A cry in the wilderness: Can an Insteon expert help me start?

Anyone here with Insteon experience willing to answer a few newbie questions? What do you use to control Insteon devices? Do you know of any tutorials that can help me get started? I’ve installed the Insteon integration (and figured out and labeled most of my 42 devices), but I assume I’ll need other tools. Do you use a combination of the Hub scenes and HA or did you recreate everything in HA? That’s the first bit of questions. I have a long weekend without the rest of my family that I’m planning on devoting to digging into HA. I just need help starting.

Like a mosquito in a nudist colony, I’m overwhelmed by all my options.

While this is purely a preference, there are a few things to note.
First, MY preference is “One App to Rule them All”. I originally had (and still have) scenes that exist on my Hub. But just felt more comfortable after installing Home Assistant to replicate those scenes with groups of lights/switches. I have a dashboard with all the individual lights/switches and a “Quicklink” panel that can turn and off groups.

Now, I could have used the scene from the Hub and use “Insteon: scene_on” and “Insteon: scene_off” to turn on and off those scenes with a click of a button. This has one positive, executing the insteon scene on/off is exactly like the hub. It sends the message to turn on the scene and all the lights/switches in the scene immediately respond. However, if you use a HA group and it has 8 lights/switches in it and you use “homeassistant.turn_on” it will turn on each in order. One at a time. For small numbers of lights, that is just fine. So it takes 4 total seconds to execute instead of a fraction. Although I have scenes like “Panic” with turns on about 18 lights/switches. For that one scene, I use insteon scene and not a group. Afterall, it is (hopefully) never used and it should be quick if it is.

I completely trashed all the multi-button controllers that did fan low/med/high/off as they were a pain. This is 100% HA now and work beautifully, especially using custom button-card templates with rotating icons and such.

The quicklink panel look like this (my wife’s regular dashboard). Designed for her phone using vertical/horizontal stacks and custom buttons. And is very generic using templates.

The code for templating and a button is then straightforward:

    group_expand: true
        - height: 100px
      action: none
      action: call-service
      service: |
          if (entity.state == "on") return "homeassistant.turn_off"; else return "homeassistant.turn_on"
        entity_id: entity

Then a button is just this:

type: 'custom:button-card'
entity: group.doglights
template: group_lights

The whole house looks like this using mostly auto-entities):

I like the control of using HA to do it all. And it does have pluses … like a HA group can contain groups. I do not think an insteon scene can use other scenes, you have to put everything in one scene.

So you can do this where “dogs” group contains “pergola” group and so forth.

# Pergola
    name: Pergola
    icon: 'mdi:home-variant'
      - switch.switchlinc_relay_dual_band_1f_ae_0d
      - switch.switchlinc_relay_dual_band_1f_ad_f7
      - switch.switchlinc_relay_dual_band_1f_a8_f1
    all: true
# Dogs
    name: Dogs
    icon: mdi:dog
      - group.pergolalights
      - switch.keypadlinc_on_off_1f_15_0a_main
      - light.in_linelinc_dimmer_4a_ad_d3
      - light.in_linelinc_dimmer_4a_ab_70
    all: true

Note: I built my groups prior to giving them friendly names but I could have used them in the code above.

So, it is really preference but I have not used the Insteon app in a long time except to add a new switch or light.

Very cool setup, particularly the dashboard. Your information about the hub’s instant versus HA’s ordered approach will help me to choose which scenes to port over from the hub. Thanks.

Are you using the Insteon integration to control the devices or MQTT? Are they mutual exclusive or do they work together? This is what a basic level I’m at, right now. Once I get my foot in the door, I’m pretty sure that I’ll be able to figure stuff out. I just need some help getting started.

Thank you for taking the time to respond.

I do not use the MQTT-Insteon integration. Just the plain vanilla Insteon. I really haven’t touched that part of the system in quite some time but if I do have a complaint (or more likely a lack of time to fix it right) is that long ago I implemented Insteon skills on Alexa.

My wife still many times just tells Alexa to “Turn on Dogs” which works just great because Alexa is then telling the Insteon modem to activate that scene. But HA does not update the GUI in the “Lights On” section or the “Quicklinks”. I am probably missing something simple.

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