Talk About the Latest in Home Automation/Home Electronics -
Home Automation Forum

Smarthome Forum
Insteon Home Automation
Login or Register
 
Home | Profile | Register | Active Topics | Search | FAQ | Smarthome
 All Forums
 General Discussion
 Insteon
 Insteon Quality/Longevity
 New Topic  Reply to Topic
 Printer Friendly
Next Page
Author Previous Topic Topic Next Topic
Page: of 2

bburns
Starting Member

USA
8 Posts

Posted - 03/03/2017 :  11:41:52 AM  Show Profile  Send bburns an AOL message  Reply with Quote
I have been using Insteon in my home for over 10 years now with over 80 devices installed. So I spent around $5000 initially on just the Insteon HW. So I have quite an extensive set of experience with them. I am also an Electrical Engineer and thus know a fair mount about electronics and power. So don't bother with the excuses of poor power or noisy circuits be the culprit. I have done detailed electrical analysis of my system and there is one clear and obvious culprit: degradation of the device over time, which implies insufficient design margins and poor material quality. Granted that all of us in the electronics industry are suffering from reduce quality electrical components due to the cell phone market driving the standards, but this shortcoming can be overcome.

In my opinion the Insteon devices suffer from some pretty big quality issues, as I'm getting a 3-5 year lifespan out of my devices. Initially I attributed this to my devices being first generation devices and I was willing to forgive them for that. But then my replacement devices started to fail too. At initial install time, the devices will operate at 100% communication success. After 2-3 years the communication success will start to fall off to the 90% range (OK but not great, 9 out of 10 times the light will turn on or off). But then they will continue to degrade with time. What percentage can you live with?

At about the 5 year mark, I had replaced about 50% of my switched. Every since then I have been replacing a couple switches a year.

Now at 10 years in, when I look at my communication report it shows 43 devices with sub par communications. I call sub-par anything below 80%, which is extremely lenient in my opinion. I personally find it extremely frustrating t o turn a light switch on and NOTHING happens!! Light switches are suppose to be virtually infallible. Is the bulb burned out? No it is poor comm between switches!!

From my experience, I have found the Keypad Switches to be the highest failing device type. I don't think I have had a single one last more than 4 years and some of mine rarely get used!!!

Another high failing devices are the Insteon PLMs (computer interface modules). I have gone thru 4 of them:(

I thought the newer generation devices (i2 and i2CS) may have a better track record than the first generation, but my failure rate on these devices are about the same, especially the Keypad switches.

So if you are looking for home lighting automation, then I would strongly suggest that you investigate other alternatives, like Z-wave or Zigbee. I cannot atest to if their quality or lifespan is any better than Insteon. But at least they use an industry standard communication protocol and there are some well known switch manufacturer producing them, like Lutron. Thus you will not have a single source issue as you do with Insteon. They appear to be slightly higher cost than Insteon. But you know the old addage, "You get what you pay for".

It is also quite embarrassing when switches don't work when friends and family are over. Hey you invested all that money in home automation and you can't even turn on a simple light? I've heard that comment more than once:(

So when making the decision to purchase Insteon I would strongly advise you to consider replacement cost on a 3-5 year basis as well as the installation cost whether it be your time or paying an electrician to do it. I know I would make a different decision today than what I made 10 years ago. If you only want to do a couple of switches, then Insteon maybe OK. Anything else, you better be prepared for a long term re-investment strategy.

I have thought several times over the years of switching to a different technology, but was unwilling to pay the huge switchover cost. As I have a lot of time and money invested in Insteon tecnology. My current plan is to begin replacing my failing smart switches to dumb switches and will be investigating one of the alternative technolgies.

Insteon did offer a discount to replace my failing devices, but the discount was not substantial enough to warrant my continued investment of time and money into the insteon money pit. They obviously do not care that much what their customer's think about their product nor maintaining you as a cutomer, when their offer is only marginally cheaper than what you can find them on sale for.

I shall make my experiences known far and wide, as hopefully I can stop someone else from making the same mistake I did. I shall repost in any home automation forum I run across.

BTW I'm not the only one who has come to this conclusion. There are plenty of others reporting similar experiences.

B2

lilyoyo1
Senior Member

230 Posts

Posted - 03/03/2017 :  1:31:56 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
In my opinion advising people to use products based off zero experience using said product is irresponsible. The truth is, there is no perfect protocol. Different forums are filled with people with great systems as well as failures and unresponsive systems. This includes high end systems such as control4 and radio ra.

I agree with early generation insteon devices. Quality was lacking. However over the years, many of the issues have been worked out. It doesnt matter what your field of work in, Ive met quite a few engineers who have had trouble with not only insteon but zwave too. The fact is, there are many variables to take into account device failures.

