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DanSag
New Member

Canada
22 Posts

Posted - 08/28/2011 :  7:28:45 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I'm looking at installing a full insteon system in my basement, and the only thing i'm having issues with is will the IR system work with all of my A/V equipment, and will it work with my three way switches.

I just need to install normal on/off switches, as my main lighting is all fluorescent and can't be dimmed.

I'm most concerned about my theatre equipment, it will all be located in another room other than the projector. I have the following I need to control

Yamaha DSP-Z7 (same as RXZ7, a more popular model)
Epson 8350 Projector
Xbox
Samsung BluRay player
and my digital cable box which is made by motorolla

Any experience/ advice what to do? any help is greatly appreciated!

Tfitzpatri8
Administrator

USA
8595 Posts

Posted - 08/28/2011 :  7:44:15 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
"IR system" is pretty vague--there are at least four different IR products available that speak Insteon, and more can interact with Insteon-compatible software. Are you wanting your light switches to turn on your theater gear, your universal remote to control your lights, or do you not really need any connection between your lights and your theater gear but instead want an IR distribution system that just detects your IR remote in one room and rebroadcasts it in another?

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DanSag
New Member

Canada
22 Posts

Posted - 08/28/2011 :  8:09:16 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I'm looking at getting the ISY-99i system that comes with the PowerLinc and getting the IRLinc. I basically want to use my iPhone to control everything, the theatre (meaning change channels, volume, etc.) as well as lighting. I have an idea to basically have a scene that's called "watch movie" and hitting it would turn all my equipment on, and dim the lights, then allow me to control the dvd player... just wondering how possible that would be

I've tried universal remotes before, and after losing a couple hundred bucks finding nothing can turn some of my equipment off has really drove me up the wall... nothing like having to stand up to turn your projector off after showing the guys your new set up... not too impressive

Edited by - DanSag on 08/28/2011 8:16:44 PM
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Tfitzpatri8
Administrator

USA
8595 Posts

Posted - 08/28/2011 :  8:22:29 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Just so everyone is on the same page, you are looking to use an IRLinc Transmitter to use Insteon commands to control that list of equipment.

If you don't get responses from people using all the same gear, know that Smarthome has a 30 day no-hassle return policy if you try it and something turns out to be incompatible.

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DanSag
New Member

Canada
22 Posts

Posted - 08/28/2011 :  8:32:39 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Yeah, thanks for the help, I'm truly walking around like a chicken with my head cut off... I was looking into doing Control 4 and after talking to a few home owners with the systems they all hate it, so i closed that road off... It's certainly not a DIY system and is very slow and unresponsive at times. Think I should just get the system with the IR controls and see if it works and return the whole thing if it's not right? Does anyone have any experience with some awesome universal remotes?
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stusviews
Moderator

USA
11456 Posts

Posted - 08/28/2011 :  9:45:21 PM  Show Profile  Visit stusviews's Homepage  Reply with Quote
There is no IR remote that will work with all IR enabled A/V equipment.

Most universal IR remote devices will work with most IR enabled A/V equipment.

This creates a quandary for any DIYer wanting a totally integrated system. The Logitech Harmony is a popular remote among users on this forum. I've had success with the One-for-All.

The only way to tell is to try it.

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oberkc
Advanced Member

USA
2516 Posts

Posted - 08/29/2011 :  11:37:12 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Does the iPhone do IR? I did not know that.

I suspect most of what you want to do is possible, I have found this to be more work and money than it is worth to me. I have had a single remote (universal remote RF-20, I think) work my lighting and theater, but, as I added and replaced video and audio components, it became to much time to manage. Finally, I ran across a device which simply would not work with the so-called univeral learning remote, and I said "enough!"

Also, I have found it difficult to ensure all video and audio equipment turns off, because of the lack of descrete "off" commands in so much audio and video gear. Added to this is the ever-changing landscape in audio and video control (HDMI-CEC, network, or app-based) make it tough to bring it all together.

In case it is not clear, I have found control of the audio and video system the difficult part to integrate. My suggestion to you is to identify your audio/video solution first. Once found, there is generally a reasonable way to incorporate insteon lighting. Most of the time, this can be through some IR blaster and ISY-99 or a network solution using one of the apps.

