Are HA scenes capable of turning all devices on at the same time?

I set up my first scene with 3 lights. When I executed the scene I got BLOOP BLOOP BLOOP, 3 lights turning on individually. How can I get one simultaneous scene?

You have observed what is known as the ‘popcorn effect’.

It’s a result of the propagation time required to send a command to the device and (possibly) to acquire an acknowledgement from the device. The duration of this propagation time depends on the lighting technology being used (and other factors).

To turn on the three lights in that scene, whichever lighting integration you used sent three separate commands, one to each light.

Some lighting technologies have the ability to send a single command to control a ‘select group of devices’. The terminology varies from one lighting integration to another; this so-called ‘select group of devices’ can be known as a group, scene, association, link, etc.

When this ‘select group of devices’ hears that single command, all its members act in unison. The result is no “popcorn effect”. However, this ‘select group of devices’ is typically defined outside of Home Assistant in the native lighting technology.

Some of Home Assistant’s lighting integrations offer a custom service that allows you to activate/deactivate this externally-defined ‘select group of devices’. For example, in Insteon a ‘select group of devices’ is called a scene and there’s a custom service to turn on an Insteon scene called insteon.scene_on.

What is the lighting technology you’re using?

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Are these ZigBee lights?

Insteon. And I have Insteon scenes, but they are a pain in the arse to setup. Even with the ISY

It may be inconvenient creating one but an Insteon Scene will avoid the ‘popcorn effect’. All members of the scene will hear the same command simultaneously.


I have no experience with Insteon. The last time I used SmartHome devices they were SmartLinc X10 technology. You could create X10 scenes but creating them involved a lot of arcane button-tapping for each scene member (i.e. no centralized management interface, just per-device configuration via a prescribed number of button-taps). I can’t imagine creating an Insteon scene with ISY is more cumbersome than that!

FWIW, I switched to UPB and all management is done via its UPStart software. Scene management is a simple matter of drag 'n drop.

Hey FutureTense, have you made any more discoveries surrounding this? I’m fairly new to Home Assistant, migrated from Indigo Server on an old Mac Mini about a month ago. I have about 20 Insteon devices throughout my house and I’m trying to eradicate the popcorn effect. Based on what I’ve read, it looks my options are…

  1. Keep the Mac Mini with Indigo nearby and hook it up any time I want to change scene programming :tired_face:
  2. Install and learn to use the discontinued HouseLinc software for programming scenes. :thinking:
  3. Install and learn to use InsteonTerminal or learn Python and try to use pyinsteon :flushed:

Do you have a better approach? How do you program yours?

I use an ISY and created ISY scenes (different than Insteon switch scenes). I call those scenes from the ISY.

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