ISY-99i/ISY-26 INSTEON:Frequently Asked Questions

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Contents

Operational

Is there a way to find all my INSTEON devices?

There is an option to add existing links from each device you add. The "Add devices found in links" option does crawl (spider) the network. It adds all the devices it finds in those links. Therefore if you link a light that is linked to a keypad, which is linked to another light etc., then all those devices will be added to ISY. So if you start with one of your devices that has lots of links like a KeypadLinc you will get most of your devices just with that one device add, especially if you have an "all lights" scene.

On an existing INSTEON setup do I need to start over when I first get my ISY?

There is an option to add your scenes.

So I just got a ISY and know I will have to start over the programming for my existing INSTEON setup. When I start over do I need to reset all my devices first to clear everything?

This is a bit outdated as ISY now has the ability to read your current scenes
It is still not a bad idea to use Restore on your devices after the ISY has read through them. This will rid the devices of any bad links.

--Rand 21:21, 21 January 2009 (UTC)

You do not need to reset your devices first, in fact if you do, you won't be able to crawl (spider) the network because there will be no links to find devices with. Having said that, if you don't reset your devices, they will operate (or partially operate) until the links get overwritten by linking devices in ISY. Therefore, when you first get your ISY, I would suggest the following:


Start Linking, with "Add Devices in links"
When all of your devices have been added to ISY, run "Restore Devices".
- As you know, this reprograms the devices to match the settings in ISY. If you have no groups in ISY, basically all but the PLM links will be deleted in the devices, essentially resetting them.
Do a "Backup ISY" so you have the option of starting fresh again at some point in the future without having to re-link all your devices.
You can now start reprogramming your network using ISY
You can run "Restore Devices" at anytime, but it is faster to run it right after you have initially linked your devices because it only has to delete links, which is much faster than writing out whole links.

I wish I had thought of the saving my clean slate before I got all mine reprogrammed. What steps should I take if I want to redo everything?

It's not really necessary, there is some time/risk involved to do this, and is an alternative to deleting all of your scenes (especially if you have a lot of scenes), but if you're one of those guys that just has to have it all here are the steps to go thru it all over again.


First create a fresh backup_orignal of your latest ISY data, with "Backup ISY"
Do a "Factory Reset" from the ISY command shell. See Advanced Configuration Guide for details and risks
Start Linking, with "Add Devices in links"
When all of your devices have been added to ISY, run "Restore Devices".
- As you know, this reprograms the devices to match the settings in ISY. If you have no groups in ISY, basically all but the PLM links will be deleted in the devices, essentially resetting them.
Do a "Backup ISY" so you have the backup_clean option of starting fresh again at some point in the future without having to re-link all your devices.
Bring back the backup_orignal with all your ISY programming, with "Restore ISY"
Finally to relink all your devices, do a "Restore Devices"

I already have the ISY programmed but some of my devices have lost their way; how can I fix them?

You will need to crawl (spider) your INSTEON network with the all the ISY data which can take some time. Launching the "Restore Devices" within the ISY will casue it go thru all your devices and update all the scene links. This is useful to make sure all the links are correct. Here is where you will find it: File (pull-down) --> Restore Devices (menu selection)


What do I do if the ISY locks up?

All though it does not happen often but when it does, unplug the ISY and let it sit for a few minutes then plug it back in. On a typical startup the lights do a bunch of different blinking and then the INSTEON Power Line Modem will flash a bunch as the ISY updates the status of all the linked devices. See Note Below


Should any of the LED indicators be illuminated solid?

The ISY-99i has a power indicator. If this is not illuminated the cable between the ISY and the PLM may be faulty or disconnected or the PLM has lost power. The ISY-26 does not have a power LED.
None of the other 4 LEDs should be constantly illuminated. LEDs are only illuminated if; Transmitting to PLM (TX), Receiving from PLM (RX), Writing to Memory (MEM), System error (Error)! If all 4 LEDs are illuminated solid then the ISY is most likely locked up and will need to be power cycled according to the directions in the previous question.
Also see: Status Display of ISY LEDs

How do I mount my ISY in my structured media panel?

I found that two 3 inch long strips double sided Velcro work just fine. I usually stick the soft fuzzy side to the device, and the rough hook side to the mounting spot that way if you remove the device to work with it the fuzzy Velcro does not scratch anything.

What is a ISY scene?

Scenes are simply a group of devices. A scene is equal to a group in INSTEON vernacular. Also a scene is as small as two devices linked together and the more links you add the bigger the scene gets. I think there is a desire to think that just linking two devices is just a link and this is correct but it is still a scene. So if you want to create a link between two devices you will have to create a scene to do it.


What is the best way to create a scene?

Start with adding all your responding devices first. Then add your controlling devices last. This consolidates the longest busy times to just the last few devices you add to the scene.


