PDA

View Full Version : Best automated control


mowtime
09-17-2007, 11:10 PM
Trying to synchronize 2 different zones with 2 different transformers at separate locations so that the systems will start at the same time. I came across the X-10 pro and saw that you can plug in the controllers inside the transformers and synchronize both transformers from a single control source in the house. Any opinions or advice will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks

Chris J
09-17-2007, 11:33 PM
The X10 system is great, but you might run into a bunch of problems if you don't install the phase coupler. You could get away with it for a long time without the coupler, but I did this and it cost me a great deal of time and wasted labor hours correcting the problem down the road. There is another system that is controled by UPB, but it is a bit more costly. It will cost your customer at least another $500 for a basic set up. If this is not an option, you may consider a sequencer which will require you to link the transformers together by a wire. Let us know which option sounds more interesting to you, and we will elaborate on the specific topic as they are all pretty lengthy. You can also do a search on each of these topics as they have all been discussed here in great detail.

Go Halogen
09-17-2007, 11:33 PM
I have not used this yet, but I just received an e-mail update for the RM-150.
It is a relay that when used in slave transformers will follow the command of a master transformer. I will attach the picture sent to me below. If anyone has used this yet please elaborate.

Andy

p.s. X-10 is noy very reliable presently. I had to remove a few systems, due to interference with Plasma screens with in the house.

Landscape Illuminating
09-17-2007, 11:41 PM
I have not used this yet, but I just received an e-mail update for the RM-150.
It is a relay that when used in slave transformers will follow the command of a master transformer. I will attach the picture sent to me below. If anyone has used this yet please elaborate.

Andy

p.s. X-10 is noy very reliable presently. I had to remove a few systems, due to interference with Plasma screens with in the house.



Same as the Unique sequencer??

-LI

Go Halogen
09-17-2007, 11:46 PM
??? I am not familiar with the Unique sequencer.
Joey.....Any comments??

Eden Lights
09-18-2007, 03:25 AM
UPB, UPB, and UPB! Relays are only as good as what is signaling them. Junk in Junk out. I have tried not to comment much on this subject, but you guys that can, should be looking at UPB very hard.

bmwsmity
09-18-2007, 08:42 AM
I have very limited experience with X-10, but the experience I do have is that X-10 will only cause headaches. I just had to go to a previous customer's house to reset their X-10 timer because it got unplugged somehow.

The thing about X-10 timers is that they aren't exactly intuitive. You have to be very electronically inclined to be able to set them up without a manual IMO. For customers who don't mind spending the money to have you come out just to reset their timer, this is great for us, but for customers who don't want to be charged for such things it's not so great.

I'm not too familiar with many other sequencing type controls. I have used digital timers in the past, which will automatically compensate for days getting longer or shorter so there is no need to reset them. I've heard from my supplier that they have a high fail rate, but I've yet to see this come to fruition. I put some in as early as April this year and they still work fine.

Of course, a digital timer is probably the cheapest way for the transformers to be exactly sequenced within a few seconds at about $20 each.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
09-18-2007, 10:08 AM
The simplest and most reliable set up to control multiple zones (transformers) from a central switch/timer or master control would be to use on board relays on the slave transformers.

I see that Vista has just released it's version of control relay. The RM-150. This is a plug in unit that would work well on Vista, Hadco or Kichler Transformers. Nightscaping was the first to develop this relay module, called the Islander Module ( T-SS-12V) for their Powercenter line.

I have been using hardwired relays between zones for years now with great sucess. They are simple, robust, and not very expensive to do when installed with the rest of the system. As a retrofit, you might have some control wire to dig into the ground.

Have a great day.

JoeyD
09-18-2007, 11:15 AM
??? I am not familiar with the Unique sequencer.
Joey.....Any comments??


The Sequencer is esentially a relay to help sechronize your lighting system.

How it works is lets say you have 3 TF's you want to turn on and off at the same time. You would designate one Unit as your MASTER housing it with a timing option such as a timer, UPB or X-10 module. You then run a wire from the 12v tap on that master unit to the first SLAVE unit. That wire connects directly to the Sequencer in the SLAVE. You then can run a wire from that frist Slave unit off of it's 12v tap to the next Slave's Sequencer. You can continue to do this with as many units as you want.

Hope this helps!!

Joey D.

Eden Lights
09-18-2007, 04:46 PM
UPB, UPB, & UPB! The only cost effective way to control our systems and sub-systems. If your serious about creating unique lighting compositions it is a huge tool to control all lighting in your scene environment. Neighbors, street lights, and the moon you can't control, everything else you can and should.

mowtime
09-18-2007, 11:00 PM
The only problem is that the customer wants the attached garage (very nicely built with stone accents) up-lighted and it is a considerable distance away from the house. Also there is a monster driveway separating the two structures. I would like the house and garage lights to come on together. Thank you for your input.

Eden Lights
09-19-2007, 12:14 AM
The only problem is that the customer wants the attached garage (very nicely built with stone accents) up-lighted and it is a considerable distance away from the house. Also there is a monster driveway separating the two structures. I would like the house and garage lights to come on together. Thank you for your input.

