INSTEON Home Automation

INSTEON is a home automation network technology that allows centralized control of home systems: lights, security cameras, power switches, even kitchen appliances. Designed specifically for long-term automation, the protocol provides for reliable transmission and low power consuption.

While homeowners generally purchase INSTEON remotes to control their home, computers can also patch into the network. Using basic serial commands, the computer can manipulate the modem to send and receive data across the network.


Getting Started

Getting Started

Connect the Smarthome modem to your computer via USB. If you're runing Windows or Mac OS, you'll need to install the FTDI drivers for the virtual COM port per the following instructions. Once the modem is connected, download and run Craig's Kitchen Collector. You'll need to replace the INSTEON_SERIAL_PORT with the name of the port on your computer; follow the instructions below for details.
Craig's Kitchen Collector also requires PySerial to operate with the INSTEON modem properly.

Don't try to install from the ZIP file--it's easier to download and run the setup executable, which will automatically detect your system architecture and install the appropriate version. The device should appear in Control Panel > Devices and Printers once the drivers are installed, and you'll be able to find the COM port in the Properties window.

Mac OS X
Download the appropriate driver disk image, which includes package installers for OS X 10.3+. Note: the driver version for 10.6 runs just fine on 10.7. Once installed correctly, the device will be available at /dev/tty.usbserial-XXXXXX. In terminal, run ls /dev/tty.usbserial* to determine the exact name.

The Linux Kernel has built in support for the virtual COM port since version 2.6.31. The device should be available at /dev/ttyUSBX--run ls /dev/ttyUSB* for the exact name.


Warning: INSTEON is proprietary technology and some of the following documents require a commercial license. The following documents are available only from inside the University network. Do not redistrubute.
White paper for those who wish to learn more about INSTEON—why it was developed, how it works, and how to use it to create networked products for the modern home. Note: you do not need to fully understand these low-level details in order to use the protocol.
INSTEON Compared
A comparison of the INSTEON protocol to existing home automation and networking technologies available.

Modem Developer's Guide
Developer documentation for using a serial (over USB) modem to interface with an INSTEON network. This is the highest level API your applications can use to communicate.