Insteon

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Insteon

Kirk Bauer
Has anybody used the Insteon stuff from Smarthome in any fashion?  I
just found out about it and it looks promising.

--
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Re: Insteon

Tom-75
Neil has written some drivers for the serial version and his blog
mentions that he has been able to do basic communication (Lights On,
Lights Off, etc)
I purchased the USB module ( in anticipation of the USB drivers :-)) and
the starter kit which came with light switches.  Up to this point, I've
only used X10 branded light switches and the Insteon ones are much
nicer.  The switch for flourescent litghting has a much quiter relay
which is also nice (no more loud click when turning on the kitchen
light).  I'm using the switches in X10 mode until Insteon and
Misterhouse play nice.

> Has anybody used the Insteon stuff from Smarthome in any fashion?  I
> just found out about it and it looks promising.
>




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Re: Insteon

Neil Cherry
Tom wrote:

> Neil has written some drivers for the serial version and his blog
> mentions that he has been able to do basic communication (Lights On,
> Lights Off, etc)
> I purchased the USB module ( in anticipation of the USB drivers :-)) and
> the starter kit which came with light switches.  Up to this point, I've
> only used X10 branded light switches and the Insteon ones are much
> nicer.  The switch for flourescent litghting has a much quiter relay
> which is also nice (no more loud click when turning on the kitchen
> light).  I'm using the switches in X10 mode until Insteon and
> Misterhouse play nice.
>
>> Has anybody used the Insteon stuff from Smarthome in any fashion?  I
>> just found out about it and it looks promising.

AH! I feel like Tweek from South Park! AH! ;-)

Right now I have the Serial version of the Insteon PLC working with
MH. It is only able to send X10 (on/off/dim/bri no %nn dim/bri).
I started playing with creating an Insteon object but that's only
a shell right now and I have to figure out the set object (sends
X005510 then XJ which really isn't what I want). The USB version
is many months away as I'm in the middle of writing a book.

It is running in my home right now and I have to get Bruce a
bunch of stuff out tonight (sorry about that Bruce).

--
Linux Home Automation         Neil Cherry       [hidden email]
http://www.linuxha.com/                         Main site
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Re: Insteon

Kirk Bauer
In reply to this post by Tom-75
On Thu, 26 Jan 2006, Tom wrote:

> Neil has written some drivers for the serial version and his blog mentions
> that he has been able to do basic communication (Lights On, Lights Off, etc)
> I purchased the USB module ( in anticipation of the USB drivers :-)) and the
> starter kit which came with light switches.  Up to this point, I've only used
> X10 branded light switches and the Insteon ones are much nicer.  The switch
> for flourescent litghting has a much quiter relay which is also nice (no more
> loud click when turning on the kitchen light).  I'm using the switches in X10
> mode until Insteon and Misterhouse play nice.

In X-10-only mode does it still use RF and/or powerline to relay the
signals?  Do you see any reliability or speed improvements, or does it
just have to resort to regular X10 protocol in this case?

--
Kirk Bauer <[hidden email]>
http://linux.kaybee.org | www.autorpm.org | www.logwatch.org


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Re: Insteon

Tom-75
AFAIK, RF is only for the Insteon protocol.  X10 only transmits over the
powerline.  The feature of Insteon devices that relays to other devices,
only relays the Insteon protocol.  X10 signals are treated like regular
devices.  My Insteon switches do not respond to X10 generated my
Misterhouse, but they do respond to my X10 pad by my bed.  I'm looking
into a coupler or coupler/repeater since my 2 phases are not tied
together and I've always had some X10 issues.  I've read that Insteon
devices eat a little of the X10 signal and since my switches don't work
as well as the X10 switches, I'm inclined to believe it.

> In X-10-only mode does it still use RF and/or powerline to relay the
> signals?  Do you see any reliability or speed improvements, or does it
> just have to resort to regular X10 protocol in this case?
>




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Re: Insteon

Neil Cherry
In reply to this post by Kirk Bauer
Kirk Bauer wrote:

> On Thu, 26 Jan 2006, Tom wrote:
>
>> Neil has written some drivers for the serial version and his blog
>> mentions that he has been able to do basic communication (Lights On,
>> Lights Off, etc)
>> I purchased the USB module ( in anticipation of the USB drivers :-))
>> and the starter kit which came with light switches.  Up to this point,
>> I've only used X10 branded light switches and the Insteon ones are
>> much nicer.  The switch for flourescent litghting has a much quiter
>> relay which is also nice (no more loud click when turning on the
>> kitchen light).  I'm using the switches in X10 mode until Insteon and
>> Misterhouse play nice.
>
> In X-10-only mode does it still use RF and/or powerline to relay the
> signals?  Do you see any reliability or speed improvements, or does it
> just have to resort to regular X10 protocol in this case?

