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Does ISY replace Insteon Hub/manage multiple buildings?


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New to UD and ISY. Have three buildings on same WIFI network using 3 Insteon thermostats, multiple switches/dimmers, remote controls, and one garage door controller. 

If I purchase an ISY:

1) Do I have to remove all three Insteon hubs in all three buildings and their range extenders?

2) Do I then need an ISY for each building like I do with the hubs or just one?

3) Does the ISY software manage multiple buildings on multiple ISY's or multiple buildings on a single ISY/Ethernet/WIFI network?

4) Do I have to uninstall all of the Insteon devices from the Insteon Hub software and uninstall the Insteon Hub apps from iOS and Windows and Chrome? That is, is the ISY and its software a complete replace? Am I starting from scratch from a software standpoint?

5) Will the ISY work with Insteon's RF devices? I have several Insteon remote controls (single and multiple buttons) that I use as light switches where I do not have AC power/junction boxes.

6) Lastly, does my Amazon Echo stuff go away as well? Do I start from scratch with Alexa?

I know that is a lot of questions, but I feel any new user needs these answered before taking the leap. I like the idea of having a central console to control everything (especially thermostats) in fine detail. The ISY seems to be that device, but not completely sure. Thanks to any and all who can answer these basic questions.

 

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1) Unless you're well versed with insteon, the hub, the isy and troubleshooting, I would recommend removing the hubs and factory resetting the devices before adding them to the isy. You can do this 1 hub at a time as you clear each building. I would leave the range extender. The isy doesn't change the insteon network itself. It only manages the devices.

2) this depends. How many devices are there and can the devices talk to each other from building to building? If devices can talk to each other then most likely 1 isy can be used. If not then you'll need ISYs for each building. Since you're using multiple hubs im assuming you would probably need multiple ISYs. 

3) software is connected to individual ISYs. It doesn't know care about it's location or how units are connected. 

4) yes. However it would be easier to factory reset everything

5) insteon's dual band tech is built into the insteon ecosystem. The isy is simply a controller/manager of those devices so yes. 

6) you're moving to a new ecosystem which means starting over with everything. It's a lot of work but well worth it. 

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I would guess if you are using three hubs you would likely need three ISY boxes.

You would mostly need the factory rest each device and link them to ISY. ISY will enable you to build Insteon Scenes and dump them onto your transferred devices from ISY.

ISY is an excellent scene manager and replaces all that linking and tapping requiredwith a hub.

Personally I would get one ISY to start and see if a central unit will reach the extremity devices. Then purchase accordingly.

We need a polyglot nodeserver to access His as an Insteon extension. This may come but it is more likely an ISY to ISY nodeserver will appear in the future, for people with cottages etc..

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If your 3 buildings are on the same electric service or close enough that the Insteon radio signals make it between them, you only need one ISY.  Otherwise, you need either multiple ISY's or you need to get the Insteon signals transferred between the buildings.  I had a similar situation at my church where I put an Insteon Hub (not using it as anything but a radio/power line repeater) at the end of what is effectively a long extension cord going back to the main building.  In this way, the Insteon power line comm went down the "extension cord" and then the hub radio repeated it where devices in building 2 received the radio and propagated it.  I have had that working flawlessly for several years now.

I'm currently waiting for an RS232/IP converter system.  If you link two PLM's with an crossover RS232 cable they will repeat each other back and forth.  If the RS232/IP converters work, then the internet effectively becomes an RS232 cable, allowing me to link two buildings anywhere in the world.  There is a thread from just a couple weeks ago where we talked about that.  I ordered the devices on Amazon, but it turns out one of them is in China, soooo, I have to wait.

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This is all great info. The three buildings are indeed quite a distance apart on a 2.5 acre lot, but are on the same electrical service (sub boxes in each outbuilding). But I do worry about noise on the AC lines since there is quite a cable distance and lots of junk plugged in everywhere. 

My thought is to get an ISY, reset everything back to factory, try installing from scratch and see what happens. Worst case scenario I add back in a hub somewhere or whatever.

Also, not to open a can of worms, but while I think I get the X10 part of this (which seems more straight forward), I do not understand all the additional connectivity of Insteon. The Insteon hubs are the access points into the Ethernet network, so my phone app or whatever is talking to the hubs? 