I wish I could give you a more positive solution.

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DanSag
New Member

Canada
22 Posts

Posted - 08/29/2011 :  6:55:38 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
So basically get a remote then get the Leaviton system after the fact? I'd like to basically get a touch screen style remote, but it seems like most of them are only compatible with their own systems and the systems i've looked at don't necessarily say they control a/v equipment...
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stusviews
Moderator

USA
11456 Posts

Posted - 08/29/2011 :  9:10:23 PM  Show Profile  Visit stusviews's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I don't believe Leviton been mentioned in this topic. Leviton, as you may be aware, is a entirely different home automation system then that referred to here, to wit, Insteon.

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DanSag
New Member

Canada
22 Posts

Posted - 08/29/2011 :  10:31:48 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Oh my bad, I did mean insteon, sorry about that
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stusviews
Moderator

USA
11456 Posts

Posted - 08/29/2011 :  11:09:25 PM  Show Profile  Visit stusviews's Homepage  Reply with Quote
A premise is a functioning, albeit inconvenient (multiple remotes), AV system. A second desire is to automate the lighting. Finally, a way to integrate the two systems.

The second part is, as best, iffy. You need a single remote that will operate ALL your equipment. Even if you find one, as oberkc indicated, if you change or upgrade or add equipment, the remote may not handle it.

Let's suppose you find a remote that satisfies your need. The next step is integrating that remote with your lighting. Each home automation protocol provides a method that integrates the functions with most POPULAR remotes and most POPULAR AV gear - but not all. Denon is a noted exception, some Epson projectors have been implicated. There's just too much competition to have truly universal control.

Insteon is, IMO, the choice for retrofit, that is, avoiding a total custom rewiring, to control the lighting. If you find a remote that will control all your AV gear, only one other hand-held remote is needed to control the lighting, an Insteon RemoteLinc. Or, if compatible with your AV gear, the remotes mentioned in this topic, among others, are compatible with an Insteon IR controller.

Insteon does have a touch screen controller. Perhaps someone will chime in who uses an Insteon controller such as the TouchLinc to operate their IR gear.

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oberkc
Advanced Member

USA
2516 Posts

Posted - 08/30/2011 :  06:27:33 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
The insteon lighting part is, actually, pretty easy. There are a couple of options...the IRLinc, or the ISY-99 are ones that I am familiar with. In general, they act as a learing remote. They can learn nearly any IR command, convert it to insteon-speak, and control your lighting system. It does not care from where the IR signal comes. So, once you have identified the sytem to control your TV, ...

I have used the universal device remote, and a harmony remote (both programmable, with macros). I have never considered control of my AV system to be worth multiple hundreds of dollars, so I have always tried to get by with the lower-end versions. I have equipment located in a remote cabinet, so a remote that includes RF capability was a useful feature for me.

I was most happy with the universal remote, once programmed. I prefered the harmony remote with the ability to program via the computer, but found the harmony approach (programming by task "watch TV", "watch DVD", etc) to be to limiting.

In the recent year, the introduction of the HDMI-CEC components into my system have allowed me to have reasonable control of my system from the stock TV remote (though it takes a few steps into the menu system at time). It is this approach that I currently use.

As a result of the recent price drop, I am trying a logitech revue. While its primary purpose is for streaming services, it offers some interesting possibilities for AV system control...iPod/iPad/android/windows apps for remote control of your system. The revue has connections for remote IR blasters for control of other devices, and the logic of a harmony remote built in, including the ability to learn IR commands. When I get ambitious, I intend to try this out in more detail. If it works like I hope, it may be worth the purhase of a dedicated iPod for remote control of my system. I expect it would be relatively simple to add a few commands for my insteon lighting system.

You should also check out:

http://www.remotecentral.com/

This is my favorite site for DIY help with control of your AV system.
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DanSag
New Member

Canada
22 Posts

Posted - 08/30/2011 :  07:26:52 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I really lIke this logitech revue thing! I might go pick up one just to try out on my simple living room tv set.

