UPB - Universal Powerline Bus

UPB is the most exciting technology to come into the automation world in years. This new powerline carrier technology provided excellent higher-bandwith communication between devices, keypads, and a home automation system.

HCA fully supports UPB in these ways:

  • Support for all the latest UPB devices from PCS, Simply Automated, Web Mountain Technologies, and the UPB thermostat from RCS.
  • HCA communicates over the powerline using the Powerline Interface Module (PIM). Both the serial and USB models are supported.
  • You can directly control any device. On, Off, Blink, and Dim operations supported. Fade rates and "last on level" are supported.
  • You can control any UPB device using the scenes you created for it with UPStart.
  • You can control the indicators on UPB keypads to provide feedback.
  • Multiple channel devices are supported with each channel becoming its own HCA device.
  • You can create HCA program triggers based upon any UPB keypad action or an action initiated by a UPB device with transmit components.
  • You can use UPB devices in HCA schedules and programs.
  • Using HCA power failure recovery, you can provide better control over individual devices than what the devices can do themselves.
  • HCA imports from the UPB setup program (UPStart) a complete definition of all your installed UPB gear.
  • Both serial and USB powerline interfaces are supported.

But while all this is great stuff, it's the bigger picture that is important. HCA supports multiple automation interfaces simultaneously. This means that with HCA you can bridge between the UPB, wireless, and X10 worlds. All you need do is attach a wireless interface, an X10 interface, and a UPB interface and HCA can receive and transmit to each type of device and provide the bridge you need.

Do you need to use motion sensors to control UPB devices? No problem! HCA can receive wireless motion sensor transmissions (using the W800RF32) and then transmit commands to the UPB devices using the PIM.

Do you have some X10 devices and some UPB devices? HCA can receive commands from UPB keypads and run programs to send commands to X10 devices. HCA can receive X10 commands and transmit UPB commands. HCA could have programs that manipulate both UPB and X10.

Using HCA, a fully functional automation solution can be built from those components that you need - choosing the best parts from all the automation worlds.

This is not just an add-on to HCA. HCA takes advantage of all the technology that PCS has built into UPB. HCA uses the PIM to monitor each powerline cycle looking for noise that would interfere with UPB signals. You can monitor the signal strength and noise levels using an on-screen display. But more than just monitoring, HCA uses the noise readings along with the multiple transmission features of the UPB protocol to customize each transmission based upon the current noise levels on the powerline. This means that during low noise periods, HCA transmits the UPB commands once and during times of heavy noise, multiple (2, 3, or 4) transmissions are done.

In additional to sending the command, HCA also uses the UPB Ack-Nak protocol to verify reception of commands and retransmit the command if necessary.

And finally, the basic HCA feature of confirming commands with a status poll can also be selectively used.

Put all these together: The base UPB powerline transmission protocol, Ack-Nak, multiple transmissions, and status polls, you create a system that is as near 100% reliable as can be achieved. And all this can be configured on a device by device basis.

HCA 8 contains full support for all current UPB devices available from PCS, Simply Automated, Web Mountain Technologies, and HAI.

Unlike programmable Insteon devices, HCA doesn't provide setup features for UPB devices. This is because UPB devices are complex enough to need their own application - called UPStart. HCA works with network definitions exported from UPStart.

You should keep current with the latest version of UPStart available from the UPB device manufacturers. For example, if you are working with PCS gear, PCS UPStart is available at: http://www.pulseworx.com/Software_.htm. For other UPB manufacturers contact them for information on where you can download UPStart.

All the HCA features relating to UPB are in an appendix of the User Guide. The full User Guide and Appendixes are available for download from the Documentation section.

UPB support is in the HCA Plus flavor. HCA Limited and HCA Standard do not have support for UPB.