X10 Community Forum

🔌General Home Automation => Other Automation Systems => Smarthome & Insteon => Topic started by: Brian H on April 12, 2022, 01:23:55 PM

Title: Insteon as we know it is gone
Post by: Brian H on April 12, 2022, 01:23:55 PM
There is a thread on the UDI forums about Insteon and Smarthome being gone.
At least as we know it.
The UDI Administrator indicated it was gone a few week ago,

https://forum.universal-devices.com/topic/35676-smarthome-forum-appears-to-be-offline/
Forums gone. Main pages have no new modules.

Nokia seems to be where  Insteon technology has gone. Their modules do show the six digit ID Number we are use to seeing. Though no comment on if they will support the present Insteon devices. IMHO I don't think they will

Update.
The HUB severer starting to work again.
It was announced that a few of Insteon team has taken over the Insteon line and hopes to get Insteon back running.
Title: Re: Insteon as we know it is gone
Post by: brobin on April 13, 2022, 05:18:20 PM
It's tough for a company to survive when they can't sell new product.  Without new customers there's no money to support old customers. For better or worse, X10 and Insteon are not on the radar of anyone looking to set up automation in their homes today.  There are cheaper, easier and just as, if not more, reliable options albeit mostly cloud based.  But that issue doesn't faze those who run their whole lives in the cloud already.

Let's face it, I you moved into a brand new home and the moving truck containing all your X10/Insteon stuff was stolen (that actually happened to my parents 40 years ago!) would you start fresh by buying either of those?  I wouldn't.  If it weren't for my Stargate controller I'd have moved on completely from X10 by now.  I had a house full of Insteon stuff at one time with a UDI controller that worked well and I left that for the new owners.

Technology marches on!
Title: Re: Insteon as we know it is gone
Post by: toasterking on April 14, 2022, 12:59:52 AM
That's disappointing.

When Insteon was a new offering, I was really impressed with the performance, the longstanding X10 PLC issues addressed in its design, and the X10 backward compatibility.  I was hopeful that it would eventually match or surpass X10 in terms of low cost, support by other manufacturers, and making the standard more open and accessible to hobbyists and hackers.  From my perspective, that never quite happened.  I did buy a couple dozen Insteon modules and used them strictly with X10, still hoping to get more out of that investment in the future.  Eventually, they started removing X10 compatibility from their module designs, ceasing X10 support, and/or crippling the X10 compatibility in some way.  That was the end of it for me.

Insteon was introduced at a critical point in the boom of a new generation of home automation technologies.  I feel like it never gained the momentum it needed early on to ride the wave.  Regardless, I'm not sure that the protocol design was forward-thinking enough to continue to compete with modern tech in all areas of home automation.  It started off strong as a superior alternative to X10 PLC, but that's just not what the industry wants anymore.

FWIW, I'm still hoping that Insteon has some kind of a future in the low end market.  But I don't know how accessible it will be to the kind of manufacturers who would pick it up for that purpose in the short term if patents are still in place.  And official licensing could be messy or impossible, at least for a while.
Title: Re: Insteon as we know it is gone
Post by: beelocks on April 14, 2022, 07:22:22 AM
You know you're getting old when you read the obituary column looking for people you used to know.
Title: Re: Insteon as we know it is gone
Post by: bkenobi on April 15, 2022, 10:14:15 AM
All protocols have issues.  The primary issue with both X10 and Insteon is they are based on 1970's technology which can be used as a negative when competitors are selling the new IoT modules.  RF has its own issues though, so I don't really think it's as black/white as those comparisons would suggest.  I've read a number of posts around the internets that shows others with different style systems have the same types of problems with reliability and setup.

In my mind, X10 never got over the company that had popups take over your screen to try to convince prospective buyers of the merits of bugging your bedroom for the impending sexy rondevue with the lady in the red dress.  Good thing they haven't used those ads in a while or they would be cancelled (why couldn't it be a man in a red dress?).

X10 sold all those units at a $5/module price point to get market share which worked great for that.  But then what?  They certainly don't keep the doors open at that price as we saw.  And competing systems sold for $50/module.  I had hoped Insteon would bridge that with quality modules in the $15-20 range...but that only happened with a few modules for a short time from my memory.
Title: Re: Insteon as we know it is gone
Post by: SkipWX10 on April 15, 2022, 07:57:27 PM
For the record...I'm happy I got the Smartenit Harmony P2 - Base System plus a SmartLabs 2412U PLM or for control of INSTEON and X10 devices via powerline ONLY

I would never have been interested in any Insteon stuff since I just have a simple X10 lighting system run off a CM15a, but it's turned out nice for us to have the Alexa integration...so i'm glad they still included X10 in the 2412 PLM
Title: Re: Insteon as we know it is gone
Post by: brobin on April 15, 2022, 09:05:31 PM
Keep an eye out on ebay for a spare 2412U or a 2413U (the 13 also does Insteon RF but is more prone to failure).  The 2412S and 2413S also work with a serial to USB adapter.  Always good to have a spare!
Title: Re: Insteon as we know it is gone
Post by: Brian H on April 16, 2022, 06:00:30 AM
One thing to verify on a used 2412 units.
The 2412U and 2412S came in two versions. Early hardware was 417 link database  and the later ones >2000 link database. That is if your setup uses the link database to store Insteon ID numbers and should not effect X10 signaling.
The 2412S units also have a 12 volt unregulated power on two of the serial port wires. Around 18-20 volts DC.

Awhile back. Smartenit was selling surplus 2412U and 2412S modules. Just keeping enough to satisfy the P2 and maybe G2 units they still have.

Just looked. The P2 units are all sold out. The G2 are still available.
Title: Re: Insteon as we know it is gone
Post by: Brian H on April 16, 2022, 06:08:31 AM
The folks using the Insteon HUB units are all cut off from doing much.
Seems the Insteon HUB servers are also off line.
From what I have seen posted. If you do a factory reset as the manual suggests. You now own a brick!
Title: Re: Insteon as we know it is gone
Post by: brobin on April 16, 2022, 12:00:09 PM
This is precisely the problem with cloud based systems. Everything is wonderful until the company fails or just decides to turn off the servers that support the investment made by it's customers.  Amazon will likely keep it's Alexa ecosystem alive for many years but smaller companies rely on revenue from new sales to keep the servers running.  All we can do is keep our fingers crossed!