Coming across as knowing it all doesnt solve any issues. My experiences with Insteon for the past 8 years is the complete opposite. Minimizing the affects of bad electricity, noise only means you will continue to have issues. My investment in devices that minimizes outside interfence have allowed me to use my insteon (and zwave devices) trouble free. Having over 100+ devices over the years with only a few failures of both insteon and zwave.

In the end, being electronic all HA devices will fail at some point.
Go to Top of Page

bburns
Starting Member

USA
8 Posts

Posted - 03/03/2017 :  2:30:28 PM  Show Profile  Send bburns an AOL message  Reply with Quote
I have done the noise analysis and noise elimantion for 10 years now. I have invested a considerable amount of time analyzing this. I'm 99.99% confident that noise is not my issue. It is age related degradation.

The newer generation Keypad Dimmer switches are definitely still failing for me in a 2-4 year period of time. I have had a few of the newer switch dimmers fail as well. Not enough data for me yet to determine if the failure rate is as high as the 1st generation, but it is high enough that I'm concerned about it. BTW I have a few first generation devices that are still marginally working (comm reliability 65% or so).

I did not recommend another technology. I recommended that they should investigate other technologies, as I stated that I was planning on doing. Could be Insteon is the best. If that is true, it is a sad statement for the industry.

For someone without the technical acumen, I would think that maintaining Insteon would be borderline nightmarish. Because much of it is trying to figure out why something is not working and then remeding the situation. Yes you are correct that electrical noise can compound the problem. Detecting and eliminating said noise can be non trivial.

You or others can take my experience for what it is worth. I just have not found the reliability to be very good. Your experience is obviously different or your expectations are lower. I got lured in by my initial installation which worked well for over a year, so I converted my whole house. It wasn't till around the 3 year mark that I started experiencing failures. I have been on the replacement train ever since.

IMHO a light switch should last longer than 3-4 years. Especially if some of those are of the in-line type that take a lot of work to replace.

B2
Go to Top of Page

stusviews
Moderator

USA
15854 Posts

Posted - 03/03/2017 :  2:38:43 PM  Show Profile  Visit stusviews's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Communication difficulties are nearly caused by signal stopmers (overcome the signal) and signal suckers (absorb the signal). I've never experienced an aging device to be the cause of signalling problems.

Stu's Views is Education and Fun. What do YOU want to VIEW today?
MathLandia High school mathematics learning fun.
Both Stu's Views and MathLandia are free websites that do not sell anything.
Saving energy is not always free. Be a world saver.


Please don't PM with questions that can be asked in a forum.
Go to Top of Page

bburns
Starting Member

USA
8 Posts

Posted - 03/03/2017 :  3:21:06 PM  Show Profile  Send bburns an AOL message  Reply with Quote
Stu,

If signal stompers were the issue, then replacing a failing device with a new device would have the same issue (if they used the same comm protocol), which I have done. I have replaced several i2CS devices with new i2CS and comm reliability would go from ~25% to 100% and stay at ~100% for a year or more. I have also hooked up ocilloscopes to verify that somm signal were reaching the failing devices at sufficient signal levels. So I am pretty sure that the transcievers are sufferring from age related degradation. Now I have not cracked a switch open to isolate the exact failure. But I do have a rather large sample set (on the order of 240 devices) and collected data for over 10 years that clearly shows that my comm reliability degrades over time. This is not an isolated problem. I have been dealing with it for 10 years now and I have had these similar discussions with Insteon Tech support. As I said their go to response is noise, because hey that is the easy answer and the problem is not theirs...it is yours. If you keep pressing them and prove that it is not noise (yes I have a test rig that is totally electrically isolated that I can test devices on), then they will begrudgingly admit that they have some failure issues. But given your moderator, I find it quite surprising you have never experienced aging issues and would have to seriously question your expertise. Every electrical component ever created has age related degradation to state otherwise is just crazy. Some age failures are a step function, but oscillators (one of the key components for the communications) definitely drift with age. How long your device operates depends heavily on the quality of the design and quality of the components. I suspect that one or both of them are lacking here. I would also submit that the noise tolerance of these devices is to low. I would also state that if common hosehold devices, such as flourescent lights, can cause communication failures, then I would say that is a very poor design point. The whole dual-band devices was suppose to resolve those types of issue (at least that was the claim).

B2
Go to Top of Page

BLH
Advanced Member

5706 Posts

Posted - 03/03/2017 :  3:43:10 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
The 2413S PLM has a power supply issue. There is along thread on the UDI forums on how we have rebuilt ours with better capacitors.

I have also had two of the hardware V2 series 2443 Access Points also fail. Same base PCB in it as the 2413 PLM's
Same fix as the PLMs.


