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Switchlink keeps failing


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I have two 2476S switchlincs, one on either side of the bed. They are not connected to any load and are only used to turn on/off all the lights in the house through their switchlincs.


After about a year or a little less, they loose their communication with the ISY, though not at exactly the same time. They are still able to turn/on off the house though their scene, but I can't program anything new with them through the ISY.


I've only had two other switches in the whole house fail over the past six years. The third set of these two switches have now failed (that's six in total).


I don't want to replace them until I figure out whats killing them.


The only thing I notice that is different on this circuit is that it is powered through a GFI circuit breaker.


Does anyone have any idea where I could look for problems? What could be causing this?

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Did the switches actually fail. My guess is that you have a communications problem. These are not dual band so you don't have redundancy if there's powerline noise or a weak signal going to or from the switch. 


The GFI could be causing problems. Do you have any dual band devices close to the switches, if not you may want to try a range extender or replace the GFI.

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Yup, it's the communications that fail. If I take the defective switch and wire it in another part of the house, it still doesn't communicate. But a new one will work fine...until.


I've read that other people have no problems with GFI's. I don't know why a GFI is in the bedroom, but it would be easy to replace.

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GFIs are in the bedroom because the code requires them. The NEC is not there to help manufactures make money. as some claim. It's published by the National Fire Protection Association and is voluntary. The main purpose is safety. Most states and municipalities incorporated the node into their building standards. Some municipalities have even stricter standards (e.g., NYC, Chicago, Miami and many more).


Some early GFIs caused HA difficulties, but most current GFIs are OK. The primary attack should be improving communication and not by not bypassing the required protection. A different GFI may help as will Range extenders and dual-band devices.

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I'll leave the GFI as is, good to now know why there's one in the panel. The GFI is only eight years old.


These aren't dual-band devices, but no matter what I try or where I wire them in the house once they've been a year beside the bed, I can never get the ISY to talk to them again. Doesn't seem like a range issue. I have a few dual band range extenders scattered about the house, one pretty close to these switches. And it's only switches wired to this one circuit. I've triple checked the connectors, grounds and polarity, all good.


You're right in that it's a communication problem, but what might be causing it?

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You're right in that it's a communication problem, but what might be causing it?


it's possible you have something in the house that's creating noise on the powerline such as a UPS, TV, or a CFL with a bad ballast. Is your PLM a dual band unit?

Is your PLM near a UPS, or Computer, etc.

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No CFL's or UPS in the house, The TV is at the other side of the house. The PLM is not a dual band but it isn't to far from a computer this year. In previous years, it was far away from any computers.


You may want to look into a new dual bank PLM. You may also want to try some Filterlincs on some of your equipment, as power supplies, cellphone chargers etc. can cause interference with the Insteon signal. Being that your problem is intermittent it may be a trial and error process to clean things up.

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Identify everything wired or plugged into that circuit. temporarily disconnect (wired) and unplug (plugged in, turning something off is inadequate) everything on that circuit except the misbehaving switch(es). Plug a Range Extender into that circuit. What's the result?

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It's only intermittent in that after a year or so goes by, the switches loose their ability to ever talk to the ISY again, no matter where in the house I wire them. I've inspected the bedroom circuit back to the circuit breaker and the only things on it are two incandescent lamps which seldom get switched on.


The PLM has no problem talking to any of the other 37 switches in the house, and some of those are very close to computers, TV's etc..


A range extender plugged into the circuit is still not able to communicate with the dead switchlincs. The new switchlincs communicate fine, I'm just getting leary of keeping #7 and 8 wired in at $50 each.

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If the PLM is losing link records the ISY can turn the device On and Off (does not use link records) but can lose ability for device to send state change messages (when button or paddle pressed) back to the PLM.   Same will happen if device loses link records.


A Restore Device will restore device link database.


A File | Restore Modem (PLM) will rebuild PLM link database. 

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I rewired the defective switches back in the bedroom and then restored the PLM.


I got an error saying that the ISY could'nt communicate with the right switch.


A bit more playing around had me notice that I could turn the switches on/off through the ISY console, sometimes I'd get a cannot communicate message as below:




Other times I'd get the updates pending icon as below:




But now the left side bed switch works perfectly. Very frustrating.


I have a range extender plugged into the outlet the switch is on, that distance is only two feet, another range extender is on another circuit about ten feet away.


Try as I might I cannot get anything other than an exclamation mark or write pending icon beside the right switch.


Is this looking like a wiring issue? Or wires running near something causing interference?

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In messing around with my system, I had unplugged the two range extenders on the bedroom side of the house.


Now everything is working as its supposed to.


I started to plug them back in one at a time, and with one plugged in the switches would communicate about half the time. With both range extenders plugged in, the right switch would never communicate.


Unplugging them again brought the switch back to life all the time.


Could I have faulty range extenders?

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Spoke a little too soon.


It seems better, but still a bit intermittent.


Since these switches don't have any programs associated with them, and they work without the ISY communicating, I'll leave as is and hopefully won't have to update the links to them anytime soon.

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Besides replacing the single band PLM which really needs to go. I have not read anywhere where you have followed the coupling / bridging outlined by the full users manual for the Access Point / Range Extenders.


It should be noted some of the newer dual band Insteon devices can turn on/off the Power line or RF portion. Please confirm the RF is enabled to these units and confirm bridging outlined by the manual.


These features have been documented in the On/Off Relay Module, Dual Outlet.

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GFI'S are not required in bedrooms it is more than likely a arch fault breaker it is required in bedrooms

I was thinking the same thing. GFI's are not used in the Canadian Electrical Code but I thought perhaps in the US NEC they might be.


I have been told  these AFCI breakers are really bad for  passing Insteon signals. I did have some trouble with my MBR reliability using an  AFCI but after enough dual-band devices were installed  it seems reliable now, especially at nights when I rely on them, and my PV system inverters are shut down.

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