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ICON experience

Mike

Senior Member
I recently ordered a two of the ICON relay switches and put them in the garage. One controls some flourescent lighting, and the other an outside light.

The size is indeed the same as the other Insteon switches (no surprise there).

There is a single light on it, rather than the light bar that appears on the full version. What I did not think of, but makes sense, is that the light now only appears when the switches are off (as that is the only lighted piece on it). I'd probably be missing the light bar with dimmers (but I am using the icon switches in out of the way areas).

One switch I'll be returning as the switch sticks. By this I mean the paddle gets stuck a good portion of the time, depending on how it is hit. It does this for both up and down. The other one is fine.

I linked the outside light to another outside light (the other one using a full Insteon Relay switch, since the switch is in the foyer). This part is probably a mistake on my part, but there is a half second or so delay in turning the lights on (the master will go on, then a brief delay and the linked light will go on). I'm suspecting this one is my fault in how it was linked, and I must have introduced some kind of delay to the link. Off to read some documentation...

The box they come in is much smaller as well, just slightly larger than the switch itself.

Overall I was happy (I know I'll be getting a replacement for the defective one (which I am assuming is not a common occurence), and the delay I am assuming is something I did wrong) and will be using these for low-load, out of the way locations, like the garage and basement. Nice to be able to put switches in these locations that give the status information and can be controlled at a lower price (these were areas I was previously considering for my older v1 switchlincs).

Personally I'm not sure how I'd like the dimmer versions since the light bar is removed, but any place that has dimmable lights I expect to put the full versions.
 

tanstaaf1

Member
I just got my 5 Icon relays, 1 Icon dimmer, 1 switchlinc relay, 4 switchlinc dimmers, a switchlinc keypadlinc, 1 x10->insteon translator, 1 controlinc. I've been playing with the Icons and controlinc today and hope to begin playing with the other items and my Stargate shortly.

I'm very impressed with the Icons; at $19.99 they look and feel *identical* to the $39.99 Switchlinc -- absent the lightbar. Now, mind you, I haven't played with the Switchlinc's under power yet so maybe there is something I am missing, but my first thought is that there's little gained with the Switchlinc V2's to justify the extra $20 with the vast majority of my lights. Indeed, the Switchlinc RELAY has a lightbar that I can't imagine any function for...and I think it may look stupid.

Anyway, I come not to bury Switchlinc V2 (which I'm sure I'll want/need in my main entry room, at least) but to praise Icon. Very, very fine looking and feeling switches. Except for situations where (1) I really want to impress a chick by flashing my lightbar (2) I can't see the light being dimmed and *need* a lightbar or (3) I need more than the (I think) 300 watts supported with an Icon, I can't think of too many places where I am likely to be using a Switchlinc.

$20x100=$2000 saved, that I can apply towards a Russound or something!
 

PeterW

Active Member
Plus, at $20 each, they are cheap enough to embed inside a device or lighting recess as an alternative to a real Insteon fixture module.

And as a bonus, the icon relay devices don't die like an appliancelinkV2 does when used with modern/electronic fluroescent lights. I've found it cheaper to embed an icon inside the housing of the light, right next to the ballast, than to put an AppliancelincV2 on its plug and risk it dying too.

I've also started using them for portable controllable switched outlets. I took a 2-gang metal box, put an icon relay on one side and a regular 110V outlet on the other side. Add a small hole, a utility cord with 110V plug on it, and gromet/clamp, and you have a portable appliancelinc alternative (again, that doesn't die like the appliancelincV2's seem to do).

I did something similar with switchlincV2-dimmers a while ago in a single gang metal box. I cut a 2-foot cord in half and wired it so that the dimmer was inline with the cord. We use those instead of lamplincV2's here. (not because of cost, but because of convenience of a real local control.) The icon dimmer switches could make it worth it from a cost perspective as well.

One thing though.. I don't like th feel of the icon rockers. They look the same as the SwitchlincV2 paddle/rockers, but somehow they're not. There seems to be more play or sloppiness in there somewhere and it just doesn't feel quite the same. I don't feel guilty about tearing the rocker off in my hacks at all.

In case anybody's wondering, I deliberately mark the ones I've abused so there can be no mixups about warranty if one dies.. All the ones that have been used embedded in the fluroescent light bodies with just 4 inches of wire between them and the ballast have a big black X on them. I know they're designed to switch those loads, but 4 inches doesn't leave much room for spikes or noise to be dissiptated or dispersed.

Anyway.. at this price, its so inexpensive that they are begging to be (ab)used for experiements. :)
 

electron

Administrator
Staff member
Sounds like they are a great bargain, keep the reviews coming, this is very useful data, thanks!
 

Guy Lavoie

Active Member
Another question about Icons: In X10 mode, do they operate exactly as generic X10 switches? For example, if I have an Icon at A/1 and an original X10 switch at A/2 and I send A/1, A/2, A/On, will both turn on?
 

Mike

Senior Member
It is my understanding they can. They can just be part of a fewer number of links in total. In my case, I was using a full relay switch as it was purchased prior to Icon's being released (but in my case the light bar makes more sense and at least reflects on and off, in the case of the icon, it gives you an indicator on where the light is if it's off which is a little strange at first).

