PowerHome QuickStart Guide

PowerHome QuickStart Guide
PowerHome QuickStart Guide
Revision 5
Copyright © 1999,2007 David W. Howard
Web: http://www.power-home.com
Email: [email protected]
Special Notice__________________________________________________________ 4
Introduction ___________________________________________________________ 5
Features______________________________________________________________ 5
Technical Overview ____________________________________________________ 6
System Requirements __________________________________________________ 7
Getting Started _________________________________________________________ 8
Installing PowerHome __________________________________________________ 8
Upgrading from an Earlier Version ____________________________________________ 8
Starting PowerHome the First Time ______________________________________ 8
A Brief Message for Beginners __________________________________________ 9
Turning On A Light ____________________________________________________ 10
But, How Do I Turn On A Light?________________________________________ 10
Checklist For Turning On An Insteon Light_______________________________ 10
Let PowerHome Know You Have An Insteon PowerLinc Controller __________ 10
Let PowerHome Know You Have An Insteon Light Switch __________________ 13
Turn On A Light Using The PH Status Screen _____________________________ 15
Or Turn On A Light Using The Insteon Explorer Screen ____________________ 16
Or Turn On A Light Using A Macro _____________________________________ 17
Or Turn On A Light Using A Timed Event________________________________ 19
A Brief Tour- Menus and Toolbars________________________________________ 21
Menus ______________________________________________________________ 21
File Menu ______________________________________________________________ 21
Maintenance Menu _______________________________________________________ 21
Control Menu ___________________________________________________________ 22
Macros Menu ___________________________________________________________ 23
Voice Menu ____________________________________________________________ 23
Reports Menu ___________________________________________________________ 23
Window Menu __________________________________________________________ 24
Help Menu _____________________________________________________________ 24
Toolbar _____________________________________________________________ 26
Reinitialize _____________________________________________________________ 26
Connect________________________________________________________________ 26
PowerHome Explorer _____________________________________________________ 27
Multi-Edit ______________________________________________________________ 28
Insteon Explorer _________________________________________________________ 28
Control Center __________________________________________________________ 28
Device Status ___________________________________________________________ 29
Palm Pad _______________________________________________________________ 29
PH Status ______________________________________________________________ 30
Web Center _____________________________________________________________ 31
Timed Event ____________________________________________________________ 32
Event Log ______________________________________________________________ 33
Additional Features ____________________________________________________ 34
What’s a Trigger? ____________________________________________________ 34
A Trigger Example _______________________________________________________ 34
More About Macros___________________________________________________ 35
How Do I Tell PowerHome My Location?_________________________________ 38
How Do I Setup My X-10 Stuff?_________________________________________ 39
Setting Up Your X-10 Controller ____________________________________________ 39
Setting Up Your X-10 Devices______________________________________________ 40
How Do I Setup My IR Stuff?___________________________________________ 41
Setting Up Your IR Controller ______________________________________________ 41
Setting Up Your IR Devices ________________________________________________ 42
The Control Center ___________________________________________________ 46
Where can I find some sample code? _____________________________________ 47
Appendix A - An Insteon Primer__________________________________________ 48
Insteon Background___________________________________________________ 48
PowerHome and Insteon _______________________________________________ 49
TROUBLESHOOTING _________________________________________________ 51
Why do I Keep getting this Database Error in the PowerHome Explorer ____________ 51
Special Notice
Please see the WHATS NEW section of the README.RTF file included in the PowerHome
software for the latest information about PowerHome.
PowerHome is an extremely powerful and flexible Windows based software package that will give
you full control over your home’s lighting, appliances, and infrared devices when used in
conjunction with the appropriate control hardware.
With PowerHome’s programmable interface, this control can be achieved via keyboard, mouse,
web, email, X-10, IR, RS-232, voice recognition, socket communications, Windows Messaging,
and even your internet enabled cell phone.
It is highly recommend that you take the time to at least briefly review this document
before attempting to use PowerHome as certain aspects will not be readily apparent.
(PowerHome Screen with Insteon Explorer opened)
Insteon and X-10 Control via PowerLinc Controller V2 (Serial and USB)
Supports all Insteon Devices, auto discovery, software linking, spidering, full KPL
(Keypad) support
Supports Elk M1 Gold (Serial and Ethernet)
Fully programmable interface via your choice of languages. You can use the internal
macro and formula scripting or any language supported by Windows Script such as
VBScript and JScript
Internal web server for remote control and monitoring. Supports user defined dynamic
content via PSP (PowerHome Server Pages). Also support for custom web pages via
Voice recognition
Text to speech
User definable remote layouts allow for virtually any keystroke combination
Touch screen friendly interface
Customizable display allows you to show floor plan layouts and place controls over actual
X-10 control via CM11A, CM17A firecracker, MR26A Mouse Remote, CPU-XA/Ocelot,
W800, W800RF32, PowerLinc RS-232, and Elk M1 Gold
Infrared control via CIR, Multi-CIR, RedRat2, RedRat3, CPU-XA/Ocelot, Slink-e, USBUIRT, Global Cache. Also supports multi-zone IR
Digital Input/Output, and Analog Input/Output control with the CPU-XA/Ocelot (with
additional Adicon modules), Elk M1 Gold, Velleman K8000, Insteon SimpleHomeNet
Unlimited number of controllers supported
CD jukebox player control with playlists and auto programming
CD database with freedb support
Video database
Timed events
Full event and web logging
Multi-X control allows a sequence of X-10 commands for control (access 256 macros
from your palm pad by pressing 2 buttons, 64 macros from your keychain remote by
pressing 3 buttons.)
Sunrise, sunset, and civil twilight calculations
Socket Server for remote control of PowerHome from other applications and machines
Windows Messaging Interface for additional remote control capabilities
Windows Script Host Interface
Built-in WAP server for remote control via an internet enabled cell phone
Full DI/DO and AI/AO support for the Velleman K8000 controller
Generic plugin capability and SDK. Create your own ActiveX plugins to extend and
enhance PowerHome functionality. All plugins run in their own thread for maximum
performance and reliability
PowerHome can run as a service
UDP Broadcast Server. Third party programs and applications are capable of monitoring
PowerHome internals and reacting appropriately
Technical Overview
Written in Sybase PowerBuilder version 9.0.2
All code and data maintained in Sybase Adaptive Server Anywhere Database system
Custom DLL's written in Microsoft Visual C and assembly
Voice recognition licensed from Microsoft (SAPI 4.0a)
Text to Speech licensed from Microsoft (SAPI 4.0a and SAPI 5)
Remote Access Server Dialup control licensed from SocketWrench
System Requirements
Windows 95/98, Windows NT/2000/XP (CIR device requires Windows 95/98)
486 with 16 megs of RAM (Pentium with 32 megs of RAM recommended minimum for
voice recognition. Certain operating systems may have operating requirements beyond
the above minimums)
Unused serial port/s (CM11A interface, CM17A firecracker, MR26A Mouse remote,
RedRat2, CPU-XA/Ocelot, Slink-e, W800, W800RF32, PowerLinc RS-232, USB-UIRT,
PowerLinc Controller V2 Serial, Elk M1 Gold Serial, Insteon PowerLinc 2414S)
Unused parallel port/s (CIR interface, Multi-CIR, Velleman K8000)
Unused USB port (RedRat3, USB-UIRT, PowerLinc USB, PowerLinc V2 USB, Insteon
PowerLinc 2414U)
Sound card (text to speech and voice recognition)
Network connection (for Web Server and Socket Server access. Elk M1 Gold Ethernet,
Global Cache GC-100)
Internet connection (for remote Web Access and freedb support)
Getting Started
Installing PowerHome
PowerHome can be downloaded from http://www.power-home.com and is fully functional with a
30 day evaluation period. After the evaluation period has expired, PowerHome will not send
commands to hardware controllers and will have to be registered. You may purchase an unlock
key from the above website.
If you are installing PowerHome for the first time, just run the setup.exe file and follow the
instructions. If you are upgrading from a previous version, please follow the upgrade instructions
in the next section.
