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Insteon PLM Plug-in by 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 24th, 2012, 06:02 PM
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Default New Insteon Hub as a network enabled PLM

All,

I got one of these (see link below) and am working on adding support for it as a network enabled PLM. So basically the plugin will be able to communicate with the hub via the network to send and receive plm cmds.

http://www.smarthome.com/2242-222/INSTEON-Hub/p.aspx

The advantage is you will be able to locate this hub anywhere on your network. No more serial or usb cable

Anyone thinking of getting one of these?

P.S. the hub has an entirely separate UI for creating groups/scenes that you can control via a smartphone or the like. Not sure I can support all that since this is all avail via hs already.
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Old November 24th, 2012, 06:10 PM
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How interesting. If I got it right, this would allow normal HS use, plus placing the controller where you want it ..and.. using the free smarthome IOS and android apps. You wouldn't have to support that with homeseer, but it should work standalone I would l think.

Its like mixing the plm with the other controllers they offer that have timers and web control.
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Old November 25th, 2012, 09:38 AM
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Paul,
that all sounds right. It's strange that with the native hub UI there doesn't appear to be any direct device control (eg on/off, settings, or op flags). Every device must be controlled by a group/scene.

I don't think anyone will run out and swap this for their PLM, but now there is another alternative for new users. People were always asking me if i supported the 2412N (the smartlinc) which i don't because smarthome never released developer notes.
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Old November 25th, 2012, 11:38 AM
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A few more things to note:
  • Conspicuous in its absence is the more prominent "dual-band" designation. Smarthome has been putting that even in the product name. So its not dual band.. (?).
  • The way that insteon signalling is referred to in the specs has changed. The PLM specs make reference to the powerline frequency and power, this new device refers only to "powerline mesh repeater". It makes sense, it has to get on to the power grid, but odd that the new specs are somewhat more ambiguous. The old specs were a show of the 2 to 1 receive sensitivity compared to x10. Maybe this is the kiss goodbye to old x10 users and meant for new users where an insteon only solution is cheaper for them to support.
  • Having said that, also conspicuous in its absence from the specs: X-10. This one would harm me right now, 2 x-10 stats and a few supersockets for holiday lights inside and out. I learned the hard way that a standalone x10 controller with insteon can step on each other and won't go back to that.
I would have paid $25 more for X10, Dual-band and a wifi client. I get that SH would not want to be on the support end of wifi problems and would love to say goodbye to x10 for the same reason, but given the lack of dual-band and wifi means this unit would need to be installed where my plm is, at the panel, coordinates 0,0,0 of my power grid.

I do like that the "cloud" function has no service contract fee and would be a better route for me to go then HST in price and simplicity.

I'm thinking about it. If the lack of X10 is true, would it be possible to run x10 through your plugin to the PLM and Insteon to the Hub? I know that sounds screwy, but I don't think I will be the only existing user that will want the benefits of the new and still have x10. I could live with no PLM management functions, just let x10 messages flow to and from it.
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Old November 25th, 2012, 05:21 PM
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I would be very interested
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Old November 25th, 2012, 06:36 PM
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You may want to wait until they get some firmware updates. In the past their products have always had software issues.

But then, this does appear to be an interesting product. I hope that after 7 years they get their act together.
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Old November 25th, 2012, 09:00 PM
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SH has always struck me as a company with their resources spread thin on a lot of different projects. They do keep coming up with new products but many don't last or are poorly executed. So I agree that there is a good chance this isn't worth much. However, it would be nice if it could function as a networked PLM and/or outsource all things lighting/tstat/etc. to this device and HS runs the other stuff (TTS, music, etc.).

Anyway, SH is pretty good with returns. If it is junk, send it back.
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Old November 25th, 2012, 09:32 PM
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The reference to "groups/scenes" makes me cringe. I have always had issues with groups (even with group cleanups). I've tried again lately to set up groups and, still, some group devices don't seem to react; I'll admit I didn't spend any time debugging, but after so many bad experiences, what I do now, is set up events and include all devices individually.

I may have noise on my electrical network but I figure the protocol should compensate for that. That's why I'm eagerly waiting for all devices to be dual band with emphasis on the RF part. When that day arrives, yes, an IP based controler will be on my buying list.
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Old November 25th, 2012, 10:08 PM
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Noise is a problem for me too Claude, but at the same time groups are a critical tool of Insteon. One way to combat noise to improve group performance is to push the insteon group / scene to the insteon device that creates the action.

Take a look at this post, it shows how to locate the group on an insteon device on your network instead of the plm which can help. There's not an exact science to it, but try placing groups in controllers that are further out on devices on long, noisy circuits. Now that mark put the test communications function in the plugin, you can periodically test to see if its working
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Old November 25th, 2012, 11:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pbibm View Post
Noise is a problem for me too Claude, but at the same time groups are a critical tool of Insteon. One way to combat noise to improve group performance is to push the insteon group / scene to the insteon device that creates the action.

