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Opinions on Insteon Thermostats


mkbrown69

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Good Day folks!

 

I'm hoping I can ask for some honest opinions on the Insteon thermostats (and their integration into the ISY). I don't have any concerns on the ISY front; I'm more concerned with the Insteon thermostats reliability, quality, and control/events generation. So I'm hoping some folks wouldn't mind sharing their experiences with Insteon thermostats in general, and the TempLinc 2441TH (hardwired unit) in particular.

 

I currently have a basic Carrier Furnace with A/C, with a basic Honeywell programmable dumb thermostat, using 5 wires. I reside in Ottawa Canada, so we get both hot and cold weather. I'm looking for something that can intelligently manage heat/cool settings, humidity, furnace fan control (air movement in the house, and something similar to Nest's airwave, which runs the fan for a period after the A/C compressor kicks out). I have an ISY-994, with a number of Insteon devices, including dual-band. So, more advanced functionality could be done programatically using the ISY.

 

An alternative to the 2441TH that I'm considering is the Radio Thermostat CT-80 , which has humidity control, but I don't have wires for the humidity control, so I'd have to improvise :wink:. So, it would be a hundred more than the Insteon T-stat plus I/O lincs, or RaspPi/arduino , but does have more bells and whistles, and could be controlled by ISY network resources. I'm not into Nest, Ecobee, etc, because I don't want cloud access or my data sitting on someone else's servers. I can do remote access with my own VPN, so I just want something that's locally available.

 

Thanks for your time!

 

/Mike

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Hello mkbrown69,

 

You can upgrade your 994 to 994i Z series and thus be able to use RCS TZ45 Zigbee thermostats which are extremely reliable.

 

You can also wait for EcoBee support (after Z-Wave).

 

And, we should have Z-Wave support shortly in which case you can use any Z-Wave thermostat.

 

With kind regards,

Michel

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I'm tracking thermostat threads as I'm looking for figure out what to do about my broken (no comms) RS485 wired RCS TR40 stat that I was using HomeSeer - and indirectly ISY - to control.

 

I thought I would ask a couple of basic questions I thought worth asking.

 

What else is a 994i with zigbee radio good for beyond a thermostat? If I'm not mistaken smart meters is one answer but that doesn't count for me (and you mkbrown69). I asked our local utility company (I also live in Ottawa, Canada) if they would support SEP and allow RF enabled controllers like ISY (pointed them to UDI web site) to read our smart meters and they said no. This was last fall. I don't expect things to change quickly there but maybe if you asked too, mkbrown69, they would look at that again. In the mean time, that use of zigbee would be of no value.

 

If I went with a zwave radio in my ISY I know I could add other zwave devices in the future so that's a plus, but are the zwave thermostats reliable? Does it partly or wholly depend on having a bunch of zwave devices to make sure the zwave mesh network is reliable? what if my only zwave device was a thermostat about 30 ft, two walls and one floor away?

 

Finally, how far away is "gold" zwave thermostat support? (in quarters, if weeks or months is too risky to pronounce)

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Hi folks!

 

Nice to see another Canuck on the forums, Johnny. Yeah, I wouldn't hold my breathe on Ottawa Hydro opening up their infrastructure to allow customer-owned equipment on their telemetry network. That's why Brultech, TED 5000, and the BlueLine stuff sells...

 

So, back to topic; since I was asking about Insteon thermostats, and people were recommending Ecobee and Trane Z-Wave, I'm taking it that the unspoken opinion is that the Insteon thermostats are "less than stellar"? If anyone has any positive experiences they want to share, please feel free to do so. I'll take a continued silence on the Insteon stats as a "pass", rather than a buy.

 

Hardware and feature wise, the Ecobee is great. I have a friend who has an Ecobee, so I'll talk to him a bit more about it, but I wouldn't mind the opinions of some Ecobee/Home automation owners. Where's the API published? How have the stats been for you folks? Can you use the stats now without an account, or are you tied to their cloud?

 

My concerns are the amount of data that will reside in their data centre. They'll be storing my Wi-Fi password, my geographical location, and any vacation days/away modes I choose to put into the stat. The fact that they store that info is published on their website knowledge base. Anyone else concerned that particular combination of information is stored in somebody's "cloud"?

 

Thanks for your time and opinions on this!

 

/Mike

 

P.S. I work in data centre ops, so I have a really good idea of what the inside of "a cloud" looks like, so my concerns come from an informed viewpoint.

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Mike, there are a ton of posts on this forum about insteon thermostats. I estimate 3/4 of the posts are about problems with the h/w and not "user training" issues. Maybe many or all have been resolved but I made my decision a while ago to NOT go with an insteon thermostat. The decision for me now is to either get my wired one fixed or pick one of the RF stats that ISY does or will support. There's only room for one radio in the ISY so deciding which radio to go with is key if I go the ISY supported way.

 

By the way, the last paragraph in this post viewtopic.php?f=78&t=9840 mentions how you can have ISY communicate with a wired stat. I'm not sure whether or not you can still get one from RCS but maybe there are others. For a while I didn't even want to consider wireless for such a vital system but I'm slowly softening up, although I'm still hesitant.