2.1.1 Upgrading from an Earlier Version
Follow these steps to upgrade from version,,,
1. Rename your existing PowerHome installation directory. The default install directory will
be C:\Program Files\PowerHome. Do not install over your existing directory.
2. Install version Be sure that you do not install to the same directory as your
existing version.
3. Copy your existing pwrhome.db and pwrhome.ini files from your old PowerHome
installation to the new PowerHome directory structures. Overwrite the newly installed files
with your old ones. You may also copy over any other files you've created that are not a
part of the PowerHome install such as PSP files, Windows Script Host scripts, and
4. Run the PHUPG.EXE PowerHome Database Upgrade Utility. This will upgrade your
database to version as well as upgrade your pwrhome.ini file with the latest
required changes.
5. Thats it! You should now be able to launch and run version of PowerHome.
6. Make note of specific changes to functions and deleted functions. These differences are
noted in the What's New section of the readme.rtf file.
Upgrading to version from versions prior to
First upgrade to version After successfully upgrading to version, follow the
instructions above to upgrade to or visit the PowerHome website at http://www.powerhome.com. The instructions can also be found in the readme.rtf file.
Starting PowerHome the First Time
When starting PowerHome for the first time, you will be asked to enter a registration name. This
name must be between 5 and 50 characters and will be used to generate your registration
number. This registration number can be found under the menu Help->About. After the
registration name has been entered, PowerHome will be running.
A Brief Message for Beginners
PowerHome is an extremely flexible and powerful software home automation control package.
As such, its features and interface may be overwhelming at first. This QuickStart guide will get
you up and running quickly with a core set of features. Absent from this guide will be details of
programming and formulas. As you become comfortable with PowerHome, you may gradually
work into these advanced features for the ultimate in power and functionality.
All features of PowerHome, including the advanced features, can be found in the PowerHome
Users Manual included with your PowerHome download.
Turning On A Light
But, How Do I Turn On A Light?
If you’re like most PowerHome users, you’ve already thought about the many things you want to
do with PowerHome. PowerHome can control not only home lighting (X-10 and Insteon) but
home theaters (through IR and RS232, X-10 and Insteon), blinds and drapes, heating and air
conditioning systems, security systems (Elk M1 Gold), sprinklers, make voice announcements,
get the weather through the Web and announce it or show it on your PC, touch screen or web
enabled phone, announce telephone callers (Caller ID with an appropriate modem) and the list
goes on. PowerHome can control your home not only through your PC, but through remote PCs
throughout your home, touch screens, through the web and email. It can email you home status
reports, alerts or whatever you choose. This list is not exhaustive. Imaginative PowerHome
users have implemented many additional uses for PowerHome.. An active PowerHome user
forum, where PowerHome users share ideas, can be found at http://www.powerhome.com/forum/default.asp.
The first thing most new PowerHome users want to know is how to turn on a light. This part of
the QuickStart guide will take you through the basic steps to turn an Insteon light switch on and
off. The rest of the QuickStart guide will take you on a brief tour of some of PowerHome’s
features. Additional instructions and features can be found in the PowerHome Users Manual.
Checklist For Turning On An Insteon Light
Install PowerHome (see section 2 above)
Let PowerHome know you have an Insteon PowerLinc Controller (see section 3.3)
Let PowerHome know you have an Insteon light switch (see section 3.4)
Turn on the light using the Device Status Screen (see section 3.5)
Or Turn on the light using the Insteon Explorer Screen (see section 3.6)
Or Turn on the light using a macro (see section 3.7)
Or Turn on the light using a timed event (see section 3.8)
3.3 Let PowerHome Know You Have An Insteon PowerLinc
PowerHome interfaces with your home through a variety of hardware controllers connected to
your PC. The various controllers supported by PowerHome are capable of sending and receiving
Insteon and X-10 signals (powerline and RF), IR (infrared) signals, digital inputs / outputs, and
analog inputs / outputs. You should have at least one controller connected to PowerHome, but
you can have multiple controllers connected to PowerHome through your PC.
To set PowerHome up for Insteon use, you must first let PowerHome know that you have an
Insteon controller connected to your PC. You do this through the PowerHome Explorer.
If you have not already done so, start PowerHome on your computer.
(Figure 3.3.1 PowerHome Explorer)
The PowerHome Explorer can be found under the Maintenance dropdown menu on top of your
screen (Figure 3.3.1). You will become very familiar with the PowerHome Explorer window as
you learn more about PowerHome because this is where you setup many of your devices and
preferences for PowerHome. You will return to this window often.
1. Open the PowerHome Explorer and using the left-hand tree view, navigate to
2. Assign a short, meaningful ID (you will use this ID to send Insteon commands). In the
example below (Figure 3.3.2) the PowerLinc Insteon Controller (PLC) is named MY
INSTEON CONTROLLER but you can choose a more meaningful name like MYCTRLR
3. Choose the "Insteon DM" controller type. This tells PowerHome that you’re using an
Insteon Controller. There are other types of controllers which are discussed in the
PowerHome Users Guide.
4. Click the "Active" box. You can click the "Settings" button to see the individual settings,
but the defaults should be fine.
5. Restart or reinitialize PowerHome in order for the changes to take effect and allow the
Insteon Controller to load.
(To reinitialize PowerHome, left click on the first button on the tool bar. To restart
PowerHome, close PowerHome and then open PowerHome.)
(Figure 3.3.2 Setting Up A Controller)
Once PowerHome is restarted / reinitialized, the SmartHome Insteon Device Manager (SDM)
should automatically load. The SmartHome Insteon Device Manager is not part of PowerHome,
but is a software program written by SmartHome that is installed along with PowerHome and
must load on your PC for the Insteon PowerLinc Controller to work. PowerHome knows this and
automatically loads the SDM every time PowerHome loads.
Once you reload PowerHome, you should see a new icon in the System Tray (the list of icons on
the far right of the Start toolbar). The SDM should automatically detect the type of PowerLinc
Controller (PLC) and what port it is connected to but sometimes it fails to do so. If the Device
Manager is unable to sense your PLC, PowerHome will respond with the message: "The XXX
PLC is not responding. Commands will not be sent." where XXX is the ID you assigned to your
Insteon PowerLinc controller (PLC). If you should get this message follow the instructions below,
otherwise skip to the next section.
Open the SmartHome Device Manager by double clicking it's
icon in the System Tray. You should see the SmartHome Device
Manager window open. Left click anywhere in the big log
window and then type the letters D M. A single line edit window
should open towards the bottom of the screen. Type "port=?"
without the quotes in the edit window and press enter. This
should force the DM to locate your PLC. Give it a few seconds
and you should see "PLC: port=true" in the log window.
However, if it still cannot locate your PLC, you may get a "PLC:
port=false" message. Whatever message you get, type "getport"
in the edit window and press enter. In the log window, you
should see what port the DM is currently looking at. If you have
a USB PLC, then the port should be "USB4". If your PLC is
serial, then you should see COM followed by the number of the
COM port the PLC is on. If the port returned by getport is not
correct for your setup then type "port=USB4" if your PLC is USB
and "port=COM1" if your PLC is serial and connected to COM1.
Adjust the COM port number for your situation. You can verify
the port was set using the "getport" command. Once the DM
finally recognizes your PLC, it will store the settings in the
registry and will be remembered unless you change the port.
Once everything is communicating, you can minimize the DM.
Let PowerHome Know You Have An Insteon Light Switch
After telling PowerHome that you have an Insteon Controller connected to your PC (section 3.3),
you have to let PowerHome know that you have an Insteon switch (e.g. a Lamplinc,
Appliancelinc, Socketlinc, Keypadlinc, etc).which you would like to control through PowerHome.
As the various types of Insteon switches work similarly for purposes of the examples in this Quick
Start guide, they’ll be referred to generically, as an Insteon Light Switch.
Open the PowerHome Explorer and using the tree view, navigate to PowerHome->Devices>Insteon->Units. (figure 3.4.1) Using this screen you can manually enter the information about
your Insteon Light Switch. Alternatively, PowerHome has the ability to remotely sense your
Insteon Light Switch and enter most of the necessary information for you. Auto Discovery of each
Insteon device is a great feature of PowerHome and is discussed fully in the PowerHome Users
Manual. For purposes of this example, you’ll enter the information about your Insteon Light
Switch manually.