Years ago I had several ReplayTV units which were similar to Tivo DVRs.  ReplayTV was sold and the new company never developed a product with digital tuners so sales dried up.  Even though the users had purchased lifetime subscriptions or paid monthly the company decided to shut down their servers turning the units into doorstops.  Fortunately the company gave the software to a dedicated group of users who created their own server to support the remaining base.
Title: Re: Insteon as we know it is gone
Post by: JeffVolp on April 17, 2022, 11:16:07 AM
Let's face it, I you moved into a brand new home and the moving truck containing all your X10/Insteon stuff was stolen (that actually happened to my parents 40 years ago!) would you start fresh by buying either of those?  I wouldn't.

Actually, I probably would stay with X10.  The stuff is incredibly cheap.  And I know how to make it work reliably.  Will alternatives still be viable a decade from now?

Jeff.
Title: Re: Insteon as we know it is gone
Post by: JeffVolp on April 17, 2022, 11:29:41 AM
Keep an eye out on ebay for a spare 2412U or a 2413U (the 13 also does Insteon RF but is more prone to failure).  The 2412S and 2413S also work with a serial to USB adapter.  Always good to have a spare!

As I recall, the Smartenit Harmony uses an Insteon powerline interface.  Is there an alternative if the supply of those dry up?  If not, I wonder if the XTB-232 could be modified to fill that need?  The baud rate is 19,200 versus the 4800 for the CM11A protocol.  Is the 2412/2413 protocol defined somewhere?

Jeff

Title: Re: Insteon as we know it is gone
Post by: brobin on April 17, 2022, 11:52:53 AM
I don't know of any alternatives and the prices on ebay have recently jumped to over $100 for a used one (lucky I have a stash of spares!).  Adapting the XTB-232 sounds like a great idea!

Here's a link to the protocols (page 24):
https://cache.insteon.com/pdf/INSTEON_Modem_Developer's_Guide_20071012a.pdf

The folks at Smartenit might be very interested in collaborating with you on this.  It might be worth an email to Al Choperena, the company's Pres/CEO: alchoper@smartenit.com
Title: Re: Insteon as we know it is gone
Post by: SkipWX10 on April 17, 2022, 12:59:16 PM
Let's face it, I you moved into a brand new home and the moving truck containing all your X10/Insteon stuff was stolen (that actually happened to my parents 40 years ago!) would you start fresh by buying either of those?  I wouldn't.

Actually, I probably would stay with X10.  The stuff is incredibly cheap.  And I know how to make it work reliably.  Will alternatives still be viable a decade from now?

Jeff.

Great point! I'm still using the Radio Shack 'plug n power' modules and controllers I bought in 1980 or so!

How many of the cloud versions of home automation so prolific now will last that long?
Title: Re: Insteon as we know it is gone
Post by: JeffVolp on April 17, 2022, 01:03:09 PM
I don't know of any alternatives and the prices on ebay have recently jumped to over $100 for a used one (lucky I have a stash of spares!).  Adapting the XTB-232 sounds like a great idea!

Here's a link to the protocols (page 24):
https://cache.insteon.com/pdf/INSTEON_Modem_Developer's_Guide_20071012a.pdf

The folks at Smartenit might be very interested in collaborating with you on this.  It might be worth an email to Al Choperena, the company's Pres/CEO: alchoper@smartenit.com

Thanks, that is exactly what I was searching for.

Note however, a XTB-232 mod would strictly support X10 as Insteon uses a totally different protocol that would not be compatible with the XTB transmitter.

The X10 protocol looks simpler than the handshaking used by the CM11A, so a firmware mod certainly looks feasible.

Jeff
Title: Re: Insteon as we know it is gone
Post by: brobin on April 17, 2022, 01:31:43 PM
I don't need Insteon so put me down for one.  I'll bet yours puts out a stronger signal!
Title: Re: Insteon as we know it is gone
Post by: JeffVolp on April 17, 2022, 02:13:26 PM
I don't need Insteon so put me down for one.  I'll bet yours puts out a stronger signal!

Yes, just like the XTBR and XTB-523, over 20Vpp into a 5 ohm load.

I was looking for a Smartenit Harmony P2 for testing, and they appear to have been discontinued.  It looks like they are moving away from X10/Insteon support, probably because the powerline interface is no longer available.

Jeff
Title: Re: Insteon as we know it is gone
Post by: brobin on April 17, 2022, 03:43:26 PM
The G2 is still available albeit at a higher price.  The G2 has built in WiFi but other than that there's no practical difference.  How long do you think you'd need the P2 if I lent you mine?

An email to Al about what you're planning might get you a unit for testing too.
Title: Re: Insteon as we know it is gone
Post by: Brian H on April 17, 2022, 04:01:42 PM
The PLM module supply has been dried up for a long time now.
Just look at Ebay some are >$400 if there are any there. With no guarantee they didn't have cap issues.
That is why we have a very long thread on the UDI forums on replacing them with good low ESR parts.

Many of the Smartenit modules where built on the base 2412 or 2413 main boards.
When we started seeing switching power supply cap problems.
They had Smarthome make them more of the 2412 boards. Adding their own custom daughter boards.
They where dumping extra 2412U/S modules on Ebay a while back.
Right now almost all their modules are marked as sold out.

The users of the Insteon HUB units are really behind the 8 ball. It used servers to do all the things. Although I have seen a few users use a TTL to RS232 board and get their ISY994i working. Some third party software also can use a HUB as an interface and by pass the missing PLM.
Title: Re: Insteon as we know it is gone
Post by: Brian H on April 17, 2022, 04:56:21 PM
The P2 was originally a Pogo Plug Personal Cloud unit.
When they went out of business. Many units where on places like Ebay. Though the sellers didn't tell you you needed the servers to use it. As it tried to phone home to a dead server.

