RF light switch

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Please help me decide which RF light switch to choose:
Zwave
Insteon
or Zeebee ( not yet available)
Thank Ya'll




Re: RF light switch


I've got Lutron Radio RA switches.  They work great.  Not cheap but they
work, EVERY time.


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Re: RF light switch



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My response would be "none of the above".

For limitations common to all RF devices see...


www.echelon.com/support/documentation/analysis/005-0171A_RF_White_Paper.pdf

If, after reading the white paper, you are still interested in RF light
switches...

Insteon only uses RF as a phase bridge and (planned, but not yet available)
in remotes that communicate with the phase bridges. The actual control is
done by powerline. They have a white paper on their web site that gives the
details.

     www.insteon.net

There are ZigBee (not ZeeBee) switches available from Control 4 and
Crestron. Crestron has long had their own proprietary 418MHz and 433.92MHz
RF devices as well. An advantage of the latter is that RF capable
programmable touchscreen remotes (e.g. Pronto) can be used for control.
Crestron has a good reputation for reliability but this comes at high
prices. I haven't seen their pricing on the new ZigBee based devices.

Lutron's RadioRA also uses proprietary 418 & 433.92MHz devices but their
protocol is too complex for most programmable remotes. Like Crestron,
RadioRA has a good reputation for reliability but is costly and needs
closely spaced units.

RF control makes more sense outside North America. The FCC and Industry
Canada set very low limits on radiated power so range is very limited. Most
of systems compensate by using various repeater schemes but these require
lots of devices with relatively close spacing. (See the Echelon white
paper.) Outside of North America, limits on radiated power are much, much
higher and there are several suppliers of RF controlled switches with a wide
price range.

While ZigBee devices use a common, open source mesh networking protocol,
most companies that supply hardware will likely have proprietary
communications protocols meaning that interoperability will be unlikely
between devices from different manufacturers.


Re: RF light switch


Here's another detailed study of indoor RF propagation at 914MHz. While it
deals with an office environment, much of what it says applies equally well
to the typical residence.

     http://sss-mag.com/indoor.html#tutorial

nobody@whocares.com (Dave Houston) wrote:

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Re: RF light switch


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well

I disagree.  An office building is much more hostile to RF than a residence.
The average house doesn't have rebar slabs *between* floors, girders, metal
studs, metal doors and frames, elevator shafts and tinted windows (known to
block RF).  Older houses /might/ have issues with plaster or stucco on metal
wire but the majority will be simple drywall on wood stick framing.

Granted, RF isn't magic, TANSTAAFL.



Re: RF light switch



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It depends on location. There are countries where single residences have
many of the things you list - concrete houses are common in Europe - metal
studs are common in South America. And there are many high rise (and high
priced) residential buildings in US cities that have all of the things you
list. Stucco is common in California.



Re: RF light switch


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residence.

I didn't say it wasn't possible, I disagreed with your broad generalization
that it's equal.


Re: RF light switch



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And I disagree with your deliberate distortion and mischaracterization of my
post. I did not, in any way, imply it was equal. I said "much" of it
applies.
 

Re: RF light switch


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The switches are expensive.  I've got 16 of them (wall and table dimmers)
now driven through a single repeater in a 3000sqft house built in the 50's.
No signal issues whatsoever, they all work, every time.  I'm controlling
them via the RS232 interface (likewise, not cheap).  6 months use thus far
and NO hiccups AT ALL.

I am, however, looking forward to price drops on RadioRA due to the emerging
Zigbee devices.  Let's hope those work 'well enough' to be competition.
RadioRA does lack appliance modules unfortunately.  So I've still got some
X10 crap driving lights for the holidays.



Re: RF light switch



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What is the maximum distance between the repeater and individual receivers?

Lutron says each repeater covers about 2500ft² which would imply about a 28
foot radius. I've seen their dealer/installers recommend 20-25 feet.



Re: RF light switch


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receivers?

The repeater is placed centrally.  In the basement, nestled up in the space
between floor joists.

