Sticking With Insteon After All


Senior Member
It looks like Insteon is still going to be my best option for awhile dispite my recent frustrations. Main reasons I am staying are:

They are cheaper than high end X-10 switches so even if I go back to using X-10 it makes sense to keep the Insteon switches.

My Stargate can communicate with them in X-10 mode. I would have to disable the IVR board to use UPB and there is no current path for using Z-Wave at all.

The next beta of PowerHome will let me manage the X-10 programming on Insteon switches so it will be like UpStart for X-10.

The XTB I just ordered should make it practical to use X-10 reliably in a house full of Insteon "signal suckers".

Non-Stargate direct linking to keypads and desktop controllers can still use Insteon protocol for higher reliability but I may fall back to simple X-10 groups when the linking gets to complex.

Other technology options continue to be too costly. Comments like "for just a little more than Insteon" usually refer to a comparison of Insteon at full price to the other technology on sale or at a dealer price. I purchased all my Insteon during 20% or 25% off sales so we are talking $15 Icons and $30 Insteons as my basis for comparison.

Other technology options have their own unresolved issues that I am not ready to trade into. (local control delays, not transmitting status on local control, etc.)

So for now there won't be any big "Used Insteon" sale.
I could never get it (Powerhome) to run. It keeps coming up with an error SDM 3 something. Sounds like a smarthome device manager problem. Smarthome gets me again..... :)

On your PLC, what is the Firmware version? I think for Power-Home to run, you need 2.12 or higher. Did you install the Power-Home CRITICAL Insteon updates, PowerHome Patch
I just donwloaded Powerhome so no I did not install any updates (didnt know they existed).

Have to check my PLC also. Also didnt know that needed to be a certian rev level.

I believe 2.12 Decimal or 2.C in Hex. Is the firmware revision that the SDM or other programs may read from the interface. Hardware rev is 1.6 on my sticker with 2.12 firmware in the unit.
Since I use my ELK for lighting control to an Insteon PLC should I add a second PLC for Powerhome or would that cause more problems then its worth?????
If one PLC is on the Elk and the other is on a PC running PowerHome, they are not really connected (unless you link them) so I don't see that there is any issue.
Digger said:
Since I use my ELK for lighting control to an Insteon PLC should I add a second PLC for Powerhome or would that cause more problems then its worth?????
The ELK PLC would be a serial. Does Power-Home work with serial or only USB?


Glad to hear of your success with PH.
Herdfan said:
The ELK PLC would be a serial. Does Power-Home work with serial or only USB?
PowerHome works with both serial and USB. I think all software should work with both as I believe it is the SmartHome SDM that does all the low level communication. I have both a serial and a USB PLC defined in my PowerHome setup. My intention was to use the USB for PH and the serial for M1, but my USB has old firmware so that process is on hold pending a swapout with SH. So I am using my serial unit on PH for configuration programming, then move it over the the M1 for actual usage for now.
I've had problems in the past with SDM detecting serial PLC devices, if that's what you have.

I don't remember the commands. I believe you had to open the SDM window after it started up and type 'D' and then 'M'. Then type something like port=com6<enter>. I really don't remember. SDM did not successfully autodetect for me. Maybe this is fixed now, or maybe it was just unhappy at the arrangement of serial ports on my computer (com3 and com4 don't exist). There's also a way to fix this by editing the registry.

Anyway, If SDM can't find the PLC, then powerhome will be unable to get past square one.

For the Insteon SDM;

Bring up the SDM window, place the mouse cursor over it and type in dm . That will activate a command box in the SDM window.

To check if the SDM is talking to the PLC type in isResponding . If all is working you will get a '=true' returned.

To set a com port type in port=COMx (x=the port number). The usb port is set by port=USB4.

port=? is supposed to autodetect your PLC device. I'm not 100% sure that that is working.

getFirmware will report the current plc firmware.

getport will report the current com port in use.

I do not know that two usb devices will work on the same computer. I'm not sure how the software would differentiate between them. They will work ok on other computers or running stand alone, I had 3 Insteon PLCs working at the same time in the same house at one point in time. You run the risk of having too much communication going on, on the power line, if all are active though.