X10 Community Forum

X10 Zone => Article Discussion => Topic started by: JeffVolp on August 12, 2011, 12:36:32 AM

Title: Future of X10
Post by: JeffVolp on August 12, 2011, 12:36:32 AM

I read an article linked on the HomeSeer board that makes me wonder about the future availability of X10 equipment:

http://www.cepro.com/article/the_end_of_x10/

Is this just an unsubstantiated rumor being spread by someone who hates X10?

Jeff
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: Brian H on August 12, 2011, 06:18:30 AM
Does make you wounder.
There are almost no Retail Vendors carrying X10 anymore, if any.

Notice in the comments section of the article.
One comment was. Your previous encounter with X10 has nothing to do with this does it?

Most users here know it is not Plug and Play or 30 minute setup.
But with some work. You can get allot of bang for your buck with X10.
I have also seen some unique uses for X10 from very inventive users.

The Automation Systems Hacked article also scares me. We know X10 protocol was never made to be secured.
With any microcontroller it would not take too long to cycle through all 16 House Codes and 16 Unit Codes. To see what responded.
http://www.cepro.com/article/home_automation_systems_easily_hacked_via_power_lines/K309
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: JeffVolp on August 12, 2011, 08:43:31 AM

I did read that comment, which made me wonder if there was substance behind the article.

Most of us know that X10 can be hacked by anyone with a Maxi Controller by just plugging it into an exterior outlet and going through the codes.

X10 has included a feature to keep track of modules in use since the original Active Home, which can monitor commands in homes sharing the same utility transformer.  I believe the intent was to avoid house and unit codes that are in use elsewhere, but it certainly provides the ability to monitor an adjacent home too.

I don't think hacking is the issue.  I think the economy is having pressure on people purchasing things they don't need, and the colapse of the housing industry has reduced the demand for their products.  They may also be having the same cost pressures as I am seeing, and the fact that their sales are at bargain basement prices leaves little margin to work with.

Jeff
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: B.A. on August 12, 2011, 09:18:20 AM
I have noticed that most of the recent "sales events" ::) focus mainly on cameras
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: dhouston on August 12, 2011, 09:25:37 AM
I wouldn't put much faith in that unless I see an announcement from X-10. X-10 certainly has room to raise prices since all of the competition is premium priced. And, all of the competing systems are fairly easy to hack which should surprise only clueless editors and others equally naive.
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: dave w on August 12, 2011, 11:00:51 AM
This does not provide a rosey outlook either.
http://forums.x10.com/index.php?topic=24439.0;topicseen
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: Noam on August 12, 2011, 11:22:17 AM
I have noticed that most of the recent "sales events" ::) focus mainly on cameras
They just introduced the new 900 MHz cameras, I bet they are trying to get rid of the old ones, at least with some of those deals.
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: dave w on August 12, 2011, 04:43:19 PM

I read an article linked on the HomeSeer board that makes me wonder about the future availability of X10 equipment:

http://www.cepro.com/article/the_end_of_x10/

Is this just an unsubstantiated rumor being spread by someone who hates X10?

Jeff
FWIW
X10 is having some issues but what Jacobson is saying is not entirely accurate. Perhaps CE Pro will have some clarification soon.
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: HA Dave on August 12, 2011, 08:34:37 PM
I likely have enough X10 devices to last a lifetime (since I am already old, anyway). But just in case.... I think I will buy some extra while I can. The idea of no more X10... makes me feel ill.

In the event... that someday soon this Site fails to load... it was very nice reading your [all of you] posts and learning from your input.
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: Brian H on August 13, 2011, 08:55:10 AM
 -:) Start a rumor they are closing.
Everybody panics and buys extra stuff.
Slumping sales go up.  ;D
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: JeffVolp on August 13, 2011, 11:22:13 AM
-:) Start a rumor they are closing.
Everybody panics and buys extra stuff.
Slumping sales go up.  ;D

I just checked inventory at the big distributors on eBay, and a lot of stuff is already gone.

Maybe it is just a ploy.  If not, it may be tough to get XPPF filters in another couple of months.

Jeff
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: dhouston on August 13, 2011, 11:41:18 AM
I decided to read the original wired.com article on hacking X-10 and Z-Wave and, as I expected, found the hackers as clueless as the editors who promulgated their nonsense. ::)

In the home automation environment, encryption (whether properly or improperly applied) serves only one purpose - to market premium priced systems to the gullible. Even if encrypted, if the same signal always results in the same action, all one needs do (if they want to gaslight the neighbors) is record the signals and play them back at random. And, as any X-10 user who has experienced the endless dim phenomenon knows, it is easy to jam the power-line. Jamming the RF frequencies (310MHz or 433.92MHz) is also easy to do.

The only thing that might provide a modicum of security would be rolling codes (like those used by garage door remotes) which would add more cost than can be justified. Plus, I recently read (and don't recall where) about two university researchers who had found a way to break the KeeLoq rolling code system, sold by Microchip and widely used in the automotive industry, which only required being in close proximity to the keyfob for about 30 minutes.

The X-10 hackers could make far more profitable use of their time by hacking KeeLoq and stealing the neighbor's BMW. -:)
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: Brian H on August 15, 2011, 07:05:59 AM
Well I hope X10 clarifies things soon, but I am not holding my breath on it. Blue isn't my shade.  :'

I see on the top of the sales page today. The first item is not an X10 device but a Westinghouse Four Channel Intercom System.

I did a little EBay searching myself Jeff.
Not looking good on some of the vendors sites.
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: dave w on August 15, 2011, 09:16:35 AM
Well in my very humble and completely diplomatic opinion,  Dave Kennedy and the other "DefCon" hackers are blithering idiots. It's like they "discovered" something that nooobody else knew.

"X10 has no encryption so has no security" (paraphrased).

Wow, WHO KNEW??

Since 1978 X10 has always said multiple house codes were part of the protocol to prevent your "pole transformer" neighbor from controlling your lights.

One of the bright bulbs from DefCon/BlackHat needs to explain to me how that imparts any implication of being secure.

Put these brains in a Model "T" and they will probably write a blog to inform everyone the cars are unsafe because they don't have seatbelts and anti lock brakes.
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: pseeker on August 15, 2011, 10:37:07 AM
> Dave Kennedy and the other "DefCon" hackers...
I think the point is to raise awareness.  Like any other technology, only handful of dedicated users understand the weakness until it is publicized... Example: My retired father always calls me when he sees a popup screen on his browser that says he has virus infection and he should download this program to remove it.  Or that medical devices like pacemakers can be "hacked" etc  etc etc.
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: pseeker on August 15, 2011, 10:46:16 AM
Since the topic is the "Future of X10",   I would have to speculate they will be phasing themselves out of production and development and will be 100% focused on internet sales and marketing  which they seem  mostly interested in doing anyway.  This  means they selling other people's product or private labeling other peoples product and leaving the service and warranty to others.   It cost money to support your own products
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: dave w on August 15, 2011, 07:48:10 PM
I would have to speculate they will be phasing themselves out of production and development and will be 100% focused on internet sales and marketing  which they seem  mostly interested in doing anyway.  This  means they selling other people's product or private labeling other peoples product and leaving the service and warranty to others. 
IF that is the road they are going down, it will be the end of X10.
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: HA Dave on August 15, 2011, 07:56:56 PM
If not most... at least some businesses hesitate to just close the doors without giving their employees a chance to look, and interview for other jobs. I wonder what is being said/done on the inside.
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: HA Dave on August 16, 2011, 01:14:21 PM
I know I won't ever leave Home Automation! Just in case X10 decides to leave me.... I've changed my screen name.
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: Brian H on August 17, 2011, 06:49:18 AM
Over in the Homeseer Forums.
There is a thread with a reported X10 insider providing added details.
It does sound like X10 as we know it is about to fold.

http://board.homeseer.com/showthread.php?t=149937

The Affiliate program was closed also.

If they lock the doors on the X10 Forums.
It was a great ride for me and hope all of you have good things happening in your future.
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: HA Dave on August 17, 2011, 06:05:23 PM
If they lock the doors on the X10 Forums.
It was a great ride for me and hope all of you have good things happening in your future.

So very well put. Much better than I could have said it. But my feelings are the same.
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: Dan Lawrence on August 17, 2011, 06:38:15 PM
Only problem with the Homeseer Forums is all the replies are 5 and 11 years old.  I would not take that info with 100 pounds of X10 products.
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: Brian H on August 17, 2011, 06:45:04 PM
Sorry Dan. It is a brand new thread with the latest post yesterday and was started 08/11/2011
It is not the one when X10 went bankrupt I believe in 2002 or 2003.
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: dave w on August 17, 2011, 07:34:13 PM
Only problem with the Homeseer Forums is all the replies are 5 and 11 years old.  I would not take that info with 100 pounds of X10 products.
I agree with Brian. It don't sound good.  Read the two "hasdjp" postings. He appears to be an employee and he is saying the Shenzen factory is already closed and the employees have gotten "unofficial" word. I know a person who works at X10 HQ and he is being very tight lipped, but I can tell from his last email that something is going on and it ain't good.

I don't think they are completely going out of business but it appears they have quit making "X10" products. They may try and turn themselves in to a web marketing company like pseeker suggested earlier in the thread. I guess it makes sense. They have a strong web sales store with all the infrastructure in place (marketing, sales, customer support, warehousing, shipping, etc) to continue selling other products. They already have non X10 products on their pages; audio distribution systems, intercom systems, music systems, etc. Some fairly pricy. IMHO I don't think it will work. Too much competition. Who knows...but X10 as we know it will soon be a memory. Stock up now, I just placed what is likely to be my last X10 order.

I am going to miss the forum if it shuts down, or morphs in to something else.
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: Knightrider on August 17, 2011, 09:11:48 PM
well gang.......


Don't know how I'm going to port all this stuff over to another technology.  I started with X10 in 1988 and have been adding modules since.  Tuicemen, -Bill- (of wgjohns.com), Melloware, JLP, DBemowsk, and the others who helped me with great software apps, I hope you continue your works on another line of controller.  I may be a few years behind getting it all up to insteon or whatever, as it will cost me a fortune.

Volp, Brian H, Dave W and HA Dave: you guys have both inspired and enlightened me.  

Dave Houston:  been reading your stuff for years, glad to finally meet you.

Charles:  I miss you every day.

My 105 days on this forum has been one of the best things I've spent my time on.  Good friends. Great projects.  I even enjoyed banging my head a time or two.

By the way, as the door closes (we don't know how much time we have) the name is Rev. Brian S. Vance in Ohio.  It's been good to meet and know every one of you.

[in the case that we may still be around a year from now, just bury this post in the annals of this forum]
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: HA Dave on August 17, 2011, 09:48:13 PM
OK.... the X10 servers may (or may not) shut down some day. But the forum here is preserved. The Internet project called the WayBackMachine (http://www.archive.org/web/web.php) or http://www.archive.org/web/web.php regularly copies and stores such things. So all the great information will still be here tomorrow... even if this Site isn't.

The X10 forum is stored here (http://wayback.archive.org/web/*/http://forums.x10.com/), by year.