Edited by - BLH on 03/03/2017 3:56:18 PM
Go to Top of Page

EVIL Teken
Advanced Member

Canada
2352 Posts

Posted - 03/03/2017 :  8:12:40 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Almost every device that has failed the root cause has been due to poor capacitors for the following devices: 2413S PLM, KPL, Switch linc.

Other major failures have been the 2412N network card.

The 240 VAC load controller was impacted by design flaws in the PSU, relays, and PCB layout. The first generation dual band lamp linc had a combination of PSU, component selection failures. Since the introduction of 100 ~ 277 VAC operating PSU for most of the Insteon product line. Failures due to power surges / sags are less common but that doesn't negate the fact cheap parts are still being used.

The 2413S PLM has gone through three major hardware revisions and yet this single device continues to fail at or around the two year mark. Like the OP I truly believe something made in 2017 should operate and last for at least 10 years if not longer.

Unfortunately, Insteon and everybody else in the world are not concerned about longevity as we live in a throw away society. This is not unique to Insteon as almost every industry has this same mentality because we the people ask, want, and demand the lowest price. The sad reality is if you find something that operates, performs, and offers reliable performance cherish it like gold!

Because that will be far and few to be seen in the market place . . .

Teken . . .

Want to make a real difference? Cast your vote to make the PLM Pro a reality: http://forum.insteon.com/forum/main-category/new-insteon-device-wish-list/8221-plm-pro
Go to Top of Page

gregcolins
Junior Member

51 Posts

Posted - 03/04/2017 :  07:38:44 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
This is sad. I've invested several thousand thinking I was investing in quality. Four years later I have a failing system. Every time I try to fix it i make the problem worse. Devices no longer go into linking mode, etc. I have thrown several units straight into the garbage as they didn't work right out of the box (they had been on the shelf for some time and I no longer had receipt if it was even still under warranty). Now that the big guys are getting into the game I don't see how they are going to make it. Especially with zero customer service. I feel like the should be able to send a pic or video from my phone of an inop device and have a new one sent to me no questions asked.

The market for these devices is here today. Friends with no interest in electronics are installing home automation, not insteon of course. The insteon technology is great with the redundancy, etc. but the execution is terrible. Penny wise and pound foolish as they say across the pond. My hope is they will sell the tech to someone who knows how to scale it up, design, market, and support the products. Lest we all be left with no option but fully replace - which is where I am now frankly.
Go to Top of Page

lilyoyo1
Senior Member

230 Posts

Posted - 03/04/2017 :  10:46:19 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Gregcolins, no company is going to say send them a pic or video and send you a new device without questions. That would quickly send them down the road to ruin.

Personally Insteons warranty service is quite liberal (when you get through) Within the 1st 2 years, they will swap out your device. Of course, they will try to troubleshoot it first (but what company wouldnt? Ive seen them swap devices 3 to 4 years after the fact (exception not the rule). The problem is when customers are outside the warranty period. Many companies operate the same way. Under warranty they take care of you. Outside of the warranty and it becomes the exception when they do.

Teken: We all would love for any and everything we buy to last at least 10 years. Like you said though, we want to pay the lowest price possible.

No one bats an eye when their 1500 dollar tv fails 5-6 years in. They simply get another. one. Its more noticeable when its a device such as a switch simply because you have multiples which means multiple failures. We take the time to protect our tvs with expensive surge protectors and power conditioners but most dont invest in things to do protect their HA devices. (I know many zwave customers with the same complaints about different zwave brands). Taking the time to properly protect your investmwnt can go a long way to ensure enjoyment for many years.
Go to Top of Page

EVIL Teken
Advanced Member

Canada
2352 Posts

Posted - 03/04/2017 :  1:51:44 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by lilyoyo1

Gregcolins, no company is going to say send them a pic or video and send you a new device without questions. That would quickly send them down the road to ruin.

Personally Insteons warranty service is quite liberal (when you get through) Within the 1st 2 years, they will swap out your device. Of course, they will try to troubleshoot it first (but what company wouldnt? Ive seen them swap devices 3 to 4 years after the fact (exception not the rule). The problem is when customers are outside the warranty period. Many companies operate the same way. Under warranty they take care of you. Outside of the warranty and it becomes the exception when they do.

Teken: We all would love for any and everything we buy to last at least 10 years. Like you said though, we want to pay the lowest price possible.

No one bats an eye when their 1500 dollar tv fails 5-6 years in. They simply get another. one. Its more noticeable when its a device such as a switch simply because you have multiples which means multiple failures. We take the time to protect our tvs with expensive surge protectors and power conditioners but most dont invest in things to do protect their HA devices. (I know many zwave customers with the same complaints about different zwave brands). Taking the time to properly protect your investmwnt can go a long way to ensure enjoyment for many years.



