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Subject Topic: Smarthome/Insteon is, well, gone. Post ReplyPost New Topic
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jeffw_00
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Posted: April 28 2022 at 12:52 | IP Logged Quote jeffw_00

https://www.theregister.com/2022/04/22/insteon_shutdown_expl ained/
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TonyNo
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Posted: April 29 2022 at 06:48 | IP Logged Quote TonyNo

Luckily I don't have anything that needs to phone-home. Still need to figure out where to go next. Hope Matter is not a bust.
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jeffw_00
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Posted: April 29 2022 at 07:29 | IP Logged Quote jeffw_00

Hi Tony - What's "Matter". I also have nothing that phones home. But
eventually Insteon modules, and the spares I have, will wear out -
what are we all going to do then?
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smarty
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Posted: April 29 2022 at 11:17 | IP Logged Quote smarty

Yep - this is sad. The Verge had a good article on this here: https://www.theverge.com/23032451/smart-home-troubles-insteo n-ihome-shutdown-matter

I am looking into Z-Wave myself. I would be curious to hear what Z-Wave switch/dimmer brand people like to replace Insteon when the Insteon switch/dimmer eventually dies.

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jeffw_00
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Posted: April 29 2022 at 11:35 | IP Logged Quote jeffw_00

What annoys me about all this is that virtually all the press is
focusing on the "phone home" issue which I suspect affects only a
small amount of Insteon's base. My understanding is that years
(decades?) ago they figured out the big money was in automating
commercial buildings and so there are hundreds (thousands? 10s
of thousands?) of smart buildings out there run on Insteon using
ISY-99, Powerhome or the like, all of which are going to need
replacement parts. (Remember, Insteon went under due to lack of
supply, not lack of demand). All the new guys (Amazon, Google,
etc) are focused on the home market which as always, is set to
explode next year (but I'm not sure it ever will, because it's hard to
do much with Home Automation unless you're willing, at some level
of abstraction, to program. They keep trying to make the
programming task easier but for many (most?) people that facet
makes it a non-starter). I'm hoping someone figures this out and
decides to try to service Insteon's commercial customers as I'm
sure they will sell components/modules to anyone. Otherwise,
yeah -Z-wave, whatever works easily with PH works for me :-)
Thanks for Listening.
/j
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moniputer
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Posted: April 29 2022 at 23:27 | IP Logged Quote moniputer

We have a vacation home that I installed Z-Wave devices
from Zooz, https://www.getzooz.com/, in. Smarthome was
"out of stock" on so much that I got worried!

So far, they are cheap and work well. Multi-way switches
are not as elegant as Insteon, the keypads are not as
versatile and there are no direct links other than to a
HUB. They have a cheap USB Z-Wave module or you can use a
number of hubs.

I installed Home Assistant, https://www.home-
assistant.io/, to manage the Z-Wave network. It works
well and there is an Insteon plugin that I may try until
Dave has full Z-Wave support.

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jeffw_00
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Posted: April 30 2022 at 07:23 | IP Logged Quote jeffw_00

Yes - looks like Z-wave support may now be more of a priority for
Powerhome... :-) Good to hear this is a possible migration plan. Do
they
have plug-in modules?

Edited by jeffw_00 - April 30 2022 at 07:24
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TonyNo
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Posted: April 30 2022 at 09:01 | IP Logged Quote TonyNo

jeffw_00 wrote:
Hi Tony - What's "Matter".

The next HA "standard". https://csa-iot.org/all-solutions/matter/
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jeffw_00
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Posted: April 30 2022 at 09:10 | IP Logged Quote jeffw_00

thanks tony
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moniputer
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Posted: April 30 2022 at 10:28 | IP Logged Quote moniputer

jeffw_00 wrote:
Yes - looks like Z-wave support may now
be more of a priority for
Powerhome... :-) Good to hear this is a possible
migration plan. Do
they
have plug-in modules?


Yes, on/off but no dimmers, yet.
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jeffw_00
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Posted: April 30 2022 at 12:02 | IP Logged Quote jeffw_00

So what I'm really waiting for is for Dave to weigh in. Obviously his
focus on Insteon will turn elsewhere, but I'd like to know where he
plans to focus, as that will be the lowest-risk option when us now-ex-
Insteon folks need to replace or expand modules. Which protocol?
Which interface? I want to pick the stuff that he is most interested in
supporting so I can still use PH as my main control with minimized
difficulty.
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GadgetGuy
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Posted: May 01 2022 at 08:52 | IP Logged Quote GadgetGuy

Yah. This has been a gut wrencher, for sure.

Fortunately I have an entire cabinet stocked with Insteon switches and my fingers crossed I won't run out. Fortunately I'm 82 years old so the supplies don't have to last very long, but it will be a race to see which one of us lasts longest! :-)

We have been lucky, living in Florida.... the lighting capital of America... that (knock on wood) so far we have not lost any devices over the last 7 years. Our electric cables are all buried underground which seems to be helping.

My biggest worry are the 6 & 8 button switches which don't seem to have an equivalent anywhere yet I can find. Also only have a few 2477D and 2477S switches in inventory.

