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Need help choosing between Insteon, Lutron, or whatever you recommend

post #1 of 70
Thread Starter 
Hello,
I am looking to control 8 overhead dimmer switches and 7 table top and floor lamps and replace 2 somfy remote controls that are controlling 9 roller shades. I would like to control everything with my iphone and also my wife's iphone. I do not have any further home automation needs and doubt I will in the future. I do also have 2 logitech harmony remotes in the house if that matters at all.

I am looked at the Insteon system and the Lutron system but am open to suggestions. I am assuming I will have to replace my dimmer switches which is fine. The overhead lights are all 6" recessed incadescent lights but I am considering switching slowly to LED so may be a factor in deciding which dimmers to get. Any advice or help would be very appreciated. Please ask any questions and I will answer them in a timely manner.
Edited by ajeagle6921 - 1/26/13 at 5:23pm
post #2 of 70
You're supposed to be the one asking questions. There is no single answer. Start thinking about your personal preferences and apply them to the characteristics of the various systems. Then ask specific questions. Otherwise you are just going to get a bunch of conflicting answers, if any.
post #3 of 70
Thread Starter 
Ok, which is the best system for my fairly simple automation needs? I am trying to do this on a budget, but want to get a quality system and quality light dimmers. I have looked at irule also. Is that a good option?
post #4 of 70
LOL that is not what I meant by ask questions. That is asking for free consulting services. And again you are going to get recommendations for everything because there is someone who is happy with each of the systems out there. There is a lot of info in past threads and there is at least one dedicated forum somewhere on the web for each technology out there so start reading and pick what you like.
post #5 of 70
Thread Starter 
I have done a decent amount if reading and thought the point of forum was "free consulting services" or aka help from experienced people.

I don't believe what I'm asking is unacceptable. I have researched, narrowed down to a few systems and a way to control it. And would like opinions from people who might experiences with the above mentioned systems.
post #6 of 70
Well post what you learned, what you like about the options you narrowed down, and then say why you are stuck trying to decide. Address professional install vs your DIY ability and budget as those are the two most important factors.

Otherwise you are asking someone to design a system for you and not only that but make sure to ask you the details of what you want so they can get it right. Sounds like a professional consulting job.
post #7 of 70
Thread Starter 
az1324, if you don't like the question the way I have posted them, then you don't have to answer my questions. If anyone else out there would be able to lend some advice to the above questions. I would be very appreciative. I have read numberous articles and am trying to decide between Insteon and the Lutron system. Am looking at controlling it with the irule. I am open to a dyi or having a professional install it. Trying to keep cost to under $1000. Anyone have any recommendations between those 2 or possibly another configuration I have not thought of. Thank you again in advance for the help.
post #8 of 70
well you are not getting lutron for under 1k so i guess that settles it. insteon could be around 1k if you go with a cheap controller and limit the shades to 2 groups and install it yourself..
Edited by az1324 - 1/27/13 at 1:03am
post #9 of 70
Thread Starter 
Would you think it would be worth it to spend the extra money for Lutron? How much would we be talking with a rough ball park?
post #10 of 70
Design for Insteon, and design for Lutron. Compare prices. No ballpark needed.
post #11 of 70
Thread Starter 
From looking at website irule will control both Lutron and somfy shades. Anyone use irule to control both of these?
post #12 of 70
I have been installing both the Insteon system and the Lutron, both are great products so its hard to chose one over the other. I guess its a question of taste and price.
post #13 of 70
Lutron is going to be at least $2500 and if you DIY you are going to have to jump through hoops to get the software. Or add the cost of pro install. Read the RA2 thread.

iRule can control anything that communicates as that is what it was designed to do.
post #14 of 70
As others have stated, Insteon will be cheaper. Despite being cheaper, it does not sacrifice quality or functionality, and personally, I like the look of the Insteon switches better. Also, Insteon has a better ecosystem of devices, is now on it's 3rd version, and has more software options.