Smartenit found the way to reprogram it for use with the USB version of the PLM.
The P2 kit had an optional 2412U you could buy with it.
Title: Re: Insteon as we know it is gone
Post by: JeffVolp on April 17, 2022, 04:58:29 PM
The G2 is still available albeit at a higher price.  The G2 has built in WiFi but other than that there's no practical difference.  How long do you think you'd need the P2 if I lent you mine?

An email to Al about what you're planning might get you a unit for testing too.

Yes, I saw the G2, and that may be the option for a test unit.  I never bought a P2 because it did not support X10 extended commands.

I might need a test unit for a few months, depending on how much time I could devote to the task.

I'll follow up and contact Al Choperena.

Jeff
Title: Re: Insteon as we know it is gone
Post by: brobin on April 17, 2022, 05:49:15 PM
The way I got around the extended commands was to have the P2 send an X10 on or off trigger command to tell the Stargate (Ocelot in your case) to do whatever needs to be done.  So to turn desk lamp B-2 on to 54% I use an X10 trigger code of N-2 ON.  Of course that's only good for pre-defined settings.


In the P2:

N-2 is defined as 'Desk Lamp'
When Alexa hears 'Turn On Desk Lamp' the P2 sends 'N-2 N-ON'

In the Stargate:

IF      N-2 N-ON is received
THEN Set B-2 to 54%
(add additional THEN statements to create scenes)

IF      N-2 N-OFF is received
THEN Turn B-2 OFF

Note: that I use the actual signals received as opposed to the on/off status.

Since my Stargate no longer reliably sends emails I do the reverse to have the P2 send them:

In Stargate:

IF      'Digital Input 3' (Mailbox Sensor) turns OFF
THEN Turn N-16 ON
         DELAY 5sec
         Turn N-16 OFF

In the P2:

IF      N-16 is ON
THEN Send email...
Title: Re: Insteon as we know it is gone
Post by: Brian H on April 17, 2022, 08:38:09 PM
As you found out.
Smarthome chose to use the standard X10 and %Dim commands and not the Extended Commands.
It just returns the command sent to it and requested data. With an ACK if accepted or a NAK if rejected.
The PLM used an FTDI interface chip for USB communications.
Title: Re: Insteon as we know it is gone
Post by: JeffVolp on April 17, 2022, 09:45:30 PM
As you found out.
Smarthome chose to use the standard X10 and %Dim commands and not the Extended Commands.
It just returns the command sent to it and requested data. With an ACK if accepted or a NAK if rejected.

Interesting...  The XTB-232 mod could convert a %dim into a reduced resolution extended command as a mode option.  Our Leviton switches accept extended commands, but not %dim.

Jeff
Title: Re: Insteon as we know it is gone
Post by: toasterking on April 18, 2022, 02:16:27 PM
Interesting...  The XTB-232 mod could convert a %dim into a reduced resolution extended command as a mode option.  Our Leviton switches accept extended commands, but not %dim.
Would this work with, or could it be retrofitted to, an unmodified XTB-232 already in use with X10 only (the CM11A protocol at 4800 bps)?  Could the conversion occur in both directions (send: extcode to preset dim; receive: preset dim to extcode)?

I have several Insteon SwitchLinc dimmer switches still in use that use only the preset dim commands, which I have tried to cater to in my own code on the PC.  Sending a preset dim command is the easy part and usually works fine.  The problem, for me, is when the switches send their preset dim level back and I have to decode the virtual house code nonsense into usable information, using an asynchronous interface and scheduling scheme which could hardly be called "real time".  I would be very happy if this problem were solved for me.  :)

As I see it, there are a few problems with the preset dim arrangement of the (unofficial) protocol.  But besides being weird and messy, the most significant one is that the sequence is not transactional; it is sent as 2 completely separate and independently valid commands.  If you have line noise or interference by an "impolite" transmitter, whichever command was not corrupted now means something different.  If you add collision detection or avoidance, the two commands could arrive intact but nonconsecutively; there could be 1 or more unrelated commands from another transmitter in the middle, again changing their meaning.  If you're trying to send preset dim commands, you accordingly have to pay special attention to other activity on the line and resend the entire sequence if another transmission interferes.  If you're trying to receive preset dim commands, the only thing you can do is try to sanitize your inputs, correlate the pieces together as best you can, and discard data that is obviously wrong.

I'm sure you realize all of this already.  But I'm just trying to illustrate why this is a problem for me.  And if you endeavor to decode incoming preset dim commands, this complexity may come with it.  Unless I'm just totally missing something, which is quite possible! ???
Title: Re: Insteon as we know it is gone
Post by: JeffVolp on April 18, 2022, 03:15:32 PM
Interesting...  The XTB-232 mod could convert a %dim into a reduced resolution extended command as a mode option.  Our Leviton switches accept extended commands, but not %dim.
Would this work with, or could it be retrofitted to, an unmodified XTB-232 already in use with X10 only (the CM11A protocol at 4800 bps)?  Could the conversion occur in both directions (send: extcode to preset dim; receive: preset dim to extcode)?

The XTB-232 supports both transmitting and receiving extended commands using the CM11A protocol.  Obviously, it also supports transmitting and receiving preset dim commands too because they are included in the normal command set.  Of course it is possible to convert one to another, but at this stage I cannot justify the effort for perhaps a handful of people who would use that feature.

Looking at the XTB-XM (for X10 Modem), this is not quite as simple as I first thought.  Years ago I developed a 1132 protocol converter for the PSC05/TW523.  I thought I could adapt that to this application, but SmartHome used a different protocol for the Insteon modem.  And it runs at 19.2K Baud rather than the 9600 for the 1132.  To keep both the 120KHz and 19.2K close to the correct frequency, the PIC clock has to go up to 16MHz (actually tuned to 16.32MHz).  So that means all timing values will have to be adjusted too.

Since this is a more extensive effort that I first thought, I need to see if there would be sufficient interest to make the effort worthwhile.  There are only about 20 XTB-232's left.  I have not heard back from Al Choperena to see if he had any interest, but perhaps my email was intercepted as spam.

