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  • HAI ALC switches...why not more users

    I cannot find much discussion on this board about the ALC modules and I get the sense they might be outdated...(not many vendors and not much selection in terms of keypads,...)..or maybe it is too new?

    Question:
    Do do need to buy ALC interface boards (45 interfaces) for the ONMIPRO II or does it come loaded with it already


    ANY other alternatives to conside (LUTRON hardwired or .RADIO_RA)

    NOTE X-10 is NOT AN OPTION FOR ME (not releliable enough according to all the propanganda I got from various sales peopel from Lutron..)

  • #2
    You should check out Lightolier Control's Compose system. I'm sure Lutron mentioned this system too. Because of Compose, Lutron cut the prices for Radio Ra quite a bit. Compose is PLC but if you use the recomended firewalls you will not have any reliablility issues. The firewall is an amplifier, phase coupler, repeater, and very large filter all in one. It also has a built in buffer in case multiple commands are sent at the same time.

    Compose integrates beautifully with HAI and Homeseer. There is a new Homeseer Plug-in for scene control of Compose that Rick Tinker just wrote. Check out http://lolcontrols.com. Let me know if you have any more questions.

    -Shane

    Comment


    • #3
      Fbitz,

      ALC is exclusively OnQ, so you won't find anything about it from HAI (who makes the OmniPro II) even though it is HAI who is the OEM for OnQ's panels.

      ALC switches are hard-wired - if you aren't building a new house, envision tearing up all of your walls... They are still around and do work really well. The HAI plug-in did not support OnQ initially, but now there is an OnQ plug-in. The ALC devices can be turned on/off with the plug-in, but dimmed only with a script command at this time - more will be done as I find time.

      So they are there and they are good for a new installation. I would take ALC over Lutron just from a cost perspective. High-end Leviton and Lightolier Compose are also very good. I have heard many good things about the Lightolier devices and know some installers who have switched completely over to them.

      Regards,

      Rick Tinker
      HomeSeer Technologies
      Regards,

      Rick Tinker (a.k.a. "Tink")

      Comment


      • #4
        Thanks but i am checking the Lightolier as you suggested and it seems pretty hard to expand if you needs MANY firewalls (as you need one per 8 switching circuits) ..
        I have about 60 switching circuits to deal with
        and already approaching the limit of Lutron RadioRA

        I'll probably will need to hard-wire much of the stuff and compromise.

        What about the new system from PCS Lighting
        called UPB (Univeral Powerline Bus) I heard at a seminar that it is going to be great.

        http://www.pcslighting.com/WhatIsUPB.htm

        Comment


        • #5
          I don't know as the number of firewalls is a big problem - note that the number of circuits is not the number of lights, but rather the number of xx Amp circuits. Thus, 8-15 Amp circuits is a lot of lights!

          Also, UPB might very well be great, but Marshall Lester has been developing it he says for 3 years, so the testing and release to production certainly is not going to be an overnight process.

          From that standpoint then you should really contact ACT regarding Zensys - that stuff is "slicker 'n snot up your sleeve" as Dad used to say. (Yes, warped sense of humor)

          In the category of "here today" though, if the size of the project is eliminating standard X-10 products, then ALC or Lightolier are your best bets. Be aware in your ALC planning of the number of lighting loads the system can handle - it is limited in some panels. These are actual light switches, not lighting circuits like with the Compose Firewall.

          Keep this in mind as well - if X-10 is not an option, then make sure you plan all of your digital I/O accordingly because you will not be able to use things like "Universal Modules" for last-minute automation needs. If you use Compose, you are building a robust X-10 infrastructure where you can still use those devices, but if you go ALC, you will still need to install a coupler/repeater and be wary of noise generating devices that prevent X-10 from working since you will be using X-10 for things where you do not have a wire running to the OnQ panel for. I am not a proponant of one over the other, just pointing out some things you should consider in the designing phase of the project.



          Regards,

          Rick Tinker
          HomeSeer Technologies
          Regards,

          Rick Tinker (a.k.a. "Tink")

          Comment


          • #6
            As much as I would want to do that sometimes, I would hurt from the standpoint of all the little stuff I do with plugin modules, etc. We have so much available to us in HS that is X10 based (MR26a, etc.) that I think going non X10 could be very expensive and very frustrating searching out the products.

