Author Topic: Zwave or Insteon  (Read 5435 times)

williammanda

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Zwave or Insteon
« on: June 20, 2008, 06:34:03 pm »
I'm trying to decide whether Zwave or Insteon should be the platform for my home automation. This is what I understand:

Zwave - Cheaper price for devices but requires progamming remote ($150). Great support among a large number of manufacturers. Zigbee is using Zwave as a common platform. Limited number of nodes on a network (maybe 256?). Single network (RF only).

Insteon - Higher price for devices ($10 more) and no progamming remote. Only Smart home manufactures Insteon. Compatibility with x10. Large number of nodes on a network (4096?). Dual network (powerline & RF).

If Zigbee takes off then Zwave would be the better supported choice but Insteon offers the powerline & RF network. Also it seems that Insteon sends a signal back that could be used for status where Zwave doesn't.

If someone could please chime in and correct my understanding and / or add to the voids, I would apprecaite it.
Thanks

jondecker76

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Re: Zwave or Insteon
« Reply #1 on: June 20, 2008, 06:49:11 pm »
Here is my opinion:

Insteon is probably the best you are going to get (at a cost of course). They are reliable, very fast and perform very well. They are also very well supported in LMCE. They are the most expensive, however, and I'm not crazy about their selection of devices.

ZWave is kind of a middle guy here. They are pretty fast, fairly reliable, and still pretty expensive. They have had a lot of integration issues in the past in LMCE. Their selection of devices is decent though. I havn'e messed with them much, but it appears that you need separate interfaces for their lighting vs. their climate devices (can anyone confirm this?)

X10 is also an option. Though they are slower (about 1 second latencies, sometimes a few seconds if a lot of brightening/dimming events are being sent), less reliable (though I swear that in about 4 years, I've never had a signal fail to go through. But then again, I do have my 2 phases coupled properly, which a lot of people don't do. They are dirt cheap (about $5-$7 each on ebay for switches and outlets, much cheaper if you buy a used lot). This is still my favorite as it has a nice "bang-for-your-buck" effect. I also like their selection of devices (Simple On/Off switches that work with Compact Flourescent bulbs, dimming switches, motion detectors, wall outlets, plug-in light and appliance modules, etc..). I have well over 100 x10 devices in my home - i cringe at thinking how much that could have cost with the more expensive solutions... (Though I readily admit that Insteon and Zwave are much nicer than x10 - But - I can have all of the features in my home as people that make much more money than I do)

So you do have some options.
I would say that if you have the money, go with the best. If you only want to add a few switches, etc, go with the best. If you want a lot of devices and you don't have a large income to support it, i would definitely recommend the x10 - they aren't nearly as bad as some make them out to be)

Either way, you'll have fun. Home automation is addicting!

williammanda

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Re: Zwave or Insteon
« Reply #2 on: June 20, 2008, 08:10:32 pm »
jondecker76
less reliable (though I swear that in about 4 years, I've never had a signal fail to go through. But then again, I do have my 2 phases coupled properly, which a lot of people don't do.

How does that phase coupling make it better? How do you phase couple with x10? Are you in the US?
Thanks

jondecker76

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Re: Zwave or Insteon
« Reply #3 on: June 20, 2008, 08:27:43 pm »
Yes, I am in the US.
Most houses in the US have 2 phases of AC power. Usually, half of the house is on one phase (our first "hot" wire), and another half is on the other phase (a second "hot wire), while some appliances use both hot phases to get 240v.

If you have a transceiver plugged into an outlet that is on the first phase, messages won't get to devices on the second phase (and vice versa) - Unless they are using some kind of 2 phase appliance at that exact time (then, the phases are temporarily coupled through the appliances switch/contacts). That is why to a lot of people x10 seems very unreliable.
I'll check and post the model number when I get home, but I bought a phase coupler for about $15. It installs right in my breaker pannel. It allows messages to cross from one phase to another, and also boosts the strength of the messages.

