Differences betweeen UPB and RF?

Discussion in 'Landscape Lighting' started by irrig8r, Jul 24, 2009.

  1. irrig8r

    irrig8r LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,553

    Anyone here use Insteon? This article describes it as an RF system.


    Another contractor friend of mine swears by it, but he never heard of Simply Automated and he's not familiar with UPB, and says he used Insteon in his new home.

    Which is more reliable and/or has more options? My friend says every time the control switch sends out a signal you get back a confirmation.

    Customer has some lights on indoor and some on outdoor manual switches others where we are using photocell/timer combos, and a couple where I installed the Aube timers.

    She would like to be able to run some transformers/ zones automatically on a timer, and other used less often or just for entertaining switchable with a remote. I'm thinking she could switch other outdoor security lights, etc. with this system too...


  2. irrig8r

    irrig8r LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,553

    Found this on the Insteon site:

    "INSTEON Compared with UPB
    The most notable differences between INSTEON and UPB are that
    1. INSTEON is dual mesh, UPB is powerline only;
    2. INSTEON repeats1 messages by simulcasting, UPB does not repeat messages;
    3. INSTEON cannot be jammed by triac transients; and
    4. INSTEON device setup does not require special tools."

    "...the fact that INSTEON is dual mesh adds greatly to the reliability and flexibility of an INSTEON network. With INSTEON, if powerline messaging fails, radio provides a backup, and vice-versa. But with UPB, there is no recourse except for retries.

    Furthermore, it is not clear how UPB integrates with handheld controllers or other battery-operated devices not connected to the powerline. Without a common messaging protocol across media, UPB would have to rely on ad-hoc bridging devices, presumably implemented differently by different vendors...."

  3. Lite4

    Lite4 LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,173

    I have an insteon demo kit sitting in our office, I have been meaning to pull it out and try it. One of our techs went to their class last year.
  4. djt22

    djt22 LawnSite Member
    from Ohio
    Messages: 113

    The areas she is looking to turn on when needed do they have their own transformer for that area or do they share with other areas on one transformer. Either way check out the zone control from abt it has timer and on/off abilities. It is a simple system to operate for a home owner.
  5. INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting

    INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,102

    Gregg: THANKYOU THANKYOU THANKYOU! I had never heard about Insteon until I read your post in the other forum. I am struggling now with a massive UPB issue and this Dual Mesh system might just be the ticket.

    I am going to talk to the Manufacturer and try out a small system at the problematic location. I will let you know what comes of it.
  6. Pro-Scapes

    Pro-Scapes LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,180

    Smarthome home is a great source for insteon. The promote it all the time and if your set up on smarthomepro.com you can order it quickly and easily. I buy most of my automation there but I never tried it Insteon. I was told before it was x10 compatible but not UPB. That info could in fact prove wrong tho. If I also recall is was a protocol which used both x10 and a zigbee type signal. The RF would be tough to go thru a transformer housing so an external mounted control might be in order.

    If I am not mistaken Smart labs and smart home is the same company.

    One advantage is that Insteon devices act as a group and repeat commands where x10 only sends the signal from the clock and you would have to install a repeater.
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2009
  7. Lite4

    Lite4 LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,173

    I have heard from several in the automation industry that Insteon is one of the best but have not had a lot of opportunities to try it yet.
  8. irrig8r

    irrig8r LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,553

    If you open the PDF file link I posted above you'll see it compared to Zigbee, Z Wave, X-10 and UPB, with explanations of how they all work and what works with Insteon.

    I noticed that too.

    Apparently you can run Insteon from a PC or a Mac and even use an iPhone as a remote.

    General/ landscape contractor friend of mine had his new house done with Insteon for under $5K, including set-ups for security cameras, indoor lights, outdoor lights and more. His electrical contractor will be meeting with me this week on my project. I'm thinking maybe I should take an Insteon class.
  9. jshimmin

    jshimmin LawnSite Member
    Messages: 99

    I have an Insteon system that I have taken over the maintenance of. The original installer should have his drivers license removed as well as his low voltage license if they had one.

    The hand held remote seems to be the weak link. The unit has been replaced under warranty about every 6 months. It constantly looses the zone functions and has to be re-synced to the individual modules. Four units have died and not been able to address the individual modules. They can always control if you use the all on / all off, but the scenes get lost and con not be re-programmed.
  10. Pro-Scapes

    Pro-Scapes LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,180


    This is being manufactured by Doug Hill the owner of controlscape. I have only glanced at it and spoken with him briefly on it but it looks like it is compatible with most protocols including
    Lutron Radio RA

    For lighting control but also opens up a realm of thermostats and security. For remotes you can use Ipod touch or iphones. The cost is somewhat reasonable for the abilities of it. We will more than likley be installing one in our house when we near the completion of our full home renovation.

    A few years ago at lightapalooza we saw a device that was wall mountable and very attractive from intermatic but it was based on zigbee technology and wouldnt work thru transformer housings.

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