The fellowship of the X10 community.... that is another story.
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: dhouston on August 17, 2011, 10:33:15 PM
I would volunteer to host a forum on my website but at 70 years old, with congestive heart failure, a recent surgery for lung cancer, a nasty spinal cord injury and a few other ongoing health issues, I may not be around much longer than X10.

However, it's not terribly difficult to setup a forum on most hosts. Hostmonster.com (http://Hostmonster.com) costs $5.95/mo and provides tons of free applications including forums - you could probably pay for it through donations. I'm not sure which forum software they offer but most are fairly easy to administer.

Or, Yahoo hosts free discussion groups although that might be really hard to organize given all the disparate sections here.
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: Knightrider on August 17, 2011, 10:51:15 PM
I'll probably just go hang out with Electron.
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: HA Dave on August 17, 2011, 10:53:39 PM
........ it's not terribly difficult to setup a forum on most hosts. Hostmonster.com (http://Hostmonster.com) costs $5.95/mo and provides tons of free applications including forums

That link looks great! Thanks for sharing.

I know -Bill- (of wgjohns.com) has a Web Site and a forum (http://wgjohns.com/forums/index.php) as does Tuicemen: http://tuicemen.com/forum/index.php?topic=157.msg545#msg545 and Knightrider: http://thisautomatedhouse.com/ , JeffVolp of course has his Site as well: http://jvde.us/xtb_index.htm  (I even have a fan Site (http://davesdomainonline.com/bvc/bvc.htm) and a few videos at Youtube (http://www.youtube.com/suitmanIM)). I am sure there are others that I am forgetting.

There is even a HA chatroom (http://bdshost.com/ac/) setup by KDR (a member here) as a gift to us.
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: JeffVolp on August 17, 2011, 10:58:22 PM
Don't know how I'm going to port all this stuff over to another technology.  I started with X10 in 1988 and have been adding modules since.  Tuicemen, -Bill- (of wgjohns.com), Melloware, JLP, DBemowsk, and the others who helped me with great software apps, I hope you continue your works on another line of controller.  I may be a few years behind getting it all up to insteon or whatever, as it will cost me a fortune.

I'm a believer in "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."  As long as you have some spare modules, there is no reason to switch to another system.

I plan to continue using my X10 system long into the future.  It is mostly Leviton anyway.  I may buy some of those Insteon/X10 modules though.  Testing one of the two-way modules working under HCA with the XTB-232 powerline interface was pretty neat.

Jeff
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: Brian H on August 18, 2011, 06:00:57 AM
Jeff; Do you know if Leviton manufactures their own products and not use X10 OEM facilities?

I know Smarthome has dropped all their X10 only clones but Insteon does support X10 signaling also. Though they used a different X10 dimming protocol.

I saw one of the online vendors listing the ACT A10 protocol modules as discontinued. Anyone know if A10 is also going to be gone?
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: dhouston on August 18, 2011, 08:13:58 AM
Anyone know if A10 is also going to be gone?
They don't say anything about dropping it on their website.
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: JeffVolp on August 18, 2011, 09:14:32 AM
Jeff; Do you know if Leviton manufactures their own products and not use X10 OEM facilities?

I know that some of the Leviton products are just re-branded X10 devices because they are physically identical.  Their high-end stuff have no X10 equivalents.  But I do not know if they were manufactured in the X10 factory or elsewhere.

The ACT 5A plug-in filter looks like the XPPF.  Some of their other products appear to be physically different, but they still could have been manufactured in the same facility.

Jeff
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: Brian H on August 18, 2011, 10:33:51 AM
Thanks for the information Dave and Jeff.

Could be the vendor just decided to drop the ACT modules.
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: dhouston on August 18, 2011, 12:52:57 PM
Their high-end stuff have no X10 equivalents.  But I do not know if they were manufactured in the X10 factory or elsewhere.

The Leviton HCPRF all housecode transceiver electronics do not resemble any of X-10's modules either in the design or quality. The label indicates it was made in Mexico. It uses a Philips P87LPC764FD µC. I would be very surprised if it was made by X-10.
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: dave w on August 18, 2011, 04:13:47 PM
I'm a believer in "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."  As long as you have some spare modules, there is no reason to switch to another system.

I plan to continue using my X10 system long into the future. 
This is good advice, besides there is always the possibility of someone coming in to fill the void left by X10 Wireless Inc switching gears, or shutting doors...what ever.

Both Smarthome, ACT, PCS, etc. has many X10 protocol products which have been mothballed due to low sales. Maybe one or more of these companies will realize that with the vacuum X10 Wireless folding has created, maybe they can now make a little profit.....I'm just hoping here.

 -:)  Jeff!!! What about "V10"?? ACT came out with "A10", I'm thinking "V10" has a nice ring to it.   :D
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: Brian H on August 18, 2011, 04:24:22 PM
Well Smarthome just redirects you to the Insteon/Icon modules when you look for X10 compatibility.
Except for the one 2000SC LampLinc Essential module that is X10 only.
You can still find for now. Some X10 and X10Pro modules there also.
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: JeffVolp on August 18, 2011, 06:41:05 PM
-:)  Jeff!!! What about "V10"?? ACT came out with "A10", I'm thinking "V10" has a nice ring to it.   :D

Well, we could certainly dream about something like that - essentially X10 on steroids.  Start with signal levels that would pretty much blow away any noise sources.  Then keep the transmitters within 1% of the center frequency, use narrow-band filters in all receivers to reject any out-of-band noise, and then incorporate AGC to deal with any residual in-band noise.  All that would be backward compatible with the existing modules and switches.

The XTB devices pretty much do that now from a transmitter standpoint.  Unfortunately, I don't have the resources to ever make something like that happen at the receiving end.

Jeff
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: Brian H on August 18, 2011, 07:01:29 PM
Jeff, Not to mention UL or ETL Testing.  :'
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: dave w on August 18, 2011, 07:33:51 PM
-:)  Jeff!!! What about "V10"?? ACT came out with "A10", I'm thinking "V10" has a nice ring to it.   :D

Well, we could certainly dream about something like that - essentially X10 on steroids.  Start with signal levels that would pretty much blow away any noise sources.  Then keep the transmitters within 1% of the center frequency, use narrow-band filters in all receivers to reject any out-of-band noise, and then incorporate AGC to deal with any residual in-band noise.  All that would be backward compatible with the existing modules and switches.

Unfortunately, I don't have the resources to ever make something like that happen at the receiving end.
Well let me know if you change your mind, I have a contact in China that could probably set up manufacturing. Far as that is concerned I am a pretty good solderer and still looking for work, so..... :'
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: Noam on August 18, 2011, 09:40:38 PM
-:)  Jeff!!! What about "V10"?? ACT came out with "A10", I'm thinking "V10" has a nice ring to it.   :D

Well, we could certainly dream about something like that - essentially X10 on steroids.  Start with signal levels that would pretty much blow away any noise sources.  Then keep the transmitters within 1% of the center frequency, use narrow-band filters in all receivers to reject any out-of-band noise, and then incorporate AGC to deal with any residual in-band noise.  All that would be backward compatible with the existing modules and switches.

Unfortunately, I don't have the resources to ever make something like that happen at the receiving end.
Well let me know if you change your mind, I have a contact in China that could probably set up manufacturing. Far as that is concerned I am a pretty good solderer and still looking for work, so..... :'
If Jeff ever decides to make a CM15A replacement (something with a web server built in, and ethernet and/or wifi), and one of the others (like Bill or Tuicemen) writes the software, we might be able to get a REALLY great product out of the deal!

I might be looking for work soon, too. My soldering skills aren't good enough to buld a Jeff-quality device, but I'd like to help in some way if I can.
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: JeffVolp on August 19, 2011, 11:26:31 AM
I appreciate all the suggestions and support, but I just don't have the resources to make something like that happen.  Should some other entrepreneur want to take on the production task, I would certainly be available for design support.

Some of you know I have two irons in the fire now.  One is the Pro version of the XTBM that I have been working on whenever I get the chance.

The other is the XTB-232, which is a RS232 powerline interface that supports the CM11A "real-time" protocol.  I have tested that running under the original ActiveHome GUI, HomeSeer, and Home Control Assistant.  Beta units are being tested now.

Sorry, but I have no plans to offer a USB version.

Jeff
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: Dan Lawrence on August 20, 2011, 09:25:04 AM
Just a comment:  If X10 has no future, It's their own fault.   X10 has NEVER mass marketed.  All new purchases are because the user either gets "turned on" by a friend who already has X10 or stumbles on the website by accident.  I got turned on to X10 via a friend in the middle 1980's. I got my first CP290 and DOS software from a long gone Heath store on Joppa Road in Baynesville ( a suburb of Baltimore).   For a short while in the 90's Lowe's  carried lamp and appliance modules, but they didn't sell (mostly because the masses knew zilch about x10 and what it does.) so they dropped it.   A local dealer who ran a x10 "store" out of his house sold X10, but because X10 would not sell small dealers the CM15A he eventually closed his "store".
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: JeffVolp on August 20, 2011, 09:47:11 AM
At the very bottom of their last email:

"WE ARE ABOUT TO SHAKE THINGS UP…

STAY TUNED FOR A GAME-CHANGING NEWS RELEASE."


Jeff
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: beelocks on August 20, 2011, 10:18:28 AM
I had this thought last week.

Is it possible that X10 is headed in a NEW and BETTER direction?

WiFi based home automation with a better range of product and better range distance-wise? WiFi makes more sense than powerline communication, especially since everyone in the business knows all there is to know about phase and noise problems.

Imagine a home where you can plug in an appliance module (dimming module / thermostat / pump switch / curtain motor / fire detector / humidity sensor / motion sensor / camera), your router is able to see it and identify it, and the whole SYSTEM just WORKS.
Imagine the grants available for a system that will offer true energy savings because it will work.
Imagine being able to control 6v, 12v, 24v, 110v devices as well as clean relays with the only proviso being that you need to give it some electric to play with (and a WiFi router to talk to)

This would also leave to powerline clear for their Westinghouse intercoms which may (or may not) increase noise on the lines to the point where the old X10 no longer works. Jeff will be sure to tell me that it uses a different system and cannot possibly interfere :)

Would I pay $30 to $50 for each module? Would I pay $100 to $200 for the software? Where do I sign?

I'm not ready to panic buy the X10 powerline and RF components on the off-chance that X10 has decided to announce that their 35+ year old technology is finally outdated and ready to be replaced with something that's right for today's market.
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: dave w on August 20, 2011, 10:25:24 AM
Maybe the post on the Homeseer web site about X10 closing the Shenzen factory is troll gas. I hope so.  
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: Brian H on August 20, 2011, 10:36:51 AM
The Westinghouse Intercoms use an FM power line signal as detailed in their FAQ section.
http://www.westinghouse-home.com/intercoms-faq.htm

It also mentions "Same Phase". Gee just like X10.

Users Manual: 100mW FM power line signal.
Channel A 230KHz., B 260KHz., C 290KHz and D 200KHz.

It would be nice if the rumor of the Factory closing was a bogus post, but I fear it may not be.

