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    Insteon Dual Band / RF Phase Bridging 101

    This is documentation. I am requesting comments. Also, I recommend it as a "Sticky" once it is reviewed / updated.

    I recently went through baptism by fire buying insteon devices that were switches and dual band to support rf phase bridging. One of the features of Insteon is that it can create an rf (radio) based bridge across your house's phases, avoiding physical modifications to your electrical panel. It also can provide a radio bridge into bad signal areas of your house.

    There are recommendations from Insteon/Smarthome on how to do it, but the recommendations tell you to buy two standalone phase bridges. If you're using HomeSeer and the PLM, it most likely is not necessary to buy two. In some cases, a switch can be the second one.

    Here are some rules to use in evaluating what you need:

    Rule #1: You only need 2 dual band rf devices when there is good signal. The 2413 Insteon PLM is one of those devices. See post #3 for more info
    There are several ways to do it. If you have a PLM, it is alread a dual band device and you need just one more dual band device to create a phase bridge in your house. Alternatively, you can buy one phase bridge to use with the PLM. The trick here is that you only need one phase bridge. Both devices need to be arranged on opposite phases and not blocked from rf (eg behind a furnace and ducts)
    Rule #2: The second device can be a dual band switch.
    Though expensive, dual band switches can save having the separate phase bridge "wall wart" out in view. It also ends up being a little cheaper than buying the components separately.

    However, if the switch has to go in a metal box (older homes), this should not be your second dual band device. The metal will block the signal. Do your homework by removing the cover plate of the installation location and inspecting before deciding ordering.

    The other limitation is the that switch will be installed on whatever phase it is on. The PLM might have to be moved to another outlet to create a bridge
    Rule #3. Validate that the switch you are ordering is really dual band
    There are good deals on Amazon, but sometimes the seller copies and pastes. Not all switches/keypadlincs are dual band. Do your homework and look it up on smarthomes site. This link is a switch model comparison, including dual band designation
    Rule #5 Make sure rf bridging its working.
    Below is the procedure from Inteon to bridge phases with any dual band devices. The directions are from a Dual Band Keypadlinc, but its the same for all dual band devices. You have to have added the device to your Insteon configuration, wiring it without adding will not work. It can take a few tries to get the procedure to work. Be patient and keep at it.
    Attached Files
    Last edited by mnsandler; May 27, 2012, 01:59 PM.
    Paul


    #2
    Great document! One minor note: not all PLMs are dual band. You still have the option of buying non dual-band PLMs. I remember reading that the non dual-band was "faster" when it came to sending/receiving signals. I don't know if it is really true, but something to consider...

    Chris

    Comment


      #3
      Thanks and good point. Here is a decoder ring for that
      Code:
      Name        Model     Dual Band?     HS Plugin Version & Owner:      Plugin Development
      PLM-USB     2412U         No          Insteon PLM Plugin - MSandler      Active
      PLM-RS232   2412S         No          Insteon PLM Plugin - MSandler       Active
      PLM-RS232   2413S        Yes          Insteon PLM Plugin - MSandler       Active  
      PLM-USB     2413U        Yes          Insteon PLM Plugin - MSandler       Active
      PLC-USB     2414U         No          Insteon PLC-SDM 2414 Plug-in        Ended
      It is reported that the 2413s are faster to respond than the PLC.
      Last edited by mnsandler; November 9, 2011, 08:03 PM. Reason: added and corrected plugin info; added 2412S
      Paul

      Comment


        #4
        I would like to add one note.

        While devices such as dual band lamplincs do work for "phase bridging", I strongly recommend against relying on them for this.

        The reason is the real advantage of a lamplinc is the portability.

        If you depend on a healthy system, and should move a lamplinc across a room to move a light, etc., you may inadvertently "un bridge" the phases.

        For this reason, I would recommend installing another dual band device, such as a hard wired device, or even an access point in an inconspicuous part of the home where it is less likely to be unplugged.

        Travis

        Comment


          #5
          Doesn't phase bridging only need to be done when you don't have appliances that run on 240v? Installing a 240v breaker should bridge your two phases and is probably cheaper than buying these items from insteon.

