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Large home installation planning - Z wave vs. UPB lighting

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    Large home installation planning - Z wave vs. UPB lighting

    Good morning everyone. I am planning a home automation project for my new (to me) home. The house was built in 2003, has two stories, and is approximately 6,000 square feet. I would like remote control (at least) and hopefully automation for the following, in order of priority:
    - Lighting
    - Alarm integration (I have an ELK M1)
    - Air conditioning
    - Sprinklers
    - Door locks
    - Garage door
    - Leak detectors

    I have purchased a Hometroller S6, which I plan to use as the brains of the system. I have purchased three Z-Net devices which will be set up in a master-slave configuration to control my door locks and a network of motion detectors and other sensors. I have purchased and installed Wifi-connected air-conditioning (Ecobee3) and sprinkler (Rainmachine) controllers.

    My main question pertains to lighting control. I am concerned about reliability, functionality and maintainability of Z-wave to control the approximately 75 dimmer switches I will need. I am considering UPB lighting as an alternative. I have looked at RadioRA2 but I am not pleased with their integration capabilities with third-party controllers.

    If I use all Z-wave Plus-certified hardware (such as Homeseer's new dimmer switches plus my three Z-nets), can I hope to achieve a comparable level of functionality and reliability to what I could get from UPB? What about Wifi? (I have a home system with commercial-grade network hardware). Short of paying someone $60K to install a Lutron or Control4 system for me, cost is not really the issue. Thanks everyone.
    Last edited by Patholoraptor; April 19, 2016, 09:00 AM.

    #2
    Good morning Patholoraptor and welcome to the Homeseer forum.

    You can mix automation technologies if you want.

    Here utilize Homeseer (since 1998) and a Leviton HAI Omni Pro 2 (X2 since early 2000's). HVAC is serially connected Leviton Omnitemp, Leviton Omnitouch screens, Russound zoned audio. UPB, X10, ZWave and Zigbee connected to combo panel. Combo panel motion / door / occupancy sensors are hard wired.

    Homeseer / Homeseer Gb connected touch tablet top tablets talk to the panel and runs autonomous automation. (also play back live TV or recorded media or CCTV). Irrigation software is mcsSprinklers utilizing a Davis Weather station and watering based on ET.
    Last edited by Pete; April 19, 2016, 09:38 AM.
    - Pete

    Auto mator
    Homeseer 3 Pro - 3.0.0.548 (Linux) - Ubuntu 18.04/W7e 64 bit Intel Haswell CPU 16Gb- Mono 6.12.X - HSTouch on Intel tabletop tablets
    Homeseer Zee2 (Lite) - 3.0.0.548 (Linux) - Ubuntu 18.04/W7e - CherryTrail x5-Z8350 BeeLink 4Gb BT3 Pro - Mono 6.12.X
    HS4 Pro - V4.1.17.0 - Ubuntu 20.01/VB W7e 64 bit Intel Kaby Lake CPU - 32Gb - Mono
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    HS4 Lite -

    X10, UPB, Zigbee, ZWave and Wifi MQTT automation-Tasmota-Espurna. OmniPro 2, Russound zoned audio, Smartthings hub, Hubitat Hub, and Home Assistant

    Comment


      #3
      I would not go with anything short of Cooper or Leviton switches if doing the whole home with ZWave (which is what I did), but that is just my opinion. The new HS switches are not field proven yet.

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by Automated View Post
        I would not go with anything short of Cooper or Leviton switches if doing the whole home with ZWave (which is what I did), but that is just my opinion. The new HS switches are not field proven yet.


        I have heard good things about both brands, but would I be giving up anything by not using Z wave Plus (Gen 5) devices?

        Comment


          #5
          http://z-wavealliance.org/z-wave_plus_certification/

          Comment


            #6


            Thanks. I have read that specification and it makes sense.

            I guess I am wondering whether anyone has any real-world experience with the Gen 5 Z-wave hardware. It might still be too early. Maybe a prudent course would be to wait six months until the reviews start to roll in.

            Comment


              #7
              I have avoided Z-wave, but that's mostly for historical reasons. The newest devices appear to perform well from what I've read, although there are people reporting problems of various sorts fairly regularly on the board.

              I've used UPB for years now, and I can say with considerable confidence that the technology works reliably and, once installed and configured, requires virtually no attention unless you are adding or modifying a switch or scene. The devices are more expensive than Z-wave, and do not offer the variety of functions that are available in Z-wave devices, but they work. Every time. All the time.
              Mike____________________________________________________________ __________________
              HS3 Pro Edition 3.0.0.548, NUC i3

              HW: Stargate | NX8e | CAV6.6 | Squeezebox | PCS | WGL 800RF | RFXCOM | Vantage Pro | Green-Eye | Edgeport/8 | Way2Call | Ecobee3 | EtherRain | Ubiquiti

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by Uncle Michael View Post
                I have avoided Z-wave, but that's mostly for historical reasons. The newest devices appear to perform well from what I've read, although there are people reporting problems of various sorts fairly regularly on the board.