(Figure 3.4.1 Setting Up Insteon Devices - Device Detail Screen)
1. When you open the Insteon Devices Detail screen you will see a line already populated
with the information you've already entered in section 3.3. Since the Insteon Controller is
an Insteon device and you've already told PowerHome about it, that information is
already on this screen. To open a blank line to enter information about the Insteon Light
Switch, right click on a blank part of the screen and click Insert.
2. In the ID column enter a name for your Insteon Light Switch. For example, “TEST
LIGHT.” You should enter a short, memorable name in the ID column as you will use this
name often with other aspects of PowerHome.
3. The next column lets your more fully describe the Insteon Device. Enter whatever you
like in this column.
4. The third column contains a check box which you should check. This box determines
whether PowerHome will attempt communications with the Test Light for link scanning,
link creating, status polling, etc. Concepts you will learn more about in the PowerHome
Users Manual.
5. The fourth column labeled “Address” is quite important. Each Insteon device has a
unique address consisting of 3 pairs of hexadecimal characters. This address is
generally printed on a label on the front of each Insteon device. Copy down the address
from your Insteon Light Switch and type it into this column. If you’ve previously installed
your Insteon Light Switch and didn’t copy down it’s address, you can still get its address
by using the Auto Discovery method discussed in the PowerHome Users Manual.
6. In the “Device Type” column select your Insteon model number from the drop down list.
7. Lastly, type in the location of the Insteon Light Switch. In this example, “Front Porch” but
you can type in any location.
8. You can leave the rest of the columns at their defaults.
9. Once you’ve entered the information, it’s important to SAVE it in PowerHome’s database.
Pressing the F5 key on any screen always saves what you’ve entered on that screen and
refreshes the displayed data. It’s a good idea to get into the habit of pressing the F5 after
you’ve made any entries or changes on any PowerHome screen. That way, you will be
sure to have saved your entries.
You’re Done! You’ve just set up PowerHome to turn on your first Insteon Light Switch.
To set up additional Insteon Devices either use the Auto Discovery method found in the
PowerHome Users Manual or type in information about additional Insteon devices on the Insteon
Device Detail screen. To get a blank line on this screen to enter additional Insteon devices, right
click on a blank portion of the screen and highlight Insert. Then left click on Insert. A new blank
line will be created where you can enter information about an additional Insteon device.
Like so many things in PowerHome, there are multiple ways to perform particular tasks. Instead
of using the PowerHome Explorer to create our Insteon Light Switch in PowerHome, you could
have used PowerHome’s Insteon Explorer. This method is fully discussed in the PowerHome
Users Manual.
Turn On A Light Using The PH Status Screen
PowerHome gives you many different ways to turn on your Insteon Light Switch. We are going to
explore 4 different ways in this QuickStart guide. You will discover even more in the PowerHome
Users Manual.
On the PowerHome toolbar, click on the Device Stat button. The Device Status screen appears
and all the Devices you’ve previously created appear on the list. In this example, only the “TEST
LIGHT” is on the list.
You can now turn the Insteon Light Switch on or off by clicking on the on/off buttons in the Control
(Figure 3.5 Device Status Screen - Turning On A Light)
Or Turn On A Light Using The Insteon Explorer Screen
While the PowerHome Explorer can be used to setup and control Insteon, X-10, IR, etc., the
Insteon Explorer is a series of screens and tabs dedicated to just Insteon. From the Insteon
Explorer Setup tab you can setup the Insteon Powerlinc controller, add an Insteon Light Switch
through the Device tab (which you’ve already done in section 3.4 using the PowerHome
Explorer), automatically and manually link Insteon Devices, configure KeypadLincs, view many
Insteon communication reports, configure the Elk M1 Gold with Insteon information, and view the
real time commands sent from and to the Insteon Powerlinc controller in the upper windows. You
can read more about each of these items in the PowerHome Users Manual.
(Figure 3.6.1 Insteon Explorer)
1. Open the Insteon Explorer and click on the Devices tab.
2. Click on the Control button next to TEST LIGHT Id
3. Click on any of the buttons on the popup control panel and watch your Insteon Light
Flash, Dim, Brighten etc. (see figure.3.6.2).
(Figure 3.6.2 - Popup Control Window on Insteon Explorer Device Tab)
Or Turn On A Light Using A Macro
A macro is simply one or more lines of instructions which tells PowerHome what to do. From a
macro you can turn on and off lights, send pre-defined infrared commands, send raw X-10
commands, call other macros, set variables, launch applications, switch to other applications,
initiate a web connection, answer a telephone. Anything that PowerHome can do, can be done
through a macro. Read all about the power of macros in the PowerHome Users Manual.
For this example, the macro will turn on the Insteon Light Switch, wait 15 seconds and then turn
off the Insteon Light Switch.
1. Click on the PowerHome Explorer button (or use the Maintenance dropdown menu to
open PowerHome Explorer).
2. In the left hand pane click on Macros (or you can click on Macros in the right hand pane).
3. In the right hand pane start filling in the blank row. Name your macro and type the name
in the ID column.
4. Describe what your macro will do in the Description column.
5. Leave the default entries in the remaining columns. Left click on the left most column
(looks like a file) to open the macro. This opens the macro detail screen.
(Figure 3.7.1 Macro Screen)
(Figure 3.7.2 Macro Detail Screen)
The TEST MACRO will contain 3 lines.
1. You'll initially only see line 10 on your screen. Use the drop down menus to complete line
10 as in Figure 3.7.2.
2. Right click on a blank part of the screen and click on insert to create another blank line.
3. The second line is a Wait command which pauses the execution of the macro for the time
period (in seconds). Type in 15 in the seventh column. Fill in the other columns using the
drop down menus as in Figure 3.7.2.
4. Right click on a blank part of the screen and highlight and click on the Play command.
The Test Light should turn on, and then turn off after 15 seconds.
5. Make sure to save your new macro by pressing the F5 key.
Or Turn On A Light Using A Timed Event
Timed Events are actions that occur within PowerHome based solely upon date and time.
PowerHome provides a rich set of timed event controls allowing PowerHome to perform actions
at sunrise, sunset, dawn, dusk, or a specific time. You can further refine this by declaring the
frequency of the event to be only weekdays, weekends, everyday, or only a specific day of the
week. You can also have this reference time adjusted plus or minus by a specific or random
The action taken by PowerHome at the time(s) you specify can be either through a macro or a
In this example you’ll run the Test Macro you created in section 3.7 above every hour, 10 minutes
after our reference time. The result of this timed event will be that the Test Macro will run at
12:11, 1:11, 2:11 etc. and continue running once an hour until we close PowerHome, change the
Timed Event or change the Test Macro.
(Figure 3.8.1 Timed Events)
1. Click on the PowerHome Explorer button (or use the Maintenance dropdown menu to
open PowerHome Explorer).
2. In the left hand pane click on Timed Events (or you can click on Timed Events in the right
hand pane).
3. In the right hand pane start filling in the blank row. Most of the information can be
entered using the dropdown menus.
4. The first column is already filled in for you and cannot be changed. It indicates the first
date and time this event will be run. As you fill in the remaining columns this value may
5. The second column “Timing” lets you indicate whether you want this event to be
executed at sunrise, sunset, dawn, dusk, or the exact time(s) you choose in the following
columns. Choose Exact for this example.
6. The ‘Frequency’ column gives you many options. For this example choose ‘Hourly.’
7. The ‘Offset’ column lets you randomize or modify by a set amount of time when you want
the event to occur. For this example choose ‘Absolute +.’
8. In the ‘Offset Amount’ column type in 10. This tells PowerHome that you want this event
to start 10 Minutes AFTER the reference time. If you choose ‘Absolute -‘in the previous
column then the event would have started 10 Minutes BEFORE the reference time.