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Mike, there are a ton of posts on this forum about insteon thermostats. I estimate 3/4 of the posts are about problems with the h/w and not "user training" issues. Maybe many or all have been resolved but I made my decision a while ago to NOT go with an insteon thermostat. The decision for me now is to either get my wired one fixed or pick one of the RF stats that ISY does or will support. There's only room for one radio in the ISY so deciding which radio to go with is key if I go the ISY supported way.
Hi Johnny,

 

I've seen all the posts on the Insteon issues. Smarthome usually has issues on all it's new products for a while, then they end up fixing them after a few revisions (where the early adopters end up being the beta testers), after which the stuff works well. I know historically that unhappy people will express themselves to a greater extent in forums/mailing lists, etc. than those who are happy with a product, so I was hoping to get any opionions of those who would happily recommend the Insteon stats. If few or none come forth to share positive experiences, that speaks volumes, and I'll avoid the Insteon stats. My shortlist is rapidly shrinking to the Radio Thermostat CT-80 (which comes with WiFi or Z-wave Usnap modules), or the Ecobee. I intend to send an e-mail to Ecobee with my concerns, and see how they respond.

By the way, the last paragraph in this post http://forum.universal-devices.com/view ... =78&t=9840 mentions how you can have ISY communicate with a wired stat. I'm not sure whether or not you can still get one from RCS but maybe there are others. For a while I didn't even want to consider wireless for such a vital system but I'm slowly softening up, although I'm still hesitant.

Thanks for pointing out that post. Mideon has some neat concepts for sensors and interfaces. I have 1-wire stuff throughout my house, which I used to run with MrHouse, but is currently hacked together with OWFS and some bash scripts as I'm migrating between HA software platforms. I'm experimenting with moving it to a dedicated Raspberry Pi and doing some other Open Source software integrations for 1-wire sensors, but have been busy trying to write interface drivers to the ISY, which hasn't left me with a lot of time for hardware hacking. AARtech in Oshawa still carrries the TR-60 stats, if you want to stay with a serial stat. $319. I thought about the RCS stat, but would like something that could handle the humidifier and possibly a future fresh air baffle, both of which would require intelligent humidity handling (either on-board like in the EcoBee, or offboard, using the ISY & weather module in conjunction with the CT-80).

 

Hope that helps!

 

/Mike

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so I have a really good idea of what the inside of "a cloud" looks like

Is it silver, as so many have said?

Depending who you buy your cloud infrastructure from, it can be lined with silver, gold, or platinum :wink: As far as they're concerned, it's magical and will solve all your problems ;-P

 

Want some Kool-Aid? :wink:

 

/Mike

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I thought about the RCS stat, but would like something that could handle the humidifier and possibly a future fresh air baffle, both of which would require intelligent humidity handling (either on-board like in the EcoBee, or offboard, using the ISY & weather module in conjunction with the CT-80).

 

/Mike

Mike, you can also use IO Lincs, 1-wire sensors (with one of them outdoors) and ISY programming to build intelligence yourself. In this thread about humidifiers viewtopic.php?f=27&t=10621 about 3/4 of the way down I posted a "brute force" program I migrated to ISY from HomeSeer that sets my target humidity in the winter to the optimal level based on outdoor temperature. There's no mathematical formula for it that I could find so I matched up the optimal humidity to temp settings listed on my furnace humidistat.

 

One thing ISY is missing is forecast data to allow you to set humidity (or cooling/heating) according to what the temp will be later so I have to tell HomeSeer to update ISY variables with the info. (forecast data and my stat have been the only things keeping me running HomeSeer)

 

See more about what I have/do with HVAC here viewtopic.php?f=48&t=10174

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so I have a really good idea of what the inside of "a cloud" looks like

 

Is it silver, as so many have said?

We have a cage inside a well known carrier interconnect facility in Chicago. Although photography is prohibited inside, I can assure you that it's not silver :) A strange hue of glowing blue is more accurate, with the LEDs on the palm readers glowing along the walk ways. It very neat inside - but not very 'cloud'-like.

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Personally, I'm about to throw my 2441TH against a wall. I was an early adopter (pre-ordered when it was announced) - but I've now had 2 replacements and it still randomly changes settings. At this time, I cannot in all honesty recommend the product.

 

I am currently using a Honeywell wifi stat, but it is only comparable with its own app. It does the job (as in, it holds the temperature I set) but the ISY cannot control it. I'm waiting until Z-Wave has matured a little on ISY and will jump then to a Z-Wave stat.

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I guess I will buck the trend. I have been using a 2441TH Since January 2013.

 

I had one incident where a heat setpoint seemed to change. SO! I wrote some ISY programs that reset the setpoints once per hour. No more problems.

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I guess I will buck the trend. I have been using a 2441TH Since January 2013.

 

I had one incident where a heat setpoint seemed to change. SO! I wrote some ISY programs that reset the setpoints once per hour. No more problems.

