(Sunday April 29)
A totally free day today - no other commitments - however it's a late start because we were out drinking and dancing at the local hockey volunteer banquet. I need to start on something low key (NO power tools until the Tylenol kicks in) so I am going to finally plug in my ISY 99i INSTEON controller. (side bar: what kind of name is ISY-99i ??? I mean ... really ? I can never remember it when google searching. How marketable is that ! Unless it's a tribute to Wayne Greztky or something, I just don't get it.)
Up until now I was holding off on doing this because I have been hesitant on installing any electronics in the basement until after the drywall (dust issues). However it dawned on me that I can install this *anywhere* in the house and access it from my laptop via wi-fi.
Installing is the easiest thing. Just plug it into the the wall through the INSTEON modem, and connect to a hub on the house LAN. Done. After that, I can access it from any computer in the house through a default URL or using the IP address. (java required)
Holding my head and laptop I shuffle down to the basement to start playing. Again, it's pretty easy: I press the "start linking" button on the app and I can then go around the basement and press the Set button on any dimmer/outlet that I want it to control. If I want, I can tell it to remember any of the links that I manually created already, but I chose to delete everything and start from scratch. After I identified all the devices the ISY99i initializes all of the devices which took a long time .. about 5-10 min .. which was a good time to get some java of my own.
Once that was done it was all play. Click on any device in the tree and turn it on / off, change the ramp rate, change the max dim levels etc.etc. I renamed all the devices so it was easier to keep track, and now it was time to make some "scenes". Again - intuitive and easy. Create a new scene in the tree, drag all the involved devices into that scene, and specify which devices are 'controllers' (those that start the scene) and which are 'responders' (everything else). I slaved some devices to others, and re-created the virtual 3-way circuit for the stairwell.
Now time for the "ALL OFF" button. Creating the scene was simple - drag every device into that scene. I can even specify different lighting levels and ramp-rates (how fast they fade) for the scene which was very cool. However there was a little trick: Since I wanted the All Off switch to be a nice big button I decided to apply it to the dimmer part of a keypad/dimmer combo (the dimmer wasn't connected to any load, but that doesn't matter for INSTEON - it can still control things). What happened was the scene settings were being over-ruled by the dimmer settings. Once I noticed that, I just changed all the dimmer settings to what I wanted and voila - awesomeness
Now when I press the All Off button at the base of my stairs, most of the lights fade out fairly quickly, but I have the accent lights (like on the stone wall, the screen, etc) fade out much slower so your last view of the basement is of all the accents. And lastly, i have the stairway light fade REALLY slow (19s) so you have lots of time to climb the stairs and the light will take care of itself.
As crush the turtle says: Awesome
Can't wait to integrate the stairs running lights and motion sensor. But that will have to wait a bit.