9. The ‘Reference Time’ column allows you to enter any date and time you wish to start the
Timed event. Change this value to today’s date and the present time. You can then look
at the first column ‘Start Time’ and see when this Timed Event will occur. Shown in figure
3.81 the “Reference Time’ is May 8, 2007 at 12:01 and the start time is May 8, 2007 at
12:11 when the Test Macro will be triggered. Note that these 2 columns will reflect the
day and time you entered and will be different from the above example. You can
double-click within this column (or right-click for a pop-up menu) to bring up a calendar
picker control.
10. In the example above at 12:11 pm on May 8, 2007 the Test Macro will execute and turn
on the TEST LIGHT, wait 15 seconds, and turn off the TEST LIGHT. This will occur
every hour at 11 minutes past the hour.
11. After you’ve verified that your Timed Event is working you might want to delete it or
change it so that your Test Light will not go on and off every hour.
There are many additional ways to turn on the light in PowerHome. In addition to the four ways to
turn on a light described above, you can also use a PowerHome formula, a trigger, and make a
button to turn the light on or off in the PowerHome Control Center. These, and several other
methods, are described fully in the PowerHome Users Manual. The PowerHome User Manual
will build upon the techniques you learned through the examples you’ve created above.
A Brief Tour- Menus and Toolbars
Like many Windows software, PowerHome uses extensive menus and toolbars. To make things
easier for the user, there are usually at least two different ways for you to access the function you
want to perform in PowerHome. A brief look at each menu and toolbar item follows.
File Menu
(Figure 4.1.1 File Menu)
The PowerHome File Menu has the usual Windows printer menu items. In addition, it indicates
by way of a check mark, whether a controller is connected to your PC and working with
PowerHome. It also allows you to Reinitialize PowerHome for troubleshooting purposes or Exit
PowerHome completely.
Maintenance Menu
(Figure 4.1.2 Maintenance Menu)
Most of the configuration and maintenance within PowerHome is accomplished via the
PowerHome Explorer. This single window gives you access to the PowerHome database and
allows you to configure and tailor PowerHome to your liking. (see Figure 3.3.1)
The PowerHome Multi-Editor is an advanced feature. This screen is a full featured editor for
several PowerHome supported file formats including SQL, VBScript, HTML, PowerHome
formulas, etc. In the case of some formats, you can optionally execute the code (SQL, VBScript,
Formulas, etc). Details can be found in the PowerHome Users Manual
The Insteon Explorer (see Figure 3.6.1) allows you to configure all of your Insteon Devices in
many different ways. You can automatically or manually set up your Insteon devices, as well as
link them, group them, control them, configure their links, configure Keypad controls in various
ways, and upload to the Elk M1 security controller.
From the Insteon Explorer you can watch, in real time, which commands are sent to and from
your PowerLinc controller. It also has a myriad of Insteon reports allowing you to troubleshoot
Insteon communication issues.
The Insteon Explorer also allows you to download SmartHome’s Insteon CoreApp and configure
your PowerLinc controller. (Note: You cannot download macros or timers from PowerHome to
the PowerLinc Controller).
Custom Colors, DropDown Sort, Windows Spy are covered in the PowerHome Users Manual.
Control Menu
(Figure 4.1.3 Control Menu)
The Control Center is one of the main interfaces in PowerHome and can be launched
automatically when PowerHome is started. This interface consists of user-defined tabs with
buttons and graphics placed on these tabs. The tabs, buttons, and backgrounds are fully user
configurable. This interface is ideal for touchscreen control and is available in the web interface.
If the Control Center is closed or hidden behind other windows, the hotkey Alt-F1 will always
open or bring it to the top. The first 24 tabs are also hot-keyable. The first 12 are available via F1
thru F12 and the next 12 are available via Shift-F1 thru Shift-F12. Buttons on the Control Center
tabs may be clicked using the mouse or assigned hotkeys.
The Device Status, Palm Pad, PowerHome Status, Web Center, and Timed Events menu
items each have their own button on the Toolbar and are discussed more fully below.
The Play Playlist and Set Active Playlist menu items are advanced features. Details on each
can be found in the PowerHome Users Manual
Macros Menu
(Figure 4.1.4 Macros Menu)
PowerHome allows you to execute the macros you’ve written in a number of different ways. The
Macros Menu is one way. The Play Macro option has a hotkey of Alt+F2 and will instantly
transport you from wherever you are to the quick macro player under the menu bar and toolbar.
You may type a macro ID to play or select one from the dropdown list and press the enter key or
play button. You can also use this quick macro player to evaluate formulas. To do this, you must
precede the formula with a special character. Use a single quote ‘ as the very first character of
the formula to have the formula evaluated without feedback. Use a double quote “ as the very
first character of the formula to evaluate the formula with the result appearing in a message box.
The Set Active Macro option allows you to select a macro in which to record Control Center
actions. After selecting a macro from the dropdown window as the current macro, you can rightclick on Control Center buttons and select “Add to Macro” to have the Control Center action
automatically added as a line in the macro.
In addition to jumping to the quick macro player, the Macros Menu also give you hotkey access to
up to 48 of your favorite macros. When you create a macro you have the opportunity to give that
macro a shortcut key (e.g. Ctrl + F1). You can view your shortcut keys for the macros you’ve
created from the Macros 1-12, Macros 13-24, Macros 25-36, Macros 37-48 menu dropdown
Voice Menu
(Figure 4.1.5 Voice Menu)
Text to Speech (TTS) is a powerful feature of PowerHome. You can have PowerHome announce
the time, weather, telephone callers and that someone is at the door. The TTS Setup menu
allows you to set the default PowerHome voice as well as its pitch and speed.
Reports Menu
PowerHome currently has six different internal reports that can be viewed from this menu.
Additional Insteon related reports are available exclusively through the Insteon Explorer.
The first report is the Event Log. This report lists all the activity that has taken place in
PowerHome and the time the activity occurred. It is a great report for troubleshooting or just for
seeing what PowerHome is doing.
The second report, Discs, querys the information entered into PowerHome’s CD database.
The third report, Database Where Used, is for advanced users. It allows you to search for any
text string within the database by just typing the text. For example, to search for all occurrences
of TEST, just type TEST and search. This will match any field that exactly matches TEST.
The Insteon menu item opens to list 3 helpful Insteon reports.
(Figure 4.1.6 Reports Menu)
Window Menu
(Figure 4.1.7 Window Menu)
The Window menu is the typical Window’s software menu which allows you to change the
appearance of PowerHome when various PowerHome screens are opened. It also allows you to
delete the toolbar from the screen.
Help Menu
(Figure 4.1.8 Help Menu)
One of the most important screens in PowerHome, the Help menu allows you to access the on
screen help functions of Powerhome, the PowerHome Homepage on the web, the PowerHome
Discussion Forum on the web, and Email PowerHome Support.
By clicking About, a screen pops up indicating the version number of PowerHome and the
database, as well as, your registration number and other useful information.
The Toolbar is an easy way to access many of the features of PowerHome with one click of the
mouse. You may click and drag the toolbar to any of the four sides of the screen as well as have
a floating toolbar. You can also set the toolbar to use large or small buttons.
Pressing the Reinitalize button on the toolbar allows you to restart PowerHome without closing
PowerHome and then reopening it. Certain changes within the PowerHome Explorer require
PowerHome to be either reinitialized or restarted. All changes to the Setup section of the
PowerHome Explorer require Reinitialize or Restart to take effect.
(Figure 4.2.1 PowerHome Reinitalizing)
The Connect toolbar button connects or disconnects PowerHome from the Powerlinc Controller
and all currently loaded controllers. This is helpful in troubleshooting connectivity issues with the
PC and any controller.
(Figure 4.2.2 Connect Toolbar Button)
PowerHome Explorer
Most of the configuration and maintenance within PowerHome is accomplished via the
PowerHome Explorer. The PowerHome Explorer is a two-paned window similar in
functionality and appearance to Windows Explorer. On the left, is a tree-view navigation panel
that shows a hierarchical view of the configurable items within PowerHome. The right-hand pane
shows the details of the currently selected item. Typically you will navigate using the left-hand
pane and make edits and changes in the right-hand pane. Navigation to children items in the
right-hand pane can be accomplished by pressing the small button to the far left in each row. (see
section 3.3.1)
(Figure 4.2.3 PowerHome Explorer Toolbar Button)
The Multi-Edit button is for advanced users. Pressing the Multi-Edit toolbar button brings up a
mini-editor that allows the user to type in and edit a variety of supported PowerHome file formats
including VBScript, Jscript, HTML, CSS, SQL, and PowerHome Formulas. For Example, the SQL
editor allows you to import macros and other exported PowerHome configurables you or others
have written.
