State of the UPB market?


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What is the current state of the UPB market? Is continued supply of additional components likely, or is it endangered?

I'm not trying to start a flame war, nor dump on any UPB companies, nor ask whether UPB or a different communication mechanism is better. My question is actually quite simple. In our house, we have ~20 UPB devices, a mix of a little PCS, some HAI, and mostly SimplyAutomated. They are mostly used to control exterior lights and various fans and outlets (attic fans, holiday lights). One PIM connects to homebrew software for control and monitoring. Works great, the hardware is mostly reliable (we've had a few devices fail, perhaps 2 out of the 20 in the last dozen years). We now need to extend it a little bit, for a handful new loads out in the yard.

I'm finding the following: HAI no longer exists; it seems to have been bought by Leviton, then shut down. There used to be a company called HAL, but I think they renamed themselves to HAI, and I haven't seen any of their stuff for sale in a while. SimplyAutomated still has a web page up, but their products seem to not be available new any longer, and their phone seems to be disconnected. PCS products are still showing as available, but their web page (which was never much) has vanished, leaving only an e-commerce web page. Web Mountain I think never built devices (dimmers/switches, user interfaces, relays). For now, I'm probably in decent shape: Just found a few used items on eBay, and PCS devices are still available.

The long-term question is: Is my assessment above of the suppliers reasonable accurate? Do folks expect that additional modules will remain available? Or do folks expect PCS to leave the market soon? For my existing home installation, I think I can survive for many years, if necessary finding used parts. But if I were to significantly extend the installation, would UPB be still a good choice?
I was in a similar situation. I have about 18 UPB devices currently with 6 to 8 unused modules left. No dimmers or switches. When I started to expand, I decided to go with ZWave and Zigbee devices. And that was a year ago.

I really don't believe that UPB will survive for a lot longer. I could be wrong. But I decided it was time to go another way. Almost went with Insteon :) but glad I didn't. I'll use the UPB I have until it dies or software no longer supports it. But that will probably be a while.
I've been wondering this myself. I've migrated almost everything from UPB to Z-Wave, but boy, do I miss the stability. does redirect to their webstore now, but still seems to have a significant number of technical documents/support resources. Based on the marketing emails I'm seeing, there is still some development going on, although UPstart development seems to be halted. Maybe @mlester can chime in if he's still around.

Last time I checked Simply Automated's website, their site was down, so maybe they're in process of bring it back.

Would I still go with UPB if I was starting over? Probably not. Despite its performance challenges, I'm enjoying the flexibility of the Z-Wave eco system, but I don't mind the tradeoff (most of the time).

I still have some UPB hardware installed (and probably tons of it in the 'toy box'), as these fans/lights are controlled directly by my ELK M1, and I didn't want to rely on a 3rd party platform to manage those automatons.

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Here still running with UPB for most of the light switches in house #1. I have no issues and have had no failures. I have enough spares to last for a while here. Utilize in wall switches are all SA. Spares are SA, HAI and PCS UPB switches.

I do not see a future for UPB.
Almost all of my SA switches have had some sort of paddle (or micro switch) failure, which is what started my migration to Z-Wave.
Yes, the UPB marked has shrunk in the past few years. As I recall, there were two big players - PCS and SAI, with HAI and Web Mountain in the mix as well.

I think most of their HAI UPB stuff was actually made by PCS, but with tweaked firmware?? You are correct about the demise of HAI. HAI was purchased by Leviton in 2012, rebranded shortly afterwards, and lived on until Leviton pulled the plug in 2019. I believe that PCS still tries to fill the needs of legacy HAI users with regards to UPB gear.

I'm pretty sure that Web Mountain stuff was mostly rebranded SAI equipment. Their website is still up but acknowledges that supply chain problems have them out of most hardware.

SAI was a powerhouse for many years, and they had some real innovative products. Their pricing was outstanding and places like Automated Outlet bested that with periodic specials. I was hooked big time! Then the original owner died unexpectedly, and things started slowly coming apart. The HQ moved from CA to AZ, and some of the best tech support folks drifted away. The pandemic seems to have been the final blow, and a lot of their equipment suddenly became unavailable. In September of last year, just about everything they make was "discontinued" to many vendors. The SAI website is up but hasn't been updated in forever. The last time I called, the phone was disconnected.