What can I do when not all my devices are responding correctly?

The INSTEON Power Line Modem is the main connection between your ISY and INSTEON network. If you’re having issues that not all devices responding you may need to try connecting PLM to another location or try relocating your SignaLincs. Also it may help not to connect the Wall-wart (power transformer) to the PLM pass-thru plug. The ISY has very little to do with the quality of communication on the INSTEON network.


Is there an offset for sunrise or sunset timers; how do I use it?

There is support for offset time (in minutes) for Sunrise and Sunset. If you want a schedule for 1.5 hours before Sunrise, make the offset -90. For any positive offset, leave out the sign. In the Schedule Configuration there is a Spin Box that if you click the little up and down arrows you will see the numbers change to positive and negative numbers.

Is there a way I can control the lights on a KeypadLinc with INSTEON commands?

If the KeypadLinc button is part of a scene, the lights will turn on/off either from the GUI (when issuing a scene/group command) or by other controllers linked to it. ISY does not work as a pass through for INSTEON commands; you can either use our GUI to perform what you need or our SDKs. In short, no longer do you have to care about the details of INSTEON commands; we take care of all of it in ISY. And, finally, you can even group KeypadLinc buttons (mutual exclusivity) using our GUI.

Is the ISY compatible with J2ME; what do I need to access my ISY?

As a matter of fact, our UDMobile client is based on J2ME (IBM Websphere Micro Environment Runtime = WEME). The only reason that we do not actively advertise our UDMobile client is that we have had a hard time figuring out where our clients can buy the license for WEME. The price for the license is $5.99 and we were told that users can buy it directly from Handango but it is not listed.
If you, or anyone else for that matter, is willing to take the responsibility for acquiring a license for WEME, you can download our UDMobile client: UDMobile-SD.zip. Installation is pretty straight forward:


Copy the contents of the zip file into an SD card
Insert the SD card into your Pocket PC
Use File Explorer and go to your /SD Card/UDClient or /Storage Card/UDClient directory
If your SD directory is called SD Card, then click on UDMSD
If your SD directory is called Storage Card, then click on UDMStorage


My PDA Phone runs Windows Mobile 2003 SE; what do I need to access my ISY?

You can use UDMobile-Full.zip; download into a directory, and run setup.bat; this will install the app using ActiveSynch. Make sure you install to the device and not the SD Card.


I registered my ISY on you website but did not get a confirmation email; what shall I do?

Registration is immediate and you should receive a confirmation immediately. If you do not receive an email with-in lets say 15 minutes just send us an email to tech@universal-devices.com and we can check in our "dead letter" queue.

I do have a question regarding the EZRain unit. After linking, I see groups 1-8, representing the valves 1-8, but do not see any groups for the four EZRain Zone groups (1-4). I had to set up 6 schedules to turn on each of the valves, with each start time following 30 min later and the a final schedule to turn off the last valve 30 min later. It works, but it would be a lot better if you were able to just set up a start schedule for one of the EZRain Zone programs. Did I mess up the linking or is there a way to do this?

As far as EZRain, you have not messed anything up. We are still a bit ambivalent as to what should be done with "not purely" INSTEON features such as Sprinkler Zones, number of zones, programming zones, etc. On the one hand, that would make ISY a great companion for EZRain but on the other it would make ISY manufacturer dependent. So, please do bear with us till we figure out what's the best way to go. And, thanks so very much for the feedback since it's only the feedbacks which prod us to one direction vs. the other.


Networking

Can I use my ISY behind a NAT firewall; how do I connect remotely?

Yes you can by enabling the internet access for the ISY and using the correct external URL. You should use: https://external.ip.address. If you change the ISY https port from 443 you will have to append to port number to the external address: https://external.ip.address:port
The address and port can usually be found using the menu item Help|About.

I understand some routers can be auto configured by the ISY; which ones are they?

DLink DI-604, DI-614, DI-624, DIR-625, DIR-655
NetGear WPN824v2
Linksys WRT-54GS
Buffalo Buffalo AirStation

Can the ISY setup to be on my wireless network?

As far as wireless-ness, ISY is Ethernet based and, thus, if you connect it to a wireless hub/router/switch then all the computers on the "same" network as your hub/router/switch can communicate with it regardless of the medium (wired vs. wireless).

Do you have to enable the UPnP in the router?