Take a look at this post, it shows how to locate the group on an insteon device on your network instead of the plm which can help. There's not an exact science to it, but try placing groups in controllers that are further out on devices on long, noisy circuits. Now that mark put the test communications function in the plugin, you can periodically test to see if its working
Thanks Paul, good advice. If time wasn't in so short supply...
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Old November 26th, 2012, 01:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by claude View Post
The reference to "groups/scenes" makes me cringe. I have always had issues with groups (even with group cleanups). I've tried again lately to set up groups and, still, some group devices don't seem to react; I'll admit I didn't spend any time debugging, but after so many bad experiences, what I do now, is set up events and include all devices individually.

I may have noise on my electrical network but I figure the protocol should compensate for that. That's why I'm eagerly waiting for all devices to be dual band with emphasis on the RF part. When that day arrives, yes, an IP based controler will be on my buying list.
I use scenes extensively, mainly to keep keypadlinc buttons and the related lights in sync. I haven't had any issues that I noticed.
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Old November 27th, 2012, 12:17 PM
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Mark, any progress on playing with the hub? Wondering if this is going to be technologically feasible or if there are roadblocks.

Thanks
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Old November 27th, 2012, 12:43 PM
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Yah, I've been working with it for a while in my dev environment. It seems to support everything a normal plm supports. The response is pretty good as well.

In order to get async msgs (manual btn presses) from the network, i have to poll the hub's buffer via the network. I currently have this set to poll every second, sound reasonable?

I'm not sure how to proceed other than to announce i can support it as an interface.

I'm not willing to try it in my production system.

thoughts?
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Hardware: Insteon PLM | HAI Omnistat2 | Vista Alarm 20P (soon) | 1-Wire Master Hub (soon)
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Old November 27th, 2012, 12:49 PM
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If I understand correctly, I think 1 sec is reasonable. Maybe SH would be willing to have some kind of setting to have the hub proactively send out a message when there is a controller/responder change in the network.

I actually ordered one of the hubs under the 20% off sale. I am also getting some new devices (synchrolincs, lamplincs, etc.). I would be willing to test it on a small population of devices to see how it works. I currently use the ISY (sorry I found the ISY a bit quicker responding) but I do have your plugin as well. I could easily do this without disrupting the rest of my network.
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Old November 27th, 2012, 01:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by heatvent View Post
If I understand correctly, I think 1 sec is reasonable. Maybe SH would be willing to have some kind of setting to have the hub proactively send out a message when there is a controller/responder change in the network.

I actually ordered one of the hubs under the 20% off sale. I am also getting some new devices (synchrolincs, lamplincs, etc.). I would be willing to test it on a small population of devices to see how it works. I currently use the ISY (sorry I found the ISY a bit quicker responding) but I do have your plugin as well. I could easily do this without disrupting the rest of my network.
That's great. let me know when you are ready, and i'll post the latest version.
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Old November 27th, 2012, 01:06 PM
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It will be a little bit. SH says they expect in stock on Dec 7th (I don't get the beta releases )
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Old November 27th, 2012, 01:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by heatvent View Post
It will be a little bit. SH says they expect in stock on Dec 7th (I don't get the beta releases )
No rush. i have some cleanup to do.
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  #18  
Old November 27th, 2012, 02:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mnsandler View Post
It seems to support everything a normal plm supports.
Mark, dual band and X10 are "in there"?
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Old November 27th, 2012, 03:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pbibm View Post
Mark, dual band and X10 are "in there"?
the release version is single band with X10 support (i haven't tried the x10 however)
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Hardware: Insteon PLM | HAI Omnistat2 | Vista Alarm 20P (soon) | 1-Wire Master Hub (soon)
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Old November 27th, 2012, 08:59 PM
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Mark, how will your plugin work with the hub? I am guessing your plugin is in control and tells the hub to setup links, etc. Does a device also show up in the hub or must it be added by the hub OS (which I would think would cause conflicts with your plugin).

Quote:
Originally Posted by pbibm View Post
How interesting. If I got it right, this would allow normal HS use, plus placing the controller where you want it ..and.. using the free smarthome IOS and android apps. You wouldn't have to support that with homeseer, but it should work standalone I would l think.

Its like mixing the plm with the other controllers they offer that have timers and web control.
__________________
PC Hardware: Combined HS and SageTV Server on a ESXi 5.1 desktop, AMD FX-6300 3.5ghz Six-Core, 12GB RAM
PC OS: ESXi 5.1 VM Server, WHS 2011 64-bit for server/SageTV, WinXP for HS2
HS Version: HS2 Pro 2.latest
HA Hardware: Insteon Hub, Aeon Labs Z-Stick II, W800RF, RF8315, HAI RC-122 Thermostat, Insteon, X10, Z-Wave, Way2Call, SqueezeBox Boom (2) and Radio, Schlage Locks (2)
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