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  • Insteon (un)reliability?

    Hi

    I'm currently planning the construction of a house and I'm trying to decide if I should go with Insteon or Z-wave for automation (have no experience with either). After a lot of reading, I think that Insteon would be a better match in terms of the available devices (I would use a bunch of dimmers, switches keypandlincs and fanlincs, approx. 30 devices total). What keeps me from ordering is this:

    - Reports / reviews about the failure rate of Insteon devices (fanlincs and keypadlincs in particular). I read about many instances where they failed right out of the box or after a short time. Are those isolated incidents? Just a few bad ones of thousands of devices that "just work"? I would expect an average lifespan of at least 5 years. Am I being unrealistic?

    - One of the big selling points seems to be the dual-band technology. However, I read somewhere that if the communication fails through powerline, the devices will also seize to communicate over RF and vice versa. Is this really correct? Wouldn't this turn an apparent advantage of the technology into a clear disadvantage? Did I misunderstand something?

    I'd really love to go the Insteon route. If it was working as advertised it would be perfect for my application. However, reliability is paramount to me, so I don't want to buy into an ecosystem that requires constant troubleshooting and replacement of components.

    Thanks

  • #2
    Congratulations on the house. I use both Insteon and Zwave in my home without issues with either one. I prefer insteon switches/kpls and zwave sensors. Personally I think you will be in good shape with whatever route you decide.

    Early on in its history, insteon had many quality issues which seems to have been fixed over the years. From my experience and what I see, many failures are devices being blamed for things that has nothing to do with the devices themselves. For example (taking the alexa), many people blamed insteon for integration issues with Alexa. However, those same issues were prevalent with other systems (complaints from hue forum etc.). Amazon ended up acknowledging the problem and working on a fix. The problem with individual forum is that people go there for help which can make a problem look worse than it is. Go to zwave forums and you will encounter the same thing.

    The problem with any technology the end user touches, is that there are many variables at play so its hard to pinpoint exactly where an issue comes from. Yes sometimes devices fail (all electronics will fail eventually). Some devices (such as the PLM) has a history of failing quickly which Insteon has worked to improve. Only time will tell if those fixes work. It is telling that more experienced users also have less failures than less experienced (excluding older gen devices which is known to be sub standard)

    Since you are planning construction, you can actually build in some things that can potentially help you preserve your electronics much longer. Remember, smart switches utilizes electronics just like tvs. You generally hook up your other electronics to surge protectors so its imperative to do the same for your switches. Proper grounding for starters (ufer ground) as a poorly grounded home makes whatever else you do worthless. I would then recommend a whole house surge protector [URL]https://www.homedepot.com/p/Leviton-120-240-Volt-Surge-Protection-Panel-51120-1/205743344?keyword=leviton+51120[/URL] as well as a meter surge protector [URL]http://www.homedepot.com/p/Leviton-20-240-Volt-200-Amp-Outdoor-Rated-Meter-Socket-Surge-Arrester-Adapter-in-White-50240-MSA/302084822?keyword=Leviton+50240-MSA[/URL] (if allowed in your area). One thing that I put on my panels is the insteon phase couplerhttps://www.smarthome.com/signalinc-insteon-2406h-phase-coupler-hardwired.html. I use it because it helps block electrical noise which the improves the powerline signals.

    I would also recommend using extra deep wall boxes such as the ones by Carlon. Trust me, whoever installs the switches will thank you for that.

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    • #3
      There was a batch of FanLincs that failed, but I believe that the problem has been corrected, at least there has not been an onslaught of complaints like there once was. Keypad problems are almost always fixed by removing power for a short time (pulling out the set tab). A few require a reset.

      Dual-band technology has been shown to overcome most line noise, but there are a few situations where the offending device, most often a wall wart or an electronic device with an errant power supply, does need to be filtered. OTOH, increasing the number of dual-band devices can increase the range and reliability of Insteon devices.
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      • #4
        Question, what is insteon's voltage transmitted over the power line between devices? X10 is 5 volts, UPB is 70 volts

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        • #5
          Can't say about all Insteon Modules.
          The 2245-222 HUB specification tab says minimum of 3.2Vpp into a five Ohm load.

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          • #6
            I've been using Insteon for close to 3 years and the only [URL="http://howastute.blogspot.com/2018/01/insteon-hub-achilles-heel-of-insteon.html"]failure[/URL] I've had is my hub which Insteon replaced for free. Apart from not being able to back up my hub, I am very happy with my Insteon setup. I have switches, keypads, fanlincs, and plug in modules.
            Proud tinkerer with Insteon Hub, Switches, Dimmers, Fanlincs, etc. Plus some Amazon Echos to make things more fun!
            I blog about smart home stuff too!

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            • #7
              my experience has been that the newer keypads work fine - I have about a half dozen that are working perfectly. I did have one FanLinc (out of 6) that failed but it was within warranty and they replaced it promptly

              The ToggleLincs are garbage. I bought 7 a while ago have dies and the other two are on their way out.

              The SwitchLincs seem to be pretty rugged and I've not had issues.

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