As far as making your router UPnP enabled: If you have a DLink Router of model DI-6xx, they are automatically UPnP enabled out of the box. You only need to UPnP enable your router if you want ISY to automatically configure it. Unfortunately, at the moment, we have tested and support only DLink routers for automatic configuration. We are working on enabling Linksys as well but, to date, we have gotten a little support.
Any plans in the works to let the ISY act as a server to HA software on the PC? (This might be a good option so you can leave the PC on for ease if use/graphical interface/additional features, but if you shut off, it syncs and most if not all of the functionality is saved on the ISY.)
Yes, you can use our MCE client (on the CD or download from our website under Resources) with is much easier to use (but does not allow you to configure ISY) and does exactly as you suggest. With respect to other HA software, we do offer JSDK (Java SDK) which can be used to build HA software for ISY. We are also in the middle of publishing our Web Services SDK (which has been put on hold to address functionality improvements such as crawling an INSTEON network)


What does it mean on your website, "access from anywhere in the world." How is this done?

You can access ISY from anywhere in the world if: a. You have a DLink router of model DI-6xx ... ISY can automatically configure it so that you can access ISY using the IP as assigned by your ISP b. If don't have a DLink router, unfortunately, you have to configure your router manually I am almost certain that, rightly so, we'll be criticized for not supporting other routers or making it easier to access ISY remotely. Though not a 100% good reason, we had to make a decision in the early stages of design: to use a dedicated proxy server with a secure tunnel (or VPN) to ISY in which case we would have to charge for the service (third party) anywhere between $5 to $20 per month (depending on the license fees or hosting costs) or to try and reuse existing UPnP IGD functionality and slowly add support for other routers and not charge anything. We chose the latter since we do not believe you should not have to pay for remote access.


Product Comparison

What is the difference between ISY and HouseLinc?

The only points of commonality between ISY and HouseLinc are the fact that they both allow you to link with devices using your computer and from there things diverge: With ISY, everything you do takes effect immediately (the links are written real-time). Links are created by dragging and dropping devices into scenes.

What is the difference between ISY and EZBridge IP?

The difference between ISY and EZBridge IP is the statement you will find at the bottom of Details & Specifications for EZBridge IP under "Software": While the free configuration utility (Windows-only) can be used to set-up and operate the device, the EZBridge realizes its full potential working in "conjunction" with home automation programs. Planned support for the EZBridge include "HouseLinc" from Smarthome, "mControl" from Embedded Automation or "Indigo" from Perceptive Automation.
In short, with EZBridge IP, you still need to either install their free "utility" or buy another home automation software (HouseLinc, mControl, or Indigo) to be installed on your computer (stationary). ISY is fully self-contained: you do not need to install any software on any computer. If you have Java (jre 1.5+) installed, you can access the system, the GUI, and all the functionalities from any computer on the network or from the internet using the ISP's IP address.

What is the difference between ISY and the ADI Ocelot?

There is a discussion on this topic in another thread (UDI Forum).


Development

What is the latest firmware version?

You can find the firmware version history on the forum.

See below for older version history

What device does the ISY use to communicate with the INSTEON network?

The ISY does not use the INSTEON Programmable Logic Controller (PLC), it uses INSTEON Programmable Logic Modem (PLM). The PLC has APIs that are not necessary for ISY network communication. The ISY has been designed to work with the INSTEON protocol directly.

So am I going to have to pay for the SDK?

Our goal and motto is to make home automation affordable for everyone. Initial release of the SDKs will be free for development use (you would still need to buy one of the ISY units) with email/forum support.
Forum support can be found here.

With the ISY what will the SDK and API provide?

With ISY, 3rd party software developers can use our SDK to communicate with ISY and perform all the functions that can be performed from our GUI. In short, our Web Services and APIs mask the user from having to know "any" INSTEON oriented protocol specs. So, if you were implying that 3rd parties could use ISY to issue INSTEON commands (such as PEEK , POKE, etc.) then the answer is NO. ISY is not a pass through bridge.

What OS does this device run on; can I get the source code?

The operating system is a derivate of uCOS. We are not releasing our source code for the ISY but we have two SDKs: A Java Library which enables you to communicate with ISY with any Java Client on the network. All the functionality of our GUI is exposed as APIs in this library. A Web Services Development Kit which enables you to communicate with ISY using Web Services (in a language of your choice)

What connection protocol does the ISY use to connect to the PLC?

Serial. It doesn’t really matter to whether or not ISY's communication with the PLM is USB, Serial, XYZ, or WKM. Client communications with ISY is over the Network/Ethernet (HTTP)

What is the number of events?

Currently, we have configured the system for the average install (80%)

What is the total number of triggers?

It's configurable. Unlike other software, ISY triggers are conditionals with up to 6 conditions (using conjunctive, disjunctive) and 6 responses per trigger. 20 has been chosen as a baseline and nothing prevents us from increasing it except INSTEON limitations especially when the responses are issued sequentially to more than 10 devices/groups at a time. Same goes for schedules.

Can I get more triggers?

It would be rather impractical, but not impossible, to support 1000s of triggers; could you please let me know the scenario where one with 100s of devices would need 1000s of triggers?

Can the ISY display other languages?

