Insteon ordered - interface with XL?

Lighting control systems, upb, lutron, insteon, LED lighting, Etc.

Insteon ordered - interface with XL?

Postby vaporhat on Thu Dec 17, 2009 8:05 pm

So I finally placed my lighting control order, just in time for my holiday vacation :) = time to play.

I see all the documentation for the Insteon hardware but not so much around the XL integration.

What do I need to get these switches to communicate with XL?
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Re: Insteon ordered - interface with XL?

Postby smarty on Thu Dec 17, 2009 10:16 pm

Be ready for ALOT of FRUSTRATION!!!! (but it can be done well).

I have over 70 insteon devices in the house. With these 70 devices, I have well over 300 individual Insteon links. To get the flexability that Insteon linking has to offer, you WILL generate a fair number of links. You WILL need a very good program to maintain the links and to easily modify the links or swap out devices. Smarthome offers a software packages that does this (forget the name), but I am partial to a program called PowerHome. It takes some getting used to, but it is very powerful, and handles Insteon EXTRMELY well in my opinion.

I have my touch screens display and control the on/off/brightness level of each insteon light. I do this by using the Xreceive plugin to communicate from Powerhome to the Xlobby buttons (button set text, button status etc). From Xlobby to Powerhome (the other direction), I use an Xlobby DOS window type command to issue Powerhome commands based upon what Xlobby button I press.

If you get NATIVE Xlobby Insteon support figured out, please post a write up, I would love to see it. based on what I have seen I guess Xlobby can nativley support Insteon, but it cannot support the link management that you WILL eventually need.

Just my 2 cents based upon using Xlobby, Insteon and Powerhome for 3+ years.
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Re: Insteon ordered - interface with XL?

Postby vaporhat on Thu Dec 17, 2009 10:48 pm

smarty wrote:Be ready for ALOT of FRUSTRATION!!!!


Gosh, that wasn't the 1st thing I wanted to read :o

I was not anticipating using a stand-alone program to mange the link network but rather thought I could do this though XL. Is this a far oversight of mine? :( I did not expect to need a home automation software program to interface with my other home automation program (XLobby) :( That's lame. Please tell me it's not true...

Out of my pure inexperience in this, can you give me some example of the types of maintenance this system requires?

I appreciate all the guidance and experience anyone cares to share.
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Re: Insteon ordered - interface with XL?

Postby wesblack on Fri Dec 18, 2009 7:52 am

You can do insteon in xLobby V3 no problem. Lighting switches, dimmers, 6-8 button keypads. I will have Steven post the basic details here for setting it up. :)



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Re: Insteon ordered - interface with XL?

Postby vaporhat on Fri Dec 18, 2009 1:44 pm

Thanks Wes!

Looking forward to it..
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Re: Insteon ordered - interface with XL?

Postby smarty on Fri Dec 18, 2009 2:13 pm

Out of my pure inexperience in this, can you give me some example of the types of maintenance this system requires?


If your the tinkering type, sooner or later you will want to try to link switches in a "new way", or have Xlobby respond to a switch press, or add additional Insteon hardware to a "group" of linked switches. OR... Maybe your unlucky enough to get a bad switch (doesn't happen that often), but if you need to replace a heavly linked Insteon device (like a 8 button keypad), link management software will be required (unless you are really into frustration).

Please don't read my original post too negatively, I love Insteon (for the most part). I have been with it from the VERY, VERY start. Same with Xlobby. Early on, I and others discovered the need for good Insteon link managment software. The following forums are filled with Insteon information :

cocoontech.com
http://www.myx10.com/forum/default.asp (powerhome forum)
http://www.smarthome.com/forum/ (smarthome home forum)
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Re: Insteon ordered - interface with XL?

Postby vaporhat on Fri Dec 18, 2009 3:15 pm

What does PowerHome do that XLobby can't?
It's not appearnt to me from reading though the feature list.
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Re: Insteon ordered - interface with XL?

