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Help needed with houselinc to ISY migration


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I have been a very big supporter of houselinc, but even the latest version is still buggy. My smartlinc (4th) which I have had for at least a year is not going to last forever. So I am thinking of making the jump to the ISY. I have about 40 devices not including leak sensors that I hope to get working. I have a ton of scenes with up to 5 cross linked controllers for some (ex: kitchen lights can be controlled from multiple kpls. I have a lot of events for timers to turn scenes on or off at certain times and for what I call corrections, if the TV watching scene KPL button is pressed, then the dinner KPL LED goes off and vice versa. When I press exit on the KPL at my vanity the vanity lights (X10) go off, the shower fan goes off, the under cabinet lights and pantry lights in the kitchen turn on, and then the shower light goes off on a delay so I have light to get out of the bathroom.

Do I just need the regular ISY not the PRO. What is the best way to make the switch. The video on the smarthome page for the ISY shows using a device to find other devices, but not preserving links. If I run a HL diagnostic and make sure I have no half links can I have the ISY keep existing links. I would have to eliminate all smartlinc links. I have been concerned about the learning curve of the ISY and don't want to get into a situation where I need a few days to get everything working and have buttons that don't work. I know that I will have to spend some time recreating my events. I will have some days off after Jan 1 so maybe I'll have time for this.

Any advice is appreciated.


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Hi Eric,


Thanks so very much for your interest. It's quite appreciated.


From migration perspective, I can tell you from 6 years of experience, when you import links (even though there might not be any half links) - and if you have MANY scenes - you are going to spend most of your time trying to figure out which scenes are what and which devices are which. ISY does not know your existing scene names and they all show up as Scene#1. Furthermore, ISY adheres strictly to INSTEON specs. So, you cannot have one button be controller in two scenes (but a device can be responder in as many scenes as you would like). In houselinc, they allow you to do that but not without using half links.


Now, doing a simple math, assuming:

1. Each of your devices have 15 links

2. You have 20 regular INSTEON devices and 20 I2CS devices


Then, in order to crawl (regardless of importing links) your whole network, ISY will spend:

1. For older devices:

One command to read each byte of a link record. Each link record has 8 bytes, and therefore 8 commands. Each command takes 500ms (if everything goes well) + 200 ms. for the PLM to be ready again. So, each record takes about 6 seconds to read:

6 (seconds) x 15 (records) = 90 seconds (1.5 minutes)

1.5 (minutes) x 20 (devices) = 30 minutes

2. For newer devices

One command to read the whole record @ 1 second

1 (second) * 15 (records) = 15 seconds

15 (seconds) * 20 (devices) = 5 minutes


So, you would be sitting there for about 35 minutes while ISY is crawling the network and, at the end of which, you still have to go figure out which scene is what (in case you import links).


Also, ISY's scene management paradigm is very much different than HouseLinc. ISY is hierarchical where as HouseLinc is tabular. So, there will be some getting used to the concepts.


My recommendation is this:

1. ISY994 PRO

2. If you have addresses for your devices, then use the first option (do NOT import devices and do NOT import links). If you don't have addresses for all your devices, use the second option (only import devices but not links)

3. Once all devices are registered, put ISY in batch mode (Automatic Write button is grayed out)

4. Create all your scenes ... in batch mode, ISY does NOT reprogram devices but it keeps them in memory till you click on the Automatic Write again. So, you can quickly create your important scenes, then click the batch button again, go for a coffee, and then come back and do more complex ones


Hope this helps.


With kind regards,


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Thanks for the reply.

I can run houselinc without the plm so I will have all of my addresses up. I'll have all of my event and scene info as well.

I use roomie remote which works with my smartlinc, but even better with the isy so I can use that for network control of my lights, which I rarely do.

Why do I need the pro version?




Edit: I just pulled the trigger on the pro/ir from smarthome. I could have bought just the pro for less, but I trust smarthome and recently had a huge hassle with a defective elk wsv I bought from someone else in order to save some $.

I think it may take me a few days to set everything up in the isy. is it possible to add all of my devices without removing the lincs. Then create my scenes and events/programs, then write all of this to the devices. This way I can essentially flip a switch and move from houselinc to the isy. I want to avoid a situation where I have things half set up and my wife can't turn lights on like she is used to.

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Hi EricK,


Thanks so very much for your order!


The reason you need the PRO is for the batch feature without which every change requires you to wait for all programming to be written to devices.


Unfortunately you only have 3 choices when you register devices in ISY the last one of which (import existing links) is the only option that preserves the links. And, this is the option I do not recommend.


So, my advice is to start small from one section of the house least used and then expand slowly.