Insteon Explorer
The Insteon Explorer (see Figure 3.6.1) allows you to configure all of your Insteon Devices in
many different ways. You can automatically or manually set up your Insteon devices, as well as
link them, group them, control them, configure their links, configure Keypad controls in various
ways, and download to the Elk M1 security controller.
From the Insteon Explorer you can watch, in real time, which commands are sent to and from
your PowerLinc controller. It also has a myriad of Insteon reports allowing you to troubleshoot
Insteon communication issues.
The Insteon Explorer also allows you to download database information and setup information
to your PowerLinc controller. (Note: You cannot download macros or timers from PowerHome to
the PowerLinc Controller).
(Figure 4.2.5 Insteon Explorer)
Control Center
(See section 4.1.3 and section 5.7)
Device Status
(see section 3.5)
Palm Pad
PowerHome includes a virtual Palm Pad X-10 controller. With this interface you may quickly
send standard X-10 commands from your computer without having to do any setup (beyond
telling PowerHome what X-10 controller you have). The hotkey for opening or bringing this
interface to the front is Alt-F7.
(Figure 4 .2.8 Palm Pad)
PH Status
The PowerHome Status screen gives you a real-time peek at what is currently going on within
PowerHome as well as what has just recently happened. You can see how long PowerHome has
been running, how long Windows has been running, and when the next Timed Event is to be
executed. You also have access to when sunrise, sunset, dusk, and dawn for your location will
You’ll also be able to see what is going on in three of PowerHome’s internal queues. Things
happen very quickly in PowerHome so it may appear that the queues are always empty. You
should really only see things stack up in the queue when PowerHome is waiting for some process
to finish.
One of the most useful windows on the PowerHome Status screen is the Event Log. This
window shows you in real-time, events in PowerHome as they occur. This is an extremely handy
window when attempting to troubleshoot PowerHome.
You can launch the PowerHome Status screen with the hotkey combination Alt-F8. Each of the
individual windows may be resized and moved about to create the appearance you find most
pleasing. These changes are not automatically saved however and must be saved by rightclicking and selecting “Save” from the popup menu. Once your settings have been saved, they
will be reloaded automatically the next time the window is opened. You can also control how
many real time eventlog rows appear at a time by manually adjusting the “eventlogrows”
parameter in the pwrhome.ini file under the [PowerHome Status] section of that file.
(Figure 4.2.9 PowerHome Status)
Web Center
The Web Center is another PowerHome interface page which can be set as the default load
page. The Web Center is basically an Internet Explorer Web Browser window that available for
remote control from within PowerHome. You can set the default page to be loaded (typically the
PowerHome Internal webserver main page or another custom launch page). Remote control of
the Web Center window is available using PowerHome formula functions that can be found in the
Help file. Control of this window would typically be an advanced user function. In addition to
serving up internal PowerHome web pages, the Web Center is a standard browser capable of
displaying web pages from any Internet site. One typical use would be to setup a timed event
within PowerHome to automatically load various pages at different times of the day or based
upon various PowerHome events.
Timed Event
(Figure 4.2.11 Timed Event Button)
The Timed Event button is just a toggle button. It will turn ALL FUTURE timed events either on
or off. By default the Timed Event toolbar button is ON.
Event Log
The Event Log report shows a complete history of events that have transpired within the
PowerHome system. Unlike the Event Log on the status screen, this report is not updated in real
time. However, it is not limited to just the last few events and instead shows everything in the
eventlog table. You can also sort and filter this report. Filtering allows you to show only the type
of information that you’re interested in and hides the rest. A discussion of filtering can be found in
the PowerHome Users Manual.
(Figure 4.2.12 Event Log)
Additional Features
This QuickStart Guide is meant to get you up and running PowerHome quickly. But, there is
much more to PowerHome. It all can be reviewed in the PowerHome Users Manual. Just to
whet your appetite, here are a few more features of PowerHome, along with a primer on setting
up PowerHome with X-10 and IR devices.
What’s a Trigger?
Triggers are fired in response to an internal or external event. A Timed Event is similar to a
trigger except that it only responds to date and time. Triggers have a wider array of responses
and can be fired when an incoming Insteon, X-10 or IR signal is received by a controller, when
an Insteon, X-10 or IR signal is sent by a controller, or when a Windows message or socket
communications is received.
A Trigger Example
1. Triggers like everything else in PowerHome are defined within the PowerHome
Explorer. They are located below ‘Timed Events’ in the navigation pane. Right-click in
the detail pane and choose ‘Insert’ from the popup menu to create a new trigger.
2. Triggers must have a unique ID. Type one in the ‘ID’ field. Type in a description of the
Trigger in the ‘Description’ field. For this example use ‘Macro’. in the ‘Action Type
3. Choose the macro to execute when the trigger fires in the ‘Action’ dropdown. You can
use the Test Macro you created in the section 3.7 example above.
4. The next field determines whether the trigger is ‘Active’ or ‘Disabled’. Make sure the
trigger you are creating is active. Later, you may want to temporarily disable a trigger
from executing without deleting it.
5. The ‘Trigger Type’ field determines what is going to cause this trigger to fire.
PowerHome can execute this trigger when it plays an IR command (IR Out), or when a
supported controller receives an incoming IR command (IR In). We can do the same with
Insteon and X-10 commands. For the purposes of this example, you’ll have the trigger
fire and the macro run when PowerHome receives an Insteon ON signal from an Insteon
ControLinc. If you don’t have an Insteon ControLinc, substitute another device instead.
Using the dropdown box enter ‘Insteon Group In’.
6. The ‘Trigger ID’ field is a dropdown box which list all of your devices. Highlight the name
of your ControLinc (or other Insteon device if you don’t have a ControLinc).
7. The ‘Trigger ID Number’ is another dropdown box which allows you to enter the button
number or the group number of the Insteon device that is going to trigger the event. In
this example, you want button number 1 on the ControLinc to trigger the macro. Highlight
8. The ‘Trigger Value’ lets you indicate whether you want the Trigger to execute when you
press the ControLinc button 1 On or Off. A Fast On/Fast Off is a quick double tap of the
button. The other options are self explanatory. Enter ON.
9. The ‘Boolean’ field is for advanced users. Leave it at its default value of 1.
Press F5 to save and you’re finished! Press the first button of your ControLinc ON and the macro
will run, turning your Test Light On, waiting 15 seconds and then turning OFF the Test Light.
(Figure 5.1.1 Test Trigger)
More About Macros
Macros, like everything else in PowerHome, are declared within the PowerHome Explorer
under ‘Macros’ in the navigation pane. Right-click in the detail pane and choose ‘Insert’
from the popup menu. Give the Macro a unique ID (short but descriptive to save typing later)
and a description. (see figure 3.7.1)
The ‘List’ field controls whether the macro appears in the dropdown lists for playing Macros.
An example is the Quick Macro player just below the toolbar. If you want this macro to
appear in the list, be sure that this field is checked. This list is only updated when
PowerHome is started or reinitialized.
The ‘Grammar’ field controls whether the macro is used in the Voice recognition grammar for
Macros. Voice Recognition is discussed in more detail in the PowerHome User Manual so
you can leave this field unchecked for now and change it later.
The only other field you may wish to change is the ‘Menu Shortcut’ field. If you navigate
PowerHome’s top menu, ‘Macros’, you’ll find submenus ‘Macros 1-12’, ‘Macros 13-24’,
‘Macros 25-36’, and ‘Macros 37-48’. You can make up to 48 macros appear within the
menu structure along with their appropriate menu hotkeys by setting them in the ‘Menu
Shortcut’ field. You would typically only do this for your most often used macros. When you
make changes to the ‘Menu Shortcut’ field, the changes are not recognized until
PowerHome is restarted or reinitialized.
