Active Member
Guys, I have been around for a while, and started with the old "unreliable" X10 hardware. Actually, I have yet to make a switch to a newer protocol as of yet, waiting to see where the market leads, without acting too quickly. (EA: Zwave, UPB, Insteon ect). At this point I do not want to be like the BetaMax adopters of yesteryear.

I just received an email from HS with a "June UPB "sale". Woah! Maybe I am behind the times here, ... but, honestly, I was shocked!

One of the easiest things for all of us to relate to, is a simple lamp module. In the email, it says you can get a UPB lamp module for ONLY $74.95 Also a wall receptacle for only $94.95., and a light switch for $84.95 (This is before the 10% discount offered in the email) These are the discounted prices? Maybe I have been hiding under a rock or something, but wow..... I stepped back and had a look at converting JUST the master bedroom, on the VERY light side of things just to get by, and replace what I have automated now: 3 light switches, 4 switches outlets, and about 4 lamp modules.....this works out to a little over $800.00!

I got into this "hobby" as a do-it-yourselfer, and was able to do it fairly inexpensively. I feel sorry for anyone new coming into the HA scene, and can totally understand where someone could easily be discouraged by the sheer cost of things the way they are going.

Please don't take this the wrong way, I am not some cheapscate, that wants everything for nothing. I have invested a lot of money in Airpanels, remote touchscreens, sensors on all doors/windows, motion sensors, 2-wire setup ect...ect....

Any comments either positive or negative are certainly welcome, but please do not flame me too badly here, I am just a bit taken back by the sheer cost of the way things are going.
Hi John,

No flames from me! I'm in a similar situation.

Have had a working and stable X10 installationfor several years, and just sort of waiting to see how the Insteon, UPB and Zwave product offerings mature.

Just too limited so far to completely replace ALL of my X10 components.

Did buy a few Insteon switches a while ago, just using in X10 mode for now.
Being told I have to uninstall them, ship them back in order to receive a replacement switch with a firmware upgrade, then reinstall them is too much of a hassle for now.

Just my .02
Thats why I had discarded UPB from my future. However, for a very small implementation the evaluation packages offered by Simply Automated this summer look to me like an interesting proposition. At least for us without nothing (not even X10), while the Z-Wave and Insteon product offerings mature. I would just need to buy 2 - 3 extra switches to meet my inmediate needs (all exterior of the house and 1-2 interior lights).
I still have those cheap X-10 decora switches all over my house that I got on a big sale (something like $12 or $15 or so a piece). This was four years ago or so. I remember buying them up and I wasn't even moved into this house (I knew the sale was not going to come up again <_< ).

I've only had one fail and that was due to a couple of six year olds "punching" the switch on and off (many, many times).

Sure, it's not two-way status and the feel of the switch is, well cheap, but I have an entire house with controlled lighting which I made reliable with some filters, signal strength testing and an ACT coupler.

I'm in the same boat as John. I want to upgrade to a newer technology (UPB, Insteon, Z-Wave) but, after seeing all the problems with these systems in this forum alone, I don't feel that shelling out the big bucks it would take to convert would give me much improvement over my present system!

Sure the feel of the switches would be better and I would have (in some cases) two-way status, but I don't feel these improvements would merrit the cost outlay.
I have to agree on the price issue. Having just replaced over 150 devices I have to say that technologies like UPB and Z-Wave were never seriously considered just because the cost would have been impossible to justify. People talk about "paying a little extra for quality" but spending over $12K to upgrade my lighting protocol?!!!

Problem was, unlike some of you, I was having serious problems with X-10. Lots of stuff turing itself on by itself. Usually an entire Housecode of stuff would go on at once. (And it happened on several different housecodes).

My only real option was Insteon. I bought big batches of $20 switches during 15% off promos and effectively paid $17 per switch which was a lot better than the $75 dollar per switch alternatives. I can still use them as X-10 switches if the technology fails to take off but I don't have to wait 5 more years for one of the other protocols to drop their prices into this range.

I have had a few failures but there is no cost for replacements beyond some time and aggravation which I put down as easier to swallow than paying out an additional $9K for the privelege of using one of the other protocols.
You are right - price is a problem with UPB. It's a shame - the technology is fantastic... I've never missed a signal (in either direction) with it. However, I've limited my automation because of cost. I keep hoping price will come down - but not yet.
Ok, I'll join the "price *is* a concern" chorus...

I have no problem in admitting that at $40 and up per switch, I just wouldn't have automated anything. Even if I did have that kind of money, this probably wouldn't be what I'd sepnd it on anyways. So I got started because X10 was quite affordable to begin with. Even then, I took me a couple of years to cover everything I wanted to do. I used the original cheapie small-button X10 switches and they worked quite well for over 5 years. Then I stocked up on better X10 gear when upstatemike.com was having big sales :D I have no regrets either. X10 is working well for me and the money saved is well worth the odd tweaking that is needed once in a while. Now I have a house full of Leviton and SwitchLinc gear with very good reliability.

I think that UPB stands for Upper Price Bracket...
bfisher said:
I keep hoping price will come down - but not yet.
That will hardly happen. I dont remember their exact words, but in the chat with Simply Automated I interpreted that they were purposely staying out of the $40 segment. They have a better product, more customizable and better for both the professional installer and their customers, so they can charge more for it. Not that they said these words, but thats what I got.

I also wonder if they can achieve the same cost reduction as the ASIC solutions (Z-Wave and Insteon), since UPB still uses generic microcontrollers in each device.