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Help with Insteon Whole House Lighting System

carempel

Member
We’re rebuilding our home, and have decided to install insteon lighting, controlled by the ISY-99i & the Elk M1 Gold security system. Our home is 3000 sq ft, and right now all the walls & ceilings are open.
I understand how it works in theory, but can’t figure out how it all ties together, and neither can my electrician, who’s very old school &has decided I’m nuts to pursue this.

The Goal:
  • In the master bedroom we’ll have 3 types of lights – recessed LED’s, hanging lights, wall lights.
  • In the kitchen, we’ll also have 3 types of lights – recessed LED, pendants, in & under cabinet.
  • The halls will have 2 types – wall sconces & recessed LED.
  • The living room & dining room will also have 2 types – recessed LED & ambient lighting.
  • All bathrooms will have 2 or 3 types of lights – recessed LED & ambient.
Parts List (best guess):
  • At the front door & garage I’d like to have the 8-Button Scene Control KeypadLinc with Dimmer (#2486DWH8), the scenes will control various lights throughout the house.
  • In the kitchen & master bedroom, I’d like to have the 6-Button Scene Control KeypadLinc with Dimmer (#2486DWH6). These scenes will mostly control lights in the kitchen, but also some party settings.
  • At each end of the halls, we’ll install SwitchLinc Remote Control Dimmer (Dual-Band) (#2477D).
  • I’m planning on installing one 2406H Phase Coupler (hardwired) at the panel.
Questions:

All the instructions explain how each part works, but I can’t find anything that ties them all together. I don’t know how else to ask this, but what plugs into what? I feel like there should be an order of operations, or a sequence of steps.

Does each group of lights that I want to control as one unit (ie. Control recessed lights in bedroom separately from hanging lights) need a SwitchLinc dimmer switch or can I use the Scene Control Keypad?

If I'm controlling a group of lights with a single dimmer, what should sit between each light and the dimmer, if anything?

Is there any concern that the dimming Scene Control Keypads aren’t dual-band?

Does anyone have a whole-house wiring diagram they could share?
 

BLH

Active Member
http://www.insteon.net/
There is some general information on the Insteon site that may help you.

Are you planing to do all the linking and setting of all of this with the manual set button method or are you thinking of adding a intelegent controller that can control scenes and do the linking?

Devices are not wired to each other. You link the switch or keypad button to the devices you want to control. A single device can be linked or a whole set can all be linked to the same switch or button.

One thing to remember. All Insteon devices need a neutral power connection in the switch box.

There are links to full users manuals on the individual devices sales pages.
 

carempel

Member
I've spent many hours with that site, but I'm still unable to piece it all together.

I've already ordered the ISY-99i, and I might also add the SmartLinc & HouseLinc.
 

carempel

Member
I should clarify, I'm an accountant in charge of designing this system. Complex financial models make sense to me, wiring doesn't. I'm fascinated & intrigued by HA, and I'm doing everything I can to learn, but reading these manuals is like reading Shakespeare - I kinda get it, but I don't. Each manual explains how it specifically works, but not the other parts I need & how they all relate.

Based on what you've said, I can link as many lights as I want to either a dimmer switch or any button on the keypad (please confirm). With that said, why would I use dimmer switches when I can use dimming keypads everywhere?

Does it matter that the keypads are not dual-band?

Insteon tech support told me I need the In-LineLinc Remote Control In-Line Dimmer (#2475D), but from everything I've read I can't figure out why.
 

BLH

Active Member
I missed you first basic question.
All the lights have to be wired to an Insteon module. More than one can be wired to the same module and will go On, Off and Dim at the sametime.
KeypadLincs have one On and Off button set that can control a set of lights wired to it. The rest of the buttons can be linked to other Insteon Switches that are wired to their own loads, to control them.

InLineLinc would be used if you had a fixture where you want to control the light but don't have it wired to another Insteo switch controlling it.

No Dual Band KeypadLincs are not needed to work. They sometimes help in covering areas and for receiving RF signals from things like Remotes and for split phase coupling. Though you have listed the hard wired 2406H.
 

apostolakisl

Senior Member
The wiring is really quite simple and requires nothing different than the ordinary from the house's perspective, except, as mentioned, be sure that your electrician puts a neutral in every box.

Each Insteon switch requires a hot, neutral, and ground. For each light fixture (or group of fixtures on the same switch) there will be a "load" wire. The load wire delivers hot to the lights when they are turned on. Each fixture (or group of connected fixtures) has one and only one Insteon switch which delivers power to it. Any other switches that were part of a 3/4 way setup no longer directly control the light. They simply send commands to the switch that is actually connected.

If you have a single switch controlling a fixture, then it is easy. There will be a hot,neutral,ground,and load wire in that switch's gang box and you just hook those up to the corresponding hot/netural/ground/load of the Insteon switch.

