Considering ISY994i -- interested in experiences?


I have a relatively new vera3 system with a mix of Zwave and Insteon (Altsteon) equipment. Loving the Zwave lock and thermostat support along with a few other things. But hard to pass up the much lower cost of the Insteon equipment (especially as it does instant status updates for manual switch use and the equivalent Zwave units are $30/unit more for that).

For the most part, I’m happy with Altsteon to manage it, but have been reading the ISY994i thread and wondering what the benefits would be to consider adding that in for managing the Insteon equipment.

In my short time with all this, a few things I’ve run into (mostly minor):

  1. Adding new devices to Altsteon/Vera new devices takes a fair bit of typing (not too hard, but error prone)

  2. Configuring the actual device isn’t accessible (i.e. default dim level, LEDs on/off, etc). Some of it seems possible via alsteon_cli though
    (UPDATE: I have found that many of these functions ARE exposed in the Altsteon devices – not sure why I missed that earlier)

  3. Three/Four-way switches are a pain (I have dozens in the house and it looks like getting Vera to correctly track the level of each is going to involve a lot of custom code for each).

I’m curious if the ISY solution (in tandem with Vera) would help with these? Especially #3 – correctly tracking the light level regardless of which of the 3/4-way switches adjusted them.

Also interested in hearing if there are any other benefits to a potentially large (well, 50+ device) Insteon installation using the ISY vs Altsteon.


You mentioned you are following the other thread, so most everything I have posted there. I’ll try to address your points here.

[quote=“gduprey, post:1, topic:182851”]1) Adding new devices to Altsteon/Vera new devices takes a fair bit of typing (not too hard, but error prone)[/quote]It’s much easier to add to ISY. It will auto detect device types for you, and that data will automatically get imported into Vera when you reconnect/reload LUUP.

[quote=“gduprey, post:1, topic:182851”]2) Configuring the actual device isn’t accessible (i.e. default dim level, LEDs on/off, etc). Some of it seems possible via alsteon_cli though[/quote]Can be configured easily in ISY. Also, you can adjust all of those things from ISY programs, to change them based on the time of day, conditions, etc.

[quote=“gduprey, post:1, topic:182851”]3) Three/Four-way switches are a pain (I have dozens in the house and it looks like getting Vera to correctly track the level of each is going to involve a lot of custom code for each).[/quote]ISY handles all that, and updates get pushed to Vera automatically. However, there is a catch (common to Z-Wave as well).

Say you have 2 switches (SwitchA and SwitchB) controlling a hall light. Only one switch is actually connected to the light, say SwitchA. If you physically press SwitchB, ISY knows SwitchA updates, and both go to the correct level. These updates get pushed to Vera. However, if you change the state of SwitchB via direct messages (either from ISY, Vera, or an app) Switch A will not be updated. That’s expected, and how Insteon was designed. To update both, you would want to send a scene command from Vera, so both update.

I have several 3-way switches, and to avoid this, for some I created Vera scenes to call the ISY scene. For other that I don’t care about, I simply hid* the unused switch that isn’t connected to the load. I say “hid” but I really just moved it to an unused room.

Thanks – Appreciate that!

I have an ISY994i now that I just plugged in (though weirdly, the PLM didn’t show – supposedly later today) and have the plugin on Vera working.

As soon as I have that installed and working, I’m going to disable Altsteon and move everything over to the ISY.

I have some concerns about the 3/4 way switch thing. For the most part, lights will be set by scene and automatically, so no worries there. But I want to be able to use things like Authomation and such and while I can know how to turn 3/4 ways lights on and off (I hope), I’m suspecting that other people in the house are either going to adjust the wrong device, or wonder why the lights on the switches don’t match, etc, etc.

I’ll have to spend more time getting into ISY and ISY/Vera before delving into that more.

Thanks again!


[quote=“gduprey, post:3, topic:182851”]I have an ISY994i now that I just plugged in (though weirdly, the PLM didn’t show – supposedly later today) and have the plugin on Vera working.[/quote]The PLM will never show in the ISY. Essentially the ISY and PLM are a cohesive unit, they can’t really operate without the other. You can verify if ISY sees the PLM by checking in the Admin Console: Tools → Diagnostics → Show PLM Info/Status

Sorry, wasn’t clear.

I meant the physical PLM (the 2413S) wasn’t delivered on the same truck that dropped the ISY off. It’s due in today.

So I’ve been running the ISY without an attached PLM – enough to configure the basics and get the Vera plugin/PLM device up and communicating with it, but obviously cannot add any actual devices in til the PLM arrives and gets connected.



Ah, that makes a bunch more sense. I’ve seen in the other forums asking how to add the PLM, and range extenders too. But you don’t have too. :slight_smile:

Lots of great info there, and helpful users…and helpful support staff!!

