Dave Bullock / eecue

photographer, director of engineering: crowdrise, photojournalist, hacker, nerd, geek, human

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Home Automation with Insteon and Indigo

After many years of using X10 products to control various aspects of my house (apartment actually) I ended up stowing them all in a large box several years ago and eventually selling them all on eBay right before my wedding.

I decided some time ago to start over with Insteon products, I'm glad I waited a couple years for V2 stuff to come out, as from what I've read they fixed some annoying issues. So here is what I bought:

  • 2 x dimmer switches - $40 2876DB
  • 1 x control panel switch - $70 2486D
  • 1 x appliance module - $35 2456S3
  • 1 x usb control module - $70 2414U
  • 1 x tabletop control module - $35 2430
  • 1 x 3 prong dimmer module - $35 2456D3

As you can see I didn't buy any RF extenders, which was my bad, I figured they were only for large houses, and as I live in a fairly small loft I didn't think I would have any issues. For some reason I thought every module had an RF transmitter in it, obviously I was wrong, but luckily 90% of my loft is on one phase so most everything works. I will be ordering a few more lamp modules and a pair of the RF extenders on Monday.

Unfortunately the ICON on/off switch was DOA so I'll have to return that, hopefully it won't be a painful process.

The only issues I have so far is that the table top remote control, the Smartlinc puts out a really annoying high pitched whine. My wife couldn't hear it, but I can hear it quite clearly. It wouldn't be an issue, but I am using the control on my nightstand. I will talk to SmartHome about it on Monday when I call to return my faulty switch.

We are an Apple and FreeBSD based household, so currently I am using Indigo 2 in demo mode, I will probably buy it, although it is quite expensive at $180. When I had an X10 setup I controlled everything via my FreeBSD server using some custom scripts with a php frontend. I see that there are some linux drivers, but nothing for FreeBSD as of yet. Indigo is packed full of features, and is server / client based so it may work for me.

Obviously Insteon is leaps and bounds better than X10 and so far both my wife and I are very happy with it. She especially loves the romance mode I programmed.