Basic Insteon Setup Issues

Hi Community!

I’ve been running Home Assistant on a Raspberry Pi for some time but it has deteriorated as of lately, and I’m looking into using openHAB instead.

I seem to have successfully installed OH on my Raspberry Pi. The GUI (Paper UI) seems to be working and I can ‘install’ add-ons. One of tha add-ons I added was “binding-insteonplm1-1.13.0”. I also added the access configuration in my /etc/openhab2/insteonplm.cfg:

port_0=/hub2/USER:PW@10.0.0.182:25105,poll_time=1000

I then issue ‘systemctl restart openhab2’. This seem to trigger some Insteon-related activity (as seen in /var/log/openhab2/openhab.log), but I can not see anything Insteon-related added under ‘Configuration’ nor ‘Inbox’ in the Paper UI.

Selected things seen in the log:

2019-11-21 05:58:53.922 [WARN ] [ding.insteonplm.internal.driver.Port] - bad data received: got unknown command code 0x50
2019-11-21 05:58:56.126 [WARN ] [ding.insteonplm.internal.driver.Port] - bad data received: got unknown command code 0x54
2019-11-21 05:58:58.638 [WARN ] [ding.insteonplm.internal.driver.Port] - bad data received: got unknown command code 0x54
2019-11-21 05:59:01.135 [WARN ] [ding.insteonplm.internal.driver.Port] - bad data received: got unknown command code 0x54
2019-11-21 05:59:03.640 [WARN ] [ding.insteonplm.internal.driver.Port] - bad data received: got unknown command code 0x54
2019-11-21 06:04:31.953 [INFO ] [g.insteonplm.InsteonPLMActiveBinding] - devices:   0 configured,   0 polling, msgs received:     0
2019-11-21 06:14:31.959 [INFO ] [g.insteonplm.InsteonPLMActiveBinding] - devices:   0 configured,   0 polling, msgs received:     0
2019-11-21 06:24:31.966 [INFO ] [g.insteonplm.InsteonPLMActiveBinding] - devices:   0 configured,   0 polling, msgs received:     0

Besides the Insteon HUB, I also have a USB PLM attached (which I’ve manually paired with most devices). When I switch to using this, I get slightly different information in the log:

2019-11-21 09:24:22.510 [INFO ] [g.insteonplm.InsteonPLMActiveBinding] - device 33.FA.0F found in the modem database, but is not configured as an item and the modem controls groups [0x01] and responds to groups [0x01].
2019-11-21 09:24:22.513 [INFO ] [g.insteonplm.InsteonPLMActiveBinding] - device 42.6E.EF found in the modem database, but is not configured as an item and the modem controls groups [0x01] and responds to groups [0x01].
2019-11-21 09:24:22.516 [INFO ] [g.insteonplm.InsteonPLMActiveBinding] - device 4D.B2.99 found in the modem database, but is not configured as an item and the modem controls groups [0x01] and responds to groups [0x01].
2019-11-21 09:34:19.192 [INFO ] [g.insteonplm.InsteonPLMActiveBinding] - devices:   0 configured,   0 polling, msgs received:    55

System information:
Linux Kernel: 4.19.58-v7+
Raspbian 9
OpenHAB2 version 2.4.0-1

java -version
openjdk version "1.8.0_222"
OpenJDK Runtime Environment (build 1.8.0_222-8u222-b10-1~deb9u1-b10)
OpenJDK Client VM (build 25.222-b10, mixed mode)

What am I missing? Is there a step I’m skipping?

openHAB lives in two worlds, a legacy 1.x world and the 2.x world. The Insteon binding is a 1.x binding so it lives in the legacy world.

PaperUI strictly supports 2.x world. You will not be able to create and configure Items through PaperUI for this binding. The Control tab in PaperUI only shows Items that are linked to Channels. OH 1.x bindings do not have Things and Channels so you will never see those Items there. There are not Things so there can be no Thing discovery.

So your path will be to create a .items file and manually define through text config Items and binding those Items to Insteon based on the syntax defined in the binding’s readme.

I don’t use this binding so I can’t identify the exact cause of the errors you are seeing. But the PLM logs seem to point at the fact that you do not yet have Items defined and bound to the indicated Items.

There was work on a replacement 2.x version binding for Insteon but I don’t know where they are in terms of progress.

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I would not waste my time trying to use the Insteon Hub, While they “work” with openHAB, their performance is terrible (lots of lag and errors), and everyone always get things messed up because you essentially have to never use the app again - except possibly for some basic linking. If you already have a PLM, use that and only that. I’d even recommend unlinking any devices linked to your hub and unplugging the hub from power. The thing with Insteon is that the Insteon bus bandwidth is not very good. You have to do everything you can do to keep the use of the bus to a minimum and having your devices linked to both the PLM and hub will essentially double the bandwidth they consume since they are trying to keep both the PLM and Hub up to date.

From your logs, it looks like you PLM connected to OH just fine (probably - the logs were not all of the Insteon stuff). I can see the binding was able to download the PLM’s link database, so that is a very good sign.

As Rich described already, you’ll need to manually add items to your .items file in order to create an OH item that will control an Insteon Device. Once you have that item defined, you can then put it in your .sitemap and control it with the basic UI or the OH app.

FWIW I am currently running OpenHAB 2.5M5(previously ran 2.4), my home is exclusively Insteon(switches, outlets, leak, garage sensor, thermostat, etc) and I have very little trouble with the system overall which is why I continue to use the products. However I am using an ISY994 hub to interface with the PLM. There is an ISY binding in the Market Place which is fully developed for most Insteon devices, and can be used with PaperUI. It has auto discovery of Things, and Items can be created and linked to Things using PaperUI. (Don’t be fooled by the Market Place 1.0 version number.) Of course you can still create items (and Things) using files as well if you so choose. The binding isn’t flawless, none are, but it works very, very well. The only issue I have is that when I upgrade( I am using a docker) a new version of OpenHab I need to uninstall the binding, upgrade then reinstall the binding. Takes all of 30 sec, and nothing is lost in the process. If you are serious about using Insteon as your platform, I highly recommend an ISY 994 hub. It also makes configuring your Insteon devices and creating scenes a breeze. I went through 3 Insteon hubs (premature failures) before buying the ISY so I have seen the good, the bad and ugly. So far no regrets in staying with Insteon, upgrading to ISY and using OpenHAB as my automation platform.

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