There are also plans on the internet on how to couple the phases yourself with an appropriate value capacitor.

hari

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Re: Zwave or Insteon
« Reply #4 on: June 20, 2008, 09:06:24 pm »
ZWave and zigbee are two different things. You don't need another usb controller for heating devices. Thats the point behind the ZWave network that you can control many different HA devices.

best regards,
Hari
rock your home - http://www.agocontrol.com home automation

williammanda

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Re: Zwave or Insteon
« Reply #5 on: June 20, 2008, 09:12:03 pm »
Is the CM11A the only interface to use with x10? I didn't see it on the x10 website. Where can I get it or another interface?
Thanks

skeptic

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Re: Zwave or Insteon
« Reply #6 on: June 20, 2008, 09:13:06 pm »
Insteon is probably the best you are going to get (at a cost of course). They are reliable, very fast and perform very well. They are also very well supported in LMCE. They are the most expensive, however, and I'm not crazy about their selection of devices.

X10 is also an option. Though they are slower, less reliable. They are dirt cheap. This is still my favorite as it has a nice "bang-for-your-buck" effect. I also like their selection of devices.

Insteon - Compatibility with x10.

Sorry for the major post chopping, but this is my understanding as well.  IMHO, and what I plan to do, buy an Insteon controller, and buy devices that make sense.  x10 for some, Insteon for others.  This way you can get all the cheap bang for your buck items that you might not be willing to pay the Insteon premium for, ie x10 kitchen lights, but still be able to buy Insteon stuff for when you need the better and more reliable items such as HVAC or Security systems.

freymann

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Re: Zwave or Insteon
« Reply #7 on: June 20, 2008, 09:16:35 pm »
Is the CM11A the only interface to use with x10? I didn't see it on the x10 website. Where can I get it or another interface?

 I ordered all my X10 stuff from this US based eBay store:

http://stores.ebay.ca/X10-WAREHOUSE

 Great prices, everything I ordered has worked 100%.

totallymaxed

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Re: Zwave or Insteon
« Reply #8 on: June 21, 2008, 02:25:04 am »
ZWave is kind of a middle guy here. They are pretty fast, fairly reliable, and still pretty expensive. They have had a lot of integration issues in the past in LMCE. Their selection of devices is decent though. I havn'e messed with them much, but it appears that you need separate interfaces for their lighting vs. their climate devices (can anyone confirm this?)

Well Zwave for lighting control is plug-n-play in LiniuxMCE-0710... it works very reliably. But the current zwave implementation does not support two way comms so the current state of a lighting control is not known... LinuxMCE just assumes its on becuase it sent an 'On' command to the device... it never checks the devices state. This is a limitation in the current zwave implementation and not zwave itself ehich is inherently two way.

You don't need a separate zwave interface for climate or any other type of devices... eg PIR sensors. All zwave devices will be accessible over a single zwave interface... BUT... currently their is only the Zwave Lighting Wizard... and as its name implies it just does lighting! So any other zwave devices (and in fact even some lighting devices... like wall switches) will not be configured by the Lighting Wizard... these devices must be configured by hand the hard way... but they will then work perfectly well.

So at a simple level... my feeling is that the Lighting Wizard needs to be updated to become the Zwave Wizard so that it can configure any an all zwave devices not purely lighting.

Andrew
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williammanda

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Re: Zwave or Insteon
« Reply #9 on: June 21, 2008, 03:12:40 am »
It sounds like to me that Insteon maybe the way to go. It has x10 compatibility plus dual network support but the cost is higher.

ddamron

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Re: Zwave or Insteon
« Reply #10 on: June 26, 2008, 08:24:07 pm »
BTW, simplehomenet also makes Insteon devices.  I don't know why people think Smarthome is the only maker of insteon..

Simplehomenet makes all different kinds of devices for Insteon. www.simplehomenet.com
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syner

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Re: Zwave or Insteon
« Reply #11 on: June 28, 2008, 12:23:11 pm »
zwave supports 2way communication at the protocol level.  depending on the series chip it will support instant update status of changes.  if not, most software uses a polling method for periods of time (i.e. poll all device status every 30 seconds).  the protocol does support acknowledgements of commands sent and some of the newer usb sticks support silent acks.

zwave is made up of 'command classes' at the control level.  these classes describe the type of module to be control as well as any methods to control them.  there is also a general basic command class that covers general overall commands, including some thermostat commands.

i do not develop in linux but for anyone who does, the easiest way to have most of the classes right now without buying the development kit is to use the leviton rzc0p (that's zero not o).  it is a serial zwave device that maps ascii code to zwave commands.  i am sure anyone who is developing linuxmce would have no problem writing the code as long as they can develop a linux driver for the rzcop.  leviton has all of the documentation for the ascii codes also so as i said this part would probably be a piece of cake for any serious developer.  i would definitely look forward to seeing it implemented.

