Wait for Insteon RF Remotes or go X10 RF now?

johnnynine

Active Member
I've installed about 5 Insteon modules in my proof of concept and would like to have a remote on the family room coffee table, bedroom nightstand, and use the homelink buttons in my car. Since there are no Insteon RF remotes available, I'm debating the following:

Get a cheap X10 RF transceiver TM751 or 4005B, and a couple cheap X10 remotes like KR22A. Then use the freely available InHomeFre to run X10 to Insteon macros.

Unfortunately I haven't found any quality looking X10 remotes, has anyone else?

Has anyone tried this type of setup and would you recommend it, or should I just stick it out and wait for an Insteon remote to become available?

Thanks,
Johnny
 

upstatemike

Senior Member
If you want nice remotes you could use an X-10 IR mini-controller with a universal stereo remote (most include the codes for the X-10 device). Then use InHomeFre or PoweHome as a translator as you suggest.
 

johnnynine

Active Member
Actually I already have a (never used) PC Receiver. I wonder if I could use it as the receiver? I assume not since I don't know how it would pass the X10 message on to the InHomeFre software.
 

johnnynine

Active Member
upstatemike said:
If you want nice remotes you could use an X-10 IR mini-controller with a universal stereo remote (most include the codes for the X-10 device). Then use InHomeFre or PoweHome as a translator as you suggest.
Thanks Upstatemike.

I went ahead and ordered an IR543 X10 Infrared Commander Center to use in the home theater with my Harmony 880 remote. And for the bedroom and car's homelink I got an RR501 Wireless RF Transceiver and a KR22A Credit Card Keychain Controller. I'm not sure I'll be able to get away with just one RF receiver, but I'll try it out.

Edited: The 3 items cost about $47 plus shipping (so I added a few more insteon modules to the order for it to be more cost effective of course ;)). An Insteon remote should be available in Q2 or Q3 of this year according to Smarthome so this should hold me over until then.

Johnny
 

johnnynine

Active Member
Also for anyone else interested in using the IR543 X10 Infrared Commander Center with a Harmony Remote (The 880 in my case), see this link.

It turns out because of the way the Harmony remotes work, they are not best suited for X10 in some situations because they do not allow for macros. For example you can add x10 commands to your activity startup/shutdown but can not have it send an x10 command after pressing the pause button.

There are a few tips and tricks in the above link.

Johnny
 

Mike

Senior Member
Thanks for that link, I had an issue using a 543 in the past and never spent the time to troubleshoot it as I was in the middle of installing insteon.

I like the 880, and the approach to program is nice, it would just be nice to allow it a little more programming. I also think they will be updating how the remote sits on the charger as it seems to be a little problematic currently (after seeing more than one with this issue now).

I am trying a Harmony 520 now that ecost had for around $60 or so, which I believe was positioned as the little brother of the 880. Same concept, just not peanut shaped and controls fewer devices (still controls more than I need to control).
 

johnnynine

Active Member
Mike said:
I like the 880, and the approach to program is nice, it would just be nice to allow it a little more programming. I also think they will be updating how the remote sits on the charger as it seems to be a little problematic currently (after seeing more than one with this issue now).
The ability to add more than one ir command to a single button would be great!

I also have trouble with the craddle, it is very finicky.

I wish I had the 890, as my coffee table is in the way of some of my components... I figure it will be cheaper to move the components. ;)
 

ginigma

Active Member
markthomas said:
The Harmony 880 doesn't have macros? I rely on them. Thanks for letting me know! I'll stick with my Pronto Neo touchscreen remotes a bit longer.
The 880 has "activities" which can be programmed. Not as granular or sophisticated as true macros, but it works for what I need it to do right now. This is my first real programmable remote and I've been very happy with it so far.
 

johnnynine

Active Member
I have installed the x10 rf receiver, remote and x10 ir receiver.

I was initially using InHomeFre's x10 macros to control individual insteon modules, but I found that that combination was too slow. It took almost 2 seconds for the insteon module to respond to the x10 rf remote.

I then removed my InHomeFree macros, and assigned actual x10 addresses the insteon modules and things are working much quicker... and I can now use the dim/bright buttons on the remote.

The x10 IR receiver works ok with my Harmony 880 remote, but my home theater and computer are apparently on different phases (luckily my computer has a line of sight from my couch, however this in not ideal). And I don't really want buy an x10 phase coupler ie. get too invested in x10 gear when I plan on replacing it with insteon in the future.
 

Smarty

Active Member
As I understand it, an X-10 phase coupler is nothing more than basic capacitor across the two hot phases in your main breaker panel (assuming you have a 220V panel as most of us do).

See this E-bay listing: Ebay X-10 Coupler

It might be a VERY CHEAP fix for you.

Smarty
 

BLH

Active Member
Some of the X10 couplers are just a cap. Some may add a tuning inductor in series with the cap to set the passed frequency to around the X10 120Khz. Some like the X10Pro unit and the ACT unit have a set of tuned transformers coupling the signals from phase to phase.

My small Insteon setup seems to work fine with NO RFLincs and I think the .1Uf AC rated cap I was using for the X10 coupling is enough to get the 132Khz Insteon signals from phase to phase.
 
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