Best anywhere switch? Smarthome Insteon vs. Simply Automated UPB?

Best Anywhere Switch, 3-Way Lighting Control, Home Automation, anywhere  lighting control, Remote Lighting Control, Insteon, UPB

ckeyes: Hey,

When I first decided that I wanted some degree of home automation, one of the first decisions was which lighting control technology to use, UPB or Insteon, anywhere switch, remote switch. Smarthome Insteon vs. Simply Automated UPB.  I’m new to Insteon and need to install two remote existing switches I have, a 2476D and 2876D, configured to control one light currently set up with two switches to control it.

I believe I’ve heard this can be done but have no idea how to do it.
Might anyone have some pointers and/or wiring diagrams etc.
that could get me started?

Many thanks,

Carl

LeeG: Use the Smarthome web site to display each Item number you mentioned. Under each Item is a Quick Start Guide and User Guide link which will provide wiring diagrams and install instructions. The significant difference in using Insteon switches in a 3-way circuit is no traveler wire is used as in a convention 3-way circuit. The switch location where the wire to the load is located install the 2476D, connecting white to neutral, black to line, and red to load. Normally some wire connections need to be rearranged so that the second switch location receives unswitched 120v neutral/line. The red load wire on the second Insteon switch is capped. A 3-way Insteon configuration is a virtual one where the second switch is “linked” to the primary switch rather than wired to the primary switch.

ckeyes: Thanks Lee. I guess I’ll be giving it a go.

Carl

ufo: In a 3-way circuit, is it possible to just replace one of the existing switches with an Insteon and leave the other conventional switch in place?

I’ve been trying hard to do this, but can’t figure it out. There doesnt seem to be any diagrams to explain it either. The only diagram I’ve been able to find is using two insteon’s with one as a virtual switch.

Any advice and pointers to how to wire one insteon and one regular switch in a 3-way config would be much appreciated.

Thanks

Rob

LeeG: No. You cannot control a 3-way with one Insteon switch and one conventional switch. Only one of the Insteon switches (referred to as the primary or load controlling switch) actually controls the load. This switch is powered from unswitched 120V AC with the red wire connected to the load (light, etc) The other Insteon switch(s) (secondary switch) is/are powered with unswitched 120V AC with the red load wire capped. The primary and secondary switch(s) are cross linked to achieve the virtual 3-way circuit.

ufo: Thanks Lee,

This is useful to know. Unfortunate, since it will now cost me 2x to do my install since I was planning on putting one Insteon switch on about 5 3-way circuits. Now I need to buy 5 extra switches 🙁

Rob

Tfitzpatri8: Perhaps, but not necessarily. You may well be able to replace side-by-side switches with a single Keypad and thereby control multiple scenes from one unit, or you might be able to easily remove unused additional switch locations (where a 3-way isn’t required by code). You save quite a bit if you want to add control of a multi-way switch to a location not currently equipped with a traveler wire to the existing 3-way locations, since the digital communications take the place of opening walls to add new wires.

ufo

quote:


Originally posted by Tfitzpatri8

Perhaps, but not necessarily. You may well be able to replace side-by-side switches with a single Keypad and thereby control multiple scenes from one unit, or you might be able to easily remove unused additional switch locations (where a 3-way isn’t required by code). You save quite a bit if you want to add control of a multi-way switch to a location not currently equipped with a traveler wire to the existing 3-way locations, since the digital communications take the place of opening walls to add new wires.


Thanks I hadn’t thought of this. It might help in one location, though I will then end up needing a blank switch-plate to cut the location down from three switches to two, unless I go through the trouble of patching some sheet-rock.

Thinking about this some more, I dont see any reason why Smarthome HAD to have this constraint in place. There are numerous places in my home where there is a Lutron dimmer in one location and a regular switch at the other side of the three-way. I dont see any reason why smarthome couldnt have done the same thing with these Insteon products, except in order to guarantee another $45 by forcing the install of another switch. It perhaps wouldnt have been so bad if they sold some dummy switch for the purpose, but as far as I can tell they dont, and you need the full function dimmer even though most of the functionality is not even used but capped off.

Rob

Tfitzpatri8: We’ve seen SmartLabs take some heat about this design decision, but it is a good one. 

Think about it: this way, all your Insteon switches install the same way–you supply each with a standard 120 volt hot & neutral wire, and they communicate with any other linked Insteon device in your house. There are no worries about traveler wires, no worries about combining high and low voltage devices in the same electrical boxes, no worries about different switches working differently (mechanical switches ‘flip’ between settings, vs. Insteon switches are always ‘press the top to turn on or brighten, press down to dim or turn off), no worries that some devices won’t support a linked dimmer, and the resulting Insteon switch can be installed in a shallower depth electrical box because no additional wires or connections are needed. 

If you want less expensive secondary switches, these compatible slaves are $35 and allow you to brighten and dim:http://www.smarthome.com/2876DB/ICON-Dimmer-INSTEON-Remote-Control-Dimmer-Switch/p.aspx

stusviews

quote:


Originally posted by ufoIt perhaps wouldnt have been so bad if they sold some dummy switch for the purpose, but as far as I can tell they dont, and you need the full function dimmer even though most of the functionality is not even used but capped off.


Each Insteon switch maintains full functionality. Even more, each Insteon switch in a virtual multi-way can have its own preset brightness level and ramp rate. Too, an Insteon switch can be part of a multi-way set-up even if it was not originally wired to be one.

With Insteon, one can even mix functionality. For example, in one outdoor area we have lights A and B. Switch A controls both light A and light B, but switch B controls only light B.

BTW, I do agree that a switch that does not control a load should be available at less cost.

Forum Source: http://forum.smarthome.com/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=6417


Comments

Best anywhere switch? Smarthome Insteon vs. Simply Automated UPB? — 6 Comments

  1. Saw this posting and wanted to respond on your site. I did respond on the Smarthome site but my commentary was not approved. I’ve used Smarthome Insteon products in the past. Insteon products tend to be toylike (cheap). My experience, they don’t last long, sort of work, I’m just a regular DIYer, trying give my honest feedback. Well worth the few extra bucks to go with Simply Automated.

  2. happened to me. left a review for a product I bought at smarthome a few monhts ago, product did not work as advertised, bad quality, they did take it back, gotta admit I was a bit emotional my review was deleted bought similar product from simply automated, easy to instal still working no problems, recommend this company

  3. ive had great support at smarthome,good knowledgeable guys,great website, fair price, only problem is lighting products using insteon are marginal at best, upb so much more powerful flexbile allowing me to do so much more for home installs, been using upb simply automated for the past year, best all around option.

  4. ive had great support at smarthome,good knowledgeable guys,great website, fair price, only problem is lighting products using insteon are marginal at best, upb so much more powerful flexbile allowing me to do so much more for home installs, upb simply automate best all around option.

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