New to Home Automation - should I wait for Zigbee?

I've been lurking the forums over the past few days. I'm thinking about putting in an HA system. I'm farily technical so I'm not as concerned with software configuration aspect as I am with getting hardware that is going to be reliable. For right now, I'm really just interested in lighting control and motion sensors. I would like to be able to control these devices via a software interface...preferably one that is web based so that I could access it remotely.

From reading here, it appears that X10 is on the downturn with Zwave,

Zigbee, and Insteon devices being available. It seems that some here don't think highly of Zwave and Insteon has had some issues of its own. I noticed that some posts have mentioned Hawking Tech is coming out with its HomeRemote

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devices by end of 2006. So, my question is, would it worthwhile to wait for the Hawking Tech Zigbee solution to be released, or will a technology such as Insteon fit the bill? A few things that I liked about HomeRemote was the fact that it had a hub that could be plugged directly into ethernet and the hub has a built in web interface. Ideally I would like a device that I could simply plug into my current ethernet network so that I could control the system from anywhere inside or outside the house. It appears that Insteon does not have such a device so I would be left to purchase a USB Powerlinc and leave my PC on all the time or go with a third party product if one exists.

The variable that still exists is that HomeRemote would be a new product so what would the price point be? how many devices would be available? what would the price point be on those devices? would there be any issues in the fact that the product is new and one of the first to use the standard for consumer HA?

On paper, for my needs it seems that HomeRemote does anything that I'm looking for. But will it realistically do everything it claims to do and do it well? That remains to be seen.

Any insight is greatly appreciated.

Reply to
Josh B.
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YES, I just discovered this forum. I am an old installer that has a great deal of experience with X-10. Who know works for a manufacturer that integrates with most current linghting technologies. UPB is a good option on the wired side of things, Zibby or Z-wave are the best of the RF options. The only caution of Ziggy I would offer is this, many Zibby manuafactures have made thier offering proprietary, so buyer beware is suggested when buying anything.

Reply to
Puddintain

To give you an idea... my all-Insteon installation is approaching 90 devices in a 5000 square foot 3 story home, no repeaters, bridges or noise filters of any kind (other than the 2 RF repeaters that are recommended). After 2 years of operation I have yet to have a glitch or communication failure (honestly). Of the 90 devices I had to return only 3 of them for defects (and one of those I overloaded myself). I use the House Link Desktop software to program and manage the whole network. The house is wired with all steel conduit (Chicago building codes dont allow Romex) this may or may not be adding to the reliability.

I asked myself the same questions 5 years ago and decided to "wait" for Insteon as I already had lived with X10 in my old house and wanted something better and Zwave seemed stagnant. I'm glad I waited the 3 years for Insteon to be developed. I'm not shilling for Insteon here but I have been very happy with my setup and I see new devices yearly and at a faster rate than Zwave. Now I just learned that they are going to give me a free upgrade to the HouseLink software with the new improved interface box just for returning the old one, I like that. I have confidence that I can re-sell my home some day without having to explain to potential buyers all about a complicated system they need to learn, which would not be a good thing.

HTH

Reply to
RickH

Rick,

I quickly looked at a site that had Insteon devices listed. It seemed to me to control the devices a computer has to be left turned on. Are there any controllers that can be programed from the computer that control the devices, so the computer can be turned off?

TIA Rich W.

Reply to
Rich Wonneberger

I am a big fan of ViziaRF. Its Zwave based, which is certainly not moribund as a prior post claimed. Can tie to a computer but the main controller is handheld and acts as a remote as well. Good gear, multiple vendors for Zwave, and not under control of a single supplier.

Reply to
Steve

They make keypads that can deal with controlling the devices. Or are you looking for timer and event oriented activities? There is a standalone box that can interface with Insteon. Haven't used one myself so I can't offer anything else about it.

-Bill Kearney

Reply to
Bill Kearney

Bill,

I did find a few on the site yesterday. I may look into it more after the hollidays.

Thanks Rich W.

