I have finally received my SmartLinc package yesterday. Yeay!
Here’s my first thoughts.
The installation process is pretty straight forward. Connect one end of Ethernet cable to SmartLinc, another to your router. Plug SmartLinc to available power outlet and you are ready to go. Or almost ready… Depends on your router’s configuration. In my case I have MAC filtering option enabled, so only devices whose MAC addresses are entered into router’s configuration are allowed to connect to my network. So, naturally, SmartLinc couldn’t get an IP from the router. It’s very easy to add a new MAC address to the router. That is if you know it. After thoroughly searching for MAC address on the SmartLinc box’s label, included Quick Start Guide and the SmartLinc device itself and not finding one, I turned to my router’s logs. They revealed that device with a certain MAC address was refused connection 100+ times. I entered that MAC address into router and… nothing. I had to unplug and re-connect SmartLinc to power outlet for it to get the IP. That was not so bad though.
It was worse when I figured out that SmartLinc doesn’t allow to add X10 devices to rooms. Yes, you can control X10 devices from a separate screen, where you have to select the House Code, the Unit Code and the control command to send. But man, I have a mixed network with about 60% of X10 and 40% INSTEON devices, what am I to do? If the ability to send X10 commands is there in the device, how difficult would it be to add it to room configs? Or is this just a marketing thing?
One more thing that I noticed. You cannot create a room without any scenes. Now, why would you want to create a room without any controlled devices in it? Well. I have a few Panasonic IP cameras that I wanted to add to room’s configurations, which by the way works just fine. But since my cameras are available from outside world they all are password protected, so every time you want to turn on/off a light you have to enter a login and password for the camera in that room. This is not very convenient. So I wanted to set up special rooms with no scenes — only cameras.
Another little inconvenience is that there’s no way to control Pan&Tilt cameras. It would be nice to have that ability.
I didn’t set up any of the Timers yet. But it seems that one timer per day, per device may not be enough. I currently have a few timers for baby room’s lights that gradually turn them down over a period of time and eventually off. I may not be able to do the same with SmartLinc.
Other than that the device is cool. It does what it claims it would do. You can set-up multiple rooms (15 max), name them all you want (15 characters max) and define multiple light switches (that is if they are INSTEON light switches), dimmers and other devices for each room (240 max). The form factor is great, it looks like any other Smarthome’s external module. Though I didn’t figure out yet what the “Set” button on the side is for.
SmartLinc has a very good potential. It can become a big hit among DIY automation fans if there would be a comprehensive SDK with ability to create macroses with conditionals for motion sensors, sunrise/sunset, weather conditions, etc.
Considering all of the above I would give it an 8 out of 10 points.