Basically to sum up my dream is to say I'd like to use a touchlinc to control all my IR gear... I've also looked into the harmony 1100 (because I like the look and feel of having a bigger remote with a screen) and I feel it might work for me. I had a harmony 900 before and the only problem I had with it is it wouldn't turn my projector off, and to my luck, it's an Epson. Maybe something in the logitech software might be able to be tweaked to tell the remote to turn the projector off last... But I'm not sure. Another option for me would be to plug the projector into an outletlinc relay and control it via the insteon system. Luckily I didn't buy a denon amp, ive heard there are many troubles with universal remotes... I lucked out and went with a competitors unit.
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Tfitzpatri8
Administrator

USA
8595 Posts

Posted - 08/30/2011 :  07:36:07 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
HouseLinc, and thus the TouchLinc, are not yet capable of managing or controlling the IRLinc Transmitter, so that's not an option right now. (I'm also not a big fan of resistive touch screens, but that's a separate topic altogether.) You can use an ISY99, an IRLinc Transmitter, an iOS device (iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch), and the MobiLinc app for lighting or lighting plus IR scenes.

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oberkc
Advanced Member

USA
2516 Posts

Posted - 08/30/2011 :  07:45:12 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
I had a harmony 900 before and the only problem I had with it is it wouldn't turn my projector off, and to my luck, it's an Epson.


Did you try the "learning" approach? I assume you did. My nemisis was the media center extender. For whatever reason, it used some set of rotating codes to power it on and off. None of my remotes could be trained to control it.

quote:
Another option for me would be to plug the projector into an outletlinc relay and control it via the insteon system.

Yes, you could do this, however, you loose the advantage of the cooling-off period typically programmed into such projectors. This can't be good for lamp life.

quote:
Luckily I didn't buy a denon amp, ive heard there are many troubles with universal remotes...


Mine is a denon. So far, my revue controls it fine (at least power and volume).
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DanSag
New Member

Canada
22 Posts

Posted - 08/30/2011 :  07:48:53 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Maybe I should just stick with a universal remote for now and use it for the a/v equipment then just get a small controller for the lighting, or just use my iPod touch I hardly ever use for anything else. (Projector problems aside, it doesn't kill me to keep the Epson remote on the coffee table.) Then have hopes the remote can help with lighting or the isy99 can eventually control my system with future updates, or once I try a few things out.
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DanSag
New Member

Canada
22 Posts

Posted - 08/30/2011 :  07:54:42 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I actually didn't try the learning thing in the remote... Got pissed off and sold it before I could ha ha. I'd like to give it a try. I do like the harmony 1100 just as long as I have more patience with it this time around.
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oberkc
Advanced Member

USA
2516 Posts

Posted - 08/30/2011 :  07:55:44 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
This sounds like a good approach to me. I suspect that once you become familiar with the ISY and the various insteon items available, you will find a solution that will work for you.
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DanSag
New Member

Canada
22 Posts

Posted - 08/30/2011 :  08:28:53 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
oberkc, have you tried using your remote to change inputs on your amp? the way I have things set up everything runs through the amplifier... Now i'm looking at the revue possibly being an option vs the 1100. Might not work but i'd rather spend a hundred bucks over a couple hundred
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oberkc
Advanced Member

USA
2516 Posts

Posted - 08/30/2011 :  10:26:10 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
oberkc, have you tried using your remote to change inputs on your amp?


This thread has gotten me a bit excited about exploring the revue options. I, too, feed all input through the reciever. At this point, I have not tried the revue to change inputs. However, with HDMI-CEC, the reciever tends to come on to the correct input based on the HDMI signal.

The on-screen instructions with the revue claim that it can change the reciever input, but I have not found the dedicated button on the revue keyboard associated with this function. I suspect I will have to make this a learned function. It is my understanding that any IR function on the stock reciever remote can be duplicated. I may try this out tonight. If so, I will report back.

As an aside (in case you are interested), I have found the revue also able to play back the .wtv files used by windows media center to record live TV. This has also not been an easy capability to locate, and is not advertised on the revue data sheet.

