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Gen1 UPB vs. Gen2 UPB


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#1 ano

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Posted 15 November 2010 - 11:22 AM

Could anyone point me to, or perhaps explain the differences between Gen1 UPB and Gen2 UPB? I have mainly Gen1 switches, but a few Gen2 along with a Gen2 Split-phase repeater. I've tried a Gen1 Computer Interface and a Gen2, and both seem to work fine. The only difference I can tell is when I start UpStart, if I enable the use of the repeater by UpStart, it sometimes doesn't get two-way communications to some switches, usually ones on the opposite phase. If I disable the repeater in UpStart, it now does see these switches.

I just want to understand Gen1 and Gen2 better, because I usually just see generalizations that say Gen1 works better or Gen2 resists noise better, but nothing I have ever read really explains the differences.

Thanks.

#2 DotNetDog

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Posted 15 November 2010 - 02:07 PM

Have you already seen this info?
UPB Gen2 Benefits

#3 Steve

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Posted 15 November 2010 - 03:08 PM

I think each company may define it a little differently, like a Blue LED really is not a Gen II differentiator although PCS may define it as such because that's when they switched LEDs. For me the biggest thing in Gen II has to do with changes to sensitivity and noise immunity. I can tell you for a fact based on my live experience that Gen II does work better in a noisy environment without resorting to filters and stuff. And since over the years I keep seeing cases of noise coming up I always recommend Gen II. The only manufacturer that is not fully Gen II is SAI because I think they feel Gen I is best and you should handle noise like x10 with filters, etc. With Gen II in UpStart you can set the sensitivity of the switch, so you can make it most sensitive if there is no noise, but then if you experience noise issues you can make them less sensitive which will make them more resilient to noise. It may make them slightly less sensitive (lower signal strength) but it allows it to work through the noise. I know my SAI Gen I switches would start having trouble with only 5 bars or so of noise and would almost fail completely at around 10 while with Gen II I see it pretty darn reliable up to around 15 and still see it mostly work up to around 25 on the noise.

I can't tell you all the engineering behind it, but that's real world difference. So that's why I also recommend Gen II, there really is almost no reason not too. Even most Gen I SAI devices can be had in a Gen II version from Web Mountain. I have not seen any negatives or something in Gen II to be an issue that worked better in Gen I.

#4 tenholde

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Posted 15 November 2010 - 04:28 PM

I think each company may define it a little differently, like a Blue LED really is not a Gen II differentiator although PCS may define it as such because that's when they switched LEDs. For me the biggest thing in Gen II has to do with changes to sensitivity and noise immunity. I can tell you for a fact based on my live experience that Gen II does work better in a noisy environment without resorting to filters and stuff. And since over the years I keep seeing cases of noise coming up I always recommend Gen II. The only manufacturer that is not fully Gen II is SAI because I think they feel Gen I is best and you should handle noise like x10 with filters, etc. With Gen II in UpStart you can set the sensitivity of the switch, so you can make it most sensitive if there is no noise, but then if you experience noise issues you can make them less sensitive which will make them more resilient to noise. It may make them slightly less sensitive (lower signal strength) but it allows it to work through the noise. I know my SAI Gen I switches would start having trouble with only 5 bars or so of noise and would almost fail completely at around 10 while with Gen II I see it pretty darn reliable up to around 15 and still see it mostly work up to around 25 on the noise.

I can't tell you all the engineering behind it, but that's real world difference. So that's why I also recommend Gen II, there really is almost no reason not too. Even most Gen I SAI devices can be had in a Gen II version from Web Mountain. I have not seen any negatives or something in Gen II to be an issue that worked better in Gen I.

I bought several of the 'Gen II' SAI switches from Web Mountain, and cannot see any difference. UPSTART does not recognize them any differently, so there is no way to set sensitivity, etc.

tenholde

#5 WayneW

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Posted 15 November 2010 - 04:49 PM

Not everything at Web Mountain is Gen II. Some of the product descriptions are vague, some clearly say Gen I.
http://www.webmtn.co...cts.php?cat=UPB

#6 ano

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Posted 15 November 2010 - 06:28 PM

I just bought some Gen2 devices on Web Mountain, so we shall see. I've seen the claims of better faster, etc., but I guess I wish I had more because I can tell you, once you get a split-phase repeater you really DO see the difference, and that isn't a good thing. Buried in the documentation for the Gen2 Split-Phase repeater is a note that says the repeater does NOT support two-way communications with Gen1 devices. That tells me its more then just some Blue LEDs, which by the way, Simply Automated also uses on its Gen1 stuff.

