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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 February 26th, 2018, 02:35 PM
alaskan84 alaskan84 is offline
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New Home Construction, All Insteon outlets/switches, few getting started questions

Hello, i am in the final stages of my new home construction. I opted to go for almost entirely insteon outlets and wall switches plus fanlincs for 3 master bedroom ceiling fans. This last weekend i setup my hometroller S6 for the first time and started to bring in the light switches. I have now realized that i used the homeseer insteon plugin and should have used Marks so my next plan is to reset my hometroller and start fresh with the correct plugin. The questions i have are around linking/grouping.

Are there clear advantages to linking switches directly from the hardware versus doing a software link? Currently i have multiple 3 ways and a single 4 way location. I have all of the 3 way linked at the device and they seemed to work well. I could not for the life of me get the multi linking portion of the 4 way to work, they just wouldnt link all together. All 3 of the 4way switches were already loaded into homeseer so i tried the software link method of linking switch A to switch B, Switch B to Switch C and then Switch C back to A...it worked for about an hour and a half with a 2-5 second delay when touching switch B or C....then it all went to hell and the lights started looping themselves...switch A would turn on and then switch B would turn off and it just kept looping the lights on and off. Disabled the software link and just have a single dimmer controlling these particular lights but would like to get the other two pads in sync.
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  #2  
Old February 26th, 2018, 03:27 PM
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mnsandler mnsandler is offline
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Welcome the the forum. Congrats on the new house and insteon implementation.

My suggestion is to build and manage all the links via the plugin. the plugin should read existing manually created links and report them out so you can revise them via the plugin later.

for the record, manually created links and links created via the plugin can look a little different even if they perform the same function.

i'm not sure why you are getting a loop; that shouldn't happen. in this case. factor reset those affected devices and start clean.
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  #3  
Old February 26th, 2018, 04:12 PM
alaskan84 alaskan84 is offline
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Thanks so much for your response Mark. If you had time and could answer two more questions that would be awesome!

1. Knowing that i have some manual links created, and i am going to reset homeseer to start fresh with your plugin, should i need to also factory reset all of my switches or should i be good to leave as they are and bring into the fresh homeseer instance?

2. I currently have one of the insteon USB powerline adapters hooked up to the hometroller...is that the best option i should be using? I also have a new insteon Hub(would the hub be redundant with the powerline usb adapter?)that i havent installed yet but did read that you mentioned the serial adapter is the most reliable?
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  #4  
Old February 26th, 2018, 04:31 PM
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mnsandler mnsandler is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alaskan84 View Post
Thanks so much for your response Mark. If you had time and could answer two more questions that would be awesome!

1. Knowing that i have some manual links created, and i am going to reset homeseer to start fresh with your plugin, should i need to also factory reset all of my switches or should i be good to leave as they are and bring into the fresh homeseer instance?

2. I currently have one of the insteon USB powerline adapters hooked up to the hometroller...is that the best option i should be using? I also have a new insteon Hub(would the hub be redundant with the powerline usb adapter?)that i havent installed yet but did read that you mentioned the serial adapter is the most reliable?
1. If the links are working, you should be fine to leave them. when you register the device in the plugin, the plugin will read all the links.

2. The newer USB PLMs are more reliable than before. if you don't have a physical serial port please don't worry about using a serial PLM. Please don't bother with a usb to serial adapter--that is basically what the usb plm has built in so there is no real advantage to using a serial plm with an outboard adapter--just use the usb plm.

The hub allows one to deploy the interface away from the homeseer server but its not as fast when returning status and inbound messages to homeseer as the PLMs.

In general, my recommendation is to plug in the insteon interface close to the service panel(s). If you can easily colocate your USB PLM and your hometroller S6 near the service panel, that would be my recommendation for your setup.

ps. the plugin doesn't support two insteon controllers so you can't connect a plm and hub to the plugin

Last edited by mnsandler; February 26th, 2018 at 04:32 PM. Reason: ps. the plugin doesn't support two insteon controllers so you can't connect a plm and hub to the plugin
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  #5  
Old February 26th, 2018, 05:25 PM
alaskan84 alaskan84 is offline
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Thanks again for your timely response Mark. I have a nice large network rack in my utility room adjacent to my fuse panel. I have my hometroller as well as the USB PLM central to the rack so i'll probably leave that configuration alone.

