Review of Insteon KeypadLinc V2 - replaces discontinued KeypadLinc 6 and 8

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SmartHome has discontinued their integrated dimmer versions of their KeypadLinc 6 (12073W/I) and KeypadLinc 8 (12074W/I) and replaced them with the INSTEON KeypadLinc V2 Dimmer Switch(2486D).

This is good news for a couple of reasons. Although the KeyPadLinc 6 and KeyPadLinc 8 dimmer/switches were great products, it was necessary to decide which configuration you prefered at the time of purchase. The new KeypadLinc V2 dimmer comes with both faceplate and you can change between the 6 and 8 button configurations during instalation and you can reconfigure it to the other configuration later if your needs change. The new KeypadLinc V2 also supports Insteon, in addition to X10, making it forward compatible if you choose to install other Insteon components at a later date.

The new KeypadLinc V2 Dimmer will send and receive X10 commands, Insteon commands, and respond to status inquiries. It will display the staus of X10 and Insteon controlled devices, and it servers as a dimmer for a wired in load controlled locally and by X10 and Insteon generated by other devices.

The new KeypadLinc V2 Dimmer is also 25% less expensive than the original price of the earlier switches, and I expect that some of the savings is the result of savings incurred through unification of the design of the two versions of the switch.

The new Keypadlinc is smaller (less deep) than the old KeypadLinc 6 and 8. Even with the shallower depth, it may be hard to fit into small junction boxes crammed with wires, but but the depth is a marjor improvement over the old versions.

The main downside of the new switch is that it provides less flexibility in assignment of buttons for the built in dimmer switch. Under the KeyapdLinc 6 and KeypadLinc 8 dimmers, it was possible to assign any key on the switch to control the wired load. In the new version of the dimmer, if configured with 8 buttons, the load can only be controlled by the upper left button. If configured with 6 buttons, then the top button serves as an on button for the load, and the bottom button serves as an off button.

Another disadvantage of the new design follows from the way that they made it possible to change the button configuration between 6 and 8 buttons. There is a clear piece of plastic behind each of the buttons (in addition to the clear plastic on the button cap. In the version that I purchases, These pieces of plastic were lose, and if loose, they will fall behind the other buttons if you pry off the cap to change labes while the KeypadLinc is installed. This means that it is necessary to remove the face plate (and all buttons) in order to change the labes of individual keys. (You don't have to unstill the switch, however, just remove the face plate).

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