Home Theater Forum and Systems banner

1 - 10 of 10 Posts

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,255 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am investigating the use of the Insteon system for home automation. I need control of lighting zones, dimmers, exterior lighting dimmers, thermostat, entry point notification for exterior doors, remote control from anywhere at and away from home. I also want to have a central remote for all of my A/V (iPhone or iPad) using most likely iRule. I'm hoping someone has installed or is using Insteon and can add some insight. This is pretty expensive to get going since I am installing it in my current media room remodel, but like I mentioned, I plan to expand this to other rooms for further control.

For my media room I want to control:
soffit dimmer
soffit cans
main lighting cans
back porch lighting
ceiling fan

I think I need (help me here):
ISY994i Home Automation Controller with Dual-Band PLM
INSTEON Keypad Dimmer Switch (Dual-Band), 6-Button, White
SwitchLinc Dimmer - INSTEON Remote Control Dimmer (Dual-Band), White (x7)
These items alone are over $700!!!!!!!! :scratch:

Questions:
Do I need anything else?
Do I have to have the PC running all of the time for it to work?
Can I control everything with the app from anywhere in the US on my phone?
Can I use multiple on/off scenes per day with any switch with the 994i?
Is there anything cheaper and better?
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
5,817 Posts
Hi Doug,
I am running Insteon throughout our home. I also use the ISY994i. When you get the ISY994i make sure you get the one that has the PIM with it to send the commands via the AC. I use my Android for controlling the lighting setup and I like it. As far as having a PC on 24/7... I have a i3 NUC which consumes less than 25 watts running 24/7 running CQC software for Home Automation. By going this route I can make my own templates for controlling my lighting, AVR, and whatever other equipment I want to control. I have not tried to program the ISY to have it automatically turn lights on and off so I can't speak on that aspect. If you watch Amazon and Smarthome you can come across some really good deals.

UPB is another alternative and is very simple to setup but all the devices are more expensive... You can get a super deal on their starter kit though which might do what you want for way less if you are not looking to go all out for controlling your whole house.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,255 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks Ron - How do you use it in your home? Explain how you installed the switches, what they do, and what it took as far as parts and programming in a room, ie, your HT, if you have time... pretty please! Drywaller is coming to bid the room tomorrow, so I need to order some stuff to get this together!
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
5,817 Posts
I replaced all my switches with Insteon 2477D http://www.amazon.com/Insteon-2477D-SwitchLinc-INSTEON-Dual-Band/dp/B003ZTVZ0W dimmer switches. I have 2 of the Insteon timer switches (which are not available anymore), 2 scene controllers (which are also have one button for a local switch), and 2 outdoor Insteon outlets (handle 1800 watts). I used the Insteon software to have the ISY 994i find all my switches and then I used a driver in CQC to assign a button on my Home Automation tablet screen for each device (along with a graphic LED to show me the status). In CQC it has a section where I can very easily select the time of day to have devices be turned on or off and I made an assortment of scenarios... For example I have my porch lights come on at sunset every night, and go off at sunrise. We also have various lights that come on on certain days at certain times and go off at certain times. If you know a little about programming (which I do not) you can do the same thing through the ISY software.

In my last home I had an ELK M1 for my alarm and it also did automation... It can control Insteon, UPB, and other lighting packages as well as irrigation. All of this can be very easily programmed, and operated from your PC or from their keypads.

There are a lot of ways to control Insteon, and UPB.

As far as hookup they are installed just like a regular light switch with a common wire... If you have very old wiring that doesn't have a common wire you can get certain models that will work without a common.

I really like em.

One other thing... With the ISY994i you can select the ramp speed for turning on and off a light switch and select what level the light comes on to. For example I have our family room light setup to where it comes up to about 50% from either the PC, phone or directly from the switch. If you turn it on with the switch it will come up to 50%, and if you want it brighter you just hit it again and it will go to 100%.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,255 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks Ron, more questions!

I'm not familiar with CQC, is it similar to iRule?

Will the system work without having the PC on all the time? I would like to be able to set this up, program the switches, and have it so the girls don't have to mess with all the techy stuff.

Can I operate all of this when I am not at home either from another PC or my phone? Turn on/off switches, close the garage door, etc. Or does it have to be within wifi range?

Also, do you use the thermostat? I have not read very good reviews about it. I would get that if I can monitor AND control the settings of the thermostat from my phone.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
5,817 Posts
Thanks Ron, more questions!

I'm not familiar with CQC, is it similar to iRule?

Will the system work without having the PC on all the time? I would like to be able to set this up, program the switches, and have it so the girls don't have to mess with all the techy stuff.

Can I operate all of this when I am not at home either from another PC or my phone? Turn on/off switches, close the garage door, etc. Or does it have to be within wifi range?

Also, do you use the thermostat? I have not read very good reviews about it. I would get that if I can monitor AND control the settings of the thermostat from my phone.
CQC IS Charmed Quark Software... It is a full fledged Home Automation Software. The app for Insteon (Conductor) has WAN access so you can control via your phone when you are not home (I have not setup WAN access on my setup though). CQC must be on 24/7 to work as does the ISY 994i... I have a i3 NUC with CQC on it and it only draws 25w max (way overkill for CQC), and the ISY draws very little too.

My wife is not a Techie either and to her everything operates just like a normal switch... If a light comes on and she wants it turned off then she just turns it off. The nice thing about light switches is they are not like ir is... Meaning if you send a ir command to your TV to turn it on, and it is already on it will not turn it off like a normal tv remote would. ON means turn on and off means turn off... Both are different commands so it works just like it should.

As far as a thermostat I use a Aprilaire which when I get my ELK M1 will then be used for controlling my HVAC. One that is very popular is this one http://www.smarthome.com/3001/RS-485-Thermostat-RCS-TR-16-TR16/p.aspx I used it in my first home and I actually liked it more than my Aprilaire one.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,255 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
The Elk M1 looks like the Insteon from what I can tell except more geared for security. Is that right? The big box from Smarthome came today along with a big spool of 12g from PE, so I have some more wiring ahead of me for the next day or two. I forgot to order the fan relay switch and now they have a $175 minimum, so I will wait for that, I guess.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
5,817 Posts
The Elk M1 looks like the Insteon from what I can tell except more geared for security. Is that right? The big box from Smarthome came today along with a big spool of 12g from PE, so I have some more wiring ahead of me for the next day or two. I forgot to order the fan relay switch and now they have a $175 minimum, so I will wait for that, I guess.
The ELK is a real nice setup that can be used with virtually anything you want to do for automation. You should download the manual for it to see just what it can do , and see if it is right for you. I plan on going with it again in our current house.

$175 minimum? If that is for free shipping just wait a bit and they will send out another deal with free shipping. I have been getting a bunch of them from them.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,255 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I was hoping the ISY would be the end-all for automation, but I just realized that I will need another $100 piece of hardware when I am ready to add iRule in addition to the $100 program, plus $15 here and $20 there to add a tablet or iPhone as a controller, and for the skins for the Onkyo AVR. I need to get rich! I'll dig in to ELK once I get everything put together in a few months.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
5,817 Posts
I just posted in your other thread the link to the ELK M1 installation manual for you to see what it can do.
 
1 - 10 of 10 Posts
Top