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UPB vs. Insteon Initial Thoughts

RandyKnight

Active Member
Now that I've got some of both Insteon and UPB devices set up and running in my house, here are some of my initial thoughts.

It seems that the biggest differnce between the two is reliability. The UPB stuff ALWAYS works, the Insteon seems to require multiple attempts quite often (haven't quantified that but just what I have observed).

The software issue with Insteon is not a big deal to me. I'm running HomeSeer 2.0 and I actually like dealing with Insteon better than UPB since with UPB I have to use UPStart to create a file, then upload that to HomeSeer. With the HomeSeer Insteon plug-in, I can add devices directly from within HomeSeer.

The "learning curve" for Insteon has been steepr with my initial foray. The UPB stuff I just installed, fired up UPBStart and I was in business. With Insteon, I've had to troubleshoot a lot more.

Again, these are just my inital thoughts after spedning about 1 day with each technology.

At this point, if I can work out the reliability issues with Insteon, I'm leaning that way due to the $ and the direct support within HomeSeer.

Interested in others' more experience input though.
 

upstatemike

Senior Member
Interesting feedback. When you talk of multiple attempts for Insteon do you mean you have to press the button on the ControLinc more than once? Or a keypad button more than once?

I haven't seen anything like that with my setup.
 

Steve

Senior Member
I am also surprised. I would think the reliability of UPB and Insteon would be similar, assuming of course you are running in true Insteon mode and not x10.

If I remember earlier threads, you were going to use an M1 for security, etc. If that is the case, IMHO you should run your lighting through that and not Homeseer. If that is the case, Elk currently has stronger support for UPB and setup is easier with UPStart. I guess I don't understand why you would use Homeseer with an Elk considering it doesn't have a nice interface designer. I think Mainlobby or CQC is a better match to an M1 as you can build much nicer interfaces and they (especially CQC) can handle supplemental HA functions like TTS, CID, etc. This is assuming of course you will use some sort of touchscreen with graphical capability. If you are not using an M1 then your logic makes sense, although even then I would look toward Powerhome since they did what Smarthome hasn't yet in link management/setup for Insteon.
 

elcano

Active Member
RandyKnight said:
the Insteon seems to require multiple attempts quite often (haven't quantified that but just what I have observed).
Can you elaborate? Do you mean during usage, setup or both?
 

toymaster458

Active Member
elcano said:
RandyKnight said:
the Insteon seems to require multiple attempts quite often (haven't quantified that but just what I have observed).
Can you elaborate? Do you mean during usage, setup or both?
I am starting to see all the above in my house.
 

Madcodger

Active Member
I was seeing this with Insteon initially, but I kept changing out X10 switches for Insteon. I now have what appears to be total Insteon reliability, and with only 2 signal linc RF devices covering about 3500 sq ft. plus a detached garage / workshop and several landscape lighting circuits. So, the repeater function of Insteon devices really does seem to work very well once you hit some sort of "critical mass". I initially considered UPB as well, but found the cost too high for my known, codger-like stinginess. :)
 

RandyKnight

Active Member
upstatemike said:
Interesting feedback. When you talk of multiple attempts for Insteon do you mean you have to press the button on the ControLinc more than once? Or a keypad button more than once?

I haven't seen anything like that with my setup.
Primarily the ControlLinc. Also someitimes have to issue HomeSeer commands more than once.
 

upstatemike

Senior Member
RandyKnight said:
upstatemike said:
Interesting feedback. When you talk of multiple attempts for Insteon do you mean you have to press the button on the ControLinc more than once? Or a keypad button more than once?

I haven't seen anything like that with my setup.
Primarily the ControlLinc. Also someitimes have to issue HomeSeer commands more than once.
I think Homeseer brings it's own problems to the table so you might consider setting that aside until you feel the core Insteon setup is solid. Otherwise you are going to be dealing with too many variables as you troubleshoot.

One comment on the controLinc is that it has those spongy long-throw buttons that can feel like you pressed them in enough when in fact you haven't. Make sure you hear the confirmation beep!

Assuming that is not the issue, the 2 steps I would take would be to move the ControLinc around to see if it acts differently in different locations, and load up the demo of PowerHome and see what the links look like. Use PH to clear any dead or broken links you find.
 

RandyKnight

Active Member
Actually the commands from HomeSeer are much more reliable than the ControlLinc. :unsure: But I see your point. I'm going to reset the ControlLinc and start over with it and see if it does any better.
 

RandyKnight

Active Member
I took a step back on this and started from the beginning. Ended up moving the RFs around several times and ended up with them closer to each other and to the room the CF is in. At this point, the ControlLinc works great with those devices, but can't even find the LampLincs which are in another room. Nor can PowerHome. So I suspect I may have some noise / signal strength issues. The PowerLinc USB is in 3rd room, but it is on the same side of the house as the devices that work.

At this point I can't say I wouldn't have the same issues with UPB given the same rooms. I'm going to try moving the lamplincs closer and see what that does and assuming I can get them working, I'll then install the other two switches I have and see if the "critical mass" of repeaters that some have mentioned be reached.

Someone may suggest additional SignalLinc(s) but I'm hesitant to spend mroe money until I decide that Insteon is working reliably.
 

upstatemike

Senior Member
Adding more devices should help though I am suprised that you are having even this much trouble. I can think of at least 15 UPS units in my house as well as many other signal killers yet I have not had anywhere near the problems you are seeing.

I don't know if UPB would have the same issues in your environment or not. I think of UPB as a big single shot signal cannon that blasts it's way through everything in it's path. Gets through most of the time but if something does manage to block it your done.

Insteon is more like a machine gun. It keeps ripping away until it gets the job done and if you run into a stubborn situation you can always add more bullets (Insteon repeaters) until the problem is totally blown away.

Kind of the opposite of Z-Wave which acts like a sniper rifle, using precise routing tables to deliver a precision shot. Of course a change in any variable (moving a module) can ruin its aim.

I guess that makes hard-wired systems like a shotgun at point blank range... they just can't miss.

(Anybody want to take a shot at adding some other technologies to this analogy?)
 

rocco

Active Member
upstatemike said:
(Anybody want to take a shot at adding some other technologies to this analogy?)
X10 is like Dick Cheney. You just fire and hope you hit something . . .
 

Herdfan

Active Member
upstatemike said:
Insteon is more like a machine gun. It keeps ripping away until it gets the job done and if you run into a stubborn situation you can always add more bullets (Insteon repeaters) until the problem is totally blown away.


(Anybody want to take a shot at adding some other technologies to this analogy?)
Insteon is also like a barking dog. One will start and every dog within range will start barking until the big dog (target) tells them to shut up.
 

Steve

Senior Member
I think of UPB as a big single shot signal cannon that blasts it's way through everything in it's path. Gets through most of the time but if something does manage to block it your done.
That may be true except the part you're missing is that you have several cannon balls. If the first few don't break through the 3rd, 4th or 5th might. And if it does, all the previous balls come through with it.
 
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