Insteon Extended Messaging

upstatemike

Senior Member
jeffx said:
I just found out that there will be another future firmware update to fix extended messaging in the Insteon devices (fixed in the PowerLinc with the most recent update). If I would have known that, I may have waited on this RMA ;)

Any ETA from Smarthome on when the firmware will be updated in all the insteon devices to fix extended messaging?

I wish Smarthome would make something available to us to update the firmware without having to RMA/remove/replace/rewire every switch. It would probably cost them less money than all these switch replacements are costing them.

Does anybody know what additional features become available when extended messaging is enabled in Insteon devices? Will it allow you to use software to set up local level and local ramp rates? Will it allow you to manage X-10 addresses in Insteon devices from HouseLinc or PowerHome? Will it allow firmware updates over the powerline? Other cool features?
 

wuench

Senior Member
Extended messaging will speed things up considerably. And probably provide a lot greater reliability.

Today when reading or writing the link tables, it all has to be done a byte at a time. So you have to send a byte, wait, send the next byte, wait...

With extended messaging, you will be able to read or write an entire link at once.

The reason this should help with reliability is, if you lose one byte in the middle of doing it the old way, you have to start over. And it is harder for the developer to keep it all in synch. This is really great news!

I believe you can update local levels and ramp rates today programmatically, but the switch has to be reset for it to take effect. So I don't see it helping that. I don't know about X10 features, I haven't tried that. The firmware has to be update at SH, unless they make some hardware changes. And I have read arguments that it would be impractical to try to transfer that much data over the wire. If something gets scrambled you end up with an unusable switch.
 

wuench

Senior Member
BTW, where did you see this quote. I can't find any reference to extended messaging being updated on any boards...
 

upstatemike

Senior Member
wuench said:
I believe you can update local levels and ramp rates today programmatically, but the switch has to be reset for it to take effect. So I don't see it helping that.
The problem with the manual method is that it is hard to match the local ramp rates and levels with the settings of linked devices. If I have 4 switches linked together it is easy to program the ramp rate and level that I want switches 2-4 to use when switch one is turned on. Problem is that switch 1 will use the local settings which are just approximated from looking at the level bar on the switch during setup rather than exact values set to match the other 3 switches.

If I could set those values exactly in software, even if I have to reset the switch to complete the process, it would be a big improvement over the current situation.

Of course it would be better still if a reset could be sent through software. Not sure why this is not in the protocol.
 

TonyNo

Active Member
The problem with the manual method is that it is hard to match the local ramp rates and levels with the settings of linked devices.
What about the trick of using software to dim the lights to the desired level then pressing the Set button once/twice for level/rate?
 

upstatemike

Senior Member
TonyNo said:
The problem with the manual method is that it is hard to match the local ramp rates and levels with the settings of linked devices.
What about the trick of using software to dim the lights to the desired level then pressing the Set button once/twice for level/rate?
So if I'm trying to match a ramp rate of 27, what level would I dim the light to? Something like 84%?
 

upstatemike

Senior Member
wuench said:
Extended messaging will speed things up considerably. And probably provide a lot greater reliability.

Today when reading or writing the link tables, it all has to be done a byte at a time. So you have to send a byte, wait, send the next byte, wait...

With extended messaging, you will be able to read or write an entire link at once.
So how about this idea... I was going to have some Insteon Keypads linked to the PowerLinc on my PowerHome machine. I was then going to use PowerHome to control different devices when the buttons were pushed depending on the time of day. Problem is, if the PowerHome PC is offline the buttons do nothing.

With extended messaging and its super fast link programming I think I will just link the keypadlinc buttons directly to the devices I want to control and have PowerHome reprogram those links at various times of the day. That way if PowerHome goes down the Keypad buttons will still control the last group of devices they were programmed to.
 

TonyNo

Active Member
So if I'm trying to match a ramp rate of 27, what level would I dim the light to? Something like 84%?
From the SwitchLinc docs...
Code:
Level   Time
90-100% 0.1
77-87%  0.2
65-74%  0.3
52-61%  0.5
39-48%  2.0
26-35%  4.5
13-23%  6.5
1-10%   8.5
1%      9.0
 

Paul_PDX

Member
When asked about extended messaging not being in existing devices SmartLabs told developers several months back that although extended messaging is in the specs, it is an optional feature and will probably show up in future versions of devices not in free updates to existing devices. Old software would continue to work with new devices since the slower non-extended commands would work and new software would have to query the product versions to decide if the extended commands were available or not.

I really don't think we will see free firmware updates (swapouts) to speed up these commands (unless there are other things that required swap outs ablout the same time).
 

upstatemike

Senior Member
I'm worried that once extended commands are available that most software developers will ignore the old slow communications method and just support the fast extended one. Why didn't they just go with the fast communication to begin with? Why even have the "non extended" part of the protocol?
 

Digger

Senior Member
I would encourage you to go ahead and purchase the products now to evaluate. I do work for SmartLabs but I live with INSTEON and love it. (Shameless plug? Maybe, but at least I am honest biggrin.gif ). I am not aware of plans to update INSTEON-enabled products except for minor bug fixes and the like, if and when they are found so that we can continually improve our product.

The above quote was from someone who works at Smarthome back in June and in response to my saying I wanted to hold of buying more until they finished getting it all together. I would hate to spend over a thousand dollars only to have products that didnt work right and were useless in 3 months when someone comes out with a interface etc.

I have a bunch I never installed and I think I am going to call to return them. If we could flash the firmware fine but to contstantly have to rip them out and send them back to be replaced it just to much of a waste of time. For the ones installed I doubt they will take them back just for the extended messaging. I might be wrong. How are they making any money with all of these exchanges?
 

upstatemike

Senior Member
Digger said:
For the ones installed I doubt they will take them back just for the extended messaging. I might be wrong. How are they making any money with all of these exchanges?
People keep saying "just for the extended messaging" as if it is a minor thing (and maybe it is). I guess thought it was important to enable things like polling status at a reasonable rate.

Is it really no big deal? Are there no additional features or advantages associated with extended messaging?
 

Digger

Senior Member
Mike,

You are right it is a big deal to the user. I doubt that SH will see it that way. It seems like they put the product out when it wasn't really ready doesn't it?

I agree that it would probably woprk a lot better if they implement the extended messaging. Just what do we do with all of the old stuff?

If its only a firmware upgrade then they should make it so we could flash it.
 

wuench

Senior Member
The extended messaging is a bug, plain and simple. It is supposed to be working. It is not a feature that was never implemented.

Status messaging is a feature that is not present in the devices that was never implemented but exists in the protocol.

The big benefit is reliability. And I hope Smarthome realizes that someday. Right now, if I want to add a link. And lets say I want to download the existing link table to verify the link doesn't already exist, or doesn't exist with different ramp rates, it takes forever. This leads to developers skipping verification as much as possible to prevent the user from having to wait. You can see how this can cause reliability issues...
 
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