Back in October we installed the HomeSettings Lighting control starter kit. We commented then that “you can’t install just one,” which turned out to be more accurate than we originally thought. It was easy to predict that we’d be adding modules but the addition of remote controls was something we did not anticipate. The master controller ended up in the bedroom and that still makes a lot of sense, however, there tends to be times when having a remote control in various rooms also makes sense. That led to the decision to experiment with the HomeSettings Model HA09 Handy Remote Control. Just to take this endeavor one extra step, the wife and I decided to include our 8-year-old son.
One of the characteristics of living in Vermont in winter is that there is very little daylight and, invariably, our son will want to get to a part of the house that is dark. In an effort to make him more independent – especially at 6:30 on a Saturday morning – we sketched out scenes that would best suit his specific needs throughout the week.
The HA09 Handy Remote is a 6-channel device that is about the size of a typical TV remote and is ideally suited for placement in common rooms, like family and living rooms, and other places throughout the home where some general control is required – like a child’s bedroom. Each channel has its own pair of buttons that control the on/off as well as dim up/down functions. If there were only one reason to buy the Handy Remote it might very well be for the control panel itself. The one problem with many dimmer switches is that they have a single button that controls on, off, and dim which can be cumbersome. The HA09, however, offers a much more intuitive way to control your modules.
The Intermatic documentation tends to be a bit of a pet peeve of mine in that it is a mix of well-written instructions with occasional dead ends. For instance, if the HA09 is to be the primary controller then the instructions are quite good – perhaps even perfect. Clarity is never a problem with Intermatic documentation overall, but when you mix products you really have to pay attention to where the text takes you. In our house the HA07 Master Controller is the primary network. It is not until you are well past the point in the HA09 instructions about installing network modules that you find some minor mention what to do if the a HA07 is the primary. Interestingly, the document for the HA07 has an excellent reference on how to add an HA09 remote as a secondary. Unfortunately, I had to open both sets of instructions and figure out myself where the starting point was.
Once the instructions were sorted out the actual configuration of the Handy Remote was straightforward, even easy. However, there was some difficulty at first that was probably caused by my doing something out of sequence in the very beginning. I found it necessary to reset the entire remote and once I did that the modules were added onto the HA09 very smoothly.
The true test came when the remote was handed to our son. After walking around turning lights off and on and dimming them up and down for 30 minutes he summarized the overall functionality and value of the HomeSettings Handy Remote by Intermatic as “very cool.” Honestly, I have to agree. “Handy Remote” is as apt a name as it could have. Just like the Intermatic Starter Kit, “you can’t install just one.”
Ease of Installation
HomeSettings HA09 Handy Remote
Rants and Raves
The HA09 offers a control system that is a lot more intuitive than the one found on many dimmer switches. It's ideally suited for placement in common rooms, like family and living rooms, and other places throughout the home where some general control is required.
The instruction manual assumes that the HA09 is the primary remote and neglects to warn you what to do if it is the secondary remote. Also, the device requires four AAA batteries, which is a little excessive considering that a typical home will likely require more than one. It could end up being an investment in batteries.