I really wish Insteon would pull that dual technology stuff. There
is no RF in this PLC. RF needs to be handle by the X10 stuff and
then the Insteon PLC will see it (the PLC sends/receives Insteon
and X10). The Insteon commands are much faster (4800 baud vs 60)
and with the ACK, more reliable. You can poll the devices to
find out there state and if they're there. When setup to do so,
the Insteon device will send an X10 message saying it's been
turned on or off (manual user change). While I would have rather
seen that as an Insteon message the X10 message does work. The
RF SignaLincs only pass Insteon not X10, great for connecting
phases, bad for X10.


--
Linux Home Automation         Neil Cherry       [hidden email]
http://www.linuxha.com/                         Main site
http://linuxha.blogspot.com/                    My HA Blog
http://home.comcast.net/~ncherry/               Backup site


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Re: Insteon

Scott Knight
In reply to this post by Kirk Bauer
on 1/26/2006 10:51 AM Kirk Bauer carved the following into a picnic table:

>In X-10-only mode does it still use RF and/or powerline to relay the
>signals?  Do you see any reliability or speed improvements, or does it
>just have to resort to regular X10 protocol in this case?
>
>  
>
Kirk,

I have been installing a box full of devices around the house, mostly
SwitchLinc V2s.

My X10 network is pretty limited since I didn't have great luck getting
the signal to propagate everywhere I wanted it to.  Since I only started
fiddling with this stuff 2 years ago, I never really got all that
excited about X10 and thus didn't make the investment in getting a
really good network up and running.  All that talk about new
technologies pretty much tempered my interest.  Now I am making my
investment in Insteon.

I can tell you that the Insteon PLC has a lot more power in X10 mode
than my CM11A ever thought of having.  I have an X10-Pro switch on the
opposite phase that the CM11A will turn on about 90% of the time and
will never ever turn off (I ran an off command once a second for a
couple hours to see if one would ever get through...it didn't).  The
Insteon PLC turns it on, off and dims EVERY time.  There is an X10
SwitchLinc also on the opposite phase way on the other end of the house
whose circuit has many devices on it.  The Insteon PLC doesn't turn it
on or off, but does make the little light blink when it sends a
signal...the CM11A can't make the light blink.  So, my take on the X10
mode is that the Insteon PLC is going to add some reliability over a
CM11A if you already have a pretty good network (which I don't).

As far as Insteon goes, I have a SwitchLinc V2 in that same box with the
X10 SwitchLinc, and it NEVER fails to get the Insteon signal.  Been
running a minimum of 4 events a day for nearly 2 months and it works
every time.  A closer one on the same phase as the PLC of course works
just as well :)  This is in a 2800+ sq-ft home with only a $5 eBay
capacitor wired into the breaker box for a bridge.  No RF at all in my
system...yet.

I just put 2 more SwitchLinc V2's in the big addition and they can't
communicate with the PLC at all, which I suspected would happen since
that entire part of the home is on a separate sub-panel.  Looks like an
RF bridge and another capacitor is going to be in order to light up that
sub-panel.

There are some caveats with Insteon that aren't immediately apparent
from reading the literature.  Insteon devices don't repeat X10 signals
(this means the RF bridge as well).  There are currently no other RF
devices other than the bridge.  You won't see any reliability increase
in your X10 network except for getting a slightly stronger PLC than a CM11A.

Just as an aside, the only practical use I have for Insteon at the
moment (until Neil gets cracking on MH integration :) ) is that I
cross-linked 2 switches to make 2 separate light circuits act as one.  
On the front of our home, we have 4 identical  lights, 2 on the garage
and 2 on the porch.  The ones on the front of the garage are of course
controlled by a switch inside the garage, and the ones on the porch by a
switch just inside the front door.  Now, I can control all 4 lights
identically from either switch (both dimmers, BTW) and currently have
them being automatically turned off and on by Insteon PLC timers.

I was also using motion sensor signals through MH until the PLC
mysteriously became deaf to the CM11A.  It was a pretty slick setup with
some custom SALad code in the PLC.

Hope this needlessly long bit of information helps.
--
Scott Knight
[hidden email]


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Re: Insteon

Neil Cherry
Scott Knight wrote:

> on 1/26/2006 10:51 AM Kirk Bauer carved the following into a picnic table:
>
>> In X-10-only mode does it still use RF and/or powerline to relay the
>> signals?  Do you see any reliability or speed improvements, or does it
>> just have to resort to regular X10 protocol in this case?
>>
>>  
>>
> Kirk,
>
> I have been installing a box full of devices around the house, mostly
> SwitchLinc V2s.
>
> My X10 network is pretty limited since I didn't have great luck getting
> the signal to propagate everywhere I wanted it to.  Since I only started
> fiddling with this stuff 2 years ago, I never really got all that
> excited about X10 and thus didn't make the investment in getting a
> really good network up and running.  All that talk about new
> technologies pretty much tempered my interest.  Now I am making my
> investment in Insteon.