                I've used UPB for years now, and I can say with considerable confidence that the technology works reliably and, once installed and configured, requires virtually no attention unless you are adding or modifying a switch or scene. The devices are more expensive than Z-wave, and do not offer the variety of functions that are available in Z-wave devices, but they work. Every time. All the time.


                That is good to hear. Would you recommend SA, HAI, or PCS? I was leaning towards using PCS for everything, since I can use a phase repeater.

                I am a little concerned that UPB may be a dying technology. Witness the (by some accounts, not personal experience) neglected HS3 native UPB plugin and the reliance on a third-party plugin author to provide the gold standard. Should I worry?

                Comment


                  #9
                  My whole house of Leviton switches works all the time as well. I believe that the issues come because people are constantly adding new zwave devices, and HS is constantly adding support for new types of devices. I filled my house, created the zwave network, and do not play around with new doodads; it is rock solid. If I want to play with some new gadgets, I put them on a separate zwave network, just so I never touch the network with my permanent, hardwired devices.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by Automated View Post
                    My whole house of Leviton switches works all the time as well. I believe that the issues come because people are constantly adding new zwave devices, and HS is constantly adding support for new types of devices. I filled my house, created the zwave network, and do not play around with new doodads; it is rock solid. If I want to play with some new gadgets, I put them on a separate zwave network, just so I never touch the network with my permanent, hardwired devices.


                    Huh, that is a smart way to do it. It does seem like most of the issues people have are due to adding brand-new devices, moving things around, etc.

                    Do your Leviton switches report their status automatically, or are you doing periodic polling from your automation software?

                    There have been a few threads in which people have suggested that the repetitive polling required by Z-wave switches without "instant status" reporting can bog down a large network.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Yes, they report status, but I recall they do it in a different way than Cooper, or the new HD switches do, as Cooper had a patent on their method when Leviton came out with their switches.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        If it were me, I would probably try to hold off and see if some of the other manufacturers also start making zwave+ switches.

                        Currently Leviton is the only one making a fan speed controller switch. With other brands you have to just use their on/off relay switch.

                        Some people don't like the look of Leviton paddle switches.

                        There are all these aspects to consider as well.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by Patholoraptor View Post
                          Would you recommend SA, HAI, or PCS? I was leaning towards using PCS for everything, since I can use a phase repeater.
                          I have mainly PCS products, with a few SA modules. I have no experience with HAI. SA switches are a bit less expensive than PCS, but I intend to stick primarily with PCS.

                          I am a little concerned that UPB may be a dying technology. Witness the (by some accounts, not personal experience) neglected HS3 native UPB plugin and the reliance on a third-party plugin author to provide the gold standard. Should I worry?
                          This whole field is always on the edge. Witness Revolv. On the other hand, plug-ins from non-HST sources have tended to be well supported and very well crafted. HST-branded plug-ins are actually the ones I'd be more concerned about. They tend to get left by the side of road with discouraging regularity.

                          Keep in mind, though, that Z-wave and it's hardware are part of the HST business model. I expect that HST will work very hard to support and improve Z-wave performance, both in HS and as a technology. They do not have a similar vested interest in UPB, but that shouldn't be interpreted as a sign that the technology is marginal, just that HST can't do everything. Fortunately, there is a pool of very talented plug-in authors anxious to fill the gaps.
                          Mike____________________________________________________________ __________________
                          HS3 Pro Edition 3.0.0.548, NUC i3

                          HW: Stargate | NX8e | CAV6.6 | Squeezebox | PCS | WGL 800RF | RFXCOM | Vantage Pro | Green-Eye | Edgeport/8 | Way2Call | Ecobee3 | EtherRain | Ubiquiti

                          Comment


                            #14
                            I started with Zwave switches but ran into some problems when updates were made for new Zwave devices. I use Zwave for locks, some wall modules and thermostats.

                            I changed all my lighting to UPB, mostly SA (which offers great tech support) and some PCS devices. Once everything is setup in the free Upstart program your switches work whether or not Homeseer goes down.

                            The SpudUPB plugin works great and he gives excellent support, probably why Homeseer no longer tries to duplicate it. So everything works through Homeseer which is awesome, Homeseer adds the magic.

                            For lighting I wanted 100% reliability, I get that with UPB. For a house as large as yours I would consider UPB for the lighting and Zwave for everything else.

                            You should download the free Upstart program and you will see how logical and flexible it is. If you are buying a lot of UPB devices you can negotiate a really good price off of what is shown on the websites. Good luck.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by Patholoraptor View Post
                              Thanks. I have read that specification and it makes sense.

                              I guess I am wondering whether anyone has any real-world experience with the Gen 5 Z-wave hardware. It might still be too early. Maybe a prudent course would be to wait six months until the reviews start to roll in.
                              Our new 500 series switches have only been out about a month. If that makes you nervous and you have a bit of time to wait before jumping in, then I'd do that. Don't settle for older 300 series switches at this point!
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