While I agree to a certain extent some items in the home people just chock it off as *This is expected* short life expectancy whether it be XYZ electronic device. Having said this, its important to stress the point that since these devices are used on a daily basis they must in themselves offer robust design and component selection.

We all know the Home Automation field is finally starting to take off for the general public. Given Smartlabs is a single vendor maker it behooves them to push their product to excel in all areas of features, design, and service cycle life.

Given the market is wide open from X-10, Z-Wave, ZigBee, WiFi, BLE, Smartlabs can not drop the ball in pushing the reliability front. The public has no stomach for half baked products and also have too many choices which can supplant Insteon in a heartbeat.

The benefits and edge Insteon has over many of the other protocols is having a unified eco system that over all just works. You don't have to buy hundreds of dollars of Z-Wave / ZigBee products only to find out X vs Y doesn't offer even the most basic feature of instant status!

Never mind the sh^t show of variability between following so called standards which none of the Z-Wave / ZigBee seem to follow, implement, or completely.

Anyone who has read my rants, raves, and feedback knows I have no problem throwing Smartlabs / Insteon under the bus when warranted. But I have to say out of all the home automation protocols Insteon continues to lead in many of the basic to advanced features that just make sense and adds value to the end user.

From watching this company since 2007 they have continued to refine, release, and update their product line. From the humble Insteon protocol to dual band on most hardware. They have consistently released at least one new / modified product a year when compared to other market vendors.

They have offered some of the cheapest HUB controllers in the market which offer connections to some of the most wanted products and services with a extremely sexy and easy to use smart application which support Amazon Echo, Harmony, Stringify, Apple Watch, Apple Home Kit, etc.

With that said I see great room for improvement in the areas of security and energy monitoring / energy management. The Z-Wave camp has led in this area by offering true encryption in their latest Generation 5 chip set. Insteon in 2017 still doesn't offer anything in this area given the endless DDOS attacks, hacks, and other security risks that plaque the Interwebs.

Z-Wave also leads in the market in having multi vendors which support basic to some advanced energy monitoring in basic hardware from outlets to switches!

Yet, these two (basic) features still remain absent from the Insteon product line . . .

Security is not a nice to have in 2017 - Its expected and required in any of the so called IoT hardware we all use today. Given the slow but steady pace of, awareness, and adoption of energy monitoring / energy management Smartlabs must lead in this space. By this I don't mean just offering some random *Toy* that has no ability to adjust and compensate for line voltage which is the only method to offer true wattage / KWH accuracy.

In 2017 and moving forward Smartlabs must integrate high accuracy energy monitoring into all of their major product lines. Doing so will enable their product to be used in every day homes and help those who wish to lower and manage their energy consumption the ability to see hard cold stats and not have to guess.

Lastly, Smartabs / Insteon must start to formally support all types of loads!! There is no excuse to reference a dieing and band product which we call *Incandescent* light bulbs.

Again, the Z-Wave / ZigBee camp has several vendors who tout complete load support from ballast, magnetic, LED, CFL, Incandescent, etc.


Teken . . .

Want to make a real difference? Cast your vote to make the PLM Pro a reality: http://forum.insteon.com/forum/main-category/new-insteon-device-wish-list/8221-plm-pro

Edited by - EVIL Teken on 03/04/2017 1:54:00 PM
Go to Top of Page

lilyoyo1
Senior Member

230 Posts

Posted - 03/04/2017 :  9:46:08 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I agree with all that you say. With that said there is not a single HA company that can claim success with every load tyoe from every mfg. This includes the high end HA companies. Unfortunately there are simply to many variables out there for any one company to do so.

I wouldn't count insteon out just yet. Just because something hasnt come out yet does not mean they are not working towards it. While many may be clamoring for information towards energy monitoring, the major chunk of their clientele may not be for them to simply rush something to market just so they can have something. They have unsold product now because of a few loudly pushing for something only to have it sit because the majority simply do not care. As you already alluded to, its a slow pace. With that said, they see the market and I am quite sure are addressing some of their short comings.

Using Zwave as an example, version 5 has some really great features built in. However most companies are not taking advantage of all that it has to offer. Many of the offerings are half-baked or go unused. I'd prefer them take their time and do it correct rather than come out with something just because.
Go to Top of Page

gregcolins
Junior Member

51 Posts

Posted - 03/06/2017 :  07:44:35 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by lilyoyo1

Gregcolins, no company is going to say send them a pic or video and send you a new device without questions. That would quickly send them down the road to ruin.