Looking forward to getting started with your plugin this evening. I basically hit a roadblock with the free insteon homeseer plugin once i had a set of switches added and then was stuck trying to figure out how to create groups which i believe isnt even possible in the plugin i have currently.
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  #6  
Old February 26th, 2018, 05:33 PM
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mnsandler mnsandler is offline
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Sounds good. If you have comm issues you may need to add insteon filters to your rack. You don't want that equipment corrupting the plm and insteon messages. Good luck with it all.

I have plm plm on a dedicated circuit
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  #7  
Old February 26th, 2018, 05:40 PM
tome10 tome10 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mnsandler View Post
Sounds good. If you have comm issues you may need to add insteon filters to your rack. You don't want that equipment corrupting the plm and insteon messages. Good luck with it all.

I have plm plm on a dedicated circuit
You mentioned Insteon switches. I started off with either Lutron or Insteon ZWave switches sold at Home Depot. I mention this because the switches I was using didn't have instant status. Maybe biting the bullet and installing HS Switches off the bat would be in order.

Sent from my SM-N950U using Tapatalk
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  #8  
Old February 26th, 2018, 05:44 PM
tome10 tome10 is offline
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Originally Posted by tome10 View Post
You mentioned Insteon switches. I started off with either Lutron or Insteon ZWave switches sold at Home Depot. I mention this because the switches I was using didn't have instant status. Maybe biting the bullet and installing HS Switches off the bat would be in order.

Sent from my SM-N950U using Tapatalk
Wait, are you guys talking about communicating switches other than zwave?

Sent from my SM-N950U using Tapatalk
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  #9  
Old February 26th, 2018, 05:46 PM
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mnsandler mnsandler is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tome10 View Post
You mentioned Insteon switches. I started off with either Lutron or Insteon ZWave switches sold at Home Depot. I mention this because the switches I was using didn't have instant status. Maybe biting the bullet and installing HS Switches off the bat would be in order.

Sent from my SM-N950U using Tapatalk
Insteon switches are the same no matter where you buy them.

If you have a different issue, please start a new thread.
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  #10  
Old February 26th, 2018, 06:44 PM
alaskan84 alaskan84 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mnsandler View Post
Sounds good. If you have comm issues you may need to add insteon filters to your rack. You don't want that equipment corrupting the plm and insteon messages. Good luck with it all.

I have plm plm on a dedicated circuit

Are you referring to just the plug in Insteon filterlincs? would you think other network equipment in the rack could potentially cause comm issues? Currently i have my PLM plugged into the same rack PDU as the hometroller but i could plug the PLM into a dedicated wall outlet if that would be better?

I also had the electricians install a signal linc phase coupler in the fuse panel....but i honestly didn't quite understand what its purpose was but i was thinking it could help the signal throughout the house...
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  #11  
Old February 26th, 2018, 08:19 PM
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mnsandler mnsandler is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alaskan84 View Post
Are you referring to just the plug in Insteon filterlincs? would you think other network equipment in the rack could potentially cause comm issues? Currently i have my PLM plugged into the same rack PDU as the hometroller but i could plug the PLM into a dedicated wall outlet if that would be better?

I also had the electricians install a signal linc phase coupler in the fuse panel....but i honestly didn't quite understand what its purpose was but i was thinking it could help the signal throughout the house...
Yes, the filterlincs.

give the system a try as-is but you might just move the PLM to the dedicated outlet to avoid the issue all together; i would.

