Cat5 Lighting: EDT iLine vs OnQ ALC

rbroders

Active Member
I purchased a few switches from both systems and installed them temporarily in my house for some hands on evaluation. Here are the results:

UI similarities: both switches have essentially the same user interface: Single On Click - light comes up to preset. DBL ON Click - light to full on, doesn't change preset. Push and hold on or off, adjust light level and preset. Single Off click light turns off.

UI differences: When ramping off, OnQ allows extremely low light settings (if you get close to the bulb, you can see that it is still on). EDT seems to turn the light off below a certain level, so it is much less likely to leave the light on a teeny tiny bit (or to set the preset to a very very low setting). EDT SoftON/OFF is quite slow, and you can interrupt it by pressing OFF. This allows you to make big changes to light output quickly, and then fine tune them using the normal push and hold adjustment. EDT dimmers have six two intensity LEDs along the side so you can tell the current output (if you can't tell from the light itself). The bottom LED is always on at half intensity to act as a locator. EDT switches also have a physical off switch so you can safely change bulbs without pulling the breaker. OnQ switches (some models, but no AUX models) have a status LED at the top.

OnQ switches are big (tall, actually - depth wasn't the problem)! I couldn't fit the thing into my box, and so I had to hold it while my wife checked it out (the children were locked in a closet for their safety :) ). The OnQ switch had poor tactile feedback (it was a bit mushy). There was a click, but it was soft and you weren't always sure you had pressed it enough. Interestingly, the OnQ AUX switch had much better buttons. The OnQ default settings: SoftON speed: very fast (<1sec); SoftOFF speed: instant. Ramp speed medium: 5 secs up, 4.6secs down.

EDT switches fit in my boxes okay (squeezing the CAT5 out the front was tight). The switches have good tactile feedback. EDT default settings: SoftON/OFF speed medium (~3.8 secs). Ramp speed slow: 5.7secs up, 6secs down.

My wife really did not like the slow SoftON/OFF of the EDT switches. If you are trying to get the right switch in a bank of four, waiting 4 secs for each one is very annoying. However, I was able to use the EDT installer software to change the rates and now she is very happy.

As an installation issue, the EDT system requires the network. It will not work if the network is loses power or shorts out somewhere. They claim this is a good thing, as the LV side of the switch is better isolated from the HV side. EDT switches are self addressing. The OnQ switches do not require a network, and individual switches (and their AUXes) work fine without a network (I did not setup an OnQ network in my tests). OnQ switches must be manually addressed (via 5 dip switches on the side of each switch). Thus the 32 switch branch limitation.

Thanks -- Bob
 

beelzerob

Senior Member
Great hands-on review. Thanks!

When you say the OnQ didn't fit in the box....that seems like that would kind of be a bad problem. It didn't fit in the gang box on the wall??
 

rbroders

Active Member
Great hands-on review. Thanks!

When you say the OnQ didn't fit in the box....that seems like that would kind of be a bad problem. It didn't fit in the gang box on the wall??

Nope, it was too tall for the box. This house was built ~25yrs ago, and this particular box was made out of bakelite or something. Dark brown plastic. I assume the switches fit properly in modern boxes, but I haven't tested it yet.

--Bob
 

sic0048

Senior Member
So what is your opinion to the better system? I am curious because if I ever go with lighting control, it will be one of these two system.
 

beelzerob

Senior Member
Hmm....does anyone know if ALC switches will fit in a standard gangbox, and will they work with a rocker switch coverplate? I just want to be sure that if I need to replace just 1 switch in a 4 gangbox set, that it will match and fit in.

rbroders, where did you purchase your ALC stuff?
 

sic0048

Senior Member
rbroders, where did you purchase your ALC stuff?
Not sure where he bought them, but I would suggest SetNetPro. They happen to be local to me, but they are great people (very helpful) and have very good prices too. I know at least one of the guys use to post here a while back and contributed greatly to a ACL lighting thread here.

www.setnetpro.com

You can instantly sign up and get access to the real prices (it does require a login to see the "good" prices).
 

beelzerob

Senior Member
rbroders, where did you purchase your ALC stuff?
Not sure where he bought them, but I would suggest SetNetPro. They happen to be local to me, but they are great people (very helpful) and have very good prices too. I know at least one of the guys use to post here a while back and contributed greatly to a ACL lighting thread here.

www.setnetpro.com

You can instantly sign up and get access to the real prices (it does require a login to see the "good" prices).

