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diggen
Starting Member

USA
1 Posts

Posted - 12/21/2017 :  07:56:44 AM  Show Profile  Visit diggen's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Hello Everyone !

I have a project of building a whole Smart Home Automation in my house
It’s not a huge house (just over 3100 Sq. Ft), but I wish to build a very thorough Smart Home system :-
=> I want it to be very exhaustive, very smart, and very efficient.

I have been thoroughly studying for many months now, available brands and solutions in the US
I have been through Crestron, Control4, Savant, Samsung Smart Home, HomeSeer, Nest, and many other manufacturers….
I have also studied available compatibilities through existing (either open or proprietary) protocols (Z-wave, Zigbee, X10, Home Plug, Legacy….)

After a lot of reflections, reading websites, dedicated forums and chat rooms, I have finally come to the conclusion that INSTEON could be the best for me.
So I have been on the "SmartHome" website, and I am almost ready to purchase all the items in my cart below (it’s over 95 devices !)

But before validating my order, I need to ask some questions, and have them answered as precisely as possible

1) On their website, there are huge choices of possible solutions, brands, systems, etc.
How to be sure that what I have ordered will 100% be compatible and usable with my Insteon Ecosystem (Hubs, Devices, Apps…)

2) I know SmartHome is an official (of not the biggest) reseller for Insteon, so I presume they do sell all of what is available in Insteon’s lines of products
- How come there are no “native” Insteon products for House Alarm system ?
- And no “native” Insteon products for Door locking ?
- And no “native” Insteon products for Smart Power Plugs energy metering (electricity consumption monitoring and reporting) ?
- Unless I have not seen them on your website (then If they do exist, please tell me where to find them ?)

3) With regards to that, in such case, how to make sure that ordering third party devices ?
- I wish to buy many door locks items (see my car) : which one to choose, in order to make sure it works 100% with my future Insteon Hub ?
(e.g. it is compatible, smart management possible, remote controlling and monitoring possible, etc…) ?
- I also needs most of my Smart Power outlets and Smart Plugs modules to be able to meter and report the power consumption
(so which one to choose for that ? is the Dome Z-Wave compatible ? or the Elgato Eve Energy one ? or the Belkin Wemo one ?
- If none of the Insteon Power Plugs and Power Outlet can meter/report energy consumption, is it possible to replace them with third party plugs/outlets ?

4) A also wish to purchase an alarm system for my house : how to choose which one (third party brand ?)
- Since Insteon does not provide alarm device, but does provide Cameras, Motion detectors, sensors, etc :
- how to choose compatible alarm system ? how to choose an alarm system that would be 100% compatible with Insteon devices ?
- Insteon Cameras, Insteon Detectors and sensors, doors sensors, motion detection, etc…

5) I don’t know if I’m clear, but I really like Insteon (over all other brands and systems), hence I want to have a full INTEON backbone
- I want to use as many (and as much) Insteon devices as available, and order all available Insteon products that will fit my needs
- but for non-existing “native” Insteon products, I will need to buy third party products (door locks, alarm system, other “non Insteon available functions devices”, etc….)
- Hence, how can I chose other devices on your website (brand ? technology ? protocol ? ) in order to make sure they will 100% comply with my Insteon Backbone ?

6) Another questions about the micro-modules & Embedded Devices to fit-in existing switches and plugs
- I do understand that they are designed to be small and compact, in order to use existing legacy plugs, switches and toggles (lights, appliances, etc…)
- So what is the advantage using them, over buying new smart plugs, smart toggles, smart switches ?
- If the costs are similar, and if I don’t particularly want to keep my existing (rather old) switches, plugs, and toggle :
=> Would there be any advantage using micro-modules (embedded devices) instead of buying new native smart devices ?

7) Another question about international products : I have some family and friends in Europe, who want me to get their Homes automated
- I also want to use Insteon over there (they are in Europe, mainly in France, Germany and Switzerland)µ
- Although there is a lot of competition (other brands) in Europe, I really want to use Insteon as well….
- But I am surprised because I have managed to find some devices (mainly on Amazon), Smart Plugs, Smart Switches, etc…
- But I have not seen anywhere to find the famous Insteon Smart Hub (the most recent one)…
- So where to find more Insteon Devices (and especially the Hub) in Europe ?
- I have seen the “International Product Pages” on Insteon Website http://www.insteon.com/insteon-international
- But the range of products is very limited, and especially, I don’t see any reference to the Insteon Hub
- So how to monitor / control / manage all the Insteon devices without the Insteon Hub ?

Thank you for your help, and for your feedback


lilyoyo1
Senior Member

230 Posts

Posted - 12/21/2017 :  2:28:07 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
This is a peer to peer forum so the likelihood of someone from smarthome responding is next to none.

