Reliable AND low-cost Insteon sensors/relays/alarms

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Reliable AND low-cost Insteon sensors/relays/alarms

Postby JeffryD » Tue Sep 04, 2007 7:10 pm

For a lot of things, even an EZIO2x4 is overkill and also has a flaw.

For example, I need to monitor a doorbell. X10 has devices that will trigger based on either dry contact or low voltage, but, well, they're X10, and hence almost useless if you REALLY NEED TO KNOW if that doorbell has been pushed.

Insteon has the ability to be orders of magnitude more reliable than X10, but only if direct commands and retries are implemented. This is why I said the EZIO2x4 is flawed; it only does broadcasts, and doesn't do clean-ups. If the single broadcast gets lost in line noise, so's the doorbell push, even though the technology allows for ACKing and retrying.

Since X10 is so terribly unreliable, and neither SH nor SHN offer low-cost single-purpose devices, I'm going to have to drag wire through this installation and do things the old-fashioned way.

What I'd find useful (and buy a bunch of) are one-off devices:

1. Alarms; ring on receive of an Insteon broadcast or direct message. Very minimal linking needed -- just a database of devices allowed to sound the alarm. Useful for doorbell extensions, phone notifying, dinner/school time attention-gettings, and so forth. It would be nice if they had different rings selectable by Cmd2, but I'd settle for a buzzer.

2. Same as above, but with a light (in addition or or instead of) built into the wall wart, or extendable from it. Something brighter and more eye-catching than a couple of white LEDs. Sure, I could blink the overhead lights in a room, but first I have to query for the current state, then flip-flop it a couple of times, then set it back. Doing this for twenty five devices spread across the house tasks minutes, and generates an incredible amount of Insteon traffic. A single group broadcast to the flashers, followed by clean-ups, would be much more efficient.

3. Dry-contacts; send an Insteon broadcast or direct message when contacts are closed/open. Allow query for current state. The EZIO2x4 does only part of this (no direct messages, no clean-ups for group messages). Linking can again be minimal; just a list of Insteon addresses to notify. Useful for anywhere one needs to monitor on/off states of physical devices.

4. Relays: close/open on receive of an Insteon broadcast or direct message. Allow query for current state. Reply with ACK if action was taken, so controller programs know the command was carried out.

5. A version of LampLinc and ApplianceLinc that could act as responder AND controller, so the control program is notified of state changes when users turn on the light/appliance manually.

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Postby simplehome » Sun Sep 09, 2007 2:58 pm

Regarding the EZIOxx flaw, we are looking into using a group broadcast message with a 0x27 for cmd1 and xx for cmd2, as opposed to a plain broadcast message. This would have the obvious advantage of speed, retries, and clean-ups. Obviously, it would only be sent to those devices linked as responders to the EZIOxx and EZRain, and the RF receivers.
We need to check with SmartLabs about using on of the ALL-Link alias commands (we like 0x27 since it's already used to indicate status change).

We are listening. We are also working on your suggestions 1 and 2. Other suggestions will be implemented on exisiting and new EZIOxx.

Thansk again for the suggestions!!

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Postby upstatemike » Sat Sep 29, 2007 8:46 am

Just to keep it simple how about this:

EZ4I- 4 optical inputs plus 12V source. Can be used with doorbell buttons and other dry contact devices by using the onboard power or just use the opto input directly for low voltage source detection. Full linking, retries, and cleanup as described by JeffryD.

EZ4O- 4 Form C (SPDT) relays plus an internal buzzer activated by a short across 2 terminals. Any set of relay contacts can be wired to the buzzer terminals for remote doorbell type applications. All contacts should have the option for programmable momentary operation (for garage door type applications) or for delayed off. Should also be programmable to pulse once per second while on as an option to flash an LED or provide a a more urgent sound when wired to the internal buzzer. Full linking, retries, and cleanup as well.

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Postby simplehome » Mon Oct 01, 2007 8:35 pm

Thanks Mike. We hope to bring you these before the end of the year:
- EZIO6I: As you describe plus 2 analog inputs
- EZIO4O: Exactly as you describe without the buzzer (very thight packaging challenge)

Both of them fitting the standard module case (1-part).

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Postby simplehome » Wed Nov 14, 2007 10:04 pm

We are awaiting our first production of the EZIO6I and EZIO4O for availability around December 17...
Same size and connector scheme as the 2X4 at a lower price!

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