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 Remote 2342 and outlet 2663 RF problems
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nicks
Starting Member

USA
3 Posts

Posted - 05/13/2018 :  9:37:49 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I recently purchased a 2342-232 4-scene mini-remote and two 2663-222 dual-band on/off outlets to replace a not so reliable X10 system that controlled 2 external security lights and a pool light.

The pool light and pump are on a separate sub-panel, so I installed one of the on/off outlets there. I was able to successfully program the outlet from the remote, but after I put the plastic cover back on the box and plugged in the load the remote only had a working range of 10 feet. (The pool pump was off so was not interference from the motor).

The security lights are controlled from a single point in the attic. The second on/off outlet was installed there replacing X10 switches. Again the outlet programmed fine from the remote and the empty outlet could be switched on and off from the remote. Once I plugged in the cables to the security lights I found that the remote did not work from 4 feet away from the outlet.

In both cases plugging the loads into the outlets seemed to reduce the RF range.

I had read that some users were not getting the full 50 / 150 feet ranges of the units but for it not to work at these short ranges is ludicrous.

I am just about ready to rip the insteon units back out in disgust and ask for a refund but I thought I would see if anyone else has seen and solved this issue.

P.S. I don't have any other Insteon devices (range extenders, hubs, etc).

Thanks,
Nick

oberkc
Advanced Member

USA
3692 Posts

Posted - 05/14/2018 :  03:38:39 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I have a relatively large installation with insteon and zwave, so my experience with the mini-remote and insteon does not quite match up with yours. I have no idea through which devices my mini remote communicates and how much it communicates through repeated commands. Still, your experience would be disappointing to me as well.

Perhaps more out of curiosity, do you get the full range back if you unplug the devices? Do you have any flexibility in the position of the power cords for the lights? Have you tried moving those power cords to see if that helped?

I percieve the radio antennas for those little outlets (buried inside the box) can be sensitive to box construction and other obstructions and interference. Were this me, I would probably try a range extender, but I understand your hesitancy. I understand that they have as good of RF performance as any insteon device and hopefully they would relay the commands to the outletlincs. Unfortunately, there are no guarantees that this would work, so it would be some financial risk.

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BLH
Advanced Member

5722 Posts

Posted - 05/14/2018 :  08:41:37 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
If the electrical box is metal or there are any obstructions between the remote and the switches. The RF range will be shorter.
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Tfitzpatri8
Administrator

USA
10575 Posts

Posted - 05/14/2018 :  08:54:55 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
The weakness of such a small setup is that you don’t gain any advantage from Insteon’s mesh repeater technology. Without that redundancy, anything that gets in the way of a direct RF signal stops you cold.

Are you using any other legacy equipment that might be transmitting interference? Older electronics using the 900 MHz band are suspect—old cordless phones, wireless speaker systems, wireless TV signal extenders, and old baby monitors should be considered suspect.

Volunteer Moderator & Home Automation Enthusiast
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nicks
Starting Member

USA
3 Posts

Posted - 05/14/2018 :  09:14:18 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks for all of the suggestions.

Unfortunately the attic wires are pretty much fixed so there is no flexibility there. I will try unplugging the load cables and see how much the range changes. As you stated, I am reluctant to try the range extender because the performance is so bad. If I was getting 20 feet and wanted more then I would probably make the jump and try the range extender.

The outlets in the attic are in a plastic new-work outlet box, and I am trying to operate them from 4 feet below with the attic hatch removed so it is direct line of sight.

The pool light controller is a plastic enclosure with the outlet mounted inside on standoffs above a metal sheet. Control is up to 10 feet away direct line of site from the box.

The only other RF transmitters in the house are WifI (2.4 GHz & 5 GHz) and DECT 6.0 (US) cordless phones. During testing the Wifi was on but the phones were not in use.

I am curious what interference frequencies insteon is susceptible to. The nearest cell tower is about a mile away (don't know which bands it covers) but I live 4 miles and direct line of site from 28 TV and radio broadcast towers, so I am guessing that this is the cause, even though the X10 RF remote worked reasonably well (the issue was usually corrosion on the selector contacts changing the device ids).

I understand that this setup does not make the best use of the insteon mesh technology due to the limited number of devices (2) and their separation. I had expected from the specs that the direct RF performance would be sufficient, but was disappointed.
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BLH
Advanced Member

5722 Posts

Posted - 05/14/2018 :  3:11:00 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
The photos in the FCC Database show the outlets antenna is vertical.
So it possible it receives better from the front or back. Above below may not be as good.

The remote looks like its antenna is etched on the PC Board. So its position while held could also influence things. Though your deem to be a short distance.

Insteon RF is 915MHz.

Edited by - BLH on 05/14/2018 3:13:17 PM
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nicks
Starting Member

USA
3 Posts

Posted - 05/16/2018 :  10:55:17 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I tested the range of the attic based outlet last night.

With nothing plugged into the outlet the RF range appeared to be about 30 feet.
With one load (cable to security light) plugged into the upper socket the range dropped to about 15 feet.
With loads in both upper and lower sockets the range dropped to about 4 feet and was unreliable.

The problem certainly seems to be the cables plugged into the outlet as opposed to the rest of the home wiring, but I am not sure why that would be.
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oberkc
Advanced Member

USA
3692 Posts

Posted - 05/16/2018 :  4:38:58 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Perhaps the presence of the cables reduces the strength of the EM field near the outlet. Is the range any different with the outlets OFF versus having the outlets ON (suggesting the energized cables are interfering for some reason)? Is the range reduction universal, regardless of direction from the outlets?

I wish I could help more. Besides trying to move cables to a different orientation near the outlet, or the orientation of the outlet, I don't have a lot of ideas how to improve things, short of additional devices.
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