ISY has been designed with following the National Language Support (NLS) specs, which means that a translation to any other language is a matter of translating 3 files.

Have you thought about an open source project around the ISY?

We actually thought about doing precisely that but the OS is licensed and, as such, can never truly become free. Thus, we decided to go for the next best alternative: provide free SDKs to whomever wants to write network applications for ISY. We might start working on a Linux based solution (when we get some free time) which would give us more flexibility for making ISY a little more open source.

Can the second serial port be used for control/status of INSTEON devices via the ISY, from an outboard device such as a PC or a micro-controller based device?

The second serial port is used to Administer ISY for functions which we do not allow from the GUI to be performed (for security reasons) such as reset userid/pwd, factory reset, etc. And, thus, you cannot use it to write programs which communicate to INSTEON network through ISY. This said, however, we do have a Java SDK which allows you to write "network" programs which enable you to do exactly what you want to do (through the serial port) using TCP/IP and a network connection.

I just "love" having my computer on all the time; is there any way ISY could be a standalone product?

ISY is completely standalone: you use your computer to set it up the first time and you never need a computer after that unless you want to control it remotely or configure triggers/schedules make scenes etc. And, most importantly, you do not have to write programs nor do you have to install anything on your computer (except JRE).

Is the ISY a multitasking based device?

Yes. The ISY is running in a continuous loop(s) (multitask) doing a variety of things such as sensing user input, a button press somewhere, a web service request, and also sensing all the "state" changes on the network. Triggers are notified when there are changes in the state of the devices on the network and, based on the defined conditions, they perform tasks such as sending an sms/text/page, turning on/off a device/scene etc.


Compatibility

Is the ISY compatible with SimpleHomeNet products?

ISY works with most SimpleHomeNet products. As a matter of fact, with ISY, you can link an EZRain Sprinkler valve to a button on a controller (KeypadLinc, ControLinc, etc.). We are currently working on supporting EZIO such that you could either link the dry contacts (inputs) to another (linkable) INSTEON device or use Triggers to do a series of actions (up to 6) based on EZIOs inputs. In any case, since the firmware is upgradable over the network, you should rest assured that all ehancements will be notified to registered users and thus you can upgrade your product for every new supported product/feature.

Is this unit compatible for Europe? Even if its is not CE certified, will it work?

ISY's processor board is CE certified. The ISY is a 5/6 volt, 300 milliamps, DC device so you could use a power transformer that would match the needed voltage and current requirements. On the other hand the INSTEON products would need voltage/phase/frequency converters. So yes it could work but would require some serious workarounds. See Note Below

Are X-10 single phase 110V/120V or two phase 220V/230V devices compatible?

The ISY does now support X-10. X-10 single phase 110V/120V is compatible.

Specifications

Hardware

Freescale 5270 running at 100Mhz

512K flash

2MB RAM

2 Serial Ports: one for communications with PLM and one with a Shell which allows administrative functions

SD Card Module: Up to 16GB holds a regular FAT file system

QSPI, I2C, PWM, and GPIO input outputs available

Real Time Clock on board

Why do you have so little flash and RAM? Because we do not need more. We have a multi-tasked web server with an SD based file-system on board. With the current configuration, we still have around 75K of free space left on the flash and 300K on the RAM.

OS

A derivative of uCOS runs in less than 170K. I shall not discuss the benefits of uCOS (vs. ThreadX) simply because performing a copy/paste does not benefit this discussion.

Firmware

HTTP Stack + Web Server

SOAP 1.1/1.2 Stack

UPnP Stack driven by Publish/Subscribe (DPWS to be available by end of 2007)

D2D Stack (triggering events on local/remote devices)

INSTEON driver - low level driver for communications with INSTEON

X10 driver

SMS/Pager/Email drivers

Scheduler with sunrise/sunset

Cryptography (3 levels: none, 1. Digital Signatures Only, 2. Digital Signatures with Encryption, and 3. RSA). Default is 2

NTP client is available but disabled

Software

  1. Java client based on subscriptions. No polling is ever done from the client to ISY. Upon "any" state change, the clients are notified.
  2. JSDK: our Java SDK to develop an ISY client in a matter of days. One can even upload files to ISY and have it served up.
  3. MCE Client for Microsoft Media Center which allows you to control ISY using MCE remote control
  4. UDMobile client for Windows Mobile 5.0 platforms based on IBM J9
  5. Web Services (SOAP 1.2) ... a little behind on the documentation

Support

90% of the features in ISY are based on the feedback we receive from our customers. Availability of updates are notified to clients upon which time an upgrade can be performed automatically from within the client and without having to "download" from a website and install.

In case of defective units, a new unit is shipped out within a day and the cost of returning the defective one is on us.





ISY-26 INSTEON / ISY-99i Series INSTEON

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