No single company makes every product for home automation. Zwave comes close though since its about the protocol and less about individual manufacturers. When it comes to Insteon they are only focused on making devices geared towards lighting though some wish they would make things like an actual lock.

You can still achieve that all in 1 solution. Using the ISY994IZ with Elk module, you can integrate the ELK alarm system with Insteon, Zwave doorlocks, as well as additional zwave based devices for your energy monitoring needs. While Insteon may one day have energy monitoring, historically for their consumer base, there hasnt been much need for them. There are those who would love to have this but for most of their consumer base, there simply hasnt been enough of a demand. That could change in the future however. Personally, for many things, I would rather use something that truly excels at its task than a jack of all trades type device.

As long as you stick with major Zwave manufacturers, you will be ok with locks. I would go with Schlage, Yale, or kwikset. It comes down to personal choice however as all have different designs for their locks.

Using micromodules with existing switches vs standard switches is personal choice. Id rather replace the switch since its easier to work with over micro modules in standard wall boxes (in my opinion). Outside of that, there is zero benefit of using micro devices.

Cameras are stand alone devices. Using Insteon branded cameras offer no tangible benefit to an insteon system unless you use the hub. The only ability it gives you then is being able to view it from your hub app. I would recommend going with another camera personally (a hard wired system at that).
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stusviews
Moderator

USA
15854 Posts

Posted - 12/21/2017 :  6:49:26 PM  Show Profile  Visit stusviews's Homepage  Reply with Quote
1. Insteon is a manufacturer and designer of home automation products. Smarthome is a retail outlet for both home automation and other products, too. Smarthome is also the primary, but not only, retailer for Insteon products.

Any product that Smarthome sells that is compatible with the Insteon protcol will indicate as such. If Insteon is not specifically mentioned, then the product is not Insteon compatible.

2. Do not confuse home automation with home security. They are entirely different fields. Any product that claims to do both is providing you with "false security." However, some Insteon devices can be used to supplement (but not to replace) home security.

If you do require a home security system, then only a home security system will do. Elk is a DIY home security system that integrates with Insteon home automation products.

3. As with a security system, locks should be considered separately. Lock manufacturers don't make security systems, security device manufacturers don't make locks. At least, no major manufacturers do, although some features may overlap. Some would consider a remote controlled lock as a breach of security. Certainly banks don't use them. A physical presence is required. A remote-controlled lock can be thought of as a convenience, not a security measure.

4. An alarm system should be considered on it's own merits, not how it integrates with your lighting. Cameras, too, supplement, but do not supplant, a good security system. I already indicated the Elk fits well with Insteon.

5. Insteon is, IMO, a solid backbone for home automation--but just that--home automation. Do not conflate home automation with home security.

Home automation does not need a power backup, indeed most power backups interfere with home automation. Home security requires a power backup. Home security must function even if power goes down or is cut.

6. Micro Modules have their own niche of uses. For example, older homes often don't have a neutral wire in every switch box. Wired Insteon devices require one (with one exception) A Micro Module avoids opening a wall and/or ceiling to provide that neutral.

I use then to make any wired motion sensor, indoor or outdoor, Insteon compatible. They're also handy to convert a pull-chain light to Insteon.

7. There are a few Insteon compatible devices for use in some other countries, but the demand is not enough at this time to provide a full line of products.

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oberkc
Advanced Member

USA
3677 Posts

Posted - 12/21/2017 :  7:13:32 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
In general, I would ask what "automation" you are trying to achieve. Some seem satisfied with simple remote control from a cell phone. If you are looking for little more than this or a few simple timers, you may be satisfied with the insteon hub. But...you say you want it "very smart". Well, I suggest skipping the insteon hub and going with the ISY-994, as others have suggested.

The ISY-994 works great with insteon devices. It also provides ability to incorporate other types such as z-wave. With a little work, you can control phillips hue and similar devices. I find that there is enough gadgets among insteon and z-wave that I go wanting for very little.

I agree with the others, so I will not elaborate further on the points they made. I will, however, add:

1) if you go with the ISY-994 controller, I believe you will find it compatible with anything insteon.

3) if you go with the ISY-994 controller, I believe most z-wave locks and switches you will find compatible. However, I am unsure what "compatibility" you are seeking between energy consumption and automation, nor what you intend to do with the data produced by your energy-measuring outlets.

4) I view cameras as a separate function from automation. Not sure what you expect automation to do with a camera, or vice versa. There are ways, I suppose, to exploit motion sensors on cameras to trigger automation events, but I don't have much interaction between the two at my house.

6. If you don't want to keep your switches, I see no benefit to the micro modules.

In the end, I say start smaller. Go with an ISY-994 and a few key insteon and z-wave devices. Try it out. See if you like it and that it does what you want and that it is not too complicated. I see no reason to purchase everything at once.