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28

The farthest one is about 33' away.  That and it's essentially 'outside' in
a sunroom that was converted by previous owners from an outside porch area.
A room known to have trouble picking up 802.11 signals from a base station
placed in just about the same location as the RadioRA repeater. Granted, the
frequencies are different, but it's pretty damn impressive to someone who's
put up with X10 crap all these years.

I've not tried further distances but I do have an outside shed that's about
20' feet further away from the sunroom switch.  At some point I'll try using
a RadioRA switch out there just to see if it works.

-Bill Kearney


Re: RF light switch



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Neither frequency is a good comparison to ZigBee and Z-Wave. As I recall,
Lutron uses 418MHz in the US and 433MHz in Europe. Both will travel further
than the 802.11 frequency. ZigBee and Z-Wave are in the 902-928MHz range.

And adding a switch to an outbuilding won't really add much data to the
issue of "indoor" range.

As for the crappy X-10 RF stuff, I get 150-200' range and for much less than
the cost of a single RadioRA device.

Re: RF light switch


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Err, yeah I suppose, my point being one of distance coverage.  The repeater
being inside the home, in a basement up near the floor joists, and the
outbuilding being some 60' away through brick-on-block 50's era
construction.  My furthest switch currently is beyond the recommended
distance and works quite reliably, in an area known to cause WiFi and
cordless phone trouble (recognizing the frequency differences).  My point
being that RadioRA seems quite a bit more useful than some others.  I look
forward to being able to try zigbee devices in this same setup, presuming of
course that someone actually starts shipping them through something other
than $tealership channels.

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than

True, X10 RF seems quite a bit less horrible than their PLC stuff.
Excepting, of course, that X10's RF devices don't do what the RadioRA stuff
does.  It's sort of apples and oranges.  I do plan on continuing to use the
RF aspects of some X10 remotes, just not their PLC devices.  A few slim
switches tied into a WF800 and Homeseer will compliment the RadioRA wall
switches quite nicely.


Re: RF light switch


Given that the point of both the Echelon white paper and the Spread Spectrum
article is that free air range is not an indicator of indoor range, I'd say
your point was pointless.


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Re: RF light switch



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Spectrum
say

Ah yes, continuing your 'be an argumentative git' behavior, eh?

The echelon article discussed an example that didn't RF didn't cover based
on interior wall layouts (and that moving the xcvr didn't help).  I'm
finding that not to be the case with my rather typical real-world situation.
Sure, there's variables involved, but my addition of an outbuilding will
continue to follow the article's example, in that the repeater will continue
to be indoors.  That the additional switch will happen to be across a 30'
air gap that's outside is pretty irrelevant.

I've done echelon programming so I'm familiar with their products, along
with their general failure to produce anything other than limited market
devices.  Shame, really, they've got some pretty cool ideas, just no
follow-through to market.



Re: RF light switch


If your interested I'll let you test a couple Zwave modules.

First Hand expirence is the best.

You can contact me via email to work something out.

--

---------------------------------------
Brian Dye
brian@tech-home.com
http://tech-home.com
---------------------------------------


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Re: RF light switch


On Thu, 15 Sep 2005 02:33:16 GMT, P T wrote:
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Insteon, RF? I'm not aware of an Insteon RF switch (yet). Did you find
one?

--
Linux Home Automation         Neil Cherry       ncherry@comcast.net
http://home.comcast.net/~ncherry/ (Text only)
http://hcs.sourceforge.net/                     (HCS II)
http://linuxha.blogspot.com/ My HA Blog

Re: RF light switch


according to smatrhome web site. Insteon can run both RF and X10.
They wouldn't lie to us won't they ?

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Re: RF light switch


On Thu, 15 Sep 2005 02:58:12 GMT, P T wrote:

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Nope but they can cause confusion. The PLC doesn't have an RF
section. Dave answered this one best so I won't add any more to that.

--
Linux Home Automation         Neil Cherry       ncherry@comcast.net
http://home.comcast.net/~ncherry/ (Text only)
http://hcs.sourceforge.net/                     (HCS II)
http://linuxha.blogspot.com/ My HA Blog

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