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|Insteon Review - PowerLinc Serial Modem|
|Written by Peter|
You may be looking to take your Insteon installation to the next level, or perhaps you’re just getting started with home automation and want to ensure you have all the pieces necessary to realize your vision. Either way, you need a way for your computer to send Insteon commands, and the PowerLinc serial modem is just that.
For a bit of background, Insteon computer interfaces originally came in two flavors: USB, with an integrated “memory” of settings and the serial version, which is essentially a direct link between the computer and the powerline. The USB interface, which is sometimes referred to as the PLC (PowerLinc Controller) was the preferred device initially, as USB is the dominant interface on today’s computers. As developers attempted to work with the PLC however, the integrated memory began to cause erratic behavior and for a variety of reasons (some political, some technical) the serial interface began to become the favorite with its simplistic style of interaction.
For the average Insteon purchaser, this all boils down to two things:1. Get the serial interface – It’s more supported and works more reliably.
2. You will need to leave your computer powered on for the scripts you setup to work correctly.
Installation is simple and requires nothing more than plugging the PowerLinc Modem (PLM) into the power outlet and your computer’s serial port. Next, open the application you will be using (MControl, Homeseer, Indigo – For Mac OSX Users, and Girder are all good choices) and set the serial port to the same port you plugged the PLM into (Usually COM1 or COM2). From here, the software will run a quick check to verify the PLM and then allow you to begin creating your home automation scripts.
With the computer interface for Insteon, there really is no limit to what your home automation can do for you. Daily events such as automating your aquarium lighting can be scripted, with adaptation to the current sunrise or sunset times - or perhaps you'd like the weather report to trigger your blinds to close in preparation for the upcoming heat wave.
More advanced scenarios such as integrating your home alarm system and using the motion and door sensors to trigger Insteon events are exciting and cutting-edge. In the coming days I will be posting some common (and not-so-common) home automation scenarios that are all possible with a few Insteon devices and some simple scripting.
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