Go to the ‘Macro Detail’ screen by pressing the small button to the left of the macro you wish
to build. (see figure 3.7.2)
Initially, the ‘Macro Detail’ screen will start with a single blank row. To add additional rows,
right-click and select ‘Insert’ from the popup menu or press the “tab” key when in the last
column of the last row.
Macros are a collection of individual macro commands. Each macro command is contained
on a single line. Lines are executed in order starting with the lowest sequence and progress
up to the highest sequence. After the last line is executed, the macro terminates. The first
column in the Macro Detail table is the sequence. When you are creating macros, lines start
with 10 and each subsequent row is incremented by 10. This makes it easy to resequence
the macro lines in a different order. When you save your macro to the database, this
sequence will be divided by 10.
The next column in the Macro Detail table is the ‘Skip’ column. When this column is
checked, that macro line is not executed. This feature is useful if you wish to temporarily
disable some commands from executing without deleting them, as well as, for debugging.
For now, just be sure that this column is unchecked.
The ‘Type’ field is the type of macro command you would like executed. If you scroll through
the dropdown, you will see 43 different macro commands. A full explanation of all 43
different macro commands can be found in the PowerHome Users Manual. A partial list
Launch App:
Create Timed Event:
Plays a previously learned IR command.
Sends an X-10 command to an X-10 controller.
Play another macro.
Launch another Windows application.
Create a timed event on the fly.
Jump to a different line within the macro.
Delay for a specified number of milliseconds.
Waits for a specified number of seconds.
Sends an Insteon command to an Insteon controller.
1. The IR command allows you to play a previously learned IR command (see IR Setup
in section 5.5 below). In the ‘ID’ column you can select the equipment and in the
‘Value’ column you can select the actual IR code to play. The ‘Send Keys / TTS /
Dim / Formula’ field (hereafter referred to as the ‘SKTTSDF’ field) is not used for IR
commands. You can create powerful Home Theater macros using just the IR
command. By launching a single macro, you could send the IR commands to turn on
the TV, the satellite receiver, your amplifier, adjust the volume, and tune to a specific
channel. If you threw in a few Insteon or X-10 commands, then you could turn on
and dim some lights for the perfect lighting mood.
2. The X-10 commands send X-10 commands to an X-10 controller you have previously
configured PowerHome to use. This includes Insteon controllers which also send
and receive X-10 commands. To make maximum use of the X-10 command, it helps
to understand exactly how X-10 commands work. The discussion that follows may
seem a little technical and may be more than you bargained for in a QuickStart
Manual, but if you take it slow, it’s really not that difficult and will make your
experience with PowerHome much more enriching. Here goes: Most people think of
X-10 commands consisting of actions such as “Turn a light on”, “Turn a light off”,
“Dim a light”, and “Brighten a light”. They also think of these actions as a single
command. In actuality, they each consist of two separate X-10 commands. The first
X-10 command is called an “address”. This command talks to a specific
Housecode/Unitcode and tells it that a “function” command will be coming. The
second command is the function command and tells any addressed units to perform
the specified function. The format of a standard X-10 command is:
Housecode/Unitcode or Housecode/Function. So when we want to turn a light on
with an X-10 ID of A1, you first send an address command A/1 followed by a function
command A/On.
PowerHome’s X-10 communication mimics the actual X-10 commands. After you
select an X-10 command, select the housecode (A thru P for standard X-10
commands) in the ‘ID’ field. Next select a unitcode 1 thru 16 if this is an address
command or an X-10 function if this is a function command. Remember, to do
something simple such as turn a light on or off will require two X-10 commands on
two separate macro lines. First an address command followed by a function
command. If you chose a ‘Dim’ or ‘Bright’ command, you can type a value
dim/bright percentage in the ‘SKTTSDF’ field. This percentage should be in the
range of 0 to 100 and is the amount to adjust the light from its current level. In other
words, if a light is currently at level 80 and you have a dim value of 50, the light will
dim 50% bringing its current dim level to 30.
3. The Macro command is easy. Simply select the ID of another macro you would like
to play from the dropdown box. In the ‘Value’ field, select whether to play the macro
immediately (the current macro is put on hold and the new macro played. When the
new macro is done, the current macro is resumed at the next line) or ‘Post’ the
macro (the new macro will be played after the current macro is completed).
4. With the Launch App command, you can have PowerHome startup another windows
program. In the ‘SKTTSDF’ field, type the full path and filename of the program you
would like to launch. The full path should be enclosed in either single or double
5. The Create Timed Event command allows you to insert entries into the Timed
Events Table. This command is useful when you want a macro to make something
happen in the future. You will select a macro ID in the ‘ID’ column and then type a
value in the ‘SKTTSDF’ field representing a date/time in the future when you want
that macro to be played. You can place two different values here. You can type a
number which represents that many minutes ahead in the future or you type an
actual date and time. If you were to type a 5, then the Timed Event would be created
to execute 5 minutes in the future from the time that macro line was executed. If you
wish to type a specific time and date, use a format of: yyyy-mm-dd hh:mm:ss. This
will create a Timed Event for that specific date and time.
6. The Jump command is actually more of an intermediate command rather than a
beginner’s command. What the Jump command does is simply jump forward or
backwards a specified number of lines. You can think of the current line as line 0.
The next line would be line 1, the one after that would be line 2 and so on. The line
previous to the current line would be line – 1 and before that would be line – 2. A
macro normally starts its execution at the first line and then proceeds to the next line
and the next. The Jump command allows you to change this “flow” of execution. If
you jump to a line before the first line, you’ll be taken to the first line. If you jump to a
line after the last line, the macro will terminate. Be careful with the jump command!
If you had a jump command with a ‘SKTTSDF’ value of 0, the macro would jump to
the current line forever and would essentially be locked up. Now you may be thinking
what good is the jump command? By itself, it’s not very useful except to maybe jump
to the very end of a macro in order to end it early. But when you become more
advanced, you will be creating formulas and the real power of the jump command will
become apparent.
7. The Delay command allows you to pause the execution of a macro for a specified
number of milliseconds. When a macro is “delayed”, other macros can’t run. In fact,
all other command processing is essentially halted since PowerHome is designed to
thread commands so that only one at a time is running. The delay command is most
useful for very short delays usually associated with the sending if IR commands. All
IR commands have a built in delay (default of 200ms) so they don’t run together and
confuse the equipment. But sometimes you may need a little bit more in order to wait
for a piece of equipment to finish its processing. Keep delays short and you
shouldn’t have any problems. Remember that there are 1000 milliseconds in a
8. The Wait command is similar to the Delay command in that the macro is paused, but
the similarity ends there. Wait commands are in seconds instead of milliseconds.
Wait commands also don’t delay other macros or commands from executing. When
a macro is waiting, a snapshot of everything associated with the macro is saved to
the database and a timer is started similar to a timed event. The macro is then
terminated. Since PowerHome only allows a single process to be running at a time,
other processes are now free to run. You can see any “Waiting” macros in the
PowerHome Status screen. When the time is expired, the macro is reloaded and
execution resumes where it left off. The Wait command is useful when you want an
action to continue at a later time (usually much later than with a delay) and you don’t
want other execution to stop. Consider the scenario where you turn a light on and
you want it to automatically turn off 30 minutes later. You could do this with two
macros. The first one turns the light on and the second one turns the light off. When
you call the first macro that turns the light on, the last line would be a Create Timed
Event command for the second macro to turn the light off 30 minutes later. With the
Wait command, this could all be accomplished in a single macro. The first couple of
lines turn the light on, the next line is a wait command for 30 minutes (1800 seconds)
and then the next couple of lines turn the light off.
9. The Insteon command will send direct Insteon commands to an Insteon controller
you have previously configured PowerHome to use. See section 3.7 for an example.
How Do I Tell PowerHome My Location?
Much automation activity centers on sunrise, sunset, dawn and dusk. You may want to turn
on your outside lights 15 minutes before sunset and turn them off several hours before dawn.
To calculate the correct times to perform these actions, PowerHome has to know where you
are located.