Would the general X10 users pay for a better module. Hard to say after getting three or more modules for the cost of a better one.
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: dhouston on August 20, 2011, 10:49:05 AM
And FM powerline intercoms predate X-10 by about 15-20 years. I installed one in ~1962 in a restaurant in the Palo Alto, CA area to communicate between the maitre' D stand and kitchen when the contractor forgot to put in conduit for a wired intercom.
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: Dan Lawrence on August 20, 2011, 11:15:32 AM
Maybe the post on the Homeseer web site about X10 closing the Shenzen factory is troll gas. I hope so.  

We shall see. It would be nice if on of the X10 suits who post here would give us some REAL news.
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: HA Dave on August 20, 2011, 11:28:44 AM
..... It would be nice if the rumor of the Factory closing was a bogus post, but I fear it may not be.

I've heard/read other rumors about China's manufacturing. How can China fullfill orders with a six month lead time for a nation that has printed 15 trillion dollars in the last three years? The value of our money is dropping faster than the margin allowed for profit. Products used in the country of origin (China) might slip by via inflated domestic pricing... but the X10 we use is North America Specific (120 volt 60 cycle).

With the combination of Chinese inflation, and our devalued dollar they are likely receiving LESS than a dollar for what cost slightly MORE than a dollar to produce. Closing doors might be the only option. But this wouldn't be limited to X10... we would see things like HP getting out of the tablet biz and stuff like that.

Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: JeffVolp on August 20, 2011, 11:57:49 AM
With the combination of Chinese inflation, and our devalued dollar they are likely receiving LESS than a dollar for what cost slightly MORE than a dollar to produce. Closing doors might be the only option. But this wouldn't be limited to X10... we would see things like HP getting out of the tablet biz and stuff like that.

I read yesterday that HP was getting out of the consumer business entirely.  And regarding the cost of things from China, check out my thread on Component Prices.

Eventually this may be a good thing because it may tend to bring manufacturing (and jobs) back into this country.

Jeff
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: HA Dave on August 20, 2011, 06:42:57 PM
....... Eventually this may be a good thing because it may tend to bring manufacturing (and jobs) back into this country.

Yes! I remember my parents and grandparents talking about the grand old times of the depression. I had hoped to miss ever seeing a depression, myself. But America has had four of them since 1776.... so it was about time for another.
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: Noam on August 20, 2011, 10:11:12 PM
I appreciate all the suggestions and support, but I just don't have the resources to make something like that happen.  Should some other entrepreneur want to take on the production task, I would certainly be available for design support.

Some of you know I have two irons in the fire now.  One is the Pro version of the XTBM that I have been working on whenever I get the chance.

The other is the XTB-232, which is a RS232 powerline interface that supports the CM11A "real-time" protocol.  I have tested that running under the original ActiveHome GUI, HomeSeer, and Home Control Assistant.  Beta units are being tested now.

Sorry, but I have no plans to offer a USB version.

Jeff
Not that I'm running out to buy one (yet - I haven't figured out what I would use it for), but have you tested the XTB-232 with the newer version of AHP - the ones that support the CM11A?
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: Noam on August 20, 2011, 10:13:12 PM
At the very bottom of their last email:

"WE ARE ABOUT TO SHAKE THINGS UP…

STAY TUNED FOR A GAME-CHANGING NEWS RELEASE."


Jeff

I know what it is - one of the developers spilled the beans, and then swore me to secrecy.
All I can tell you is that from what he told me, it is NOT WiFi-based home automation. Although that would be really cool (except for those people who get really great WiFi signal strength on one side of the house, and nothing on the other).
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: JeffVolp on August 20, 2011, 11:34:04 PM
Not that I'm running out to buy one (yet - I haven't figured out what I would use it for), but have you tested the XTB-232 with the newer version of AHP - the ones that support the CM11A?

Not yet.  Since it doesn't support any of the downloadable controller functions, I didn't think anyone would use it with AHP.  I tested it with the original AH to confirm it adhered to the CM11A protocol.  I recently reinstalled AHP on my lab computer (kind of a pain because it isn't normally on the network), so I can verify that works too.

Jeff
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: Noam on August 21, 2011, 12:14:01 AM
Not that I'm running out to buy one (yet - I haven't figured out what I would use it for), but have you tested the XTB-232 with the newer version of AHP - the ones that support the CM11A?

Not yet.  Since it doesn't support any of the downloadable controller functions, I didn't think anyone would use it with AHP.  I tested it with the original AH to confirm it adhered to the CM11A protocol.  I recently reinstalled AHP on my lab computer (kind of a pain because it isn't normally on the network), so I can verify that works too.

Jeff
I haven't played with my CM11A in a few years.
With the newer versions of AHP, can the SDK send out PLC commands via the CM11A?
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: HA Dave on August 21, 2011, 09:31:33 AM
..... I know what it is - one of the developers spilled the beans, and then swore me to secrecy.

Are you saying X10 is changing or improving.... but NOT closing the doors on HA?
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: B.A. on August 21, 2011, 09:39:08 AM

At the very bottom of their last email:

"WE ARE ABOUT TO SHAKE THINGS UP…

STAY TUNED FOR A GAME-CHANGING NEWS RELEASE."


Jeff

I know what it is - one of the developers spilled the beans, and then swore me to secrecy.
All I can tell you is that from what he told me, it is NOT WiFi-based home automation. Although that would be really cool (except for those people who get really great WiFi signal strength on one side of the house, and nothing on the other).

Are they going to fill us in soon?

I have some friends that are interseted in X10....but with everything going on,
I'm telling them to hold off for now for fear they won't be able to buy what they need down the road.
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: JeffVolp on August 21, 2011, 11:02:03 AM
Regarding eBay, only one dealer still has the XPPF filter for less than $10.  And, the unit in most of his photos does not look like the standard X10 XPPF.  Anybody know if they were a special run?  If so, are they the same electrically?

Jeff
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: Brian H on August 21, 2011, 11:07:45 AM
I think I know who you are talking about and I have ordered a few. Two two packs.

Yes the output jack orientation looks 90 degrees from where I am use to seeing it in the photos. Of the smaller packages.
The large package photo shows the outlet in the orientation we normall are use to seeing.
It also looks like it has four screws holding the cover on. Not the one screw and a snap fit on the bottom.

If no one has the information on the XPPF that looks different. I will post my findings when they arrive.
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: Noam on August 21, 2011, 11:59:36 AM
I know of a new product they are introducing soon, but I don't know many details, and I have no idea when.
I haven't heard anything one way or another about then shutting down the HA side of things.
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: JeffVolp on August 21, 2011, 12:03:13 PM
Not that I'm running out to buy one (yet - I haven't figured out what I would use it for), but have you tested the XTB-232 with the newer version of AHP - the ones that support the CM11A?

Just tested it with the new AHP version that I installed last week, and it seems to work fine.  I can control modules through the GUI, AHP tracks the changing dim status if a lamp module is controlled from a Maxi Controller, and the extended command status check for a LM14A reports when that module is switched on by local control.

The XTB-232 does not support any of the downloadable controller functions as it is just intended to work as a powerline interface for PC-based automation systems.

Jeff
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: Brian H on August 21, 2011, 03:32:57 PM
Update on the XPPF.
The EBay dealer I bought them from. Changed the price to two for $24.99  ::)
I believe the dealer is a honest person and will honor the price I paid for two two packs.
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: William8 on August 21, 2011, 04:34:10 PM
Update on the XPPF.
The EBay dealer I bought them from. Changed the price to two for $24.99  ::)
I believe the dealer is a honest person and will honor the price I paid for two two packs.


Yeah, I got a two pack of XPPF's from him last week for $8.40, and some WS467's for $6.95. I went back today to get some DS-10A's and noticed that his prices have tripled on almost everything. So have the other sellers.

What a difference a week makes. At least now I know why. I been using X-10 for security for 10 years or so, I guess now I should start looking for a whole system, that way I'll have parts to keep it running.
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: JeffVolp on August 23, 2011, 11:56:24 AM
All those XPPF multi-packs from that one eBay dealer are gone now, as are all of his XPF multi-packs.

Jeff
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: B.A. on August 23, 2011, 02:36:41 PM
http://www.x10pro.com/

What is X-Elite??? Is this old?

Check out the X10Pro Logo!
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: Brian H on August 23, 2011, 03:02:21 PM
I believe it is a recent change. I only noticed the new logo a few months ago.

Maybe an improved site for what use to be the now suspended Affiliate Program.

Smarthome/Smartlabs also has what they call their SmartPro Line. For contractors. Some of those module are only available to certified dealers and installers. Like a wired in Dual Band coupler. That goes on the breaker box. We end users can't buy that module along with a few others.

Maybe the Elite Line is going to be similar. Stuff for dealers and contractors.
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: JeffVolp on August 23, 2011, 03:04:17 PM
What is X-Elite??? Is this old?

The fact that the webpage was first copyright 1997 leads me to believe that it isn't exactly new.  Also in the list of products, it includes the CM11A, but not the CM15A.  As I understand, the CM11A was discontinued several years ago.

Jeff
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: Brian H on August 23, 2011, 07:07:22 PM
The dealer I got my XPPFs and HR12s from.
Only is listing single quantities and no HR12s at all.

I don't think X-Elite has arrived yet. As it indicated it is "Coming Soon".
Just like X10's stay tuned to ground breaking news.
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: JeffVolp on August 23, 2011, 07:23:10 PM
The dealer I got my XPPFs and HR12s from.
Only is listing single quantities and no HR12s at all.

I've been picking up stock of a few items myself for new and former XTB customers.

Jeff
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: dhouston on August 23, 2011, 08:05:59 PM
http://www.x10pro.com/

What is X-Elite??? Is this old?
The protocol document linked to that page is many years old, referring to the X-10 PLC patent which expired about 18 years ago. It also badly distorts the truth saying, "The Line Monitor capability of the PSC05 allows the OEM to ensure that the power line is free from X-10 PRO signals before starting a transmission." which is totally false as the PSC05 delays the received signal until it has a complete code (22 half cycles) - there's no way to avoid collisions using it - you can only detect them after they have already occured.
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: dave w on August 24, 2011, 02:45:41 PM
Well I think the Air Pad announcemnt tells us the direction X10 is going. I think they are morphing out of design/manufacturing of HA, security, CCTV, products and in to catalog marketing of technical "gadgets". Notice the Air Pad ad, there is nothing connecting the "X10" Air Pad to anything reminescent of the old X10 product lines. 
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: pseeker on August 24, 2011, 03:44:28 PM
I suppose it beats going completely out business.  Apparently they are trying to salvage their sales, marketing and support infrastructure by moving on.
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: Brian H on August 24, 2011, 04:43:36 PM
Jeff; I got the four XPPFs and the outlet is in the position we are use to.
Where Date Code 11E19.
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: JeffVolp on August 24, 2011, 05:57:40 PM
Jeff; I got the four XPPFs and the outlet is in the position we are use to.
Where Date Code 11E19.

Same as the batch I just got from another eBay dealer (for a higher price).

Jeff
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: orcusomega on August 25, 2011, 11:12:05 AM
Adding my $0.00025 here, for whatever its worth...

