Insteon control


Active Member
I decided to start a new thread just about converting Insteon to IR, instead of trying to hold multiple discussions in my other thread.

Basically, I would need to link my IR and Insteon (or any other control system) together. My current plan was to use the Ocelot's IR powers to control the erqupment and would use an SECU16 to "Push" buttons on my ControLinc, which would activate a lighting scene.

I opened up my ControLinc, and saw that for buttons it had little pieces of exposed metal that are basically two interlocking "E"s (for lack of the proper term), but they do not touch. When you press the button down, it connects the two sides. I was thinking of soldering wires to each side (trying to avoid solder connecting the two would be very hard), and then hooking it into my SECU16. The Ocelot would then close the input when necessary and "push" the button starting the scene.

That would work perfectly, but my only concerns are reliability and saftey. As I am planning on putting this system in the Church's theater (so it would be one touch operation) basically, I'm taking something that is untested and jumping right to production. Of the people I've talked to, one person is worried that it will get stuck in an infinte loop somehow, and the lights would be going on and off constantly, starting a fire (I have no clue how this could happen, but that's beside the point). I beleive that that would only happen if the coding for the Ocelot was faulty or the Ocelot would somehow crash. Has anyone had an Ocelot crash?

As of right now, this seems like the only option out there. Can any of your DIY minds come up with another solution? I would like to stay away from things that require a computer because it would be a waste for it just to control one room (the theater). Also, last time I tested X10 in the room, it did not work.

Any comments, ideas, or suggestions are greatly appreciated, as I am unsure of what to do.
Guy came up with a way of controlling Insteon equipment using the IR output of the Ocelot. I am sure he will post more details once he sees this thread.
A clunky but safe way to do things is to have the controlinc control a few appliancelincs with cheap wall wart transformers plugged into them. It is then easy to use the low voltage out from these to trigger an ocelot or whatever is going to generate your IR commands. No hacking into AC devices. No risk of fire.
compuguru ,
I do this today using HomeSeer. I have a keypadLinc on the wall that will turn on and off and mute the TV. I use the Ocelot to handle all IR.
As Electron hinted at, I have a project you can make that allows an Ocelot to send Insteon commands. You can see it here:

You could use a SECU16IR to send both the Insteon commands and the IR to your theater equipment. One thing that you still need though is a way to get the Ocelot to send the commands. The easiest way would be something like a X10 minicontroller to send X10 commands to the Ocelot. If the X10 performance is so bad that a minicontroller and a PSC-05 won't work even if plugged in side by side, then an alternate solution would be something like hardwired buttons connected to SECU16 inputs, or even a Leopard if the budget allows for it.
A combination of mControl + Global Cache will also allow this.

mControl macros can be triggered by various items including:
- Incoming INSTEON (including group commands), so you could have each button on your ControLinc initiate a different macro.
- Incoming IR
- Incoming X10
- Incoming Z-Wave

mControl actions can send out commands to various items including:
- Outgoing IR messages (either taught or downloaded CCF)
- Outgoing INSTEON, X10, Z-Wave

Guy Lavoie said:
As Electron hinted at, I have a project you can make that allows an Ocelot to send Insteon commands.
Oh fine give the credit to him. :)

It sounds like he doesn't want a PC involved in this solution for those of you recommending HA software.

Why not just use an IR input as the control, then the Ocelot to send the IR output + Insteon output? The original post doesn't specify the desired input method.
Cinemar's MainLobby and our Insteon Driver will allow you to send any command supported by MLServer which includes just about anything under the sun including sending IR out through the GC-100.

I have a KeypadLinc at the front door. One of the buttons sends a command to our Rain8Net driver. This then fills up our Fountain using a single sprinkler head that pops just above the base of the fountain. Real crowd pleaser. :) Even fills it for a specified amount of time. I also use some of the other buttons to turn on the Russound CAV zone just outside. Other buttons adjust the volume to preset levels.

I plan to add a panic button in the Master Bedroom that will allow the arm to sound through the ELK driver.

Endless possibilites.
I'm probably going to go with Guy Lavoie's solution. I have a couple of questions though. Currently, I plan to have 3 IR blinking emitters hooked up to the Ocelot's built in IR out port. Can I add the chip that Guy Lavoie mentioned in his post, or should I get an SECUIR?

Also, here's my plan:
Purchase some pushbuttons and mount them in a small box of sorts and mount that on the wall. Each push button will have a strand of CAT5 connected to it so I can have either 5 or 6 buttons with one run of Cat5. The wires would go to my SECU16 and activate certian "macros" based on the pushbutton. This may invovle transmitting IR and Insteon commands.

