HA World Testing Department – Home Automation Hub & Device Compatibility

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Did you know that HA World has a dedicated testing department that actually installs and uses many of the Z-Wave, Insteon, Lutron Caseta & Pico, X-10 and Zigbee devices that we sell in our store with some of the most popular HA hubs and gateways?

Here is a list of the hubs we currently have up and running for testing…

Wink Hub by Quirky/Wink (We just became a Quirky/Wink dealer)

VeraEdge and VeraLite from Vera Controls, Inc.

Fibaro Home Center Lite

Universal Devices Z-Wave/Insteon Controller ISY994I ZW/PRO IR

Universal devices newly released Z-wave compatible ISY994iZW/IR PRO

From Insteon, both the older X-10 compatible Insteon Hub as well as the new 2014 version Insteon Hub 2

IP Datatel Gateway 2.0

Homeseer HS3 Home Automation Software

ActiveHome Pro and various X-10 Controllers/Interfaces (CM15A)

Coming soon – Lutron Bridge, Staples Connect, IRIS hubs and more…

We test these popular hubs with many different home automation products that we sell including brands and manufacturers such as Linear Corp (now Nortek Security & Control), GE Jasco, Vera Controls, Leviton, Cooper Aspire, Honeywell, Kwikset, Aeon Labs, Fibaro Home Intelligence, Insteon, X-10 Pro USA, Evolve Guest Controls, Awox Bluetooth, Wink/Quirky, Lutron Caseta/Pico Clear Connect, Centralite, Enerwave and more.

We consider this type of direct product testing a very important value added feature of the services and products we provide to our customers.  We hope you appreciate it as well.

Don’t forget to subscribe to our Blog mailing list or RSS feed for up to date information on whats happening in the company as well as breaking news and new product information in the world of HA.

We also have a free, live chat line for technical support on our home page and in our online store if you need help or have some questions.  It’s open every day we are from 8:30am to 4:30pm MST.

Or you can call us Toll Free at 1-800-920-9804

 

Thanks for letting us “automate YOUR world”!

Kelly R. Foster – HA World

 

X-10 CM15A ActiveHome Pro USB PC Transceivers – Back in Stock!

X-10 ActiveHome Pro USB Transceiver/PC Interface - Model CM15A
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We just received an order of CM15A ActiveHome Pro USB PC Transceivers in today, after being out of stock for quite some time. We only ordered a few of them last week, but more are on their way soon.  These are being sold without software at this time as the ActiveHome Pro software is not yet available from X-10 Pro USA but if you are just replacing your old CM15A or using it with Homeseer HS2 or another third party software you should be fine as long as you do not need to reinstall the drivers.

Please be aware that the new version of Homeseer, HS3, is NOT compatible with the CM15A.  We were told by a customer recently that had wanted to purchase HS3 and had called Homeseer to confirm it was compatible,  was told by them that they considered X-10 a low priority so they were not actively working on a plug-in for the CM15A and also that since X-10 was a “dead” technology – such a low priority for them that they only made the discontinued CM11A (along with the TI103 interface) the only X-10 interface available for HS3 at this time.

Wow, try telling that to the millions of X-10 users in the US and Canada!  Burn!

Plus, where do you buy a PC nowadays with an RS-232 serial connection?  I haven’t seen one of those installed in a PC since Windows XP came out around 2000!  If I were you I would stick with HS2.

Oh well, I guess it’s Homeseer’s loss, because the CM15A is back and it will be selling like hotcakes i’m sure.  There are plenty of other third party apps that will run with it.  We will be posting some other alternatives in the near future so stay tuned!

Kelly R. Foster – HA World

Using Leviton 2-Wire Z-Wave dimmer switches with dimmable LED’s

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One of the easiest things you can do to conserve energy in your home, is convert your existing light bulbs from the horribly inefficient incandescent light bulbs to LED’s or CFL’s.

Here are some more test results using Dimmable LED bulbs with Z-Wave dimmer switches, specifically using four common brands of dimmable LED’s wired into circuits being controlled by a Z-Wave dimmer switch, Leviton Vizia RF – Model VRI06.  Now the results  are not that great as this is a two-wire dimmer but here goes nonetheless.  Maybe these results will help someone who cannot use a 3-wire dimmer if they do not have neutrals pulled into their switch boxes.

Here are the results of my tests…

1) Cree 6W Dimmable LED (450 Lumens)

– Dimming steps good.

– Dims full off ok but brightening to 100% requires holding the dimmer on for a while longer than normal to get to 100%, otherwise it is fine as far as smoothness goes.

– Resume dim good.

– no discernible noise or humming

– no flicker but hard to control on lower spectrum of wattage (close to off or 5-10%)

2) Philips 8W Dimmable LED (470 Lumens)

– Dimming steps good.

– Dims full off ok but brightening to 100% requires holding the dimmer on for a while longer than normal to get to 100%, otherwise it is fine as far as smoothness goes.

– Resume dim good.

– no discernible noise or humming

– no flicker but hard to control on lower spectrum of wattage (close to off or 5-10%)

– overall the same performance as the Cree above, except it seemed like the dimming steps were somewhat smoother.

3) EcoSmart 9W Dimmable LED (650 Lumens)

– Dimming steps a little rough.

– Dims only to 20% and flickers slightly, you need to hold the dimming a second for full off. Brightening to 100% requires holding the dimmer on for a while longer than normal to get to 100%.

– Resume dim good at only >40%.  Doesn’t seem to work at all below that.

– no discernible noise or humming

3) GE 11W Dimmable LED (800 Lumens)

– Dimming steps OK.

– Dims only to 30% then you need to hold the dimming a second for full off. Will not dim up from off, Brightening to 100% ok only after being switched on, THEN dimmed up.