So I believe the protocol is different between Gen1 and Gen2 with some compatibility between the two, but not all, and I think its generally subtle and people may not see the effects without doing a whole lot of testing.

For example, I have a Gen2 PIM, and this PCS Gen2 Split-Phase repeater. When a Gen1 device is on the opposite phase, I can't program it at all in most cases, if UpStart is enabled to use the repeater. If the repeater is turned off, so UpStart DOESN'T use it, it works fine, so the repeater is not only NOT helping amplify across phases, it is preventing it entirely, at least two-way transmissions. It does, however, greatly improve PIM to device transmissions, even to Gen1 devices.

So I fear its pretty complex on what works and what doesn't, and that is the part I don't fully understand, especially when a repeater is involved.

You can't argue with keeping it non-technical and just saying use it, its better, but I think its a bit more than that.

#7 tenholde

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Posted 15 November 2010 - 08:57 PM

Not everything at Web Mountain is Gen II. Some of the product descriptions are vague, some clearly say Gen I.
http://www.webmtn.co...cts.php?cat=UPB

Specifically bought the devices that were identified (and priced) as GEN II.

tenholde

#8 ano

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Posted 15 November 2010 - 11:33 PM

I bought several of the 'Gen II' SAI switches from Web Mountain, and cannot see any difference. UPSTART does not recognize them any differently, so there is no way to set sensitivity, etc.

tenholde


Do you have a Gen2 Computer Interface?

#9 ScottK

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Posted 16 November 2010 - 12:53 AM

Ok guys I'm new at this forum thing so here goes.

Here are the Scott Stupid way to explain the main differences between Gen I and Gen II –

All Gen II devices respond to a query in multi packets as Gen I devices only respond in a uni packet. Therefore, a SPR cannot repeat the response. What this means is that the SPR will repeat any original signal a Gen I device sends but if you ask the state of a Gen I unit the SPR will not be able to repeat the signal.

The receive sensitivity function that you are talking about is a PCS only function at this point. Each of the Licensee’s can engineer their own version if they so choose but no body has moved forward on this feature.

The algorithms in which the Gen II devices dance around noise even better than the Gen I algorithms.

If you have any further questions please feel free to contact us at [email protected]

This might help
http://www.pulseworx.....tion v1.2.pdf

#10 ano

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Posted 16 November 2010 - 12:49 PM

Ok guys I'm new at this forum thing so here goes.

Here are the Scott Stupid way to explain the main differences between Gen I and Gen II –

All Gen II devices respond to a query in multi packets as Gen I devices only respond in a uni packet. Therefore, a SPR cannot repeat the response. What this means is that the SPR will repeat any original signal a Gen I device sends but if you ask the state of a Gen I unit the SPR will not be able to repeat the signal.

The receive sensitivity function that you are talking about is a PCS only function at this point. Each of the Licensee’s can engineer their own version if they so choose but no body has moved forward on this feature.

The algorithms in which the Gen II devices dance around noise even better than the Gen I algorithms.

If you have any further questions please feel free to contact us at [email protected]

This might help
http://www.pulseworx.....tion v1.2.pdf


Most excellent. Thanks Scott. It also looks like the SPR instruction sheet has significantly improved from the one that came with mine.

So one last question, now that the behavior makes perfect sense. Why does it appear that when UPStart uses the repeater, it can no longer hear the reply from Gen1 devices when it could hear the reply without the repeater? If UPStart uses the repeater, does that mean it now only listens to the repeater and not the switches directly?

Overall I love the repeater, even with Gen1 switches, but just need to understand the limitations to work around them. And it would SURE BE NICE if UPStart was modified to try both with and without repeater before it assumes it can't communicate with a switch.

#11 Work2Play

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Posted 17 November 2010 - 02:38 AM

Purely in the interest of fairness, here's something you'll find on Simply Automated's FAQ's:
http://www.simply-au...echnology.php#9

What is Gen II UPB?
Gen II UPB is (essentially) a marketing campaign by a competitor designed to confuse (and distract) people from the (significantly better) functional advantages of Simply Automated products and solutions.

