Insteon Devices Arrived – Smarthome Experience… meh


My first order of Insteon devices from Smarthome arrived last Friday. I had ordered a PowerLinc Modem (2413U), two OutletLincs, a KeypadLinc Dimmer, Togglelinc Relay, and an Wireless Phase Coupler. Unfortunately, instead of receiving two OutletLincs I ended up with two TimerLincs.

I immediately e-mailed Smarthome but didn’t get a reply until Monday. The response was disappointing. I felt that they hadn’t bothered to read my e-mail as it seemed focused on what I could do to return items I wasn’t satisfied with. I was a bit more annoyed by the error considering I paid a considerable amount to have it shipped overnight (so I could work on it over the weekend). Basically, I didn’t receive much of an apology for the error.

However, it turned out to be a fortunate mistake. It seems that our home doesn’t have neutral wires in most, if not all, of the lighting. At least, not at the switches. I don’t know much about wiring but I do know that most wired Insteon devices require a neutral wire. As a result, I couldn’t use the KeypadLinc Dimmer nor the Togglelinc Relay. I’ve read information that states all outlets should have neutral wires, so I might have been able to use the OutletLinc modules but I’m not certain.

I ended up using the TimerLincs for the lamps where I had planned to use the OutletLinc. In the end, the timer functions don’t have to be activated so they can function as basic on/off relays.

I submitted another order to Smarthome that includes a tabletop enclosure for the KeypadLinc (in the end, the same as the full kit). I’ll be able to use the remote to replace an X10 remote that is currently managing the dinning room and living room Insteon relays via mControl (it changes the status of those Insteon devices based on the status changes of certain X10 addresses). I also ordered a dimming lamp module that will replace the X10 module in our bedroom.

The 2413U is capable of interpreting X10 signals, in addition to Insteon. So, I removed the CM15A and have mControl using only the 2413U. However, it doesn’t seem to manage X10 RF signals so I’ve added a standard X10 transceiver to my setup that will remain until I phase out the X10 remotes.

I’ve already noticed a significant improvement in reliability when using the Insteon devices and I expect it will improve considerably after I phase out the X10 remotes.

I wasn’t overly impressed with my first experience ordering from Smarthome but I also wasn’t disappointed enough to stop using them.

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