I have been more of a lurker than a participant, and I have seen some uniform experiences pretty much across the board:

1) Unless you have some technical experience, this is probably not the hobby for you - it is more than just a casual hobby, you need to commit to it (and then some!)
2) The components are cheap, both in price and quality, so it's pretty easy to just "walk away" from an installation, and keep the bad mojo going...
3) In terms of innovation, X-10 has not done anything much I can see to try to catch its competitors (Z-Wave, etc).  For the most part, the components still look like throw-backs from the 80's
4) The QA for their code is at best slipshod.  I have never owned a product that required so many workarounds (that said, its still cool as h311 though)
5) They don't seem to care much about the actual use cases presented by users on this forum - remember, the vocal minority often speak for the silent majority - and opens doors to more market opportunities

With the Airpad, I see them stepping into a new arena, into a new environment where they can potentially branch and grow.  Unfortunately, I see two sides to this coin - either the Airpad is awesome, and will make them into a Tablet company (ask HP how that worked out for them) or maybe, JUST MAYBE, we could see the airpad as a jumping-off point for something bigger and better?

... like maybe a wireless CM15-like interface where everything is in the controller, and has built-in wifi?  Control everything from the tablet?

Maybe, but I highly doubt it.  It would be very difficult for them to erase decades of reputation and still keep with their existing name and expect to be thought of as serious players in the HA game.  I would think that if that was their plan, they would be re-branding, or flat-out renaming, their organization.

Long story short - I think the Airpad will be a flop... Even if it is the greatest tablet of all time, they don't have the market clout to get it out into the distribution channels (retail, for example, like at Best Buy, etc) to go up against HP, Dell, etc who have strong, existing channel programs and partners.  I doubt that with all the contraction that has been mentioned here that the product was fully designed and built by X10 - probably OEM'd from another manufacturer, and if so, that undermines their potential for success even further.  All the new tablets are coming out with Android 3, and in order to run 3, you need very specific hardware - memory, processing power, etc, and their announced product does not have these.  So they are essentially announcing they are selling an Android tablet that is a year old that cannot be upgraded, for $200.  I got my HP Zeen tablet (to be a touch-based home HA controller interface, BTW) for $250, and it came with a big, nice color printer :)

I don't mean to sound negative, I just get the feeling the wheels are falling off the bus, and they are in a skid - who knows if they can recover.  Their value proposition to me was they had what I needed, and while it was not the best quality, it was CHEAP and I could buy two or three of theirs for the price of one item from any other competitor.

I hope they find their niche - and soon - because I have (as we all do I am sure) a lot of time and money invested in their equipment, and would hate to have to replace it all with something else...  And if they drop support for the software, then we are really screwed, since you know we are gonna fund bugs galore as time goes by...

Anyway, I'll get down off my soapbox :)

Bob
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: dave w on August 25, 2011, 12:07:33 PM
Bob, this should be required reading material for every X10 manager in Renton and Las Vegas...however your item number five accurately predicts they will not give a rip.
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: aptalca on August 27, 2011, 03:44:42 PM
Actually the Airpad is hardly an X10 product. It is just a re-badged Chinese kirf.

They are mostly called Apad and use cheap, outdated components so they can sell them under $200.

If you search on google, ebay or alibaba, you'll see a ton of these imports. Android is free and open source, so any manufacturer can slap it on their hardware, that is why there are a ton of these cheap tablets.

X10 is very different than Dell or HP in this case, because those manufacturers actually custom design their hardware as well as customizing the software like Touchwiz on Samsung, Sense on HTC and Motoblur on Motorola, whereas X10 only ordered these already designed OEMs and paid them to put their branding on them.

The only good thing about the airpad in my opinion is the use of a capacitative screen as opposed to a resistive one. Other than that, the cpu is only single core and cortex A8 as opposed to the A9 cores now (outdated by about 8 months), screen resolution is 800x480 (same as most cell phones with much smaller screens even though the newer phones have already moved onto qHD which is 960x540 and most quality 7" tablets use 1024x600)


Overall, it's not bad, but it's also not the revolutionary tablet that X10 is trying to make it out to be. Honestly, X10 did nothing but paying an overseas manufacturer to put their name on this preexisting tablet and imported it. They had no involvement with either the hardware or the software. They should at least have done *something* to make it their own, such as putting a custom automation app on it with nice gesture based ui that controls AHP. (Not the current in-browser method activephone with static buttons) That way, maybe people who do not know anything about AHP would buy this tablet because it is cheap, and then get interested about automation.
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: HA Dave on August 27, 2011, 04:36:26 PM
.... They should at least have done *something* to make it their own, such as putting a custom automation app on it with nice gesture based ui that controls AHP. (Not the current in-browser method activephone with static buttons) That way, maybe people ...........would buy this tablet because it is cheap, and then get interested about automation.

I myself wondered about why an X10 app hadn't been preloaded. Maybe at some future time... X10 AirPads will have a special app. For now... maybe keeping the negative stuff to a minimum might be helpful.
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: pseeker on August 28, 2011, 07:21:34 AM
X10 does offer a 30 day return and 90 day exchange warranty on the Airpad and relatively quick shipping. That is a great advantage in buying from X10.   Hopefully they have qualified the manufacturer too.  Anyway below is link to Apad that suspiciously looks like the Airpad.  I woundnt' necessary order from them....
http://www.dealextreme.com/p/7-capacitive-touch-lcd-android-2-3-tablet-pc-w-wi-fi-agps-usb-host-hdmi-4gb-rockchip-rk2918-73312

Buying directly from China is hit or miss and dealextreme is one of those chinese vendors.   I've had some bad experiences and I have had good experiences but sometimes I can't resist the prices either.  You have to wait 4 to 8 weeks for it to arrive.
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: dave w on August 28, 2011, 05:53:11 PM

Overall, it's not bad, but it's also not the revolutionary tablet that X10 is trying to make it out to be. Honestly, X10 did nothing but paying an overseas manufacturer to put their name on this preexisting tablet and imported it.
I don't see where they have even done that. Looks like pure Chinese generic to me. Not that that is bad...I have a Chinese generic GPS that works well.  
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: aptalca on August 28, 2011, 06:18:54 PM

Overall, it's not bad, but it's also not the revolutionary tablet that X10 is trying to make it out to be. Honestly, X10 did nothing but paying an overseas manufacturer to put their name on this preexisting tablet and imported it.
I don't see where they have even done that. Looks like pure Chinese generic to me. Not that that is bad...I have a good Chinese generic GPS that works well. 

lol, I assumed they did (at least) that.

But you're right, according to the pictures, all it says is "PAD" on the back
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: Jeff M on August 29, 2011, 01:34:06 AM
I posted a URL to the same tablet at DealExtreme.  They took it off the board and sent me a message not to post a URL with a BUY button.  They will probably remove your post also.  Seems that if the AirPad is so much better than the competition, then they would have no problem with my post.  I only posted that link to start a discussion about why the AirPad might be a better choice.  I guess it is not that much better, which I am assuming is the reason they removed my post.  I believe that the next release of Android, 3.2 I think, is hardware specific.  This means that the AirPad is probably not upgradeable.  Correct me if I am wrong.  I like the idea of the 7 inch tablet, but I think I'll pass on the AirPad for now. 
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: pseeker on August 29, 2011, 10:40:33 AM
I have 8" chinese imported Apad Cortex A8 Samsung S5PV210 (similar to galaxy tab chipset) Android 2.3, resistive screen. I took huge gamble ordering the 8" chinese import in terms of  support and warranty. I would have seriously considered the Airpad but would wait for the discounts.   It is perfect for my needs.  I don't need the bleeding edge and I don't want to spend $500+ to risk my 2 year old dropping it.  It makes a fine education tool for my kid, recipe pad for kitchen, ipcam viewer into the crib and newspaper with my morning coffee.  We use it everyday.

Some times upgrades are myth.  Who heck wants to put Windows 7 on vintage Windows XP/Windows 2000 machine. The hardware will be underpowered.  Windows Xp machine still serves me well.  Most people buy a new machine instead of upgrading the software anyway.

Bleeding edge, It doesn't always pay to get the lastest with the premium prices.  Remember those 50" LCD that cost thousands... Now they are under $1000.  Give the Apad to your kids/Nephew in 1 or 2 years and buy the next gen value priced Apad with X+1 cores and X+1 Ghz  Arm CPU with Android X+1 and X+1 hours of battery life. 

Also if you can wait, I would guess black friday would be the best time to pickup one of these Apads from the major companies because the prices continue to drop every month.  In the meantime I trying to find those $99 Hp touchpad (discontinued)
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: dave w on August 29, 2011, 10:42:21 AM
I posted a URL to the same tablet at DealExtreme.  They took it off the board and sent me a message not to post a URL with a BUY button. 
Yeah, them guys in Renton got no sense of humor at all.     :'
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: dave w on August 29, 2011, 10:47:58 AM
  In the meantime I trying to find those $99 Hp touchpad (discontinued)
Me too. But unless HP contiues to support the Palm OS (and why would they?) it may be obsolete the day FedEx delivers. Who will write apps for a dead OS? (gee I think I just talked my self out of the HP).
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: pseeker on August 29, 2011, 11:01:59 AM
For touchpad the icing is there is some effort from the community to port Android to the touchpad, one of players helped the port of cyanogenmod to the BN Nook.   If doesn't happen, it  makes wonderful browser,pic viewer, ebook reader for next year of two before your next device.  Besides where else can you buy $300 worth of raw hard  parts for $99?
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: pseeker on August 29, 2011, 12:04:15 PM
My guess of  future  X10 of offering is a security alarm system already designed in China that you see  on ebay with add ons smoke detector, motion sensor, door sensors, glass break sensors, gsm cell connection, remote siren, remote keypads, range extender and wireless range of 300ft or more.    I see a few guys building a business from these imports.  X10 value add is service, warranty and technical support.
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: William8 on August 29, 2011, 12:41:10 PM
I've seen those systems on ebay. I noticed every sensor has an antenna you must extend, and the remotes as well. I'm sure the wife would really like the looks of that.

Personally, I'm stocking up on parts to keep my security working for a long time. So far a lot of 8 new DS10A's for $14 shipped, and a new IBM Home director kit that includes a WS467, 3 lamp modules an 1 appliance module, and a couple more pieces I will never use, for $15 shipped. Not bad.

Now I just need a spare console and remote. The prices on ebay have been rising quickly since the news of x10's demise.
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: B.A. on August 29, 2011, 02:24:03 PM
The prices on ebay have been rising quickly since the news of x10's demise.

What is going on with that anyway? Since the Airpad announcement, I haven't seen it discussed here.
Have they in fact stopped production?
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: luke03 on August 29, 2011, 05:12:01 PM
X10 devices works, cheap, and pretty reliable in my experience. It does not provide encryption, but that is not a secret.  Actually, any of those competitor claimed having security will not be able to stand for hacking eitehr.  None of them can be used by banks or military for gaurd the safe or neuclear weapon.

I think there is a huge market for X10 to stay.
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: YB on August 29, 2011, 07:19:05 PM
I think there is a huge market for X10 to stay.

I completely agree!
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: aptalca on August 30, 2011, 10:33:01 AM
X10 devices works, cheap, and pretty reliable in my experience. It does not provide encryption, but that is not a secret.  Actually, any of those competitor claimed having security will not be able to stand for hacking eitehr.  None of them can be used by banks or military for gaurd the safe or neuclear weapon.

