homes can have wall acne. Picture walking into a friend’s home and stepping into their main living area and having never been in the new home, you go to turn on the lights, and realize there are 6 switches in a bank at the entry to the room, which light do you turn on?  Decorators and Interior Designers also love having one decorative switch/keypad instead of 6 switches side by side.

There are other benefits to lighting control, but I covered the more popular ones above.

LiteTouch began to face more competition in the small slice of the pie that they already had

Unfortunately, the market began to change, especially with the onslaught of different options. Vantage, Crestron, Control4 and Lutron started to increase their offerings as well as other companies.  LiteTouch was sold to Savant in early 2012,  originally to fill a void for Savant in their much needed lighting control division, however Savant soon realized that they had inherited a large base of systems that needed ongoing support/customer service as well as a tremendous number of SKUs to support from the past 30 + years of installations.  Savant soon thereafter discontinued a large number of options and within three years of purchasing LiteTouch (2015) decided to abandon the entire program leaving thousands of commercial and residential clients without a manufacturer to support them.  Many dealers and customers began to scramble to try and find parts to support their aging systems.

LiteTouch acquired by Savant:

http://www.cepro.com/article/savant_acquires_LiteTouch_home_automation_meets_lighting_control/

Savant Kills LiteTouch:

http://www.cepro.com/article/savant_kills_LiteTouch_works_with_lutron_on_fix_hardwired_lighting_control

So you have a LiteTouch system and you are having some issues?

Having serviced various types of lighting control systems, there are several consumable parts that I would consider having in stock.

First and probably the easiest part to replace is the fuse.  

How to Replace the LiteTouch Fuse

The lighting control modules utilize one fuse for each switch leg in the enclosure. If you find one of your switches no longer working a fixture, good chance it could be the fuse.

First, you would want to manually flip the dip switch for the switch leg that corresponds to where the feed is wired to the module. By manually switching this little switch (you will need a very tiny flathead screwdriver).  Once you flip the switch, if the light comes on and stays on, then the fuse and module would be ok, but most likely it’s the programming. (Another day on that topic).

If the Light does not come on, it’s either the module or the fuse, so it’s best to have some spare fuses around to see if it’s an easy fix. Replacing the fuse requires a small flat head screwdriver and you would insert and twist until the fuse holder pops out slightly and then you can remove with your hand, swap the fuse and replace the fuse, push back in and turn again with the screwdriver slightly until it locks in place.  ALWAYS make sure the current to that switch leg is off, meaning no power is being fed to that circuit.

See Diagram #1 below for Fuse Location

The 8 channel Relay Module uses a 12 Amp fuse (Old Part # 3613-012)

The 8 channel Dimmer Module uses a 15 Amp fuse (Old Part # 3613-020)

Once you have the new fuse inserted, test by flipping the corresponding dip switch, see diagram #2 below.

Example of a LiteTouch Fuse

Example of a LiteTouch Fuse

Diagram 1 Showing LiteTouch Fuse Location

Diagram 1 – Fuse Location

LiteTouch Dip Switches Diagram

LiteTouch Dip Switches Diagram

So, the simplest repair you can do yourself, is checking to see if it’s the Fuse or the module or programming.  To recap.

  1. If the Dip Switch works and turns the light on and off manually, then the fuse is ok, module is ok, but you most likely will have an issue with the actual keypad or in programming.  (another discussion)
  2. If the Dip Switch doesn’t work, than the problem is either with the fuse or the module, and changing the fuse will help test this quickly. If you don’t have time to get another fuse, you can always take a fuse from another circuit; again, remember to kill the power to these circuits at the breaker before inserting and removing fuses.  If you find the fuse works, than the module is good and you just repaired your LiteTouch system, congratulations! (Don’t forget to make sure you replace the other circuit with a new fuse as well)
  3. If the Fuse didn’t fix the issue, then unfortunately you either had another bad fuse (I always double check), or it’s the module.  Modules are no longer being repaired so you would have to find one on the black market, EBAY, there are some usually there for sale.  If you can’t find the exact model, you may be able to exchange a 4 channel dimmer module that went bad for an 8 channel dimmer, they occupy the same space and you would only use 4 of the dimmer modules’ connections.  One note, if the other switches are still functioning on the module but you only have one bad switch, sometimes, you can move that switch leg to an open location in another module. This would require an electrician as its line voltage you are now playing with, again topic for another day.  In all of my years of installing and specifying, we usually have some spare locations on modules for just in case, when a client decides to add more switches to the control system, they have capacity available, this also works for bad modules, so hoping you may have some spare locations.