I've got about 20 or so X10 appliance modules and a few other devices.
My wife doesn't like the X10 because it is unreliable. The new coupler/
repeater has gone a long way towards making her trust the automation.
I think the final Insteon solution will be even better. I need to
figure out a good bedtime macro and the floor plan software and I
think I'll really impress her.

> I can tell you that the Insteon PLC has a lot more power in X10 mode
> than my CM11A ever thought of having.  I have an X10-Pro switch on the

My ELK ESM1 shows the CM11A actually sends out a slightly higher
voltage signal. But because each Insteon device repeats the signal
as it passes the signal strength is consistent throughout the
house. That alone is a huge advantage over X10. I think it's also
more sensitive (can read lower voltage signals).

> Just as an aside, the only practical use I have for Insteon at the
> moment (until Neil gets cracking on MH integration :) ) is that I

Actually this is killing me! I know I want to do the book but the
schedule is a tough one. Right now the Wireless chapter is broken
(kernel compiles) but the MH and WAP chapters are going well.
Right now I want to drop the book and get the initial Insteon
on/off/dim/bri working. The first run of the Insteon object
support won't support the ACK/NAK and won't link the X10 response
to the Insteon object. I need to learn a lot about that yet.

> Hope this needlessly long bit of information helps.

I think it does, thanks!

--
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http://www.linuxha.com/                         Main site
http://linuxha.blogspot.com/                    My HA Blog
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Re: Insteon

Dave Stenhouse
In reply to this post by Tom-75
Tom wrote:

> AFAIK, RF is only for the Insteon protocol.  X10 only transmits over
> the powerline.  The feature of Insteon devices that relays to other
> devices, only relays the Insteon protocol.  X10 signals are treated
> like regular devices.  My Insteon switches do not respond to X10
> generated my Misterhouse, but they do respond to my X10 pad by my
> bed.  I'm looking into a coupler or coupler/repeater since my 2 phases
> are not tied together and I've always had some X10 issues.  I've read
> that Insteon devices eat a little of the X10 signal and since my
> switches don't work as well as the X10 switches, I'm inclined to
> believe it.

I am using a few Insteon plug-in dimmers (the Lamplinc 3 pin
specifically) and they work very well both with the Insteon control
linc, which uses Insteon communications protocols, and with mh via the
CM11.  They were very easy to configure to work with both controllers.

There are a couple of really neat features of Insteon.  One is the
Signalinc PowerLine-RF Bridge.  With one Signalinc on each phase of your
system, as long as the two can reach each other via RF, you have
accomplished bridging the phases simply and easily, with 0% chance of
accidentally shorting across 220V.  Also, each Insteon device is an
Insteon signal repeater.  This helps get signals to the far-flung
reaches of the property.

On the subject of Insteon, does anyone know if Smarthome is planning on
releasing Insteon enabled outlets?  All I see on the website are
Decora-style switches (which really don't go with my 19th century
farmhouse) and plug-in modules.
-Dave


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Re: Insteon

Scott Knight
on 1/26/2006 12:15 PM Dave Stenhouse carved the following into a picnic
table:

>On the subject of Insteon, does anyone know if Smarthome is planning on
>releasing Insteon enabled outlets?  All I see on the website are
>Decora-style switches (which really don't go with my 19th century
>farmhouse) and plug-in modules.
>  
>
Dave,

I have been wondering this myself as I would really like to use a few of
those outlets rather than those big ApplianceLinc/LampLinc devices.  So
far, nothing has been mentioned on the developer forums and they don't
have a DEVICETYPE listed in the latest revision of the developer
documentation that I have, dated 10/14/2005.
--
Scott Knight
[hidden email]


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Re: Insteon

Scott Knight
In reply to this post by Neil Cherry
on 1/26/2006 12:12 PM Neil Cherry carved the following into a picnic table:

>Scott Knight wrote:
>> I can tell you that the Insteon PLC has a lot more power in X10 mode
>> than my CM11A ever thought of having.  I have an X10-Pro switch on the
>
>My ELK ESM1 shows the CM11A actually sends out a slightly higher
>voltage signal. But because each Insteon device repeats the signal
>as it passes the signal strength is consistent throughout the
>house. That alone is a huge advantage over X10. I think it's also
>more sensitive (can read lower voltage signals).
>  
>
Yeah, I probably should not have said anything since I have no easy
means to do actual measurements :(  That is pretty interesting that you
have measured the output like that.  How old is the CM11A that you
measured?  Mine is only a little over 2 years old.

It's just my observation that I have both devices plugged into the same
wire, about 3 feet apart and the Insteon PLC's X10 signals reach way
farther than the CM11A's.  Could be that I have a bum CM11A...I don't
care at this point since it is not doing anything useful at the moment
other than logging activity from that lone SwitchLinc.
--
Scott Knight
[hidden email]


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