Simply stated, Simply Automated patented dimmer switches, patent pending Inverting Phase Coupler technology and noise/attenuation isolators provide better performance and solutions at a lower (in most cases 50%+) price than any competitor in the lighting control and automation marketplace.

All of the key features listed as Gen II improvements had already been incorporated in Simply Automated products three years before the release of Gen II UPB. Gen II UPB requires a signal repeater for many applications to improve performance in attenuating environments – rarely required using Simply Automated products and solutions.

So perhaps not all Gen I devices are equal... I have SA in my house, and I have never had a signal problem - never seen any noise even register in this house or my last.

#12 ano

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Posted 17 November 2010 - 11:04 AM

So perhaps not all Gen I devices are equal... I have SA in my house, and I have never had a signal problem - never seen any noise even register in this house or my last.


Noise is a problem for some, but I think its misleading to think its the only problem. I have no noise whatsoever, but I have a terrible time with UPB. The problem is that the signal doesn't connect across from one phase to the other. Yes I have tried passive bridges, and working with Simply Automated I've installed three of these, and still my signal in some switches can be 3 or 4 which is pretty marginal. A repeater is the only solution, and while that somewhat works with Gen1, it works much better with Gen2.

I think low signal is a bigger problem for most people than noise, and low signal makes noise a much bigger problem.

I read the Simply Automated FAQ, and while I understand its their stand, I'm not sure I agree with it. I use their non-inverting bridges and I still don't have adequate signal. So, what does Simply Automated recommend when you are like me, you invested in a house full of Simply Automated products and they simply don't work? The answer is a repeater, and then you are faced with a situation where you get stuck between Simply Automated and PCS, whereby Simply Automated doesn't want to pay the extra royalty to PCS for Gen2, and PCS designs its Gen2 repeater so it doesn't really support Gen1 switches. In this situation I just see two companies that don't care if they screw the customer as long as it leads to a better bottomline for them. If that wasn't true, Simply Automated would offer Gen2 switches and the PCS repeater would fully support Gen1 switches, but neither is the case.

I have nothing against Gen1, and I like Simply Automated switches so much I buy the Web Mountain Simply Automated Gen2 switches for replacements, but the fact of the matter is going with Simply Automated fully could leave you in a position where you are stuck, and Simply Automated has no solutions.

Edited by ano, 17 November 2010 - 11:20 AM.


#13 tenholde

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Posted 17 November 2010 - 12:44 PM

So perhaps not all Gen I devices are equal... I have SA in my house, and I have never had a signal problem - never seen any noise even register in this house or my last.


Noise is a problem for some, but I think its misleading to think its the only problem. I have no noise whatsoever, but I have a terrible time with UPB. The problem is that the signal doesn't connect across from one phase to the other. Yes I have tried passive bridges, and working with Simply Automated I've installed three of these, and still my signal in some switches can be 3 or 4 which is pretty marginal. A repeater is the only solution, and while that somewhat works with Gen1, it works much better with Gen2.

I think low signal is a bigger problem for most people than noise, and low signal makes noise a much bigger problem.

I read the Simply Automated FAQ, and while I understand its their stand, I'm not sure I agree with it. I use their non-inverting bridges and I still don't have adequate signal. So, what does Simply Automated recommend when you are like me, you invested in a house full of Simply Automated products and they simply don't work? The answer is a repeater, and then you are faced with a situation where you get stuck between Simply Automated and PCS, whereby Simply Automated doesn't want to pay the extra royalty to PCS for Gen2, and PCS designs its Gen2 repeater so it doesn't really support Gen1 switches. In this situation I just see two companies that don't care if they screw the customer as long as it leads to a better bottomline for them. If that wasn't true, Simply Automated would offer Gen2 switches and the PCS repeater would fully support Gen1 switches, but neither is the case.

I have nothing against Gen1, and I like Simply Automated switches so much I buy the Web Mountain Simply Automated Gen2 switches for replacements, but the fact of the matter is going with Simply Automated fully could leave you in a position where you are stuck, and Simply Automated has no solutions.