i have seen 1 zwave box on the market that looks linux based, the hawking homeremote.  if someone could reverse engineer this box it might prove fruitful in porting it over.

on the windows side i have personally controlled the following to date via zwave:

1. lighting - switch, dimmer, battery operated dimmer controller, garage door opener with lighting control built into keychain
2. plugins - lamp dimmers, 15amp appliance modules (indoor and outdoor)
3. motorized window shades
4. hvac
5. motion & door sensors
6. receptacles (outlets)
7. screw in lamp module (good for basements, laundry rooms, & torchlamps)
8. controllers - handheld remotes, a/v remote (harmony 890), 4 & 5 button wall controllers (control any 1 or more module on 1 button, not just lighting), appliance box (hawking), windows software (wmc, web page, wap page) via usb stick & rzc0p, java applet for cell phone (moshi)

speed on the newer devices is up to 40kbps and they are working on a chipset for direct IR replacement with RF in the future.
also controlthink.com sells a 40kbps firmware updgradable usb stick if developers want to go that way.

hope this info helps anyone who is looking to further the development of zwave in linuxmce.

i have some basic videos showing some of this stuff at www.idesignsgroup.com.  check the 'gallery' link and click the red down arrow twice to get to the home automation section.  click the videos to play.  enjoy.
« Last Edit: June 28, 2008, 12:26:22 pm by syner »

totallymaxed

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Re: Zwave or Insteon
« Reply #12 on: June 28, 2008, 12:38:01 pm »
zwave supports 2way communication at the protocol level.  depending on the series chip it will support instant update status of changes.  if not, most software uses a polling method for periods of time (i.e. poll all device status every 30 seconds).  the protocol does support acknowledgements of commands sent and some of the newer usb sticks support silent acks.

zwave is made up of 'command classes' at the control level.  these classes describe the type of module to be control as well as any methods to control them.  there is also a general basic command class that covers general overall commands, including some thermostat commands.

Yes your right of course about z-wave being inherently 2-way etc... my earlier post was really a comment on the need to update the current z-wave implementation so that it does 2-way comms. Dan's work on Insteon and Hari's work on the new z-wave drivers need to be brough together in someway... as at that level all the capabilities are there already but they are not integrated.

By the way the Leviton device you mention sounds very interesting - particularly if they have 'abstracted' the complete z-wave API/commandset to an ASCII based protocol.

Andrew
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syner

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Re: Zwave or Insteon
« Reply #13 on: June 29, 2008, 03:42:40 pm »
the basic command class has been abstracted, not sure about any other class but it includes support for most modules on the market today.

my post about the 2way was really to just suggest the workaround of polling every so often for status or manually polling as part of the current function.  i.e. whenever you send a control command to turn on a light, also send a command to poll.

definitely check out the rzcop if possible. 

controlthink also has a sdk with a windows dll they wrote incorporating zwave command classes.  i am not a coder but is there a way to reverse engineer a dll possibly?

totallymaxed

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Re: Zwave or Insteon
« Reply #14 on: June 29, 2008, 04:06:56 pm »
the basic command class has been abstracted, not sure about any other class but it includes support for most modules on the market today.

my post about the 2way was really to just suggest the workaround of polling every so often for status or manually polling as part of the current function.  i.e. whenever you send a control command to turn on a light, also send a command to poll.

definitely check out the rzcop if possible. 

controlthink also has a sdk with a windows dll they wrote incorporating zwave command classes.  i am not a coder but is there a way to reverse engineer a dll possibly?

Thanks I'll check that out :-)

Andrew
Andy Herron,
Convergent Home Technologies Ltd

My Blog; http://ellipticalcurve.com

Get RaspSqueeze-CEC or Raspbmc-CEC Wifi enabled for Dianemo/LinuxMCE: http://wp.me/P4KgIc-5P

For Smart Home consulting advice;
@herron on Twitter, inquiries@ellipticalcurve.com via email or PM me here.

Get a Dianemo License: http://forum.linuxmce.org/index.php?topic=8880.msg100221#msg100221
Follow us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Dianemo-Home-Automation/226019387454465

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