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EDT iLine questions

rbroders

Active Member
I'm considering this lighting system, and I was wondering if you guys could answer some questions about it:

How do the buttons work? (You'd think they'd describe this on www.edt.biz). I assume they behave like normal, press the top, light goes on. Press the bottom, light goes off. Push and hold for dimming. I assume they don't have the annoying "preset dim" problems of X10 switches.

What about scene buttons. One press turns the scene on, and another press turns all loads in the scene off? How does the scene indicator light behave? On if the scene is on, but what if one (or all) of the loads in a scene is (are) manually turned off? Does the scene indicator figure out it should be off now?

The ELK serial port has built-in support for iLine, but no "comments". Do you know if they get accurate information about load status? Even if last controlled by a scene? I assume you can go direct to a specific dim level (rather than full on, then dim down).

Lastly, any idea about price? Since this is dealer only, its hard figure the costs.

Thanks -- Bob
 

Snap_75

Member
Bob,

I have limited experience with the ILine Switches (dimmers and relays) and the multi button scene controller. The Dimmer and Relay switches behave just like the X10 modules. Tap up for ON, tap down for OFF, and push and hold for dimming. Double tap up for 100% on and double tap down for full off. They DO remember the last preset dim Level (that may be disabled, i don't know off hand).

You can program a scene to a single button on the scene controller and have it toggle the scene off and on, or you can use the ILine software to program any other function to that button (turn a single load on, dim a load or scene up/down, send a serial string out the serial port to an ELK, etc.). i am not sure about if the scene indicator will know if the scene is already off or not, I would have to try but I *think* it does.

The ELK should get accurate load status as I know the controller will send a serial string out whenever a scene button is pressed. The controller also does this whenever any individual load is changed too. I haven't hooked any of this to an ELK or Omni (just a laptop running HyperTerminal) but I would assume that the serial driver will listen to the ILine controller and update status whenever any change is made on the ILine Network. Yes, you can go to any specific dim level (there is an app not that was on the EDT website, not sure if it is still there or not, PM me if you need it).

Another cool product EDT has is the Hardwired Multibutton Switches. These do require two cat 5 wires to be home run back to the controller (ELK, etc.) and allow contact inputs to the controller and individual LED status to each of the eight buttons. You can use these to control the alarm, open/close the garage door, or run any macro you have programmed into the ELK. The LED’s can show status of anything such as the garage door, alarm, etc.

Pricing is between UPB and other hardwired systems. The dimmers are around 100 each and the controllers are not too high, I think about 150 for the IPower M1.
The best thing to do, IMO, is to buy the KT-i-LiNE-001 demo kit for about 200. It has everything you need to get started except a serial cable to hook to an ELK or computer.

I think this system is good for the price, reliability, and aesthetics. If you are planning to do a big system (I believe >2000), you can become a dealer and get about 40% off the list. You get free training (except the cost of travel and food to their training facility in Texas) and tech support from EDT. If i knew about this before i built my house four years ago, i would have at least pre-wired all switches whit the cat 5 wire and added these later. Instead I am stuck with relatively unreliable and SLOW X10 dimmers and I really despise them at times.

Another system you may want to look is the Clipsal system being distributed by SquareD. I know it will run more money than the EDT (haven’t priced all the required parts yet) but it is a true architectural type system such as Vantage (though cheaper), looks as good as anything I’ve seen (IMO), and can be controlled through serial commands from an ELK. You can find info on this here:
SquareD Clipsal Home Page

Hopefully this has helped!


Samer
 

pkarakis

Member
rbroders,
Where are you located? I may be able to help answer your questions. I have a large install of i-line switches (75+ loads) controlled by an Elk M1G. Snap_75 hit on all of the important points.
 

rbroders

Active Member
I'm in the SF Bay Area (San Carlos, actually). I'd love to check out your install (i.e. actually touch a switch before committing to the system).

Samer's comments were great. I looked at the Dealer application and it is pretty daunting, so I sent them some e-mail q's but haven't heard back yet.

