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Will ISY994i and Insteon for lighting control be reliable?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
For our media setup we used Windows7, HDHomeRunPrime, WHS2011 and MyMovies in place of cable DVR's. We control them with Windows media center remotes. It took a while for the family to get used to but all agree that the reliablity and flexibility were worth the effort involved. We're using soundbars that connect through HDMI thus avoiding use of receivers etc. I mentioned this to illustrate we don't mind some compromises to keep things simpler.

I've spent hours reading threads here and concluded that for my DIY HA project I should purchase an ISY994i with dual-band-PLM and Insteon devices. My immediate goal is to getting lighting done but HVAC and garage to follow. If I implement it correctly will it be reliable enough? As long as family members aren't required to fiddle much with it they will be happy. My goal is to conserve energy by turning things off automatically at night and to have some fun with scenes etc.

I know the question is a bit vague because people have different levels of tolerance for tech but hopefully someone who has foistered this on their family can comment.

Thanks in advance
post #2 of 7
I don't use any Windows based PCs any more so what I say probably means very little. I use iMac and Macbook Pros and they are supposedly harder to set up the ISY994i s and I must say I was a little discruntled at first from reading directions, as soon as I just used my lil ole brain and trouble shot basic networking I got the ISY994i to bite in a Mac environment and I can't say anything bad about it at all.

I control 150 Insteon devices ( mostly old switches) and use iRule to control everything. the ISY is so nice because it's a stand alone device that needs NO computers of any sort operating to run the lighting, I really have to give it a 2 thumbs up!

If I'm going to watch a movie in the theater, using my iPhone and iRule on my main menu I hit theater and my Stair/hallway/and Theater lighting all comes on with ramps and brightness I desire and after I am in the theater and hit Play, all lighting ramps down and then someone needs a bathroom or refreshment refill I hit Pause and all the lighting ramps back up. iRule is what Macros all of this but the ISY99i is what communicates to the lighting as a server of sorts. The ISY makes linking scenes and such a breeze too.
post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 
If you are controlling 150 devices it must work well. Good point about it running without a computer (but can use one to "program" it). That fits my requirement for keeping it as simple as possible. No one jumped in to complain about it which would happen if it was finnicky so I'm going ahead with it. Thanks
post #4 of 7
I've got a large Insteon setup run with an ISY. I love it, and setup was a breeze with the ISY. The only thing is, read into the possible issues with powerline networking home automation. There are way too many variables to say for sure if it will be entirely reliable in your house.
post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 
Hi mbarland,

Glad you posted the heads up about checking for possible powerline issues. In all my research I had forgotten that my house used to be a 2 family and has two meters (mounted in same box) so I would need to somehow "bridge" the two. Would I be better off with Z-Wave or some type of WiFi based automation system?

In the meantime I also remembered that 15 years ago I bought a kit from x10. Also someone handed me a box of their unused x10 stuff. Back then I had plugged the CM17a Firecracker in to a Windows 95 computer but never got it working. I dug the box of x10 stuff out of my basement, this time around I used Hans Otter's Activehome Vista and a Dell Optiplex laying around that has a serial port. I then plugged one receiver into the east side of the house and the second into the west side. Both are in range of the Firecracker and so far the lamp modules are working from my Android phone. It seems like the more I fiddle with the setup the more balky the modules behave but in normal use they are fine.

At this point I'm in a holding pattern because I solved the immediate need but going forward I would like to use a more robust platform for automation
post #6 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by dsteinschneider View Post

Hi mbarland,
Glad you posted the heads up about checking for possible powerline issues. In all my research I had forgotten that my house used to be a 2 family and has two meters (mounted in same box) so I would need to somehow "bridge" the two. Would I be better off with Z-Wave or some type of WiFi based automation system?
In the meantime I also remembered that 15 years ago I bought a kit from x10. Also someone handed me a box of their unused x10 stuff. Back then I had plugged the CM17a Firecracker in to a Windows 95 computer but never got it working. I dug the box of x10 stuff out of my basement, this time around I used Hans Otter's Activehome Vista and a Dell Optiplex laying around that has a serial port. I then plugged one receiver into the east side of the house and the second into the west side. Both are in range of the Firecracker and so far the lamp modules are working from my Android phone. It seems like the more I fiddle with the setup the more balky the modules behave but in normal use they are fine.
At this point I'm in a holding pattern because I solved the immediate need but going forward I would like to use a more robust platform for automation
I have sort of the same thing except for instead of 2 meters, I have multiple panels so as far as Insteon is concerned I have 6 phases. So if you have 1 panel per meter you would have 4 phases, your PLM takes care of 1 phase you would need one more http://www.smarthome.com/2443/Access-Point-INSTEON-Wireless-Phase-Coupler-Dual-Band/p.aspx on each phase.

Here's where I ran into troubles, the original electrician wired one phase of my 6 into the HVAC and put the Deck lights on this " leg" of power which has NO OUTLETS in the home on that particular "leg"...........Thankfully the LinLincs are RF and pick up the signals or I hould have to install an outlet up in my soffits or inline to the HVAC somewhere. Access points jump power across onto other lines on different meters from my experience since I control a pool and Gazebo Lighting coming from another meter base
post #7 of 7
Over the last two months I have used Insteon Smartlinc, Houselinc, and now ISY994i. I have the Houselinc running on the Windows Home Server I use for MyMovies. The Houselinc has never missed a beat, but lacks the iOS access of the ISY. The ISY interface to my ipads and iphones works well, but with it I have found some devices not on when they should be and some lights on in the morning that should be off. ( I never had that with Houselinc). Smartlinc did not have the ability to pull the status of the garage doors without adding additional responders that Smartlinc could follow (not so smart a device). I am going to try and configure the ISY to validate each action and if not as desired take the action again to see if this adds reliability. l like the ISY best of the three so far, I just need to work on getting it to be as reliable as the Houselinc was.
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