Archive for the ‘Hardware setup’ Category

Here is a quick way that I reuse some of my lighting equipment depending on the season using individual components.   For example right now unless you order via the internet you can not find a good purple spot light.  And what I’ve experienced here in our FL weather many times your spot spike can rust and your investment is gone.

Also many of the spots are 100Watts which are real energy suckers and not to mention can get very hot.
So doing some searching and testing here is what I do.

Using a standard spike spot and cheap Daylight CFL bulbs, covered by a aluminum reflector and top it off with a colored lens. 🙂  Simple right?

Disclaimer: I am not a electrician and I only provide this info for entertainment, anything you do is at your own risk.

Here is the list
Light spike, Home Depot, and Lowe’s  and anywhere during holiday season  – $5-7
PAR 38 Spot aluminum reflector $4.25 each  *
1 PAR 36 Lens Cover you can get these at  $1.95
1 G/E Daylight 14 Watt bulb – (Walmart) 2 x $5  (Needs to be daylight not cool, bright or any other will not show the true color of the color lens)

Green Spray Paint.  To cover the outside of the reflector to hide its appearance.

* Note:You may spend a little up front for shipping ($5-7) but once you have your items you can reuse them over and over.  Only part which may need replacing would be the bulb
or the spike which you can find at any hardware store.
* Also the size o the  aluminum reflector that fits perfect is the one shown above, the site has many others but many dont fit (Trust me)
* Due to the size of the CFL’s, when building you may need to put lens last.

Very low power usage when using CFL’s.  For one traditional 100 Watts bulb you can use 6 of these spots. A++
Doesnt get very hot A++
Interchangeable parts, bulb goes out, swap the bulb and your set.  The spike/reflector/lens you can use over and over.
You‘ control the intensity adding the desired wattage bulbs.  If you lights are computer controlled you can even control dimmable CFL’s.

For me only one really, No really designed for outdoor use, I used clear shipping tape to secure the top lens and has worked fine so far from water getting in, of course I don’t turn on any decorations or lights if its raining.

Do a search for the following items in Amazon and pick your colors!

PAR 36 Red Plastic Lens
PAR 36 Yellow Plastic Lens
PAR 36 Amber Plastic Lens
PAR 36 Purple Plastic Lens
PAR 36 Blue Plastic Lens
PAR 36 Light Green Plastic Lens
PAR 36 Dark Green Plastic Lens

Here are some pics of the finished setup

Finished product with the outside of the reflector painted green.

Blue – Always perfect for Halloween cemetery




AMBER (Mix between Yellow and Orange another Halloween favorite)

Sorry forgot to take the pic of the Green one… 😦  Enjoy!

Here is a quick breakdown of a  Insteon TriggerLinc I use for notifying me upon mail arrival using a external ‘normally open’ contact.

Components needed;

Insteon TriggerLinc goes for $34
Normal Open contact (These come in all shapes and sizes) i chose a minuature one which I spray panted black to match the color of the box.
Here is a link to a few, they run for around $2-3.   See here
Small screwdriver.
Double sided tape
Can of spray paint.

And finally the insteon device you wish to link it to (In my case I linked it to my PLM so I can then act accordingly such as notify via flash lights, email, etc.)
You really dont need a fancy Pc system for notification since you can attach this to any insteon device using the tap/tap method if you like but be aware the light will go off when it closes.  But you do need a access point to capture the signal.  In my case the closest access point is a good 100 feet!!!

As seen in the picture, The TriggerLinc comes with its own contact/magnet but you have the limitation that you need to have the base unit near by.  Good news is that the device allows you to attach external contacts like I did here.  The box opens very easily.

You can see the wires coming out from the bottom right hand side. (No special order needed)
Note: I used a rechargeable ‘Solar’ battery which hasn’t failed me yet. You can find this
at places like Home Depot under lighting section.  They run for around $7 for 4 double ‘A”s.

First I spray painted the contact to match the color of the mailbox (Flat Black)

Finished product.  🙂

Connected and ready to go. (I used double side ‘3M-picture frame’  tape which you can find at any
Walgreens or Homedepot store)

For my mailbox the device sits comfortably underneath but you can also use Velcro to hid the device if needed.

The cables I pass thru one of the small holes on the left hand side. I used glue to tape secure the cables on the side of the mailbox
then another quick spray of black paint.  🙂

Finished product.

