Node-RED and Insteon -- Flow GUI support?

Hi all. This is my first post, so please forgive me if I do something wrong here.

I've recently started playing with Node-RED, and I've been using the "flow UI" (or whatever it's called) to set up some simple things (such as having 3D printer M117 messages be sent to my phone via Prowl). Neat stuff. Now I want to chat with some Insteon devices using Node-RED.

I was wondering if there is a Node-RED Insteon serial module support for the flow UI?

The only Insteon thing I found under "Manage palette" was node-red-contrib-insteon-lan, so I installed that, but that seems to only install support for a LAN based Insteon hub. I have a USB (serial) Insteon hub (?) that I would like to use with my Raspberry Pi Node-RED board. I searched on Google, but didn't see anything that appeared to add support to the flow UI.

Am I looking in the wrong place?

Thank you for your time.


Flow UI, Flow GUI, you mean node-red ? node-red is the UI/GUI.

You don't always need the palette nodes. What kind of connectivity is available for the Insteon devices, only serial ?

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An easier place to look (although it gets the same data as the Manage Palette, so it won't help if you've already searched there) is

Here you can search for nodes, and it is easier to read the nodes readme so read about any prerequisites etc before you install.

There are several ways you could potentially integrate your hub with Node-RED.

  1. See if there is a nodejs library and write a wrapper around it to turn it into a node-red node.
  2. Run a 3rd party insteon-to-MQTT application and then use the Node-RED MQTT nodes ( you would also need a MQTT broker)
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I assume that by "flow UI", you mean Dashboard?

If that is the case then - no - there isn't anything direct. However, you do have the components. It is up to you to link the front-end Dashboard to the back-end Node-RED flow. There are plenty of examples of this around the forum, the flows site and the internet.

Just remember that the Dashboard runs in the client browser, your flows run on the Node-RED server. In order to communicate between them, you have something called "websockets". That's about as technical as you really need to get but if you don't understand the separation between the two, you will continually trip over the concepts.

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I suspect he/she means the flow editor.

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Good morning, all.

All: Thanks for the quick responses. And thanks for bearing with me (I have decades of software development under my belt, but this Node-RED thing is new to me; just trying to teach this old dog some new tricks...).

Colin (et al) - Yes, by "flow UI" I meant "flow editor" (thanks, I wasn't sure what that screen was called -- now I know :smile:).

@TotallyInformation - Ah, websockets. Yes, I've played with websockets before with an ESP8266. I didn't know that was what Node-RED used. Cool. That's good to know.

@ukmoose - Right-o. I searched, and the only thing I found was the one package (or whatever it's call) for the LAN based Insteon node. There are six different nodes (am I using that term properly?) in the flow editor GUI:


And your tip about using an Insteon-to-MQTT package was just what I needed! A little Googling revealed and this looks perfect as I already have an MQTT broker running on the RPi. If I can get that Python package to talk to my Insteon USB/serial box, then that will be the final piece of the puzzle.

Thanks again, everyone, for helping me. I owe you one. :slight_smile:


The Insteon box I have has a USB interface on it. I presume it's an older version, as it seems that the newer one can sit on your LAN. I will have my USB hub plug into my Raspberry Pi (the same RPi which has my Node-RED server on it, an MQTT broker on it, etc).

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I use an insteon to mqtt driver originally written for HASS IO (another home automation software) but I just use it with a node-red mqtt broker (mosca).

There is still a config file to maintain but it is the least complicated that I have found.

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Here is the insteon-mqtt driver that I use on pi to send data to mosca mqtt broker running in node-red:

It is completely stable and although the author's original intention is to use it with HASS IO, since it was written to talk Insteon to MQTT it is not limited to HASS IO - those are just the examples.

It works great with Node-RED.

I owe the author a debt of gratitude for salvaging my Insteon "investment" - I was ready to rip it out.

I'm still not buying more Insteon but everything works to my liking now.

@jtmoderate876 - Yeah, that's the one I'm using (see previous post). It doesn't have anything that directly integrates with Node-RED visually, but it works via MQTT which I can live with.

The only downside is that it doesn't have X10 support. I started adding X10 support to it and was making good progress, but as soon as I linked some of my Insteon modules to my Insteon 2413U hub, I started getting weird stuff from the 2413U -- the hub stopped sending anything sensible and just repeatedly sends a series of a few bytes. So now I need to debug that before I can proceed with the X10 stuff. (I'm going to swap out the capacitors, etc in the 2413U as they are known to be under-spec'd in the 2413U, but I don't know when I'll have time to do that... If it ain't one thing, it's another... sigh)

I get your points.

I dumped x10 for many reasons (reliability, security, etc.) so that piece doesn't affect me anymore.
And I have not found better integration from node-red to insteon than Insteon-MQTT - even though it wasn't written for node-red.