With kind regards,


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Hard to do a room at a time since my set up includes a lot if keypads so I can control lights in the next room. However, that is what I'll try to do and just add the additional kpl buttons when those rooms go online.

I watched the isy video on the smarthome product page. It shows that a device can be a controller or responder. In Houselinc a device can be both. With the isy if I set a kpl button as a controller of a scene will it's led light up if the scene is triggered by a switchlinc. Meaning will it also respond to the scene.

Thanks. Eric

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Hi EricK,




As far as scenes:

1. You have controller only devices (such as Motion Sensors, TriggerLincs, Leak Sensors, etc.) in which case ISY does NOT let you make them into responders in a scene

2. You have responder only devices (such as IRLinc TX and old ApplianceLincs) in which case ISY does not let you make them into controllers in a scene

3. And, finally, you have the rest which can be controllers and responders:

-- If you want multiple KPL buttons to respond to each other and follow each other (in an 'n' way scenario), then you put them all in the same scene and make them all controllers (you can choose)

-- Now, let's say you want to be able to control the backlight on some of the buttons on a KPL, and thus you will put them in a scene as responders

-- There are no limits (except for the number of links a device supports) as to the number of scenes a responder can belong to. So, your KPL button can be a controller in one scene and responder in 100 other scenes

-- There's a limit as far as a device/button being a controller in a scene. The limit is 1. This means that if a device/button is a controller in one scene, ISY will NOT let you make it a controller in any other scene (this is unlike HouseLinc)


I hope this helps + some tutorials on scenes:

http://wiki.universal-devices.com/index ... ide#Scenes


With kind regards,


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In Houselinc a device can be both. With the isy if I set a kpl button as a controller of a scene will it's led light up if the scene is triggered by a switchlinc. Meaning will it also respond to the scene.


In case it was not clear, controllers in an ISY scene are, by default, also responders. There is no such thing as controller-only, except for when the device, itself, is so limited.


So...yes, a KPL button as controller in a scene will respond to other controllers in that scene.


The concept of a "scene" has always had a little different meaning, in my mind, when comparing an insteon scene to a scene created in the ISY. Insteon scenes struck me as a link between controller and single responder. In this construct, controllers could control multiple insteon devices, or scenes.


With the ISY, the scene is the entire group of devices controlled by a common controller, or multiple common controllers.


I found it pretty easy to get used to.

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My ISY arrived yesterday so last night I added one appliance linc that controls my landscape lights. It does not require a scene, but I did set a program. Nice because I only needed one program not two hl events. I will try to add some more devices today, maybe the movie room which has 4 devices. Where is the batch setting to save changes.



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Going thru the movie room. Not sure what happened when I tried to write to devices bu the ISY seemed to hang for a long time. Maybe trouble writing to a device, not sure.

Why are some devices under scenes in the tree red? Is that because they are on?



Edit: Must be a controller


Additional Questions:

I have two scenes, 1 and 2 each controlled by a separate kpl button that are set to non-toggle on. When the button is pressed I want a program to turn them off, so essentially they are never on. To keep light down in the room. What should I select for the backlight level. I do not think it matters as long as off is 0, since the button is never on. Do I need 0/0.


Control 'Theater / Theater Devices / KPL Movie Steps - A - Steps / KPL Movie Steps - D - Scene 2' is switched On



Set 'Theater / Theater Devices / KPL Movie Steps - A - Steps / KPL Movie Steps - D - Scene 2' On 15 / Off 0 (Backlight Level)



- No Actions - (To add one, press 'Action')


Also, I have a very long name for a KPL button since I put theater devices in a folder, in the theater folder. The drop down in the program is not wide enough to show the entire name. Is there a way to expand it.



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"Why are some devices under scenes in the tree red? Is that because they are on?"


Nodes below a Scene name in Red are Controller nodes. Nodes that are Blue are Responder nodes.



Backlight level has to do with how bright ALL the KPL buttons are when On. To turn a Secondary KPL button Off (or On) assign the KPL button as a Responder to an ISY Scene and turn the Scene Off in the Program


Set Scene 'kplbuttonx' Off


It is likely a Wait of 1-2 seconds will be needed in the Program before issuing the KPL button Scene Off to allow the Scene directly controlled by the KPL button to be processed completely.

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Important to keep the name scheme for the kpl buttons in alphabetical order. I'll just make a scene for the two kpl buttons as off responders with a program triggered by an on press of either button. The movie room is a good start for me since I have a variety of devices with scenes and programs so I can get familiar with the isy. Then I'll expand room by room. Since I have kpl buttons in adjacent rooms I'll have to then work backwards add them to scenes.

Still having some communication problems with my once perfect system.

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