            The Zensys sounds neat but ACT wasn't planning an RS232 controller any time soon so that left those devices out.....

            If HS can't do it, what's the point?

            SteveP

            I Pledge Allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
            The REAL Pledge of Allegiance

            Comment


            • #7
              I have heard that Compose switches are 'signal suckers'. So, I didn't use them yet. Still got a couple sitting in boxes.

              Is that only for the two way versions or do all Compose suck signals?

              That's why I started using the *linc stuff.

              SteveP

              I Pledge Allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
              The REAL Pledge of Allegiance

              Comment


              • #8
                I have not heard of this with the Compose switches - perhaps somebody who has worked with them can tell us something about that. When I was developing the plug-in, I had the demo wall plugged in and it has 5 switches and 2 keypads in it, and my regular household X-10 never suffered. (And the demo wall survived it being a great source of entertainment for the kids - for some reason they love playing with lights on a picture of a model home...)

                RE: ACT - An interface is on the way...


                Regards,

                Rick Tinker
                HomeSeer Technologies
                Regards,

                Rick Tinker (a.k.a. "Tink")

                Comment


                • #9
                  I have used X-10 in the past but am reluctant to
                  do so for my big project (even with Lightolier,...)

                  ONE thing I keep hearing is that X-10 is SLOW
                  (I hear 10bits/sec and sometimes 300bps)

                  WHICH ONE IS IT? and how long would it take
                  to switch 40 lights (not using ALL ON/OFF) individually within HS/OMNIPRO.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Rick,

                    FYI. ALC is no longer excusively OnQ. The exclusivity clause expired (renegotiated/released/whatever) a year of so ago. You can get ALC information on the HAI website (www.homeauto.com) under the "products" section. Now that OnQ was bought out by Leviton, it will be interesting to see what happens with ALC.

                    fbitz,

                    The ALC software is built into the OmniPro II ROM, but you need the interface board for the connections. In the case of the Pro II, you can install 2 interface boards to control a total of 248 unique loads. More info on the HAI site. As for why you don't see more info on it on the board, IMO there are three reasons. First, as Rick states, ALC really can only be used if installed during construction. Second, this board tends to be DIY/retrofit oriented while ALC is aimed and marketed toward the professional installer. Last, IMO the ALC switches are UGLY! I hate the dimples. Hopefully Leviton/OnQ/HAI will dump the dimples and spruce up the looks of the switches.

                    My system is described in my profile.
                    My system is described in my profile.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Good info Jim!

                      To answer the other question, one X-10 signal takes about 1/3 of a second to transmit. Since a standard X-10 ON signal is two commands, that is a total of 2/3 of a second. If you had 40 devices, that would take 26 2/3 seconds.

                      HOWEVER...

                      PCS, Leviton, and Lightolier have all incorporated some sort of scene control in some of their devices. What this means is, once the scene has been set up or programmed, you can trigger it with a single X-10 command, and all of the lights that are a part of the scene go to a preset level at the same time. With the Compose Firewall taking care of the X-10 infrastructure, you have little to worry about with noise and failed X-10 commands as well. With Leviton and PCS, you simply have to follow the guidelines and 20 years of X-10 history to know how to construct a good X-10 environment, and it will work well for you.


                      Regards,

                      Rick Tinker
                      HomeSeer Technologies
                      Regards,

                      Rick Tinker (a.k.a. "Tink")

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Was researching a part # on the Leviton website Friday and came across a disappointing press release. The Leviton/OnQ purchase was canceled at the end of last month. Press release didn't give any reason and I wasn't motivated enough to go digging. I guess we will have to live with the current ALC selection/look for a while longer.

                        My system is described in my profile.
                        My system is described in my profile.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          FYI - ALL X10 devices that transmit (including keypads) will "suck signals"...

                          This is true of the SwitchLinc, Compose, Leviton, etc. Any two way switch or thing that sends a signal...

                          That being said a coupler repeater such as the Leviton HCA02 helps resolve this problem...

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I'm looking at ALC for my new construction project. Regarding the "ugly" issue, the Worthington Distribution catalog lists both "dimpled face" and "smooth face" versions of the switches.

                            (Note, I haven't actually seen either version.)

                            Jim Lange
                            Bothell, WA

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