Author Topic: Insteon Fanlinc Review  (Read 6151 times)

Offline fba

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Insteon Fanlinc Review
« on: February 04, 2012, 04:47:18 pm »
I can't remember which thread it was, but someone asked me to write a review for the Insteon Fanlinc once I had one and got it installed.   ;D     This seemed like the right place, so here goes.

The fan setup that I originally started with is a pretty standard Hunter Douglas (I think) fan with the lighting kit.   When my house was built in 2005 the fan was installed when an in-wall controller that had controls for the light, fan speed, and direction.   (It is a pretty common controller, I have seen them on sale at Lowes in the past.)

About a year ago I wanted to control the lights with an Insteon switch, so I unwired the lights from the switch and wired it up to a Dimmerlinc.   (Fortunately, the electrical contractor put the wiring in, even though nothing was using.)  After this change, the Dimmerlinc ran the light, and the old in-wall controller ran the fan.

Physically, the fanlinc is tiny.   It was about the same size as the controller that I was replacing.   The interesting thing about the fanlinc is that it is built to handle the lights and fan by itself.   So when I wired it up, I had to tie the line and load lines together in the junction box that the light switches were in for both the fan and the lights.  (Technically, I only had to do one or the other as there are two hot wires that run to the fan, and I only needed one.  But I did them both just to keep things the same.)

Replacing the existing fan controller with the fanlinc was pretty easy.   All of the lines on the existing fan controller were labeled as to what they were, so I just had to unhook wires from one, and match them to the wires on the other.   Once I had done that, I turned the power back on.   Once power was restored, the lights on the fan came on, and the fan itself stayed off.   The two LEDs on the fanlinc lit up to indicate it was working.

I am going to (eventually) have three devices and a computer that will control the fan and lights.   In the wall, I replaced the Dimmerlinc switch with a 6 button keypadlinc.   Because the fanlinc had to be wired directly to the hot wire, the keypadlinc itself doesn't actually control a load.   So all of the wires were hooked up except for the "load" wire, which I capped with a wire nut for safety.  (Don't want to burn the house down.)

Linking the keypadlinc's on/off switches and the lights on the fan were pretty much the standard linking "dance".   Hold the button on the keypadlinc, then run over to the fan linc and press the "light" button until you hear the beeps.  The one interesting thing is that fanlinc doesn't seem to allow as long a time to complete linking as other Insteon devices.   Most Insteon devices give you about 4 minutes to complete the link.  The fanlinc gives you something closer to one.

Since my PLM is in the basement and on the opposite end of the house, I would either have to run to get there in time or find another way to handle the linking.  So, I brought the PLM up to the same room and did the link "dance" where I only needed to take a few steps.

I linked the PLM to the lights on the fanlinc using the same dance as the keypadlinc.   Then, I went to link the fan portion to the PLM as well.   My plan is to use the Scene A-D buttons on the kpl to set to off/low/med/high, but to get this working "correctly" you have to play with the link bitmaps in the switch.  As I have not (yet) subjected myself to taking on such pain, I decided I would just link the fan to the PLM, then use the Vera to set the speed.   For each scene button, I would set the activated and deactivated scenes to set the fan to the same speed.   The only down side of this is that the LEDs on the keypadlinc buttons won't stay in sync with the actual state of the fan.  (That can be fixed pretty easily with some LUUP code.)

The other two controllers are also keypadlincs.   They are currently 6 button, but I got the conversion kits to make them 8.   The on-off button will be directly linked to the lights, the other buttons will be linked to the Vera for controlling the fan speed, and other scenes that I use.

Overall, the installation of the fanlinc and the keypadlinc along with all of the linking to the PLM took a bit over an hour.   The installation wasn't very hard because I was just replacing an existing controller.   If you don't have an existing controller, it will probably be a tiny bit harder as you will have to figure out which wires in the neck of the fan control which things.


So far, I like what I am seeing out of the fanlinc.   For the money the fanlinc controller is cheaper than the controller set you would buy at the hardware store.   However, since you need something to control the fanlinc (like a keypadlinc or regular switch), the total cost seems like it could easily get a bit more expensive than a controller set at the hardware store.

I only have two complaints about the fanlinc.  1) The link time is so short that it can be difficult to link.   This can be made much worse if your fan is on a vaulted ceiling and you have to run up and down a ladder to do the linking.  (This install wasn't, but my next one is.)   2) My old fan controller had a "reverse" button that would cause the fan to spin in the opposite direction.   It would be nice if the fanlinc had that function as well.   However, I am willing to trade in the "reverse" button for the convenience of having the fan be controlled in ways beyond just the switch in the wall.   (My wife is going to love being able to just roll over and hit a button next to the bed to change the speed.)

Overall, I would give the fanlinc 4 out of 5 stars.
Vera 3, Altsteon, (Insteon: Relay (Smarthome & Icon), Dimmer (Smarthome), Keypadlinc, 2420M, Triggerlinc, IOLinc, Garage Hawk, Venstar Thermostat, Fanlinc, MI lock, Appliancelinc, Synchrolinc, iMeter), CurrentCost, (Z-Wave: Schlage lock, GE Appliance switch), AutHomation

Offline fba

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Re: Insteon Fanlinc Review
« Reply #1 on: February 04, 2012, 04:50:18 pm »
Quick follow-up.

While I have not tested it, I suspect the native Insteon code on the Vera will only show the fanlinc as a dimmer switch.  The Insteon DevCat and SubCat that it uses is in the dimmer switch family.   There are additional commands that need to be added in order to actually drive the fan.

Altsteon 0.3 will have support for the fanlinc.  (I have the daemon code done, and will be adding the device files for the Vera in the next day or so.)
Vera 3, Altsteon, (Insteon: Relay (Smarthome & Icon), Dimmer (Smarthome), Keypadlinc, 2420M, Triggerlinc, IOLinc, Garage Hawk, Venstar Thermostat, Fanlinc, MI lock, Appliancelinc, Synchrolinc, iMeter), CurrentCost, (Z-Wave: Schlage lock, GE Appliance switch), AutHomation

Offline hwong23

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Re: Insteon Fanlinc Review
« Reply #2 on: March 14, 2012, 11:51:18 am »
Hi, Thanks a lot for the information. I'm having the same intentions in order to control my fan just with Vera Lite + Insteon FanLinc.

I have a question for you, a simple one,
how do you pair or get into the Vera system the Insteon Fanlinc? Do you need it anything (device I mean) else to get this working together?

Thanks again.
HWO


Offline garrettwp

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Re: Insteon Fanlinc Review
« Reply #3 on: March 14, 2012, 01:26:20 pm »
I answered a similar question of yours in another forum. You will need a plm to talk to any insteon devices with vera. If you do go this route, I suggest looking at fba's alsteon plugin that adds better support into vera.

- Garrett