Jeff
Title: Re: Insteon as we know it is gone
Post by: toasterking on April 19, 2022, 01:01:21 PM
I cannot justify the effort for perhaps a handful of people who would use that feature.
That's what I thought you would say.  I would gladly pay for a firmware update that does preset dim translation, but I expect I'm still in the extreme minority (perhaps even moreso when offering to pay!).
Title: Re: Insteon as we know it is gone
Post by: JeffVolp on April 19, 2022, 06:42:44 PM
I did hear back from Smartenit, and they would consider resuming production of their own PLM before a modified XTB-232.

But since I was already working on the mod, I may continue to a beta version as a retrofit for existing XTB-232s.

Jeff
Title: Re: Insteon as we know it is gone
Post by: Brian H on April 19, 2022, 06:54:38 PM
I don't think Smartenit can produce more 2412 PLM modules.
They used a base 2412 PLM from the now gone Smarthome and unless they got a firmware licensed for Insteon. They can't legally make their own.

Since the company just disappearing with out an official statement.
The management erasing all references to the company in their professional information.
Some of the trade related web sites just now posting on it.
Smartenit may not have known yet of the situation.
Title: Re: Insteon as we know it is gone
Post by: Brian H on April 20, 2022, 06:58:39 AM
There maybe a slim ray of hope.
Due to an NDA. They can't say much but have indicated UDI maybe interested in acquiring the Insteon protocol rights.
Title: Re: Insteon as we know it is gone
Post by: Brian H on April 20, 2022, 05:57:24 PM
They finally made a statement on it being gone.
https://www.insteon.com/news2022
Title: Re: Insteon as we know it is gone
Post by: toasterking on April 20, 2022, 06:44:11 PM
but have indicated UDI maybe interested in acquiring the Insteon protocol rights.
:D
They finally made a statement on it being gone.
:(

The statement seems a bit open-ended and indicates that the company is still looking for a buyer.  But "optimize the assets of the company" seems likely to lead to "liquidate the assets of the company".

If UDI ends up as the buyer of even the protocol, it will be interesting to see what they do with it.  The Insteon PLC/RF "dual mesh" protocol and implementation could never be everything to everyone, but I've always found it fascinating and think it still has life left in it.  Tech that can build a network out of nothing, over two mediums simultaneously, with built-in message repeating, recovery, and fallback, is nothing to sneeze at.
Title: Re: Insteon as we know it is gone
Post by: toasterking on April 20, 2022, 08:15:43 PM
I suppose this should have been obvious, but it turns out that the Insteon protocol, at least the PLC part, has already been reverse-engineered.  This is what has allowed open source projects like Home Assistant and OpenHAB to add Insteon support.  Beyond a legal formality for commercial development, I don't see why UDI would be seeking rights to a protocol specification that is already out in the wild and DRM-free.
Title: Re: Insteon as we know it is gone
Post by: toasterking on April 20, 2022, 08:22:15 PM
Despite the servers for their mobile app having gone offline, the Insteon user forum having vanished, and the company disappearing...

https://www.insteon.com/systemstatus
B:(

Title: Re: Insteon as we know it is gone
Post by: Brian H on April 21, 2022, 06:36:37 AM
The issue at the time was the programmed chips from Smarthome for their PLM in 2017.
The we are still operational statement was dated years ago. From what I have seen.
I have seen Home Assistant with Insteon support added can use a HUB as an interface.
I know that many of the once a NDA needed information. Where released on their site so I am not surprised others have started using the message format.
Title: Re: Insteon as we know it is gone
Post by: JeffVolp on April 21, 2022, 01:51:49 PM
Since I don't have a Harmony to test with, I need some info regarding startup.  When first powered up the CM11A sends a query to the host once a second for initialization.  It doesn't look like the SmartHome devices do that.  But the host may still communicate with the IM regarding its configuration, version, etc.  Obviously, any mod to the XTB-232 must support that communication just like the present version supports the CM11A initialization.

Jeff
Title: Re: Insteon as we know it is gone
Post by: Brian H on April 22, 2022, 06:04:40 AM
I am not sure of what is does at power up.
It uses an Ethernet connection and their APP. I never looked at the network communications.
Isn't the XTB-232 a serial type connection?
On the chance you didn't get it. The P2 Quick Start Guide.
https://docs.smartenit.com/gateways/harmony_p2_quick-start.pdf
Title: Re: Insteon as we know it is gone
Post by: JeffVolp on April 22, 2022, 10:42:23 AM
It uses an Ethernet connection and their APP. I never looked at the network communications.
Isn't the XTB-232 a serial type connection?
On the chance you didn't get it. The P2 Quick Start Guide.

Yes, I downloaded the Quick Start Guide from the earlier link, but it doesn't get into any communication details.  The Modem Developers Guide does that.

What isn't clear in that document is whether there is handshaking with the "02" on transmission before the other bytes are sent.  And it appears there is no handshaking at all on receiving.  The IM just sends a 4-byte burst and assumes the computer received it properly.

In addition to the X10 transmit and receive, there are other commands associated with the IM configuration.  I wondered which of those commands must be supported.

The XTB-232 is not a network device.  It emulates the same serial port communication used by the X10 CM11A.  The IM uses a typical Ethernet cable, but it is actually configured for a 19.2K Baud serial port.  So the cable used for the XTB-232 mod would have to be custom made using the 3 serial port lines - TX, RX, GND.

I don't have any information on how the SmartHome IM connects to the Harmony.  I had assumed that would be the 19.2K Baud serial link, but I have not found any documentation on how that is actually implemented.  Does one use a USB to serial adapter plugged into the Harmony?  If so, then the same USB to serial adapter should work for the XTB-XM except the cable would have to be modified from the 8-wire to the 4-wire connector used for the CM11A / XTB-232.

