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Z-Wave vs. Insteon

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    #16
    To just add some more data points, while it is true with Insteon you get both powerline as well as RF, I can't say I've had any RF-related issues with Z-Wave. That is, the fact that Z-Wave is RF only doesn't seem to affect its reliability, if you will.

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      #17
      Originally posted by bdraper View Post
      This is an interesting discussion. Glad this discussion is positive and not like what I hear in the Chevy vs. Ford conversations, LOL. My father worked for Ford for over 40 years at the Glass plant in Nashville, TN. I have been lucky to be able to buy cars using the Ford A plan (before he retired) and now the Z plan (after retirement) for years. It is a great benefit that my father has to purchase new vehicles at a reduced cost. I recently bought a 2013 Ford F150, traded in my 1985 Ford Ranger, it had 350,000 miles on it. Man that was a great vehicle, however I sure do like my new F150, so does my wife, she drives it everywhere... sorry I digress...

      On the Z-wave vs. Insteon discussion... I have a mixture of Z-wave and Insteon at my home, partially due to me giving my wife a choice on the style and look of switches. She liked the look of the Insteon switches better than anything else.

      I have a version 1 hub and 60+ Insteon devices, made up of switches (on/off and dimmers), on/off modules, dimmer modules, keypads, in wall receptacles (in and outside) and one motion sensor. I have around 10 Z-wave on/off modules, some in wall receptacles, and 2 thermostats. I also had a Insteon PLM and it worked well for many years.

      I provided a picture of one of the 4gang Insteon switches that has labels and a keypad. My wife really likes the keypads, we have 4+ of the keypads. Most Insteon on/off and dimmer switches are 3+ years old, the hub is almost 3 years old, a few of the keypads are 6+ years old. My oldest Insteon switches are 7+ years, a few are going on 10 years. I have a few newer switches year or less... Some of the older switches are in high traffic areas, garage, back door, master bedroom. I have been pleased with the lifespan of the Insteon devices, and have not had to replace but just three switches over the years. Smarthome has been great when replacing any items under warranty. Two that I replaced was the old style switches (Icon I believe), the paddle could just not handle the traffic. The other was a togglelinc and was at the front door and controlled our eve lights. At Christmas time I would use this switch to turn on our outside icicle lights (before I switched to LED lights), the switch could just not handle the current required for all those lights strung together. We have three kids, and our house has always been full with family and friends turning things off and on (LOL)... In the last year our two oldest have moved out, getting a little quieter.

      On Z-wave, I have 2 thermostats (Trane, almost 7 years old), they work very well. Some minor problems (communication) at the start, but all appears to be well now. There are 10 or so of the Z-wave on/off modules (Intermatic HA01), some are 6+ years old. These on/off modules work very well and the lifespan has been great. I have also had a number of Intermatic wall modules (dimming and on/off), as well as outside on/off modules they also worked well unless there was a problem with one unit. As Randy has mentioned before there is no rhyme or reason to the havoc a misbehaving Z-wave module can cause on a network. I can say it has been a very long time since I have had a Z-wave issue. With that said, I bought the Intermatic Z-wave modules really cheap years ago, also on sale, so maybe I got what I paid for... During the life of the plugin modules, several (more than 6) were returned to Intermatic for replacement. The last wall module dimmer that was replaced under warranty was substituted for a on/off module, because Intermatic did not make them anymore. I recently purchased 4 Z-wave First Alert Battery-Powered Combination Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors with Photoelectric Sensor. Since they had them a Lowes, it was a easy decision. I replaced our 4 AC smoke detectors in our home. At first I was disappointed that these new Z-wave detectors were battery only, however the lifespan appears to be great. Setup into HomeSeer was easy and no issues since the initial installation. I have setup a number of events to notify us in case of an issue and a battery report is sent via email every week. I installed all 4 units in early December and the lowest battery is at 95% right now.

      All in all, I plan to stay with both Z-wave and Insteon, both have their strengths and opportunities. I am little wiser now and seem to know what to do, if a problem does happen. Z-wave seems to have more development and new items on the market due to multiple manufacturers. Smarthome also seems to be actively developing new items. Both have their positives and negatives, in the end it is what works for you.

      If I had it all to do over again, I would probably buy some cheap Z-wave stuff to get my feet wet, then my wife would see the (as she says) cool keypad link switches... then I would buy some of those, since she was interested... LOL, so basically not much would change.
      Going through my old subscribed topics and found this. Mr. Draper, it's been 4 years 8 months and 11 days since you posted this, has anything changed vis a vis your opinions on Z-Wave vs. Insteon? Have you been struck, as I have, by the slow diminution of the Insteon product line, to where you can't maintain your setup because so much has been discontinued? How are you solving that problem?

      And it seems I never thanked you for your in-depth exploration of the topic. Very helpful, thanks.


      Jim Speiser
      35-year veteran of Home Automation
      Still don't know squat

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        #18
        By the way, are those all Insteon switches in the photo? I don't recall them offering custom laser-etched wording on the paddles, just on the KPLs. Must have been a long time ago....


        Jim Speiser
        35-year veteran of Home Automation
        Still don't know squat

        Comment


          #19
          Wow Jim, that is a bit of a blast from the past. I packed quite a bit of information in that post. It is good to hear from you, hope you are doing well.

