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Insteon Plug-in (Mark Sandler) Discussions related to Mark Sandler's 3rd parth plug-in for controlling Insteon devices via Smarthome's PLM interfaces (the 2412 & 2413 series controllers)

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  #1  
Old November 8th, 2011, 12:54 PM
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pbibm pbibm is offline
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Question 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.
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Last edited by mnsandler; May 27th, 2012 at 02:59 PM.
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  #2  
Old November 9th, 2011, 06:57 PM
Chris Fox Chris Fox is offline
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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
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Old November 9th, 2011, 08:52 PM
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pbibm pbibm is offline
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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 9th, 2011 at 09:03 PM. Reason: added and corrected plugin info; added 2412S
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  #4  
Old January 16th, 2012, 10:55 PM
thedishking thedishking is offline
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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
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  #5  
Old December 31st, 2013, 09:24 PM
DanITman DanITman is offline
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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.
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  #6  
Old January 1st, 2014, 01:37 PM
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mnsandler mnsandler is offline
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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.
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  #7  
Old January 4th, 2015, 08:27 PM
cjr18 cjr18 is offline
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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
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  #8  
Old January 4th, 2015, 10:35 PM
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mnsandler mnsandler is offline
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Quote:
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.
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  #9  
Old January 5th, 2015, 12:44 PM
cjr18 cjr18 is offline
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Quote:
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
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  #10  
Old April 12th, 2016, 11:17 PM
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JimSpy JimSpy is offline
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Question

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?
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  #11  
Old April 13th, 2016, 06:32 AM
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mnsandler mnsandler is offline
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Quote:
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.
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Old May 14th, 2016, 01:46 AM
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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?
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  #13  
Old May 14th, 2016, 09:02 AM
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mnsandler mnsandler is offline
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Quote:
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.
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Old September 29th, 2017, 11:37 AM
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Summerguy Summerguy is offline
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Quote:
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.
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  #15  
Old September 29th, 2017, 11:43 AM
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mnsandler mnsandler is offline
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Quote:
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.
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  #16  
Old October 23rd, 2017, 08:07 PM
timmymac123 timmymac123 is offline
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You could do something like this:
1. Put an AplianceLinc or On/Off Module near the TV
2. Put a Y splitter cable on the insteon module and connect the TV and tv signal provider receiver
3. Create an event to turn the Insteon Module on and off
4. Use the HSTouch interface from your mobile phone to turn the equipment on/off with Wifi and no harmony hub.
5. you are running some form of homeseer.

I have a laptop always running with Linux HS3.
My kids TVs are on Appliance Lincs and get auto-shutoff for bed.
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  #17  
Old October 29th, 2017, 02:32 PM
Burrington Burrington is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by timmymac123 View Post
You could do something like this:
1. Put an AplianceLinc or On/Off Module near the TV
2. Put a Y splitter cable on the insteon module and connect the TV and tv signal provider receiver
3. Create an event to turn the Insteon Module on and off
4. Use the HSTouch interface from your mobile phone to turn the equipment on/off with Wifi and no harmony hub.
5. you are running some form of homeseer.

I have a laptop always running with Linux HS3.
My kids TVs are on Appliance Lincs and get auto-shutoff for bed.
One thing to check before doing this: Make sure your TV and STB retain their last state when they lose power. IE turn the TV ON, unplug the TV for a minute or two and make sure it comes back on when plugged in again. If it defaults to OFF when power is restored, this scheme won't work.

You could also send IR remote control signals to the TV and STB. I use the Global Cache IP2IR iTach Wired TCP/IP to IR, which works very nicely with HomeSeer. That gives you many more control capabilities than just turning the power on and off.
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