Jeff
Title: Re: Insteon as we know it is gone
Post by: brobin on April 22, 2022, 11:09:50 AM
Jeff,  FWIW, I've used a USB to serial adapter between the Harmony and a 2412S PLM without issue.
Title: Re: Insteon as we know it is gone
Post by: bkenobi on April 22, 2022, 11:33:52 AM
Yeah, "optimize the assets" definitely feels like code for sell off for as much as we can get.  If one company bought it all, that would be great, but most likely they will sell the tooling and IP separately to whoever can use it.
Title: Re: Insteon as we know it is gone
Post by: JeffVolp on April 22, 2022, 11:52:11 AM
Jeff,  FWIW, I've used a USB to serial adapter between the Harmony and a 2412S PLM without issue.

That's great to know.  It must have a RJ45 to plug into the IM.  The CM11A / XTB-232 uses a 4P4C, so either it would need a different cable or an adapter.

Jeff
Title: Re: Insteon as we know it is gone
Post by: brobin on April 22, 2022, 01:17:53 PM
Here's some more info on the 2412S pinout:
https://images.app.goo.gl/wjDfKc3eALEYH4ts7
Title: Re: Insteon as we know it is gone
Post by: JeffVolp on April 22, 2022, 02:38:58 PM
Here's some more info on the 2412S pinout:
https://images.app.goo.gl/wjDfKc3eALEYH4ts7

Yes, that's the same as for the 2413S.  The CM11A / XTB-232 use a 4P4C with just the serial I/O and Ring Indicator.
Title: Re: Insteon as we know it is gone
Post by: Brian H on May 01, 2022, 06:38:29 AM
Looks like they are officially gone.
A few have started receiving a notice the creditors on it going out of business and how to process a claim on Smartlabs.

Title: Re: Insteon as we know it is gone
Post by: bkenobi on May 01, 2022, 11:04:05 AM
That's what "asset optimization" means, so no surprise here.  Too bad.
Title: Re: Insteon as we know it is gone
Post by: brobin on May 01, 2022, 11:42:29 AM
Looks like it might be time to optimize some of my assets by selling off my Insteon inventory. The prices on ebay are crazy!
Title: Re: Insteon as we know it is gone
Post by: Brian H on May 01, 2022, 05:29:48 PM
OH yes. The Ebay prices are outrageous.
Those with the now almost useless HUBs. Do have a few options. There are a few programs that can use a HUB to control and setup Insteon.
Title: Re: Insteon as we know it is gone
Post by: JeffVolp on May 04, 2022, 03:02:48 PM
The XTB-232 conversion has turned out to be both simpler and more complex than anticipated.

Simpler because there is no handshaking with the computer.  It receives an X10 command and just fires it off to the computer at 19.2Kbaud, so that takes place in the half cycle after the command is recognized.  The SmartHome protocol just assumes the computer is ready to accept it whenever it is sent, and that it receives it correctly.

More complex because the XTB-232 was built for the CM11A protocol, which handshakes with the computer to establish communication and verify data was transferred correctly.  This process can take seconds when the computer is in standby, and the code is set up accordingly.  So all of that must be eliminated.

Also more complex because there is no handshaking on incoming commands, so it must be ready to receive a burst of serial bytes anytime, regardless of what else it is doing.

The XTB-232 is set up to both receive and transmit extended commands.  Nothing in the SmartHome protocol supports that, so extended commands will be ignored.  I may include an option to turn a preset dim command from the computer into an extended dim command with reduced resolution to allow it to work with Leviton dimmers.

I still need to know what the Harmony does at powerup to verify it is connected to the IM.

Also, is there a problem if the Harmony receives an upload for each half of the doublet?  Does the second serial transmission have to be suppressed when both halves of the doublet is received?  ( A1, A1, A_ON, A_ON.)  If so, I assume it would still need every bright and dim command in a sequence.

Jeff
Title: Re: Insteon as we know it is gone
Post by: brobin on May 04, 2022, 03:17:00 PM
What would I gave to do to observe that?

Title: Re: Insteon as we know it is gone
Post by: JeffVolp on May 04, 2022, 03:44:32 PM
What would I gave to do to observe that?

Maybe all that is needed is to connect the Harmony serial port to a terminal emulator on a PC and log (in hex) what it does when power is cycled.

If that isn't sufficient, you can split off the RS232 into the terminal emulator to log any interaction between the units.  It could be done twice - once to log what the Harmony is sending, and once to log what is coming back from the IM.  That method could also check whether the IM sends both halves of the incoming X10 doublet.

Redundant commands should be the same as holding a button down too long on a manual controller, so I suspect it would be OK.

Jeff
Title: Re: Insteon as we know it is gone
Post by: brobin on May 04, 2022, 04:07:46 PM
I'll see what I can do on that.
Title: Re: Insteon as we know it is gone
Post by: Brian H on May 04, 2022, 04:17:27 PM
Actually the PLM is supposed to receive the command and sent the message back to the sender. With an ACK if it was OK or a NAK on the end of the command for a sort of a handshake.
Title: Re: Insteon as we know it is gone
Post by: brobin on May 04, 2022, 04:22:41 PM
There may be more info in this document (different from the PLM doc): http://cache.insteon.com/pdf/INSTEON_Developers_Guide_20070816a.pdf
Title: Re: Insteon as we know it is gone
Post by: JeffVolp on May 04, 2022, 06:31:52 PM
Actually the PLM is supposed to receive the command and sent the message back to the sender. With an ACK if it was OK or a NAK on the end of the command for a sort of a handshake.

Yes, that is true on transmission.  But the ACK or NAK echo can only be issued if the command is received.  The CM11A handshaking lets the computer know when it can accept data.  That is not true with the SmartHome protocol.  An incoming burst of data may happen anytime.  There are routines that cannot be interrupted, and I have to make sure the serial port buffer will not be overrun or the command could be corrupted.

Perhaps the Harmony would re-issue the command if it does not receive the echo back within a second or so?

There is no conformation on receiving an X10 command that the computer actually accepted the command.

Jeff
Title: Re: Insteon as we know it is gone
Post by: JeffVolp on May 04, 2022, 08:24:26 PM
There may be more info in this document (different from the PLM doc): http://cache.insteon.com/pdf/INSTEON_Developers_Guide_20070816a.pdf

There is a LOT more in there on Insteon, but the X10 section is the same - basically just transmit and receive.