          Originally posted by JimSpy View Post
          By the way, are those all Insteon switches in the photo? I don't recall them offering custom laser-etched wording on the paddles, just on the KPLs. Must have been a long time ago....
          In response to the question about the switches in the photo, yes they are all Insteon and still operational. Concerning Insteon and the custom paddle laser etching, they use to do it, however I can no longer find any reference to it on their website.

          It looks like Smarthome still offers custom laser etching on keypad buttons, see https://www.smarthome.com/products/i...for-keypadlinc however I could find nothing from Smarthome on the paddles. Years ago, this was an option on the Smarthome website when I ordered my switches. I did find this website that will etch paddles for $9.99, see https://www.smarthome-products.com/p...nc-paddle.aspx I also found this reference to DIY laser etched KPL buttons, I suspect that you could also do paddles with this process, see https://forum.universal-devices.com/...ustom-buttons/

          As for the rest of the post, I started out with my dad and a reference to Ford… so I might as well bring that one up to date with a little more info. The last year has not been the best for us as, is the case with many people. Seems like 2020 with COVID-19 has brought on a weird new normal. I work in IT for the local power company in Nashville. Most of us in IT have been working from home since March due to the COVID-19 new norm. I am a DBA by trade and ran the DBA and Data Processing groups for 20 plus years. A few years ago we decided to upgrade our aging Mainframe CIS systems and started on a Oracle C2M/MDM/WAM/etc multiyear project. I was volun-told (politely asked) to move to the implementation team and head up the conversion effort. It was a new challenge and sort of bitter sweet. I had to leave a very productive team that I had assembled over the years for this new endeavor. As with most people, I moved into the new role with my eyes wide open and have enjoyed the experience, however removing myself from the team was difficult to say the least. During this journey my family has endured several life events along the way that has soured the last year. First my father-in-law passed away. It was before the COVID stuff and he was just a few months shy of his 96 birthday. He served in both the United States Army (WWII) and the United States Air Force (Korean Conflict) and was a very special man. This loss was difficult but we could see it coming. Then my uncle passed away in February. He was a special man that gave me my first real job as an electrician apprentice and taught me the trade. Finally my father passed away in August, a few months shy of his 83 birthday. He was admitted to the hospital due to fall and along the way to recovery contracted COVID-19, this was just too much for his body to fight off. We did not see this one coming and are still working through the loss. My dad was a very special father that helped me in everyday life and has left a huge void. I was visiting him every day and even though we were taking extreme precautions, I also tested positive for COVID-19. I was fortunate and would have never know that I had it, if it had not been for being tested. My only symptoms were a few body aches, no loss of taste/smell and no fever. I should also mention that my wife and youngest son were also tested and their results were negative. It has been a rough year and as my dad and father-in-law use to say “This too shall pass”. I can say that these recent life events have provided my family with a new perspective and lease on life.

          Back to the topic, concerning Z-wave, I purchased a Z-NET Remote in late 2017 so that I could take advantage of Z-Wave plus and locate the hub in a more central location. It has been rock solid. I can put you on a working Z-Troller Serial (RS232) Version for cheap if you want one. During this time I also purchased a Aeotec Home Energy Meter Gen5, Z-Wave Plus electricity use monitor. The energy monitor integrated well and is still going strong. I use Jon00’s Database and Graphing utility to provide statistical information. The old thermostats are still working well, as are all of the other Z-wave components mentioned in the original post. All in all, I am very happy with the Z-Wave components.

          On to Insteon, I was hoping that the new CEO announcement (mid-2019) would breathe new life into the organization. Well they did get a new mobile app going, however it is a new app, and did not upgrade the old app… so I have not tried it yet. I have also noticed that they seem to be consolidating product line. Not sure what this means long term for the company. As for the changes, I purchased a new Insteon hub in February 2017, not because mine was giving trouble or anything… I had a friend that expressed interest in the Insteon line of switches and well I wanted the new v2 hub. So I gave him my old hub to get his feet wet and ordered a new toy. The v2 hub did take a little work to integrate into my existing system, but eventually it all came together and is still working well. Since it was Ethernet based, I was able to locate it along with my Z-NET in a more central location. Looking back in my past purchases, I have replaced one 8 button keypad since the 2016 post. This keypad was in a high traffic area, used multiple times a day and well just died one day, no warning (as usual). I replaced it with a new one in April of 2018 and have not had to replace any other Insteon devices. The outside plugs are holding up nice. All in all, I am still pleased with the Insteon products we use daily.

          All in all, if I had it to do over again, not sure I would change anything. My wife loves the etched Insteon switches and keypads. They are programmed to do what we want… I can say, the new Z-wave switches with controllable RGB LED status indicators look very nice, however I have not tried them. To answer your question about the diminishing Insteon product line… Once I have Insteon switches and dimmers that start failing, I will most likely replace them with Z-wave counterparts. Not sure what I will do about the custom engraving… will need to investigate that more once the time comes.

          Thanks for the digging this one up, it was helpful to take a trip down memory lane. Sorry for the extremely long post, but sometimes it is good to share life events… I hope all is well with you and others. I do not frequent the board as much as I use to... still taking care of other priorities, however I saw this post and thought it was a good time to share.
          Billy Draper

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