But then the hubs are just talking to the nearest device or range extender right? But via RF? Powerline? It sounds like you are saying the hubs can communicate with each other over RF if they are close enough. But my understanding was that each device is talking to the next nearest device and so on down the line.

So I guess what I do not understand is how much of the "talking" is RF (if any) and how much is via powerline. I would guess that much of the RF is during setup but when you just need 4 bits to turn a switch on or off it's powerline?

Is there a reference manual or something that explains this? Or are Insteon internals all hush hush? 

Thanks to all again for such good info! I feel like I can get off on the right foot now.

 

 

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The hub and isy are simply controllers. They do not communicate with each other. Insteon devices communicate with each other. They send out the insteon signal which ends up being repeated by other insteon devices until the signal reaches the target device. All signals are sent via powerline and RF simultaneously (device dependent). 

There is an ISY cook book which tells everything Isy and automations associated with it which is about 700 pages. Insteon has there white papers as well. Googling both tend will take you to them. 

 

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Perfect! Thank you so much. 

To help the next nubie that comes along I might as well include links that I found for various documents (as of this date) if that is allowed here.

The ISY-994i Home Automation Cookbook (this looks really good!)

Insteon The Details

Insteon Whitepaper: Compared

There is also an Insteon Developer's Guide version 2 from 2007 on the net. That is probably verboten to link to I am guessing. 

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@Chuckster

2.5 acres isn't that big.  I have 7 acres with Insteon stuff scatter over about 1/3 of that.  It all works.  Since your on a single panel, the PLC will all be connected.

Insteon talks by both power line and rf simultaneously to every device that is in PLC and/or RF range.  It doesn't do single device to device hops, it is a network broadcast.  All devices repeat what they received until the message has been repeated 3 times or the target responds, whichever happens first.  It is more complicated than that, but this is the jist of it.  I believe that with each repeat it appends the transmission so it knows when to quit.  There are people on here who know the Insteon protocol better than I.  Mostly the increased knowledge helps you understand the log when troubleshooting.

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That paints a much more cohesive picture for me. What this suggests is that I really did not need 3 Insteon hubs, one for each building. And did not have to use Insteon's "House Management" to "enter" each building and control each from a different set of screens with building-specific favorites/devices, etc. --since everything is on the same PL network.

However, I do like having the favorites/devices/scenes separated this way to avoid confusion or I would be turning up/down the wrong thermostat, on/off the wrong light, etc. I imagine the ISY allows you to group and organize favorites/devices/scenes in a more flexible manner to achieve something similar.

I think I was also confused about "Insteon" protocol versus "X10" protocol. I did not realize that Insteon has its own proprietary PL implementation "based" on X10. I thought it was using X10 plus their dual band RF stuff piggybacked on top of it. In fact, I just read that Insteon has phased out X10 and transitioned to just its proprietary PL implementation moving forward.

OK, digging into the manuals now. You guys on this forum are fantastic! 

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That paints a much more cohesive picture for me. What this suggests is that I really did not need 3 Insteon hubs, one for each building. And did not have to use Insteon's "House Management" to "enter" each building and control each from a different set of screens with building-specific favorites/devices, etc. --since everything is on the same PL network.
However, I do like having the favorites/devices/scenes separated this way to avoid confusion or I would be turning up/down the wrong thermostat, on/off the wrong light, etc. I imagine the ISY allows you to group and organize favorites/devices/scenes in a more flexible manner to achieve something similar.
I think I was also confused about "Insteon" protocol versus "X10" protocol. I did not realize that Insteon has its own proprietary PL implementation "based" on X10. I thought it was using X10 plus their dual band RF stuff piggybacked on top of it. In fact, I just read that Insteon has phased out X10 and transitioned to just its proprietary PL implementation moving forward.
OK, digging into the manuals now. You guys on this forum are fantastic! 



Sounds like you’re on a good track and know what you’re doing. I don’t have experience with this, but my only thought is I agree to start with 1 ISY and see how it goes - and if possible put that ISY in the “middle” building. Maybe that means geographically or if the buildings are wired in series then maybe that’s a different building? You’ll have to be the judge of that as you know the property.

The ISY will let you group devices into folders. Some apps (I use MobiLinc) will let you set up profiles so you could have a profile for each building and then configure that to reach devices in the relevant building. That said I suppose if you had 1 ISY and wanted to control one building from another building you could - I guess that’s really the point of this. So the folders just help you organize everything in the ISY. But the scenes you configure can be just for a single building.


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