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Trying to figure out a Keypad problem w/ ISY interface for off site control


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Hello all..... Green as the grass here, so please be nice.. :) lol.


I have a vacation home in Florida that I rent to friends from time to time. Ultimately, I would like to rent it out more once I can control the place from Ohio. It doesn't do any good to rent it out in the renters leave the AC on at 55*f with all the lights on.


What I was looking to do, was install a 6 button keypad that would replace a SPST switch that controls a single duplex outlet. I would replace the current outlet with a duel Insteon on/off outlet.


The normal "on" and "off" buttons would be labeled "Occupied" and "Un-occupied" and set as controllers. The remaining 4 buttons would be used as responders within the different scenes. These scenes would consist of; Turning on/off the water, turning on/off the appliances, turning on/off the 120v electric, and turning on/off the furnace.


(Yes... i have been trolling the forums a little bit)


My problem is this: If someone forgets to hit the "un-occupied" button when they leave, i would like to be able to command the "un-occupied" button as if it were physically pushed, but command it from Ohio over the internet. This way, the house would shut down, or "hibernate" as it were. I already have the internet communication portion figured out, so I'm good there. This part would be as if I were connected to the ISY via laptop, even from Ohio.


From what I have read so far in the forums, you can't command a "controller", only a responder. With that said, I guess I could command each of the 4 responder buttons to shut the house down, but there has to be an easier way.


Looking in the forums, would an 8 button keypad be the answer, with the "un-occupied" button being set as both a controller and a responder, using a 6 button conversion kit, and setting the occupied button up the same way?


I haven't found this exact issue yet, but I'm just slicing information together to solve a problem.


Thanks everyone in advance for your time and kindness.... :)

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You're right that if you remotely change the button state, it will not run the associated actions. However, you can create a scene with the buttons and outlets items in it, and turn it off via a mobile app like mobilinc or the portal / web interface. Then adjust the thermostat


As an alternative, you could have a "unoccupied" program that you run via mobilinc or portal / web. It would activate the scene and set the thermostat (if you have one). You could have and "occupied" program as well... if you know someone is coming that day, get the place ready



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As Paul mentioned, a program with scene would be the way to go. Run the scene remotely if it isn't run by renters when they leave.



If Control "Occupied/Unoccupied" is Off




Insteon Set "Unoccupied (Scene) On




- No Actions

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"From what I have read so far in the forums, you can't command a "controller", only a responder. "


Actually, one CAN command controller, but it will affect only the individual device, and not the entire scene for which it is controller, To remotely control a scene, the ISY has separate program statements for that.


Besides the additional buttons, there is not benefit to going to the eight button keypad.


Any button set as controller in a scene is, by default, also a responder in that scene.


What you wish to achieve is relatively simple for the ISY and insteon. The most difficult part, in my mind, will be setting up a static IP address and port forwarding rules for the ISY.

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Forgive me if I am not using the correct terminology. It has been several years since I've done any programming.


I was going to have a few scenes to control the appliances, hot water heater, water supple etc. Unfortunately, the hot water heater is electric, and if not started with the water on first, it can burn out the heating elements. I was going to use the occupied/unoccupied controller buttons as triggers for the start up and shut down sequence. This will include returning the thermostat to "vacation" mode.


The interface will be through an ISY/PLM set up, so I can program the scenes as needed. I was thinking of having a master scene, then calling the sub-scenes in the proper order for start up and shut down.


I have chosen not to use mobilinc or similar programs. So far, i have not found one that doesn't require some sort of monthly fee or purchase. Since I no longer have a smart phone, I couldn't use it anyway. I do have an iPad, but still don't want them.


As for the fixed IP or port forwarding, I've gotten around that as well...so I'm good on that end also.


From what I have read in the forums, I can put the virtual(?) buttons in the scene and the LED's will reflect the scene state. (Sorry for the language....like I said, it has been years since I programmed anything)


Unfortunately, I have not read too much on how the admin interface works to know if I can command the "unoccupied" button, and have the scenes run as if someone physically pushed the button.

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I dont control thermostats via ISY, so I am a little uncertain whether wht you desire would require a program, or whether it can be handled entirely via scene. (hopefully, another can verify whether thermostats respond to scene OFF commands.) Given that you wish to interject some timing into your startup sequence, however, tend to point to a program as a proper solution.


The MAIN ON/OFF button on a six-button keypad is treated by insteon as a single device, one button turning the device (or scene) ON always, and the other button turning the device (or scene) OFF always. The status of this main button can also be used as a program trigger. Given the criticality of having water supply on prior to heating, I would probably introduce a series of programs to doublecheck that the water is, in fact, on.


To handle the secondary buttons, I would probably use several scenes to control the interraction between the buttons.


Mobilinc does not REQUIRE a monthly fee. I use mobilinc without subscribing to the connect service. Still, you can control what you want directly via the admin console or dashboard. For your situaton, it comes down to whether you find the user interface adequate, or prefer that of a specific app.


What you want to do is well within the capabiliy of the ISY. Even the most basic version will be adequate.

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As an additional comment, mobilinc for android has a plug in for tasker app. If you are comfortable playing around with these types of apps, you could even add a couple of widgets directly on one of your home screens to set your house into a specific mode.

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From what i have found in the forums so far, controlling the thermostat is a programmable function. (i.e. write a program to do what it is you want, depending on the thermostat. I am leaning towards the T1800 at this point.)


If you can force a button within the configuration screen, and have it run programs as if it was pushed locally, then I think I have the answer I have been looking for as my UI is the configuration screen, just controlled from Ohio or anyplace I currently have a computer to access, or my iPad and an internet connection.


The 4 smaller buttons on the keypad are more of a status indication rather then someone physically doing anything with them. Pushing those buttons would have no effect on anything. Using older programming terminology, I would write a master program that would be activated when the "occupied" button was pressed. This master program would "call" each sub program in the order needed, pausing when needed to allow things to do what was needed, then call the next program etc, etc, etc until everything was running. The occupied button push would also inform me when the people "check in", with the "unoccupied" button being the check out time. The unoccupied button would have the reverse effect of shutting the house back down.


Any button pressed, eventually, would be an alarm system that would cause all of the fixtures to beep like a security alarm. By using a calendar programmed into the ISY to set rental "times" and dates that the buttons would and would not alarm if pushed.


The refrigerator, stove etc., would also be a sub program called from the master start up program. Once started, the LED on the 6 button (one of the 4 remaining buttons) would stay on, indicating the completion of that portion of the start up sequence. During the start up process, the LED would blink.


Granted, as the system gets bigger, it gets better but also more complicated. For now, I just want to be able to control the HVAC system and maintain the humidity as needed from Ohio, with the water fans outlets etc., as modifications and new equipment allows.


Mainly I am only down there about 14 days a year, so installing the fixtures, syncing them with the ISY is about all I want to do on vacation unless it rains. Any physical buttons that need to be pressed to link them with the ISY I'll do when I install the fixtures, and them come back to Ohio and do the programming on the ISY from up here when I'm board.


Steam... :)

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