Current mid-range technology?

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I was describing some of my X-10 setup (installed many years ago, when
X10.com was heavily promoting the stuff, and you could get tons of it
REALLY cheap) to a contractor friend.  He seemed very interested in
knowing about it for other customers.  I warned him that he probably
ought to stay away from selling X-10 to customers, because it's so
dicey and unreliable.  I'm ok with it for my usage, but I wouldn't
feel comfortable recommending it to a non-hobbyist who can't handle
the fussiness and frustration.

Any recommendations as to what's a reasonably priced and reasonably
reliable equivalent technology these days?  Is Insteon significantly
better than X-10?  What else is out there?

Re: Current mid-range technology?

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Insteon reliability is good but it's pricey compared to X10 (and it seems to
be a bmoving target with new devices being introduced to 'fix' earlier
flaws. You should also look at UPB (again, pricey) and ZWave (I'm not
impressed). You should also be aware of Jeff Volp's XTB devices - I haven't
kept up with revisions - they boost X10 signals to about 25-30Vpp which most
who've tried it say makes X10 nearly 100% reliable.

Re: Current mid-range technology?
On Jun 9, 10:29=A0am, nob...@whocares.com (Dave Houston) wrote:
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Thanks for the summary!  I hadn't been aware of the XTB stuff, and it
looks pretty handy for my purposes.  I'll pass along the information
on Insteon, UPB, and ZWave.

The reason I'm reserving judgment on XTB is that, while it ought to
ensure devices turn on or off when commanded, I don't see how it would
help with one of the worst X10 problems, that of devices switching on
or off when NOT commanded, i.e., after having recognized a code within
line noise.

Now, if devices required a stronger minimum signal -- that might
mitigate the problem -- but that's not a centralizable solution such
as that provided by the XTB-IIR..

Re: Current mid-range technology?
In article

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I'm happy with UPB in a remodel I recently did, but I knew in advance to
have all the lighting circuits placed on the same phase, along with a
couple of outlets in various places for CIM access. In another house
with random wiring, I have the usual noise and opposed-phase problems. I
have tried the plug-in phase coupler (unsuccessful); I have yet to try a
breaker box phase coupler. I haven't had false commands in either
situation, just lost commands.

Powerline remains a troubled communication medium, but UPB does seem to
be way ahead of X-10.

Steve

--
steve <at> w0x0f <dot> com
"Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of
arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to
skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, chip shot in the other, body thoroughly
used up, totally worn out and screaming "WOO HOO what a ride!"

Re: Current mid-range technology?
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While looking into UPB, I found my way over to SmartHome again (a UPB
outlet), and noticed that they seem to be pushing Insteon pretty
heavily. Any consensus on it?  SmartHome seems to be claiming that
it's most reliable of any of the technologies, while cheaper than UPB
(although more expensive than X10).

Re: Current mid-range technology?
In article

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I have a friend who has it, and is happy with it. But I've also seen
reviews that the modules are under-designed for the rated loads and tend
to burn out. The wireless aspect makes a nice redundant communication
channel.

Steve

--
steve <at> w0x0f <dot> com
"Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of
arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to
skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, chip shot in the other, body thoroughly
used up, totally worn out and screaming "WOO HOO what a ride!"

Re: Current mid-range technology?
"Russ in San Diego" wrote:
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heavily...

They push Insteon because it's their own product.

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There seem to be varying opinions on Insteon.  Several folks here like it a
lot.  Others have posted about problems they had (some or all of which may to
have been resolved).  My only concern is that Insteon is a single-source
product line.  SmartHome makes it.  No one else does.  When (not if) they drop
the line, no further support and no replacement products will be available.
IMO, this is the most significant drawback of any proprietary technology.  I
sell a lot of CCTV equipment in my online store.  We frequently get calls from
people who have purchased integrated systems conmsisting of a monitor,
recording device and several cameras.  If it's proprietary and out of
production, the whole system has to be scrapped when a single component fails.

Since Insteon also uses X10 (along with SH's proprietary technology) to
transmit signals, a failed dimmer or switch can usually be replaced with an
X10 device.  It won't have any of the benefits of Insteon though.  Also, when
a controller fails, there will be nothing to replace it.  This may not happen
for several years or even for 10 years.  But it is certain to happen at some
point.  The problem is you have no way to know whether the line will be
dropped in 10 years or the day after tomorrow.

UPB and Z-Wave are supported by hundreds of manufacturers, including the many
of largest firms in the electrical industry.  Even Intel is getting on board
with Z-Wave, claiming their next PC chips will support the technology.  If any
manufacturer drops the line, any other company's products will still work with
your system.

Another advantage of going with a more widely supported technology is that
there are far more product options available.  Instead of limiting your
options to whatever SH continues to make, you can choose from thousands of
components from a raft of manufacturers.  It gives you a bigger universe.

<disclosure>Though I believe I'm being fair in my comments, I'm not entirely
unbiased since I sell Z-Wave and UPB based products.</disclosure>

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It's their own product.  :^)

--

Regards,
Robert L Bass

==============================>
Bass Home Electronics
DIY Alarm and Home Automation Store
http://www.bassburglaralarms.com
Sales & Service 941-870-2310
Fax 941-870-3252
==============================>


Re: Current mid-range technology?

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Noise, per se, is seldom the reason for random switch ons. Collisions
between two valid codes, spikes on the powerline (e.g. UPB data, fluorescent
ballasts, motors) and brownouts (e.g. sags from motors starting) causing the
microcontroller to reset are the most likely causes. The probability that
random noise can create a valid Manchester code is near zero.

Re: Current mid-range technology?
On Jul 4, 12:47=A0pm, nob...@whocares.com (Dave Houston) wrote:
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I sure wish I could figure out what's causing my problem, then. I've
got a pair of sconce lights (CFLs) switched by an appliance module
(not a dimmer module) that, just this morning, were turning on by
themselves.  Nothing else in the house should be generating any codes,
and there are no code collisions.  No other fluorescents were turned
on in the house.

There's no brownout or spikes -- I've got a photovoltaic system that
produces a very clean, very precise power waveform (necessary for a
grid-interactive inverter).

There are no motors in our house that would be starting when the
lights go on -- the only motors in the house are the vacuum cleaner
(not in use) and refrigerator compressor, which is nearby, but the
activity of which is NOT correlated with this behavior.

This is kind of frustrating.

Re: Current mid-range technology?

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The trickle current in X10 switches and modules (including appliance
modules) can cause some CFLs to turn on. Have you tried incandescents in the
same fixtures? This will tell you whether it's CFL related.

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