Personally Insteons warranty service is quite liberal (when you get through) Within the 1st 2 years, they will swap out your device. Of course, they will try to troubleshoot it first (but what company wouldnt? Ive seen them swap devices 3 to 4 years after the fact (exception not the rule). The problem is when customers are outside the warranty period. Many companies operate the same way. Under warranty they take care of you. Outside of the warranty and it becomes the exception when they do.

Teken: We all would love for any and everything we buy to last at least 10 years. Like you said though, we want to pay the lowest price possible.

No one bats an eye when their 1500 dollar tv fails 5-6 years in. They simply get another. one. Its more noticeable when its a device such as a switch simply because you have multiples which means multiple failures. We take the time to protect our tvs with expensive surge protectors and power conditioners but most dont invest in things to do protect their HA devices. (I know many zwave customers with the same complaints about different zwave brands). Taking the time to properly protect your investmwnt can go a long way to ensure enjoyment for many years.



I'm not sure I agree with you here. I think we all can list some companies we have done business with that will do exactly that - issue a return no questions asked. Most recently for me Anderson doors. "sir that door handle shouldn't break even if your kid is swinging from it. A replacement will be there in two days. I'm sending the link to the video that explains how to replace it. Toss the old one in the trash. Call if you have any trouble". Done. $150 part.

We are talking about $50- $80 dollar light switches here. The point I was trying to make is that the future of the HA business is not with the hobbyist as in the past. It's with the general public. And the average consumer isn't going to stand for an $80 KPL that quits working after any reasonable period of time.

We as hobbyists (let's face it if you're talking about it in a chat forum you're a hobbyist to some degree) empathize with the challenge the engineers face in making a fail proof product. However, the average consumer will not. As far as they are concerned, a $3.99 mechanical switch has an indefinite service life, why shouldn't a switch that costs literally up to 20x more?

I may be way off the mark here as I have never seen Insteon's financials, but I think it's safe to say the major expenses with these products lie in research and development, general overhead, marketing, etc. While the overall manufacturing expense is likely very significant, the cost of any one single device is probably relatively low.

So the question becomes if I have a device I want to return for any reason what does it actually cost them? And just as importantly, what do they gain in terms of customer satisfaction and confidence? It's an equation - and maybe it doesn't work out - but if that's the case they have real problems looking forward. In any case, I'm rooting for them as I am heavily invested...just thought I would put my $.02 in as a consumer.

Go to Top of Page

oberkc
Advanced Member

USA
3678 Posts

Posted - 03/06/2017 :  10:26:32 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
As far as they are concerned, a $3.99 mechanical switch has an indefinite service life, why shouldn't a switch that costs literally up to 20x more?


Most of your points are probably fair. However, I am not sure that higher prices, alone, guarantee longevity or satisfaction. If that were the case, none of us would be happy with cell phones (the phone I purchased 30 years ago for $20 still works).
Go to Top of Page

kioolt
New Member

27 Posts

Posted - 03/06/2017 :  1:02:08 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Where did you purchase a digital cell phone 30 years ago or who provides you with analog cell phone service now?
Go to Top of Page

oberkc
Advanced Member

USA
3678 Posts

Posted - 03/06/2017 :  1:29:39 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by kioolt

Where did you purchase a digital cell phone 30 years ago or who provides you with analog cell phone service now?



Obviously, I did not. But the land line phone from 30 years ago still works fine. And that is the point. Just because a simple mechanical switch (or landline phone) still works after 30 years does not cause one to expect an insteon switch (or cell phone) to last equally long.

It is not fair to compare a dumb switch to a smart switch. One does a lot more than the other. One is more complicated than the other. Yes, one costs more than the other. Yes, the simple one will probably last longer.

I suspect most people understand the differences between a dumb switch and an insteon switch and don't expect the insteon (or zwave, or wifi, or zigbee, or etc...) to last as long.

At least I hope that is the case.
Go to Top of Page

stusviews
Moderator

USA
15854 Posts

Posted - 03/06/2017 :  3:41:48 PM  Show Profile  Visit stusviews's Homepage  Reply with Quote
That $150 handle was probably part of a much, much more costly door.

A $3.99 switch is purely mechanical. I've installed fully functional mechanical push-button switches that were more than 100 years old. Try that with anything electronic.

Stu's Views is Education and Fun. What do YOU want to VIEW today?
MathLandia High school mathematics learning fun.
Both Stu's Views and MathLandia are free websites that do not sell anything.
Saving energy is not always free. Be a world saver.


Please don't PM with questions that can be asked in a forum.
Go to Top of Page

lilyoyo1
Senior Member

230 Posts

Posted - 03/06/2017 :  9:44:09 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Any company doing a swap, no questions asked is generally the exception not the rule. Especially when it comes to electronics.
Go to Top of Page

stusviews
Moderator

USA
15854 Posts

Posted - 03/06/2017 :  10:37:19 PM  Show Profile  Visit stusviews's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Amazon does that. Home Depot does that. Lowes does that. Many more do.

