Showing posts with label ISY. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ISY. Show all posts

When Upgrading the ISY-99i to the ISY-994i, Should I Purchase the "Pro" Version?

Besides the number of additional links / programs that the Pro version of the ISY-994i supports, there is one particular feature that helps you save time when programming and setting up an Insteon system. That is the "delayed write" feature, that allows you to save and queue up Insteon device configuration changes between writes to the devices.

To illustrate - every time you make a system configuration change - adding a device to a scene, removing it, adding a device, and so on - the link tables on those devices need to be updated over the Insteon network. The PLM attached to your ISY-994i sends commands, over your powerline / wireless Insteon mesh net - communicate with the device in question, and sends the information required for that device to update its links tables.

Even a relatively minor change normally takes 10 or 15 seconds for this updating to take place. During that time, you can't interact with the administration console of your ISY-994i. So, you're waiting for it to finish. If you are modifying a scene with many Insteon devices - say - your 'All Indoor Lights" scene - this process can take a couple of minutes, up to 5 minutes if you have a large number of devices.

With the delayed write feature on the ISY-994i enabled - you can make all your changes to your scenes, rearrange your assignments.  Once you've finished making your configuration changes - you then toggle the delayed write button on the ISY-994i - and then it will make all the writes, to all the affected devices - all at once. This ends up being a significant time saver once you end up with a significant number of devices. If you're starting out, and only have a dozen switches and keypads, it may not be worth the extra cost. If you have 50 to 100 devices, there is no question, this will save you a lot of time.

Upgrading from the Universal Devices ISY-99i to the ISY-994ir Pro

I just finished upgrading my Universal Devices ISY-99i to the ISY-994ir Pro. It was the end of the line for the ISY-99i - Universal Devices last firmware update for that device was issued in mid 2013. As a result, newer Insteon devices haven't been supported. I recented posted on the installation of the Smarthome Select Electronic Water Valve, and the use of the Insteon Wireless Leak Detectors. The heartbeat function of the Wireless Leak Detectors was never implemented on the ISY-99i firmware, so to get that feature required upgrading the device.

Upgrading the device was easy, I just followed the instructions on the Universal Devices Wiki to backup the ISY-99i and record certain configuration information, remove the ISY-99i and replace it with the ISY-994ir Pro (I was keeping my existing PLM so that simplified the process). With the backup completed, I also exported the complete log from the outgoing ISY-99i - this way - I'll be able to combine the logs later in Microsoft Excel to have a complete log history of both the old and new devices, for reviewing statistics of how often certain devices are used.

I downgraded the firmware in the new ISY-994 prior to restoring it with my backup from the ISY-99i (in order to ensure compatibility of the backup) and then emailed Universal Devices support to get my weather module transferred (which took 7 minutes - excellent service as we've come to expect from Michel @ Universal Devices).

Once my ISY-994i was running properly from the restored backup, I then upgraded it to the current official release - 4.0.5. Once I realized that this version didn't support the climate module update from the Weatherbug feed to the HAM Weather feed - I then updated the ISY to RC 4 release 4.2.10. Once updated to 4.2.10 - the weather feed began working properly - I didn't even have to change the weather station ID in my case.

A few settings on the ISY needed tweaking, some of the fixed IP settings didn't transfer over, but it didn't take long to sort that out in the configuration settings.

In order to get the heartbeat working on the Insteon wireless leak sensors, I had to delete the devices from my ISY, and then re-add them to establish the link for the heartbeat. Next step will be to add a heartbeat monitoring program to notify me when a leak sensor misses a heartbeat daily check in.

Now, I have a leftover ISY-99i. I may put it up for sale on eBay, but it looks like they are only selling for about $60. Prior to selling, I would like to clear the memory of my configuration by doing a hard reset. The process is as follows:  i) Push in the reset button till the RX, TX, Mem, Error lights start blinking once per second; ii) Hold reset button down for at least 30 seconds until all of the the RX, TX, Mem, Error lights turn off and Mem light starts flashing quickly; and iii) Release and wait for system reboot. Reboot is finished when the Mem light stops flashing.