          Comment


            #6
            short answer, No. a 240v doesn't bridge the phases unless the appliance is running

            if you have two dual-band devices on separate phases then you are done.
            Mark

            HS3 Pro 3.0.0.534
            Hardware: Insteon Serial PLM | AD2USB for Vista Alarm | HAI Omnistat2 | 1-Wire HA7E | RFXrec433 | Dahua Cameras | LiftMaster Internet Gateway
            Plugins: Insteon (mine) | Vista Alarm (mine) | Omnistat 3 (by Kirby) | Ultra1Wire3 | RFXCOM | NetCAM | MyQ | BLRadar | BLDenon | Jon00 Charting
            Platform: HP h8-1360t, Windows Server 2012 R2, i7-3.4GHz, 16GB memory

            Comment


              #7
              For homes with two separate panels ("4 phases"), would the insteon technology create this bridge appropriately with the use of 4 dual band devices (including the PLM)?

              Thanks,
              Chris

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by cjr18 View Post
                For homes with two separate panels ("4 phases"), would the insteon technology create this bridge appropriately with the use of 4 dual band devices (including the PLM)?

                Thanks,
                Chris
                that should work. I installed one 2406H (phase coupler) on one panel as the both panels are connected just outside the house.
                Mark

                HS3 Pro 3.0.0.534
                Hardware: Insteon Serial PLM | AD2USB for Vista Alarm | HAI Omnistat2 | 1-Wire HA7E | RFXrec433 | Dahua Cameras | LiftMaster Internet Gateway
                Plugins: Insteon (mine) | Vista Alarm (mine) | Omnistat 3 (by Kirby) | Ultra1Wire3 | RFXCOM | NetCAM | MyQ | BLRadar | BLDenon | Jon00 Charting
                Platform: HP h8-1360t, Windows Server 2012 R2, i7-3.4GHz, 16GB memory

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by mnsandler View Post
                  that should work. I installed one 2406H (phase coupler) on one panel as the both panels are connected just outside the house.
                  Gotcha, still just two phases. Thanks

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Question: Will the phase bridging function also work when the PLM is communicating across phases with an X-10 device? In other words, it solves that whole X-10 bridging problem?


                    Jim Speiser
                    35-year veteran of Home Automation
                    Still don't know squat

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by JimSpy View Post
                      Question: Will the phase bridging function also work when the PLM is communicating across phases with an X-10 device? In other words, it solves that whole X-10 bridging problem?
                      the only phase bridging solution that supports insteon & x10 is the Phase Coupler (2406H) device. Non of the RF solutions will pass x10 msgs.
                      Mark

                      HS3 Pro 3.0.0.534
                      Hardware: Insteon Serial PLM | AD2USB for Vista Alarm | HAI Omnistat2 | 1-Wire HA7E | RFXrec433 | Dahua Cameras | LiftMaster Internet Gateway
                      Plugins: Insteon (mine) | Vista Alarm (mine) | Omnistat 3 (by Kirby) | Ultra1Wire3 | RFXCOM | NetCAM | MyQ | BLRadar | BLDenon | Jon00 Charting
                      Platform: HP h8-1360t, Windows Server 2012 R2, i7-3.4GHz, 16GB memory

                      Comment


                        #12
                        I have lots of old devices around here and that included two 2442 SignaLincs. Per the way it was done back in the day, I installed and linked those to each other first. That went without a hitch. The Insteon plugin has never recognized the devices though. I don't have any major connection problems so I assume they are working despite the plugin not connecting to them. Is this correct?