From the PowerHome Explorer screen go to PowerHome>Setup>Sun. On this screen,
you can set your location for the sunrise, sunset, dawn, and dusk functions. You can select
your state and city or enter your latitude and longitude directly. If you select your state and
city from the dropdowns, the latitude, longitude, and hours past GMT (Greenwich Mean Time)
will be automatically populated for you. You should also select whether you observe daylight
savings time at your location.
(Figure 5.3 Sun Setup)
How Do I Setup My X-10 Stuff?
You’ve already setup an Insteon Controller in PowerHome (see Section 3.3). That Insteon
Controller is also an X-10 controller and you need not do anything more regarding setting it
up as an X-10 controller. If you do not have any other X-10 controller skip to section 5.4.2.
Setting Up Your X-10 Controller
If you have other X-10 controllers you have to let PowerHome know about them.
1. Go to PowerHome>Setup>Controllers and then follow the instructions in Section
3.3 only this time pick the name of the X-10 controller you have from the ‘Controller
Type’ dropdown box.
2. Click on the ‘Settings’ button. You can check or uncheck the individual X-10
commands that the controller will listen for. You can send any X-10 command which
is supported by your particular controller, but you’ll only want one controller to
respond to incoming X-10 commands if you have multiple controllers. If you only
have a single X-10 controller, then you’ll typically have all the commands checked.
Also, if you have a powerline controller and an RF controller, they can both receive
the same commands since one will listen on the powerline and the other will be
listening for RF.
(Figure 5.4.1 X-10 Controller)
Setting Up Your X-10 Devices
1. Much like setting up an Insteon device (see section 3.4) you setup an X-10 device by
opening PowerHome>Devices>X-10>Units from the PowerHome Explorer, and
entering the appropriate information for each of your X-10 devices.
(Figure 5.4.2 X-10 Devices)
2. Initially, the X-10 Devices screen will have a single blank line. To add additional X-10
devices, right-click in the detail pane and select ‘Insert’ on the popup menu. This will
insert a new blank row.
3. Enter an ID and Description of your choosing. Enter the House Code and Unit Code
from the dropdown boxes.
4. Enter the Module Type and Controller from the dropdown boxes.
5. Lastly, enter a Location for the device. The last three columns can be left at their default
Be sure to save the newly added devices by pressing F5
You’re now ready to use the X-10 devices in macros and formulas.. Your X-10 devices will
also now appear on the PowerHome Device Status screen. In addition, you can also
control them through the virtual Palm Pad screen
How Do I Setup My IR Stuff?
PowerHome supports many different IR controllers including CIR, Multi-CIR, RedRat2,
RedRat3, CPU-XA/Ocelot, Slink-e, USB-UIRT, and Global Cache. PowerHome also
supports multiple IR zones.
Setting Up Your IR Controller
Just as you have previously let PowerHome know about your Insteon controller, and your X10 controller, you must let PowerHome know that you have an IR controller connected to
PowerHome through your PC.
1. Go to PowerHome>Setup>Controllers and enter an ID name of your choosing and
the controller type. In Figure 5.5.1 note that a USB-UIRT IR controller has been
2. Click ‘Settings’ and make sure ‘Enable Remote Control’ is checked. (see Figure
5.5.1). This particular field is unique to the USB-Uirt and allows the USB-Uirt to
respond to incoming IR commands instead of just sending them. You can leave the
rest of the settings at their defaults.
(Figure 5.5.1 IR Controller Settings)
Setting Up Your IR Devices
If you have already set up an Insteon or X-10 device you are familiar with the first part of a
two step process to set up an IR device.
1. Open PowerHome>Devices>IR from the PowerHome Explorer,and enter the
appropriate information for one IR device (for example, your tv, or home theater
receiver). . Right-click and select ‘Insert’ to create a new row in IR Equipment
screen. (see Figure 5.5.2)
(Figure 5.5.2 IR Equipment)
2. Type a unique IR equipment ID in the ‘ID’ field. Within this screen, the ID must be
unique. The ID should be descriptive of the piece of infrared equipment but short
enough to save typing in later sections. After entering an ID, next enter the
‘Manufacturer’ of the equipment and then enter the ‘Model’ number.
3. Enter the total number of keys you would like to learn for this piece of IR equipment.
This would typically be the number of keys on the equipment’s IR remote, but may
need to be adjusted up or down in certain circumstances. When you enter the
number of keys and go to the ‘IR Equipment Details’ screen (which you will do in
the next step), PowerHome will automatically insert that number of rows for you. You
will not be able to insert or delete rows from the ‘IR Equipment Details’ screen and
the number of rows can only be adjusted by the ‘Total Keys’ field. When adjusting
this number, if you increase the number, rows will be added to the end. If you
decrease this number, rows will be deleted from the end. Once deleted, the data
associated with these rows is lost and would have to be relearned.
4. Next set the ‘Controller’ to the name of the controller you created in section 5.5.1.
Leave the ‘IR Zone’ field set to ‘1’. Certain IR controllers such as the CPUXA/Ocelot and Multi-CIR support more than one IR zone. Most people will only have
a single zone. If you have more than one zone and would like to set the IR
equipment to a zone other than ‘1’, refer to the notes for your controller in the User
Manual Appendices for properly setting this value.
5. Leave the Learn Freq at ‘38’. Most IR controllers do not use this value. If you have a
CPU-XA/Ocelot, then the default value of 38 is a good starting point.
6. The next step in defining your IR equipment is to give details on the individual IR
commands to PowerHome.. To get to the ‘IR Equipment Details’ screen, left-click
the small button in the first column next to the IR Equipment ID you’ve just created.
(Figure 5.5.3 IR Equipment Details)
7. In the ‘IR Equipment Details’ screen, you should see a row for each key you
declared in the ‘Total Keys’ field. The Keys will be numbered starting at ‘10’ with
each line incrementing by ‘10’. This is done to make rearranging rows a little easier.
When the rows are actually saved to the database, their ‘Key #’ will be divided by 10.
8. Enter a description for each IR command you would like to learn. The only other field
to be concerned with at this time is the ‘Code’ field.
9. After entering descriptions for each IR command, the next step is to learn the IR
codes from your equipment’s remote. All of PowerHome’s supported IR controllers
store the raw code in the ‘Code’ field except for the CPU-XA/Ocelot. This controller
stores the actual commands within the controller itself. Detailed instruction to
properly set up the CPU-XA/Ocelot with PowerHome can be found in the
PowerHome Users Manual
10. To learn your IR commands, right click on a single line and select ‘Record’ from the
popup menu. Follow the instructions onscreen and PowerHome will learn the IR
code for that one line. This is useful if you have to adjust an IR command that was
not learned properly or you’ve just added an extra key. If you have just setup the IR
equipment and need to learn all the IR commands, choose the ‘Auto Learn’ option
from the popup menu. This will prompt you to learn all of the IR commands
sequentially and quickly.
11. Once you’ve learned your IR commands, save your settings by pressing the Refresh
key (F5). You may then right-click an individual command and select ‘Play’ from the
popup menu. Verify that the IR equipment is properly controlled.
The Control Center
The Control Center is a simple yet sophisticated graphical user interface for controlling
PowerHome. The screens you create in the Control Center’s ‘Design View’ can be viewed from
a PC, touch screen, mobile phone, PDA or on the web.
From the examples in the beginning of this QuickStart Guide you’ve seen many ways to control
various devices using PowerHome. The Control Center is yet another way. With its buttons and
graphics you can design a group of user friendly screens to control PowerHome. While you can
use PowerHome without ever using the Control Center, you’ll quickly find that the Control Center
adds great value by allowing you and others in your home to easily and quickly control the
automation devices in your home. A complete description of the Control Center can be found in
the PowerHome Users Manual. An example of a simple Control Center screen and a
sophisticated Control Center screen can be found below.
(Figure 5.7-1 Simple Control Center Example)
(Figure 5.7-2 Sophisticated Control Center Example)
Where can I find some sample code?
PowerHome is distributed with a sample database file called phsample.db. It is installed in the
database directory which would be “C:\Program Files\PowerHome\Database” if you installed
PowerHome in the default directory.