My Experience with Universal Devices ISY-99i Insteon Home Automation Controller

I've been running a Universal Devices ISY-99i home automation controller for about 6 years now. I started out with a pretty modest setup following a house renovation in 2008 - with about a dozen Insteon switches, dimmers, and keypads. And I've been adding to the system ever since. We moved to a new house in 2012 - with a very complicated electrical setup as I've described in some of my other posts - 400 Amp service, generator disconnect switch, two lighting / relay control panels, a contactor panel for large loads, and an industrial PLC based lighting control system. Since I tore out the PLC automation system and upgraded to the ISY / Insteon control system - my home network has grown to about 55 switches and keypads, with another dozen on order as I work to complete the current system.

I moved that ISY-99i from the old house to the new house (along with all my Insteon devices), so the ISY and a good number of switches and keypads have seen 6 years of service, without any major issues. I've had to send the ISY-99i back to Universal Devices once back in 2009 for a firmware upgrade following a hardware issue - but this was done quickly and efficiently by Universal Devices at no cost - other than shipping. Very good service. Of my Insteon devices, I've had one device delivered DOA, which was immediately replaced by Smarthome, and just recently, one of my original dimmers has died after 6 years of service. Overall, I would call that an acceptable failure rate considering that the 6 year old components were not on the market for very long when I acquired them, I believe the first Insteon devices began shipping in 2005.

Last year I added the Mobilinc iPhone app interface to the ISY-99i, and I have been very impressed with how quick and easy that was to connect up to my ISY in order to control any device remotely with the iPhone. Very handy. Now I'm hoping that the ISY / Mobilinc combination will support Apple's new home automation interface protocol for iDevices - called "HomeKit". Time will tell.

Alas, I understand that now Universal Devices has stopped supporting the ISY-99i with regular firmware updates - which means that any new Insteon devices will not be supported in that version of the ISY. Looks like it is time to upgrade to the ISY-994i. My new ISY-994ir Pro is on order, I hope the upgrade process will be relatively painless, and I'll write about how that goes.

Avoiding and Troubleshooting Link Problems between your Insteon Devices and your ISY-99/994

I just learned something recently that wasn't clear to me before. If you are using an ISY-99/994 automation controller with your Insteon network - you have to be very careful and disciplined to only link devices / add devices to your network using your ISY-99/994 interface.

As you probably know, you can link two insteon devices directly together by putting the devices into linking mode directly on the device (usually by holding the paddle down or a button down). However, if you do this in the context of an Insteon network controlled by your ISY-99/994 controller - the PLM attached to your ISY-99/994 does not learn of this new link, and this will cause a mismatch between the link table on the device, and the link table in your ISY memory, and the PLM.

When your link tables become mismatched, that may lead to unpredictable or slowed behaviour in your network.

So - how do you clean up these mismatched link tables?

Your ISY has a diagnostic tool that can read the link table on any of your devices, and can compare it to the link table that is stored in your ISY. It will show you the mismatched link table records.

Results of ISY Links Table Comparison - All Links Matching in this Example
If you have mismatched links - you can clear the link table in your Insteon device by performing a factory reset on the device (follow the instructions in the device user guide), and then perform a "Restore" command to rewrite the links table to your device. This correct the "unmatched" links problem. You will have to go through the same procedure with any other device which had manual links added. Once all your devices have been factory reset, then restored, you will have to recreate those links which had been created manually using your ISY interface, if you wish to retain this functionality. One caution is that this process is time consuming, it took about 3 hours to go through the link tables of just over 50 devices, and performing the hard resets of about 5 devices along the way that had mismatched link tables.

So - remember - always do your device linking using your ISY interface, and not manually.

If anyone out there has a simpler way of rectifying this issue, please leave a comment!