Upb timer of choice and two upb appliance modules and you will never know they are not one unit.

JoeyD
09-19-2007, 10:40 AM
I have to agree with Eden. UPB is the way to go for sure!!

bmwsmity
09-19-2007, 11:04 AM
Anyone ever used INSTEON?

JoeyD
09-19-2007, 11:25 AM
I have not, fill me in!

sprinkler guy
09-19-2007, 01:47 PM
Anyone ever used INSTEON?

I've used it a few times. The Smarthome factory store is located here in So Cal, and I was getting some of my X-10 stuff from them. The sales guy showed me the Insteon when they didn't have the X-10 switch I was looking for. It works similar to the X-10, using the house wiring to transmit signals, but it also sends an RF signal to the device/module. Insteon is actually compatible with X-10. Also, their remote has two receiving modules to address both phases, eliminating the need for a phase coupler. One of their advantages over X-10 is every receiver module boosts the signal, so each device relays the signal on to the next unit. The downside is that the system is only a few years old, so they don't have as many items as X-10 or UPB. They don't have a simple programmable timer, so everything is being done manually with the remote, or a table top control. They do have hardware and software so you can program on/off times with your pc, but I've avoided that up to this point. You guys all know how many of your customers would be able to handle that with no problem, vs. the ones who would call constantly, then resent the idea of paying for a service call. As I continue to grow my service business with maint. contracts, I'm trying to figure out how to build in reprogramming for this type of application.

Check out www.smarthome.com

JoeyD
09-19-2007, 02:04 PM
For those who are curious or looking for more info.

http://www.lawnsite.com/showthread.php?p=1968642#post1968642

bmwsmity
09-19-2007, 06:26 PM
I've used it a few times. The Smarthome factory store is located here in So Cal, and I was getting some of my X-10 stuff from them. The sales guy showed me the Insteon when they didn't have the X-10 switch I was looking for. It works similar to the X-10, using the house wiring to transmit signals, but it also sends an RF signal to the device/module. Insteon is actually compatible with X-10. Also, their remote has two receiving modules to address both phases, eliminating the need for a phase coupler. One of their advantages over X-10 is every receiver module boosts the signal, so each device relays the signal on to the next unit. The downside is that the system is only a few years old, so they don't have as many items as X-10 or UPB. They don't have a simple programmable timer, so everything is being done manually with the remote, or a table top control. They do have hardware and software so you can program on/off times with your pc, but I've avoided that up to this point. You guys all know how many of your customers would be able to handle that with no problem, vs. the ones who would call constantly, then resent the idea of paying for a service call. As I continue to grow my service business with maint. contracts, I'm trying to figure out how to build in reprogramming for this type of application.

Check out www.smarthome.com

Well put. I think one major advantage of this as well is the compatibility with X-10, so if you have a customer with X-10 that wants to add on to a system, you don't have to totally scrap the current X-10 or give them more of the same old X-10 crap. The other advantage is that it is only slightly more expensive than X-10, and a lot cheaper than UPB. A typical appliance module is about $30, while X-10 is about $10 and UPB about $90.

If they would come out with a simple timer [especially one that isn't as byzantine as the X-10 timer], I think INSTEON could be one of the best choices out there.

JoeyD
09-19-2007, 06:30 PM
I am surprised that no one has mentioned Radio RA? Anyone have any experience with it??

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
09-19-2007, 06:39 PM
I am surprised that no one has mentioned Radio RA? Anyone have any experience with it??

Up here the radio ra system is limited in application because of its need for repeaters every 30 - 40 feet inside and 60 feet or so outside. None of the repeater modules are made for outdoors either. Then there is the expense of it.

If you are looking to RF control options I would suggest some of the new Z-Wave technology out there. Intermatic has just released a line where every node (switch, receptical,etc) has a built in repeater.

This stuff might work well in a typical urban property, but here where lots range from 2 to 25 acres with multiple buildings, it isnt very effective.

Have a great day.

Eden Lights
09-19-2007, 09:02 PM
RA is a outstanding product and it is what we used before UPB came along. The problem is the cost and the range of the rf signals. A RA system added about $2500.00 to our systems and the same control can be had with UPB for under $1000.00 which enlarges your customer base alot.

Insteon, we had a package in the shop sometime back and the quality of the product was not acceptable at that time, nor was the feature set as broad as UPB.

Zwave, we currently have a system setup for testing at my home(ALL Leviton stuff). The product is very nice, but range is very limited in our application tests. (transformers front and back with the timer in the middle.) Since the devices form a mesh network it is strong if you have alot of devices spread out across the home. We had to add two interior lamp modules to get proper signals and this is a small home.(2500 sqft. w/exterior brick and interior plaster walls) Programming is no where near as feature rich as UPB upstart software and while everything can be done with the timer it is very slow compared to UPB to setup unless you keep it very basic.

While no protocol is perfect, my vote is strong for UPB for exterior lighting controls. It really has no competition for our applications.

If the the whole house is being done, there are other options.