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ISY and HUB together


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I apologize if this is long, I have several questions.


I have about 45 insteon items in my house (switches, fanlinks, garage door openers and sensors) and only a few scenes which I rarely use.  (one to turn all the fans on after a power outage).  I have a 2245-222 hub for control.  The iphone insteon hub app seems to work fine for my needs.    Recently I put in landscape lighting, and I wanted conditional control of the lighting.  (On 30 minutes before sunrise, off 10 minutes after sunrise, unless the sunrise was before 6:30).  The 222 hub didn’t have conditional programming, and from what I could see, never would.  So, I bought an ISY-994i to add on to the system, and have been learning how to program it. 


Here are my questions.


1.       Is there any reason not to add all the devices onto the ISY hub, as well as having them on the 222 hub?  Does it make things slower, more likely to fail, etc?  I have read that there can be problems if you have scenes in both units, but I haven’t been able to determine if there is a problem just having devices on both hubs.


2.      Am I right in assuming that using the “new insteon device” button, I can add all the devices to the ISY just by imputing the device number, rather than having to push the button on the switch?  I hope so, since I really don’t want to have to remove the ceiling fan to get to the fanlink units.  I have a spreadsheet of all the device numbers.


3.      Can anyone tell me their experience using Mobilink vs the 222 insteon app?


4.      From what I can see, the Mobilinc app is what is used to access any devices or programs on the ISY, like the insteon app is for the 222.  From what I can see, Mobilinc is either $20 for Pro, $50 for HD, $60 for both pro and HD, $70 for orchestrated, all of which have TONS of in-app purchases.  For really basic use, can I just get Pro and be done? (I use my phone for access, hardly ever my ipad) Or are any of the in-app purchases really that nice for a, minimal automation guy?  I was a bit spoiled by the free app for the 222 hub, these seem a bit pricey. 


5.      I assume if my wife, son and I are all on the same itunes account, we only have to pay for one copy of mobilinc for all of our phones?


6.      Not exactly on topic, more of an insteon question than a hub question, but does anyone know if there is a setting on Fanlink hardware to restore the status after a power outage?  If the power goes out in my house, all 7 fans on Fanlink units stop until being restarted.  I created a scene that turns them all on once a day in case they are stopped, and I can use that to manually restart the fans if I see that they are stopped after a power outage.  Is there anything that people have been using that can trigger a signal after a power outage that the hub could respond to after an outage?

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1. Unless you are intimately familiar with the Inseon protocol, the Hub and the ISY, in the long run you will experience problems if the same devices are added to both Insteon managers. It's really best to use the ISY exclusively.

2. Yes, you can add devices to the ISY by Insteon ID. It's also best practice to factory reset each device first (if you can) and select Remove Existing Links (in any case). You can and should rebuild all your scenes.

3. I do use MobiLinc, but only occasionally. I don't use Connect.. I do use the ISY portal @ $49/2 yrs for secure off-site access.

4. see #3.

5. Yes.

6. I've never lost any Insteon setting due to a power loss. But, I don't have any FanLincs on my Hub, they're all on the ISY.

7. See #6.

 

I'd like to stress resetting all devices or at least using the ISY to remove links when adding them. I went from HouseLinc to the ISY and did just that, room-by-room. Although tedious, will save headaches down the line. You'll even get some new ideas as you go along. Also, be aware that an ISY controller is also a responder. That cannot be separated. But, a responder only is not also a controller.

 

Have fun, you'll really enjoy the ISY. And ask away B)

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1. Unless you are intimately familiar with the Inseon protocol, the Hub and the ISY, in the long run you will experience problems if the same devices are added to both Insteon managers. It's really best to use the ISY exclusively.

Thank you.  I figure if the ISY works, I may be transferring things over one chunk at a time

 

2. Yes, you can add devices to the ISY by Insteon ID. It's also best practice to factory reset each device first (if you can) and select Remove Existing Links (in any case). You can and should rebuild all your scenes.

 

Scenes isn't a big deal, currently I only have 3, and I hardly ever use them.  Factory reset means that I have to relink all the switches to linked switches and keypads, and resetting several  fanlinks that are currently embedded deep in  fans 20 feet off the ground.  I do understand the reason, starting with a clean slate and getting rid of possible dead links and error links.

  

3. I do use MobiLinc, but only occasionally. I don't use Connect.. I do use the ISY portal @ $49/2 yrs for secure off-site access.

