Top positive review
2 of 2 people found this helpful
Shh - top secret!
on May 3, 2015
The current buzzword in home automation is "Z-Wave" technology, in which every single device is a miniature router that can command, receive commands from, and forward commands onto any other device. It follows an industry standard, so every device works with every other device no matter who manufactured it.
Or, so they say in the ads. But here's the terrible dark secret: while the HARDWARE may be inter-compatible, the PROGRAMMERS are not - and you have to have a special separate programmer to make them work. And to get two devices made by different manufacturers to work, you need a universal programmer, costing hundreds of dollars, connected to a laptop running a special application, and have been specially trained in the Z-Wave programming language.
How did I find out all of this? Take a guess!
In the end, I came back to the old (practically ancient, in fact - mid 1980s!), reliable, analog standby, X10. No, I can't push a single button to turn on one thing while it dims another and turns off two other things on the other side of the house...but I didn't really need to. I needed to turn on a ceiling light in my bedroom that I couldn't get to, and this works. They were on different circuits and did not communicate at first, so I had to switch a circuit breaker from one side of the electrical panel to the other. But at least you don't have to be Z-Wave factory-certified to know how to do that. So I got another one to turn the drop lights I just installed in my gym on and off and at the same time turn my flatscreen TV on and off, using the excellent (although oddly shaped) X10 wall-mount keypanel controller, which you can change keypads to and have it control or dim one, two, or four different things without having to replace the whole unit.
The inline receiver module is big and clunky, you'll need a big deep box to mount it in (it completely crams a standard one-gang plastic rectangular box to the brim), and like all X10 devices it makes a startling loud click when the relay activates. But it's simple, and it's inexpensive, and it works.