Even SH does that for non-Insteon devices. OTOH, many, many Insteon problems can be cured by phone of a forum.

It often is situational. But, not always. If I buy a $1000 product and a $150 part breaks, I'd expect a no questions asked replacement.

A broken switch on a mixer may evoke some questions.

Stu's Views is Education and Fun. What do YOU want to VIEW today?
MathLandia High school mathematics learning fun.
Both Stu's Views and MathLandia are free websites that do not sell anything.
Saving energy is not always free. Be a world saver.


Please don't PM with questions that can be asked in a forum.
Go to Top of Page

lilyoyo1
Senior Member

230 Posts

Posted - 03/07/2017 :  1:27:13 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
During the 30 day period. None of which will do a warranty swap with no questions asked afterwards. Outside of that most companies will send younto the vendor who at which point will want to troubleshoot
Go to Top of Page

bburns
Starting Member

USA
8 Posts

Posted - 03/24/2017 :  12:10:27 PM  Show Profile  Send bburns an AOL message  Reply with Quote
So here is a prime example of the keypad linc's being problematic. I just replaced all 3 switches in a 3-gang box around 3 weeks ago. They all 3 share the same hot and common lines. I have double checked the connections and they are all solid. The KeypadLinc fails 29% of the time, while the SwitchlLinc Dimmers virtually never failed. Furthermore, the room where these switches has not been used since installation, so nothing has been powered on and the devices have not had a load.

Media Room Media KP/Sconces Click to edit device links 44.7B.E8 Dual-Band KeypadLinc Dimmer 45 21 i2CS 71% (126 failed out of 436 cmds) 1 300 10 Good
Media Room Media Spot Lights Click to edit device links 44.EC.79 Dual-Band SwitchLinc Dimmer 45 21 i2CS 100% (3 failed out of 970 cmds) 759 253 38 Good
Media Room Screen Spot Lights Click to edit device links 44.F8.7A Dual-Band SwitchLinc Dimmer 45 21 i2CS 100% (1 failed out of 962 cmds) 944 104 13 Excellent


B2
Go to Top of Page

matapan
Starting Member

USA
10 Posts

Posted - 03/24/2017 :  1:07:49 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
bburns: I'm interested in your experience and your assertion that the devices degrade over time. I've taken the task of cleaning up my Insteon setup with the idea of improving the overall reliability of the system.

When you mentioned the Keypadlinc setup in a 3 gang box, I could relate immediately. My setup consists of a Keypadlinc Dual-Band Keypad On/Off Switch 2487S and 2 Dual Band Switchlinc 2477D dimmers.

One of the Keypadlinc buttons I use to control my garage door didn't work 100% of the time. Over the course of the past month, I've gone from using programs to open/close the door and to report status using the Keypadlinc button state to using two scenes to activate the door and report status on the 3 Keypadlincs linked to the IOLinc sensor.

I originally had a single dual band device in the box, the Keypadlinc. To improve signal reliability, I added one, and then two dual band Switchlincs. Replacing the single band devices with dual band units did nothing to improve reliability. In fact, it seems that replacing the 2nd Switchlinc caused the garage button not to operate the door at all.

I was able to remedy the problem by installing a dual band Lamplinc in a plug on a different circuit near the 3 gang box. The garage door button that was not working at all now does.

Based on your post, I plan to identify troublesome switches by removing them and installing them in a test bed consisting of a lamp wired up to the device that can be plugged into an outlet. By plugging it into an outlet on a circuit that is known to be clean, I hope this will help me determine if the switch with problems sending cleanup acknowledgements in an ISY Scene Test may have problems or if it's a communication problem at the specific location the switch was installed.

Have you been monitoring and profiling the frequency of communication failures occurring with a switch or device over time?

Edited by - matapan on 03/24/2017 1:10:36 PM
Go to Top of Page

stusviews
Moderator

USA
15854 Posts

Posted - 03/24/2017 :  7:32:04 PM  Show Profile  Visit stusviews's Homepage  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by matapan
I originally had a single dual band device in the box, the Keypadlinc. To improve signal reliability, I added one, and then two dual band Switchlincs. Replacing the single band devices with dual band units did nothing to improve reliability. In fact, it seems that replacing the 2nd Switchlinc caused the garage button not to operate the door at all.

I was able to remedy the problem by installing a dual band Lamplinc in a plug on a different circuit near the 3 gang box. The garage door button that was not working at all now does.