What you will get on your side will be the traditional ON/OFF insteon commands.
In my case I have a notification sent to a PC console as well as emails sent to myself.

We’ll after receiving back some of my hard earned money thru 2008. I shelved out the $159 for the Insteon T1700 thermostat.
It can be found here.

The device is quite small, which is fine and thinner that my orginary Honeywell one which was a real plus.  To install was also very simple.
And technical support was awesome!!!  Who expects to call a company and receive a live person and be able to troubleshoot on the phone in less that 3 min.  And to top it off the rep even called me back since he had to leave. At the end it was a simple dip switch due to my model.  So if after you install it and when you turn on cool and heat comes out and vice-versa, just turn on dip switch two and your set!  Thats Again Mike from Venstar!!!!

The only thing would be the ‘light’ on the side of the Insteon module.  so in dark areas it does stand out.
Like mentioned above the device is very small and the insteon module even smaller.
For example check out the image in comparison to my hand

Setting Mode, Getting Temperature of Thermostat

Ok, enough Pictures and talk, lets see how to control this device.

First forget about sending ON/OFF commands, for me they didnt work, nor did they do anything.  What we will be using is the 0x02 command instead of 0x11 for on or 0x13 for OFF.  What I has able to find was the higher numbers after that worked. I’ll show you what

Ive got and show examples after.  In my case I couldnt send request using the regular PLC commands so I ended using the low level calls using the sendhex function, that article can be found here

More ways to speak to your Insteon Devices

For the examples my PLC is # “0D 51 32” and my Thermostat is “01 02 03“.

0x6b – Bit 2 – Get Thermostat Mode (Returned is 00=off,01=Heat,02=Cool,03=Auto,04=Fan)


	Sm.SendPLCHex("02 40 01 A1 00 09 FD 9B 0D 51 32 01 02 03 05 6B 02"	Sm.SendPLCHex("02 46 01 42 10 9F") ' Execute my command

	'You should get the reponse on the Last Bit of your reponse.  For example
	04 01 02 03 0D 51 32 26 6B 02

	So in this case 0x02 Means the device is on COOL.

0x6b – Bit 3 – Get Temperature (Returned is the temperature, you convert to decimal and divide by two)

	Sm.SendPLCHex("02 40 01 A1 00 09 FD 9B 0D 51 32 01 02 03 05 6B 03")
	Sm.SendPLCHex("02 46 01 42 10 9F") ' Execute my command
	'You should get the reponse on the Last Bit of your reponse.  For example
	04 01 02 03 0D 51 32 26 6B 9A 
	So in this case 0x9A Converted to decimal is 154 divide
        that by two and you get 77 degrees!!

0x6b - Bit 4 - Set to Heat

Sm.SendPLCHex("02 40 01 A1 00 09 FD 9B 0D 51 32 01 02 03 05 6B 04")

Sm.SendPLCHex("02 46 01 42 10 9F") ' Execute my command

0x6b - Bit 5 - Set to Cool

Sm.SendPLCHex("02 40 01 A1 00 09 FD 9B 0D 51 32 01 02 03 05 6B 05")

Sm.SendPLCHex("02 46 01 42 10 9F") ' Execute my command
0x6b – Bit 6 – Set to Auto (To switch automatically from Cool to Heat depending on your settings)

	Sm.SendPLCHex("02 40 01 A1 00 09 FD 9B 0D 51 32 01 02 03 05 6B 06")
	Sm.SendPLCHex("02 46 01 42 10 9F") ' Execute my command

0x6b – Bit 7 – Fan on

	Sm.SendPLCHex("02 40 01 A1 00 09 FD 9B 0D 51 32 01 02 03 05 6B 07")
	Sm.SendPLCHex("02 46 01 42 10 9F") ' Execute my command

0x6b – Bit 8 – Fan off

	Sm.SendPLCHex("02 40 01 A1 00 09 FD 9B 0D 51 32 01 02 03 05 6B 08")
	Sm.SendPLCHex("02 46 01 42 10 9F") ' Execute my command

0x6b – Bit 9 – All Off

	Sm.SendPLCHex("02 40 01 A1 00 09 FD 9B 0D 51 32 01 02 03 05 6B 09")
	Sm.SendPLCHex("02 46 01 42 10 9F") ' Execute my command

Setting the Cool / Heat Thermostat Temperature

Here insteon of 0x6B we will be using the 0x6C for Cool and 0x6D for HEAT.  So lets say you’ve set your device to Cool and want to lower it to 75 Degrees.  Just like when we read the temperature, when we set it we need to multiply the requested value * 2 and convert it to HEX.  In the sample below the variable Set_Temp holds what we want it to.  The next statement converts it to HEX and *2 and presto!