If you have 3 and 4 way lights (2 or more switches that control the same light) things are different. There are traveler wires. You will need to repurpose one of those travelers to just be a simple hot (by splicing with the primary hot). The switches that were part of that 3/4 which are not at the box directly connected to the load only get hot/neutral/ground connections. The red load wire comming off the back of the Insteon switch is just capped.

Do not buy houselinc or any other software to control you Insteon. ISY does everything and does it very well. You will definitely want the ISY module for Elk.

"If I'm controlling a group of lights with a single dimmer, what should sit between each light and the dimmer, if anything?" I don't really know what you mean. If you want to have lights on a dimmer, use a dimming Insteon switch. Keep in mind that the bulb must be a dimmable bulb. If the group of lights are all wired together on a single load wire, then a single Insteon switch will control all of them. Other Insteon switches can be linked to it so that they also control the light. But linking is not a physical connection, it is programmed and the data travelers either via rf or powerline data (which is the whole jist of Insteon).

"Is there any concern that the dimming Scene Control Keypads aren’t dual-band?" Generally no. Dual band switches didn't even exist until maybe a year ago. Dual band is just a redundant communication method if the power line communicataion is corrupted via power line noise or other bad communication issues.
 

az1324

Senior Member
Based on what you've said, I can link as many lights as I want to either a dimmer switch or any button on the keypad (please confirm). With that said, why would I use dimmer switches when I can use dimming keypads everywhere?

Insteon tech support told me I need the In-LineLinc Remote Control In-Line Dimmer (#2475D), but from everything I've read I can't figure out why.

Each insteon device only physically switches/dims one load meaning you can only attach one wire to it. That wire can go to a single light or group of lights (just add together the wattage and make sure it is within range). All your other lights or groups of lights that you want to control separately also require their own insteon device. So you could use nothing but keypadlincs but do you really want that many buttons everywhere? That's why most people use a few keypadlincs and then regular dimmers or inlinelincs for the other loads. The rest of the buttons on a keypadlinc just send messages to the other load control devices that tell them what to do.

It's important to think of where you want the switches and how many you want in each box for aesthetics and functionality. For example, I'd rather have one visible keypadlinc in a single gang box in each room that looks nice and unobtrusive and then have some inlinelincs hidden away in a closet or inside fixture boxes for the different groups of lights just because it looks cleaner. But this is not practical unless you are building new or doing major renovation and rewiring. So I ended up having 3 switchlincs in one box which still looks ok but not ideal as I see it. So imagine how you are going to be using the system and make a diagram of where you want controls and which lights you want switched together.

As far as what the electrician should know:
  1. Neutrals everywhere
  2. One insteon device can only switch/dim one load (just like a normal switch)
  3. 3 Way circuits don't need to be physically wired to each other (this could save you money on wiring)
  4. You can hide insteon devices in out of the way switch boxes or fixture boxes (as long as the box is big enough)
  5. Load capacity of Insteon devices must be derated when more they are placed next to each other in the same box
Another thing to consider is the type of LED lighting you will be using and whether they are compatible with Insteon dimmers or if you have to use relays.
 

apostolakisl

Senior Member
It's important to think of where you want the switches and how many you want in each box for aesthetics and functionality. For example, I'd rather have one visible keypadlinc in a single gang box in each room that looks nice and unobtrusive and then have some inlinelincs hidden away in a closet or inside fixture boxes for the different groups of lights just because it looks cleaner. But this is not practical unless you are building new or doing major renovation and rewiring. So I ended up having 3 switchlincs in one box which still looks ok but not ideal as I see it. So imagine how you are going to be using the system and make a diagram of where you want controls and which lights you want switched together.

In principal, I agree with this. However, it does lock you in to staying with this sort of system since reverting to normal would require extensive work. I would just wire the house like normal. Same goes for three way switches, just put the normal travelers in and then convert them to hots. I would have the electrician just wire like normal (including neutrals at all boxes).

The other thing of course is that when other people visit you, they won't understand how to turn the lights on if you converge all your switches into multibutton keypad links. Primarily I use keypad links to run larger complex scenes for certain occasions and to activate programs in the ISY.
 

az1324

Senior Member
In principal, I agree with this. However, it does lock you in to staying with this sort of system since reverting to normal would require extensive work. I would just wire the house like normal. Same goes for three way switches, just put the normal travelers in and then convert them to hots. I would have the electrician just wire like normal (including neutrals at all boxes).

I suppose that is true, but I don't see many reasons to go back to normal since as time goes on it will be more and more commonplace and I don't think it would be a big issue to plan to leave the basic Insteon gear in place even if you move since it will always be able to be tap-tap linked it and it's easy to talk up as a selling point (ooh fancy lights!).
The other thing of course is that when other people visit you, they won't understand how to turn the lights on if you converge all your switches into multibutton keypad links. Primarily I use keypad links to run larger complex scenes for certain occasions and to activate programs in the ISY.

If the buttons are labeled it should be ok.

Anyway, these are all valid things to consider.
 
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