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PLM failure symptoms


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I think what I am experiencing is PLM failure and I have one on order.

1. I can no longer write to my devices, although I can control the loads directly from the console (but not scenes, and the buttons don't light up when the loads go on)

2. When I press my keypad buttons all the links still work (except for a device that I defaulted and can't restore) but no activity shows in the window.  No flags change, except when I turn a load on from the console, and even when flags change I do not see the familiar output strings in the activity window so no program output as a result, and no buttons update.  I also get the red LED blinking on the bottom of the keypads instead of the familiar green, which I am not sure reflects any ISY-Insteon situation as I think Ive read that that is a link failure indicator.  All Links seem to be working fine throughout the house however.

3. When I try to restore a keypad I get a "no comm" message for that device, yet I can query via the console and get updated status from the device.

I could go on with these conflicting details which is why I am so confused!

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Sorry to hear it.

The red blink means that one of the scene responders didn't respond to the keypad ke. Unfortunately it doesn't say which one. If connected lights, etc are working, high percentage its the PLM

This is a little bit of a long shot, but is relatively easy to do. It may get you back temporarily

  • Factory reset your PLM (Unplug, replug while holding the set till it beeps)
  • Assuming you have a backup of your current state, restore it
    • A bad PLM will "pollute" the records in the ISY, need to restore last good
  • In the admin console: File, restore PLM
    • You may get away with not restoring wireless devices since the PLM address is not changing, everything will be pointing to the current PLM
  • I wouldn't make changes or back up until you have this resolved.

To follow up the temporarily comment, I've seen this work... or I've seen it work for a day or two and the symptoms return.

Paul

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Exactly.  The first time I did the restoral I had full function back.  The next time I had weakness in reception and button updates from keypadlincs on a certain branch or phase leg.  Then I tried an older PLM I had from an I/O link device (older than the one I have been using with my X-10 setup) and the symptoms did not change.  I did not do a backup until it was too late apparently so I have some combination of a bad PLM and file corruption.  All keypadlincs give me the red LED ACK response. 

I know what to look for with the major symptoms when the new PLM comes but what would you do Paul as far as the Insteon devices?  I think the 2.0 version PLM did a valiant effort in writing to all my keypads (which I think are 8 devices each as far as the writing goes), do I really have to default everything and start over?  Thanks.

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One more question.  After the defaulted PLM and the ISY are restarted the ISY begins quite a bit of com on it's own.  Do I need to wait for that to stop before I do the PLM restore from the file menu or can I interrupt it and do the restore right away?  I have been interrupting it since it takes almost as long as the restoral.  

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1 hour ago, redridge said:

... (with a warranty yippee!).

Let's hope that you get one that won't fail a few months after the warranty expires.

Everyone has been hoping, and hoping, and hoping that they get the "new" PLMs, but SmartHome keeps finding old ones on the shelf and sending those out...  (or, as the more cynical believe, the "new" ones don't yet exist, or are stuck in some sort of manufacturing issue, or even worse, are stuck in some sort of regulatory holding pattern -- but in any case, the promised new versions haven't yet been reported in the wild.)

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LOL!  If I can get two years like I had at the peak of operations (30+ keypads in, all load handlers Insteon converted, all links established, ISY lighting programs running and updating buttons) I will be very happy!  I do hope that Insteon & ISY take some next major steps like an enhanced PLM & maybe some companion hardware modules from UD, but I imagine you guys have been jaw-boning about that for years.  Maybe this is just a niche market but I am glad it exists.  At the moment the PLM is down, but It's still light years ahead of my previous setup ?‍♂️!  (Its the links son, the links)

 

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12 hours ago, redridge said:

I know what to look for with the major symptoms when the new PLM comes but what would you do Paul as far as the Insteon devices?  I think the 2.0 version PLM did a valiant effort in writing to all my keypads (which I think are 8 devices each as far as the writing goes), do I really have to default everything and start over?  Thanks.

When you install the new PLM and follow the replacement procedure, the ISY will rebuild the links to devices so you don't do a start over. Tedious, but do-able.

Paul

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In my opening comment I stated symptoms that seem to be conflicting, but I just noticed that a scheduled program is indeed executing a keypadlinc daily LED backlighting adjustment program.  The programs that have not been working are the ones that seem to be button activated and scene addressing related.  So I still have two way communication from the admin console and individual device control of scene members, but the PLM's ability to restore Insteon devices and activate scenes is gone.  I do recall in my old 8 bit microprocessor days that an EEPROM burn required a higher voltage then the logic level, but I am assuming that every Insteon device has it's own resident burner that is only instructed from the PLM.  Is there an in-depth description of what the PLM does available anywhere?  For instance is it storing the scene information for all the keypads, dimmers, switches that it is associated with?  (that was probably a no-brainer question LOL)

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There are Insteon commands to read, modify or add a link to the Insteon modules. No special burner just a read or write to a EEPROM Link Database memory IC in each module.

