General guidance on my first Insteon automation

Hey folks, I’m brand new to Home Assistant and really struggling with the Automation / Scenes / Scripting aspect. Yesterday I got the server up and running, and I got all of my devices communicating with it. So I’m able to manually turn things off and on, and see states change in the developer tools. But now I’m confused on the “right” way to automate everything.

Simple example: I have an Insteon door sensor. When the door’s open, I want a light to turn on. When it’s closed, I want the light off.

  • Because these are Insteon devices, they show up as Entities rather than Devices. (I still don’t understand the distinction, or the advantage of making one.)
  • Within the frontend if I go into Configuration > Automations > New, the Action Type doesn’t allow me to select an Entity, only a device. But I can select a Scene.
  • This is the same story with Configuration > Scripts > New: the sequence doesn’t allow me to select an Entity.
  • I was only able to add Entities to scenes by toggling “Advanced Mode” on within my profile.
  • From what I’ve read, it seems scenes can only turn on, not off.

Based on the above, it seems that the only way to achieve what I want is first, toggle “Advanced Mode” on, then create two separate Scenes each with the same light in a different state (on and off), then create two separate Automations triggered by the door sensor (one going from off to on, the other going from on to off.) But this can’t be right. How should I approach this instead? Should I ditch trying to do this within the UI, roll my sleeves up, and figure out how to script it manually?

A device contains one or multiple entites. E.g. a motion sensor device for example can have an entity for the motion and one for the battery level, which are combined in one device. Automations/Scenes in Home Assistant can be for devices or entites. The device automations are “easier” to use, they are more natural like “turn off device xy” instead of “calling the service turn off for the entity xy”.

In the UI, in the section “Triggers”, choose “State” as your trigger type, then you should be able to choose your entities.

Thanks, Burningstone! From your help I was able to get it working.

I had no problem selecting Triggers and choosing State as the trigger type. The biggest missing piece for me was that I was unable to select any Entities in the Actions section. But through trial and error I discovered that by selecting Call Service, then selecting light.turn_on, an entities menu popped up.

I think this uncorked me and now I’ll be able to automate my entire house. Thank you!

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