I have the same problem. Low signal on the other phase, no matter what combination of multiple bridges from every company. I am now using the repeater and am installing nothing but Web Mountain GEN II switches from here on out, but I have many older SA GEN I installed. My understanding is that the signal from my PIM (HomeSeer) WILL be repeated to even the GEN I switches on the other phase because HomeSeer sends repeated packets (I have it set to 2 packets). As I understand it, my main deficit is that the GEN I switches only TRANSMIT a single packet, so they will not be repeated across phases. Can anyone confirm my understanding?

tenholde

#14 Steve

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Posted 17 November 2010 - 01:44 PM

Purely in the interest of fairness, here's something you'll find on Simply Automated's FAQ's:
http://www.simply-au...echnology.php#9

What is Gen II UPB?
Gen II UPB is (essentially) a marketing campaign by a competitor designed to confuse (and distract) people from the (significantly better) functional advantages of Simply Automated products and solutions.

Simply stated, Simply Automated patented dimmer switches, patent pending Inverting Phase Coupler technology and noise/attenuation isolators provide better performance and solutions at a lower (in most cases 50%+) price than any competitor in the lighting control and automation marketplace.

All of the key features listed as Gen II improvements had already been incorporated in Simply Automated products three years before the release of Gen II UPB. Gen II UPB requires a signal repeater for many applications to improve performance in attenuating environments – rarely required using Simply Automated products and solutions.

So perhaps not all Gen I devices are equal... I have SA in my house, and I have never had a signal problem - never seen any noise even register in this house or my last.

While I also don't dislike or have any issues with SAI (they actually used to be my favorite) I don't agree at all with their FAQ. In fact it can almost be used against them. It is THEIR marketing that I think is misleading trying to say there is nothing to Gen II. I think its more an issue of $$$ in that in order to keep their device costs lower they don't want to pay the licensing costs for Gen II. It is absolutely true some of the stuff listed by PCS is fluff and is/was available earlier in SAI and others (like blue) LEDs, but is an absolute proven fact (at least to me in my own house) that Gen II outperforms Gen I in a location with high noise and/or low signal strength. I have had SAI, HAI and PCS switches and was ONLY able to achieve good reliability after switching to Gen II. I have tested and proven that Gen II devices will works over higher levels of noise than Gen I. I have also had the highest level of reliability after putting in a PCS SPR. I do have some older SAI Gen I devices still installed but I am not too concerned about their performance right now.

I will also note that I have had the least luck with SAI in regard to actual device reliability (as compared to automation/signal reliability). My SAI switches are the only ones that have failed. I don't know if its been small surges or spikes or whatever but I have lost many SAI devices. I just had another one fail yesterday and I have a total home TVRSS in place (not that thats a guarantee). But I have not lost a single HAI or PCS device that has been installed throughout the same 'events' if there were any. SAI's analysis of one batch was that there were perhaps some inferior diodes to blame and they were going to be 'beefed up' in future devices.

So from my personal experience over 5 years with UPB I can wholeheartedly recommend Gen II, both PCS and HAI. I would personally not buy another SAI device unless I absolutely needed some specialty faceplate that only they have. My theory is also - even if you don't have noise or signal issues NOW, you never know what can happen on your powerline - from outside transformer to new devices you install, so if you know Gen II will perform better in that environment, why not use it, even if just for future insurance?

Of course I know there are tons of people using SAI and having no issues, so I don't need to hear a bunch of 'it works great here' comments. This is intended strictly as factual info based on my experience, not any particular personal like or dislike of a brand. As always YMMV.

#15 drozwood90

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Posted 17 November 2010 - 02:38 PM

Steve,

well, I don't think the people say "it works here" are doing it to annoy you. I think they are doing it to help give some idea about how many people don't have your issues. I think the greater number of people don't have the issues you and ano have. I know ano had these issues a while ago, and seems bitter about it. I would be too, as back then, "cheaper" UPB switches were $80+. I have 30 switches, $2400 in switches alone! + Face plates. I would have been bitter as well, especially since all the "reasonable" solutions do not work. I do not know, but ano probably couldn't just return the switches either.

I also have read (somewhere on these forums) that someone had a pool pump that killed his UPB. I've not seen anything do that to me. The same stuff that used to kill my X10 doesn't do anything to me anymore. Of course, I don't have a pool...and I don't have my hot tub yet...maybe one of these will render my system dead.