How to Fix a Keypad Button that Sticks or Isn’t Working

LiteTouch Keypad

LiteTouch Keypad

With regard to troubleshooting other components, the second most common service request we find is the actual keypad button is sticking or no longer works, but the light does work when you manually flip the dip switch in the enclosure.

So how do you repair the keypad. The actual keypad comes off the wall, the face plate is magnetic, just need something small to pry it off the magnet and the faceplate should come right off.

Once you remove the faceplate, you have 2 small Philips screws to remove, be careful, do not lift anything off, you will need to flip the black cover plate that is holding the engraved buttons, so they don’t all fall out.

On the older keypads, you will probably see a little piece of cellophane laying inside or loose that holds a small thin piece of metal (dome) with a little dimple in it. This little dome is what depresses to activate the button and the little piece of cellophane used to be the tape that held the button in place. The newer designs circa 2008-2010 replaced this older design.  A small piece of scotch tape can usually do the trick, but it will take time to cut the tape and get the small piece of metal back in place.  Be happy to help someone over the phone if they need some direction on this, since I don’t have a picture readily available.

As you can see, the keypads and the fuses are repairable, however the modules, the main controller (CCU) and the required programming and wiring in place will not be so easy and you really should involve a trained individual to assist with these repairs, even if they are possible.

If you need another resource, try to reach Elwin Jensen for repairs of modules, at elwinjensen@comcast.net, he may be able to help and his website is here, he is a good resource and was also very supportive to our dealership when he worked for Litetouch. http://www.thelitetouchdoc.com

Which brings me to my next question:

Should I even waste my time repairing this system?

The short answer is, if it’s a fuse or a keypad, it’s a simple fix (simple in layman terms). If it’s a module, a little bit more complicated but still doable. If it’s the programming or CCU, then you will need to involve a professional to assist.  You will be spending a considerable amount of money since the parts are no longer being made and the programmers and CCUs are in limited supply online.

If you are staying put, then the short answer is how much do you want to invest in repairing the system and for some, that may be the only answer. If you are selling the home, or upgrading the home, then the correct path would be to upgrade the entire system. We have had a lot of success using Lutron and they have been around the longest and I am confident that they will be around for a lot longer, which is now something you need to consider.  Vantage, Control 4 and some others are fairly new players in the lighting control industry and I would be hesitant to go through the same situation 2 times.

How much will it cost to replace the entire system?

Here is a link to an article below by Julie Jacobson from CEPro

http://www.cepro.com/article/options_replacing_savants_LiteTouch_system_how_much_will_it_cost

I haven’t seen any systems in homes of 2500 sq feet and I think the cost to do the upgrades could be more than double what she proposed.  Upgrading a LiteTouch System will also require you to be down for several days depending upon how big the system is. So you have to factor not having any light in the home and possibly temp lighting for the contractor to work with.  Once you upgrade, you’ll be happy to know there’s a cool APP for almost any system you upgrade to and the flexibility and control of the lighting has been improved as well.

Final Thoughts on LiteTouch Repair Services & Replacement Options

Some systems you just can’t repair. Many of the older series modules have non-replaceable fuses, which means you would have to disassemble the module to replace the fuse, doable, but not for the novice.  Most of the newer systems, say 2000 and after, had field serviceable fuses.  Again keypads are repairable, and it really depends on what is installed and what you can steal from Peter to pay Paul.

Contact HS Technology Group

Lutron® has been the world’s leading manufacturer of lighting controls and systems for 1/2 a century.  Claiming over 90% of the lighting control market, they offer shading solutions and have opened a new world of possibilities by seamlessly integrating electric and daylight control with a focus on innovation, world-class engineering, and customer service. Lutron blends technology with design and environmental sensitivity to provide the ideal solution for total light control.

Integration & Home Automation

Seamlessly integrate technology into your home. Lutron light control systems can combine with audio, video, security, and HVAC. From simple incorporation with a single system to sophisticated high-level integration, Lutron designs its controls to work reliably and intuitively with other systems in your home.
home automation lighting control

Commercial Lighting Control & Automation

Enhance your room’s aesthetics, reduce energy, increase productivity and save money.

The right lighting control system can help set the stage for a productive business. It can reduce overall energy costs, and studies show that a well-designed system can increase an individual’s concentration, reduce stress, and have a positive effect on overall behavior. HS Tech Group can design a Lutron lighting system and Lutron Shade solution that takes all these elements into consideration.