The Clipsal stuff looks cool, but to keep the wife happy I need light switches that look like light switches. I am allowed to have scene buttons, but they have to have a different button style than the lights. So far I'm down to EDT iLine or OnQ ALC

Thanks -- Bob
 

pkarakis

Member
Well, that doesn't make it easy. I am in Akron, OH. I'll get some pictures and see if that helps you out. I think the i-line stuff is great. I have had no problems with it at all. Very reliable.
 

Snap_75

Member
pkarakis,

With that install you did, did you sign the dealer form? Or did you just buy from another dealer? I know that anybody can buy direct from EDT but I noticed in the 2006 catalog that some of the items are sold only to Pro/Elite Dealers. in the catalog, I found the following:

Pricing Levels Discounts Annual Dollar Volume
Standard 0% $0 to $15,000
Pro 5% $15,001 to $50,000
Elite 10% $50,001 and above

I wish I could sell 50K and above annually to get the items but I guess it would be easier to buy from a Pro or Elite dealer. Just curious how you went about buying the hardware.

Bob,

You are correct, that dealer/credit app is daunting, to say the least. I have filled out many credit apps for my business but not one that complicated. I just skimmed over the app; does it look like you have to do a certain amount of business every year to keep any dealer status? The chart in the 2006 catalog shows you can be a standard dealer at 0-15k. Not sure about that one.

I do have an account with CED (Consolidated Electrical Distributors) here in Louisville, I can check to see if those items are available to me at some discount from retail.

The Clipsal System definitely doesn’t look like traditional light switches so it might be confusing to a lot of people, especially the guests! Plus, the system wiring will be higher since the loads have to be home run back to a central dimmer module (although you can place these modules around the house and just run power and comms to it). Another downfall to the system is if you move, there is no way of taking the system with you. With the EDT or OnQ, you can replace with standard switches/dimmers if you want.

I have heard a lot of good comments for OnQ on this forum but I believe it takes a special serial module attached to the ELK for communications. EDT is just a standard RS232 communication protocol.

I also noticed you were concerned with scene buttons and behavior. Remember that by having a controller like the ELK, you can have any of the buttons on the ION-MB’s do pretty much whatever you want (toggle scenes, dim hole house up/down, scene off, etc.).

Let me know if you go with EDT and how the install/programming goes. I am trying to convince myself to rip out my X10 stuff and replace with hardwired hardware…wish I found this forum before I built my house!!


Samer
 

MBrew

Member
This might be another alternative for you to consider. I have had this company in the back of my head for a while but not really followed up. Recently he joined the CQC forums and is apparently going to use CQC for his control programing. He is redesigning some of his electronics now and can use virtually any switch. I bet if you emailed the company they'd be responsive.

Just another alternative that I don't see mentioned much.

Mike
 

Snap_75

Member
That looks pretty cool. It is a true architectural system and it looks like it utilizes CAN as the communication protocol which is usually very robust and reliable two way communications. CAN is used in some industrial serial communications such as DeviceNET where the speed and reliability of the data getting back to a controller is imperative. This looks like a promising technology.

I wonder if their serial adapter will allow two way USB/RS232 communications with a controller like an ELK/HAI. In other words, is the serial protocol going to be published or is it to be proprietary? I would assume since the DLL’s that control each load can be configured and apparently will be accessible to programs such as CQC, they will make it an open protocol for the hardware controller people!

Thanks for the info,

Samer

OK, this dummy read the FAQ; yes, you can control it using an RS232 serial port! Also, there is no need to have a full time PC controlling it, just for configuration. Looks like a more economical but reliable architectural system and you can use any dry contact input device to control it!
 

pkarakis

Member
Snap_75,
I did fill out and sign the Dealer form. I felt the same way you guys do...that is a bit daunting, but the guys at EDT were very helpful. My initial order was over $5,000. I also went to their training in Texas. I have had a great experience dealing with them. They recently sent me their new dealer requirements and I am reviewing them. I think with the new requirements, if you are buying a system big enough for a 2,500 sq ft house, you should qualify for Pro/Elite status. The training at their facility is worth the trip if you are planning on installing a large system.
 

