View Full Version : UPB advice first time bid

Mike M
08-06-2008, 01:00 PM
I'm putting together an estimate for 4 zones/transformers, and want to do my first upb install for this.

I will contact my distrib but want tips here, too. They have many to chose from, including controlscapes and x10.

Here's my set-up:

They want one wall switch to control all four zones, with an "all on" feature.

Three 300 watt transformers and one 150 watt on separate circuits.

Q: Do any of these come with astronomicals? Just curious, not a priority.



08-06-2008, 04:10 PM
Mike, ControlScape is WAY better than X10. It does have the asto clock so that's not an issue and you can use a wall switch controller. I'm sure you'll use the plug-in relay modules for the transformers which install just like any timer.

Good luck,

Mike M
08-06-2008, 09:38 PM
Thanks, Paul!

Chuck gave me an overview on the phone. I agree, Controlscapes seems to be the way to go.

He mentioned the desktop unit. Is the wall switch trickier to program vs. the desktop? I think wall units look more slick and professional, but I want something easy, too.

08-06-2008, 09:57 PM
The easiest is the desk top unit but the wall switch is easy as well. You have to have a switch location to install it in or you will need to create one which is also pretty easy. The thing that most of my clients like about the desk to unit is that they can move it to any room they like at any time and it will work.

Chris J
08-06-2008, 11:27 PM
Do you replace the wall switch with the CS wall switch, or do you just tie it in?

08-06-2008, 11:44 PM
For the multi button switch controller you have to have a seperate "slot" for it. You then have to replace the switches that you want to control also.

Chris J
08-06-2008, 11:50 PM
Got it. Thanks!

08-07-2008, 10:37 AM
definitley go with the controlscape!

Mike M
08-07-2008, 08:16 PM
Tanks, Joey, I will.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
08-07-2008, 09:11 PM
Ask your client if they have any Plasma TVs. If so you will want to get a plug in noise filter from either Simply Automated or PCS Pulseworxs.

I have had 3 UPB systems in the last week requiring call backs due to line noise... All from plasma TVs. The televisions were not on when I installed and checked the systems of course.

Now I will ask first every time and just spec in the filters where necessary.

Mike M
08-07-2008, 09:58 PM
James, which controller did you install?

08-07-2008, 10:03 PM
Mike, he's not talking about ControlScape just in case you were wondering. I have installed it with several plasmas and have never had an issue with noise. ControlScape uses Gen II technology and those others are still using Gen I, I'm pretty sure.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
08-07-2008, 10:10 PM
Paul is right, I dont use ControlScape, I prefer Simply Automated.

I find their fit and finish to be nicer, their remote (plug in) controller is more polished and suits my client's aesthetics better and they have more in-wall control options.

Also the master distributor for SA is just a couple of towns away from me and offers amazing support and service.

08-07-2008, 10:14 PM
Dont they make a tool that will test the lines for signal interferance?

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
08-07-2008, 10:29 PM
Yes Joey, part of the software (UPStart) is a signal and noise meter.

08-07-2008, 10:50 PM
no I know that......I guess I am thinking from a controlscape standpoint. I was trying to remmeber if Simply Automated makes an actual tool or device that plugs in and measures signal strength. I know at one point when CS had the LCD Touch Screen it had a meter on it.

08-09-2008, 04:33 AM
I usually integrate the porch lights on UPB jobs now so the porch lights switch gets the simply automated USR2 I think it is with the super rocker on top and 4 buttons.

This solves integrating the porch light (at a level that is complimentry to your lighting) and providing a homeowner interface at the same time. You can still add a controlscapes or other clock as well.

In upstart I always turn on all the TV's and check the line noise. EVERY home gets a phase coupler installed. You can set up the links and program the buttons pretty easy with upstart. The only UPB issues I have had was the OLD firmware CS clocks not holding time but the new ones seem fine so far.This is the only UPB service call I have had.

I still stock x10 and install it on smaller homes not needing an advanced system and have had very few problems with the x10