That suggests that the Keypad and GDO are on opposite legs of the split, single-phase electric supply and the LampLinc helped to bridge the electric wiring for Insteon signals.

Stu's Views is Education and Fun. What do YOU want to VIEW today?
MathLandia High school mathematics learning fun.
Both Stu's Views and MathLandia are free websites that do not sell anything.
Saving energy is not always free. Be a world saver.


Please don't PM with questions that can be asked in a forum.
Go to Top of Page

bburns
Starting Member

USA
8 Posts

Posted - 03/25/2017 :  07:34:15 AM  Show Profile  Send bburns an AOL message  Reply with Quote
matapan,

Yes, I have done quite a bit of testing over the 10+ years that I have been using Insteon switches. What I posted, came from the Homeseer software that I use to manage my Insteon setup. Unfortunately my experience with KeypadLinc devices is really bad. The ones that I have that are under a heavier load tend to fail sooner. Some like this one fail under no load and very fast, fortunately I can send this one back for replacement. They usually fail in the 2 to 3 year period for me (i have 6 KeypadLincs and they have each been replaced 3-4 times in the last 10 years), while the normal switches seem to last a little bit longer.


B2
Go to Top of Page

TimK
Starting Member

11 Posts

Posted - 03/25/2017 :  08:04:25 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Just a FYI note about the warranty period -- if these devices are purchased using a Visa credit card for payment, the manufacturer's warranty is extended by one year. Yes, it's a bit of a hassle to make the claim (it's all online) through Visa card services, but it does add some margin to the standard warranty.
Go to Top of Page

roadking2003
Junior Member

USA
46 Posts

Posted - 03/30/2017 :  05:18:25 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by TimK

Just a FYI note about the warranty period -- if these devices are purchased using a Visa credit card for payment, the manufacturer's warranty is extended by one year. Yes, it's a bit of a hassle to make the claim (it's all online) through Visa card services, but it does add some margin to the standard warranty.



This is true and it's not just Visa. I replaced my last PLM for free via my Mastercard extended warranty.

Also, PLM prices are much lower at Amazon ($53.86 with free shipping) than at SmartHome.
Go to Top of Page

razemania
Average Member

81 Posts

Posted - 05/25/2017 :  09:56:42 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I appreciate this post a lot. i've replaced almost 10 devices over the past few years and have another 2 that are not responding to my ISY. Others hum (a sign that they are going out too - as the other have in the past.)

So, can the ISY be configured to work with another system, or is it Insteon only?

quote:
Originally posted by bburns

I have been using Insteon in my home for over 10 years now with over 80 devices installed. So I spent around $5000 initially on just the Insteon HW. So I have quite an extensive set of experience with them. I am also an Electrical Engineer and thus know a fair mount about electronics and power. So don't bother with the excuses of poor power or noisy circuits be the culprit. I have done detailed electrical analysis of my system and there is one clear and obvious culprit: degradation of the device over time, which implies insufficient design margins and poor material quality. Granted that all of us in the electronics industry are suffering from reduce quality electrical components due to the cell phone market driving the standards, but this shortcoming can be overcome.

In my opinion the Insteon devices suffer from some pretty big quality issues, as I'm getting a 3-5 year lifespan out of my devices. Initially I attributed this to my devices being first generation devices and I was willing to forgive them for that. But then my replacement devices started to fail too. At initial install time, the devices will operate at 100% communication success. After 2-3 years the communication success will start to fall off to the 90% range (OK but not great, 9 out of 10 times the light will turn on or off). But then they will continue to degrade with time. What percentage can you live with?

At about the 5 year mark, I had replaced about 50% of my switched. Every since then I have been replacing a couple switches a year.

Now at 10 years in, when I look at my communication report it shows 43 devices with sub par communications. I call sub-par anything below 80%, which is extremely lenient in my opinion. I personally find it extremely frustrating t o turn a light switch on and NOTHING happens!! Light switches are suppose to be virtually infallible. Is the bulb burned out? No it is poor comm between switches!!

From my experience, I have found the Keypad Switches to be the highest failing device type. I don't think I have had a single one last more than 4 years and some of mine rarely get used!!!

Another high failing devices are the Insteon PLMs (computer interface modules). I have gone thru 4 of them:(

I thought the newer generation devices (i2 and i2CS) may have a better track record than the first generation, but my failure rate on these devices are about the same, especially the Keypad switches.

So if you are looking for home lighting automation, then I would strongly suggest that you investigate other alternatives, like Z-wave or Zigbee. I cannot atest to if their quality or lifespan is any better than Insteon. But at least they use an industry standard communication protocol and there are some well known switch manufacturer producing them, like Lutron. Thus you will not have a single source issue as you do with Insteon. They appear to be slightly higher cost than Insteon. But you know the old addage, "You get what you pay for".