More to come.
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DanSag
New Member

Canada
22 Posts

Posted - 08/30/2011 :  8:32:27 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Who ever knew a chicken with it's head cut off would spark excitement in someone looking to try new things... I'm glad i've got you interested, and it helps me too, as I wouldn't mind saving a couple hundred bucks and get a keyboard to control my system instead of a remote.
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DanSag
New Member

Canada
22 Posts

Posted - 08/30/2011 :  9:07:04 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Newest thought... Will I really need to get the ISY-99i if i'm only going to be controlling 6 or 7 switches with really only 4 scenes? I don't have much else planned as far as expansion goes until I move into my next house, which is about a year away from being in the drawing stage...

I would just be using the SmartLinc thing in that case.

Edited by - DanSag on 08/30/2011 9:40:42 PM
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oberkc
Advanced Member

USA
2516 Posts

Posted - 08/31/2011 :  03:29:59 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Sorry, but I did not get home until late last night. Will attempt to find some time to play with logitech revue tonight.

To manually control a few scenes, you may find the ISY-99 of insufficient value to justify the added expense. You could certainly start out without one and see how it goes. On the other hand, you could take the ISY-99 with you to your next house.

The ISY-99 could offer some solutions towards the integration of your home theater control system with your insteon lighting. Of course, you won't know until you decide upon your home theater control system. It is possible that other options (such as IRLinc) could suffice, as well.

The ISY-99 is a great tool when you start wanting to control lighting based on time-based events and logical conditions. It also is a great help in establishing and managing your insteon scenes. But many get by without one (or something like it), especially if you have only a handful of devices.
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DanSag
New Member

Canada
22 Posts

Posted - 08/31/2011 :  07:30:28 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I've noticed the remote that just came out on smarthome's site, it's a small, handheld remote that can control 8 scenes. All I really want from this system at this time is to have a motion sensor that turns a set of lights on when I get into the basement. The second scene would be having the main lights on (just on on/off switches, they're flourescents so no dimmers) the third would be like movie mode, main lights on and theater potlights slowly fade in. 4th would be tv/pool to have the theater lights on about 50% and have the pool table light fade in. Do you guys think I could do it without the isy-99 or should I get it to help the system have more brain power? I have a feeling the fades I would like and the sequence of the scenes might need a good controller, especially for programming
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oberkc
Advanced Member

USA
2516 Posts

Posted - 08/31/2011 :  10:05:43 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Do you guys think I could do it without the isy-99 or should I get it to help the system have more brain power? I have a feeling the fades I would like and the sequence of the scenes might need a good controller,


You could do all this without the ISY-99, assuming that you are triggering the scenes with your motion sensor or manual switch control. The fade (ramp rates) are part of the basic insteon capability.

quote:
especially for programming


While you CAN program this WITHOUT the ISY-99, it would be easier with it. Still, I don't think it insurmountable to program this manually. It will take a bit of time, and a lot of button presses. There may be a bit of trial-and-error until you get a handle on "scenes" and "controllers" and "responders", but doable, nonetheless.

The ISY-99 or IRlinc could be used to trigger one of these scenes based on an learned IR input.

Don't forget you should have at least two RF-enabled devices (dual band, access points, etc) to couple the legs of your electrical system and to recieve the signals from the motion sensor.
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DanSag
New Member

Canada
22 Posts

Posted - 08/31/2011 :  12:35:28 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
So just a background for myself of how things work, because I honestly know nothing about how Insteon systems work, other than the use of RF and the lines within the house, how is it set up? If i Just get the SmartLinc is it all set up by the pushing of buttons, or is there a computer program I would run that would allow me to set up scenes, where my lights are, etc.? I notice the ISY-99 comes with software that aids the set up. Because this is a small system compared to what I've seen before (I helped out on a niles system over the winter, and there were over 150 switches and plugs, plus 4 "movie room" zones and nearly a thousand lighting/AV scenes) I wouldn't be killing myself over a few button pushes. I've been down the road of trial an error but it seems with my luck everything works great till I'm a couple days after the "return period" and things get messy. Then i'm stuck with something that doesn't work that well, and it's already lost like half of it's worth... meaning I lose half the amount of money.

If I buy just the SmartLinc will it be easy to add the ISY-99 to the system, or will the ISY-99 completely out rule the smartlinc?
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oberkc
Advanced Member

USA
2516 Posts

Posted - 08/31/2011 :  1:36:01 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I don't use the smartlinc, so my knowledge of it is based solely on the web page and instructions. It may turn out, for your current and future needs, that smartlinc is all you ever need. It looks like a nice system to me. It appears to me that the smartlinc also provides some scene management capability.