Postby smarty on Fri Dec 18, 2009 9:05 pm

With respect to Insteon, the answer is:
1) Insteon link management
2) Insteon "Group" link management
3) PLM or PLC reliability reports
4) KPL (6-8 button keypad) configurations
5) Device discovery, passive or active polling
etc....

Take a read of the attchement...lots of good info here.
Attachments
phinsteon.rtf
PowerHome Insteon Background
(23.75 KiB) Downloaded 500 times
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Re: Insteon ordered - interface with XL?

Postby smarty on Fri Dec 18, 2009 9:07 pm

And if you download the free trial, look in the "Powerhome" main directory for the help file here...

"ph-help.chm" <=This info is most up to date.


Note - I am just a PowerHome USER...I have NO vested interest...just trying to convey my experiences....
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Re: Insteon ordered - interface with XL?

Postby vaporhat on Wed Dec 23, 2009 9:21 pm

OK, so I got my Insteon order and to start, I installed the 4-way lights switches. It seemed like I had to go though the linking process a couple more times then necessary but.. I eventually got them all working. But it sure would be nice to get them controlled with XL :( HELP

I still got a big box of switches to go. A few of the locations I need to run an extra piece of romex. But that shouldn't be a big deal as I have access. But that will have to wait until another day.

I am also holding off on the HVAC hardware until I can figure out how to integrate in into XL.

Someone please post up few clues to get me going...

smarty, I read though that information, thank you. Before diving into Powerhome I would like to see how much of that functionality can be handled within XL. I am not expecting an equal replacement but I hope it's manageable.
Last edited by vaporhat on Mon Dec 28, 2009 2:37 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Insteon ordered - interface with XL?

Postby wesblack on Wed Dec 23, 2009 9:31 pm

Steven is working on posting some information here and under the lighting section in the forum to help you get started. :) Hopefully he will post it soon.


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Re: Insteon ordered - interface with XL?

Postby vaporhat on Wed Dec 23, 2009 9:51 pm

Thank you thank you thank you!!!

Anxiously waiting.................. :D
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Re: Insteon ordered - interface with XL?

Postby stevenhanna6 on Wed Jan 06, 2010 9:29 pm

Here is the quick and dirty setup for insteon I just wrote up, there is a lot of stuff that isn't written down right now. The lighting service works great once it's setup, we have it working in several large homes actually with no issues. That being said, it quickly morphed into something I never anticipated, and there are plans to redo the whole thing in a more user friendly app, but for now it is what it is. You can manage "links" with the service and create lighting groups, it's complicated though. Here are the very basic instructions, if you need more help just post a question.

Controller Settings

Lighting Controller, select the type of lighting controller you are using. Insteon, Insteon PLM, UPB, X10 FireCracker, Lutron Homeworks
Port, select the port your controller is on. (Note in the case of the insteon usb plm, it will be a serial port NOT a usb port)
Send Throttle (ms), this is the amount of time that messages will be delayed. This can be adjusted to a lower value for more speed, but care must be taken as lowering the value can also make the system unreliable.
Random Update Poll, some devices do not report changes to the system, enabling this will cause the service to randomly poll devices for their current status.
Test Connection, this button does not always work. It's best to just restart the service to test your connection.

NOTE: Always restart the service when you have made changes to the controller settings.


Adding a device (simple)

1. Click the "add" button
2. Enter your device address
3. enter the name "zone1", and a description if you want
4. click "add device"

NOTE: The reason why the name "zone1" was chosen in this example is because xlobby come configured with a few lighting screens that are tied to the names zone1, zone2, zone3, zone4, zone5 ect...To set something up quickly it's best to stick with these names.

Once a device has been added you can test it, it's best to "enable" the log right now to see what is happening. Simple check off the "enable" check box near the bottom left hand corner. Now simply click your device in the list to ensure its selected and try "fast off" or "fast on"
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Re: Insteon ordered - interface with XL?