Personally, for my wiring, in my area, with my house, my electronics, "it works here". I don't even need a coupler and I can get signal strengths of 80ish on the same phase and 30 on the opposite. With a passive coupler, I get 80 on same and mid 60's on the opposite. I use the coupler as it does have some TVSS capabilities...and why not, it was in a kit I bought.

Again, personally, I can understand why SAI would say what they say...some people will never agree to it. That's up to how you read and understand what they say. My understanding is to make GenII "better", they made them hardware-deafer (stronger filters) and better software error rejection algorithms. By doing that they decrease the "distance" they can hear, but it allows them to "see" more precisely what they want to. So, in a "clean" environment, i.e. apples to apples...GenI will work better. In a terrible environment, depending on the type of noise, GenII is probably better. I say depending, as Gen1 can (my understanding...correct me if you have better/more current information) transmit more powerfully, and receive more "spectrum". So, if the noise is within the data, Gen1 can possibly transmit over top of it. GenII hears less, but hears more of just the UPB signal. That is, the noise has to be closer to RIGHT ON frequency to the UPB signal to effect it (i.e. folded into the UPB signal...so the extra filtering can't distinguish the difference). So, depending on what the noise is, the signal to noise measurement might show Gen2 better, might show Gen 1 better. Chances are, in a noisy environment, Gen2 will work better due to it's ability to reject the noise. Gen 1 can only try to overpower it. Keep in mind, they are using an RFPIC to read the data from the powerline...so signal to noise is critical...and will depend on what noise is there.

If I had an issue, I probably would have went Gen2. I got a kit. Put switches and modules on both phases. Tested it out. Everything was 100%. So, then I made my big purchase and loaded up the house. Haven't had an issue or looked back ever since.

If I had, had an issue, I probably would have purchased the web mountain parts. I love the way SAI switches feel, so going web mountain would have been my choice.

If $$ isn't that much of an issue (it was for me), then just go Gen 2. It may end up costing you (from memory, so I could be wrong on this number) $5 to $10 more per switch. It won't hurt, and depending on what noise MIGHT appear later...heck you might be better off. For me, I might get screwed because of my gen 1 stuff. Then again, (my feeling is) I might get struck by lightening...or hit by a car on the way home. It's all a risk and determining what you can tolerate. I do feel bad for Ano and tenhold, and I know they are both sharp guys...so to have purchased this stuff because "it just works" and to not have it work...it makes me think, maybe they should have went Z-Wave. I mean, knowing their history, I doubt it is something they did to cause this. It's really annoying...as I don't think there are too many cases of UPB not working, so how do you troubleshoot something that doesn't need troubleshooting (more times then not)? X10, everyone can help, and can offer suggestions --we've all used X10 at some point and ALL had things go crazy when something like a cellphone charger...charges. UPB...there's few people that I think have ever needed to troubleshoot...which leaves people like Ano and Tenholde flying in the wind.

For me, I've wanted to try (as an experiment, with my neighbor's consent) controlling an appliance module from my server, plugged into my neighbor's house. We're on the same transformer...so, I do not see that it won't work...but maybe...I've been told in good conditions, Gen1 should be able to be seen by a cluster of houses, as the signal is so strong. I've wanted to test this...

Wow, what a rambling mess...sorry Ano...maybe there is something in there that is useful to you? I personally think that ano's problem is related to his wiring...as I can't understand how you get such terrible cross phase signal strength...even with multiple couplers. Maybe your only solution is go Z-wave and accept Z-Wave's issues, or start swapping switches to Gen2, so you can get the Gen2 active coupler (which sounds like might be what you need to solve your issue).

HTH,

--Dan

P.S. Side thought, (and the reason for the edit), If you move the PIM from one phase to the other, do you "resolve" your issue for that phase...as in you are plugged into phase 1. Phase 2 has issues. Move the PIM to phase 2, phase 2 gets corrected, but you loose phase 1...if this is the case...at least for your situation...
what about putting one PIM on each power phase...then using xAP to transmit /rx on the appropriate phase? I know you don't use Homeseer any longer, but does your new control software support xAP?

Edited by drozwood90, 17 November 2010 - 02:48 PM.





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