Hopefully, the design documents of some of these things will be sold off as assets, and someone like Z-Wave will acquire manufacturing rights. There must be a pretty good replacement market to reward acquiring those assets.

Dave. Jump in and advise thoughts on the best way for us all to proceed.


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jeffw_00
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Posted: May 01 2022 at 09:00 | IP Logged Quote jeffw_00

Hey GadgetGuy - if you ever decide to sell off some of that stock I
hope you'll start here - I'm certainly interested in stocking some spares
, but not enough to pay the $100+/item prices people are posting to
eBay right now :-(

Edited by jeffw_00 - May 01 2022 at 09:00
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GadgetGuy
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Posted: May 01 2022 at 12:18 | IP Logged Quote GadgetGuy

jeffw_00 wrote:
Hey GadgetGuy - if you ever decide to
sell off some of that stock I
hope you'll start here - I'm certainly interested in
stocking some spares
, but not enough to pay the $100+/item prices people are
posting to
eBay right now :-(


Jeff I sure would post here first !!!! Friends are
always considered 1st !!!

For now I feel a need to sit on things as I am SOOOO
Insteon installed in our home that it is hard to conceive
having to swap stuff out to change protocols. There is
one dedicated computer here just running the house (dead
the last 10 days thanks to a Windows 10 update that
totally corrupted my hard drive) and the lack of
automation has been hard felt!. Been working 24/7 ever
since trying to recover ket data before reformatting the
drive and reinstalliing the OS and SW.    

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jeffw_00
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Posted: May 01 2022 at 12:24 | IP Logged Quote jeffw_00

Hi GadgetGuy - same feelings here on being deeply dependent on
insteon.   FWIW - I have PH create a backup file daily and write it to
where my daily backups happen (I use ImageForWindows to backup
to another drive daily). I have this on all my machines, and the once
or twice I lost a disk it made building a new one easy.

"Just like people, all Hard Disks die*, it's just a matter of when" :-)

*or get corrupted (but maybe that doesn't apply to all people)

Hope you get things solved soon.
/j
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dhoward
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Posted: May 01 2022 at 23:31 | IP Logged Quote dhoward

Yep, I heard about the shutdown around 04/16. Not surprising as I had been having problems with SmartHome for well over a year. The main issue about the
"phone home" is concerning the Insteon hub. Anybody that was using an Insteon hub as their main method of Insteon control (using the Hub's built-in
webserver) is now without any control. Their only option is to invest in something like PowerHome or HomeSeer in order to use their hub as an
Insteon PLM (which is what Im currently doing as my PLM stick died and I havent had a chance to setup the replacement).

For the rest of us, replacements are going to be the problem. Ive been having more and more Insteon switches die over time and so Ive been
trying to decide the replacement technology for myself for the last couple of years. I thought it would be Z-wave but most switches lack the
capability to send a message when they are locally controlled. This is probably the main thing that I liked about Insteon. You locally control a
switch and PowerHome is notified pretty much instantly. You can get Z-wave switches that have this capability but they are more expensive and
harder to find. I have not been too happy with the Razberry Z-wave daughtercard that PowerHome supports so I don't know if I would recommend
that. If you've already got a Raspberry Pi, the Razberry card is fairly cheap now (around $22) so might be something to play around with. My
plan is to start working on support using the open Z-wave library so I can also support the Z-wave dongles that most people use.

Another technology that I have invested in is the Lutron Caseta switches and the Smart Bridge Pro. They sell these at Home Depot (or Lowes) and
the switches have that "quality" high end feel...to me, better than the Insteon or Z-wave switches. I bought a starter kit with a couple of
switches and the Smart Bridge Pro (the Smart Bridge Pro has the capability of being controlled by 3rd party software and has an open API) so I
could start adding support to PowerHome but I havent even had a chance to open the box yet. Not sure if I will go this route myself because the
switches are definitely not cheap.

Ive replaced some of my bad Insteon switches with switches from Wemo, TP-Link (Kasa), and Tuya (the cheap Chinese switches that are everywhere
on Amazon from many different manufacturers). The Wemo switches are nice and have direct control from PowerHome. The bad is that they "phone
home" and must be configured using their app and they don't send a signal when they are manually switched (PowerHome has to poll for status
changes). The Kasa switches are also nice, a little cheaper than Wemo, and work about the same. They have the same cons as the Wemo in that they
phone home and must be configured using their app and polled for changes. The Tuya switches are the cheapest, but they cant be controlled directly. PowerHome
is using the Home Assistant interface to control Tuya devices which basically talks to the Tuya cloud servers and then control the switches. It's all
very fast as if they are being direct controlled but much more integrated into the Chinese IOT cloud. If that cloud were to be shutoff, the
switches would no longer be able to be controlled. One of the things I have been playing with though is changing the firmware in the Tuya
switches to the open source Tasmota firmware. This basically replaces the spyware firmware in the switch with firmware that does not phone home
or is dependent upon any external cloud resources. It uses the MQTT (Message Queue Telemetry Transport) protocol which is also open source. This
firmware will also instantly notify PowerHome if the switch is locally switched. This is the way I was leaning towards but might rethink that
due to the quality of the switches. It may be brand specific and more research needs to be done but the microswitches for turning on and off
seem to wear out fairly quickly. You cant beat the price though and the openness of the technology if you replace the default firmware.

