Marrick LynX-10 PLC Question


I realize this is the sort of question that probably has been asked before but I've searched throughout CocoonTech without luck. Nonetheless, I apologize if my question has already been answered elsewhere.

I'm trying to sort out all the information, personal preferences etc regarding the various controllers on the market. I am interested in interface controllers for use with either HomeSeer v2.0 or MisterHouse. Haven't yet decided which of the two software systems to use.

Although ultimately I want to use both wireless and X-10 compatible devices, at the moment I'm primarily looking for recommendations on an X-10 type interface controller. I've researched this enough that I've heard about the reliability problems that the CM11A interface has and I'm not real interested in that. The reviews I've been able to find on the Marrick LynX-10 PLC controller all seem pretty positive. However I've seen a couple comments about it, notably in the HomesSeer discussion board, that make it seem like it is not widely used or even a currently distributed controller. So I figure I'll ask the experts here on CocoonTech for their opinion.

What do ya'll think of the Marrick LynX-10 PLC controller? If you don't recommend it, what do you recommend instead?

Thanks for the help and advice.

Welcome to CocoonTech!

I don't have much to say about the Marrick unit since I have no first hand experience with it. I sure don't recall many people saying much about it either way, but the product has been around for a number of years. I guess the most negative thing I would say is that since it seems somewhat obscure, it may not be supported by as many software packages.

I seem to recall lots of good comments about the TI103 from ACT, so check that out if you haven't already.

On the other hand, my CM11A experiences have been pretty good, so I would not be afraid to get started with that unit and you can upgrade later if desired. You may even abandon X-10 and switch to Insteon, UPB and/or Z-wave before you get frustrated with a CM11A.
I would strongly recommend the USB Powerlinc, I am pretty sure MisterHouse supports it. I do agree with Wayne that you might want to reconsider your decision to go with X10, since there are many options out there now.

If you do want to get started with X10, I would recommend looking at Insteon hardware, which can emulate the X10 protocol, so you can upgrade later on without having to upgrade every device in your house. Check out the How-To section for the Insteon guide. UPB & Z-wave are great options as well, but make sure you figure out what you want to do with your setup, and how much you are willing to invest in hardware. All of them have their pros & cons.
Thanks for the advice, Wayne and Electron. After I saw your messages, I took a look at the PowerLinc USB controller and that seems like the way to go.

As for whether or not to go with X10 - the only thing that attracts me to that as a component of an HA system is the ubiquity of the devices. Other newer technologies like Insteon seem superior but they don't have as many devices available yet.

I'm not an engineer so I intend to take it slow and experiment along the way; it's more the building of the thing I'm interested in than the end result. (Okay, so it's kinda like a hobby where I get to learn really cool stuff.) Ideally, I'd like to put together an HA system that utilizies both wired and wireless technologies. I'm especially interested in building a system that accepts and responds to inputs from a variety of sources, including voice and RFID. (I'm not an engineer but I am a software architect and the application of VR/NLP/RFID technologies is an area of primary interest for me.)

From what I've read, it seems that if I go with the PowerLinc controller and HomeSeer software, I can integrate Insteon, X10 and ZWave devices. If so, I think I've made up my mind. I also was really impressed with the response time for Insteon devices so I think I'll utilize them rather than X10 to the extent possible.

I read through the Insteon Guide here in CocoonTech and then went to the Insteon website. I must confess I'm still a bit confused over the whole issue of whether Insteon is a wireless technology. In the Guide, it appeared the question was settled but on the Insteon website and at SmartHome, they talk as though it was a true wireless technology. The only reason I care is that, of course, I'm now trying to put together a shopping list. If I'm gonna go with HomeSeer and the USB PowerLinc, and will buy Insteon devices whenever possible, should I also then buy a couple SignalLinc controllers? I understand the use of them to couple different phases of a home's electrical system but the SmartHome site makes it seem like they also function individually as wireless relays with the Insteon switches.
The short answer is that the Insteon technology is wireless, but that is not useful to the consumer YET. The only RF devices so far are the SignaLinc phase couplers/repeaters. I have heard rumors that SmartHome may be adding RF to some/all of the PLC only units. Once SmartHome comes out with some wireless devices like keyfobs, remote controls, motion detectors, smoke detectors, then the RF aspect will become more important. Unless the range is strangely short, I don't see a need for every PLC device to also be an RF unit. Why would three switches in a 3 gang box all need to send/receive RF? I am hoping that by having the minimum 2 SignaLincs for phase coupling positioned at optimum RF points in the house, I should get good coverage. If needed, I could add another SignaLinc. So the SignaLincs will eventually be truly dual purpose (RF and phase coupling).

