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Insteon Range


Cormacs

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I am in desperate need of increasing the range of my system. I have a roughly 50 item insteon network in my small home and all works great! My one issue is away from my house in one corner of my property about 100 feet away I have a dog house with two lights on it controlled with a dimmerlinc. I also have in another corner a post that has spot light controlled by a inline relay inline link that is about 100 feet away from anything else as well. My issue is the 100 foot distance must be right on the limit of the power line range and is definitely out of range of any of my dual band items wireless. Is there anything I can install to increase the range to get these two items to work reliably. Right now they are hit or miss. %75 of the time they will probably work and the other %25 they don't do anything. The power going out to these two items is 100 feet of straight buried wire so I can't splice into it anywhere. Inside the house right before the one wire leaves the house to run out to the dog house I have an outlet spliced in and my PLM is plugged into it, so as far as I'm concerned I think there is nothing more I can do for the dog house. I was just wondering if they sell any kind of range extender, even if it is only wireless maybe I could plug it in on the top floor of my house to try and reach these two items with wireless? Any help you guys can give would be great!

Cory

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Cory

 

I'm not 100% based on the write up... (Depending) if its two separate 100 foot runs, move the switches to the other, house side of the line. You might have to turn the lights on if there are outlets on the other end  used for yard work, etc. Maybe I'm not reading it correctly though, and the two items are on the same 100 foot run

 

Paul

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Is there any known power line signal suckers or noise makers on the lines feeding the problem areas?

Like Computer power supplies, UPS unit and small battery chargers to name a few.

 

RF range can be effected by things like walls and metal between the two devices using RF.

Insteon indicates 150' but with a no obstructions side note.

 

Smarthome does sell a Dual Band  Insteon Range Extender .  Not sure if it would do anything i the top floor of the home.

http://www.smarthome.com/insteon-2992-222-range-extender.html

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From what I read, and I could be wrong. I thought the range extenders were basically a lamplinc without the functionality just to give a system that doesn't have dual band devices the RF capability.

 

 

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I have the PLM on the same run of wire going out to the dog house, I thought by doing that it would give the strongest signal on the line.

 

 

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There is no reason the power line signal would not reach 100 feet. Which is very modest in terms of wire length. If the lights are truly hardwired to the same electrical leg of the other Insteon devices it comes down to noise makers / signal suckers being a primary culprit here.

 

I have wired a industrial building using Insteon and the wire run exceeded 2000 feet with out issue. So, again I would be looking at what kind of load is present and what kind of filtering may be required to solve this issue.

 

Your first step is to perform the bridging / coupling test and see how the device(s) react to said 4 tap (beacon) test. Next is to see and determine what kind of noise makers are present in that area.

 

Keeping in mind all the coupling / bridging in the world will not supersede the need to address noise related issues, none.

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Phase coupling has been confirmed. I have 50 dual band devices and at least one on every breaker of my panel, except for the bigger ones, stove, drier etc. I don't even know where to begin trying to eliminate signal suckers. I have a computer on a ups on the opposite side of the house, home theatre, everywhere I look there is a transformer since just about everything uses them now.

 

 

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I agree with Teken signal suckers could be your issue. Maybe start by putting filterlincs on the washer, dryer, fridge, and any UPS devices you have plugged in. I noticed a difference doing this in my last home when I got into larger scenes. I thought my communication and scenes worked fine but as the scenes grew I noticed I had to do multiple repeats for all the lights were on/correct level. Once I installed the filterlincs my repeats were not longer needed. They do work.

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I guess I'll buy some filter lincs. I just get hesitant because they are the only two things that have issues and filter lincs can start to get pricey. I guess I don't have much choice of I want them to work. One question I have. Does insteon automatically find new paths. Ex. If I add a dual band item that would make communication for a certain device easier, would it automatically pick this path or would it have to be re-linked?

 

 

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Heres a thought and maybe someone can chime in, but on the long run maybe go halfway and put an inlinlinc or something on the line to help push the signal out further? Making sure to protect it in a waterpoof box or something? Assume you have conduit running so add a device in between? You say it works 75% of the time so repeats wont work? I know its not ideal but just for those spots? Just spitballing.

 

I dont know how the paths/link work so I cant answer that. Above my pay grade Im afraid.

 

Edit: Added url for inlinelinc: (leave it always ON)

 

http://www.smarthome.com/in-linelinc-relay-insteon-2475sdb-remote-control-in-line-on-off-switch-dual-band.html

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I could but then I would have to unearth the conduit in the middle of my back yard and have a box above ground, which isn't ideal. It works 75% of the time but it seems that 25% it doesn't work it doesn't matter how many times you try it, it just doesn't work. I don't know what has changed from when it's working to when it's not. It always seems to quit too when you don't have time to look into it like when I'm leaving for work. I may try getting some filterlincs I do have some extra money coming next week.

