Running the Insteon PLM Driver for the First Time

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Version Status Date Updated Updated By
710 Unknown N/A N/A
810 Unknown N/A N/A
1004 Unknown N/A N/A
1204 Unknown N/A N/A
Usage Information

Monitoring the log

Because this is a BETA driver, I recommend that everyone who runs this, please monitor the log for errors.

To monitor the log:

  • Open WebAdmin
  • On the Left pane, select 'Generic Serial Devices'
  • On the Insteon PLM Device, click 'Advanced'
  • in the TOP RIGHT, click 'FOLLOW LOG'

This will pop up a new window with the log processing in real time. When you quick reload the router, I'd recommend pressing F5 on the Log window to clear out the old history. During the initialization of the GSD, it shows all the code (over 2000 lines) before it actually 'starts' (hence the refresh)

Initial Device Setup

Insteon Devices

Running for the first time

Initially, the driver needs at least ONE active lighting device. To add a device to the Insteon PLM, you will need to hold down the set button on the Insteon PLM for 10 seconds. Then go to a light and hold down the on button on a light until the light flashes. The driver will download this device's database and attempt to extract other Insteon ID's from it. Then it goes out and PINGS those devices in turn, to find out what kind of device they are. Once that is finished, it attempts to download each device's database, in turn, looking for more Insteon devices. This procedure, nicknamed 'Spidering', continues until all devices and device links are recognized. Once this 'Spider' is complete, the driver reports all detected devices, to LinuxMCE.

Running for the Second time

Once the devices have been added to LinuxMCE, they can now hold their configuration. Even though all the databases were downloaded during the first run, the devices themselves did not exist, and therefore, we can't store their configuration during the first run. This happens on the second run. You will now see a 'Configuration' field in each device. This holds the device's Type, Database Delta, and all ALDB records (the remote database) encoded into a long string.

If, at any time, you want to re-download a device's database, simple delete the configuration string. Upon next reload, the driver will go out and redownload the remote database.

Running after the first two times

Part of the configuration string is something called a DATABASE DELTA. It's basically a byte that increments each time the remote database is altered.

I store the Database Delta when I read the complete database. Then, upon router reloads, I ONLY read the database delta from the device. I compare that with the value stored in it's configuration, and if they are the same, I know I don't need to do any further downloads to that device.

This speeds up initialization dramatically. Sending 1 command vs sending 8 commands per record, and on average, more than 2 records.


Currently, I cannot figure out how to call the Lighting Wizard. Ideally, this would run at this point to allow simple configuration of all the lighting devices.
Alas, you'll have to use webAdmin to select Rooms and Floorplan Object Types. (don't forget this, it's important!)

Note: The Driver will automatically determine the type of device. If it's a Dimmer, it will assign it to Lighting Switch (dimmable). If it's a switched device(on/off), it will assign it to Lighting Device (ON/OFF). If it's a EZRain1 Sprinkler controller, it will assign it to an Irrigation device! (This may need some debugging)


X10 Devices

X10 Devices must all be added manually to the Lighting Devices. X10 devices are truly 'dumb' devices, and hence, don't have databases to download.

X10 Motion Sensors can be used as Security Devices. They report an ON command when motion is sensed, and an OFF when no motion is sensed (within a timeout period)

X10 and Insteon can co-exist. (You can have a mix of devices)


Bidirectional Communication

The Insteon devices support Full 2-way communication. You can verify this by watching the logs as you turn a light switch on/off or dim/brighten a light switch.

X10 Devices support 2-way communication of ON/OFF commands only. Support for more commands can be implemented with little trouble. (I had to get the beta out)

Error Detection

As with all communication systems, there's always errors. Power Line Communication errors are handled in this fashion:

  • Process IDLE triggers about once every 2-3 seconds (I think)
  • Commands will TIMEOUT on the FIFTH Process IDLE (watch the log, you'll see)
  • When a TIMEOUT is detected, the command is retried 3 times before FAILING.
  • When a command FAILS, the driver simply discards the command.

Sample Setup

GenericDevice.JPG This is a picture of the PLM setup. This is what it should look like after you have completed the steps detailed in this wiki. Your "com port on PC" will likely be different as well as the room name (should be the room containing your core)

LightingDevice.JPG This second picture is for two devices. the first the light dimmer switch, and the second is actually switchable wall receptical which in this setup is used for floor lights. (NOTE: Soon there will be an automatic setup, but current these were set up manually)

The floorplan info is not needed, this is just the map point for your floorplan. (you may not have/want/need one) The PK_FloorplanObjectType will be setup when you add the new device and pick a template The port channel number (also referred to as the Insteon ID) is a hex code you'll find on the device itself. (a small sticker at the bottom)


Some additional information concerning the configuration string: As noted in the second image device configuration strings: This field is added by ddamron's driver, so you don't have to put anything there. fyi:

  • 00-01 = Device Cat
  • 02-03 = Device Subcat
  • 04-05 = Database Delta

after the ******** starts the ACTUAL DEVICE's COMPLETE DATABASE (in the form it's stored in the device)

For this example: Device # 75 is Insteon Devcat 01 (Lighting Control Dimming) and subcat 04 = SwitchLinc V2 Dimmer 1000W [2476DH] Your Device # 76 is Insteon Devcat 02(Lighting Control Switched) and subcat 08 = OutletLinc [2473S]

To activate the 'spider', reset the configuration line, (delete it). When the router is reloaded, it compared the database delta (04-05) with the database delta in the remote device. If they are different, it downloads the complete database automagically, then examines that database for links it doesn't know about, attempts to connect to them, adds them as 'children', and downloads their device databases, and continues like so, until it doesn't find any new records.

Advanced Setup

Advanced Lighting Settings