Bill Kearney wrote:

Reply to
Rich Wonneberger

On Oct 25, 6:54=A0pm, Rich Wonneberger wrote:

My approach was to NOT go for central-control but to have a very flexible and robust lighting system that I can configure at the keypads or with a computer program that I hook up momentarily. And one that had robust cross-linking, status indication, and scene capabilities. As a software developer I liked the robust packets exchanged by Insteon devices and sheer number of these cross link packets that can fit in device memory. There is now I believe a stand- alone computerless controller that will perform timing but not sure if it does if/then/else logic, maybe ask Smarthome. The Insteon chip is licenseable and there are more manufacturers besides Smarthome using it. For my purposes I'm very happy, if I add a central controller at all it is really secondary to the fact that my switches have been both as dependable as mechanical switches and very easy to program. I figure a future-buyer maybe wont want to have a lot of dependency on central-control nor do I want to teach them, but they will appreciate the "virtual wiring" (ability to make any switch(s) control any load(s) from any location(s)) and handheld remotes for the media room, etc. I'm not sure what I'd do with central control anyway other than a few small programs to not let the garage door stay open too long in cold temperature, or other things that I cant do with a dumb timer or photocell. I'm gonna get trashed for this, but I think central- control is highly overrated, but having every switch and load be "virtually wired" is amazing.

Reply to
RickH

Rick,

Thanks for the feedback. I have a small X10 setup now that only controls a few lights. What I like is that I can program the power line interface for when the lights go on and off w/o having to leave a computer on. I have to do a lot of reading before do anything.

Thanks aga> photocell. I'm gonna get trashed for this, but I think central-

Reply to
Rich Wonneberger

Hi Rich, I'm a security tech by trade but work for a home automation company now, and we install those Centralized Processors for residential lighting you just mentioned earlier. I personally was content with the X-10 switches in my house 9yrs ago and have been researching the newer protocols to design a system with a high W.A.P. (Wife Approval Factor) for my current residence. (GE security panel was the controller) Z-wave, Zigbee, UPB are all good, but I keep coming back to the Insteon product.

As much as you fight it you will eventually need to purchase some type of small centrallized controller. It's not all that expensive if you subtract the cost of the PLM.

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This softwaremay be what you are looking for as well.
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Happy hunting!

Reply to
karljacoboski

Reply to
Rich Wonneberger

I agree that it's best to leave as much logic as possible within each device. This allows for faster and more reliable operation.

That being said, I highly recommend the ISY from Universal-Devices. It's simply the best central controller for Insteon. Not only is it great and handling triggers and events, they also have a model with IR built-in. It also makes programming even complex scenes extremely easy.

"RickH" wrote in message news: snipped-for-privacy@e1g2000pra.googlegroups.com... On Oct 25, 6:54 pm, Rich Wonneberger wrote:

My approach was to NOT go for central-control but to have a very flexible and robust lighting system that I can configure at the keypads or with a computer program that I hook up momentarily. And one that had robust cross-linking, status indication, and scene capabilities. As a software developer I liked the robust packets exchanged by Insteon devices and sheer number of these cross link packets that can fit in device memory. There is now I believe a stand- alone computerless controller that will perform timing but not sure if it does if/then/else logic, maybe ask Smarthome. The Insteon chip is licenseable and there are more manufacturers besides Smarthome using it. For my purposes I'm very happy, if I add a central controller at all it is really secondary to the fact that my switches have been both as dependable as mechanical switches and very easy to program. I figure a future-buyer maybe wont want to have a lot of dependency on central-control nor do I want to teach them, but they will appreciate the "virtual wiring" (ability to make any switch(s) control any load(s) from any location(s)) and handheld remotes for the media room, etc. I'm not sure what I'd do with central control anyway other than a few small programs to not let the garage door stay open too long in cold temperature, or other things that I cant do with a dumb timer or photocell. I'm gonna get trashed for this, but I think central- control is highly overrated, but having every switch and load be "virtually wired" is amazing.

Reply to
Kremlar

The ISY physically stores all the scenes and links in the devices, so if the ISY burns out or is removed everything still works (except for the logic and timers of course) and dependability is as-good as if you programmed the switches from scratch. It does look like a nice product and they are also porting it to UPB and Zwave in the future. I may get it just to maintain scenes. The UI can be browsed without a router or LAN in your home, by just using an ethernet crossover cable directly to your laptop.

Reply to
RickH

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