I want to stay away from remotes because those tend to get lost, and a hardwired system is very reliable. I plan to mount the "box" near the door. Does anyone know of a slim box that has buttons that can be wired to Cat5? All I need is simple contact closures.

Also, since this is going into an industrial building, is there a way to test to see if the switches will be able to communicate with each other before I order them and put them in? I know there are at least 3 different breakers that the switches are on, some are on seperate pannels. Could I wire the neutrals together?
I'm afraid the switches won't be able to communicate with each other. They all end up in the same general area, but a few are on different circuits in different pannels. Could neutral wire that goes from switch to switch to help them communicate?
With 3 stick-on emitters plus the Insteon control, you won't really have a choice but to get the SECU16IR. For the Insteon control, the one chip circuit is needed whether you use the Ocelot's IR out or a SECU16IR, but note that the circuit is slightly different in each case.

Regarding the neutrals: they all eventually meet in the breaker panels. The question about signal coupling is similar to X10, they will work better if the breakers are all on the same phase. Since you mention that they also go to different panels, I would try to find out more about the electrical installation. Does the building have 3 phase power? Insteon might not work with 3 phase, and I don't know if Signalincs would help with that. A call to Smarthome might answer that one.
Could someone confirm what I think this says? I beleive it says Insteon will not work with 3 phase systems, but I am not quite sure
There are many obstacles to overcome when using any PLC (Power Line Carrier) technology in commercial, or 3-Phase, applications. PLC technologies use the electrical system, and the natural “0-Point Crossing†to communicate. The “0-Poing Crossings†are not aligned in 3-Phase electrical systems as they are with “Single-Split Phase,†or 2-Phase (Residential) electrical systems. Because of this, communications are not synched correctly and communication problems can occur.

To make a long and technical story short, INSTEON products are not designed to work with 3-Phase electrical systems. At least not at this time! It is possible to support 3-Phase electrical systems, however, to keep cost down, the current INSTEON products are designed to support residential applications. Some of our modules are as low as $19.99! -

If your house/residence is wired with 3-Phase, the same limitations apply to you. Fortunately most homes are not wired to 3-Phase electrical systems. If you live in a sky-rise, you may have a 3-Phase electrical system! To make sure, just check with your landlord or local contractor. NOTE – Smarthome cannot determine what type of electrical system you have.

I think if I can keep it down to two phases, it should work okay. It worked fine when I tested it with the outlets. I just don't want to purchase the switches and find out that they don't work. Any opinions?
compuguru said:
Could someone confirm what I think this says? I beleive it says Insteon will not work with 3 phase systems, but I am not quite sure
Yes, I interpret that to mean that it isn't supported on 3 phase power, which has the legs 120 degrees apart. Normal residential split phase (aka 2 phase) has the legs 180 degrees apart.
Wikipedia had a good article on UPB which better explains the 120 degree seperation, and why it doesn't work:
In a three-phase powerline configuration about a third of the devices will be distributed on each of the phases. There is therefore a 66% probability that a UPB transmitter will be wired on a different phase then a UPB receiver. Besides signal attenuation, the major obstacle to overcome in using UPB on a three-phase powerline is the fact that the individual waveforms are offset from one another by 120°. This means that the UPB Frames do not line up with each other the way they do in a split-phase configuration. This fact makes the three-phase powerline configuration appear as three separate single-phase systems. UPB Pulses generated in the UPB Frame of phase A are not seen in the UPB Frames of phases B & C. There are numerous ways to overcome this three-phase problem (transmit in all three UPB Frames, receive in all three UPB Frames, etc.) but the method in current use is to add one or more powerline repeater devices. These devices are not fully accepted yet.

So, that is the root of my problem. The theater is esentially two rooms with the wall knocked out between them. That's why Insteon worked only when the RFlincs were plugged in. And UPB will have the same problem. Z-Wave would be great, but they don't have keypads and can't communicate with any non-PC/Mac controllers for IR (that I know of, and are reliatively cheap).

So, I will have to figure out how many phases I am dealing with (are all the switches on the same phase, only two phases, or on all 3?). Any ideas on how to accomplish this? The switches are hardwired, so the extension cord method will not work.

After I find out how many phases, I can install the right amount of RFLincs to link the phases (you can have as many RFLincs as you want), into an outlet on the same phase.

This seems to be my last hurdle, trying to figure out what switches are on what phase. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated. :)

Electron/BSR: Could you change the title of the topic to something like "Insteon Control"? It's changed into more than just an IR thread.