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Insteon Overview Page 1

About Insteon

We've been very disappointed with X10 over the years... False possatives, true negatives, random All-Lights-On commands in the middle of the night and bridging phases with a capacitor in the breaker box are just a few of the reasons X10 drove us batty. X10 is good, and it does turn your lights on and off, but it shouldn't be trusted for true Home Automation.

With Insteon, those problems are all gone. Insteon is so reliable we have completly replaced all of our X10 devices. Every command is acknowleged, so you know the device responded. Insteon networks are a good start at true Home Automation. Smarthome has even released a PC interface, called a Power Line Controller (or PLC). This PC interface allows you to send commands from you PC and read the status of various devices throughout your home.

There are many white papers about Insteon available on the web that will explain why it is reliable, but what most people want to hear is some first hand experience.

My Experience with Insteon

I was skeptical, so I only bought a starter kit, which had 1 control linq, 2 lamp modules, and 2 RF phase couplers. Setup was a snap. First you plug your RF adapters in and get them to talk using a pretty simple button pressing method. Then you plug in all the other stuff and start to create links.

Links are made by holding the "On" button on the controller for 10 seconds until it's LED blinks. Then you hold the little black button on the recieving device for about 3 seconds until it flashes it's light. That's it, you've created a link. Now the controller controls the light.

Here is where it gets awesome. Devices can be linked to multiple controllers, and multiple controllers can be linked to the same device. This is worlds better than X10. With X10, if a light was on code 1, then all controllers had to send out a 1 to turn it on. With Insteon, my nightstand light is tied to button 1, and my wifes is button 2 on my side of the bed. On her side of the bed, her light is number 1 and mine is number 2. Cool.

From there it just keeps getting better, but I won't bore you with the details. I'll just give you a summary. So far it is 100% reliable. The signals travel 5 acres on my property. 3 way and 4 way circuits are a snap. The devices are heavy and solid. The software support is decent, but we're gonna fix that at this site.

I recommend Insteon 100%. It just works, and it is pretty inexpensive. Most importantly, it is very hackable.

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Jason Bauer

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Jason Bauer is an owner and programmer for He's allergic to twitter and facebook, but you can find more of his articles in the Guides section.
Tuesday, 28-May-2024 22:27:19 PDT