The Harmony might use Insteon commands to establish communication.  There are messages to get version, reset, etc. that might be used by the Harmony to determine if the IM is connected.    Monitoring interaction with a Harmony is probably the only way to determine what is needed.

When HomeControlAssistant connects to a CM11A, it reports its firmware version as part of the status request message.  The XTB-232 supports the CM11A status request, and it is probably how HCA determines a CM11A (or XTB-232) is connected.

Jeff
Title: Re: Insteon as we know it is gone
Post by: brobin on May 05, 2022, 12:11:22 AM
Earlier this evening I sent a message to Smartenit asking whether the P2 is just "out of stock" or discontinued.  I got a quick response:

"We might be getting a small batch within 4 weeks and then it will be gone for good.  The issue then becomes availability of the PLM. Either way, because the few PLMs out there are now so expensive, the P2 will be a lot more."

Maybe not so bad for those who have a PLM already.  I don't know if they're taking backorders but might be worth a call.
Title: Re: Insteon as we know it is gone
Post by: JeffVolp on May 05, 2022, 10:18:05 AM
Earlier this evening I sent a message to Smartenit asking whether the P2 is just "out of stock" or discontinued.  I got a quick response:

"We might be getting a small batch within 4 weeks and then it will be gone for good.  The issue then becomes availability of the PLM. Either way, because the few PLMs out there are now so expensive, the P2 will be a lot more."

As you know, I'm working to address the PLM issue for X10 users.  But that reply indicates they are not going to produce their own PLM.

Jeff
Title: Re: Insteon as we know it is gone
Post by: Brian H on May 05, 2022, 04:04:40 PM
Universal Devices had their own serial PLM designed maybe 10 years ago. With the needed programmed chips promised by Smartlabs. After getting to the prototype stage ready for for engineering stage. They abruptly changed their minds. Leaving them with the cost. I believe of 10 prototypes.
Now that they are gone and a creditor company for the remaining assets and intelligent property is controlling the way thing are going to happen. With a September 18 2022 cutoff date. I don't think anyone is going to be making any Insteon devices including the PLM any time soon.
I know UDI has expressed interest in maybe at least a run of PLM modules to help the ISY994i members.

Too bad we didn't have a crystal ball. Smartenit was clearing out excess bare, serial and USB PLM on Ebay awhile back.

When PogoPro the manufacturer of the P2 just dropped the server storage service and modules.

Ebay was full of surplus P2 devices. The vendors just forgot to tell you they where almost useless. Unless you found a way how to to reprogram them.
Title: Re: Insteon as we know it is gone
Post by: JeffVolp on May 13, 2022, 01:46:26 PM
Update on XTB-232 to XTB-XM conversion:

It is essentially working with a terminal emulator, but there is one problem that occasionally causes a command to be lost.  Fixing it is not a simple task.

The XTB-232 emulates the CM11A protocol that negotiates transfer of data between the computer and CM11A.  A request to transfer data is issued by the source, and an acknowledge is sent by the receiver when it can accept the data.  That protocol works very well.

There is no negotiation with the IM.  It must accept a burst of data regardless of what else is going on.  The problem occurs when the computer sends an X10 command that overlaps the XM sending a received X10 command to the computer.  That could never happen with the CM11A protocol.

The PIC can certainly handle it, but I'll have modify the serial I/O routines so the I/O can be interleaved when this happens.  That may require going to interrupt driven I/O with its own can of worms.

I still have to complete expanding an incoming pre-set dim command to an extended command.

I'm beginning to wonder if the demand will be sufficient to make this worth the effort.

Jeff
Title: Re: Insteon as we know it is gone
Post by: brobin on May 13, 2022, 11:39:23 PM
If you could add Insteon support there might be some good money to be made.  The prices on ebay are crazy - look at this recent sale:

Title: Re: Insteon as we know it is gone
Post by: Brian H on May 14, 2022, 05:55:28 PM
The prices are out of this world. On some of the Insteon modules.
Especially things like 2413S and 2413U PLM modules. With little information on them like the revision number.
Title: Re: Insteon as we know it is gone
Post by: bkenobi on May 15, 2022, 12:05:26 AM
That's amazing.  I never looked at Insteon prices other than the dual X10/Insteon modules SmartHome sold.  I assume they were in the $100 price range for that controller originally?  Pretty nice windfall to whoever timed their old system sale!  If every module that went out of production did this, I guess I'd be able to make some extra cash too.   rofl
Title: Re: Insteon as we know it is gone
Post by: Brian H on May 15, 2022, 06:10:00 AM
The 2413S/U PLM was $79.99. So where the older 2412U/S power line only PLM.
I believe the HUB was around the same $79.99.
Title: Re: Insteon as we know it is gone
Post by: JeffVolp on May 15, 2022, 04:41:11 PM
If you could add Insteon support there might be some good money to be made.

Yes, those prices are insane.  But there is no chance to convert any XTB hardware to support Insteon because it uses a totally different communication method.

Jeff
Title: Re: Insteon as we know it is gone
Post by: Brian H on May 15, 2022, 05:40:06 PM
Jeff;
Thank you for looking at the Insteon protocol. To see if it was even possible to do with your X10 enabled devices..
Title: Re: Insteon as we know it is gone
Post by: JeffVolp on June 09, 2022, 01:41:13 PM
After being derailed for a couple of weeks on other tasks, I started working on this again.  The serial input has been converted to interrupt driven, so that should prevent loss of communication from the computer unless the actual message is corrupted.  I have been testing this with a terminal emulator, but it will need to be tested with an actual Smartenit Harmony.

It presently supports receiving and transmitting X10 commands as well as the Reset and Get Version commands in case they are needed by the Harmony.  It will ignore and issue the LED serial error if it receives any other command.

Also, there is no double buffering, and it will not accept another send X10 command until the pending send X10 command has completed transmitting.

Note that it will support X10 only.  And converting pre-set dim to extended has not yet been implemented.

Jeff
Title: Re: Insteon as we know it is gone
Post by: brobin on June 09, 2022, 03:54:12 PM
Happy to test a prototype on mine.
Title: Re: Insteon as we know it is gone
Post by: JeffVolp on June 09, 2022, 04:47:27 PM
Happy to test a prototype on mine.