'This is the temperature we want to set Cool to!
Dim Temp As String = Hex(Set_Temp * 2)
Sm.SendPLCHex("02 40 01 A1 00 09 FD 9B 0D 51 32 01 02 03 05 6C " + Temp)
Sm.SendPLCHex("02 46 01 42 10 9F")

'This is the temperature we want to set heat to!
Dim Temp As String = Hex(Set_Temp * 2)
Sm.SendPLCHex("02 40 01 A1 00 09 FD 9B 0D 51 32 01 02 03 05 6D " + Temp)
Sm.SendPLCHex("02 46 01 42 10 9F")

Hope this works for you and its working great for me.  Each hour I poll the temperature and as part of that routine I poll my thermostat to keey the information up to date. I’ll post more as I find out!

So after weeks of playing,printing, and busting buttons  I think what I ended up is with some acceptable buttons, here are the layout of my first KeyPad Linc

These were done using a InkJet, I still need to try using a Color Laser to see.  Since I got this one off of ebay it was only the 6 key’s which I got the conversion kit off of SmartHome for $5 to 8 bottons.

The Etched buttons do look better but a bit costly.  Here is the breakdown

8 Button Keypadlinc

Color Kit, which changes the color of the LED behind the button

6 to 8 Button Conversion kit or new buttons if you break one. 🙂

Here is the low down,

1st  – Controls the load on the switch which is in my hallway

2nd – The Kitchen Main light

3rd – The Lights inside the Garage

4th – A group which controls all outside lights, (Garage, flood lights, back lights, entrance etc.)

5th- Not linked to any device but when pressed the PC will turn off all the lights in 2 min’s and set the house state to off, which includes bumping up the thermostat to 80 Degrees.

6th- Linked to my I/O Link to open/monitor the garage.

7th -My Children s room both have a main light and a night light switch, this button is linked to both of them, only thing is the Main Switch has a on – level of  0 which causes only the night light to turn on. The best way for this is to link them manually then go back the the program for Smarthomenet’s and change the turn on code to 0.

8th -Linked to my T1700 Thermostat.  Its linked by setting your thermostat to the desiered state then link like any other switch.  Very simple and clean.  I also link this button back to my PLC so I know its been pressed.

Finally my first Insteon Motion sensor arrived!.  The box is average size and has a pretty big label showing SkyLinc and SmartHome technologies.

Out of the box, cool white color.

The device even comes with its own 9V battery so you can start up quickly.  Linking is the done the same was a other devices.

Like most of the Insteon device it has its traditional SET button, In this case the ‘SET” button is inside the battery compartment.

Which also houses the ‘dip’ switch for fine tuning of the device.  I’ve set mine to not show the LED which is a very BIG led. (I tell you what they are for below the image)
For this reason you can see the PIN #2 is on all others are ‘off’ which are not connected or on the top.

According the the 1 page (What looks like a photocopy) the pins are used for the following

Dip Switches

1.Sensitivity, enable to reduce the sensor 33%

2.Turn of LED (It will still flash if there is a incorrect link or the device you link too has been removed.

3.Night-only mode – Only operate when dark

4.On-Only mode, so it doesn’t tell you when the device hasnt seen movement in 1 minute.

5.Not Used.

The linking was very simple, press the link button and press the link of the device you want to turn on/off.  In my case its the PLC so I can see the ON (0x11) and OFF (0x13) commands and act accordingly.    

I haven’t found any way to change the default re-transmition time which is 1 minute, so unlike the Eagle eye which transmits every 10 seconds, this will only t ransmit if the status changes for example from ON to OFF.  So this means if you have movement in the area you will only see ONE – ON command until one minute after when there is no movement. You wont get a message each minute.    Also there is no way to poll the device, but it does seem to have already hard coded its ‘address’.  So its considered a device which status changes from On for occupied to OFF to no motion detected in 1 min.

