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Major communications failure with Insteon and ISY99i


cwalsh714

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I've been using Insteon successfully for several years without issue. I first set up control with an ISY99i Pro in 2009 and have only the occassional communications issue. Usually, the system is reasonably reliable. However, as of about two days ago, the system is turned to total junk. Almost nothing seems to be working properly. When I log into the administrative mode on the ISY-99i, the system reports communications failures to over 50% of the modules/switches/responders on my Insteon network. Manual control from within the administrative console or from Mobilinc on my Android is almost completely defective with even those responders that do not appear to be defective. Even when responders do turn on, it seems as though everything has slowed down considerably. I have rebooted the ISY several times, I've unplugged and replugged the PLM. I've done restores for devices, PLM, etc. Something has happened that has completely disrupted communications and I have NO IDEA what is going wrong. I'm really disappointed at how poorly the system fails to report what the communications problem might be related to.

 

As for my setup, I have a PLM that came with the ISY in late 2009 from Smarthome. I have a SignaLinc that connects to the dryer (4-prong active variety). I have two Access Points that are supposed to be linking the two phases. To try to combat these communications problems, I purchased an additional Insteon phase coupler that is supposed to be wired directly off the circuit breaker panel, which I added tonight without any help. I have about three dozen responders and controllers of various types, all Insteon. I have not introduced any new appliances that I am aware of. I did have to do some electrical work a couple of days ago, and turned off and on some circuits, and this appears to have thrown things off.

 

I really wish there was some reasonable way to discern what the problem is. Why Insteon doesn't have some form of diagnostics in their Access Points to let one know what is going on is beyond me. If noise has been introduced onto the line by something, those Access Points should report this, but obviously they didn't build this in.

 

So, what am I to do at this point? My ISY and Insteon investments are totally worthless at this point and a major source of frustration.

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From your description , it sounds to me like you may have lost phase bridging. Possibly a failed access point ? Can you verify that your phases are still bridged ? It's also possible that you have a failing electronic device acting as a noisemaker. Unplug all unfilterd electronics and see if the issue goes away then add back a few at a time tile the problem returns.

 

-Xathros

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Xathros:

 

Yes, it is possible. I have used a SignaLinc 4-pin dryer module for several years (including when my system was entirely X10 based), and that appears to be working a bit oddly at the moment. Supposedly, it is only supposed to boost X10 signals and not Insteon. It used to show green and red flasing LEDs during system activity, but now, I only see the occassional red LED flashes. In the past, that, along with two 2443 access points were my means to cross the phases. Yesterday, I added an Insteon phase coupler to the main breaker panel and that does not seem to have done anything to fix any of my communications issues.

 

I think you might be onto something with regard to electronic noise. Perhaps the SignaLinc was boosting the signal over intermittent noise that allowed the system to work properly under a high background of noise? Again, I thought the SignaLinc is only supposed to do this for X10 compatible devices?!? In any event, how does one go about finding the source of noise? Is it really necessary to unplug everything to find the culprit(s)?

 

Thanks so much for your help! It's a real drag having the system so out of whack.

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Not necessary but could be a quick way to see if it's an easily resolved noise problem. Some folks turn off all but a few breakers then test comms as they bring things back one at a time. I find it hard to tell if a device failed to communicate because of noise or because it had no power that way tho. Unless you really know exactly what is on each breaker it can be difficult to ID problems that way. Another method is to turn Off only one breaker at a time until the problem goes away then figure out what is on that circuit and work to isolate the offender.

 

Do you have any new electronics? Chargers? Anything added at about the time the trouble started?

 

-Xathros

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Xathros:

 

Again, thanks for the advice. I ended up unplugging a Kodak WiFi printer, and that seemed to reduce the noise on the circuit considerably. Even the SignaLinc now seems to be working (X10 commands from MobiLinc cause both the red and green LEDs to flash; Insteon commands are now seen on both left and right LEDs, so I'm pretty certain that both legs are tied together now). Things seem much more reliable now.