the signlinc bridges the two service legs so messages can travel between them. Dual-band devices are supposed to make this obsolete but there are still insteon devices out there that are powerline only.
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  #12  
Old February 28th, 2018, 12:05 AM
alaskan84 alaskan84 is offline
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So Ive reset my s6, setup your plugin and added the first switch in the utility room. it took multiple attempts to read each database entry for remote links and then eventually failed with the message the link table could not be read...does this indicate a comm issue? I'm going to reset this switch, and try programming it for homeseer once more then I will try moving my plm...
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  #13  
Old February 28th, 2018, 12:23 AM
alaskan84 alaskan84 is offline
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So after resetting the switch it again failed configuration with the plugin. I was able to see it read some links and at least one was invalid...so I removed the links in the plugin which seemed successful and then deleted the switch and when I added it back it had only 3 links and programmed successfully....second switch is giving me the same story so it's almost like I need to bring them into homeseer, clear their links and the add them again...I would have thought doing the factory reset would remove any links but maybe I messed up the first process....second one seemed to just add now after the factory reset so it'll probably be best for me to reset each switch before adding back
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  #14  
Old February 28th, 2018, 12:47 AM
alaskan84 alaskan84 is offline
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One last question for tonight....when linking two devices in the plugin, I configured the first switch to be linked to the second switch and selected cross link. The behavior is great with both switch's in sync yet in the software I only see cross links with switch a...switch b has no visible links to switch a...should I need to link a to b, and then specifically b back to a or is that happening automatically?
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  #15  
Old February 28th, 2018, 02:15 AM
alaskan84 alaskan84 is offline
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I just wanted to say thanks and that it's all making a little more sense creating links now that I'm using your plugin for a few hours..the first couple switches I was fully resetting them like a first born child in cloth diapers...by the fourth switch I've figured out that I can just add it, and then program for homeseer and usually just delete one bad link...disposable diaper style haha..I'm probably not going to get to my tricky 4 way until tomorrow night but I'm hoping to have my entire first floor lights working tonight
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  #16  
Old February 28th, 2018, 02:40 AM
alaskan84 alaskan84 is offline
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I'm back....so 99% of the outlets in my house are the dual band insteon..as I'm finishing up the first floor lighting switches I'm seeing all excellent message ratings but a handful of 2 and 3 hops with some at 70% comm quality already. Do I need to add my outlets to the homeseer system in order for them to be part of the whole insteon communication? Just wondering if adding them will greatly increase the communication quality. Im a tech guy so I had outlets spaced a bit closer than most and that equals a **** ton of outlets to add that I wasn't going to mess with until I had the lighting finished.
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  #17  
Old February 28th, 2018, 07:37 AM
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mnsandler mnsandler is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alaskan84 View Post
So Ive reset my s6, setup your plugin and added the first switch in the utility room. it took multiple attempts to read each database entry for remote links and then eventually failed with the message the link table could not be read...does this indicate a comm issue? I'm going to reset this switch, and try programming it for homeseer once more then I will try moving my plm...
typically this does indicate a comm issue; especially after a factory reset. did you move the PLM location?

Quote:
Originally Posted by alaskan84 View Post
So after resetting the switch it again failed configuration with the plugin. I was able to see it read some links and at least one was invalid...so I removed the links in the plugin which seemed successful and then deleted the switch and when I added it back it had only 3 links and programmed successfully....second switch is giving me the same story so it's almost like I need to bring them into homeseer, clear their links and the add them again...I would have thought doing the factory reset would remove any links but maybe I messed up the first process....second one seemed to just add now after the factory reset so it'll probably be best for me to reset each switch before adding back
a factory reset if performed correctly will erase the device links.

Quote:
Originally Posted by alaskan84 View Post
One last question for tonight....when linking two devices in the plugin, I configured the first switch to be linked to the second switch and selected cross link. The behavior is great with both switch's in sync yet in the software I only see cross links with switch a...switch b has no visible links to switch a...should I need to link a to b, and then specifically b back to a or is that happening automatically?
the cross link should create links from a to b, and b to a automatically. it builds a virtual 3-way circuit.

Quote:
Originally Posted by alaskan84 View Post
I just wanted to say thanks and that it's all making a little more sense creating links now that I'm using your plugin for a few hours..the first couple switches I was fully resetting them like a first born child in cloth diapers...by the fourth switch I've figured out that I can just add it, and then program for homeseer and usually just delete one bad link...disposable diaper style haha..I'm probably not going to get to my tricky 4 way until tomorrow night but I'm hoping to have my entire first floor lights working tonight
sounds like you're making progress.

