Lighting Controls


Hi all
I am building a house and I have decided to use HAI Omni Pro as a controller, Russound CAV for whole house audio. However, I am still not decided on what to use for lighting controls. UPB sounds to be very solid, but there seems to be some noise issues. Z Wave sounds promising, even Leviton is on board, however, it is based on RF which can be unreliable. Radio Ra reports to be robust but it is very expensive. I also heard of I-LINE by , a daisy chained CAT5E network, but they are very unknown.
Any advice?
Welcome to CocoonTech!

Did you get the Cav6.6 then?

I saw some of HAI's new stuff on display during this past CES show. They have a lot of cool stuff, especially their touch pads.

I don't know a lot about HAI, but I thought they supported UPB natively. Do they also offer support for Z-Wave?

Lots of various opinions on this board, mainly about Z-Wave, UPB, and Insteon technologies. Very little about Radio Ra as present. Not sure about the other technologies you mentioned

YOu may want to search through some threads on these issues also. HERE, HERE, and HERE are examples of such threads.
For new construction, consider Centralite LiteJet. Great value and it will work perfectly every time. Easy to integrate through simple RS232 codes too.

I'm headed down the same path as you. OmniPro, Russound, and ? on lighting. New construction, we break ground in a week or so.

I have received advice to head down the UPB route but haven't settled on a vendor. Any recommendations would be appreciated.

Thanks for the links. They helped. I did not get the Russound system yet, however, I know of people who have it and love it.
HERE is a Russound CES display report also.

They have a new CAA line. Cheaper than the CAV6.6, but no video or A-Bus support.

We have a couple of people that offer the Russound on this board as well.
djeyes said:
UPB sounds to be very solid, but there seems to be some noise issues. Z Wave sounds promising, even Leviton is on board, however, it is based on RF which can be unreliable.
Do you mean that RF devices have an inherent reliability problem? Reliability has to do with the construction of the device.

If you mean that RF might suffer from interference from noise in the medium (air), yes your are right. Other very strong signals propagating in the area might affect it. The same happens with powerline. Noise signals propagating in the medium (wires) can cause interferece. We are talking exactly about the same type of problem here. None of the mediums are inmune to interference.

There are some differences about both mediums, though. Metal wires are a better propagation medium than air. Therefore most powerline technologies use very small signals (with the exception of UPB - but it is not perfect neither). Small signals can travel a long way - including signals from interfering devices and noise signals from out of your house. Noise is not attenuated easily (unless you install a bandpass filter, but that suppresse your signals too). In addition, the proliferation of power electronics (switching power suplies, etc.) is introducing a lot of noise to the powerline - and this will become worst in the future. Have your heard of powerline internet broadband?

On the other hand in RF the signals are attenuated a little better. Your neighbor's keyfob should not be strong enough for blocking your phone conversation (or vice versa). Digital packet communications allows me to use my 2.4Ghz phone at the same time that I browse internet using 2.4 WiFi (might be some degradation, but it is not noticeable). But there is a LOT of new RF devices added to our houses. Since UHF signals (>300Mhz) use line of sight propagation (it bounces a lot and its not exactly line of sight for signals within your house, but thats the idea) the interference from signals far away is very limited.

At the end the message is that both technologies are vulnerable to interference. None of them is inmune to it. I would say that it has to be evaluated case by case. This also has to do with your background. Many X-10 fans are influenced by the legacy technology and use to prefer powerline. I have a Ham Radio background and using RF I feel like a fish in the water. However I know that RF does not pass thru metal surfaces and all my electrical boxes are metallic. Also, my house is 100% concrete and RF does not propagate easily there neither. These are my restrictions and under these specific conditions I'm inclined to try powerline first.
I don't have much to add here other than HAI does support UPB natively (in fact, they make a line of UPB switches). I use UPB in my house (but not HAI) and have had 100% success. I've never had a missed signal and based on the meters in Upstart - I have almost no noise and very strong signals on both phases (without a coupler).

The only negatives to UPB that I have found are:
- slight delay between switch and light (about 1/3 of a second). First time users (i.e. mother-in-law) get confused until they've used it a couple times.
- quiet brief (1/3 of second) buzz sound when switch is used. I hardly notice it, but others have commented on it before. It's normal (capacitors discharging).

There have been a couple minor stories of noise, but they are very (very) isolated incidents.

UPB was the first real reliable solution available so it has good hardware/software support, but Z-wave appears to have some momentum right now as quite a few manufacturers are getting involved. Good luck!