Among my findings the RANGE is great!. In my case I have 4 access points so even in the back yard the reception is great!.  The white color is a plus, fits in anywhere , this was something I never understood with the eagle eye’s. (brown) Plus includes its own mointing kit which you can swivel the device.  I used double side tape before using the screws this way I can find the best spot before making it permanent.

Here is the VB/SDM strings which come in when the sensor is activated

02 11 8C F0 00 00 01 CB 13 01 - Which is for OFF (No motion for 1 min)
02 11 8C F0 00 00 01 CB 13 01 - Which is for On (Motion)

02 11 8C F0 00 00 01 CB 11 02 - Which is for Dusk start / Dawn end (Dark for 3 Minutes)
02 11 8C F0 00 00 01 CB 13 02 - Which is for Dusk end start / Dawn Start?

More Pics

Mounting Kit not shown.

I placed my first Insteon Sensor in the top middle hallway, and covers the two corners perfectly,
I quickly removed the two eagle Eye’s I had…

Lets say your like me and you wish to check the status of the contact on your garage.    But notice that regular polls only return the device itself not the status of the contact.

For example maybe at a given time you want to make sure the contact is closed.  Here is how

I’m going to use as reference the original articles of getting “Insteon to talking to your PC found below” Part #1,#2,

This is using VB .NET and assuming you already have some experience with the SDM/PLC commands.

For the Sensor Poll We are going to use the command #19 and a second command of ’01 to query the device.  For example

For this example Lets say for example my plc is AA.BB.CC
My I/O Linc is : 11.22.33


So in VB polling the device using the SDM would be like this,

sm.SendINSTEONRaw(”AA BB CC 11 22 33 05 19 01″, 3)

In return you will get the following bytes, notice the change in the last digit.
If the garage is closed (Contact closed)
 - 04 11 22 33 AA BB CC 25 03 01 

If the garage is closed (Contact OPEN)
 - 04 11 22 33 AA BB CC 25 03 00

If you get FF,FE or other numbers make sure you are using the last 01 on your command #19 as this will give you the state of the device which isnt the contact status.



Hurray, My I/O linc arrived on Saturday 10th!!!

The good news is that its setup and in place.  Setup was a breeze since I’m literally replacing two X10 products for one.  I love it!

So the wiring is the same

Here is my Garage contact I purchased separately before, now as part as a kit.


Since the top part is so light I ended up using Velcro so I didn’t need to drill holes.

Now the I/O Link

Here are the official instructions

As for the hook-up its very straight forward and the on-line manual has a very good description of this.  My recommendation is use the individual strands of a CAT 5 cable, they fit perfect.

Here i’ve connected in my garage door sensor. (Click to magnify) – Green cables

Below I’ve connected my ‘momentary’ switch to the back of the garage opener. (You do have to setup your I/O linc to do the momentary relay before which is the “C” setup).

This is done by pressing the ‘SET” button 3 times x 3 times for a total of 9 times. Double check on-line just to be sure.

Orange is my Open/Close wires to the Garage and the green are my sensors

Here is the box setup next to the Garage opener.  Since there is no space for the I/O linc I had to set it up next to the opener.  Plus I didn’t want to put it flush with the device since it vibrates a lot.

Now each time the device Open’s I get the “11 FF” message and when it closes the “13 FF” message. But i still haven’t figured out
how to read the sensor yet.  Once I get those details I’ll post part 2.

Here is how the linking process works.  It’s done both ways (like a 3-way switch)

* If you want to monitor the garage  status AND use a keylink button you NEED to link then both ways,

1.First open your garage door.

2.Starting linking your I/O link to the KeyLink Key or switch have the switch control your garage then Link Keylink key and then then I/O.

4. This way when you press the key it open/closes as well as the button lights up when you open the door and close it. 🙂

Here are the official instructions

Well 2009 is here, hope it brings you all good things.  This years proves to be exiting for me since i’m now fine tuning the system.  What I mean by that is that now all switches are Insteon and I can get to nitty gritty to getting the little details done.

Tomorrow (Fingers crossed) the 6th Smart Home should be shipping my I/O Linc to replace my current Garage setup.  The current one works fine but many times may fail to report that its closed.  One thing for sure X10 devices suck up Insteon commands and vice/ versa.   For Christmas I got myself a Outlet Linc to replace the Appliance Linc I was using the for coffee Machine.  That device is worth every $.  ($45)  Not only does it look better it fits perfectly into any decora face plate.  Here is the before and after pics.