If the PLM's Insteon ID is in the module being controlled Link Database for a scene. It will follow the commands from the PLM. If the failing PLM had a corrupt [one of the symptoms of a failure] It may not see respond back from the modules.

I will see if I can find links to the Insteon White Papers. The links seem to be removed by Smartlabs. I found this in a web search. http://www.insteon.it/documentation/insteon_details.pdf

I did find the modem Developers Guide for the 2412S older PLM. The commands should be the same. The present 2413S PLM is different. With an Updated Serial Port Daughter Board, Main board now has a switching power supply with Insteon RF besides power line signaling.

https://cache.insteon.com/pdf/INSTEON_Modem_Developer's_Guide_20071012a.pdf

Found the Insteon Developers Guide. http://cache.insteon.com/pdf/INSTEON_Developers_Guide_20070816a.pdf

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Some of the information in the Developers Guide. Refers to the original Insteon 2414 Power Line Controller {PLC}. It had memory in it to store programs and run  alone. It used a SALad IDE compiler to assemble the program and download it into the PLC.  Along with the SDM3 Smarthome Device Manager , RTC Chip and IBIOS .

That part of the manual does not apply to the present PLM setup but may make interesting reading. It has a comparison between the PLC and PLM modules features

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10 hours ago, Brian H said:

There are Insteon commands to read, modify or add a link to the Insteon modules. No special burner just a read or write to a EEPROM Link Database memory IC in each module.

If the PLM's Insteon ID is in the module being controlled Link Database for a scene. It will follow the commands from the PLM. If the failing PLM had a corrupt [one of the symptoms of a failure] It may not see respond back from the modules.

I will see if I can find links to the Insteon White Papers. The links seem to be removed by Smartlabs. I found this in a web search. http://www.insteon.it/documentation/insteon_details.pdf

I did find the modem Developers Guide for the 2412S older PLM. The commands should be the same. The present 2413S PLM is different. With an Updated Serial Port Daughter Board, Main board now has a switching power supply with Insteon RF besides power line signaling.

https://cache.insteon.com/pdf/INSTEON_Modem_Developer's_Guide_20071012a.pdf

Found the Insteon Developers Guide. http://cache.insteon.com/pdf/INSTEON_Developers_Guide_20070816a.pdf

Thank you!  Sorry that was pretty old school, but I remember breadboarding an EEPROM burner, which required a dual voltage supply, to accompany TTL microproccessors & RAM chips since once power is shut off to TTL they don't retain the ones and zeros.  CMOS came a little later for me.

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Much to my horror the new PLM made no difference.  The PLM restore process took a much shorter time than expected, but when I tried to restore the keypad I had defaulted it gave me an activity window for about 30 seconds and then the window just dropped out of site like it gave up.  Then it said the now familiar "no communication with keypad please check connections".  I am now trying the "device restoral" under the file menu and it is still active and at only 1% after 10 - 15 minutes, and I see subtext activity going on, so maybe that was my problem.

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It is sounding like you have a communications problem.

Has anything changed in the home. Like a new electronic device or moving a presently installed device to  new location?

Can you use an extension cord to a different circuit for power to the PLM? As a test.

If the PLM is powered by the same AC circuit as the computing equipment. That can cause power line issues. Unless the equipment is on a FilterLinc or similar filter.

I think the PLM and other modules are polite and if there is enough noise on the line. It will  wait.

Can you see anything helpful in the Event Viewer on Level 3 when trying to do the restore? It also maybe possible the data was corrupted. Do you have an older backup to see if it makes a difference?

 

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2 hours ago, Brian H said:

It is sounding like you have a communications problem.

Has anything changed in the home. Like a new electronic device or moving a presently installed device to  new location?

Can you use an extension cord to a different circuit for power to the PLM? As a test.

If the PLM is powered by the same AC circuit as the computing equipment. That can cause power line issues. Unless the equipment is on a FilterLinc or similar filter.

I think the PLM and other modules are polite and if there is enough noise on the line. It will  wait.

Can you see anything helpful in the Event Viewer on Level 3 when trying to do the restore? It also maybe possible the data was corrupted. Do you have an older backup to see if it makes a difference?

 

Yeah no kidding.  Beginning to look at the ISY it's the only thing left. I did all those things before resorting to ordering the new PLM.  I made up a long ethernet cable so I could drag the ISY and the PLM around the house.   I could't communicate with a keypad 3' away.  Thought it was a bad PLM.

Symptoms are still the same.  I can't write to anything or see any button presses in the activity windows.  No programs will fire from button pushes as a result and I can't enroll a new device or restore an old device.  I can query the keypad that I defaulted and see it update whether I press a button on or off.  I can control basic Insteon devices from the admin console.  All the keypads except the one I defaulted are still controlling all the scenes they always did except for the buttons that triggered programs to address and activate scenes.