Postby vaporhat on Thu Jan 07, 2010 1:57 am

I was able to set-up my USB PLM, add a lamp dimmer, and appears to work. I was also able to add my 4-way dimmer switches.

I see Read Records, Setup Link, and Link8 commands:
Can you give some more information about this commands?

It appears that the Read Records are the links? and some combination of the other commands are to control the links. But I could not get any results from these.

I would like to learn how to manage my links with this application.
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Re: Insteon ordered - interface with XL?

Postby stevenhanna6 on Tue Jan 12, 2010 8:00 pm

Just so you know when you have a new device, when you read records it will return nothing because it's a brand new device with no records.

An insteaon link is either a controller or a responder. Has to be either or,so that's the first thing to know. As their names sound one controls something and the other responds to something.

A link is made up a a few data items,

group:
device:
level:
ramp:
extra:

here are the possible values for these items

group: 0 to 255 (255 is a special group)
device: 00.00.00 to FF.FF.FF
level: 0 to 255 (0 being off, and 255 being on 100%)
ramp: 0 to 31 (0 being the slowest and 31 being instant)
extra: 0 to 255 (used for some devices, like keypadlinc)


In the lighting service you have the "read records" button which will read the links off the selected device. This is the first thing you must do before doing anything else if you are editing links. The "re-read" button will re-read the currectly selected link record. The reason why this button exists, is that sometimes you can get erroneous data from the electrical system cause by noise...ect. So it's a good idea to re-read a record if it doesn't look right. "Delete Record" deletes a link record from the device, it's a good idea to "read records" from scratch again when you delete a record.

"Setup link" will create a controller record on the current device and a responder record on the plm/plc. The reason you want to "setup link" is because if you dont, you wont see the device ever change when you control it physically. So when you go up to a light switch and turn it on the insteon system has no idea it exists, it's all by itself, this is why you need links, it's like letting a device become aware of other devices. You always need a controller and a responder. The controller says something like "hey I'm controlling device AA.BB.CC" but that device doesn't know about the controller so "AA.BB.CC" needs a responder link, then it will know about the controller. The responder link is also where you tell it what is going to happen when a controller tries to control it, the controller link just sends out a message saying "hey I'm controlling device AA.BB.CC" but when the responder link on "AA.BB.CC" gets that message it will check to see what it's suppose to do, point is the responder link controls what happens.

"Link 8" is for keypadlincs, since they are 8 buttons it will auto setup 8 controller records and 8 responder records to the PLM. What this does is allow the lighting service to respond to individual button presses on an 8 button keypad.

I'll give a common example with links.

Say you want to create a group that controls 3 lights, first do "setup link" on these 3 lights so that you have a controller record on each one, and this put 3 responder records on the plm database. This isn't needed for the groups, it's just something you would do to make sure the 3 lights always give their status if someone goes up to the light to turn it on or off. Ok, so on with making the group. You'll want to first add a new device, yes a new device, give it the name "scene 10" and the address "00.00.0A", what we are doing is creating a way to trigger the group 10 which is really 0A because we are dealing in hex with insteon addresses. So we need a responder record on each of the 3 lights, because the PLM will be the controller. So you will first "read records" to get the current records for that device, then you will

1.click "responder"
2. enter "10" for group (note I didn't use the hex value, didn't need to here only for device address)
3. device will be your PLM address, mine is "08.AA.07"
4. level we will put in "255", that means we want it to go full 100%
5. for ramp we will set "31", that means it goes on fast as possible, no ramping up
6. extra we will set to "1", it doesn't matter
7. record will be your total, so if you have a total of 1 records, it will be "1" (it's a zero based index system)
8. click write

now you do that for all 3 lights, and go back to the device you created with the address "00.00.0A" and hit fast on and fast off, that will control your new group.

Easy to do? no, pain in the ass, yes, can I write it a better way to make it 30 times easier, hell yah, do I have time to rewrite it right now, nope.
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