I think there is a huge market for X10 to stay.


Well, let's not exaggerate. Those systems weren't designed for banks or nuclear facilities. They were designed for homes. The level of hacking needed to crack z-wave for instance would take serious commitment and skill, usually not worth the effort for just messing with somebody's automation system. For X10, all you need is an X10 remote and pushing a few buttons while switching through 16 house codes. (I am also guessing most of the users here use multiple house codes as well) Anybody is capable of messing with somebody's X10 system. But few people are able to mess with z-wave, and not easily.

Bottom line, X10 requires NO hacking, just a regular X10 remote, but those other systems actually DO require hacking. That's the difference
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: pseeker on August 30, 2011, 10:48:21 AM
I think there is a huge market for X10 to stay.
It may be huge but there is no money to be made by X10  otherwise they would continue selling.  This is assuming the cepro article assertion is true.... I wish X10 would formally challenge cepro if it is not correct.  It can't be good for current and future business.
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: dhouston on August 30, 2011, 11:37:10 AM
The level of hacking needed to crack z-wave for instance would take serious commitment and skill, usually not worth the effort for just messing with somebody's automation system. For X10, all you need is an X10 remote and pushing a few buttons while switching through 16 house codes.

To mess with someone's Z-Wave automation system, all you need do is record & playback the encrypted signal - who cares what the original unencrypted bytes are? Encryption in this context is meaningless except as a selling point for marketing to the gullible.
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: B.A. on August 30, 2011, 12:25:30 PM
This is assuming the cepro article assertion is true.... I wish X10 would formally challenge cepro if it is not correct.  It can't be good for current and future business.
[/quote]

I agree. Without any clarification, I highly doubt my next module will be X10. I will probably migrate to Insteon if I'm unsure about X10 product availability.

As far as encryption, I have set up my system keeping in mind the fact that it could easily be compromised. If someone were to "breach" my system, I wouldn't blame the product,
I'd just have to make changes accordingly
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: JeffVolp on August 30, 2011, 12:58:01 PM

The susceptibility for X10 systems to be “hacked” is not really an issue for most automation systems.  Yes, a malicious neighbor could mess with your lights or sprinkler system.  But it is unlikely that neighbors will even know what X10 is.  None of mine ever have.  And should this become a factor for you, just install a PZZ01 to block X10 signals coming in over the utility feed.  You can also install a filter on any exterior outlets.

That leaves the issue of RF control.  If security became an issue there, it is relatively easy to use macros requiring a two-command sequence to initiate a powerline control function.

We use X10 because it is cheap, and can work very well with an adequate signal to noise ratio.

Jeff
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: Dan Lawrence on August 30, 2011, 10:15:36 PM
X10 devices works, cheap, and pretty reliable in my experience. It does not provide encryption, but that is not a secret.  Actually, any of those competitor claimed having security will not be able to stand for hacking eitehr.  None of them can be used by banks or military for gaurd the safe or neuclear weapon.

I think there is a huge market for X10 to stay.


Well, let's not exaggerate. Those systems weren't designed for banks or nuclear facilities. They were designed for homes. The level of hacking needed to crack z-wave for instance would take serious commitment and skill, usually not worth the effort for just messing with somebody's automation system. For X10, all you need is an X10 remote and pushing a few buttons while switching through 16 house codes. (I am also guessing most of the users here use multiple house codes as well) Anybody is capable of messing with somebody's X10 system. But few people are able to mess with z-wave, and not easily.

Bottom line, X10 requires NO hacking, just a regular X10 remote, but those other systems actually DO require hacking. That's the difference

Since X10 is NOT mass marketed it's not heavily known.  I suspect everybody who posts here got turned on to it by a friend who was already turned on to the wonder of X10.   
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: JeffVolp on August 31, 2011, 03:52:29 PM
Since X10 is NOT mass marketed it's not heavily known.  I suspect everybody who posts here got turned on to it by a friend who was already turned on to the wonder of X10.

I started back when Sears had their boxy "Home Control System" (Maxi Controller) on sale for $44.99.  I have the receipt right here - dated 2/11/81.  I'll bet not many people can dig something like that up.  That would probably be about $100 in today's dollars, which shows you what manufacturing in China as done for the cost of electronics.

Jeff
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: Noam on August 31, 2011, 04:36:13 PM
I got my first X10 stuff when I was living in NY, so that had to have been around 1999.
X10 was having the $10 "firecracker" kit sale (CM17A, PalmPad, TM751, LM465), and I picked up a few of them.
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: dhouston on August 31, 2011, 04:56:26 PM
That would probably be about $100 in today's dollars, which shows you what manufacturing in China as done for the cost of electronics.

Close, but a bit low. It would be about $117 in the following comparison. But it might depend on just when in 1981 you bought it. Reagan/Volker drove interest rates above 20% and the value of the dollar dropped in '81. Some companies were raising prices on a monthly schedule.

Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: HA Dave on September 02, 2011, 06:55:17 PM
The future of X10? Well now we know:  http://www.x10.com/wireless_rf_light_control/amer_rfk100lc.html?EM
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: dave w on September 02, 2011, 07:34:53 PM
The future of X10? Well now we know:  http://www.x10.com/wireless_rf_light_control/amer_rfk100lc.html?EM

:o
Oh wow! This is first time I have seen this! I think you are right Dave, X10 isn't going to be making RF/PLC controls any more. Otherwise they would not be selling competing products.

Well there is always Insteon at four times the cost....man I am bummed.  :'(
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: beelocks on September 02, 2011, 08:07:53 PM
I have my first Insteon order all worked out and ready to go.

Just waiting for X10 OFFICIAL notification before I jump ship :)
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: dave w on September 02, 2011, 08:14:40 PM
Just waiting for X10 OFFICIAL notification before I jump ship :)
I wonder if they will say anything? They may just start pulling stuff off the web site as they sell out, while at the same time adding more third party products until a CM15A battery reset is but a dim memory for us all.
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: Knightrider on September 02, 2011, 08:16:12 PM

Just waiting for X10 OFFICIAL notification before I jump ship :)

Beelocks: you know that if we all jump ship at the same time, the boat will rock too far.  Methinks it best for the captain to remain mum, less the ship go down.
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: beelocks on September 02, 2011, 08:23:35 PM
But 'tis also rumoured that the rats are the first to leave a sinking ship  rofl
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: JeffVolp on September 02, 2011, 09:55:24 PM
I have my first Insteon order all worked out and ready to go.

I have been testing with an Insteon 2-way module running in the X10 mode.  It has some neat features that the X10 stuff didn't.  But I guess you could expect that for 5X the price.  It will monitor the load and transmit whenever it is switched on or off.  Of course, the discontinued X10 LM14A could do that too.

Jeff
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: dhouston on September 03, 2011, 03:24:53 PM
I have been testing with an Insteon 2-way module running in the X10 mode.  It has some neat features that the X10 stuff didn't.  But I guess you could expect that for 5X the price.  It will monitor the load and transmit whenever it is switched on or off.

It's been awhile so I may not recall exact details but I had a few of their least expensive switches controlling some 60+ year old fluorescents plus a couple lamp modules, all with X-10 addresses set. They report local changes but, IIRC, also report changes from PLC commands so you get actual feedback from the switch/module about its state. And, they respond to Status Requests. Also, their dimmable switches and modules use the Preset Dim commands so you have 32 levels in X-10 mode. They do not, however, respond to microdim commands.  

Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: Brian H on September 03, 2011, 07:27:36 PM
Since the Insteon modules are two way. When not sending. They do absorb some power line signals.
In a mixed system. They send a %dim when locally dimmed and an X10 controller will not understand it.
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: dhouston on September 03, 2011, 07:44:21 PM
Insteon devices setup with X-10 addresses report changes by sending a Preset Dim so most controllers should understand it. Perhaps the latest X-10 software will not report it correctly. X-10 removed Preset Dim from their documentation a few years back. I've never used any X-10 software so I don't know.

As for absorbing signal, I thought that would be a big issue when I tested the early Insteon modules but I've heard from a number of people with extensive mixed systems who say it's not a significant problem. It would be simple to design around that (there was an Italian X-10 design by Irave that disconnected the transmitter except when sending PLC and there were other powerline modem chips that did the same) but I suppose Smarthome isn't really interested in making life easier for X-10 devices. See the Bruce Robin paragraph below.


If Jeff is designing a controller, he can handle these in whatever manner he wishes. I would suggest an option for X-10 software and another option for others.

Bruce Robin is a long time X-10 user with homes in Hawaii, Southern California & Houston, TX. He went nearly all Insteon  in Hawaii but has since said he would have stayed 100% X-10 had the XTB been available, earlier. He has since added the XTB in Houston. He has told me the signal absorption issue is not much of a problem and he is one of the most experienced and knowledgeable X-10 users you are likely to find.
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: Brian H on September 03, 2011, 07:47:06 PM
I tried Insteon dimming switches with AHP. Local dimming didn't show in AHP.
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: Noam on September 03, 2011, 08:47:58 PM
I have a number of Insteon switches in my home, but (as far as I know), all of them are relay-type switches, not dimmers.
I do have two Smarthome dimmer switches, but they are not Insteon (as far as I know), and didn't respond to Extended Dim commands.
I also have a pre-insteon Smarthome relay switch, with a remote switch (replacing a pair of 3-way switches).
I haven't had any problems with signal absorption, but I do have an XTB-IIR.
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: JeffVolp on September 03, 2011, 10:49:18 PM
If Jeff is designing a controller, he can handle these in whatever manner he wishes. I would suggest an option for X-10 software and another option for others.

It is not a controller.  It is a powerline interface that emulates the "real-time" portion of the CM11A protocol.  It doesn't include controller functions like timed events or macros.  It is targeted for PC-based automation systems, such as Homeseer or Home Control Assistant (HCA).  I should be addressing the last issues identified by the beta testers now.

Jeff
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: pomonabill221 on September 04, 2011, 04:55:47 AM
Hey all... aren't we getting away from this threads topic?  The Future of X10?
Anyone have any new POOP on this?
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: dhouston on September 04, 2011, 08:02:18 AM

I do have two Smarthome dimmer switches, but they are not Insteon (as far as I know), and didn't respond to Extended Dim commands.

They made one X-10 only dimmer module just before introducing Insteon which included Preset Dims, Status Request, etc. but I do not recall the model number. I have one stowed somewhere. If I come across it I'll post the model number.

As for post-X10, should it come to pass, there were some European companies looking to get into this market 10-12 years ago not long after the X-10 patent expired. Whether they still have any interest is hard to say - I haven't heard from them in some time.

Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: HA Dave on September 04, 2011, 10:25:11 AM
Hey all... aren't we getting away from this threads topic?  The Future of X10? Anyone have any new POOP on this?

Rumors and hearsay.
There was a post on an AirPad thread... where B.A. asked:

But what's going on with the rest of the HA products?

YB (from X10) replied:
What do you mean? They aren't going away anytime soon, and our apps work on the AirPad.

A recap from MY crystal ball (NOT official, I don't have any inside or special info): There does seem to be manufacturing difficulties.... with the plant in China reported to be closed. I.. myself... don't think such import problems are exclusive to X10. Nor do I think the problem is new. Several items have been dropped from the X10 products catalog in recent years. Basic modules and switches however are at least currently available. It might be a good time to stock up.