My house has insteon, but other items as well. All insteon products came from smarthome, but the other automation stuff mostly did not.
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jtmoderate876
Junior Member

36 Posts

Posted - 12/23/2017 :  06:48:12 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
As suggested by others, You should not buy "all in" - hold your wallet and try things.

I have a house full of Insteon, accumulated over the past 10 years or so and the controller choices today have me regretting it.

Also know that the Insteon system is built to support only a SINGLE controller so if you use an ISY then don't buy a HUB 2245-222 - they conflict and managing the conflicts is next to impossible.

So the hub has nice, free (no monthly), decent Amazon Alexa support but slow, clunky apps, very basic timers, no conditional logic, NO USE of several important analog signals such as battery level, light level, double-click FastOn/FastOff, and when a hub dies you buy a replacement, delete your account and start over from scratch manually relinking and reprogramming all 95 of your devices. It easily wipes out a full weekend or two and you never know if you handcrafted the exact same timers and scenes that you previously lost.

With ISY you need to pay for Alexa support and I found the software complicated, clunky, dated, I could no longer use my HUB (only one controller or PAIN), and returned it (the ISY.

The core problem is that Insteon is a decent home automation network technology but Insteon/SmartLabs is terrible at software and controllers and they are proprietary so they do not provide others with the tools to create good controllers and good software.

Their "supported" API (software interface for programmers) has serious issues (missing important features, poor documentation, strange "invite only" access, lack of access to people that "know", lack of examples, etc.)

There are simultaneous, separate efforts by several groups (Homeboy for Insteon, Automate Green, UDI ISY, OpenHAB, Node-RED, Nodejs, Stringify, IFTTT, etc.) trying to create better software and controllers by working around Insteon's problems but Insteon is not helping and instead hindering those efforts through apathy and a LOCK on the Insteon CONNECTIVITY MARKET.

The ISY folks must work very hard at reverse engineering everything - and they still depend on you separately buying from Insteon the $80, antique, piece of garbage, Serial PLM (expensive and prone to failure).

I started with Smarthome x10 in the 90's and gradually moved to insteon through the years. I started with the Serial PLM 10 years or so ago (that is still the same Serial PLM used by ISY today), HouseLinc software, HouseLinc 2, tried Homeboy, openHAB, Node-RED (a very good promising approach soured by Insteon API), ISY, Alexa (which I still like).

I've sat next to Joe Dada on an airplane (nice guy). He is from my area in Illinois originally and was flying back for holidays.

I don't wish bad upon Insteon, Joe or his successors but I am very disappointed with the state of Insteon software today - and the decline has been going on since Houselinc in 2007.

I don't know what better options are available today but walk slowly.

Curious what they will do to my account as a result of this.
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lilyoyo1
Senior Member

230 Posts

Posted - 12/23/2017 :  11:15:06 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Insteon wont do anything to your account. They dont monitor the forums like that. They also realize there will be those who hates their stuff as well as those who love it.

Personally, I am an ISY user with Insteon and Zwave devices. Ive used many different controllers in my time and can say; while its not pretty, it is a truly amazing device. Yes there is a $50 dollar subscription for the portal which allows Alexa, Google home, and IFTTT integration for 2 years. For less than the cost of dinner, you have full range control of your system. However, you do not have to pay for the portal to achieve the same results. You will however need to do the legwork to make it happen on your own.

Having used many different controllers for Insteon and zwave, you cant beat the ISY. Every controller has its own pros and cons. There is no perfect one. Some are zwave only such as fibaro. Great interface but poor support. Smartthings has a nice app but to really get the most out of it, you will need 3rd party plugins which can present issues for a novice user in itself. On its own, its more powerful than the hub but very limited for true automation. That and its cloud based. Should Samsung decide to redo things and drop support...Goodbye system.

If you know what you are doing, you can use multiple controllers with Insteon...But why would you if you choose the right one. That applies to any HA system out there. There is not a single manufacturer who would recommend using multiple controllers. This goes for Insteon, Zwave, Control4, Crestron, Savant, etc. (the last few requires an installer do the work for you).

The hub sucks for me. But for many others they enjoy it. It was designed to introduce people to the automation world, hence its low cost. A person gets what they pay for. You don't buy a Ford focus expecting Mercedes performance

The PLM today is not the same as it was 10 years ago. Its not even the same as it was 5 years ago. The only similar thing about it is the look and the name. I do agree that it needs a makeover though.

Joe Dada no longer owns Insteon. It was purchased a while back. Insteon is far from perfect and having used many different things, I feel (for now) that overall, it is the best out there for end users when coupled with the ISY994IZ. This allows integration of Insteon and Zwave devices. Where I feel insteon is weak, I use Zwave in its place. In a sense, you get the best of both worlds
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