I think I'm also 'fortunate' in that I don't need anywhere near 100 of these switches, so I haven't been motivated by the cost savings (which if the savings was $2k I would be much more inclined to look at).

I have become quite used to light bars, so that is a big difference for me. Considering that most switches I have will be dimmers, it's a natural progression for me. If I had a large number of relays and power was not an issue, I'd be more inclined to use Icon relays inside. However it is really only for outside lights that I am using relays for, so there are only a handful of them.
 

upstatemike

Senior Member
Mike said:
Considering that most switches I have will be dimmers, it's a natural progression for me. If I had a large number of relays and power was not an issue, I'd be more inclined to use Icon relays inside. However it is really only for outside lights that I am using relays for, so there are only a handful of them.
What part of the country are you in? Reason I ask is I am doing just the opposite. I am installing almost all relay switches and only put dimmers on lights controlled by motion sensors or in a few places where I need the dimming effect like the dining room.

Our local utility just got approval to raise electricity rates by 265% so almost all of my lights are, or soon will be, CFL or fluorescent and most of my new switches are relay types. Tungsten and Halogen lights, even when dimmed, are just too expensive to run anymore!
 

nick_l

Member
I got a few Icon switches myself, just to test, and I love them EXCEPT for the green LED. No one else so far has mentioned this, am I the only one that this bothers :) ? I'd like to be able to use insteon and icon switches side by side and change the colors of all the LEDs to match.

I know that white LEDs are a little more expensive than the more pervasive green but personally I think it would be worth it. Plus if SH was buying all white then they could probably negotiate a better deal based on a higher volume. Or, if they want to save a few cents then they should put the green LEDs in the lamplinc, switchlinc, powerlinc, signallinc and applinacelincs instead.

Other than that major annoyance they have worked well for me so far. I personally don't notice the difference in quality of the rockers yet.

PeterW, I made a few appliancelincs too, using a single gang box and a 6 3 prong extension, cut in half. worked like a charm.

To me these switches are great because I dont need the extended scene capability as I like to let homeseer take care of adjusting the lights, since that is what it's there for in the first place. Once full insteon support is finally in place Im sure Ill go insteon all the way.

Nick
 

pkoslow

Active Member
nick_l said:
I got a few Icon switches myself, just to test, and I love them EXCEPT for the green LED. No one else so far has mentioned this, am I the only one that this bothers :) ? I'd like to be able to use insteon and icon switches side by side and change the colors of all the LEDs to match.
Nick,

Is the LED actually green, or is it a white LED with a green light pipe?

I put some Insteon stuff in over the holidays, but only one Icon switch in the mix. I took the rocker off and it looks to be identical to the Switchlinc V2's but without the additional LEDs.

The revision on the circuit board is also identical to the Switchlinc's I received so I think all the "guts" are probably the same with just different firmware limiting the features and maybe a lesser triac for the reduced power rating. If you look closely on the board of the Icon switch, you'll see the contacts for the surface mount LEDs... they just aren't installed.

I've got some comments/criticism on the Swithclinc V2's and Insteon/HomeSeer in general... maybe I'll start a new thread?

Cheers,
Paul
 

BLH

Active Member
I have both the dimmer and On/Off Icon switches. They have the same ratings printed on them as the full Insteon Switches, but the web page and quick install sheet show lower ratings. So maybe in the future they maybe less capable of load handling. Also the Icons have less scenes avilable. Spec sheets say no X10 Scenes but I added one as a test on an On/Off version. Again if it is not documented as avilable it may change in the future.
The 2400 series color trim plates fit the 2800 series Icon Switches; just all those empty holes for the missing led level bargraph.
I too had one with burs on the paddle that made it stick.
 

pkoslow

Active Member
My biggest gripe about the Icon dimmer is the lack of fade between off/on and dim/bright commands. I know that something has to go from a marketing standpoint to differentiate the products, but this is the reason (not lower power rating or missing LEDs) that will keep my buying the Switchlinc dimmers.

I don't mind that you can't change the ramp rate, I just wish it was factory default to 1-2 secs instead of the instant on/off. Because of this, lighting changes are simply way too harsh when changing lighting scenes.

I've got four Switchlinc V2's in my kitchen now (ceiling lights, cabinet lights, wetbar, and light over table). As an experiment I set the ramp rates on all of them to match the Icon switches .1 sec and ran some of my normal scenes for dinner time/cooking/clean-up, etc. My girlfriend described the results as "STARTLING!". The changing of the lighting scenes is normally very tranquil with the slower ramp rates of the Switchlincs... with Icon switches in place, I'm afraid it would scare guests when all the sudden the light changed so quickly.

I do have an Icon switch installed in a walk-in closet where it seems to be a good fit. It reacts quickly when you enter (motion triggered) and can still be dimmed to come on at a lower level is someone is still sleeping.

I think the Icon realys will be quite useful for areas with flourescent lighting, but will probably stick with Switchlinc's everywhere that require dimming with the exception of closets, hallways, panty, etc.

Cheers,
Paul
 

BLH

Active Member
They are also cheaper if you only want to use them as a companion with no local load controlling another switch. Yes I forgot about the preset dim and brighten delay.
 
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