Over the decades who makes what cheap electronic items has moved around the globe a bit. Not just with X10... all such items... as well as some toys and things. Suppliers may be in a temporary flux. The temporary term may be my own optimism. But... Home Automation (no matter which flavor you prefer) has never been anything other than a niche in the market place. Yet X10 (and HA) has continued to hang around since the mid 70s.

Current economic times provide challenges for businesses of all shapes and sizes. Who knows if General Motors, Bank of America, or your local corner bar will survive. I don't.... my crystal ball has it limits. I'd bet the crystal ball they use at X10.... isn't that much better.



Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: JeffVolp on September 04, 2011, 11:17:11 AM

Whether X10 continues to manufacture cheap automation products probably doesn’t affect many of us here.  Most of us already have fairly extensive automation systems, with spares of some of the items.  And the common devices like wall switches, lamp, and appliance modules still seem to be readily available.  As others have said, it is a good idea to stock up now if you have plans to expand your system in the future.

The main thing I have seen is the huge selection of cheap X10 products on eBay has disappeared.  While most common devices are still available, some like the Maxi Controller are hard to find today.  And prices of some products, such as the XPPF filter, have increased significantly.

If X10 has indeed ceased manufacturing, SmartHome and Leviton both offer X10 compatible products.  The SmartHome dimmer module works very well, and I am contemplating replacing some of my existing X10 lamp modules with them for the additional features.  All the X10 compatible wall switches we use here are Leviton, and they have worked very well with no failures over the last 8 years.

The bottom line is if we lose X10 as a supplier, there are other sources of equivalent devices.  And it may benefit some of the other manufacturers still in the X10 arena.  The down side is we won’t be able to buy modules for $5 each anymore.

Jeff
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: pomonabill221 on September 04, 2011, 01:37:46 PM

The main thing I have seen is the huge selection of cheap X10 products on eBay has disappeared.  While most common devices are still available, some like the Maxi Controller are hard to find today.  And prices of some products, such as the XPPF filter, have increased significantly.

The bottom line is if we lose X10 as a supplier, there are other sources of equivalent devices.  And it may benefit some of the other manufacturers still in the X10 arena.  The down side is we won’t be able to buy modules for $5 each anymore.

Jeff

Yes I have noticed that my favorite supplier on Ebay stopped listing his 2,3,4 packs and has only singles now.  I JUST ordered from him several multipacks on Aug 20 at his "regular" low prices, and on Aug 29 I went to order a few more, and WOW!!!! his prices have double and tripled (in some cases), and the multipacks were no more!!!
   I was SHOCKED!!! :'( :'( B:(
  I emailed him and he said that X10 had increased their prices and cut his supply drastically!  I guess!!!!
  Other distributors have done the same thing, but I did find a source that still had "cheaper" prices (automatedoutlet.com) so I placed an order with them for more goodies.
  Anybody else found a cheap distributor?
  I just wonder if X10 will continue to update the software and "fix" bugs? :'
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: dave w on September 04, 2011, 05:10:14 PM
  I just wonder if X10 will continue to update the software and "fix" bugs? :'
If they have permanently closed the factory doors, I doubt it. I doubt they would assign overhead to projects that would not result in revenue (more module sales).
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: HA Dave on September 04, 2011, 05:30:39 PM
The bottom line is if we lose X10 as a supplier, there are other sources of equivalent devices.  And it may benefit some of the other manufacturers still in the X10 arena.  The down side is we won't be able to buy modules for $5 each anymore.

I sure hope your right! My worse case scenario.... has the world having a hard time finding countries that have sofisicated governments, along with an educated, and peaceful population. Yet poor enough to live on the profits from cheap electronics. The idea that X10 has just maybe just mismanaged the operation after 36 years... and the remainder of the industry will be untouched.... is too optimistic even for me. But you may be right. Ether way I agree with your down side prediction..... $5 modules are likely a thing of the past.

I can image many future challenges.... and many solutions. Whatever is ahead for Home Automation I am sure there will be many creative people looking for fixes and work-arounds. And... I am confident they will find them and past that information along somehow. I am sure that in the future.... the use of Home Automation will be limited... only by our imaginations.



Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: Sammer on September 13, 2011, 02:14:38 PM
  I just wonder if X10 will continue to update the software and "fix" bugs? :'
If they have permanently closed the factory doors, I doubt it. I doubt they would assign overhead to projects that would not result in revenue (more module sales).
It's too soon to panic. Even if the X10 factory in China has permanently closed its doors it doesn't mean that X10 won't contract the future manufacture of at least some X10 protocol products. There are other manufacturers in this world (as SmartLabs obviously knows regarding the actual manufacture of the Insteon products) that can make this stuff. Just don't expect the modules to cost only 5 bucks.
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: Brian H on September 13, 2011, 02:23:43 PM
Smarthome dropped all their X10 only compatible modules for their Insteon and Icon Modules.
I seriously doubt they would OEM for X10.

Check the X10 prices. That in many cases already have gone up. Especially the EBay and independent dealers.

Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: Sammer on September 13, 2011, 02:59:08 PM
Smarthome dropped all their X10 only compatible modules for their Insteon and Icon Modules.
I seriously doubt they would OEM for X10.
They may have dropped them in the past but one seems to be back. Smarthome claims their LampLinc Essential X10 Lamp Module (not Insteon) is available now for $10. AFAIK SmartLabs doesn't actually own a factory in China and subcontracts the actual manufacture of the Smarthome modules.
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: Brian H on September 13, 2011, 03:10:04 PM
Yes the LampLinc Essential is still available. Cheaper than the LM465s they also carry.  ;D
I have one as a test subject and proudly blew the fuse in it.  :'
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: dhouston on September 13, 2011, 03:31:03 PM
AFAIK SmartLabs doesn't actually own a factory in China and contracts the actual manufacture of the Smarthome modules.
I have no idea whether they own their own facility or use subcontractors. They did get into the X10/Insteon business after they bought Switchlinc and I believe one of the Switchlinc principals still heads up this operation.
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: Sammer on September 13, 2011, 03:40:02 PM
Yes the LampLinc Essential is still available. Cheaper than the LM465s they also carry.  ;D
They also claim to have a Lighting Starter Kit on sale consisting of the LampLinc Essential and X10 MC10A Mini Controller for a little less than the Mini Controller by itself.
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: luke03 on September 20, 2011, 05:25:25 PM
No doubt X10 was the inventor of thise industry. They deserve a lot of praise. Others who made their product based on similar AC line zero crossing technology really should pay respect to X10. If X10 patented the AC line zero crossing technology, there is no way anybody else can make similar product without paying X10 for every module they made.

Now, without paying any royalty to X10, they really want to kill X10.  I think that is little bit too far....
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: Brian H on September 20, 2011, 06:16:03 PM
luke03, X10 had patents on the protocol and they have expired a long time ago.
When I started with X10. If you wanted to send X10 power line signals from a home brew device. To be leagal you had to use their TW523 or PL513 interfaces.
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: dave w on September 20, 2011, 06:44:05 PM
Yeah, X10 is 30 years old, I doubt there are any patents still in effect as far as PLC stuff.

If X10 is getting out of certain elements of the business, I wonder if they will still manufacture remote controls for OEMs and all the OTC "universal" remotes? I think that was a huge (unseen) part of their business. I find it hard to believe they won't try and keep that going. But I thought all the remote stuff was made at the same factory that supposedly closed it's doors.

Over all, this "event" has been pretty strange.
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: pomonabill221 on September 20, 2011, 06:47:45 PM
Yeah, X10 is 30 years old, I doubt there are any patents still in effect as far as PLC stuff.

If X10 is getting out of certain elements of the business, I wonder if they will still manufacture remote controls for OEMs and all the OTC "universal" remotes? I think that was a huge (unseen) part of their business. I find it hard to believe they won't try and keep that going. But I thought all the remote stuff was made at the same factory that supposedly closed it's doors.

Over all, this "event" has been pretty strange.
AND SCARY!!!!
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: Brian H on October 02, 2011, 03:31:52 PM
More fuel for the fire.
http://www.automatedhome.co.uk/Announcements/X10-Going-into-Receivership.html

I also see there is a Chinese Company making X10 compatible overseas modules.
http://x10bus.com/
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: dave w on October 02, 2011, 04:53:01 PM
This is too bad.

Maybe ACT and PCS, both of whom actually manufactured PLC in the US,  will dust off their old assembly lines.
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: pseeker on October 02, 2011, 07:25:13 PM
Its like watching a slow train wreck... 

More fuel for the fire.
http://www.automatedhome.co.uk/Announcements/X10-Going-into-Receivership.html

I also see there is a Chinese Company making X10 compatible overseas modules.
http://x10bus.com/
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: HA Dave on October 02, 2011, 09:11:18 PM
Its like watching a slow train wreck... 

No joke. And... it isn't just X10.
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: Mr. Jones on October 03, 2011, 11:14:19 AM
I guess I should maybe buy some extra equipment?  :'
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: Brian H on October 28, 2011, 06:52:45 PM
Well I see Smarthome has started releasing new X10 only devices.
Look like their Icon line but maybe has firmware limiting them to X10 only.
http://www.smarthome.com/X10WS12A/Smarthome-X10-Decorator-Style-Dimmer-Switch-White/p.aspx

So I would think. If there is a shortage of X10 devices. Other sources maybe opening up.
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: B.A. on October 28, 2011, 07:46:27 PM
Well I see Smarthome has started releasing new X10 only devices.
Look like their Icon line but maybe has firmware limiting them to X10 only.

This is great news  :)%
True rocker and local status for $24!
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: Brian H on October 28, 2011, 07:53:36 PM
As long as the users remember all of them use a neutral. So replacing an X10 two wire WS12. Requires a neutral connections.
I did a real quick count and saw 10 devices recently released.
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: dhouston on October 28, 2011, 08:19:33 PM
They've never really discontinued them. They currently list 266 devices as X-10 compatible and at least 30-40 of those are X-10 only, including some made by X-10. Given the state of the economy, I would not expect they would discontinue their lower priced devices.
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: B.A. on October 28, 2011, 08:33:26 PM
They've never really discontinued them. They currently list 266 devices as X-10 compatible and at least 30-40 of those are X-10 only, including some made by X-10.

They never had true rocker switches with local status for that price. These look new to me.
I searched high and low when I first got into X10.
Closest they had was the Icon line for about ten bucks more.
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: pomonabill221 on October 28, 2011, 08:39:18 PM
Hi all!
  This is great news.... smarthome has x10 switches/dimmers.
BUT....
  do the dimmers have the fade on/off?
  I looked at the essential, and it does NOT.
Need to look some more...
I am spoiled with this feature, and always wanted that with my old x10 dimmers, and now I have the newer ones and LOVE it!
  I was using SmartHome manager and the cup1132 interface, but switched to x10 (again) and did not like that the smarthome dimmer modules didn't support extended dim commands, so yanked all my smarthome stuff and replaced with x10.
  Just need to know if the new smarthome dimmers support the extended dim and ramp up/down!
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: Brian H on October 29, 2011, 09:23:03 AM
Until someone actually tries them. We may have to wait for exact answers.
Since the lower cost Icon modules don't have a adjustable ramp rate. My thoughts are the X10 firmware will also not support any adjustable ramp rate.

