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replacing existing automation set up - what to replace with?

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
hi guys,

been running x10 modules throughout the house for about 5 years however there not 100% reliable which is annoying! im looking to replace them but dont know which route to go down. im thinking z-wave as i can use mcontrol within media center (media center is all over the house). just wanting to know before i go and buy all the z-wave kit, is it the right option to go? is there anything else thats better? im in the UK and z-wave stuff doesnt seem to have as many modules
post #2 of 5
I have had X-10 for over 25 years and started replacing things with z-wave about 2 years ago. X-10 was unreliable, but so very occasionally is z-wave. I have Leviton, about 20 units, keeping X-10 for infrequently or seasonally used devices.

I suggest you do a lot of google/bing/searcher-of-your-choice and visit the manufacturers web sites for documentation. You need to consider inter-unit range and what effects it, how the schema of one, two, and four button wall units and remotes fits your needs, and think about the differences between scene, area, and device control.

I went z-wave because I am in an old house with 2-wire wall switches and the house divided between two electrical panels, one of which has near pre-historic wiring.

Things are working almost all of the time but getting here with z-wave was very aggravating and at times I almost abandoned the idea.
post #3 of 5
my needs are pretty basic, and for me..I didnt have a requirement for one app/one solution handle all of my automation needs. I have Honeywell wifi thermostats from Home Depot at $99 each handling my automated HVAC needs using the remotethermostat.com app on my Iphone. So far so good. I have on order irrigationcaddy.com with a wireless netgear adapter on order for my remote irrigation needs. checking for a basic remote lighting app now..
post #4 of 5
aftermarketsound, z-wave is a good choice if you're a DIY. Reliability may not be 100%, but it's darn close. UPB is also good, BUT you need a neutral wire at every dimmer. With Z-wave most of the better dimmers do not require a neutral. Some other Z-Wave devices do.

Just looking in the box to see if there is a white wire isn't enough, the reason being that some installations have a loop down from the fixture and the white wire carries hot back up. Not a great thing, but that's the way it used to be done.

Some will advise you of workarounds for the UPB neutral issue, such as putting a module up in the fixture, etc. That approach certainly works, but I didn't have an appetite for doing a bunch of rewiring, I just wanted to replace the dimmers and get on with life.

I first purchased UPB and went to install my first dimmer and discovered my white wire wasn't neutral. Fortunately, the retailer took back the UPB dimmer and I switched to Z-Wave. Z-Wave has been very reliable for me, and is very fast after using X-10 for years.

I think most will agree that you can't go wrong with either Z-Wave or UPB so long as you identify the issues of each and how they might affect you.
post #5 of 5
I have used both zwave and upb. If you want to integrate upb is far superior to zwave! The zwave protocol is NOT open, upb is openly documented and pcs it's originator offers free software to configure,test your devices. Because upb has open documentation writing third party software to support it is straightforward, zwave on the otherhand is so closed that people are forced to reverse engineer their protocol to attempt to integrate with it. UPB is not without potential problems, it is based upon powerline communications and can suffer from interference these problems are much less severe than x10. In my installation I required a phase coupler and a filter on a plasma tv, with those in place communications has been flawless!
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