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  • I want a power on/off sensor

    I want an Insteon device that sends a signal when it loses power and when it regains power.

    Obviously, it would need a small rechargeable battery so that the power-loss signal could go out via RF.

    These could be used to monitor circuits that occasionally overload and pop the circuit breaker. Combined with a HUB or ISY, it could send an alert when the circuit blows.

    I could plug one into the power strip for my home theater system. When the system goes on, it could automatically dim the room lights, and restore them when the home theater is turned back off.


    This would allow you to integrate non-Insteon legacy installations into your system. If your pool system has an existing timer you wish to keep, you could have this powered by the timer, and then your Insteon devices can respond to the pool pump running.


    If your ISY and Internet connection are on a UPS, they could alert you if utility power goes away.

    My personal use would be to monitor for the presence of utility power. I have a whole home backup generator. I would install this upstream of the transfer switch. In that way it would sense the presence of utility power. If I am not home, I would like to be notified when utility power goes away. Even if I am home, I would like to be notified when utility power comes back (the generator can continue to run for up to 1/2 hour after utility power returns).

    I could also use it downstream of the transfer switch to detect the failure of the backup generator.

    As a bonus, it would be nice if it could be queried to get the current voltage.

    Ideally, this would be available in two versions. A plug in 110 volt version, and a wire in 220V version. The wired in version would have separate sensors for both phases (one response for Phase A, one response for Phase B, and possibly a third response if both phases go out).

  • #2
    If you have circuits that overload and pop the breaker occasionally, then something is definitely wrong.

    An I/O Linc can be used to determine if a specific circuit or all power is lost. (it will lose power in either case). You can use that to control a battery powered device (the battery does not need to be rechargeable).

    Neither the Hub nor ISY can send a message unless they're on a different circuit or a UPS. In any case, placing the Hub or ISY on a UPS totally loses power line communication 24/7. Keep in mind that power line communication is significantly more reliable than RF.

    According to the NEC, anything connected to 220VAC must be powered from a yoked breaker. When power is lost on one leg (not phase) of a split, single-phase electric supply, the power will be cut on both opposite legs.
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    • #3
      Originally posted by stusviews View Post
      If you have circuits that overload and pop the breaker occasionally, then something is definitely wrong.
      Yes. However I have friends with old houses. For budgetary reasons, they are not going to add more circuits, Knowing that a circuit has tripped is helpful.

      Originally posted by stusviews View Post
      An I/O Linc can be used to determine if a specific circuit or all power is lost. (it will lose power in either case). You can use that to control a battery powered device (the battery does not need to be rechargeable).
      How do I get an I/O Linc to send a signal when it loses power? I could power the I/O Linc with a UPS, and monitor an input, but don't think the I/O Linc is rated for 120VAC.

      Originally posted by stusviews View Post
      Neither the Hub nor ISY can send a message unless they're on a different circuit or a UPS. In any case, placing the Hub or ISY on a UPS totally loses power line communication 24/7. Keep in mind that power line communication is significantly more reliable than RF.
      I have a whole house generator. My ISY and Internet router are on a UPS. When utility power goes away power to most circuits is restored in under 30 seconds. The PLM is on one of these circuits.

      What I am looking for is a way to have my ISY know if utility power is present. When on generator I don't want some power hungry loads to run as much, and I would love for the ISY to notify me.

      If there is a better way of doing this, I am happy to learn about it.


      Originally posted by stusviews View Post
      According to the NEC, anything connected to 220VAC must be powered from a yoked breaker. When power is lost on one leg (not phase) of a split, single-phase electric supply, the power will be cut on both opposite legs.
      Absolutely correct. However I live in an areas where hurricanes and other storms are not unusual. The electrical lines in our neighborhood don't get along with the trees in our neighborhood. We've been known to lose power only one leg of power, or even to lose the neutral.
      While we should never be in a situation where we have power in only one leg of a 220VAC lines, it has happened.

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      • #4
        The I/O Linc has NO and NC contacts. The NC contact are closed when there's no power. Install the I/O Linc and turn on the relay. That will close the NO contacts and open the NC contacts. The NC contact are closed when there's no power. That's the pair you want to use to control a battery power device such as the external sensor contacts of an Open/Close sensor which, in turn, can send a signal to your USB protected PLM and ISY.
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        • #5
          It seems a bit Rube Goldberg to use an I/O Linc to drive a relay, which in turn drives another I/O Linc. Easier to use a 5 volt wall transformer to drive the inputs of an I/O Linc that's on another circuit.

          It might almost be easier to use an Insteon Remote Control Micro On/Off Switch Adapter (2443-222), but I don't know if the the sense wires can be fed by a voltage that is out of phase with the line voltage (i.e. the line voltage is powered by the UPS, but the sense voltage is from the utility company).

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          • #6
            I never said anything that involved two I/I Lincs. BTW, how would you use a 5 volt transformer whne the power goes down? You are making this much more complicated than it needs to be. Out-of phase? Do you really know what that means?

            The opposite legs of a 220 volt supply are always out-of-phase. So are about half the devices connected to your electric supply out-of-phase with the other half
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            • #7
              Originally posted by Mfryd View Post
              It seems a bit Rube Goldberg to use an I/O Linc to drive a relay, which in turn drives another I/O Linc. Easier to use a 5 volt wall transformer to drive the inputs of an I/O Linc that's on another circuit.