Followup to anyone else looking at this thread:

I chose Insteon for Lighting over Zwave for a few reasons:

  • Most ZWave devices do not have native ‘scenes’ in them
  • Most ZWave devices do not immediately report manual changes (i.e. human presses on button)
  • The ZWave devices that do both are very pricey and get mixed reviews
  • Insteon seems to have a much larger range of devices that support all of that for less (or a lot less) money

I’m keeping Zwave for some specialty devices (locks, power, sensors), but moving all my lighting over to Insteon.

Once you go the Insteon route, it really helps to have a controller that treats them like first class citizens (configuration, linking, reporting, etc). Altseon on Vera is really a very, very good solution if you only need a few Insteon devices, but if you decide to commit to a larger install or use some of the more specialty Insteon devices, the ISY quickly makes sense. Especially if you want to use Insteon native scenes/links, the ISY provides the tools to make that work very, very well.

I’ve had the ISY and the Vera ISY plugin running for a few days and it is all working very, very well.

For Insteon & Vera, you only need the basic ISY994i. You do NOT need the networking module or anything else (not that they are bad, but if you just want to control Insteon devices with it, the basic controller has everything you need (well, except the 2413S PLM!)). Network module, in particular, is sort of misleading when you first research the ISY994i. The base ISY994i comes with networking allowing it to be controlled. The additional network module is NOT needed for that - it’s used for more advanced scripting and fetching of things from the ISY unit.

Insure the ISY gets a static, unchanging IP address (via your DHCP server or just manually assigning one). Very important!!

First time setup of the ISY plugin for Vera is pretty easy if you’ve ever manually installed plugin files before. You may want to read up on uploading files if you’ve never done it (not hard, but worth looking into). The .zip file to download is in the 1st post of [url=,17309.0.html],17309.0.html[/url]. Unzip it and upload all the files in it (and yes, they are spread over several directories, but that doesn’t matter – they all go into the same place on your Vera). There were 11 files at the time of this post in the distribution (in case you want to make sure you got them all).

Follow the steps in Post #8 of that thread to create the ISY plugin device. Once added, give it a few minutes – vera is obviously churning on it in the background a bit. Then install the IP address and user name info for your ISY into it. You do not have to manually add Insteon/ISY devices to the Vera - once you do an reload, your Insteon devices will start showing up automatically.

Device interaction between the ISY and Vera is very, very quick. Almost (but not quite) instantaneous. When a device is manually turned on, it shows as such in Vera almost immediately. And changing a device (on/off, dim, etc) on Vera impacts the device about as fast as Insteon can do it.

The ISY is a much simpler (but still powerful) controller than the Vera. That said, the logic parts, if you want to use it, are more direct and clearer (in my view) than Vera (much closer to the metal), but there is little you could do on one and not the other. I’m treating it basically like a smart Insteon manager device and not using much of it’s other logic (and that is still well worth the price).

I’m using the ISY primarily to create and configure my lighting devices, define my scenes and execute them. You can directly invoke scenes on the ISY from Vera as well as control devices from both.

I’m keeping all/most of my scheduling logic and such on the Vera. I think there is great value in clearly defined division of labor. Spreading control logic between both units is doable, but could get confusing later on.

I’ve chosen to ‘wrap’ all my Insteon scenes on the ISY with a matching ISY program. Then when I want to activate them from the vera, I run the program. That way, if I you ever need to augment the scene, you have a place on the ISY to add minor tests and changes without having to chase down all your scene references on the Vera. This provides a level of isolation between the units that costs little and opens up making changes to be simpler in the future.


Now that you’ve had both for a while… for someone new: why not just get an ISY and be done with it? As background, I’m 90% Insteon right now for most of the same reasons (cost, dual band, speed/reporting, and keypadlincs - which don’t have good ZWave equivalents).

I do want the option for additional devices later, plus my existing ZWave 4-in-1 sensors. I suspect ISY has minimal Z-Wave support, and it seems like it is more limited and isn’t quite as open as Vera. Although I’m not sure if that matters, because aside from fixing a few bugs in existing plugins, I don’t think I could write one from scratch – too complex and Vera’s documentation is confusing, outdated, and flat out missing. A bit of poking at the guts and the whole thing looks like it is held together with duct tape. No wonder Vera can’t ship a quality release.

Honestly, I feel like if anyone could tackle bridging Z-Wave/Insteon and adding support for a few sprinklers, thermostats, Wi-Fi, and common alarm systems (ok, not trivial), there’d be millions lining up to buy. Had my eye on Revolv, but that’s dead. Securifi is vaporware. Maybe StackBox?

I have had an ISY for some time and recently got a vera to supplement for the following reasons.
I configure vera as a secondary z-wave controller to the ISY primary

  1. temporary workaround to support multichannel z-wave devices that ISY does not support
  2. leverage some of the plugins like the DSC one, hue one, brultech and others where ISY has no such equivalent support
  3. integrate this through one WAF app (app that has wife acceptance factor)

Create scenes that can control all devices - like my ‘night’ and ‘away’ scene.

(and yes I have a lot of insteon devices too)