Brightan

Member
Snap_75 said:
That looks pretty cool. It is a true architectural system and it looks like it utilizes CAN as the communication protocol which is usually very robust and reliable two way communications.
thank you! :)
I am hanging out on CQC and here too!
please note that my web page is going to be going through some serious changes as I introduce a complete set of new hardware modules in the upcoming months. This will include a complete reduction in pricing and will include free configuration software and a DLL better suited for control by programs like CQC. As always, we offer completely open protocol, both the main CAN protocol as well as the RS232 protocol. I even have sample hardware/software if you want to make your own devices. Stay tuned...
Steve
 

Steve

Senior Member
Snap_75 said:
I have heard a lot of good comments for OnQ on this forum but I believe it takes a special serial module attached to the ELK for communications. EDT is just a standard RS232 communication protocol.
I'm sorry I can't add an value to this thread regarding the lighting, but I just wanted to make sure this is understood... For any lighting system to interface with the Elk, you require the serial expander module (M1XSP). The lighting system also has to be supporeted by Elk because the support is in the firmware of the M1XSP module. In this case, both EDT and the OnQ home ALC are both supported by the XSP. All of the lighting partners can be found here.
 

Snap_75

Member
elcano,

The term architectural refers to the layout of the switches/buttons, dimmers, and controller. I’m not sure if it is the proper term for it (I read about in a home automation mag and have seen it used on some websites) but it is used when the inputs (switches/buttons) are wired back to a controller (usually in daisy chain topology) then the controller communicates the output to a dimmer/relay module which is hooked up to the loads in a star topology. Powerline and RF lighting systems are not usually considered architectural systems.

Steve (Brightan)

That IS exciting news, a system like yours has been only for the people with more money than sense in the past. If the price reduction is right, this will mean a system like this can compete with the high end PLC lighting systems but have added bonuses such as communication speed and reliability! I have priced Vantage and Creston systems and I could never justify spending that much on lighting automation (although both these systems are very nice!). What other hardware modules do you have planned? I also want to say it is great that the system communication is open. This should make the gurus here happy and the hardcore hobbyists busy making and interfacing their own hardware and software to the system. Also I’m glad to see free configuration software in the plans, this makes this system much more appealing. Are you going to introduce a small demo package? (I realize this is difficult with the hardware you currently have, especially the 8 load dimmer modules) It would be nice to offer if you are targeting the DIY market along with the professional market too.

Samer
 

Brightan

Member
Snap_75 said:
Steve (Brightan)

What other hardware modules do you have planned?

Are you going to introduce a small demo package?

Samer
Other hardware modules will include a 5 port smart hub, a smaller, less expensive power system, mech. relay board with timers for drapery control or sprinkler control etc, a dimming DC board for low voltage DC lights and a few other surprises. I've designed the system to be completely changable in terms of who talks to who and what can be said. A switch input responds to 7 unique events (first click, second click, double click etc) and each event can send a unique command to anything on the network. This allows a future device (or one of your own making) to be added and controlled without any changes to the underlining system. My intent it to not create every component of an HA system, like security or music etc but it doesn't stop somebody else from doing it and capitiziing on the existing system.
As far as a demo pack is concerned, yes, I will be looking at that. A $5 solid state relay can be purchased from Digikey and connected to a desk lamp to get an idea of how it all works without buying a complete dimming module.
Steve
 

rbroders

Active Member
I just heard back from the EDT folks, and there *is* an alternative to becoming a dealer just for DIYers like us: Home Integrator. I have attached a text version of their agreement - it seems pretty reasonable (sorry cocoontech won't take the pdf). They also sent me a confidential price list which is also quite reasonable. Send them an e-mail if you are interested: [email protected]
 

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