In most commercial facilities, lighting accounts for more than 40% of annual electricity usage. The usage is even higher for other industries such as healthcare and hospitality—and most of the excess costs can be attributed to inappropriate lighting levels, fixtures (especially now that Lutron LED lighting is available), or design. Our design focuses on increasing visual comfort and efficiency wherever possible.

Residential Lighting Control & Automation

HS Tech Group’s lighting and shade designs enhance a room’s aesthetics, reduce energy consumption, and save money. We take pride in designing sustainable systems for new construction or existing spaces that maximize available daylight while minimizing electricity usage.

lighting shade design

Key Elements for Lighting Control Systems for both residential and commercial lighting control systems:

  • Green Efficiencies
  • Daylight Harvesting
  • Occupancy/Vacancy Sensors
  • Keypad Design and use of Scenes
  • Integration of Schedules
  • Enhanced Safety and Functionality
  • An App for Lighting!

Green Efficiencies: The More You Dim, the More You Save

Dimming your lights is a great way to begin saving energy. Simply dimming the lights a mere 10% can save you 10% in energy costs. The “green” philosophy we have adopted is “use less, save more.” This reduction in light will go unnoticed—but won’t go unnoticed when you review your utility statements. And you’ll extend the life of your bulbs.

dimming lights save energy

Since lighting generates heat, your cooling system must compensate for the rise in heat. A lighting and shade solution helps you manage this by simply reducing the amount of electric lighting or lowering shades during certain times of the day. In most cases the amount of light emitted while in use is far more than required, resulting in an increase in your utility bills. For those areas that still need some light, we offer a large variety of fabrics and materials and can customize the shade application to allow partial light or even darken the room.

Daylight Harvesting: Save More on Sunny Days

Daylight is another important consideration for any design. A key component that HS Tech Group can include in a lighting control system is called “Daylight Harvesting.” This concept is designed to automatically reduce the amount of energy being used to light a room when an ample supply of natural daylight is available. The more windows you have, the more you might save. Installing skylights and opening shades and blinds will help increase the amount of natural light, resulting in less need for overhead lighting. HS Tech Group can provide many alternative solutions to maximize natural light and incorporate the appropriate amount of light from the lighting control system as needed. Installing skylights and opening shades and blinds will help increase the amount of natural light, resulting in less need for overhead lighting.

Occupancy/Vacancy Sensors

Additional savings can be achieved by installing occupancy/vacancy sensors. This feature will assure that lights are turned off when a room is not occupied. They are designed to automatically turn lights off when someone leaves the room and doesn’t return for a period—or turn lights on automatically when someone enters a room.

Keypad Design: Managed Control

With the proper design, HS Tech Group can address strategic areas that allow control over lighting throughout the entire facility. From one convenient location, staff can control multiple lights that reside at multiple locations. An “All Off” button can be programmed at designated exits to ensure all “non-essential” lighting is not left on overnight. Through programming, we’re able to achieve a variety of additional commands that can reduce the amount of “wall acne” found in most buildings. This is an essential component of each design. With our customized keypads, we can consolidate the various light switches, security keypads, shade controls, ceiling fan controls and more. What’s best about an intelligent lighting control system is that it offers the flexibility to make changes later—it’s simply a matter of reprogramming that load.

control lighting throughout building

Integration of Schedules

HS Tech Group can incorporate a time-clock and astronomical clock feature that switches designated lights and shades on and off. This feature is based upon a preprogrammed schedule, so it knows when and where specific lighting is required. The astronomical clock is programmed to adjust for dusk and dawn. The system can be programmed to enhance energy savings during precise times of the day when areas of the building are not in use, or the facility is closed.

Enhanced Safety and Functionality

Lighting control systems can increase your facility’s level of safety by creating a safely lighted entry up to the building from the parking area. Our lighting systems can automatically come on as soon as you enter the building or while disarming the alarm system. The advantage is to provide a safe entry and allow people to feel comfortable when entering the building. Lighting is also a deterrent for potential intruders. HS Tech Group can program a scene that will provide the appearance that the building/space is occupied when it’s closed. This scene is programmed to randomly turn on, turn off and dim various lights throughout your entire facility.

Lighting Control App

With the convergence of computers and PDAs, most users of smartphones appreciate the additional control a smartphone app gives them. Lutron lighting control allows you to control your lighting from your mobile device. Just request this option when you inquire to make sure your application is designed with this feature in mind.