As for the Extended Commands. I kind of doubt that is going to be implemented.
Smarthome even with my 1132CU and my present 2413S PLM support %dim.
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: B.A. on October 29, 2011, 10:18:47 AM
So what do you have to do w/o extended commands?
If I wanted my light @ 25%, would I have to go to 100% first and then dim by 75%?
I've never had modules that didn't support it. I only have X10 and Leviton.
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: dhouston on October 29, 2011, 11:43:02 AM
Those who bother to read the specs might learn something.


The first is a dimmer with programmable ramp rates, it will resume at previous level (or to preprogrammed level)

The second is for fluorescents and inductive loads.

Both have excellent sensitivity (much better than X-10) and can do 3-way (or more) by connecting additional switches so they just send a command to the main switch. Both send commands when switched locally.

While they require a neutral and don't do extended commands, in most other aspects they out perform X-10 made equivalents.
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: pomonabill221 on October 29, 2011, 02:22:43 PM
Those who bother to read the specs might learn something.

[lis

Well I DID read ALL the specs.
My question was to responding to extended dim commands AND ramping!
Maybe I wasn't clear enough.
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: B.A. on October 29, 2011, 03:24:42 PM
Those who bother to read the specs might learn something.

And I was asking about dimming when a module does not recognize extended commands because
I have not encountered it yet.
It really had nothing to do with the NEW Smarthome switches.
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: dhouston on October 29, 2011, 03:26:39 PM
If I wanted my light @ 25%, would I have to go to 100% first and then dim by 75%?
The X10WS467D/X10WS467DI dimmer switch (and others) can be used in one of two modes. In one, it comes on at whatever level it was at when it was turned off; in the other it can be programmed to always come on at a certain level.

With any X-10 module/switch w/o extended dim, you can also dim to 0% and then ramp up to any desired level under software control or with RF. This does waste a small amount of energy (~2.5W with 100W bulb) as compared to full off.  Most modules/switches use ~0.5W at full off. (Hmm, out of curiosity I'll have to check my dimmable CFL, which can dim to 0%, to see how much energy it wastes in that state.)

I haven't had hands on experience with the X10WS467D/X10WS467DI but all their early X-10 compatible devices that I have used/tested supported preset dim commands with 32 levels. You would need software to support this and I think X-10 removed preset dim support (because Smarthome supports it?) from their software - I never use X-10 software so cannot be certain.

 
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: bkenobi on November 03, 2011, 01:08:46 AM
So has anyone tried one of these?

http://www.smarthome.com/X10WS467I/Smarthome-X10-Toggle-Wall-Switch-Module-Ivory/p.aspx

I look at it and see the perfect switch.  It can handle the new stupid bulbs (CFL and LED).  It does not have the dumb soft start feature.  It looks and feels like a standard toggle light switch.  It even tells the software what has happened locally.  The only down side I see is that it costs more than a standard X10 switch.  If it works as advertised, I'm totally in!  I'm tired of messing with some of the issues related to WS467's (as mentioned above).
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: Brian H on November 03, 2011, 06:09:13 AM
Read the sales page. It mentions a relay output. It does not dim at all.

As with all the Smarthome modules. It does require a neutral power connection and is not like the X10 two wire ones that steal power through the load. So a Neutral power connection is required.

I have one of the Insteon ToggleLinc Relay models and have added an X10 optional address to it. The X10 one is probably the same hardware with a different firmware doing X10 only.

One thing you may find slightly different. The toggle button sticks out straight. You hold it down for Off or Dim. Up for On or Brighten.
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: Noam on November 03, 2011, 08:59:16 AM
I have a few of the Insteon ToggleLinc relay switches (using them in X10 mode only), and they work great!
I also have a few older ToggleLinc X10-only switches, which I think are the predecessor to the ones you listed.
I was actually looking at them last night, but I think if I'm going to spend the money, I'm going to get the Insteon ones, and just use them in X10 mode. They have a 2-year warranty (as opposed to a 90-day one on the cheaper switches), and I've had to get a few of the older design switches replaced under warranty (one was blowing bulbs, the other was clicking really loudly, even when it wasn't being turned on or off). Since the older ones were no longer being made, they replaced them with the newer Insteon models.
Also, If I ever do dump X10 for Insteon, I won't have the replace that switch.
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: dave w on November 03, 2011, 09:06:38 AM
So has anyone tried one of these?

http://www.smarthome.com/X10WS467I/Smarthome-X10-Toggle-Wall-Switch-Module-Ivory/p.aspx

I look at it and see the perfect switch.  It can handle the new stupid bulbs (CFL and LED).  It does not have the dumb soft start feature.  It looks and feels like a standard toggle light switch.  It even tells the software what has happened locally.  The only down side I see is that it costs more than a standard X10 switch.  If it works as advertised, I'm totally in!  I'm tired of messing with some of the issues related to WS467's (as mentioned above).
There is one down side to the Smarthome 2-way switches. Since they receive AND transmit, they will attenuate the X10 powerline signal more than a one-way switch. The outcome is; you  *might* require a high output repeater if you get many of the switches.
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: dhouston on November 03, 2011, 10:23:57 AM
There is one down side to the Smarthome 2-way switches. Since they receive AND transmit, they will attenuate the X10 powerline signal more than a one-way switch. The outcome is; you  *might* require a high output repeater if you get many of the switches.

I thought the same thing and even said so when I reviewed Insteon right after it was introduced.
But I've heard from people with very large installations of Insteon with a few remaining X-10 devices who say it's not a problem.

In a previous location, I had 3 ToggleLincs plus 3-4 of their dimmer modules, all configured with X-10 addresses,  and saw no ill effects on other X-10 made modules.
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: Noam on November 03, 2011, 12:29:11 PM
I have a mixed system, but I'm not using any of the Insteon features yet.

I have 6 Insteon relay switches, along with three pre-Insteon SmartHome switches (at least one of which DOES broadcast its status when you turn it on). I also have two X10 lamp modules (soft start), a handful of X10 appliance modules, and one Black and Decker outdoor X10 module.

Before I installed my XTB-IIR, I did have occasional problems with one of the Insteon switches not getting a good signal, but it was at the end of a long circuit, on the opposite phase from the CM15A (which it self was at the end of a long circuit), and had a bunch of A/V equipment on the same line.

However, once I installed the XTB-IIR next to the breaker box, and moved the CM15A over there, I haven't had any issues like that.

It is interesting to note that when I had the problem with my neighbor's noisy CFL bulb (which started before I installed the XTB-IIR, and continued after I had it in place), I was ONLY having problems controlling the Insteon modules. The "true" X10 ones worked just fine.
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: bkenobi on November 03, 2011, 12:45:24 PM
Yeah, I saw it said relay, so I was a bit perplexed as to why the manual in the description mentioned the procedure to dim.  I guess it must just be a common manual for both types.

In any case, it sounds like it's worth buying one to play with.  I was already given a thumbs up as to the WAF last night.  It was actually quite resounding too, so I think she must be getting a bit tired of the motion sensor nonsense that I've been working through.  I believe there is already a neutral in the box, so I should be okay in that regard, but of course I'll have to check first.

Insteon is much more expensive overall, but it provides similar functionality to X10.  From what yall have been saying, the two do not conflict.  In your opinion, is Insteon that much better as to demand the higher prices?  I've been less than totally satisfied with some of the X10 products, so it would be interesting to see something else that performs better even at a higher price point.  My only concern is that the Insteon stuff I've seen (ToggleLincs for example) are around 4x and up in price.  Of course, it's not that extreme if you buy X10 retail, but who does that.   rofl
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: Noam on November 03, 2011, 01:12:00 PM
I can't really speak as to the difference in quality with the Insteon products. I've never had one go bad on me, but I never really had any X10 units go bad on me, either (well, I had some WS467's that would turn on by themselves, but I hear that was a common occurrence with certain types of line noise).
I had two older Switchlincs go bad on me, but they were pre-Insteon.

They are more expensive, but at the time, Smarthome didn't have any X10-only switches, and I wanted to replace the WS467's that were misbehaving. I also wanted relay type switches, so I could switch to CFLs for my outdoor lights.

Once other thing to note, however, is that the X10-only switches from Smarthome only have a 90-day warranty. The Insteon ones have a full 2 years. It looks like the X10-only ones are around $20, while the Insteon ones are around $46.
If one of the less expensive switches fails after 90 days, but within 2 years, you've just about paid the difference (if you count shipping costs). Not that I expect the switches to fail, but I kind of wonder why those only carry a 90-day warranty on them.
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: dave w on November 03, 2011, 01:18:57 PM
Insteon is much more expensive overall, but it provides similar functionality to X10.  From what yall have been saying, the two do not conflict.  In your opinion, is Insteon that much better as to demand the higher prices?  
$0.02
The feature set of the Smarthome/Insteon is considerably greater than X10. i.e. 2-way for true status feedback, programabily ramp rates, better sensitivity to the powerline signals, etc. So it is an apple and oranges comparison.
If you want/need the extra features then Insteon is worth it.

As far as a simple reliablity comparison, I think the X10 units are as reliable as the Insteon units. In fact Smarthome has had a rash of module failures, presumably because of some sub-standard parts.
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: bkenobi on November 03, 2011, 01:28:39 PM
I'm mostly concerned with things like sending a command and having the switch respond.  These are 2-way, so I suppose if it doesn't respond as "ON", I would have a feedback to know to try again in software.

I can't tell if the Smarthome units do soft start or if they instantly go to the selected dim level?  If they go directly to the level and nothing controls the dim state down, why can't these be used with CFL or LED?  I'm thinking of using the relay and these will primarily control halogen, so it's less of an issue.  I have one location where I currently use incandescent bulbs that may have to go low current in the future (front entry lights).
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: Brian H on November 03, 2011, 01:38:46 PM
Yes the early Insteon SwitchLinc's and Icon switches had a tact switch problem. Where you could press the paddle. Hear the small internal switch click but nothing happend.
Enough of them failed so they stopped saying it was an installation or user problem to extending the 2 year warranty to 7 years for the date codes in question.

Also I personally owned the hardware revision 1.2 ApplianceLincs. That some inductive loads shorted the capacitors across the relay contacts and would not turn Off. Sometimes the load current was enough to smoke the leaky capacitors.
Along with a 30 volt zener diode in both early ApplianceLincs and LampLincs. Getting warm and after years of use, failing with the PCB a nice black color under it. C2 {470uf/35VDC} also gets to about 115 degrees F from ripple current.  :'
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: Brian H on November 03, 2011, 01:46:43 PM
My Insteon switches do the following and I doubt the X10 only ones are much different.
When you send them an On or Off. They do not respond with an I turned On or Off. You could send them a status request and they should respond to their present state.
When you locally toggle them they do send a message back on the power line. Indicating what the local action was and controlling any other device with the same X10 address.