Quote:
Originally Posted by alaskan84 View Post
I'm back....so 99% of the outlets in my house are the dual band insteon..as I'm finishing up the first floor lighting switches I'm seeing all excellent message ratings but a handful of 2 and 3 hops with some at 70% comm quality already. Do I need to add my outlets to the homeseer system in order for them to be part of the whole insteon communication? Just wondering if adding them will greatly increase the communication quality. Im a tech guy so I had outlets spaced a bit closer than most and that equals a **** ton of outlets to add that I wasn't going to mess with until I had the lighting finished.
you do not need to add outletlinc or any device to the plugin in order for them to be part of the insteon network; they take care of that themselves. the plugin does make manage the insteon network in any way. You only need to add devices to the plugin that you want to control via homeseer.
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  #18  
Old March 1st, 2018, 12:19 PM
alaskan84 alaskan84 is offline
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Wow, what a night....I managed to finally get the final devices in my master bedroom programmed but not after multiple, multiple programming attempts. I've absolutely got something going wrong and Im wondering if you can in anyway point me at what to look at first, or have the electrician check first. So I haven't touched the couple hundred outlet links I have, but most of the lighting is programmed. A mixture of dimmers, keypad links, a few on off modules for flourescents and 3 fanlincs for the master bedroom fans. Now all of the overhead lights in the master bedroom are on a breaker separate from the fans and switches..when programming the keypad links and the fanlincs almost all of the lights and keypads in the house surge. While programming the fanlinks and the lights were flickering I could hear the fan motor actually surging as the lights blink. I would say 75% of the time if I use the all off command or the all on command it will trip the breaker for the overhead lights upstairs...same risk just during the programming of the fanlincs almost like the data packets they are trying to send are just causing a mess of the power.. I've also noticed quick flickers of all the lights as I've been working in the new place the last few days....I don't like the quick flickering, but I'm more concerned with the large blinking and flickering of the system when heavy communication happens. All of my devices show an excellent message quality however maybe 8 out of 80 devices are showing a handful of 3 hops...this is a brand new house that I haven't moved into yet, no furniture and besides my network gear, and a refrigerator, a handful of sonos speakers it's empty...I wish I could just call up knowledgeble smart things electrician but living on an island in Alaska there isn't anyone familiar with this type of system. I've considered bringing in a specialized electrician from off island but at this point I'm thinking that there is some sort of basic electrical issue that the local guys should be able to handle.....gah! Thanks for any help or insight that can be provided
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  #19  
Old March 1st, 2018, 12:23 PM
alaskan84 alaskan84 is offline
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And Mark, yes I did move the plm...previously it was plugged into the rack UPS and thinking about that I decided that could cause all sorts issues. I now have it plugged into an otherwise empty outlet Linc next to the rack.

I could describe more quirks that I have seen but I think Ive said enough for us to think about right now lol.

Thanks for all your advice mark
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  #20  
Old March 1st, 2018, 01:51 PM
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mnsandler mnsandler is offline
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Sam,
Plugging the plm into an outletlinc is not a good idea. do you have a standard outlet you can use?

the Global Group sends one 8 byte message. then the plugin tries to verify that every device responded (called cleanup). you can disable cleanup on the config page. uncheck Perform group clean-ups when transmitting group commands

insteon commands/mesages are only 5v on the powerline. there is something else going on if you are tripping breakers while sending commands.

fluorescent bulbs can put noise on the powerline. RF is unaffected. can you narrow down the programming troubles to a specific circuit? usually this is an indication that something on the circuit is generating noise or eating the insteon signal (ie fluorescent bulbs)

1. if you don't mind, post a screen shot of your stats from the Manage Device page. you can blank out the names and insteon ids if you wish. i want to see the other columns

2. i would also like to see the info on the config page that looks like this:

Quote:
You have 130 internal Insteon device(s) registered in the system, 0 external device(s), and 8 group(s).
These devices and groups currently consume 230 link database entries in your interface.*
You have 243 unused outbound link addresses out of 254 total available.

* Click the Display Interface Links button below to update this number.
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