I'm not ready for that yet.  I need more info on how the two play together before I'm ready to send off a beta version.  I hope borrow or pick up a used unit for further testing.

If I have to purchase a new unit, does the basic 6007E come with all the software needed for X10, or do I have to purchase the X10 upgrade even though I'm not going to use the Insteon Modem that comes with it.

Jeff
Title: Re: Insteon as we know it is gone
Post by: brobin on June 09, 2022, 04:54:08 PM
All you need is the base unit, all the software is included in the G2/P2.  The X10/Insteon add-on is just for the 2412U PLM.  You'll need the Smartenit App to interface with the unit which is free and has no monthly charge.  If you need to borrow a PLM for testing I have spares.
Title: Re: Insteon as we know it is gone
Post by: JeffVolp on June 09, 2022, 05:32:01 PM
All you need is the base unit, all the software is included in the G2/P2.  The X10/Insteon add-on is just for the 2412U PLM.  You'll need the Smartenit App to interface with the unit which is free and has no monthly charge.  If you need to borrow a PLM for testing I have spares.

Thanks.  I'll just purchase a new basic unit if I don't hear back from Smartenit.  There hasn't been one on eBay since I started this project.

I should not need the Insteon PLM if the XTB-XM will communicate with the Harmony.

Jeff
Title: Re: Insteon as we know it is gone
Post by: Brian H on June 09, 2022, 06:20:56 PM
Update.
Today the HUB serever starting to work again.
It was announced that a few of Insteon team has taken over the Insteon line and hopes to get Insteon back running.
Title: Re: Insteon as we know it is gone
Post by: Noam on June 10, 2022, 09:58:25 AM
Update.
Today the HUB serever starting to work again.
It was announced that a few of Insteon team has taken over the Insteon line and hopes to get Insteon back running.

Well, that's good news. I like the action of the ToggleLinc and SwitchLinc switches over X10's design (press UP for ON, DOWN for OFF - it *just makes sense*). And I found their switches (including the pre-Insteon ToggleLincs from SmartHome) to be much more reliable (in X10 mode) than X10's switches ever were for me (until the capacitor blows - which I know how to replace, or the comm board fails - which is EOL of the unit for me). I hope they start manufacturing them again, as I'd like to stick with X10 (and push off having to change everything over to something new) as long as I can.
Title: Re: Insteon as we know it is gone
Post by: JeffVolp on June 11, 2022, 11:19:30 AM
The XTBM-Pro allowed me to capture what is being sent on the powerline for a Leviton extended command.  It just has 64 brightness levels from off to full-on.  That is only twice the resolution of a pre-set dim command.

Since a pre-set dim command does not include the house or unit codes, it must be preceded by a unit select.  The XTB-XM can convert that command pair into the Leviton extended command.

So, the question is how to enable this.  I can have the XTB-XM either substitute the extended command X10 transmission for the pre-set dim transmission.  Or I can have the extended command "tailgate" the pre-set dim command so that mode would still be supported for modules that respond to pre-set dim commands.

This could be done on a command-by-command basis by following the pre-set dim command with a Status_On command, which the XTB-XM would convert into the extended command.  Or it could be done globally enabled by a jumper inside the unit, converting all pre-set dim commands to extended commands.

Suggestions?

Jeff
Title: Re: Insteon as we know it is gone
Post by: JeffVolp on June 13, 2022, 04:33:25 PM
Since there has been no feedback on how to enable converting pre-set dim to extended commands, I chose what should be the most universal.  When a jumper is added inside the XTB-XM, it will transmit the extended command doublet after the pre-set dim command.  The extended commands are sent as a doublet so the XTBR and XTB-IIR will repeat them as it does for the CM11A, CM15A, and Ocelot.  And when enabled, the ACK is sent to the Harmony when the extended transmission ends, delaying it about a second.  Hopefully that will not be a problem.

I have not heard back from Smartenit regarding a used or loaner Harmony, so I will have to buy a G2 for testing.

Jeff
Title: Re: Insteon as we know it is gone
Post by: toasterking on June 14, 2022, 10:54:51 AM
FWIW, although I have little to no use for this solution, I would have voted for the jumper option.  :)

(I was on vacation for a week and not checking forum posts.)
Title: Re: Insteon as we know it is gone
Post by: JeffVolp on June 14, 2022, 02:43:03 PM
The pre-set dim conversion works on transmit only.  It will expand the pre-set dim to an extended command only when there is a 2-command sequence of the house/unit select followed by a pre-set dim command.  This works for pre-set dim commands sent from HomeVision.  Since I don't yet have a Harmony (G2 ordered), I can't confirm that it also sends the house/unit & pre-set dim command pair.

While the firmware includes the left-over code for receiving extended commands, it presently just indicates it received an extended command and the extended portion of the command is ignored.

Jeff
Title: Re: Insteon as we know it is gone
Post by: JeffVolp on June 16, 2022, 10:21:40 AM
Walmart said the G2 won't be here for another week.  So it would really help if someone could capture what the Harmony uses to establish communication with the IM.  I supported the Reset and Get Version commands in the XM.  Hopefully that is all the Harmony needs.  If so, I'm ready to send out a Beta version.

Title: Re: Insteon as we know it is gone
Post by: brobin on June 16, 2022, 10:38:12 AM
Can I capture that with the XTBM? Just let me know what to look for & I'll have it done today.
Title: Re: Insteon as we know it is gone
Post by: JeffVolp on June 16, 2022, 11:16:05 AM
Can I capture that with the XTBM? Just let me know what to look for & I'll have it done today.

No, this would be the serial data between the Harmony and the IM at power-up.  A simple test would be to connect the Harmony to a terminal emulator (19.2KBaud) and see what it sends at power-up.  Hopefully it is just the Reset and Get Version commands.  Then an RS232 splitter can be used to see what the Harmony echos back.

Of course, maybe it does nothing to establish communication, and just relies on the echo and ACK/NAK coming back.

