Thursday, September 22, 2005

Oops, did it (yet) again ...

I'd like to apologize to Dan Lanciani, my iplcd (Insteon PLC daemon) contains portions of Dan's x10d and I tried to switch to the GPL. So not only is my program based on x10d it contains x10d code (that's bad). I've now switched it back to Dan's license. I'd like to thank Dan for very politely handling this and promise to be more diligent in reviewing the code before such changes occur again.

Bob Cusey from Insteon got me an USB PowerLinc V2 PLC to work with and I've managed to talk to it. Because it behaves differently I need to modify some code to get it to work. I'm currently working on which program to modify (the iplcd or the USB iplc driver). I'm also working with Bob about a way that the open source community can get the technical details of the protocol so we can create the necessary programs to support Insteon like we have for the X10 protocol (I don't know, X10 and support in the same sentence, weird! ;-).I'm sure we'll come up with something. Insteon is very interested in getting the HA community (commercial, open source, gadgeteers, early adopters and plain end users) involved with the Insteon product line.

Here, in my opinion is some of the more important Insteon points:

  • They've got the price in the right range. Price better than high end X10 stuff and, in my opinion better quality too.
  • Closed loop control protocol (devices ACK/NAK commands). X10 is open loop.
  • Insteon controllers repeat Insteon commands (not X10 commands). I feel that this makes it work better in my enviroment (nasty black hole with no filters).
  • SignalLincs! Makes a nice phase bridge and boosts the signal as well. The PLC's don't have built in RF capability but there are no RF devices to control yet.
  • Power line and RF. One of the problems I see with an RF only solution is that the consumer RF spectrum is saturated. I live in a middle class neighborhood and my wireless network has problems with lots of wireless networks and phones.
  • The PLC signal is within acceptable levels for Europe. This means a lot more customers (more customers, more affordable).
  • Hardware Development Kit (HDK) are available (I want one of these to build an Insteon controlled and monitored Coffe pot).
  • RF Development kit (HDK) will be available soon.
  • Insteon chips will be available also so products don't need to continue to use the HDK's

If we can get the controllers to tell us the state has change (user intervention) the last problem with X10 will have been solved. There are probably a few more things that I've forgotten. Yes I'm impressed by Insteon! :-)

The last thing is I'm moving the Linux Home Automation pages to my site. I've had my web site at it's current home for the last 9 years (first as @Home then Comcast). I just received a bill from Comcast for $150 for TV and Internet access. It looks like Verizon may get a chance to provide TV and internet access. I'd like to think this will drop prices but Comcast has not dropped price in the past instead they've given us more. So by moving my web site early I can get the search engines and internet to point in the correct direction.


At 10/19/2005 4:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm new to your blog. Trying to get feedback on Smarthome/INSTEON before I make any purchases, etc. Among other things, I'm looking into their Keypad Linc. Any experience with that, opinions you'd like to share, etc.?

At 10/19/2005 7:15 PM, Blogger Neil Cherry said...

I've only purchased the PowerLinc, the LampLinc, and the ControlLinc so far. I don't like the ControlLinc as it's not as flexible as the X10 control pads. I have purchased other things at SmartHome and I am happy with the service. So far I haven't had to return anything. I need to sit down and purchase a SwitchLinc (I think) but I haven't had time to get it yet. The SignalLinc repeater is working very well but I think I found a dead spot behind an old X10 Super Socket (no X10 reachs there at all). I have several A10 (by ACT, extended X10 protocol support) TC184W pads (8 buttons w/LEDs) and a TK124W (2 button w/LED). These work great Those I'm very happy with but they lack the tactile feel of a switch of real push button (they're a flat pad).


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