You can check the sales pages and download all the users manuals. I believe the dimmer versions do allow setting the ramp rate and preset dim levels.
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: dhouston on November 03, 2011, 01:48:01 PM
I'm mostly concerned with things like sending a command and having the switch respond.  These are 2-way, so I suppose if it doesn't respond as "ON", I would have a feedback to know to try again in software.
Only when operated at the switch and only if the software you use supports it and X-10 software may not. The relays send OFF/ON which will be supported; the dimmers send OFF & preset dim levels (32 levels) which X-10 purged from their command set after Smarthome started using it. I believe the dimmers also have a programmable ramp rate so they can come on (and off) gradually.
Quote
I can't tell if the Smarthome units do soft start or if they instantly go to the selected dim level?  If they go directly to the level and nothing controls the dim state down, why can't these be used with CFL or LED?  I'm thinking of using the relay and these will primarily control halogen, so it's less of an issue.  I have one location where I currently use incandescent bulbs that may have to go low current in the future (front entry lights).
If you are talking dimmer switch, they can be dimmed to any desired level. It's just that they can be set to always come on at the last level (default, I think) or to always come on at the level you program. But, once on, set whatever level desired.

The relay version can be used with CFLs, fans, etc. It lists them in the online catalog listing I referenced much earlier in the thread.

As for reliability, I cannot speak to current products but they kept having teething problems for 2-3 years after introduction, finding problems they had not anticipated and resulting in multiple versions of not always compatible modules (controllers and RF units mostly but also some switches, modules, dimmers). Bruce Robin was an early adopter, replacing most of the X-10 in his large house in Hawaii. He was happy with the reliability but later said he would have stayed with X-10 (as he has done in two other residences) had Jeff Volp's booster units been available at the time.

I bought their developers license early on but grew skittish with all of the issues that arose. I'm still not eager to have to support 3-4 different controllers with different communication protocols.
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: johnlaw45 on November 16, 2011, 07:17:29 PM
  Their tech support is non existant now. I have been waiting for a reply from them for over 3 weeks now on an ACTIVEPHONE problem. This news doesn't surprise me at all.
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: bkenobi on November 16, 2011, 08:28:08 PM
As for X10 itself:  I called them the other day after being disconnected from the web chat (I hate the new site by the way).  They were helpful...to an extent.  This is typical for my experience over the last year or so.  I can't say how this is different from the past, but I can't see any difference over the last year.

In regards to the Smarthome switches, I ended up ordering one to play with.  I have to say...I LOVE THESE THINGS!  They look pretty much exactly like a standard (non-decora) switch.  They have a light under them that is fairly bright (but they can apparently be dimmed) to indicate function and that's the only thing that makes them look different from a $0.50 unit.  I found that it works very well with AHP without changing any settings from the switch I'm currently using.  All in all, I'm definitely going to order these next time I need a new switch.  The only down side I see is that you can't find them anywhere but Smarthome.  So, as a result, I can't buy them off ebay for cheap like X10 units.

 >!
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: Brian H on November 16, 2011, 08:33:56 PM
Did you buy the Smarthome X10 version of the switches or the Insteon/Icon switch and add an optional x10 address to it?
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: pomonabill221 on November 16, 2011, 08:47:39 PM

In regards to the Smarthome switches, I ended up ordering one to play with.  I have to say...I LOVE THESE THINGS!  They look pretty much exactly like a standard (non-decora) switch.  They have a light under them that is fairly bright (but they can apparently be dimmed) to indicate function and that's the only thing that makes them look different from a $0.50 unit.  I found that it works very well with AHP without changing any settings from the switch I'm currently using.  All in all, I'm definitely going to order these next time I need a new switch.  The only down side I see is that you can't find them anywhere but Smarthome.  So, as a result, I can't buy them off ebay for cheap like X10 units.

 >!

Are you saying that AHP can control the dimming?  Do they respond to extended dim commands or do you have to go to 100% then dim down to the level you want?  (sendind repeated dim dim dim commands like the old WS465's did).
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: bkenobi on November 16, 2011, 09:02:10 PM
I guess I didn't specify.  I despise the dimming/soft start feature of the X10 stuff and want to keep compatibility with low voltage bulbs if necessary (at least for this specific location).  As such, I currently have a relay switch installed (WS13A).  I chose to purchase a relay switch to replace it as well (X10WS467I).  I don't know how the dimmable switches would work with the dim commands.

What I can say is that the switch sends a standard (non-extended) command when it's switched on/off locally.  Hope that helps!
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: pomonabill221 on November 16, 2011, 09:07:17 PM
Thanks for the reply!
I though (or assumed) you were talking about the dimming wall switches... sorry!
I do like the soft start feature and extended dimming.... guess it is personal preference!
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: Noam on November 16, 2011, 09:56:48 PM
I have to agree about the SmartHome relay switches. They work really well, are easy to use, and they transmit their HC/UC when you turn them on or off (which makes it very easy to link them, or build 2/3/4 way switch setups).
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: bkenobi on November 16, 2011, 11:47:28 PM
That and the fact that they are a heck of a lot more affordable than the SwitchLinc modules.  I really wanted to try those since they looked absolutely perfect from the first time I saw them.  The problem was obviously the price.  I could never justify going from ~$5 for a basic switch (purchased from ebay) to the SwitchLinc modules at ~$45.  The problem isn't a single switch.  The problem always was and still is the fact that I'm looking at a whole installation.  At $45/ea, I'd be looking at several hundred dollars to replace my system.  With these Smarthome switches, I can perform the change-over for ~1/2 that and, since it still works with X10, I can do it whenever I want.

I do realize that the SwitchLinc are x10 compatible...now.  At the time, I thought I would have needed to start over with a new controller, software, etc. 
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: Noam on November 17, 2011, 10:00:16 AM
I started with SmartHome in the pre-insteon days. I have a pair of dimmers (Which only respond to the old dim/bright commands, not the extended ones - but I never dim them), and a three-way relay setup for the fluorescent fixtures in my family room.
The rest of my SmartHome switches are all newer, and I decided to go with Insteon for those. I was replacing the original X10 (non-SoftStart) wall switches, which seemed to have a mind of their own sometimes. I also wanted to switch my outdoor lights (four switches) to CFLs, as well as (eventually) two indoor fixtures. I needed relay switches for that.

Smarthome's latest X10-only switches weren't out yet at the time, but the previous edition were. At the time, I felt going with Insteon was a better investment, since (and this was a few years ago already) I didn't know how long I'd stick with X10, and the Insteon switches gave me the ability to convert over to Insteon without having to replace those switches again. I now have 6 Insteon switches in my setup. I've been happy with their reliability, and the customer service I got from SmartHome (two of my pre-Insteon switches failed within the 2-year warranty period, and they replaced them with Insteon switches at no additional cost).
I've bought other stuff from them, and I've always been very satisfied.
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: Brian H on November 24, 2011, 03:47:05 PM
I see one of the EBay X10 dealers has some No Soft Start LM465s. Guess X10 found an older lot someplace.
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: JeffVolp on November 24, 2011, 04:24:09 PM
Guess X10 found an older lot someplace.

Cleaning out the warehouse?

Jeff
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: bkenobi on November 25, 2011, 02:53:22 AM
I noticed that one of my preferred ebay sellers was no longer selling stuff a couple months back.  I assumed they were either on vacation or something temporarily was keeping them from restocking.  I wonder if perhaps they are done selling due to X10 not resupplying?  Interesting.
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: Brian H on November 25, 2011, 07:27:56 AM
I noticed the samething.
Now they have more stuff, but some of it is a different manufacturer. Like Eaton devices.
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: Dan Lawrence on November 25, 2011, 11:56:23 AM
I just ordered a 3 pack of Non Soft-Start lamp modules (IBM  Home Director) from eBay.
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: William8 on November 25, 2011, 01:37:00 PM
I just ordered a 3 pack of Non Soft-Start lamp modules (IBM  Home Director) from eBay.

Check these out, the best deal I've seen. I picked up 2 kits, should keep me running for years.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/IBM-Home-Director-Room-Expansion-Kit-HDREXT1-NEW-/170731677869?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item27c066a8ad

I use everything with a DS7000 alarm, can't stand any of the soft start modules, especially the W467's.
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: Noam on November 25, 2011, 01:43:01 PM
I just ordered a 3 pack of Non Soft-Start lamp modules (IBM  Home Director) from eBay.

Check these out, the best deal I've seen. I picked up 2 kits, should keep me running for years.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/IBM-Home-Director-Room-Expansion-Kit-HDREXT1-NEW-/170731677869?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item27c066a8ad

I use everything with a DS7000 alarm, can't stand any of the soft start modules, especially the W467's.

That's a good deal if you don't need softstart.
Even if you needed just one of the modules (or the wall switch), it's a great price for the mini-controller (which is easily hackable)
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: systemdm on November 27, 2011, 01:07:22 AM
Just curious, if X10 was to go out of business, how would we do a new installation of AHP?
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: Dan Lawrence on November 27, 2011, 10:49:55 AM
Just curious, if X10 was to go out of business, how would we do a new installation of AHP?


Almost impossible.   If you can get a second CM15A as a spare and back up you might keep running for 20 years or more. I backed up every version of AHP I ever used since 2005 on separate media.
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: dave w on November 27, 2011, 11:12:20 AM
I got stooopid question (one of many...I am quite practiced at them). Since I do not run AHP any more I can't answer this myself; can AHP be ran from a USB drive?
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: beelocks on November 27, 2011, 11:33:47 AM
Just curious, if X10 was to go out of business, how would we do a new installation of AHP?

A fresh install of AHP requires verification from X10 servers using a valid order number. If they switch their servers off you would not be able to successfully install AHP.

Perhaps they have a version almost ready for release that doesn't rely on server validation.
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: bkenobi on November 27, 2011, 12:08:27 PM
That right there is my concern actually.  When you install AHP or a new component, it calls the mothership to verify that you have a valid installation.  If for some reason the server were switched off, even though you own a valid installation, you are SOL.  I know there are some efforts in other communities to resolve this issue (such as creating a local server that is redirected via your router), but hopefully it won't get to that point!
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: pomonabill221 on November 27, 2011, 05:12:06 PM
Probably the best thing to do IF there X10 is going to shut down, (and this has been answered before, I just wanted to reafirm), make a complete backup of your drive, and try and keep it backuped regularly, so IF there is a problem AND x10 goes down, all you have to do is restore the latest backup and AHP should be up and running.
This should be done regardless though!
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: bkenobi on November 27, 2011, 06:07:10 PM
That's certainly a good solution, but hopefully not what we'll be left with.  When other companies have orphaned paid users of their software/hardware, they sometimes open things up.  I've even seen where they open the source up, not just the application.  Hopefully, X10 figures things out and get back to making quality products at reasonable prices as they've done in the past.  But, if not, I hope they do the right thing and either sell what they have produced to another company that can continue things on or give the established X10 user base  the software that keeps their hardware working.  Obviously, plugins like the remote access stuff won't continue to work, but at least AHP would.

 >!
Title: Re: Future of X10
Post by: Tuicemen on December 20, 2013, 09:08:16 AM
With Authinx taking over X10 operations there doesn't seem to be any doubt here.
X10 isn't going away any time soon!
New X10 modules are slated to be released in 2014!  :)%
True we may need to wait a bit before all servers are back up but with the forums back on line things are looking up!
 >!