If you are looking for a central controller, there are many to choose from, but of course I recommend my own: CastleOS. You won't find one simpler to set up or use, or in my opinion, more eye-pleasing smile.gif
post #15 of 70
Thread Starter 
I can not tell from either company's website whether you can use LED with them. It looks like from Lutron that you can't but I can't tell with Insteon. Anyone used LED with either?
post #16 of 70
Call Insteon, ask what LEDs they recommend. Since you don't have LEDs yet, I don't think it's an issue. Use the ones they recommend, if any.
post #17 of 70
post #18 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by ajeagle6921 View Post

I can not tell from either company's website whether you can use LED with them. It looks like from Lutron that you can't but I can't tell with Insteon. Anyone used LED with either?

I assume you are asking about LEDs with dimmers, rather than with on/off relays? All on/off relays work. And in truth, so do all dimmers. It's not a question of whether the dimmer is compatible, but whether the LED bulb is compatible. All dimmers work the exact same way, but not all bulbs like being dimmed. So in practice, there is no difference between the switch brands, but there are large difference between bulb brands, and even bulbs from the same brand.
post #19 of 70
Quote:
All dimmers work the exact same way

No, most consumer dimmers use triacs as the switching element...these don't work well with LED loads due to the minimum load current required .
There are many 'reverse phase' dimmers available now which use IGBT's as the switching element, and don't rely on load current.
post #20 of 70
That's new and not as common as you describe from my experience. They are also more expensive from what I've seen. Triacs have been used in dimmers for decades since the good ole variable resistor was phased out. And yes, a new technology is coming along that will replace the Triacs. But do you want to go about replacing all your dimmers, or just buy a different LED that isn't so sensitive to forward phase control?

Keep in mind both forward and reverse phase control work on the same principle, the only difference is where the power is turned on or off. Ultimately, all LEDs still need to deal with the fact that there isn't a constant stream of power through the entire phase cycle, which I think has been a bigger problem historically than forward vs reverse phase.
post #21 of 70
Take a look at Lutron's Controlling LEDs White Paper.

http://www.lutron.com/en-US/Service-Support/Pages/Technical/TechnicalPapers.aspx

Lutron tests specific LEDs, to determine the level of compatibility with their products.

http://www.lutron.com/en-US/Service-Support/Pages/Technical/Design-SelectionTools/LEDDimmerMatrix.aspx
post #22 of 70
Thread Starter 
OK, I believe I am going to go with Lutron Maestro wireless switches and CREE CR6 bulbs. This should work well I am hoping. Thanks for the advice.
post #23 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by ajeagle6921 View Post

OK, I believe I am going to go with Lutron Maestro wireless switches and CREE CR6 bulbs. This should work well I am hoping. Thanks for the advice.

I thought you wanted automation? It's "wireless", but that's just a remote switch. Insteon does the same thing, is cheaper, and offers you the option to expand to a central controller and add real automation in the future if you'd like. You mentioned iPhone app in your OP, you won't get that with this system...
post #24 of 70
Thread Starter 
I forgot to add I am going to use irule with it to control it.
post #25 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by ajeagle6921 View Post

I forgot to add I am going to use irule with it to control it.

How?
post #26 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by ajeagle6921 View Post

I forgot to add I am going to use irule with it to control it.

iRule can't control Maestro Wireless...nothing can for that matter
Edited by ChrisCicc - 1/28/13 at 7:48pm
post #27 of 70
Quote:
since the good ole variable resistor was phased out.

wink.gif neither of us were alive when these were last used.
Quote:
iRule can't control Maestro...nothing can for that matter

...except the ones with ir control.
post #28 of 70
Yet another case of Lutron's many product lines causing confusion. Maestro is technically the "style" of the switch and there are Maestro dimmers as part of plain Maestro, Maestro IR, Maestro Wireless, RA2, QS, CC, etc... each having different limitations.
Edited by az1324 - 1/28/13 at 7:30pm
post #29 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by SAM64 View Post

...except the ones with ir control.

Do the wireless ones have IR control?
post #30 of 70
Thread Starter 
I am going to use the maestro wireless. I believe it can be controlled by irule
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