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The Buster PiX10Hub is here! Created by the Community, for the Community.:)% #:)

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Author Topic: Alternative  (Read 14575 times)


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Re: Alternative
« Reply #15 on: October 22, 2007, 12:40:05 PM »

I'll try that tonight.

Anyone order from ?

Charles Sullivan

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Re: Alternative
« Reply #16 on: October 22, 2007, 03:28:56 PM »

I'll try that tonight.

Anyone order from ?

Sure.  They're OK but their S&H charges are a bit on the high side.   You may want to check out this guy for Smarthome modules:
I've bought a lot of X-10 stuff from him.
(Smarthome apparently enforces the MSR prices on their authorized dealers, but not the S&H.)

You could replace your X-10 switches with Smarthome's Insteon switches, which are X10 compatible.  If and when Linux software appears that supports Insteon, you could then change over to that technology if you want.  The Insteon modules cost about 4 times as much as the X-10 branded modules though.

Smarthome module housecode|unit addresses are stored in non-volatile RAM as opposed to X-10's code wheels.  There have been reports in the past about them sometimes losing the stored address.

Yesterday it worked.
Today it doesn't work.
X10 on Windows is like that.

HEYU - X10 Automation for Linux, Unix, and Mac OS X

dave w

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Re: Alternative
« Reply #17 on: October 23, 2007, 01:03:06 PM »

An internally-shorted triac would not account for the burn mark on the side plate.  There's no evidence of damage to the triad tab itself in the pictures.

No, you are right, the triac looks just fine. I was just looking for a logical explaination that might explain the two blown bulbs and the triac. I don't think shorting inside the box would take out the bulbs. A surge might take out the bulbs and triac(?).
"This aftershave makes me look fat"

Dan Lawrence

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Re: Alternative
« Reply #18 on: October 23, 2007, 05:13:56 PM »

I'll try that tonight.

Anyone order from ?

I would try Automated Outlet     They are cheaper than anybody else and their shipping is very reasonable.
I don't SELL this stuff... BUT I sure do ENJOY using it!!!


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Re: Alternative
« Reply #19 on: October 23, 2007, 06:11:53 PM »


The Smarthome Insteon switches are rather nice X10 compatible switches.  I've been retrofitting with these for the past 2 years (I now have ~25 units). 

I currently have Leviton (X10), Insteon and X10 switches installed.  In terms of quality, I would rank them in that order.  By quality I mean features, look, feel (true rocker action) and color options (Leviton and Insteon switches have color change kits).  To be fair, you need to take into account that X10 switches are 1/4 the price of the others.

In terms of reliability, I've never had a switch fail (I'm knocking on the wood desk as I type this).

While I love the Insteon transmission protocol, It hasn't progressed to the point where I've begun using it (still using the X10 compatibility mode).

They are not without their own problems -
  • Smarthome has had a nagging problem with the contact switches.  They have just recently resolved this.  Defective units are being replaced under warranty, but you'll want to make sure that you get the "improved" version.  Checkout for switch revisions
  • The Insteon switches are Insteon and X10 2-way (they report on/off status in response to manual activation).  Each unit repeats Insteon commands for signal reliability, however they do not repeat X10 commands.  This means you have additional loading in the X10 frequency range (each switch is a signal sucker).
  • All of the Insteon units require a neutral connection.  I have a number of locations (bedrooms) without a neutral in the box.
  • There are currently a limited number of device type out there (third parties are developing some).  No Insteon version of a motion sensor (Hawkeye equivalent) or motion activated floodlamp (PR511 equivalent).
  • Software and PC interface development has been slow.  I've been waiting for 2 years for something close to the CM15a.  Smarthomes first PLC was, in my opinion, a flop.  They've recently introduced a PLM (requires a PC to operate) but it is limited to 417 Insteon links (Insteon devices must be Linked together to talk in Insteon mode).  With my current installation, I'm already close to the max number of links for the device.
  • Insteon devices may not utilize collision avoidance in X10 mode.  I asked Smarthome months ago and have received 5 different answers (conflicting).  The request is still being forwarded up the chain.
  • The Keypadlincs (8 button controllers - while I love them) have a specific X10 mode firmware problem.  If the secondary buttons are programmed to different houscodes (say A, B, and C), all of the buttons will respond to an all-off/all-on command to any of the housecodes regardless of how they are programmed.
  • In the X10 compatibility mode, the Insteon switches do not use the "extended code direct dim commands".  Instead they use an older "preset dim" command which ActiveHomePro (CM15a) does not support.  You'll need to check with Charles Sullivan to determine whether the CM11a/Linux can handle a "preset dim".

On the positive side
  • There are a number of 3rd party suppliers developing Insteon compatible hardware and interfaces.  Universal Devices has a nice "PC in a box" interface (ISY-26) that has some real possibilities.  Unfortunately it's pricey ($300) and still depends on the old Smarthome PLM (417 total #links problem).
  • There is reportedly a new PLM in the works with expanded memory (more link space)
  • Smarthome has always been responsive to both technical questions and requests for RMA's.

With all of the above, am I still buying Insteon products?  The answer is yes.  I've made the decision that the Insteon protocol is where I want to go.  I am (not so) patiently waiting for the products and interfaces to mature, using the X10 compatibility mode (and the CM15a) in the interim. 

In summary, if you are planning on sticking with X10 technology, and want an alternative to X10 brand products, I would recommend Leviton.  If you want X10 protocol with a bridge to something better, Insteon is not a bad way to go.  Just make sure to look before you leap.

Hope this helps,

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