 

 

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All dual band devices repeat and regenerate the Insteon signal. Meaning if device 1 comes into device 2 at 50% level. Device 2 will resend that Insteon signal at 100% to the end device say device 3.

 

The only Insteon device that does not repeat or strengthen the signal is the hard wired phase coupler.

 

Obviously battery operated devices do not repeat the Insteon signal to others but simply rebroadcast the same signal 3 times to ensure a successful reception.

 

If there is a outlet outside install a plugin on off module to help the signal. Keeping in mind if it's a noise issue or signal sucker this is just a band aid.

 

 

Ideals are peaceful - History is violent

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So if I add a dual band item mid way, it should immediately start repeating the signal with no need to relink. I didn't know if the isy sent instructions based on a roadmap. Going from one device to the other. That answers my question. I will order some filterlincs next week. It isn't feasible to add devices midway since it is a straight stretch underground. The network is strong within the house since I have a lot of devices in a concentrated area. I just got to get rid of what holding back the signal outside.

 

 

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Just installing FilterLincs is a terrible waste of $$$. Appliances such as stoves, refrigerators, washer, dryers are unlikely to affect the Insteon signal. Start by turning off all circuit breakers except those that power the ISY, PLM and one of the two long runs. If the signal improves, then the problem device is on another circuit. If the signal does not improve, then the problem device is on one of the energized circuits. Then, try again with the other long distance run. What did you find?

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Like I said it isn't a problem 100% of the time. I can't really keep my house dark to diagnose. It may only do it one morning a week. Stuff like my computer can't be unpowered for extended period of time.

 

 

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I agree with Stu shutting down breakers or unplugging devices and adding them back one at a time is the most practical and definitive method.

 

Keeping in mind its not like you will keep the breakers off for hours. This is done solely to help narrow down and isolate the root cause of the noise maker / signal sucker. If you truly have lots of transformers in the home then there isn't much to be done besides living with the issue.

 

There are various small inline filters and also snubbers that can be inserted with the load to help reduce some forms of disturbances. The benefit and down side of this whole dual band technology from Insteon is that its (over all) very forgiving and I have found lots of installs were simply on the edge of failing.

 

Its the benefit of the protocol and topology that allows a teetering Insteon network to still operate OK. Its when the noise is so persistent that even dual band is not able to over come it.

 

If your previous readings did not disclose the obvious plugin devices are superior in RF range then those installed inside of a JBOX that is just plain physics.

 

Purchase what ever device you wish that fits your needs. I prefer the On-Off module because it serves dual purpose and use when compared to the RE (Range Extender).

 

It also offers more features than the dimmer unit and as far as I can tell is built sturdier.  

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It doesn't take long to test. Try remotely controlling one device, on and off separated by about 5-10 seconds apart, about 10 or more times. Note the results. Then, turn off the breakers and repeat. That'll take less than 5 minutes including walking time, less if you have an assistant.

 

Troubleshooting is rarely easy, but the results are gratifying B)

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I tried them probably a dozen times today with no changes and so far they have worked flawlessly. The only time I have noticed it is in the morning and I'm on my way to the dog houses to put my dogs out and then leave for work. I end up having to walk to the other side of the dog house to manually trigger the dimmerlinc. When I have gotten home the isy has already turned it off at sunrise and it is working fine. It doesn't do it consistently enough to be ready for it. I do on a regular basis test it when I have time and it never fails when I have time to diagnose it.

 

 

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I may just have to live with it or like I said just slowly start rotating filterlincs until I find the culprit. I do have some items I suspect such as my corporate network switch that draws a large amount of power and my ups, so I will start with those.

 

 

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A network switch doesn't put anything on the powerline. OTOH, a UPS is a signal sucker, just doing its job keeping the powerline clean for the devices it powers when power is doing. In doing so, it considers Insteon signals as contamination. Also, think about what may be powered during the night, especially when you leave for work, but otherwise is off.

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I was leaning more towards the switch because it's a poe switch and it drives 10 IP cameras that would be drawing its peak at night to power the night vision LEDs.

 

 

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I have a 48 port PoE+ switch  and a 10 port PoE Switch, both powering 9 IP cameras, 3 access points, and some other miscellaneous devices. While they are supplying power to these device off the grid, I suspected that the UPS it is connected to was causing noise which was giving signaling issues on that circuit. I used the ACT AF120 filters on these and have seen signaling improvement. 

 

ACT is going out of business, or selling off their product lines, so grab them while you can. They were selling them on eBay. I purchased 3 of them last week and received them yesterday with an offer of $15 each plus $4 for shipping, much cheaper than the filterlinc. The seller had absolutely no feedback at all, but what I received to my door was a package straight from ACT with their packing, invoice, and packing slip. 

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