home automation - home theater - pc integration 

SmartLabs Insteon RemoteLinc

Posted 11/04/2007

One key item missing from the Insteon product line was RF remote control.  Insteon users had been waiting for the product's release for months, and SmartLabs finally delivered earlier this year.  The RemoteLinc is SmartLabs' first Insteon RF remote. 

The RemoteLinc requires at least one Insteon AccessPoint, which pretty much replaces the SignalLinc in their product line.  The AccessPoint will not only send RF commands to and from the RemoteLinc, but a pair of them will also bridge the phases of your powerline - often required for reliable Insteon communications.  If you already have SignalLincs installed and wish to use a RemoteLinc, I recommend replacing them all with AccessPoints.  The AccessPoint simply plugs into an available electrical outlet - I personally hide mine behind couches, or in other out of the way locations.

In my tests, the range of the RemoteLinc is phenomenal.  I was able to get over 300 feet of range outside of my house and up my long sloped driveway.  This allows easy control of my driveway lights when coming home on a dark night.

Programming the RemoteLinc can be done manually using the standard Insteon tap-tap method.  Easier programming can also be done through SmartLabs' HouseLinc software, the Universal Devices ISY-26, PowerHome, etc.  I programmed mine through PowerHome and the ISY-26 with no issues.  The remote will only stay in 'programming mode' for 4 minutes at a time - so be sure not to program too many links at once.

The RemoteLinc has a single LED which flashes when a button is pressed, along with an audible beep.  Both of these features can be turned off if desired.

Besides the 6 programmable buttons, the remote also has a 4-way pad with dim/bright/all on/all off buttons.  I personally have no use for this pad, and hope future remotes remove it in favor of more programmable buttons.  The 6 main buttons can also be held to dim or brighten the respective linked light, similar to other Insteon controls.

Both silver and a textured black finish are available.  I personally prefer the black finish.

While not small, I find the RemoteLinc easy to hold and operate.  I included a picture comparing it's size to a couple of other devices people might be familiar with.  I do wish SmartHome would release a smaller RF remote - hopefully sometime soon.

After months of using the RemoteLinc, I've found it to work very well.  Hasn't missed a command yet, and again - the range is great.  Battery life is fine - with occasional use, I haven't had to replace the batteries in months.



Insteon RemoteLinc