 

Thanks.  I have been searching through the Universal devices website, and cannot find a clear description of what ISY portal will do for me (for $25 a year) that I am not getting for free with the Insteon app through my 222 hub.  Access from anywhere to my insteon devices via my phone?  Got it with the Hub.  Amazon Alexa connection?  Got it with the Hub. .I bought the ISY to give me conditionall programming for my landscaping lights, but before I start migrating devices from the hub and deleting these devices off the hub, I would love for someone to tell me any advantage of using ISY vs Hub.  My understanding is that I can access devices connected to the ISY from anywhere using mobilinc, without using the portal (providing I do the setup right, port forwarding if necessary, etc, etc, ) but cannot use Amazon echo without the portal.  For someone like me, who is only using the bare bones capability of home automation, what do I gain by shifting everything over and spending $25 a year?  

 

4. see #3.

 

I still have the questions.  What somewhat costly programming does a basic user need to make the basic system work?  The different programs, with all the in app purchases, seem to be geared to a much more professional market.  I don't know why a $25 a year charge is required just for Echo access, are there other hidden advantages?  Do I need Pro, HD, Orchestrated?  And which of the many in app purchases are actually worth it?

 

5. Yes.

 

Thank you.

 

6. I've never lost any Insteon setting due to a power loss. But, I don't have any FanLincs on my Hub, they're all on the ISY.

 

Sorry, I guess my question wasn't clear.  If the power goes out in my house, my fanlinc fans go off, and stay off till they are turned back on, which I do with my Hub.  Their settings (fan speed, direction) are maintained, but they don't power back up automatically.  I have 2 other remote fans in the house, and after a power outage, they are smart enough to power back on.  My question was, is there a setup I missed in the fanlinc itself which will default to "Fan On" after a power loss?  I know, more of an "insteon" question than a UD question, but I thought I would throw it out there.

 

7. See #6.

 

Sorry, I didn't ask a question 7

 

I'd like to stress resetting all devices or at least using the ISY to remove links when adding them. I went from HouseLinc to the ISY and did just that, room-by-room. Although tedious, will save headaches down the line. You'll even get some new ideas as you go along.

 

Also, be aware that an ISY controller is also a responder. That cannot be separated. But, a responder only is not also a controller.

 

Sorry, I don't know what you mean here.

 

Have fun, you'll really enjoy the ISY. And ask away B)

 

Thank you again for taking the time to respond.

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I did not factory reset most of my devices when I transitioned from HouseLinc to the ISY, but I did select "Remove Existing Links" for each and every device (nearly 100 at that time). That really matters, as you will find out if you don't. It was tedious, but worth it-in the long run. I did factory reset devices that were easy to do.

 

There are some Insteon device that return to their previous state after a power loss and some that don't. I don't know what influences that decision, but I certainly wouldn't want something like a fan turning on unexpectedly. OTOH, if you have the fan turn on on a schedule, then you can set the ISY to run missed schedules when power is restored. If you fans are on 24/7 like mine are, a program to turn them on has no effect-unless power goes down.

 

The Hub allow selecting most devices to be controllers, responders or both (in a scene). The ISY does not. In the ISY, a scene controller is also a responder, so the choices are both or responder.

 

At least one advantage of the portal is that it allows you to run programs using your voice. It's about the same cost as MobiLinc Connect, so you have a choice. I know the Hub allows off-site access for free, but the Hub does not have conditional capability.

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Thanks.  I have been searching through the Universal devices website, and cannot find a clear description of what ISY portal will do for me (for $25 a year) that I am not getting for free with the Insteon app through my 222 hub.  Access from anywhere to my insteon devices via my phone?  Got it with the Hub.  Amazon Alexa connection?  Got it with the Hub. .I bought the ISY to give me conditionall programming for my landscaping lights, but before I start migrating devices from the hub and deleting these devices off the hub, I would love for someone to tell me any advantage of using ISY vs Hub.  My understanding is that I can access devices connected to the ISY from anywhere using mobilinc, without using the portal (providing I do the setup right, port forwarding if necessary, etc, etc, ) but cannot use Amazon echo without the portal.  For someone like me, who is only using the bare bones capability of home automation, what do I gain by shifting everything over and spending $25 a year?

 

The portal allows you to have access to your ISY without needing to setup remote access. Doing so means you don't need to worry about needing a static IP or yours changing. You can link to IFTTT, google home, and Alexa. While you can use the Hub with the ISY, you may run into many issues with commands coming from 1 hub to another depending on how you set things up. This can range from links being erased or overwritten, programs being missed etc. It also allows for tighter integration (as mentioned) as you can run programs from Alexa and google home as well. 

 

While you may have a bare bones automation system now, that can quickly change once you see the things you can do. It is much easier to start from scratch and add what you need at one time as you go rather than needing to start over later. Free sounds good on the surface; however you will pay more in the long run. The old saying about cost applies here. You can have fast, cheap, or good. You can have 2 of the 3 but not all 3. 

