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Stargate-Insteon Integration: Update

I now have my PLM command sequences in then Macros. Each consists of two lines of ASCII-Out code (decimal numbers) and an X10 address status update like this:

ASCII-Out:’’ [COM3]
ASCII-Out:’’ [COM3]
X10:A-3 Set State to On

The X10 “Set State” commands change the state in the SG memory (displayed in the MegaController window) without sending X10 signals. A series of Then Macros can then be called like this:

(THEN MACRO: Kitchen 1 Insteon ON)
(THEN MACRO: Kitchen 2 Insteon ON)
DELAY 0:00:00
(THEN MACRO: Dining Insteon ON)
(THEN MACRO: Entry Insteon ON)
DELAY 0:00:00

Note that the DELAY commands for zero seconds are inserted every two Insteon commands to give the PLM a chance to process (three in a row creates errors). It turns out that the PLM controls flow from a host by sending ACK or NACK bytes at the end of its response to each command. If the host sees a NACK in response to a command it is suppose to resend the same command. Since the SG does not see these, we need to use this ‘Duct tape’ solution to control data flow to the PLM (using the buffered switch mentioned in the previous post did not help at all). BUT- I did an acid test with this method and it worked great. Here’s what I did:

I created an event that turned on five Insteon lights in sequence, then turned the same five lights off, and repeated this five times for a rapid sequence of 50 on/off commands. I then had my kid start the sequence while I timed from when the first light came on to the last light going off- this was consistently 6 – 7 seconds! Really fast! After doing this 10 or some times we saw no errors in the light status at the end of each trial (all five lights were off). I also have had no errors in a week of testing this method. So, I’m expecting that I might get more errors as I increase the number of Insteon devices (I have six right now), but for now this is a very reliable and simple solution for Insteon integration.

Just for grins we tried the same experiment with X10 lights – 5 lights with 50 on/off sequences same as above. We just tried this once (the kid was getting impatient), but it too 47 seconds to from the first on to the last off – that’s almost one second per X10 command whereas Insteon is doing 7 or 8 per second.

So, for now I’m settled on using the PLM but am keeping my eCov 110 in reserve in case I need it down the road. One good thing is that the folks at SimpleHomeNet have made higher level XML commands that are simpler and more intuitive. This is the SendInsteon command set available at this site:


The commands look like this:



But note that you still have to use the Binary command (decimal and ) for the bracket characters – . The command set includes lots of dim levels but currently is pretty limited.

I would be interested to hear about anybody else’s trials with these methods, or maybe somebody can figure out how to solve the serial communication problem with the SG. Apparently the ISY controllers have an extra serial port that could be used to directly communicate with the SG. I don’t have the bucks to shell out for one of those, so unless Universal Devices is willing to give me one to experiment with, somebody else will have to tackle that one.