– Resume dim is good.

– no discernible noise or humming

– Very little flicker if any and good control at all levels.

Now there is no guarantee that buying these brands and these switches will absolutely work for you in your environment, as every home is wired differently and may have other mitigating circumstances, but at least this is something for you to start with. I would recommend that you get one switch and one LED dimmable bulb and hook everything up properly then test to see if it works for you in your home environment.

These tests were done on my test bench in my office under perfect conditions, I did not do anything but wire up the switches and screw in the LED’s. I have a VeraLite controller as well as HomeSeer but did not set them up within either controller as I wanted an unrestricted unbiased test using a standard GE Z-Wave remote controller and an Aeon Labs Minimote, so those were what I used for my tests. That’s not to say you couldn’t improve the step rates and presets within Vera to improve the performance even more, as I am sure you could.

Kelly R. Foster – HA World

Using Evolve Z-Wave dimmer switches with dimmable LED’s

Evolve LRM-AS Z-Wave LED & CFL Dimmer Switch
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Everybody these days is concerned about energy conservation, not only for a green planet but also in their own homes.  One of the easiest things you can do to conserve energy in your home, is convert your existing light bulbs from the horribly inefficient incandescent light bulbs to LED’s or CFL’s.

I have been getting a lot of questions lately regarding the use of LED bulbs with Z-Wave dimmer switches, so I wanted to post some of the results of some tests that I completed recently in my office to help those of you with questions on where to start and what type of bulb and switches to use.  I will expand more in future posts on additional bulbs and switches, but for now I am posting the results of my tests using three common brands of dimmable LED’s (yes you DO need to use “dimmable” LED’s) wired into circuits being controlled by a Z-Wave dimmer switch, Model LRM-AS by Evolve Guest Controls.

Here are the results of my tests…

1) Cree 6W Dimmable LED (450 Lumens)

– Dimming steps good.

– Dims full on/off (0-100%) nice and smooth

– Resume dim good.

– no discernible noise

– no flicker but hard to control on lower spectrum of wattage (close to off or 5-10%)
2) Philips 8W Dimmable LED (470 Lumens)

– Dimming steps good.

– Dims full on/off (0-100%) nice and smooth

– Resume dim good.

– no discernible noise

– no flicker

– Good control at all dim levels.

3) EcoSmart 9W Dimmable LED (650 Lumens)

– Dimming steps good.

– Dims full on/off (0-100%) nice and smooth

– Resume dim good.

– no discernible noise

– no flicker

– Good control at all dim levels.

Now there is no guarantee that buying these brands and these switches will absolutely work for you in your environment, as every home is wired differently and may have other mitigating circumstances, but at least this is something for you to start with. I would recommend that you get one switch and one LED dimmable bulb and hook everything up properly then test to see if it works for you in your home environment.

These tests were done on my test bench in my office under perfect conditions, I did not do anything but wire up the switches and screw in the LED’s. I have a VeraLite controller as well as HomeSeer but did not set them up within either controller as I wanted an unrestricted unbiased test using a standard GE Z-Wave remote controller and an Aeon Labs Minimote, so those were what I used for my tests. That’s not to say you couldn’t improve the step rates and presets within Vera to improve the performance even more, as I am sure you could.

Good luck on your fight to save the planet and stay tuned for more test results in future posts!  Thanks for letting us “automate YOUR world”!

Kelly R. Foster – HA World

What is Home Automation – Applications of Z-Wave (Blog Post 6)

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Hi and welcome back to the HA World Online Blog!

To continue the story of my foray into HA, last time I was humming and hawing over the cost and labor of all this new wiring to add in these new lights for my remodel. Over the next day or two, I happened to read an article in a magazine I had just subscribed too. It was an article in “Old-House Journal” magazine about how Black and Decker was getting into the remote lighting control market with a new product they called the “Freewire” system. These devices were supposed to be able to give you remote control over plug-in lights and appliances, no wiring needed!

Wow, I thought, wouldn’t that be a great solution to my problem. A subsequent advertisement in the magazine said that the Freewire products were supposed to be sold at Home Depot – so I headed to my local store to check them out. However, to my chagrin the salespeople at Home Depot did not know anything about the product, except for one fellow who told me about a company he had heard of that made something similar called “smarthome” products. He told me to google the word “smarthome” on the Internet which I did and as I am sure most of you have already guessed what came up, was, you got it – Smarthome. The next day I called up their customer service department, learned a bit about “X-10” and had an inline module, a transceiver and a wireless wall switch on order.

Bottom line is this, I never did have to run that crazy amount of switch leg wiring, in fact, I installed another pair of lights (dialed into a different unit code of course) and used X-10 to control both pairs of my new lights, remotely and very easily!

That was my first experience with home automation and remote lighting control.  In this instance I used X-10 instead of Z-Wave. Each of the different protocols have quite a few similarities, you just use combinations of the appropriate devices to solve similar problems. There are even bridges between some of these different technologies, HomeSeer and Mi Casa Verde each make a software solution, and nowadays there are becoming alot more options in terms of a central controller or gateway that can “talk” to all the protocols, but that’s a topic for another day, and, although I do want to get into the differences between each of these protocols, for the next couple posts I want to delve into some of the more common applications of the Z-Wave protocol.

Please join us next time as we do just that, we look forward to having you as a reader and as always, thank you for letting us “automate YOUR world”.  Please also visit our store for great deals on Z-Wave and X-10 products.  Oh btw, we are running a great sale on the MiCasa Verde Z-Wave, Insteon & X-10 Home Controllers right now, just click on either the following  links, Vera3 or VeraLite, and you will go direct to the product page for each of them – the coupon code for 10% off is added automatically, free shipping too!  All you have to do is pay!

Kelly R. Foster – HA World