It is also quite embarrassing when switches don't work when friends and family are over. Hey you invested all that money in home automation and you can't even turn on a simple light? I've heard that comment more than once:(

So when making the decision to purchase Insteon I would strongly advise you to consider replacement cost on a 3-5 year basis as well as the installation cost whether it be your time or paying an electrician to do it. I know I would make a different decision today than what I made 10 years ago. If you only want to do a couple of switches, then Insteon maybe OK. Anything else, you better be prepared for a long term re-investment strategy.

I have thought several times over the years of switching to a different technology, but was unwilling to pay the huge switchover cost. As I have a lot of time and money invested in Insteon tecnology. My current plan is to begin replacing my failing smart switches to dumb switches and will be investigating one of the alternative technolgies.

Insteon did offer a discount to replace my failing devices, but the discount was not substantial enough to warrant my continued investment of time and money into the insteon money pit. They obviously do not care that much what their customer's think about their product nor maintaining you as a cutomer, when their offer is only marginally cheaper than what you can find them on sale for.

I shall make my experiences known far and wide, as hopefully I can stop someone else from making the same mistake I did. I shall repost in any home automation forum I run across.

BTW I'm not the only one who has come to this conclusion. There are plenty of others reporting similar experiences.

Go to Top of Page

BLH
Advanced Member

5706 Posts

Posted - 05/25/2017 :  10:03:44 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Discontinued ISY99i or present model ISY994i?

The ISY994i can have a owner installed Z-Wave board added to it and do ZWave. With or without Insteon. If Z-Wave only it doesn't even need a PLM. As there is a firmware version that does not go into safe mode if a PLM is not detected at power up.

Both could do X10 but that would be a step backwards.

Edited by - BLH on 05/25/2017 10:14:21 AM
Go to Top of Page

razemania
Average Member

81 Posts

Posted - 05/25/2017 :  10:17:28 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
ISY994i

Thank you for the info.

I'm not sure if I should post a new topic or reply here as it's related.

I have an old Iconlink (was that the name - the pre switchlinc dimmer) and a new Keypadlinc - both are no longer responding to the ISY or any remote. They only work when using the actual switch manually. Does this mean end of life is soon to come?

I'm thinking of just buying 2 more KPL using the current sale, despite my frustrations with all these devices dying.

My apologies if this should be a new topic.

quote:
Originally posted by BLH

Discontinued ISY99i or present model ISY994i?

The ISY994i can have a owner installed Z-Wave board added to it and do ZWave. With or without Insteon. If Z-Wave only it doesn't even need a PLM. As there is a firmware version that does not go into safe mode if a PLM is not detected at power up.

Both could do X10 but that would be a step backwards.

Go to Top of Page

BLH
Advanced Member

5706 Posts

Posted - 05/25/2017 :  12:50:30 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
The single band power line only SwitchLincs where the 2476S 2476D. I think you maybe thinking of the less feature power line only 2876S 2876D Insteon Icon Line.

I would check if possible with the ISY994i reading the problem modules link database and the compare function to see what the ISY994i thinks the links should be. Maybe a factory reset on the problem modules and try an ISY994i restore to them.
Go to Top of Page

razemania
Average Member

81 Posts

Posted - 05/25/2017 :  9:44:50 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
The ISY just has a red exclamation point in front of the Icon switch and the Keypadlinc. The Keypadlinc responds to a remotelinc 2 but nothing else. The buttons still control other devices including the local.

I tried to factory reset the icon switch, but no difference.

quote:
Originally posted by BLH

The single band power line only SwitchLincs where the 2476S 2476D. I think you maybe thinking of the less feature power line only 2876S 2876D Insteon Icon Line.

I would check if possible with the ISY994i reading the problem modules link database and the compare function to see what the ISY994i thinks the links should be. Maybe a factory reset on the problem modules and try an ISY994i restore to them.


Go to Top of Page

Tfitzpatri8
Administrator

USA
10564 Posts

Posted - 05/25/2017 :  10:26:38 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
That red exclamation tells you the ISY can't communicate with the device, but it doesn't tell you if it is a simple signal/noise problem or something more serious. Problems could be caused by other non-incandescent bulbs or appliances on either the PLM or module circuit, even the module load itself. What potential interference sources are connected to those circuits?

Volunteer Moderator & Home Automation Enthusiast
Go to Top of Page
Page: of 2 Previous Topic Topic Next Topic  
Next Page
 New Topic  Reply to Topic
 Printer Friendly
Jump To:
Smarthome Forum © 2000-2017 Smartlabs, Inc Go To Top Of Page
Powered By: Snitz Forums 2000 Version 3.4.07