You can view this database file using the PowerHome Explorer. Open the Explorer and press the
second to last toolbar button on the far right or press F7. This will bring up a dialog box that will
allow you to select the sample database. You can always see what database the current
Explorer window is connected to in the Title of the Explorer window.
Once connected to the sample database, you may view its macros, triggers, etc. and even export
samples that can then be imported into your actual database.
Sample Code is also available on the PowerHome Forums at http://www.powerhome.com/forum/default.asp.
Appendix A - An Insteon Primer
Insteon Background
To fully realize the features and possibilities of Insteon, it helps to understand a little about how it
Unlike X-10, each Insteon device comes preconfigured from the factory with a unique address.
With X-10, you could individually address each device by choosing a housecode from A to P (16
possible choices) and a unitcode from 1 to 16. This gave you a maximum of 256 possible unique
devices. With Insteon, each device is preconfigured with a 3 byte address yielding a possible
16777216 combinations. This 3 byte address is represented in hexadecimal format (the decimal
numbers 0 thru 9 and the letters A thru F). You will typically see an Insteon address such as:
01.2A.4C. Each two hexadecimal digits represent a single byte with each byte representation
separated by a period. All Insteon devices will have a label showing what their unique address is.
Dimmable Insteon devices will have an output level ranging from 0 to 255. A value of 0 would be
fully dimmed or off and a value of 255 would be 100% bright. When you control an Insteon device
locally, it will default to turning full on. You can optionally set a "local level" so that when you turn
a dimmable Insteon device on locally, it will turn on at a predefined level of your choosing. Once
on at this level, if you press the "On" switch again, the light will go to "full on". If you set the "local
level" to 0, the light will turn on to the last level the light was at when it was turned off.
Additionally, each dimmable Insteon device has an individual "local ramprate". The local ramprate
controls how quickly the device turns On or Off when the device is locally switched. Values for the
ramprate range from 0 to 31 with 31 being nearly instant and 0 taking close to 9 minutes.
All Insteon devices are inherently two-way unlike X-10 where typically only the more expensive
devices were capable of two-way communication. Most Insteon devices are capable of being
remotely controlled as well as acting as a controller to control other Insteon devices.
The Insteon specification allows for a number of standard and extended length messages, but for
our purposes, we really only need to concern ourselves with two types of standard messages.
These are direct commands and group commands. A direct command is a single Insteon device
directly communicating with another single Insteon device. These communications are typically
acknowledged through two-way communication between the devices and automatically retried in
the event of communication failure. The second type of message is a group message. Group
messages are not acknowledged and are a broadcast command. In other words, the message is
not sent to a single device. The message originates with a single device and is "broadcast" to any
device within range.
When an Insteon device controls another Insteon device, this is accomplished through group
commands. A standard SwitchLinc dimmer has a single on/off paddle. As such, a SwitchLinc
dimmer is capable of controlling a single group of devices. Multiple devices may be contained
within a single group. When a SwitchLinc dimmer is turned on locally by pressing the "On"
paddle, the dimmer turns itself on to the "local level" using the "local ramprate". It also sends out
a group command if it has been "linked" to any other Insteon devices. This group command will
be for group 1 of the SwitchLinc's address. Any device linked to the SwitchLinc will turn on at the
"group level" and "group ramprate". Without getting overly complicated and technical, in addition
to the "local level" and "local ramprate", each device has a "group level" and "group ramprate" for
each group/device combination that it belongs to.
When the group broadcast command from the SwitchLinc is received by another Insteon device,
that device will check its internal database and see wheither or not it is a member of the
SwitchLinc's group 1. If it is, it will look up the "group level" and "group ramprate" associated with
the SwitchLinc's address and group 1 and will turn on to that level using the ramprate. A similar
thing happens when the SwitchLinc is switched off or dimmed or brightened locally at the switch.
As part of the Insteon standard, after the group command is sent (not acknowledged), the
controller will then scan it's internal database and will send a direct group cleanup command
(acknowledged) to each device that is a member of its group to insure that the group command is
carried out. It's important to remember that when a device is added to a group (this process is
called "linking"), not only is a record created in the database of the controlled device, but also a
record is created in the database of the controlling device. This way, the controlled device knows
who is controlling it and the controlling device knows who it is controlling.
The process of creating groups is called "linking". Each Insteon device has its own "database" of
devices it controls and devices that control it. This data is stored in EEPROM and is remembered
even in the event of power failure. A standard use of linking is during the setup of 3 or multi-way
switches. Unlike X-10 where a 3-way lighting circuit had a master controller and then a cheap
"dummy" slave switch that is electrically linked to the master, Insteon accomplishes 3 and multiway circuits virtually. Essentially, a single Insteon switch (the master) is electrically connected to
the light being controlled with any "slave" type switches being removed from the circuit with
simple wiring changes. The "slave" switch is then wired into the house wiring, but with no load
(light) connected and without a direct connection to the master. The slave switch is then "linked"
to the master with an Insteon group. When the slave switch is turned on, a group command is
sent to the master and the master switch then turns on. At this point, it is not required to do any
more in order for the 3 way circuit to work. However, if you want the LED indicator light on the
slave switch to reflect the status of the light when the light is switched using the master, you must
"cross link" the slave to the master. Basically what is done is that the slave is linked to the master
such that the slave controls the master (this is necessary just to get the 3 way switch to work) and
additionally, the master is "cross linked" to the slave so that the master controls the slave. Even
though the slave is not electrically tied to the light, it will still receive an "on" command when the
master is switched on and its status LED will reflect that the master is "on".
An important point to remember is that if an Insteon device does not control any other devices (no
links exist in its database as a controller), when the device is switched locally, no Insteon
message is generated from the switch. What this means is that the PLC and any program
attached to it will be unaware that a transition occurred. As long as the switch is controlling at
least one other device, a group message will be sent and the PLC and any program attached will
know that the switch was turned on or off locally.
If local switch sensing is desired and the switch does not control any other loads, you can still link
the switch directly to the PLC. This will in effect create a record in the switch's database and a
group command will be sent. Although the PLC will not respond to the command, it will receive
the message and pass it on to any connected program.
The PLC device itself can have its own groups and control them as well. The PLC device can
have a total of 254 groups from 1 to 254. The PLC CANNOT trigger another device’s group. All
Insteon messages are signed with the address of the originating device and the PLC is no
different. If you have a KeyPadLinc that controls 5 lights in its group 3, then you cannot trigger
that group directly from the PLC and would instead have to re-create the same group of 5 lights
into a PLC group.
Group 255 is an "All Units On" group. If the PLC or another Insteon device sends a command to
group 255, then any device that is a member of ANY group from the controlling device will
respond. This is how a ControLinc performs an "All Lights On" and "All Lights Off" commands.
PowerHome and Insteon
PowerHome supports both direct commands from the PLC to another Insteon device as well as
group commands sent from the PLC. PowerHome should also accurately track all Insteon
commands whether they originate from PowerHome or from any other Insteon device on the
network and update the Device Status screen appropriately.
PowerHome also supports the creation of links within the PLC and remote devices from within
PowerHome. If you prefer to create links using the physical tap-tap method, PowerHome
supports this as well and will automatically query remote devices for any changes within their
Once a controller has been created and communications established with the Insteon Device
Manager, you're ready to setup your Insteon network. The easiest way to do this is to use the
Insteon Explorer. This new window is totally dedicated to setting and maintaining your Insteon
network. You can read about this screen in the PowerHome Users Manual.
Why do I Keep getting this Database Error in the
PowerHome Explorer
The window shown below is characteristic of this problem:
The reason this window appears is because you’ve tried to save data to the database and have
left a required field blank. There’s a lot of confusing information in this screen, but if you just
concentrate on the second paragraph, it tells you what is wrong. In this particular instance, it
says: Column ‘key_desc’ in table ‘macroheader’ cannot be NULL. What we’ve done is left the
description field blank in the Macros screen.
At this point you can select ‘Cancel’ and attempt to fix the error, or select ‘OK’ and you’ll lose any
changes that you were attempting to make.
You may have more than one row in error, so if you get this message again after fixing a problem,
read the second paragraph and correct it as well. Eventually you’ll get to save.
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