 

I still have the questions.  What somewhat costly programming does a basic user need to make the basic system work?  The different programs, with all the in app purchases, seem to be geared to a much more professional market.  I don't know why a $25 a year charge is required just for Echo access, are there other hidden advantages?  Do I need Pro, HD, Orchestrated?  And which of the many in app purchases are actually worth it?

 

App add-ons are only worth it if you are going to use them. That would be up to you to decide. If you have the portal then you would not need mobilincs version. If you have Ipads that you want mobilinc on the the HD would be what you want.Outside of that, the pro version should be sufficient for most people. To be honest, if you take the time to learn how to program and program your house properly (based off your lifestyle) you would probably greatly limit your need of an app. In my case, I havent touched an app in years (I have mine integrated into RTI). I've invested the time in programming and in sensors to allow my system to accomplish what I want. 

 

Sorry, I guess my question wasn't clear.  If the power goes out in my house, my fanlinc fans go off, and stay off till they are turned back on, which I do with my Hub.  Their settings (fan speed, direction) are maintained, but they don't power back up automatically.  I have 2 other remote fans in the house, and after a power outage, they are smart enough to power back on.  My question was, is there a setup I missed in the fanlinc itself which will default to "Fan On" after a power loss?  I know, more of an "insteon" question than a UD question, but I thought I would throw it out there.

 

The fanlinc fan speed defaults to off position except for the light when cutoff from power. This is a safety feature to prevent injury when hooking up to power. The fan speeds can only be changed from a linked device, not directly from the device itself. I am not aware of any way to override this. 

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...but before I start migrating devices from the hub and deleting these devices off the hub, I would love for someone to tell me any advantage of using ISY vs Hub.

 

 

For bare-bones home automation, as you put it, I don't know that there are any advantages to investing in an ISY if you already have a Insteon Hub set up and working. For many of us, we had our ISY before the hub was ever available, had hours of time invested in Insteon scenes and programming, and had external programs utilizing the many interfaces of the ISY to add non-Insteon devices and/or provide control of the devices in the ISY from external programs. When the ISY Portal was made available, we invested further because the Portal gives us remote access, IFTTT, and Alexa/Google Home support for our existing infrastructure. The Hub and the ISY have similar functions, but the Hub is a plug-and-play, consumer device, where the ISY is more of a pro/hobbyist/enthusiast device that provides ample ability to customize and control your devices in the home. The ISY is also always evolving (albeit at varying pace) while the Hub pretty much is what it is.

 

 

You may want to stick with the Hub and get some software for higher-level functions. For example, checkout Home Assistant.

 

 

All that said, Hub and ISY in the same system is just a recipe for problems primarily because each is unaware of the other. Therefore, every time you make a change on the ISY to a scene or try to restore the device to get it working properly, it removes that device's link to the Hub, and vice-versa. It is definitely more problems than it's worth.

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Running programs? Not with the Hub. Once you start programming, you'll never go back. Yes, you can use port forwarding with MobiLinc and your ISP address (which can and does change), but communication is not secure. But that's your choice.

 

No programming is needed to make the ISY work. Nothing else is needed to create programs using the iSY, programming capability is just included. I like the ease of the portal and especially a secure off-site connection to my ISY devices, scenes and programs. You can also use MobiLinc with the ISY and portal, but not with MobiLinc Connect.

 

Or you can use MobiLinc Connect instead of the ISY portal which is about the same price. The cost for each is about the price of eating a good dinner out-once a year. I consider it alike to a magazine or newspaper subscription, but I see your point when comparing to with something that's free B)

 

I use the ISY Pro simply because I have lots of devices and programs. It's not any more powerful than any other ISY. You can buy a low cost ISY and upgrade later. You do not need to buy new hardware.

 

There's no setting to change the fan's behavior after an outage. As I suggested in post #4, it's a safety factor.

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OK, Thank you all for your input.  I already bought the ISY unit so I could conditionally program my landscaping lights.  I have written a program for that, and am ready to install the outdoor switches this weekend.  It sounds like for long term growth, I will probably end up migrating, one component at a time, over from my Hub to the ISY portal.  

I would like one piece of clarification.  If I get the portal, that allows access online on a computer wherever I am in the world, correct?  And to access via my phone, I would also need the Mobilinc app, probably Mobilinc Pro for my iphone, or Pro and HD if I regularly want to access via my ipad as well?  Then the cost would be $20-$60 up front for the apps, and $50 for the first two years of Portal?

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The portal allows a secure connection to your ISY from anywhere you can access the internet. MobiLinc is not required at all. I can and do control all my devices, scenes and programs from both an iPhone and an iPad by logging onto the portal. Select ISY Web Access for internet control, select Connectivity to program the portal for voice control.

 

I do use MobiLinc occasionally only  because I had it before the portal was even available, but I don't need to.

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