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by mikaluch View Post
                          I have lots of old devices around here and that included two 2442 SignaLincs. Per the way it was done back in the day, I installed and linked those to each other first. That went without a hitch. The Insteon plugin has never recognized the devices though. I don't have any major connection problems so I assume they are working despite the plugin not connecting to them. Is this correct?
                          there is really no need to register signalincs, or access points with the plugin. there are no configuration options on these devices, and they do not need to be linked to the plm. they just send and receive msgs, there is no linking.
                          Mark

                          HS3 Pro 3.0.0.534
                          Hardware: Insteon Serial PLM | AD2USB for Vista Alarm | HAI Omnistat2 | 1-Wire HA7E | RFXrec433 | Dahua Cameras | LiftMaster Internet Gateway
                          Plugins: Insteon (mine) | Vista Alarm (mine) | Omnistat 3 (by Kirby) | Ultra1Wire3 | RFXCOM | NetCAM | MyQ | BLRadar | BLDenon | Jon00 Charting
                          Platform: HP h8-1360t, Windows Server 2012 R2, i7-3.4GHz, 16GB memory

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by pbibm View Post
                            This is documentation. I am requesting comments. Also, I recommend it as a "Sticky" once it is reviewed / updated.

                            I recently went through baptism by fire buying insteon devices that were switches and dual band to support rf phase bridging. One of the features of Insteon is that it can create an rf (radio) based bridge across your house's phases, avoiding physical modifications to your electrical panel. It also can provide a radio bridge into bad signal areas of your house.

                            There are recommendations from Insteon/Smarthome on how to do it, but the recommendations tell you to buy two standalone phase bridges. If you're using HomeSeer and the PLM, it most likely is not necessary to buy two. In some cases, a switch can be the second one.

                            Here are some rules to use in evaluating what you need:

                            Rule #1: You only need 2 dual band rf devices when there is good signal. The 2413 Insteon PLM is one of those devices. See post #3 for more info
                            There are several ways to do it. If you have a PLM, it is alread a dual band device and you need just one more dual band device to create a phase bridge in your house. Alternatively, you can buy one phase bridge to use with the PLM. The trick here is that you only need one phase bridge. Both devices need to be arranged on opposite phases and not blocked from rf (eg behind a furnace and ducts)
                            Rule #2: The second device can be a dual band switch.
                            Though expensive, dual band switches can save having the separate phase bridge "wall wart" out in view. It also ends up being a little cheaper than buying the components separately.

                            However, if the switch has to go in a metal box (older homes), this should not be your second dual band device. The metal will block the signal. Do your homework by removing the cover plate of the installation location and inspecting before deciding ordering.

                            The other limitation is the that switch will be installed on whatever phase it is on. The PLM might have to be moved to another outlet to create a bridge
                            Rule #3. Validate that the switch you are ordering is really dual band
                            There are good deals on Amazon, but sometimes the seller copies and pastes. Not all switches/keypadlincs are dual band. Do your homework and look it up on smarthomes site. This link is a switch model comparison, including dual band designation
                            Rule #5 Make sure rf bridging its working.
                            Below is the procedure from Inteon to bridge phases with any dual band devices. The directions are from a Dual Band Keypadlinc, but its the same for all dual band devices. You have to have added the device to your Insteon configuration, wiring it without adding will not work. It can take a few tries to get the procedure to work. Be patient and keep at it.

                            Sorry for the noon question ..but can I get the Insteon system to power on a tv (and a tv signal provider receiver) with the RF signal??If yes can i do it wirelessly?? I want to get ride of my harmony hub.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by Summerguy View Post
                              Sorry for the noon question ..but can I get the Insteon system to power on a tv (and a tv signal provider receiver) with the RF signal??If yes can i do it wirelessly?? I want to get ride of my harmony hub.
                              the insteon RF signal is propriety. so I unless the tv talks 'insteon' this won't happen.

                              I suppose you could attached your tv and stb to an insteon applianceLinc module, and then cut them on/off.
                              Mark

                              HS3 Pro 3.0.0.534
                              Hardware: Insteon Serial PLM | AD2USB for Vista Alarm | HAI Omnistat2 | 1-Wire HA7E | RFXrec433 | Dahua Cameras | LiftMaster Internet Gateway
                              Plugins: Insteon (mine) | Vista Alarm (mine) | Omnistat 3 (by Kirby) | Ultra1Wire3 | RFXCOM | NetCAM | MyQ | BLRadar | BLDenon | Jon00 Charting
                              Platform: HP h8-1360t, Windows Server 2012 R2, i7-3.4GHz, 16GB memory

                              Comment

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