:wacko: Whoa, you're right. Geez, that's a nice discount just for making an account! ;) Maybe I can afford to make this lighting happen within my lifetime now. (it's not that the lighting was that expensive, it's that so many other things are screaming for the money now too).
 

rbroders

Active Member
So what is your opinion to the better system? I am curious because if I ever go with lighting control, it will be one of these two system.

From a purely interface point of view, I liked the EDT system better. Particularly the cancellable soft on/off feature (though it was too slow out of the box). It is possible that the OnQ system could be configured with identical behavior, but it is not that way out of the box, and I didn't install the software to try to figure it out.

From a technology point of view, I also like EDT better. The manual addressing, branches, modules, etc. of OnQ seem low tech and confusing. I do like OnQ's low tech solution to aux switches, but giving up the level indicator LEDs isn't worth it. I like the fact that the EDT switches don't have internal low voltage power supplies.

From a business/support perspective, I think OnQ has the edge even though they have been "de-emphasized". EDT says they have new products, but you certainly don't hear much about them...

Functionality (timers, scenes, etc). Didn't really evaluate this because I intend to have another system do it via touchscreen.

Integration - similar both are supported by my security system (ElK)

Still haven't made a final decision (leaning towards EDT though).

--Bob
 

Sacedog

Active Member
All good points rbroders. I am still leaning toward the OnQ system, mostly because I can easily get support for it. There are plenty of users here who already have it installed, and SetNet will provide help with the system if I purchase it from them. Also, the OnQ parts are available from a lot of different places, whereas the EDT ones are only available directly through EDT, or through an installer.

I too like the EDT switches beter than the OnQ ones, but my wife didn't. She prefers a more ninja approach to HA, so she liked the more traditional looking OnQ switches.

Just my 2 cents.
 

znelbok

Active Member
Before you decide, have you looked at what Clipsal have to offer with C-bus. I have never used the systems you are talking about (I'm down under and I dont believe they are available here), but now that C-Bus is available in the US, it is my belief that anyone who it intending to install a "smart" lighting system should give it a look. It is well proven technology that is going from strength to strength.

my 2c

Mick
 

beelzerob

Senior Member
Before you decide, have you looked at what Clipsal have to offer with C-bus. I have never used the systems you are talking about (I'm down under and I dont believe they are available here), but now that C-Bus is available in the US, it is my belief that anyone who it intending to install a "smart" lighting system should give it a look. It is well proven technology that is going from strength to strength.

my 2c

Mick

(Not to hijack this EDT/OnQ thread, but...) At one point when I looked into Cbus, it seemed to indicate it had to be installed by a certified electrician. Is that true, or is it merely "true" like all the other systems us DIY'ers are installing ourselves?
 

Ranger Digital

Active Member
beez, NO, the alc switches do NOT fit in a standard, low depth gang box. They are VERY deep and bulky. To make life easy, make sure EVERY box is the deepest you can find, especially in the multi-gang locations. Save yourself alot of trouble and use deep deep boxes. ALC can be crammed in smaller boxes by why have the headache.
 

beelzerob

Senior Member
beez, NO, the alc switches do NOT fit in a standard, low depth gang box. They are VERY deep and bulky. To make life easy, make sure EVERY box is the deepest you can find, especially in the multi-gang locations. Save yourself alot of trouble and use deep deep boxes. ALC can be crammed in smaller boxes by why have the headache.


Oh, ok...I thought he was saying the switches were too TALL, which would have really been weird.

I'm beginning to wonder if I should pick up a relay switch just to have to show the electrician, even though I won't be installing any of that stuff until later. Otherwise, if I just tell him "install the deepest gang box that can be used for light switches", then I'll be ok, right?
 

BraveSirRobbin

Moderator
Otherwise, if I just tell him "install the deepest gang box that can be used for light switches", then I'll be ok, right?
I would give him a physical dimension, or tell him the depth of the box should cover most of the thickness of the 2 x 4. Funny thing purchasing boxes here (in Las Vegas) with my friend when doing his house... he could find deep single gang boxes, but all the multi-gang ones were not nearly as deep. Not sure where he or his electrician obtained them though.
 
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