Only thing different is about 30% of the keypads I touch now do give me a green blink back after a bit of a pause, but most still give me the red blink.

I am about to try some down and dirty basic stuff with some still unenrolled stock I have and see if I can do anything at all.

I got one of those diagnostic Insteon keypads today also, any hints of what I should try with it?  I really need to read up on it.

 

**********. Quick update I was able to enroll a single band dimmer with the START LINKING process, and it does show up in the activity window when I press it on and off.  The ISY went into convulsions and is only at 5% after at least 10 minutes, just from linking a new dimmer onto the admin console!  I am beginning to feel like I have to start over.  But do I have to erase all my fully functioning links between my keypads, loads and their resident scenes?

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Every time I try any little thing it goes into 30 minute writing attempts to what looks like all my devices and basically hangs me up and the result is no improvements.  How do I start over?  I need to bring the ISY back online is it possible to keep all my links and scenes in my Insteon devices?  Surely someone out there can throw me a hint.  My wife will freak out if all our lights stop working while I try to reprogram everything from scratch.  

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Did you add any new electronics in your home around the time your problems started?

Can you put the ISY viewer into level 3 mode then try to communicate with a device. Copy and paste the event viewer results in a post.

Can you run a diagnostics on one of your devices, then do a (link) compare. Does the compare show any mismatched links?

Note: The links for scenes reside in the devices themselves. One could unplug the ISY and PLM and the scenes would still function assuming there's no powerline or RF interference.

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9 minutes ago, Techman said:

Did you add any new electronics in your home around the time your problems started?

Can you put the ISY viewer into level 3 mode then try to communicate with a device. Copy and paste the event viewer results in a post.

Can you run a diagnostics on one of your devices, then do a (link) compare. Does the compare show any mismatched links?

Note: The links for scenes reside in the devices themselves. One could unplug the ISY and PLM and the scenes would still function assuming there's no powerline or RF interference.

I had one new Thunderbolt dock I was testing but it is powered down and gone.  I am trying to enroll a new keypad and a new dimmer so I can create a new scene between them and see if I can get a nominal result.  If that works I am hoping someone here on the forum can tell me what my predicament is.   I am well aware that everything works without the PLM and ISY online, that is my problem, all are working great but a few off-only buttons that are only program triggers.

Until I know what’s up I hate to go around defaulting all my devices.

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7 minutes ago, larryllix said:

@Techman gave some good troubleshooting tips and info  to find out what your problem might be. 

What is "defaulting all my devices"?

I only have Insteon devices so that’s what I mean....air gapping then press and hold till all is lost.  Wish there was a pill I could take for this.  About all I recognize are the hex addresses flying by.

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1 minute ago, redridge said:

I only have Insteon devices so that’s what I mean....air gapping then press and hold till all is lost.  Wish there was a pill I could take for this.  About all I recognize are the hex addresses flying by.

"Factory resetting". OK 

Techman is referring to just checking the links in the devices and comparing them to what ISY thinks should be there. This takes no touching the devices and can tell you if a device has dropped a link due to bad comms, lightning, whatever. It can also lead to a device "Restore" that can correct things and get you on your way to a "normal life" again :) 

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I was able to replace the reset keypad with another keypad (couldn’t restore it) via the admin replace procedure.  It restored the links so I can put it back in the wall and operate those scenes again. The other symptoms remain even for the new keypad. A small victory I’ll just have to go without the PLM and ISY like tech man says.

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8 hours ago, Techman said:

If you follow my suggestions, and answer the questions,  we might be able to help you narrow down your problem. 

Only scenes, not programs will run without the ISY and / or the PLM being plugged in.

 

 

 

 

Thanks techman.  I did another full PLM restore just before going to bed and woke up just now to no improvements.  I just found under the TOOLS menu the SCENE test.  I tried a number of them.  Even the most simple scene with a single light activated by a button ends after several minutes with “Link 0 (xxxxxxxxxx) “Failed Writing (xxxxxxxxxx). With the scene references in parenthesis matching.  The scene under test does not turn on then off as it states it should.

These scenes still work perfectly throughout the house manually with button presses but show nothing in the activity window when activated, but at least we have lights.

Would a screen shot of the beginning or end of a failed scene test help?  That seems to be the crux of the problem.

I am thinking of buying another ISY unit to compare but it occurred to me that I really wouldn’t know what to do when it came!  You can’t interrogate all your Insteon devices correct?  You would need an uncorrupted backup file to load.

Oh, BTW, when I did the keypad replacement procedure from the admin it did load  the scene info perfectly into the new keypad but scene tests from the admin on that new keypad fail.

I am hoping someone would recognize these symptoms now.

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