My suggestion to you is to go back to the web pages for each of your potential devices and open the manuals. I have found them to be pretty good (certainly better written than I could describe on this forum). You will start to see some trends among devices. Remember, however, that the manuals are written based on the assumption that you have no central controller. Much of the manual steps for your switches and modules will be unecessary if you purchase the smartlinc, so start with the smartlinc manual.

Yes, it will be easy to add the ISY-99, but you may end up not needing it.

The risk of something not working for you will be, in my estimation, near certainly be based upon two factors: have you coupled the legs of your electrical system, and do you have any electrical devices in your house that cause communication problems for insteon. I would guess that 90%+ of problems people experience are related to one of these two issues. Both are solvable, but troubleshooting can be, at times, quite tedious.
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DanSag
New Member

Canada
22 Posts

Posted - 08/31/2011 :  2:08:00 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I'm just chatting with one of the people from smart home, and he is telling me that the ISY-99 won't control any of my home theatre, and strongly suggests I get the logitech harmony 1100 remote, then just use the new RemoteLinc to control the scenes I would like. He also said with the amount of devices I'll be using (under 15) I should be alright with the SmartLinc. When I move to my next house I'll upgrade to the ISY-99 because I will be completely automating the home, appliances and everything. I'm certain I'll need the brain power at that point.

Now, my (hopefully) last dilemma, when i get the harmony remote, should I buy the logitech RF to IR system to control the amp and such in the remote room, or should I use something off this site? I'm not sure if the harmony remote will just work with any system... there is just a bit of a delay in the RF system from logitech, it's a bit irritating, i've dealt with it before
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stusviews
Moderator

USA
11456 Posts

Posted - 08/31/2011 :  3:56:56 PM  Show Profile  Visit stusviews's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Insteon controllers are not capable of operating IR controlled equipment. IR remotes are not capable of controlling Insteon devices.

The RemoteLinc is an Insteon controller. It'll control Insteon devices natively, but requires an INSTEON to IR Converter to operate IR equipment.

The Logitech (and other) remotes require an IR to INSTEON Converter to control Insteon devices.

RF is an entirely different matter. RF converters are not readily available except within the same manufacturer's equipment.

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oberkc
Advanced Member

USA
2516 Posts

Posted - 09/01/2011 :  03:56:56 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
I'm just chatting with one of the people from smart home, and he is telling me that the ISY-99 won't control any of my home theatre,


I am not sure I agree with this, or at least find it inaccurate by omission. Technically, the ISY-99 can directly control SOME theater components. While it is not IR, there are examples I see of folks using network commands to control theater components so enabled via the ISY-99. The omission part is that there is in IRLinc transmitter that can control theater components via IR. The logic in the ISY-99 could be used to trigger signals through the IRLinc transmitter. Unfortunately, I speak only theoretically, since I have not done this myself.


quote:
oberkc, have you tried using your remote to change inputs on your amp?


Last night, I spent about a half-hour playing around further with the revue, with stock keyboard remote. I was able to teach it commands from existing IR remotes. This includes ability to switch inputs on my amp. No problem. I suspect I could use this computer-keyboard-like remote to control anything that I wanted in my theater. Unfortunately, this is not ideal to me and will certainly not pass the wife acceptance test standards.

More interesting (to me, at least) is the possibility of using an iPad/pod or android tablet as a remote, through the revue. I tried out the iPod app with the revue last night. Unfortunately, it appears too limited in configurability at this point. Like most harmony remotes, the app is "activity" based, and only allows one activity: watch google TV. I have yet to find the ability to add activities (such as watch TV, watch DVD, etc....) Neither have I yet found a way to add or configure buttons. But this is only after about a half-hour of looking. Perhaps I missed something.
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DanSag
New Member

Canada
22 Posts

Posted - 09/02/2011 :  7:20:18 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I stumbled across a thing called Vera today... It's basically a router that has smarthome technology built in... It says in the videos that it can be used to control home theater stuff. I'll need to do some research but have you heard anything about it?
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