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Author Topic: Insteon as we know it is gone  (Read 4478 times)

Brian H

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Insteon as we know it is gone
« 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.
« Last Edit: June 10, 2022, 05:55:16 AM by Brian H »
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brobin

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Re: Insteon as we know it is gone
« Reply #1 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!
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toasterking

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Re: Insteon as we know it is gone
« Reply #2 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.
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beelocks

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Re: Insteon as we know it is gone
« Reply #3 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.
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bkenobi

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Re: Insteon as we know it is gone
« Reply #4 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.

SkipWX10

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Re: Insteon as we know it is gone
« Reply #5 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
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brobin

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Re: Insteon as we know it is gone
« Reply #6 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!
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Brian H

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Re: Insteon as we know it is gone
« Reply #7 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.
« Last Edit: April 16, 2022, 06:05:56 AM by Brian H »
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Brian H

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Re: Insteon as we know it is gone
« Reply #8 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!
« Last Edit: April 16, 2022, 07:17:04 AM by Brian H »
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brobin

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Re: Insteon as we know it is gone
« Reply #9 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.
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JeffVolp

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Re: Insteon as we know it is gone
« Reply #10 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.
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JeffVolp

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Re: Insteon as we know it is gone
« Reply #11 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

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brobin

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Re: Insteon as we know it is gone
« Reply #12 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
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SkipWX10

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Re: Insteon as we know it is gone
« Reply #13 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?
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JeffVolp

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Re: Insteon as we know it is gone
« Reply #14 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
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