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Topic Title: RF / Home automation training - review.
Created On: 15 June 2013 08:08 AM
Status: Post and Reply
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15 June 2013 08:08 AM
I got a NICEIC email a few months back saying they were doing a one day course, along with Click, explaining, and showing, how RF automation works.
£120 inc. VAT, with the 'dangling carrot' of £50 of RF goods free. OK, may be worthwhile, as I know nothing about it, so I booked it, and went yesterday.
It was booked as 9 until 5. Actual time, 9 until 3.30, but could have been finished by 2, and if no dinner, by 1pm.
Presentation was good, with a range of the kit all shown in use, practical uses, how to use it, how to program it.
It is really simple, and nothing to be feared, very simple to install and program. Some good ideas, such as where a 2 gang switch can be used to control 4 appliances, and being RF, does not need any switch wires, so the switch can be put anywhere, or, a small remote can be used to do the same thing.
The kit shown was good, and seems to be good quality. However, when asked how much things cost, the answer was dodged every time.
Of course they didnt want you to know how much it cost, as the price was ridiculous. We didnt find out from the Presenters, we got our phones out and googled, to find a single light (2/4 way) and actuator RF switch would be roughly £130.
The fixed controller for central use was £400+.
Now, for 'normal' use, you'd be laughed off site when quoting such prices, so this kit was only ever going to be for high-end customers, even then, I would find it hard to try to sell such a system, which has one point of failure - the controller, whereas a typical house would have the many services (alarm,heating, lighting etc) all separate.
For some applications, such as adding a new light switch without doing any chasing/decorating, it could be a good thing, albeit a rather expensive one.
Then we get the 'free' goods. This was somewhat of a disappointment. I would have expected a rf switch and actuator (but on seeing their price, maybe not). We got a RF controlled plug-in socket, and a key fob remote to control it. The type of thing that Toolstation sell for £15 for 3. Being as I already have 3 of these, it is of little use.
It was good to see how these things work, but, I really should have read up beforehand to see how simple it was, and not bother paying to be told.
Far too expensive at £120. For £50, it would have been worthwhile, especially as it really could have been shown in 4 hours, and not padded out after dinner.
The kit is good, but too expensive, which they know, as they will not say how much it costs.
Overall, I'd say avoid this day of salemens pitches. If you want to know about it, give them a ring and ask for their brochures, all the stuff is in there.
15 June 2013 09:21 AM
And that's one of the cheaper systems!
I have had some good success with the Click Inels kit, adding switches into a stairwell to multiple positions so lights could be controlled better. What they also don't tell you, is that they do not cope with foil backed plasterboard very well. I received a signal booster in the end which plugs into a 13A socket. I dealt with a very helpful chap called Daniel in tech support, he was very good indeed.
Also worth looking at is the Schneider Connect system manufactured for them by Merton. That is good in that it uses Z-Wave tech, so that each receiver can also act as a repeater for long aor blocked RF signal routes. It's more expensive than the Inels, but it is also more of a complete system. The Schneider range can be programmed like the Inels with clicks of switches etc, but can also be connected to via a dongle attached to a computer to program more functions in much the same way as the higher end automation products using KNX or Logic type control.
Next on the hit list is the En-Ocean protocol. I've not used this extensively, but like the way the controlers and transmitters don't need a battery. They "harvest" their own energy apparently? Nice!
There's also Zigby, though I don't know a great deal about that, and of course there are countless other manufacturer own wave bands such as the very reasonably priced Byron HomeEasy kit.
I've had a great deal of success with wireless switching and control over the years, found many ways to use it for all sorts of different solutions. As the tech becomes more reliable, I think we can expect to see it being used more and more. I tend to use the Schneider for the high end jobs, and the Byron for the cheaper jobs. Inels is somewhere in between! What I love about both the Schneider and the Click is that you can fit a transmitter behind a retractive switch so you can match the finish. I've used this where 5A lighting circuits had been wired in a cottage, the lady didn't want to swap all her plugs, so we disconnected the sockets, converted the old Forbes and Lomax switches with new retractive dollies and a transmitter behind, they could then switch all kinds of things with no new cables required!
Now I feel like a wireless switch sales man.... I'm, not, I promise. Just a bit of a tech geek that has had some good success.
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