At one time, SAI also had a more consumer facing line called Home Automated Living (HAL), that were sold in higher end electronics stores (including Frey's stores.) I stumbled upon and snagged some of the remaining HAL gear as Frey's was closing it out (which happened about 4-5 years before Frey's themselves went belly-up.) It was 100% identical to regular SAI stuff aside from the label on the back of the switch and the firmware that ID'd it with the HAL item number in UpStart.

This leaves PCS as the lone survivor in the UPB space. Their website recently got refreshed, but they promptly answer e-mails and phones, and the vendor I use can easily get every product they make. You can order direct for PCS as well, albeit at higher prices. I believe everything they sell is made in the USA too. PCS has a weekly e-mail and in one of them they went to great lengths to point out that they have plenty of components to fulfill their needs for some time. I read that to mean that they aren't planning to go away anytime soon.

I'm a UPB fanboy, so we reluctantly started swapping out our SAI equipment for PCS replacements last September and completed the transition this past week. I'll miss some of the SAI innovation. However, with no SAI spares it meant mixing brands and we wanted to expand our UPB footprint in the house anyway. Side by side there are differences (such as LED indicator size) and we wanted things uniform, so we just bit the bullet and phased it in over a period of several months.
I was a fan of UPB devices from it's beginning. Still am a fan.

There are/were 3 manufacturers: PCS, SAI and HAI. PCS was the originator and still have the best product.

Web Mountain was just rebranded SAI.

SAI came up with some unique ideas. I liked the replaceable face plates that could be configured in multiple ways. However, over time the switches on these faceplates became problematic. I have been removing the SAI devices and replacing them with PCS and HAI. In the past 15-20 years, I have thrown out more SAI devices than any of the others.

I never did like the convoluted and complex proprietary lighting devices assignment that HAI came up with. So I just configured all my HAI UPB switches like regular UPB devices.

I still have a couple dozen of UPB switches/dimmers in my supply box. And I will continue to use UPB as long as this supply lasts, as long as I can still use my OP2, as long as SnapLink still works, and as long as I am still in this house.

I currently have a mix of X10, Insteon, UPB, ZWave, Zigbee and Wifi (Shelly relays and dimmers). Most of my wall switches have been UPB for the last 10 years - almost all SAI. I love SAI's reconfigurable front plates. The software I use - Home Control Assistant - runs on Windows and integrates just about every technology. I've had separate insteon, x10, and upb powerline bridges on that platform, as well as a WGL800RF for X10 sensors. However, HCA is now end of life so I'm slowly moving to hubitat as my primary hub. As a result, when UPB devices die, I'm mostly changing to Zwave for the switches. I'm slowly replacing my X10 RF sensors with Zigbee sensors, same for appliance modules.
For some reason, there are very few options for dimming modules available with either zigbee or zwave, so I'm still using some UPB dimmer modules. I'm still holding onto Insteon for just two devices - keypadlincs. No other technology offers the same kind of keypad with addressable lights, ability to change colors, apply labels, etc.

Although I really liked the options SAI had available, there seem to be dwindling choices and UPB is just too expensive now compared to the alternatives. (PCS was always overpriced - but now it's even harder to justify). I've had very good luck so far with Zooz switches. Mixed feelings about Inovelli (and they've had major issues with product availability). Hubitat also can talk to thermostats like Ecobee, Shelly devices, Hue hubs and a few others, in addition to the native zwave and zigbee support.

I'll also say that for me Zwave has been more reliable than UPB. UPB was mostly very reliable - but even with a phase coupler in place, I still had trouble with devices on the opposite phase from the bridge. And I don't have a large house. So far, with enough repeating devices in place, Zwave has been absolutely solid. No worries about powerline noise, no bulky noise filters. Hopefully it will continue this way.
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You can get Martin Jerry Wifi switches on amazon with Tasmota and they're cheap and effective. Tasmota lets you use switches in a 3 or 4 way like setting with device groups. Trust me when you look it over and try it out you will never look back. They are about $20.
You can get Martin Jerry Wifi switches on amazon with Tasmota and they're cheap and effective. Tasmota lets you use switches in a 3 or 4 way like setting with device groups. Trust me when you look it over and try it out you will never look back. They are about $20.
Looks nice!

How many different commands can the dimmers put out?

Do they support variable speed ramping or at least soft start style on and/or off?

Is there an available API for users to write interfacing bridging to home automation systems?
PWM Dimmer - Tasmota

PWM Dimmer Operation~
Pressing and releasing the power button toggles the power on/off. If the toggle turns the power on, the light is returned to the last brightness it was set to. If Fade is enabled, the light is faded on/off at the rate defined by the Speed setting.

When the power is on, holding the down or up button decreases/increases the brightness. The brightness can also be changed using just the power button. When the power is on, holding the power button alternately increases or decreases the brightness. Initially, holding the power button increases the brightness. Releasing and then holding the power button again decreases the brightness.

When the power is off, pressing and releasing the down or up button turns the power on at a temporary brightness of the low/high levels set by the BriPreset command. Turning the power on at the low preset can also be accomplished by holding the power button while the power is off. The brightness presets are intended to enable quickly turning on a light to a dim or bright level without changing the normal desired brightness. Turning the power on to a preset does not change the brightness the light will be set to when the switch is turned on the next time. For example, if the light is on and you adjust the brightness to 80 and then turn the light off, when you turn it back on, the brightness will return to 80. If you turn the power off again and then press the down button, the light will be turned on at the brightness defined by the low preset. If you then turn the light off and on again, the brightness will return to 80.

If there are LEDs defined in the template, they are turned on to indicate the current brightness. More LEDs are turned on at higher brightnesses. SetOption86 enables/disables the LED timeout. If SetOption86 is enabled, the LEDs turn off five seconds after the last change in brightness. Note that the lowest LED and the blue power LED are always on when the power is on. The LED timeout can also be enabled/disabled by holding the power button while tapping (pressing and releasing quickly) the down button.

The LedLink LED can be used as a nightlight/powered-off indicator. SetOption87 enables/disables turning the LedLink LED on when the power is off. The powered-off indicator can also be enabled/disabled by holding the power button and tapping the up button.

Holding the power button and then holding the down or up button publishes an MQTT EVENT command. The topic follows the format of the Full Topic with a subtopic of EVENT (ex. cmnd/LightSwitch1/EVENT). The MQTT payload is Trigger#, where # is 1 if the down button is held or 2 if the up button is held. These triggers can be used in rules on remote devices (ON Event#Trigger1) or by automation software to trigger automations such as scene changes. For example, the Event topic Trigger1 payload could trigger the automation software to turn on the previous scene in a list and the Trigger2 payload could trigger the automation software to turn on the next scene in a list.

Holding the power button, tapping the down button and then tapping or holding the down or up button sends a device group message to set CW/RGB/RGBW/RGBCW lights in the device group to the previous/next fixed color. The command is sent/value is adjusted once every .75 seconds for as long as the button is held. The color sequence is red, green, blue, orange, light green, light blue, amber, cyan, purple, yellow, pink, white using RGB channels; cold white using CT channels; and warm white using CT channels.

Holding the power button, tapping the up button and then tapping or holding the down or up button publishes an MQTT Event command. The command is sent once every .75 seconds for as long as the button is held. The MQTT topic is as described above. The MQTT payload is Trigger#, where # is 3 if the down button is held or 4 if the up button is held.

Pressing and releasing the power button and then holding the power button publishes an MQTT Event command. The command is sent once every .75 seconds for as long as the button is held. The MQTT topic is as described above. The MQTT payload is Trigger#, where # is 5.

Button presses and holds execute the normal ButtonTopic and Rule processing. If ButtonTopic is set and SetOption61 is 0 or a the button press/hold matches a rule, the button press/hold is ignored by PWM Dimmer. Operations invoked by holding the power button in combination with the up/dowm buttons cannot be overridden by rules. Standard Tasmota multi-press button presses operate as normal.

PWM Dimmer uses the Light module to control the PWM. Brightness levels are rescaled to PWM values between the dimmer_min and dimmer_max values specified with DimmerRange. Most LED bulbs do not show a significant difference between PWM value of 1 and PWM value of 100. This results in the lower 10% of the dimmer range having no effect. For best results, DimmerRange <dimmerMin> value should be set to the highest value that results in the lowest bulb brightness (Typically in the range of 8 - 18).

When Device Groups are enabled, the PWM Dimmer brightness presets are kept in sync across all switches in the group. The powered-off LED and LED timeout settings are specific to each switch. Changing them does not replicate the change to the other switches in the group.

When CW/RGB/RGBW/RGBCW lights are in the same device group as the PWM Dimmer device, use the PWMDimmerPWMs command to define the PWM (channel) count of the lights. This allows the PWM Dimmer module to correctly determine the brightness (dimmer) level and allows the color of all the lights in the device group to be controlled from the PWM Dimmer device.

Tasmota's basic API information.