When is an Insteon scene not a scene?

When setting up my Insteon can lights with Insteon scenes, I had a revelation that might seem obvious, but is worth mentioning because I know I spent a lot of time pulling my hair out on this one. In a nutshell: because Insteon builds a peer-to-peer mesh network, Insteon scenes are not stored in any single device. Instead, they’re stored in link tables on each device, including the ISY994i (or, more specifically, the PowerLinc Modem, a.k.a. the PLM).

Why does this matter? Well, when I turned on my new scene the first time through the ISY, the dim levels in the lights were all set properly to 50%:

But then, when I used one of the switches in the scene, the lights came on at 100%. This drove me nuts, thinking that the lights weren’t compatible with setting dim levels at scene activation. Then I realized each device keeps it own copy of the scene settings in its link table, containing the addresses and dim level of the other devices in the group. They don’t necessarily all have to be the same. For example, when I expanded the scene and clicked one of the devices under it in the ISY, I could see that the dim level for that scene (set via that device) was 100%:

So, in practice what this means is that you don’t have just one “scene”, you have a separate scene (a.k.a., an Insteon “group”) stored on every device, and if you’re having unexplained issues you might want to check that they are in synch. Fortunately the ISY makes this easy with that big fat “Copy Scene attributes from <SceneName>” button, which appears when you click each individual device under the scene in the tree on the left.

Posted by Matt Chiste
October 12
3 comments on “When is an Insteon scene not a scene?
  1. Dirk says:

    I too had been frustrated by this and recently figured it out. Thanks for sharing…I literally thought I was going crazy.

  2. Roger says:

    Good info – enjoying your blog.

  3. Dss says:

    I recently ran into a situation like this as well that had me baffled for a few hours.

    I was actually following your previous article about keypadlinc and garage door opener. I set it up like you said, however, I use an open/close sensor jury-rigged to the door so that it is wireless instead of running the mag sensors all the way to the garage door. Following the same steps you provided, making the open/close sensor a controller for the KPL status LED and the KPL as a controller for the IOLinc.. the open/close sensor also got linked as the controller for the iolinc. So as soon as the door opened, the sensor send the off command thus causing the iolinc to trigger again and stop the door while opening.

    So I deleted the scene from ISY but didn’t put the open/close sensor into linking mode so it never got the update. So even though the scene was deleted, the open/close sensor still had the scene internally so it was still doing it. Finally when I manually unlinked it was good to go.

    Since then I created 2 separate scenes
    1 with the KPL as the controller for the IOLinc
    and 1 with the open/close sensor as controller for the KPL LED with non-toggle (on) mode.

    Now it works perfectly. Thanks for the great articles!

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