 

Two issues I have. First, we shouldn't have to write a program to reset the temp we want. If the device was stable, it would stay set. The device seems extremely sensitive to power supply fluctuations caused when the hvac system cycles - at least that is what it seems to me. The second issue was that in my case it was the 'efficiency setback' feature the stat has that kept turning itself on and off. No way to control that thru a program (at the time, don't know if that's addressed yet). I couldn't even change he setback from anything other than the default 4 degrees.

 

I would love it to work. It's a great looking device (imo) and has a humidity sensor in it as well. I want to use that in some programs as well and am still looking for other solutions.

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I'd agree with MWareman; if you're having to create workarounds to ensure what should be basic functionality, then it's not ready for prime time. I appreciate the feedback. I'd like to give it fair consideration, but based on the amount of existing issues on the forum, it's just not going to pass the reliability test (much less the WAF test).

 

Johnnyt, thanks for your posts as well. Definately food for thought there. I'll pursue some investigation on the Ecobee front, and then way my options and report back.

 

I appreciate everyone's feedback! Thanks for your time and contributions!

 

/Mike

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I had my HVAC professional install my new HVAC UNIT Friday and he finished today and was installing the Insteon 2441Th. He has done this for tens of years and he couldn't figure out the C connection wire. The instructions mention a C wire but do not clearly identify it. So I called Insteon and it took about 30 minutes before I got someone who was generally knowledgable. I found a better PDF on the Internet than the installation instructions.

 

As it is, this contractor guessed and put the C wire on the right location. The thermostat did not respond. So I am returning it. Very disappointing for what should have been a very exciting time. This was Saturday and I can't have him futzing with a product that should already be ready for prime time.

 

Going to return it.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Hello.

 

I have an opinion on INSTEON Thermostats although it's in reference to a different model than you asked about:

 

I have used three INSTEON 2441V Thermostat Adapters (Revision 2.5) for Venstar Thermostats (http://www.smarthome.com/2441V/Thermost ... ble/p.aspx) for the past several weeks with connections to three Venstar T2900 7-Day Programmable Slimline Commercial Thermostats (http://www.smarthome.com/30457/Venstar- ... tat/p.aspx) which were previously installed about a year ago.

 

I chose the Venstar T2900 Thermostats as they have built-in humidity sensors as well as complex multi-stage heating and cooling capabilities.

 

Since I've installed the INSTEON 2441V Thermostat Adapters, I've created multiple programs to automatically change HVAC settings based on time of day periods, Elk Alarm Control Panel arming status as well as sensed motion (based on Elk Alarm Motion Sensor Zone Inputs).

 

The best part of using this combination is that all units (INSTEON / ISY with Elk Module) have all been working very well and I haven't needed to reset them since their installation!

 

Once again, kudos goes to the UDI Team for their efforts on developing a solid product!

 

Brian

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  • 2 weeks later...
You can also wait for EcoBee support (after Z-Wave).

Michel,

Are you referring to Ecobee Zigbee support? If so, do you have a timeframe?

I'm debating picking up one of these thermostats but really can't go without being able to tie house temperatures into the ISY.

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They have had a large number of requests for Ecobee support form the ISY and it's on the roadmap, I'm hoping by year end.

 

There is an extensive API available to communicate natively with the Ecobee over IP even, not just zigbee. Here's hoping it lives up the wait as I too plan to go Ecobee, in my case the full blown commercial unit since I can control my shop hydronic radiant heat in a different building, my bathroom radiant heat via electric mat, the normal house heat pump, the second phase gas furnace, and the humidifier.

 

I have to add the EMS module and run some cables a long ways, in the case of the shop, and install a relay or two, which will probably end up talking to insteon, or maybe I will just use the isy to directly control the devices based on what the ecobee is telling me.

 

Excited about that integration.

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There is an extensive API available to communicate natively with the Ecobee over IP even, not just zigbee. Here's hoping it lives up the wait as I too plan to go Ecobee, in my case the full blown commercial unit since I can control my shop hydronic radiant heat in a different building, my bathroom radiant heat via electric mat, the normal house heat pump, the second phase gas furnace, and the humidifier.

To my knowledge there is no public IP API available.

https://ecobee.zendesk.com/entries/20444728-Linux

Please post a link if it exists.

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To my knowledge there is no public IP API available.

https://ecobee.zendesk.com/entries/20444728-Linux

Please post a link if it exists.

 

You are correct that it is not "public", however, their beta access group does not appear difficult to be included on. You need to own the thermostat before you can get in. A simple email to their technical support as a developer should get you invited.

 

I confirmed on the phone with two different engineers that full access to the commercial stat, with access to the ems data, was available via the api before I made the decision to buy compatible sensors and plan on running wires.

 

Alan

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Looks like the IP API is going public next week:

https://www.ecobee.com/home/developer/a ... ndex.shtml

 

A couple points of concern:

- The API connects to ecobee.com, not the thermostat directly

- A user is limited to 85000 polls per month, which is ~ a query every 30s - not terribly adequate to gather real-time status info for home automation purposes

 

I was really hoping for something more of an open socket that could be connected directly to get real-time changes from the thermostat. Much less overhead.

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