my Insteon controller won't work at certain times

Posted on
Thu Oct 06, 2011 10:45 am
jroach offline
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my Insteon controller won't work at certain times

I have switched recently from x10 controller/sw to Indigo 4 and a Insteon 1132CU. I have been doing some problem solving on a few nagging issues. Recently I had a bad power strip plugged into an outlet near the controller causing interference, replaced the strip and it looked like everything was going well.

Current problem is in the morning I have noticed that my lights are on that should have turned off at sunrise. This happens about 5 days out of 7. I was thinking I had another noise issue so I tried to replicate what happens in the morning at the house that doesn't happen in the evening: hairdryer, shaver, coffee pot, etc.

The lights were stuck on this AM, no response from my iPhone or iPad to change the status. I tried from my laptop and also no results. I then tried "all lights off" and it worked. This is happening to most if not all the controllers in the house. I tried reloading the interface, toggling the switch manually and unplugged most everything that I think could cause interference that might kick on automatically ie: refrigerator, NAS, etc.

The only way I could get things going again this AM was to unplug the 1132CU and then plug it back in.

I don't think it is an issue but a few years ago I installed a phase coupler/bridge (or something like that) to fix a problem with communicating to a part of the house back when it was all x10. I mention this just in case I have a compatibility issue.

Posted on
Thu Oct 06, 2011 11:17 am
jay (support) offline
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Re: my Insteon controller won't work at certain times

It certainly does sound like a signal issue - which of course X10 is extremely susceptible to. It could be noise, the 1132 could be malfunctioning, the signal bridge could be going out, or one of your devices may be starting to fail (I had an X10 device that was causing a lot of signal issues because apparently it was failing). Unfortunately it's just going to take a bunch of diagnostics to isolate the problem. And it's more difficult given that X10 isn't really a 2-way protocol so it's harder to determine if a signal is really getting there or not.

And, BTW, the 1132 isn't an INSTEON controller - it's an X10 only controller.

Jay (Indigo Support)
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Posted on
Thu Oct 06, 2011 3:08 pm
jroach offline
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Re: my Insteon controller won't work at certain times

Jay,

Thanks for your reply.

I would like to get your opinion on the following to eliminate certain items:

1. Can noise or a defect from a single X10 module effect the controller at any distance ie: should i only look at the units close to the controller (swap them out).

2. Since everything worked again after I unplugged the 1132 and plugged it back it I'm thinking it is the 1132 or something scrambling the 1132. Your thoughts?

3. If the 1132 was effected by a spike, noise or something and scrambled it's logic/firmware can you see a situation where it could self corrected later? Pretty certain the issue goes away if you wait long enough.

4. Would a defective Signal bridge effect the whole house? I might try removing the bridge to see how it work with the 1132. Maybe the 1132 is better than the X10 controller I had before and doesn't need the bridge.

Thanks.

PS: If the 1132 has gone bad should I replace it with the 2412?

Posted on
Thu Oct 06, 2011 3:46 pm
jay (support) offline
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Re: my Insteon controller won't work at certain times

jroach wrote:
1. Can noise or a defect from a single X10 module effect the controller at any distance ie: should i only look at the units close to the controller (swap them out).


Yes - if the signal attenuation is strong enough it could be anywhere. However, it might be worse on some circuits, which could help you diagnose the problem.

jroach wrote:
2. Since everything worked again after I unplugged the 1132 and plugged it back it I'm thinking it is the 1132 or something scrambling the 1132. Your thoughts?


It's possible - but not definite. Unfortunately, signal noise is most often transient so unplugging the 1132 might have been coincidence.

jroach wrote:
3. If the 1132 was effected by a spike, noise or something and scrambled it's logic/firmware can you see a situation where it could self corrected later? Pretty certain the issue goes away if you wait long enough.


If you wait long enough and things get better, then it's unlikely it's the 1132. If it gets into a bad state, it's highly unlikely it will get better on it's own. But again, there is the chance that there's some odd interaction going on.

jroach wrote:
4. Would a defective Signal bridge effect the whole house? I might try removing the bridge to see how it work with the 1132. Maybe the 1132 is better than the X10 controller I had before and doesn't need the bridge.