The top outlet is controlled by Insteon and the bottom one is always on. Perfect!  It even has a button below the top outlet to turn this on and off at will.  Besides here I dont think I can find any other place install one.  But who knows!

I’ve also purchased a additional Access Point for the outside setup which only strengthens the network inside now that Christmas is over . There are some black spots in my home so a extra access point or two doesn’t hurt.  I do admit as I have added in devices its hardly that the devices don’t respond.

My Task  for 2009

1. Garage switch to Insteon from X10

2. Remove X10 transceivers and install ONE directly into the serial port (Take off those Insteon signal suckers)

3. Revamp the Insteon Client

4. Show how purchase the Insteon Thermostat.  (I suspect a bit of the Tax return for this.)

Disclaimer, I’m not an electrician, and mainly just showing what I did, if you chose to do this you do this at your own risk, if you feel uncomfortable please have a professional install this!

Ok, here is my scenario and hopefully this can help you as well.  I have a ceiling fan with a lamp which can be controlled by one switch. You have a couple of options, I chose to have the wall switch control the light and the Insteon Line Linc control the fan.

Here is a picture of the Inline Linc (Pictures are for the Dimmer model, for the fans you must use the relays)

I removed the tabs since its going to hide in the Canopy. They break off really easy…

Here is a pic of my fan/light its from Hunters Bay

My fan which is a hunters bay model has four wires coming out.

Blue – hot to the lamp
white – Neutral
black – hot to the fan.
Green- ground

From the Roof I have three cables
Red – Switch
White – Neutral
Black – Hot all the time
In your case this can vary, I recommend getting a tester and testing each one, the switch/red should lose power each time you hit the switch
Black will always have power.  If you dont have a switch most likely you will have only black and white and a ground.  you can still use the instructions below only tie in the blue with black as from going to the inline linc.

Scenario 1

To control my fan only thru the wall switch I would use the following (This isn’t touching the lamp yet)

From the roof wires to the fan wires,
white with white (neutral)
red(load from switch) to black/fan
You can also put the blue/fan and the black/fan to the red from the roof to power the both from one switch.
Greens all together / ground

Scenario 2 (My case)

Here Im using the wall switch to power the lamp and a Inline Linc to power the FAN (on/off) only. No dimming.
What im doing is breaking in the ‘black/fan’ circuit to put my inline linc,  Sorry for the green being white

Here we go,

Part 1
All whites go together (from fan,roof, and inline linc)
The Black/roof goes to the black of the inlinelinc (To give it power)
The red/roof goes to the blue/fan to assign the switch to the lamp

Part 2

The fan black then connects to the red/inline linc and your set.
All grounds go together or where metals connect.

Check the canopy size that you can fit the linelinc before you start, in my case I had to install it above the fan housing and basically start all over.

You can see the wires from the InLine Link have a label on them

The inline Linc black with the black off the roof and the inline linc red with the black going to the fan 🙂

All whites together… 🙂 These are your neutrals.

Here you can see the blue (gives power to the lamp)  with the RED coming from the ceiling. Which is the one a switch controls,

and yes its  Insteon switch as well.  🙂

All whites together…  Here you can also see clear the Inline Linc Red to the black of the fan
And the Inline Linc black to the black from the ceiling for power so you can see where were cutting in. 🙂

If you like me you really don’t need to know when its dusk and dawn, especially if your getting your sunset, sunrise information daily from the Internet.  Also the Eagle eye will transmit this on the next unit #. For example if you have it configured for A1 it will transmit dawn and dawn in A2, which is really a wasted slot in my opinion, also each x10 transceiver can catch 16 devices which are eaten up fast if you have a couple of the devices already.  Also in my case I have a motion sensor in my entrance that will fire a dusk/dawn alert each time the light goes on.

By using a small little black tape you can disable it.  Yes you can do this by the buttons but this is just another way of doing it. 🙂

The process involves opening the device so your on your own. Im not a expert so again its it to you.

1. Flip the device on its back, you don’t need to remove the batteries

2nd Unscrew all 4 of them and you will see the front cover pop-out

3rd You will see the dusk/dawn sensor right next to the motion sensor. What we will do is just put a small little black tape over it. I’ve

circled it in red.

4. this is how it looks with the tape covering it.  Make sure not to cover the sensor.

Close and your ready to go!!!