              It might almost be easier to use an Insteon Remote Control Micro On/Off Switch Adapter (2443-222), but I don't know if the the sense wires can be fed by a voltage that is out of phase with the line voltage (i.e. the line voltage is powered by the UPS, but the sense voltage is from the utility company).
              NO never put any voltage into an I/O Linc Sensor Input. It has its own sensing voltage on it and is only designed for a Dry Closure. Any voltage put on the Input could possibly damage it.

              You could also use a 120 VAC or 220 VAC relay depending on how you wired the AC into it. To trigger an I/O Linc or Open Closed Sensor.
              Last edited by BLH; 07-18-2016, 04:10 AM.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by stusviews View Post
                I never said anything that involved two I/I Lincs. BTW, how would you use a 5 volt transformer whne the power goes down? You are making this much more complicated than it needs to be. Out-of phase? Do you really know what that means?

                The opposite legs of a 220 volt supply are always out-of-phase. So are about half the devices connected to your electric supply out-of-phase with the other half
                I would use the 5 volt transformer plugged into the circuit that was hardwired to utility power or hardwired to generator power. The I/O Linc would be plugged into an outlet serviced by the transfer switch, thus it would always have some sort of power.

                The two legs of a a 220VAC line are typically 180° out of phase.

                Power from my 30KW backup generator is not synchronized with the utility power. Utility power is 60Hz. My generator meanders from 59Hz to 61Hz.

                The transfer switch assures that circuits are on either utility power or backup power, but the two are never connected together (it's a "Break before Make" switch).

                My ultimate goal here is to detect when utility power is gone so my ISY can notify me and modify its behavior.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Mfryd View Post
                  I would use the 5 volt transformer plugged into the circuit that was hardwired to utility power or hardwired to generator power. The I/O Linc would be plugged into an outlet serviced by the transfer switch, thus it would always have some sort of power.
                  The goal of what I wrote was in response to the topic. The I/O Linc should not have uninterrupted power to achieve that goal.

                  BTW, have you tried using Insteon devices when powered by the generator?

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                  • #10
                    Insteon devices time their messages to the AC Zero Crossing.
                    If the generator is 59Hz to 61Hz or not a pure sine wave. That may mess up the timing enough to not work.
                    Last edited by BLH; 07-18-2016, 12:34 PM.

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                    • #11
                      Insteon's reliable frequency range is between 59.5 Hz and 60.5 Hz

                      Anything outside that will result in poor to no communication.

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                      • #12
                        The generator should also produce a pure sine wave. But, none of that matters if you use an I/O Linc to report loss of power.
                        Stu's Views is Education and Fun. What do YOU want to VIEW today?
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                        Both Stu's Views and MathLandia are free websites that do not sell anything.
                        Saving energy is not always free. Be a world saver.

                        Please don't PM with questions that can be asked in a forum.

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                        • #13
                          Insteon communications do work when I am on generator power.

                          The generator is producing sine wave power. That's pretty common for generators of this size (30KW).

                          I looked up the specs, and the generator is 60Hz +/- 0.5%. That means it will be somewhere between 59.7HZ and 60.3Hz. In practice it's tends to stay within +/- 0.2Hz of 60Hz.

                          Typically, when utility power goes out, I still have Internet. Thus it makes sense to have my house let me know when utility power goes away.


                          My house stays on generator power until utility power returns and remains stable for 10 minutes. Once back on the grid, the generator runs for another 10 minutes with no load to cool down.

                          I get automated calls from the power company asking me if my power has turned back on. At the moment, I can't easily tell. If the power has recently returned the generator will still be running. If I want to check if utility power has returned, I have to go outside and look at the meter. It would be nice if I could an alert when Utility power returns.

                          At the moment my house alerts me if I leave the garage door open for too long. Is it too much to ask for it to let me know when utility power goes away and returns?

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                          • #14
                            I already gave you a sure fire method to be notified when power goes down, most especially if you have an always powered on ISY and internet. The only requirement is that the I/O Linc be powered exclusively by utility power.

                            The NO contacts wired to a second Open/Close sensor will notify you when power returns.
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                            Both Stu's Views and MathLandia are free websites that do not sell anything.
                            Saving energy is not always free. Be a world saver.

                            Please don't PM with questions that can be asked in a forum.

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                            • #15
                              The ISY and router are powered by a UPS. They always have power. The PLM is not on UPS, it is plugged into a regular household outlet.
                              When Utility power goes away, regular household outlets lose power for about 25 seconds while the backup generator comes up to speed. This means that even though the ISY and router remain powered up, we have a 25 second gap in Insteon communications as there is no power to the PLM or any of the Insteon devices. When the generator kicks in, the PLM and devices power back on simultaneously.

                              Now that I am thinking about it, I am not sure the two I/O Linc solution will work. We have a "detecting" I/O linc that is monitoring utility power, and a "sending" I/O Linc, that is plugged into a household outlet, and sends a message to the ISY.

                              When utility power goes away, both I/O lincs lose power. 25 seconds later the sending I/O Linc regains power as the generator kicks in. Will this I/O Linc send an Insteon message with the new state? Will the PLM have powered up by that point to be able to receive the message? if the whole house has just powered up, will there be too many Insteon messages for anything to get through?

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