RS232, Spider, and Insteon PowerLinc

I want to connect a Spider to the Insteon PowerLinc Modem (2413S). Since I have zero knowledge of how I would go about this, I’m hoping for a possible solution.
The idea I have is to use the RS232 module, but I’m not sure if I need a Female/Female RS232 crossover or a straight cable.
I’m assuming I would be able to connect to the serial port from the spider using something like new SerialPort(“COM1”), but I’m not sure if that’s right either.
Would it be (“COM1”) or (“UART0”)?
In the end I will hopefully be able to communicate with the PowerLink using FluentDwelling(FluentDwelling « Soapbox Automation). I’m sure this seems like overkill, but I don’t trust my pc to stay on all the time and I have other ideas for the spider, so I thought running everything from one place might be fun to try.

In case I wasn’t clear,

  1. do i need a crossover or straight cable to communicate between the RS232 module and the modem(just another device
  2. to send/receive commands via RS232 module, do i use UART0 or COM1 as the serial port name? SerialPort UART = new SerialPort(NameOfPort, BaudRate)

any other tips/suggestions would be great.

wow, that was fast. thanks for the quick response.

  1. I think you have the wrong picture. the rj45 is input into the modem, i’m pretty sure that the other end of the cable is rs232.

  2. thanks for the link, but i’ve seen the example and it doesn’t exactly answer the question.
    Note that serial ports on PC’s and on NETMF are named COM ports and they start from COM1. There is no COM0 on computer systems. This can cause a little confusion when we want to map the COM port to the UART port on the processor because the processor usually start with UART0 not UART1. So, COM1 is UART0 and COM2 is UART1…etc.

so can i create a serial port using both “COM1” and “UART0”?

  1. yes, i do plan on compiling the source with .NetMF. It seems to mostly rely on Serial Ports, which to my understanding are fully supported in .NET MF.
    The only problem is the use of Generics. I’m going to try rewriting the code so it no longer uses them. Do you have other concerns?

I have always been interested with home automation but there are just too many incompatible options! Wouldn’t be great if there is a global standard?


In my limited experience, most home automation people are really out to sell fancy home theater setups…

I posted the only documentation I could find on the modem.
So, let’s assume the other end of the cable plugs into an rs232 com port on a pc.
the rs232 module, has a male end as does the model. I need a female/female cable to connect to two. Should it be direct or crossover cable?

@ njbissen - Several months ago I started developing an NETMF driver for the USB version of the Insteon PLM:

I was developing the driver for the Cobra 1 using its USB Host serial port, but the code was designed to work with a normal RS232 serial interface as well. I haven’t had the time to finish the driver, and it is not yet ready for publishing. However, the Insteon group has since published a .Net open source driver on Codeplex at You should be able to port this driver to NETMF.

@ andre.m
yes, I’m using the spider, just said pc to give a better/clearer picture of what i’m attempting.
Ok, Crossover, that’s the direction i was leaning, but wasn’t sure. Thanks for the answer.

@ jasdev
I saw the .Net driver, but there is so little documentation that i’m heading down the FluentDwelling road to get started. If you do find good documentation or anything else useful, I would be interested in reading it. If I fiind anything I’ll post as well.
It seems like the serial connection w/o usb is considered more reliable. Have you abandoned your attempt to write your own driver? Would you mind providing a link to some of your code and/or an example of usage. I’m trying to get my head around using the usbHost serial port.

thanks for all the replies.

I am working on a similar project to connect my spider to an X10 power line controller and an X10 radio receiver using a pair of RS232 modules. The goal is to vitualize my HA server and do away with the need for physical PC serial ports. I could have used a commercial ethernet to serial port device but a) the spider is more fun and b) I intend to delegate more control to the spider over time.

So far I have the HA server finding and connecting to the spider over DPWS. Building the serial port code is the next step. I will share something when I get it working.