What Is The Best Way To Setup My New System

  • Platform information:
    • Hardware: Probably Raspberry Pi 3
    • OS: Probably Raspbian
    • Java Runtime Environment: UNSURE
    • openHAB version: Whatever the latest version is.

I have been looking to make my house smarter for quite a bit but never pulled the trigger on it. I am ready to take the plunge but I wanted to get some guidance before I buy all the components.

I have fallen in love with Insteon controls. Specifically the 6 button remote control (2487S,) the FanLinc (2475F,) the outlets (2663-222.) Anyway. I think I like the idea of a Raspberry Pi, running Raspbian with OpenHab installed. Mostly because I like the way HabPanel looks and the PaperUI. I am worried about the setup of Insteon devices on the network though. From the forum posts I have read and the Open Hab wiki, it looks complicated to me. I want to see if anyone can offer any guidance as far as just sticking to the generic Insteon hub when using their products, or should a make a go on an OpenHab system?

I also had questions about whether I should by the Insteon hub, or just get the PLM? Would it be better to use an ISY as a middle man, for lack of a better word? I have heard this mentioned in forum posts. I think by biggest goals for this system are that the UI has to be clean, good looking and responsive. The interaction between the devices should be responsive and not too laggy.

I hope I worded that all correctly.

I haven’t bought any parts yet, so I am not committed to any system. With that being said, I do like Insteon controls, and I really like the looks of OpenHab.

I appreciate any help you all can provide.

I suggest you start reading the docs from the beginning and select to install the openHABian image on a Pi4 or Pi3 if you own that.


I second what @mstormi wrote. There’s no commitment to installing openHABian on an RPi to familiarize yourself with how it works, and it’ll be a lot easier to understand what you’re reading as you poke and prod at the system. Your computers/phones/tablets can be added to openHAB as network devices for testing purposes, and odds are that you have other equipment that will work.

I can’t comment on how easy/hard it is to add Insteon devices, but the power of openHAB is its ability to combine many different products and technologies. As a result, you’re never locked into one brand/system, because you can keep those pieces going while adding new ones that are completely different.

Personally, I came into openHAB with Belkin and TP-Link devices, and I was only concerned about lighting control. Then I discovered that I could add my Logitech Harmony Hubs and Google Chromecasts. I’ve since added a variety of other devices, with rules that combine all of them for various purposes. It’s great when you can tell Google Assistant that you’re leaving the house so that openHAB can unlock the door, turn off the TV, and turn off the lights (or do the opposite when you return).

Now when it comes to buying automation devices, I only worry about how well something works with openHAB.

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Hi KevinLee and welcome to the OpenHAB community!!!
Russ did a super good job rounding up all the benefits of OpenHAB. If you have a Pi to play with then give it a go, but if not, load OpenHAB up on an old laptop or whatever you have laying around. Take it for a test drive and you will learn a lot faster. Come back when you get stuck and we’ll get you going again

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I can speak to using Insteon devices. I started using them because I really liked the same features you mentioned. Some words of advice, the keypads are nice, but if you’d like to use and control the buttons independently there is a lot of setup. The other issue I run into frequently is that the network is very slow, meaning if you send too many commands too quickly some messages will get dropped.

You can group things together in scenes and send broadcast messages, which lessens the number of messages being sent but you can’t send levels in a broadcast message so it’s a bit limiting.

With the new binding I think some of the issues with sending messages have been helped since I think some of that has been taken care of in the binding. I still like the keypads but if I were to do it again I think I’d opt for tablets or screens, sensors and better automation rules, and voice controls like Google home and using more reliable lights like hue and such. Most of that is what I’m working on right now.

I’ve used the hub and PLM and the hub is nice cause it sits on the network, but I think the PLM was easier to work with, and the Insteon app is largely terrible. You also can’t control the lights from the app and OpenHAB, which wasn’t a huge deal since I just control everything with OpenHAB now anyway.

Just my experience, yours may be different. I’m still using my keypads and I’m not going to completely eliminate them but I’m also looking to implement better options too.

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I want to thank you all for replying. I went ahead and pulled the trigger on all the outlets I needed and lots of other stuff. I am starting with the Insteon hub to see how I like it. I don’t picture myself using a tablet for a UI at this point, I just want to come in and click a button and have the lights ramp up. I also wanted to be able to control the lights with Alexa. It looks like the Insteon hub will do what I want it to do initially. Then the goal is to put together an raspberry pi 4 and see if I can get it to communicate with the Insteon PLM that I bought. Then I suppose the adventure begins.

I have a lot of wiring and drywall work to do in the next few weeks. After I get that settled down, I plan to start playing with OpenHab and see what I can do with it.

I wanted to thank you all for your help.