Jeff
Title: Re: Insteon as we know it is gone
Post by: brobin on June 16, 2022, 12:23:43 PM
It's been a number of years since I've done this stuff.  Since I only have USB ports to work with, can I connect the Harmony to a laptop via a USB cable and use an emulator like Putty or MobaXterm to see what's going on?
Title: Re: Insteon as we know it is gone
Post by: JeffVolp on June 16, 2022, 12:44:23 PM
It's been a number of years since I've done this stuff.  Since I only have USB ports to work with, can I connect the Harmony to a laptop via a USB cable and use an emulator like Putty or MobaXterm to see what's going on?

I haven't used either of them, but that may work.  I've been using Termite on my ancient Win98 laptop.

Note that the XTB-232 / XTB-XM emulates the CM11A serial port.  So a USB to serial adapter must be used with the Harmony along with a CM11A cable:  https://www.ebay.com/itm/380474050324

Jeff
Title: Re: Insteon as we know it is gone
Post by: brobin on June 16, 2022, 04:40:02 PM
I may have one of those cables already or I can make one if you have the pinouts.  No sense in my ordering one since you'll have your G2 before I'd get it.
Title: Re: Insteon as we know it is gone
Post by: JeffVolp on June 16, 2022, 05:33:33 PM
I may have one of those cables already or I can make one if you have the pinouts.  No sense in my ordering one since you'll have your G2 before I'd get it.

From the CM11A specs:

2.1 Cable connections:

        Signal  DB9 Connector   RJ11 Connector
        SIN       Pin 2           Pin 1
        SOUT    Pin 3           Pin 3
        GND      Pin 5           Pin 4
        RI         Pin 9           Pin 2

where:  SIN     Serial input to PC (output from the interface)
         SOUT    Serial output from PC (input to the interface)
          GND     Signal ground
           RI       Ring signal (input to PC)

Obviously, you don't need the Ring signal for this application.
Title: Re: Insteon as we know it is gone
Post by: brobin on June 18, 2022, 04:48:55 PM
I've got family stuff going on all weekend so I think by the time I get this sorted out you'll have a G2 in hand. I wish I could be more helpful.
Title: Re: Insteon as we know it is gone
Post by: Brian H on June 18, 2022, 05:59:02 PM
The serial 2412S and 2413S PLM. Only use three wires from the RJ45 serial port to the DB9S cable in the box.
Pin 1 RS232 to PC pin 2 (Rx)
Pin 7 Common Ground PC pin 5.
Pin 4 RS232 from PC pin 3 (Tx)
Has a set of TTL signals but not used on pin 3 TTL out and pin 6 TTL in.
The 2412U and 2413U.  Have a FTDI USB to serial chip and as far as I can see. Only common, serial in and serial out are used internally.
Title: Re: Insteon as we know it is gone
Post by: JeffVolp on June 22, 2022, 09:52:25 PM
Progress...

As expected, the Harmony sends the Get Version command to determine whether the IM is connected.  That and the Reset command are the two non-X10 commands that the XTB-XM supports.

Unfortunately, the mod is not as simple as a firmware swap.  While the XTB-XM responded to the Get Version command sent directly from the computer, it indicated an error when receiving the command from the Harmony through a USB to serial converter.  Apparently the "1" is a bit shorter coming from the USB converter than directly from the computer.

The XTB-IIR serial port was designed for the CM11A, which runs at 4800 baud.  The Harmony runs at 19200 baud, so opto-isolator speed is more important.  Reducing the value of the pull-up resistor on the opto-isolator output improves the waveform fidelity.  So this would have to be a "factory mod" when converting existing XTB-232s.

After that mod the XTB-XM responds to most commands.  There is still an occasional receiving error and sometimes the Harmony misses the acknowledgement.  So more work is required to get this rock solid.  But this will be an alternate to the IM for X10 systems.

Faster opto-isolators will be used in a newly produced XTB-XM for 19200 baud.

Jeff
Title: Re: Insteon as we know it is gone
Post by: brobin on June 23, 2022, 12:16:29 AM
That's great news! It'll be good to have an alternative to the now rare & expensive PLM.
Title: Re: Insteon as we know it is gone
Post by: JeffVolp on June 23, 2022, 12:27:02 PM
I think I've tracked down the remaining problem.  Using the XTBM to monitor what the XTB-XM was actually transmitting showed it sometimes sending P11 instead of P1.  The data patterns are similar but P1 has a string of 3 zeros, P11 has a string of 4 zeros.  Hmmm...

So I measured the length of the USB to serial converter transmission, and converted that to baud rate.  It was sending at 18.62K instead of 19.2K.  A similar measurement on the serial output from the PC was 19.0K.  So the errors may be due to the USB to serial converter baud rate being off.  Unfortunately, that's the only USB to serial converter I have, so this will go on hold until I can get another one.

(Staples doesn't have local stock, and the one they list for $26 is $6 on eBay with free shipping.)

Jeff
Title: Re: Insteon as we know it is gone
Post by: brobin on June 23, 2022, 12:36:22 PM
It's been awhile since I've shopped for one but I know that the Sabrent with a Prolific chipset works best with the Stargate at 19.2.  Others had problems.
Title: Re: Insteon as we know it is gone
Post by: JeffVolp on June 25, 2022, 02:13:38 PM
While waiting for the alternate USB to serial port converters, I adjusted the XTB-XM baud rate to 18.88K.  Now it appears to be rock solid with the Harmony.  The Harmony itself is not as rock solid as it often ignores the cellphone tap that toggles the ON/OFF command.

So...  I will be able to update an existing XTB-232 to the XTB-XM or build remaining XTB-232 PCBs as XTB-XMs.

Jeff
Title: Re: Insteon as we know it is gone
Post by: brobin on June 25, 2022, 02:48:45 PM
Sounds like you've got a winner.  I just did some testing and found that as long as there's a 1 second delay between tapping the device on the phone it was 100% responsive.  With less than a second between taps it was about 50/50.  FWIW, I'm using a Galaxy Z Flip 3 running Android 12.  Maybe that's due to latency between the app, the AWS server and the Harmony?