Good for the Environment – Good for Your Bottom Line

In a short period, your staff will not only enjoy their new lighting environment, but you’ll immediately begin to experience the savings your new system will bring. Be sure to research incentives you might be entitled to through state and federal rebate programs—as well as your utility company.

lighting environment

Case Study

Well-timed Lighting for a Baltimore County Restaurant

An HS Tech Group client was in the process of remodeling their restaurant. The client had utilized lighting control in the past and realized the long term benefits. After researching our Lutron Lighting Control system, he learned that he would be able to retrofit a lighting control system into his space by using a “hybrid” lighting system. The system was designed to offer all of the savings and control a standard lighting control system offers to utilize wireless technologies. The system utilized the astronomical clock as well as built-in timers to control the parking lot lights as it gets dark and interior lights for days when they are closed. The reduction in energy costs, the simplicity of having one switch at certain locations to turn off all the lights when they leave—along with interior dining scenes—really gave the owner more than what they expected.

Recommended Solutions

Sivoia® QS Wireless Shading Solutions
Insulating Honeycomb Shades
RadioRA 2
HomeWorks QS

One of the biggest benefits in the use of lighting control is the energy savings in your home. Here are some eco-friendly facts about lighting management solutions.

Lighting Control improves productivity

By just dimming lights 10%, you will save 10% on your electricity bill, and your bulb will last on average three years.

Each dimmer placed in a lighting control system automatically saves 4.9% in electricity.  The human eye cannot tell when the lights are on 90% or 100%, so the more you dim, the more you save.  A standard light switch will only save electricity when turned off.  Dimmers and Controllers save energy 24-7.

Lighting Control saves energy

Lighting Control Systems can automatically save energy and money with occupancy sensors. According to the time of day or changes in light, with an astronomic time clock, lights can turn on.

The clock can be programmed to automatically adjust to sunrise and sunset time for year-round efficient lighting control.  HS Tech Group also offers light controls for lamps and seasonal lighting; they are programmable and user-friendly.  Homeowners will never have to come home to a dark house.

While there are many ways to reduce energy use, most require the sacrifice of something.  Dimmers and lighting controls allow individuals to adjust the light level for a specific event, enhance ambiance or set their mood.

Please visit our showroom for a demonstration of our lighting control systems.

The Benefits of a Lighting Control System go far beyond just simply turning your lights on/off in your home.

A properly designed Lighting Control System will allow you to remove wall clutter, or wall “acne,” conserve energy, increase security and automate your lights for your home.

It is one of the most import design elements you can incorporate into your new or existing home and is sometimes overlooked.

Lighting Control Benefits

One of the biggest benefits to a lighting control system is its flexibility. Lutron, Litetouch, and Control4 allow you to control lighting in several ways. Manually, by pressing a button at one of the decorative labeled keypads (which can have many buttons compared to the standard toggle light switch), or using your iPhone app to turn a light or scene on or automatically, by the time of day, the amount of light entering the room, movement in the room, or a security event.

Lighting control systems increase your comfort and convenience and will save money on your energy bills. It is so easy to forget to turn off a light when you leave a room, but with Lutron or Control4 your lights automatically turn off when movement is not detected. Turn lights off that are not needed, and annually, you’ll save hundreds of dollars in energy. Lighting accounts for almost 20% of your electric bill. With a lighting control system, you will instantly become more energy efficient.

Lighting control can be used to increase security and safety. Any of the systems we carry, Lutron, Litetouch or Control4 can be easily integrated into your security system. The Lighting control system can flash your exterior lights letting police know where they are needed while warning the intruder to get out.  During a Fire, the lighting control system can illuminate an emergency path to get out of your home.

Control all or just a few of the window shades in your home with a Lutron Motorized Shade solution.

Lutron shades offer remote control convenience, save energy and enhances the décor in any room.

A single press of a button from your portable Apple or another droid device can put a variety of shades in motion, making it easy to open and close the window blinds in those hard to reach places. No more glare, instant privacy.

These window blinds are also energy efficient. Just press a button to raise the blinds in the winter to let the sun in, which reduces heating costs.  In the summer, lower the blinds to reduce cooling costs.

Each window treatment is as functional as they are beautiful. They come in different textures, colors, fabrics, and styles…from sheer to room darkening.  This design is cord-free, so it is a great solution for any home with young children.

While the window treatments come out of the box with a small handheld remote, HS Tech Group can easily incorporate the Lutron solar shade into our app on your iPhone, iPad or other portable devices for easy control.