That is certainly a possibility. I had to turn off one from Leviton I had installed in my breaker box because it was causing noise. Fortunately, my electrician had put it on a separate breaker so all I had to do was flip the switch. Note, however, that it's very likely that you'll need to replace it rather than just turning it off like I did - I actually had another signal coupler for X10 plugged into my dryer socket.

jroach wrote:
If the 1132 has gone bad should I replace it with the 2412?


It depends - if you have no intention of going to INSTEON (which I would seriously consider), then staying with the 1132 would be OK (if you can find them, I think Smarthome has officially discontinued them). The INSTEON PowerLincs do X10 as well (although they don't support X10 extended dim commands used by a few X10 modules). If I were you, I'd get a PowerLinc 2413U - it's dual-band so when you start migrating to INSTEON you'll already have half of what you need to bridge INSTEON across the two phases in your house.

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Posted on
Sat Dec 03, 2011 11:15 am
jroach offline
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Re: my Insteon controller won't work at certain times

Jay, I tried disabling several items over the past month or so. No luck. Broke down and purchased the 2413U. After downloading the drivers and changing the interface I get an error when trying to upload: Connected interface not supported by the upload capability. When I hit upload anyway I get a message: Uploading is currently only supported to the Powerlinc 2414U and 1132CU interfaces. Any ideas? Thanks in advance.

Posted on
Sat Dec 03, 2011 12:39 pm
jay (support) offline
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Re: my Insteon controller won't work at certain times

That's because only the 2414U and 1132CU support offline operation (check the Enhanced Features section of the Interfaces Table on the Hardware Support Page for details). Unfortunately, both are older technology - the 1132 is X10 only and no longer sold and the 2414U, while still being sold, doesn't support Extended INSTEON commands that an increasing number of INSTEON devices use.

The vast majority of our users leave their Macs running 24x7 - there are an increasing number of reasons for this (all require Indigo to be running 24x7):

  • Indigo Touch (iOS App)
  • Web browser control
  • Use of the increasing number of plugins for Indigo 5
  • Any logic beyond rudimentary triggers and schedules
  • Conditionals in triggers and schedules

The standalone controllers are just too limited in their capabilities for most of our users.

Jay (Indigo Support)
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Posted on
Sat Dec 03, 2011 12:56 pm
jroach offline
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Re: my Insteon controller won't work at certain times

Thanks for the quick response.
Understood. My mac is on 7x24 for this and other server functions so it isn't a hardship not having the standalone.
This means that I no longer need to upload settings or anything to do with the 2413U... Every time I add or change something it will be ready to go. I'm good with that.
In a quick test I also noticed that the dim commands don't work for certain modules. All light modules are x10 right now.

Posted on
Sat Dec 03, 2011 1:01 pm
jay (support) offline
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Re: my Insteon controller won't work at certain times

Yeah - the PowerLinc INSTEON interfaces don't support X10 extended dim commands that some X10 dimmers support.

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Posted on
Tue Dec 06, 2011 5:05 pm
jroach offline
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Re: my Insteon controller won't work at certain times

Jay, Thanks.
Ouch, I have quite a few that don't work anymore under the new controller. They are considerably more than the X10 units. Can I just replace with the X10 lamp modules? It is funny, I was just trying to get the ipad/iphone app to work. This has lead to replacing the X10 controller, buying the SW and it looks like I'll have to replace the x10 lamp module that no longer dim. Maybe I better go back to the manual system :)

Posted on
Tue Dec 06, 2011 5:22 pm
jay (support) offline
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Re: my Insteon controller won't work at certain times

jroach wrote:
Can I just replace with the X10 lamp modules?


You only have to replace the ones you want to dim from Indigo - if you just turn ON and OFF they work fine. In fact, you can change the dimming type (in the module definition dialog) to "Normal" as the dimming type and they may dim adequately for your purposes. You can also try the "Preset" option which might provide a better dimming experience than generic X10 dimming (if the modules support it).

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