 

Lucky for me, Smarthome is on the way to work, so I picked up three FilterLincs and a bunch of dual band SwitchLinc dimmers (on sale for $49). I think I should be able to get my Insteon reliability even better than before.

 

It would be really nice if someone made a small plug in device to test Insteon and X10 communications. I know there are noise meters, but I'd really like to get something that shows the level of undisturbed signal over the noise threshold. Seems that shouldn't be too difficult to develop. I wish someone out there would do so, as it would make tracing noise and communications issues so much easier.

 

Cheers...

 

Craig

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Glad to hear you got things working.

 

See: http://forum.universal-devices.com/viewtopic.php?f=28&t=5923

 

You are not alone in your desire for testing tools and at least one forum member "ELA" is building his own!

 

-Xathros

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Okay, now this may seem strange... my communications issues seem to have been mostly addressed. I can control pretty much all of my devices through Mobilinc. So, here's the weird part. When I check the status of these devices in the ISY's HTML page, I can see that the status of each responder appears to respond to my control via Mobilinc. However, in the Administrative Console, I don't see such status changes. Also, the Adminstrative Console does not appear to be getting the status of each device. I don't see changes in state (e.g. on vs. off, or dim levels), nor do I see pre-programmed things like the ramp rate. All the devices appear to be just ignored by the ISY. The odd thing is that I know that Mobilinc is communicating with the Insteon network via the ISY. So, why would the ISY seem to be dead, and yet I can control these devices? Also, timed events appear to be working.

 

Any thoughts????

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Okay, even more strange behavior....

 

If I press on or off within the Admin Console, I can see these changes reflected in Mobilinc (and in a concurrently open HTML ISY window). However, the status is not updated on the ISY's Admin Console page for that device. If I click on the network window in the Admin Console (showing all of the connected devices), none show their status. So, something very wacky is taking place.

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Michel & cwalsh714,

 

I didn't mean to imply that turning off all of the security features on the PC was the solution, just a step in the diagnostics. Thats what I get for posting from my phone. :/

 

 

-Xathros.

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Xathros and Michel:

 

Thanks so much for the comments. Actually, it turns out that I was doing the tests remotely and was having such issues likely due to this. Now, I've been able to access my ISY from my office computer (an iMac running OSX 10.6) for about a year without trouble. Something apparently got messed up during all of my communications issues that threw things off. In frustration, I backed up the software and loaded the 3.3.2 beta firmware. This did not help, as I soon learned that trying to load a new certificate from a remote location led to a corrupted certificate. In any event, I tried to operate the system when I got home with exactly the same issues as described before. None of the status checks were being done, despite having control over the different responders. So, I decided to generate a new self-signed certificate. After setting up this certificate, the ISY rebooted and I restarted the Admin Console. When I put in the ID and password, the system immediately started polling each device to determine status (this was apparent by a notification/progress box that appeared).

 

I would have never figured it would have been an issue of a corrupted certificate, esp. since I was not accessing the ISY via HTTPS, just standard HTTP via port 80. Keep in mind that I was having these issues from my home computer before doing anything from my work iMac. After upgrading to 3.3.2, restoring devices and, most importantly, doing a local installation of the certificate, all is well. Go figure?!?

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cwalsh714-

 

Awesome. Glad to hear you got it resolved.

 

Please be aware that as of firmware 3.3.1, you can no longer access the admin console via HTTPS from a Mac running anything less than OS X 10.7 (Lion) with Java 1.7 installed due to the the ISY dropping support for SSL. HTTP should continue to work just fine.

 

-Xathros

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Hi Xathros,

 

The following is NOT correct:

Please be aware that as of firmware 3.3.1, you can no longer access the admin console via HTTPS from a Mac running anything less than OS X 10.7 (Lion) with Java 1.7 installed due to the the ISY dropping support for SSL.

 

It's only SSLv2 that ISY has dropped support for. ISY does support:

99: SSLv3

994: SSLv3, TLSv1.0, TLSv.1.1, TLSv.1.2

 

With kind regards,

Michel

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