Anyways, that is what Ive been working on. My house currently has a mix of mostly Insteon (controlled via PowerHome using my Insteon hub), Z-
wave (currently not controlled because my Razberry is currently dead...need to stand up a replacement), Wemo, Kasa, Tuya (with default
firmware), and Tuya with the firmware replaced with Tasmota. I also have the Lutron Caseta switches but will need to find time to hook them up
and add support. Currently, PowerHome version 2.2beta3-3 supports all of the above except for the Lutron Caseta switches.

The biggest problem I have right now is available time. Alot has been going on with me and I havent had a chance to work much on PowerHome. I
was helping my elderly parents for the past 4 years. They both passed away earlier this year. Since then, I am back working on another degree
(Cyber Security and Engineering) and my "real" job is in the process of migrating their ERP system from CostPoint to SAP S4/Hana. Ive got
another year and half left on the degree and the migration project isn't scheduled to end until 01/01/2023. Currently Im either working or
studying.

I do plan on releasing another update soon to the current PowerHome codebase. This will just be a patch to fix some bugs and the problems with
the Insteon controller device scan on startup issue. This seems to be the major issues at the moment so I'd like to get that fixed. I am
building a new development machine that will allow me to migrate PowerHome to the latest PowerBuilder 2021 and Visual Studio 2022 codebase as
well as the latest versions of the Catalyst controls so hoping to get some more capability and new features once that occurs.

Anyways, sorry to write a book but wanted to update everyone on where Im currently at.

Dave.


Edited by dhoward - May 01 2022 at 23:36
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jeffw_00
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Posted: May 02 2022 at 07:47 | IP Logged Quote jeffw_00

Hi Dave -- always to good to hear from you. And no problem with
writing a "book". It was very informative. Sorry to hear about your
folks, I (and probably many of us on this forum) have been there
recently as well, and have some understanding of the impact. Not
fun at all... Alternately, I give you credit for pursing another degree,
I'm not sure I have that in me anymore. :-)

As far as future, my $.02 is:

1) FWIW- I don't use polling as in the early days I wasn't happy with
the continuous traffic as it flickered some lights. I've never missed
it, and my code just queries a unit explicitly if/when it need to know
the status. Not sure how others feel about this.

2) I'm not sure what you mean by pricey. Even Insteon prices went
up significantly in the past few years, and that may be true for any
quality product across the board right now due to supply-chain
issues. If you can settle on a quality product from a manufacturer
who looks like they will be around for a while, and their stuff isn't
ridiculously expensive, that may be the best we can do.

Even with all the new stuff coming out from Amazon, Google, etc.,
There really still is nothing like Powerhome out there (it's like the
difference between using some sort of "visual programming app",
and writing in C :-) ). I think all of us PH fans want it to continue, so
it needs to be something you're interested and have the bandwidth
to support. If that drives your decision of what product family to
support I'm fine with that as I know you'll make a good choice.

HTH   Take care!
/j
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GadgetGuy
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Posted: May 02 2022 at 08:18 | IP Logged Quote GadgetGuy

jeffw_00 wrote:
FWIW - I have PH create a backup file
daily and write it to
where my daily backups happen (I use ImageForWindows to
backup
to another drive daily).
/j


Jeff- me too. PH backs up it's database file every
night. And the other key computer files are backed up
weekly using Allway Sync (which is awesome) to a 4TB USB
drive. Unfortunately I got lazy and didn't verify that
backups were occuring and the last successful one was in
Dec 2021.

Unfortunately between then and now I created a 8000-tune
curated music library which was largely lost. I salvaged
some files with my disk recovery effort and recombined
them with the Dec files but now have a multi-month effort
ahead of having to review every file again for volume,
silences, bad recording dropouts and clicks that I had
all previously cured.

I just upped my Google Cloud drive to 2TB and will start
backing up all 3 home computers to there (which Allway
Sync will do) as well as to the PH computer 4TB backup
drive for quick access and convenience.

Looks like I have my work cut out for awhile.


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jeffw_00
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Posted: May 02 2022 at 08:20 | IP Logged Quote jeffw_00

sorry to hear it - hope you can set up some way to auto-verify that the
backups are happening.
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smarty
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Posted: May 02 2022 at 11:23 | IP Logged Quote smarty

Dave – just wanted to say thanks for the thoughtful and thorough response. It sounds like you have A LOT going on (personally and professionally) and I just want to say that WE ALL appreciate your efforts and the great PH product you have.
Thank You!

You mentioned a minor release with a few bug fixes coming…   While it is easy to get around the Elk multi-state trigger issue for “zones”, I have not found a good workaround for the Elk: 1)Arm State 2)Arm Status 3)Alarm State triggers….

..as in the last post described here:

http://power-home.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=10924&PN=1


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