As far as HomeSeer, HS2 currently doesn't support Insteon, but I hear that plug-in development has been outsourced. HS1.7 supposedly will NOT support Insteon. Eventually, you will want a PowerLinc for Insteon and the appropriate Zwave interface for Zwave. I actually don't know if the PowerLinc v2 will send/receive regular old X-10 or not. Strangely, the SH web site doesn't clarify this. Even if the hardware does it, I don't know if HS & the plug-in will support it. You may still need a separate X-10 transceiver.

Thanks for the heads up regarding HomeSeer and Insteon. I checked the HomeSeer discussion group and get the impression that they really don't have any idea when HS2 will support Insteon. Seems kinda weird to me since HS2 supports so many other technologies.

Now I feel like I'm back at square 1. Is it worth investing in Insteon if the software I want to use can't support it? And, if not, where does that leave me? I know almost nothing about UPB. Guess I need to learn. Is it a realistic alternative to X10 or Insteon?

I feel your pain. Yes, UPB is a worthy alternative. It is a personal choice. For now, I have gone with Insteon and hope the Elk support is ready soon. In the meantime, I am using my Insteon devices in X-10 mode and wifey likes them. I just need to deal with the X-10 gremlins and reinstall my coupler/repeater (I just moved).

HomeSeer just recently started officially supporting UPB via an outsourced plugin in HS2. HS had unofficial support via Michael's xAP plugin for a while now. so, other than Z-wave, HomeSeer is certainly not the quickest to support new technologies.

Bottom line it is a personal choice, based upon your timeline, your budget, your personal feelings for the look/feel of some of the products and a guess as to who will still be standing in 3-5 years or more. Since my Elk M1 supports (or will support soon) all the major technologies, I think I am covered on that end.
Hey electron (if you're still reading this),

Regarding your recommendation of the Powerlinc interface:

There seem to be a bewildering number of Powerlinc devices. I checked on AutomatedOutlet and found:

Insteon Powerlinc V2 Controller USB
Insteon Powerlinc V2 Controller Serial
Powerlinc USB
PowerLinc II Serial/TW523 X10 Interface
PowerLinc Controller & Smarthome Essential SW
PowerLinc Controller & Smarthome Manager Plus Software

Is there anything like, dare I say it, a matrix that compares features of these devices so one can make a semi-informed decision regarding which to buy?

Since I'm now pretty well decided to go with HomeSeer 2.0 software, Insteon switches where possible, ZWave devices for the wireless stuff and just using X10 for stuff where Insteon isn't available, which of the above Powerlinc controllers would be most appropriate? Are there functional distinctions between the serial and USB devices or is the only difference the connection to the PC? (I seem to recall reading somewhere that the serial devices seem to work better.)

Since this doesn't have anything to do with Marrick LynX-10 controllers anymore, should I move this all to a new topic? Maybe called "Yet another dumb beginner design question..."

If you are running HS, I would recommend the 1132U Powerlinc controller - works great.

As far as the other ones:

1132B - Serial version
1132CU - has memory to store programming but can't be used by HS
1132CUP - Same as 1132CU except has advanced Smarthome SW included
Insteon Powerlincs - both USB and Serial will only work for Insteon devices
AutomatedOutlet said:
Insteon Powerlincs - both USB and Serial will only work for Insteon devices
I believe hey are capable of sending and receiving x10 signals over the powerline.

However, my understanding is that the interface between the PowerLinc V2 and the computer uses a different protocol which is not compatible with the x10-only PowerLincs. So, software that works with the x10 units will not work with the V2.

Until you have software that supports the new protocol, you won't be able to control anything from a PC - x10 or Insteon.
I'm getting the strong impression that it just isn't worth it to try to plan on using Insteon at this point. It seems confusing though, since one of the things that was appealing about Insteon was it's claim of backwards compatability with X10 devices. But if there isn't software capable of working with both X10 and Insteon, then it doesn't seem to fit in anywhere.

I realize you can control the Insteon and X10 devices without a computer but that doesn't really allow me to do the things I'm interested in. Now I understand Wayne's frustration on the HS discussion board - if only one had an idea when a plug-in would be available it would make the decision so much simpler!
Well, a plugin will be available (and other software will support Insteon as well), so in the meantime, you can use Insteon switches to replace your X10 switches.
Thanks, Dan. Good point.

My problem is that, even though they're pretty cheap, I hate to buy an X-10 only controller that I know I'm probably going to toss once I can use Inseteon instead. This is especially true if HS is going to have the Insteon plug-in real soon. OTOH, I realize that making mistakes is part of the learning process and I'm sure I'll end up with an entire closet full of stuff I really shouldn't have purchased. (You should see all the boxes of computer parts in THAT closet!)

So I agree that I should get Insteon switches and use them in X-10 mode. And given the unknown about the plug-in, I guess I should just get the X-10 only Powerlinc USB and then switch to the Insteon Powerlinc V2 when the plug-in is available.

Thanks for all the help and advice on this, you guys. There's just so much to buy it's hard to know where to start! It's amazingly confusing to try and make sense of all the options and equipment available and I really appreciate all your patience and advice.