Years ago home automation may have seemed like something very futuristic and never plausible for the average person. But times have changed and with the advancements in technology automation is very much possible these days — and very affordable too. I have seen articles on appliances that can communicate with each other — just what I need.. my stove talking to my fridge about what to make for dinner…not ready for this..just yet.
However, having the capabilities to control lighting, appliances, security, thermostats, and other electronics through a software program or even via a mobile app can really help simplify your life greatly along with providing a very close piece of mind to know exactly what is on, off and controlled in your home.
Insteon on automation control devices provide a great way to get setup and jump right into the home automation field and doing so was amazingly simple as you can see in the demo video we produced. We reviewed the SmartHub, ApplianceLink, LampLink, and Outdoor Control modules along with the controller software for pc and iPhone.
Installation & Setup
Setting up all the devices was so very easy — some basic yet good step-by-step directions got me going. I installed the software on my PC which I downloaded from the website and also installed the mobile app on the iphone as I wanted to test both. Both have many features to automate your home but nothing that was so crazy that you wouldn’t know what they meant.
Getting the SmartHub on the network was a simple as too plugs (power and LAN) and then running the software to connect to it and go through the setup questions like naming the Network — etc and manually adding our controlling devices.
This is one place that could have the possibility of getting tricky — do I need special settings or something crazy to connect devices to make the system work? Nope — once the system and software is setup you can easily connect and add devices on the mobile app. Plug the device into the smartoutlet (dimmer, outdoor, or appliance) then click add new device and then hold down the sync button on the outlet — takes about two seconds.. connects and you are all setup. Make sure you know what outlet you are using as you don’t want a dimmer unit on something other than a light — also keep in mind that most fluorescent bulbs don’t dim unless they say so. If you have they setting at a dimmable percentage they make a lot of buzzing…just fyi.
It really was as simple as 1-2-3 getting the devices all setup. Once that was done I could use the app or software like a rocker switch, a dimmer, or even setup a timer function which I did with the Outdoor module for the Christmas lights the house. One other things is to make sure you know the electric load you will be place on the outlet as you don’t want to overload the unit.
Some articles I have read from others have mentioned that software has a limitied compatability to other non Insteon products. While I did not test this I have seen some competitor products available that are compatible with the Insteon system but then again there are so many device and add-on modules that you can add to your system it may be better just to stick with the one brand to ensure maximum compatibility.
Having the option to connect to your home from anywhere in the world with an internet connection is really neat. The steps to get the software and system setup is very straight forward and easy to do…for most somewhat tech savvy people that can follow along with some technical directions. My biggest issue had nothing to do with the Insteon product but more with my cable internet provider closing off certain ports which would not allow me to connect through the outside..I did eventually get this to work after finding an open port with the provider and setting it up on my router. Now being able to login from anywhere, turn on a light or even start the crock-pot is a really great feature. I can’t wait to add the thermostat to the system and be able to have it nice and cozy when we return home from a day out.
For only around $200 or so you can really get started with a basic starter kit for controlling devices in your home like lamps and more. It depends all on how automated you want your home — a few things or every device in your home..and from what I have seen Insteon has a full line of products to help you do just that. I really enjoyed using the products from Insteon, felt they were very easy to use and setup, minus the problems with my internet provider, but these easy to use automation products and software has me now moving into the automation craze as well… what device will I automate and control next?
Insteon Demo and Video Overview: