X10 Community Forum

General Home Automation => Automating Your House => User Modified Devices => Topic started by: dhouston on January 04, 2016, 09:23:57 AM

Title: modified through-hole cm15a
Post by: dhouston on January 04, 2016, 09:23:57 AM
Just saw the new WS469 push button relay type wall switch on the X10 web site.
http://www.x10.com/x10-home-automation/ws469.html

And, while browsing their site, I noticed that the pictured CM15A has a telescoping metal antenna like those long used on the TM751 & RR501. It should be a modest improvement over the previous antenna as long as they kept the wired connection.
Title: New cm15a?
Post by: toasterking on January 04, 2016, 12:04:18 PM
I noticed that the pictured CM15A has a telescoping metal antenna like those long used on the TM751 & RR501.
And yet they're still calling it a CM15A.  Not CM15B; not CM15A-2; no sub-model number mentioned.  I had hoped that they would put a stop to that silliness.

Nice to finally see some antenna improvement, though.  I wonder if it employs the traditional capacitive antenna coupling using the plastic case and a sticky strip of foil.
Title: New cm15a?
Post by: Brian H on January 04, 2016, 02:26:19 PM
The capacitive coupling may not be needed.
Unlike the TM751 and RR501 with a power line derived power supply. It has a power transformer type power supply.
Title: New cm15a?
Post by: Tuicemen on January 04, 2016, 03:30:16 PM
I just confirmed the new antenna.
This was due to the plastic one breaking off in shipment.
I'm told
Quote
The unit did not get an overhaul
Title: New cm15a?
Post by: toasterking on January 04, 2016, 05:43:34 PM
This was due to the plastic one breaking off in shipment.
So they claim that the main reason for the antenna change was due to shipping mishaps and not due to poor range?
Title: New cm15a?
Post by: Tuicemen on January 04, 2016, 07:49:30 PM
I guess the only way to know for sure is for someone to get one of these and look inside.
The offical stance is the unit didn't get a overhaul.
We all know a simple antenna mod improved performance time will tell if this does the trick.
Title: New cm15a?
Post by: toasterking on January 04, 2016, 11:11:00 PM
I only ask out of pure curiosity. I have an old, nonworking CM15A that I can't bring myself to throw away but will probably never have a reason to replace.

...unless Dave Houston finishes his "ZBasic Arduino on crack" mod; then it's going back on the bench!  :)
Title: New cm15a?
Post by: dhouston on January 05, 2016, 07:52:51 AM
I only ask out of pure curiosity. I have an old, nonworking CM15A that I can't bring myself to throw away but will probably never have a reason to replace.

...unless Dave Houston finishes his "ZBasic Arduino on crack" mod; then it's going back on the bench!  :)

My mod replaces the Cypress MCU, the RF receiver, RF transmitter and adds USB-SER & RTC chips (all on a daughterboard). It keeps the power supply, PLC & ZC interfaces, 120kHz oscillator and AGC circuitry. You will need to replace the antenna with a 50-ohm BNC connector, replace the EEPROM with a bigger one, replace the MCU with a DIP-18 socket and plug in my daughterboard. The RTC only needs 3V so the easiest thing to do is use 2 dummy AAA batteries (rather pricey but they do last forever). I'll design a kit with all necessary parts. You can use a telescoping antenna with a BNC base or an eggbeater antenna (minimal assembly required) available in kits (both non-amplified and amplified, w/5V via the coax, supplied by the daughterboard through a resettable fuse).

There's an optional ESP8266 based external unit (powered by a 5V power supply with microUSB plug) that provides a WiFi link and NTP time.
There are drivers for Windows, OSX & Linux which provide a virtual COM port and I'll document the communication protocol. Anyone who prefers Arduino code can reflash the ATmega328 with the Arduino bootloader and write their own code. The ESP8266 can also be Arduino-ized. I'll document the timing for the AGC Window & AGC Reset signals for those prefer the Arduino world.

I'll try to update some Windows, OSX & Linux applications I created earlier for some other X10 related hardware. I'll likely leave mobile apps for others as I find tablets and smart phones difficult with one hand paralyzed.

For those with and without soldering skills, this is highly recommended...
http://www.amazon.com/Velleman-VTDESOL3U-Vacuum-Desoldering-Heater/dp/B00B88FRME (http://www.amazon.com/Velleman-VTDESOL3U-Vacuum-Desoldering-Heater/dp/B00B88FRME)

You'll need basic soldering skills and a 25-35W soldering iron for the EEPROM & DIP-18 socket.
Title: New cm15a?
Post by: Tuicemen on January 05, 2016, 10:28:20 AM
Quote
The RTC only needs 3V so the easiest thing to do is use 2 dummy AAA batteries (rather pricey but they do last forever).
Couldn't you could make some with a piece of wooden doweling and rewire the compartment to only use the two with real batteries?
Much cheeper and I suspect it would last as long.
Title: New cm15a?
Post by: dhouston on January 05, 2016, 11:51:29 AM
Couldn't you could make some with a piece of wooden doweling and rewire the compartment to only use the two with real batteries?
Much cheeper and I suspect it would last as long.
Rewiring the battery compartment is certainly an option (and no dowels necessary) but I think most people will opt for the quick, simple dummies.
There might even be a Dummies for Dummies book in it.  rofl
Title: New cm15a?
Post by: JeffVolp on January 05, 2016, 12:11:34 PM
Perhaps this thread should be split as most has nothing to do with the new switch.

Jeff
Title: New cm15a?
Post by: dhouston on January 05, 2016, 12:31:57 PM
Perhaps this thread should be split as most has nothing to do with the new switch.

I agree. I should read Posting for Dummies.
Title: Re: New cm15a?
Post by: Tuicemen on January 05, 2016, 12:43:19 PM
Perhaps this thread should be split as most has nothing to do with the new switch.

I agree. I should read Posting for Dummies.
I should have done this
Oh well better late then never
Title: Re: New cm15a?
Post by: toasterking on January 05, 2016, 01:03:42 PM
I agree. I should read Posting for Dummies.
I'll take the blame for getting us further off track and changing the subject again.

Jeff and Tuicemen, thanks for keeping things organized.  :)

Dave, I'm really looking forward to your product!
Title: Re: New cm15a?
Post by: Noam on January 05, 2016, 02:24:37 PM
I guess the only way to know for sure is for someone to get one of these and look inside.
The offical stance is the unit didn't get a overhaul.
We all know a simple antenna mod improved performance time will tell if this does the trick.

We could get one of the new ones, and then take one of the old ones, and use a force gauge to compare how hard it is to break the antenna off each one! ;)
Title: Re: New cm15a?
Post by: dhouston on January 05, 2016, 02:25:51 PM
Dave, I'm really looking forward to your product!

I think it will be 6-8 weeks before I can have it ready. Most of China shuts down next week for their New Year so I'll wait until they are back to get prototype boards made.

A couple of weeks ago, I bought this board...
https://www.tindie.com/products/ceech/wireless-sensor-board-w-atmega328p/# (https://www.tindie.com/products/ceech/wireless-sensor-board-w-atmega328p/#)
from a vendor in eastern Europe. He gets them made in China, in small lots and is able to sell them for $10. My board is smaller and with similar complexity so I'm hopeful I can get assembled boards at a reasonable cost. While I can assemble a few prototypes, I cannot do much beyond that.

I have a recently widowed niece who could use a bit of extra income so I'm trying to design so that she (electronically clueless) can do the final assembly and handle distribution. If that doesn't work, I'll look for someone here willing to take it over.  I doubt it will generate much volume as most X10 users seem reluctant to modify 120V devices.
Title: Re: New cm15a?
Post by: dhouston on January 05, 2016, 02:29:18 PM
We could get one of the new ones, and then take one of the old ones, and use a force gauge to compare how hard it is to break the antenna off each one! ;)

I can attest that the old antennae on the newer SMD version of the CM15A are easily broken.  :(
Title: Re: New cm15a?
Post by: Noam on January 05, 2016, 02:33:49 PM
Dave, I'm really looking forward to your product!

I think it will be 6-8 weeks before I can have it ready. Most of China shuts down next week for their New Year so I'll wait until they are back to get prototype boards made.

A couple of weeks ago, I bought this board...
https://www.tindie.com/products/ceech/wireless-sensor-board-w-atmega328p/# (https://www.tindie.com/products/ceech/wireless-sensor-board-w-atmega328p/#)
from a vendor in eastern Europe. He gets them made in China, in small lots and is able to sell them for $10. My board is smaller and with similar complexity so I'm hopeful I can get assembled boards at a reasonable cost. While I can assemble a few prototypes, I cannot do much beyond that.

I have a recently widowed niece who could use a bit of extra income so I'm trying to design so that she (electronically clueless) can do the final assembly and handle distribution. If that doesn't work, I'll look for someone here willing to take it over.  I doubt it will generate much volume as most X10 users seem reluctant to modify 120V devices.

You could call it the "FrankenX10" (pronounced "fr-ANK-en-ksten")
Title: Re: New cm15a?
Post by: dhouston on January 05, 2016, 02:34:03 PM
...unless Dave Houston finishes his "ZBasic Arduino on crack" mod...
I prefer "ZBasic Arduino on inhuman growth hormone".  ;D
Title: Re: New cm15a?
Post by: dhouston on January 05, 2016, 02:37:40 PM
You could call it the "FrankenX10" (pronounced "fr-ANK-en-ksten")
Have you been peeking at my design?
Title: Re: New cm15a?
Post by: Noam on January 05, 2016, 03:08:39 PM
Actually, no (I only skimmed the summary a few posts up) - is that what you called it?
Title: Re: New cm15a?
Post by: dhouston on January 05, 2016, 03:19:07 PM
...is that what you called it?
No, I call it CM15A2Z but it is a two layer board with a New Pro Mini atmega328 5V 16M Arduino Nano Compatible stacked atop my daughterboard and some might think your name more fitting.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/New-Pro-Mini-atmega328-5V-16M-Replace-ATmega128-Arduino-Compatible-Nano-F5-/111754305216?hash=item1a05135ec0:g:7tsAAOSw0vBUjotz (http://www.ebay.com/itm/New-Pro-Mini-atmega328-5V-16M-Replace-ATmega128-Arduino-Compatible-Nano-F5-/111754305216?hash=item1a05135ec0:g:7tsAAOSw0vBUjotz)
Title: Re: New cm15a?
Post by: Brian H on January 05, 2016, 05:59:35 PM
Dave Houston said the later ones have surface mounted parts and the RF sections are on the main PCB.
I believe that was done by X10WTI before the new owners took over.
So a present model may look different inside from what the older ones we may have look. Though the new owners may have never updated what X10WTI had in production. At the time of the business collapse.
Could be X10WTI also got a deal on cheaper brittle plastic antenna tubes.  ::)
Title: Re: New cm15a?
Post by: racerfern on January 06, 2016, 07:09:46 AM
So my old CM15A has an antenna tube broken about 3/4 inch from the top although I cannot pull the top piece of plastic off the wire since it seems the little bubble end is glued on. In a KISS effort to improve reception I'm thinking of cutting off just the glued end then peeling back the wire and soldering to a longer piece of wire. Thoughts? I'm not keen on nor capable of opening the unit and making involved repairs.
Title: Re: New cm15a?
Post by: dhouston on January 06, 2016, 07:29:08 AM
So my old CM15A has an antenna tube broken about 3/4 inch from the top although I cannot pull the top piece of plastic off the wire since it seems the little bubble end is glued on. In a KISS effort to improve reception I'm thinking of cutting off just the glued end then peeling back the wire and soldering to a longer piece of wire. Thoughts? I'm not keen on nor capable of opening the unit and making involved repairs.

Take a look at the CM15A photo at...
http://web.archive.org/web/20150811194402/http://davehouston.org/X10_feng_shui.htm (http://web.archive.org/web/20150811194402/http://davehouston.org/X10_feng_shui.htm)

While my preference would be to use some heatshrink tubing to hold it all together, tape will work, too.
Title: Re: modified through-hole cm15a
Post by: dhouston on January 12, 2016, 11:08:46 AM
I'll order bare prototype boards today. When they arrive (in a few weeks) I'll build a couple for testing and, if there are no significant changes needed, will get quotes on assembled boards. Once I know the cost, I'll need to gauge how many are interested before placing an order or abandoning the idea.

The added hardware in the picture below are a 50-ohm BNC connector (for an antenna) and two 3.5mm stereo sockets (for serial ports).
Title: Re: modified through-hole cm15a?
Post by: dhouston on January 12, 2016, 07:54:39 PM
12 boards are on order. They will come via Air Mail when ready.

Perhaps, this thread should be moved to User Modified Devices.
Title: Re: New cm15a?
Post by: racerfern on January 12, 2016, 07:56:35 PM
Put me on the wish list please.

Thank you!
Title: Re: modified through-hole cm15a?
Post by: Tuicemen on January 12, 2016, 09:05:09 PM
12 boards are on order. They will come via Air Mail when ready.

Perhaps, this thread should be moved to User Modified Devices.
Done. ;)
Title: Re: modified through-hole cm15a
Post by: dhouston on January 12, 2016, 10:02:33 PM
I've heard back from the PCB fabricator - I should have the boards in about 10 days.  :)%
Title: Re: modified through-hole cm15a
Post by: dhouston on January 13, 2016, 10:21:33 AM
I think this should qualify as an Arduino DIY project at Instructables...
http://www.instructables.com/tag/type-id/category-technology/channel-arduino/ (http://www.instructables.com/tag/type-id/category-technology/channel-arduino/)
so I'll try to put together a step-by-step with pretty pictures that I can publish there rather than setup and maintain another website.  

I may need someone who works with Arduinos to create some Arduino code. I think most of it already exists but there are some features (e.g. AGC) that are specific to the CM15A. It might also create a much larger market for the CM15A2Z module I'm developing.

And, I doubt there is Arduino code for micro-dim/bright which require 200+ commands to verrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrry gradually dim or brighten a light.
http://web.archive.org/web/20150811230402/http://davehouston.org/micro-dim.htm (http://web.archive.org/web/20150811230402/http://davehouston.org/micro-dim.htm)
Title: Re: modified through-hole cm15a
Post by: bkenobi on January 13, 2016, 10:31:36 AM
Very interesting!  I have a backup CM15A that I might upgrade.  I have a working setup currently, but having options is always nice!
Title: Re: modified through-hole cm15a
Post by: dhouston on January 13, 2016, 10:38:25 AM
Very interesting!  I have a backup CM15A that I might upgrade.  I have a working setup currently, but having options is always nice!

I'm designing it so that the Cypress MCU can be replaced with a DIP-18 socket. That way, one can always revert to the Dark Ages by just replacing the plug-in CM15A2Z with the original MCU although you will need some bubblegum to plug the extra holes in the case.  ;)
Title: Re: modified through-hole cm15a
Post by: dhouston on January 13, 2016, 10:59:45 AM
Both the ESP8266 WiFi module and the HC-05 Bluetooth module are rather powerful little thingies that can act as either master or slave (the ESP8266 can be both simultaneously). For this project I'll use them merely as an optional WiFi or Bluetooth to Serial device to provide a wireless command/feedback link with the CM15A2Z module but it is also possible to use them to link to other WiFi or Bluetooth enabled devices, in effect, making them de facto HA hubs.
Title: Re: modified through-hole cm15a
Post by: Brian H on January 13, 2016, 12:43:37 PM
I have one or maybe two. Early production CM15A's. When X10 was still trying to make the firmware more stable. They have the Cypress Chip in an IC socket.  ;D
Title: Re: modified through-hole cm15a
Post by: dhouston on January 13, 2016, 01:01:45 PM
I have one or maybe two. Early production CM15A's. When X10 was still trying to make the firmware more stable. They have the Cypress Chip in an IC socket.  ;D

That was very early although it's impossible to know when they stopped using the socket based on datecodes. My first one had a socket; another, bought soon after, did not.
Title: Re: modified through-hole cm15a
Post by: dhouston on January 14, 2016, 10:34:24 PM
I've received a quote from one PCB fabricator. While higher than I had hoped, it's not outrageous. The Chinese New Year would delay delivery until March.

I'm still awaiting a quote from a second PCB fabricator.
Title: Re: modified through-hole cm15a
Post by: dhouston on January 19, 2016, 12:13:47 PM
Bare PCBs from one supplier shipped today. They are coming Air Mail so may be here in a week or so. I have a quote for bare PCBs from a second supplier and am waiting for their quote on assembled PCBs. I am optimistic that this will prove practical and come in at a reasonable price. Given that optimism, I've been working on preliminary documentation for Instructables.
 
As soon as the bare PCBs for the carrier board arrive, I'll assemble one and add its pic to the left side of the bottom row, below. The leftmost pic in the upper row shows the through-hole PCB from the early CM15A (I forgot to install the EEPROM at the upper right corner of the USB connector) while the rightmost shows the SMT version currently shipping. The brain transplant only works with the former version.

As soon as I have a better feel for cost, I'll need to take a poll to judge overall interest before ordering the assembled PCBs.

While datecodes were not always reliable, my November 2012 (12K48) was old style while May 2013 (13F24) is new style.
Title: Re: modified through-hole cm15a
Post by: bkenobi on January 19, 2016, 07:17:16 PM
So if I open my CM15A and find blue wires off the transformer, I can put it back together and move on?
Title: Re: modified through-hole cm15a
Post by: dhouston on January 19, 2016, 07:26:39 PM
So if I open my CM15A and find blue wires off the transformer, I can put it back together and move on?

I'm not sure wire color is always a determining factor (the red NO-NO circle applies to the whole PCB)  but, if you see a nearly empty surface, with the exception of the transformer and related components, you can close it up and move on.
Title: Re: modified through-hole cm15a
Post by: bkenobi on January 20, 2016, 12:10:12 AM
Looks like I'm in business.  The only thing I don't have is a socket, but that can be dealt with on a DIP chip since the legs can shift slightly in the hole when desoldering.
Title: Re: modified through-hole cm15a
Post by: dhouston on January 20, 2016, 10:49:44 AM
If you install sockets for the MCU (DIP-18) & EEPROM (DIP-8) and use 2 dummy batteries (as shown below) you can easily revert to the Dark Ages, if desired.

The webpage for this has been updated. Once things are finalized, I'll make further edits but most of the details will go into a PDF which can be downloaded from a link on the webpage.
https://www.laser.com/dhouston/cm15a2z.html  (https://www.laser.com/dhouston/cm15a2z.html)
Title: Re: modified through-hole cm15a
Post by: dhouston on January 24, 2016, 02:54:05 PM
I've tweaked things so that all SMD components are on the same layer which simplifies assembly but I may have designed myself into a corner with too many hardware options to have the PCBs preassembled.

Options:
Micrel MICRF008 wideband superhet (w/RSSI) VS existing LC tuned narrow-band superhet (RSSI?)
PIC12F675 to handle RF IO (ATmega328P handles PLC IO) - uses one of available 9600bps TTL ports.
Two 9600bps TTL ports - ATmega328P handles RF & PLC IO (PC, WiFi or Bluetooth)
Highspeed USB-TTL port XOR highspeed serial TTL port (PC, WiFi or Bluetooth) CH340G uninstalled or removed (SOIC-16)

Most of the options can be mixed or matched. Arduino Playground users can switch between them but not ZBasic users (unless I can coax them to supply the Arduino Mini Pro I'm using with a licensed free version of ZBasic). PIC code cannot be changed w/o replacing the PIC (SOIC-8).

There won't be major differences in costs as all optional ICs but the MICRF008 are fairly inexpensive.

I'll provide clarifying pix and text when things are ready. Bare prototype PCBs were in New York Friday and should be here soon if the USPS hasn't mislaid them.
Title: Re: modified through-hole cm15a
Post by: dhouston on January 25, 2016, 01:58:19 PM
Still no PCBs but I have put together a PDF file explaining things. If you PM me with your email I'll send a copy. Please ignore weird gaps in the PDF - they came from the (free trial) HTML to PDF conversion software.
Title: Re: modified through-hole cm15a
Post by: dhouston on January 26, 2016, 12:45:00 PM
No PCBs as yet but I've made some progress never-the-less. I designed the carrier board around an Arduino Mini Pro clone which has a slightly different pinout than the official version. I chose it because the double row of solderpads on the clone (see picture earlier in thread) simplifies connecting the electrodes needed to brainwash & re-educate the Atmel ATmega328P. While there are several vendors of this version on eBay, I decided it was prudent to tweak my design to also accommodate the official version in case the clone should become unavailable.

I've ordered an official version via Amazon Prime so it should be here by Friday. Once I verify it will fit my latest layout, I'll order some bare PCBs that I can assemble myself, as well as ask for quotes on partially assembled versions. At this point, I'm fairly confident in the design and I should have code from earlier projects that will shorten the process creating the device firmware as well as the Windows, Linux & OS X software. iOS & Android software will take a bit longer as I'll be starting fresh with those plus I don't have any devices that run those systems.
Title: Re: modified through-hole cm15a
Post by: dhouston on January 28, 2016, 11:25:12 AM
Still no PCBs. HongKong Post says they were at a USPS sorting facility in Flushing, NY nearly a week ago and that if I need to track them further to contact the USPS. The USPS says they don't speak Chinese.

I'm ready to order the final version but there's no chance I'll get them before March due to the 2 week Chinese New Year celebration.
Title: Re: modified through-hole cm15a
Post by: JeffVolp on January 29, 2016, 10:08:16 AM
I switched from Advanced Circuits here in the US to PCB Fabrication in China several years ago.  I usually receive the boards within a few days after they ship via FedEx.

http://www.pcbfabrication.com/

One PCB had been made by Advanced Circuits for several years, but then a batch came back where the holes were undersize on about half the boards, and the headers would not fit.  Advanced would not do anything about it.  They said it was due to their sloppy tolerance and I should have specified larger holes.  That same board with no changes to hole sizes has been made by PCB Fabrication since then with no more problems.  And even with FedEx shipping, that reduced the cost by about a third.

I chose PCB Fabrication because they had a representative here in the US to work with.

Jeff
Title: Re: modified through-hole cm15a
Post by: dhouston on January 29, 2016, 11:40:11 AM
Jeff,

This was for 12 small bare prototype PCBs using ITEAD Studio's prototyping service. The boards shipped Air Mail as FedEx, DHL, etc. cost too much for initial proto boards. I've used them before without a problem.

https://www.itead.cc/open-pcb/pcb-prototyping/2layer-color-pcb-5cm-x-5cm-max.html (https://www.itead.cc/open-pcb/pcb-prototyping/2layer-color-pcb-5cm-x-5cm-max.html)

I used another source, CircuitMart, for a few years who were excellent but they had disappeared when I started this project. The prices and service were really good so I was sorry to lose them.

I'm awaiting quotes from Jaco who look good for both bare and assembled prototypes.

http://www.jacohk.com (http://www.jacohk.com)
Title: Re: New cm15a?
Post by: rjp on January 29, 2016, 06:30:19 PM
Put me on the wish list please.

Thank you!

Sign me up.
Title: Re: modified through-hole cm15a
Post by: JeffVolp on January 30, 2016, 10:18:37 AM
I'm awaiting quotes from Jaco who look good for both bare and assembled prototypes.

Wow, those companies are cheap for prototypes.  I had used Advance's prototyping service.  They were very fast, but cost about $100 for 3-5 bare PCBs.

Jeff
Title: Re: modified through-hole cm15a
Post by: dhouston on January 30, 2016, 11:32:29 AM
I've used ITEAD a couple of times and got the boards within 10 days or so. 12 small boards + Air Mail cost $17.50 so it's hard to beat. The quality was excellent.

In the past I was able to track shipments from China to my door using track-trace but that's no longer true in all cases.
http://www.track-trace.com/ (http://www.track-trace.com/)

ITEAD provided a link to track the package but it stopped speaking to me after it reached a USPS sorting facility in Flushing, NY more than a week ago while the USPS tracking page says it has no knowledge of my package.

I've already decided on a few changes so it's no big deal but I could have used these to test most of my layout.

Title: Re: modified through-hole cm15a
Post by: dhouston on January 30, 2016, 02:05:00 PM
I have the initial boards. I should be ready to order the production boards next week but they will
be delayed by the Chinese New Year.
Title: Re: modified through-hole cm15a
Post by: dhouston on January 31, 2016, 08:32:24 AM
I'm awaiting quotes from Jaco who look good for both bare and assembled prototypes.
http://www.jacohk.com (http://www.jacohk.com)

25 bare 1.5"x1.16" PCBs for $20.40 + shipping (5-6 options, including Air Mail for ~$10).

I'll order these in a day or two. And, I'll likely order 25 assembled PCBs as soon as I can assemble/test the bare board.

Of course, the Chinese New Year will monkey with delivery.
Title: Re: modified through-hole cm15a
Post by: dhouston on February 29, 2016, 03:15:33 PM
Some remodeling of my building delayed things a bit (workers traipsing in and out) but I've simplified the PCB (all components on the same side) so it should cost less to purchase assembled. I've ordered a dozen bare boards. I'll assemble and test a couple and, if all is as planned, will assemble the rest and send some out to those who asked to be included.

For those reluctant to perform brain surgery on their CM15A, I plan to resurrect another design (using the TDA5051A powerline modem chip) that will do PLC I/O and have options for RF I/O, WiFi, Bluetooth & battery-backed RTC and will have separate (universal) powerline interface(s). It will be a few more months down the road and will cost more, of course. The controller will come assembled (options will plug in), the powerline interface(s) will have all SMD components preinstalled but users will need to install the through-hole components. It will use the same brainwashed/re-educated Arduino Pro Mini processor so the firmware/software will be the much the same.

While waiting for the PCBs, I'll work on revised PDF documentation for the CM15A2Zv2b brain transplant as well as documentation for the controller plus powerline interface(s) and upload them to my webpage (online courtesy of Laser Systems).
Title: Re: modified through-hole cm15a
Post by: bkenobi on March 18, 2016, 01:13:19 PM
With word that the Wi-Fi unit may still be in the works, I thought it was about time to determine which is a better option for a backup.  My backup CM15A will take this mod, so I was hoping that it will do everything that the Wi-Fi one could do but better.   ;)
Title: Re: modified through-hole cm15a
Post by: dhouston on March 18, 2016, 01:48:23 PM
...I was hoping that it will do everything that the Wi-Fi one could do but better.   ;)
It will do more (better RF range, RF/PLC IO, Bluetooth as an option, USB-TTL link, much bigger EEPROM, much better battery-backed RTC, published communications protocol, Arduino compatibility, lower cost) and I think it will also be better at the things they have in common - but I may not be the most unbiased of observers.

It seems the carrier pigeons have run into headwinds so I'm still waiting for the PCBs. Once they arrive, I should have a working model in a few days. Initially, it will use a command line interface - more user-friendly interfaces will come later. Also, I still need to design the external PCB/enclosure for the WiFi & Bluetooth modules.

And, I've heard from the EE who designed the PLC Amp that's on my webpage.
https://www.laser.com/dhouston/plc-amp.html (https://www.laser.com/dhouston/plc-amp.html)
He has volunteered to test everything and he's likely to be a more unbiased tester than am I. Plus, he lives only 100 miles or so away so I can test the RF range from here.
::)  :o  rofl
Title: Re: modified through-hole cm15a
Post by: bkenobi on March 18, 2016, 01:56:23 PM
If you can get 100mi range, that would be impressive.   :'
Title: Re: modified through-hole cm15a
Post by: dhouston on March 18, 2016, 02:49:45 PM
If you can get 100mi range, that would be impressive.   :'

I'd best put a stop to this before anyone thinks I'm serious. I expect excellent range and will publish range test results for three antenna options (telescoping, eggbeater, amplified eggbeater). Based on previous testing I expect hundreds of feet with an amplified eggbeater antenna.
https://www.laser.com/dhouston/eggbeater.pdf (https://www.laser.com/dhouston/eggbeater.pdf)
Title: Re: modified through-hole cm15a
Post by: Tuicemen on March 21, 2016, 03:43:09 PM
With the CM15A currently out of stock I asked Authinx what their plans were for the CM15.
Currently there doesn't appear to be any plans on updating this as their resources are running thin with what already is on their plate.

Basically they stated if the community were to take on creating a prototype and develop the needed software they would look at manufacturing. ::) :'

Does this mean the community could mod any existing X10 module and if successful they will consider producing it?
Does it mean Dave's CM15 mod could be come the new CM15?  ??? ::) :'

Title: Re: modified through-hole cm15a
Post by: dhouston on March 21, 2016, 05:56:53 PM
Basically they stated if the community were to take on creating a prototype and develop the needed software they would look at manufacturing.

That's a major undertaking requiring sourcing of parts, some of which were unique to X10 (e.g. the isolation transformers used in nearly, if not, all of their powerline interfaces. Then, there are UL & FCC approvals which are not something that community design can deal with.

As you know, I offered to modify the new SMD design (for free) for them to produce if they would provide the gerber files for the existing SMD design. (Even if they do not have the gerbers, the company that manufactured the CM15A would, along with the parts list.) That would have retained their power supply and PLC interface hardware, replacing the MCU and RF receiver while adding TTL interfaces for external (and externally powered) WiFi & BT modules (their power supply cannot handle these if internal). The new RF receiver would qualify for self-testing and the other changes would not materially affect their UL status. And, using the Atmel ATmega328P MCU (used in the Arduino UNO) would make community provided firmware & software practical as well as make it attractive to a few billion Arduino acolytes around the world. Plus, it would use the same plastic enclosure with only slight modification.

They never responded so I resurrected my design that modifies the old through-hole CM15A figuring there might be some in the community with spare through-hole CM15As who might be interested. As I've noted before, methinks the new boss is the same as the old boss...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SHhrZgojY1Q (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SHhrZgojY1Q)
Title: Re: modified through-hole cm15a
Post by: JeffVolp on March 22, 2016, 10:14:06 AM
Basically they stated if the community were to take on creating a prototype and develop the needed software they would look at manufacturing. ::) :'

I contacted them about taking over production and sale of the XTB-IIR and XTB-ANR, but it doesn't look like that will happen.

Jeff
Title: Re: modified through-hole cm15a
Post by: bkenobi on March 22, 2016, 11:21:35 AM
If X10 sold the XTB-IIR to the public, they would regain significant market share as it is THE solution to signal issues.  The only other way X10 could make their systems as reliable would be to have each module act as a repeater.  However, that would certainly have significant cost implications per module, so may not be the best option.
Title: Re: modified through-hole cm15a
Post by: Tuicemen on March 23, 2016, 09:14:01 AM
As you know, I offered to modify the new SMD design (for free) for them to produce if they would provide the gerber files for the existing SMD design. (Even if they do not have the gerbers, the company that manufactured the CM15A would, along with the parts list.) That would have retained their power supply and PLC interface hardware, replacing the MCU and RF receiver while adding TTL interfaces for external (and externally powered) WiFi & BT modules (their power supply cannot handle these if internal). The new RF receiver would qualify for self-testing and the other changes would not materially affect their UL status. And, using the Atmel ATmega328P MCU (used in the Arduino UNO) would make community provided firmware & software practical as well as make it attractive to a few billion Arduino acolytes around the world. Plus, it would use the same plastic enclosure with only slight modification.

They never responded so I resurrected my design that modifies the old through-hole CM15A figuring there might be some in the community with spare through-hole CM15As who might be interested.
I didn't realize they never got back to you.
Last I heard was finding the files shouldn't be to difficult and it was to be discussed with the owner.
It is possible the discussion never happened in any case you should have been informed.
Title: Re: modified through-hole cm15a
Post by: Tuicemen on March 23, 2016, 09:21:27 AM

I contacted them about taking over production and sale of the XTB-IIR and XTB-ANR, but it doesn't look like that will happen.

Jeff
I was lead to believe the owner liked the idea of handling some of your hardware however they didn't mention the specific hardware which interested them.
You may wish to contact the owner again once the Wi-Fi unit is released as it seems most of their resources are tied up in it.
Title: Re: modified through-hole cm15a
Post by: dhouston on March 23, 2016, 01:40:49 PM
I just received a dozen bare PCBs for the CM15A mod - air mail only took 11 days. I'll try to build and test a few over the next week or two.
Title: Re: modified through-hole cm15a
Post by: toasterking on March 26, 2016, 04:27:43 PM
If X10 sold the XTB-IIR to the public, they would regain significant market share as it is THE solution to signal issues.  The only other way X10 could make their systems as reliable would be to have each module act as a repeater.  However, that would certainly have significant cost implications per module, so may not be the best option.

Completely agree on the XTB-IIR!  And yes, if every module could act as a repeater and if they could pack in some of the firmware additions that ACT used in their A10 line such as the extended addressing, status reporting, and programmable options, they would have something that could compete with Insteon and still maintain the backward compatibility with older X10 that Insteon used to boast, but without having to design and program for 2 different protocols.  It would still be slower and a little more susceptible to interference than Insteon, but it would be close.  But you're right; it would raise the price significantly.  And at that point, even if they had similar prices to Insteon, what's the motivation for a newbie to choose a similar but slower and older technology over a more modern one?

I think that Dave Houston's idea of building in out-of-the-box Arduino-compatible features is a winner.  It may not significantly stimulate the market for commercial products using X10 but it would give hobbyists a reason to buy X10 modules by the truckload instead of other products.  The thing about home automation standards right now is that there are so many of them.  If one platform can be more compatible with more of those standards, especially if one of them is a trending platform for hobbyists, it will stand out.  If I had a choice, I would of course want all of the above -- built-in repeaters too.

Edit: Changed "Android" to "Arduino" (which is what I meant!)
Title: Re: modified through-hole cm15a
Post by: dhouston on March 26, 2016, 05:49:59 PM
As I suggested in another thread, they should be looking at what Itead Studio has done...
https://www.itead.cc/sonoff-sv.html (https://www.itead.cc/sonoff-sv.html)
If they built the ESP8266 into all the new switches and modules, they could scoff at powerline noise without adding that much to cost. They could add features while retaining backwards compatibility.

I now have 3 of the relays and their SocketRocket-ish light socket...
https://www.itead.cc/smart-home/sonoff-wifi-wireless-switch.html (https://www.itead.cc/smart-home/sonoff-wifi-wireless-switch.html)
https://www.itead.cc/smart-home/slampher-wifi-wireless-light-holder.html (https://www.itead.cc/smart-home/slampher-wifi-wireless-light-holder.html)
Once I get the CM15A brain transplant working, I hope to play with using the ESP8266 as a WiFi-to-Serial link to it while also controlling these relays and light socket. It opens up a myriad of possibilities.

The ESP8266 truly is an amazing little chip. It can function as an AP and do P2P simultaneously, has most of the standard I/O protocols (UART, I2C, SPI) and much more, including 38kHz IR I/O using the NEC protocol.

There's already a free (but cloudy) building automation application using it with Arduino & RPi.
https://www.supla.org/ (https://www.supla.org/)
Title: Re: modified through-hole cm15a
Post by: Noam on March 29, 2016, 03:27:55 PM
Basically they stated if the community were to take on creating a prototype and develop the needed software they would look at manufacturing. ::) :'

I contacted them about taking over production and sale of the XTB-IIR and XTB-ANR, but it doesn't look like that will happen.

Jeff
You'll still handle tech support for it though, right? ;)
Title: Re: modified through-hole cm15a
Post by: JeffVolp on March 29, 2016, 07:36:10 PM
I contacted them about taking over production and sale of the XTB-IIR and XTB-ANR, but it doesn't look like that will happen.

Jeff
You'll still handle tech support for it though, right? ;)

Yes, for the foreseeable future.

Some of the components are becoming increasingly difficult to obtain in through-hole versions.  I recently reworked the layout to accept alternates, but now the alternates are being discontinued too.  We did pick up a large supply, so we are OK for now.

The next step is surface-mount and machine assembly.  That is something I don't want to take on by myself.

Jeff
Title: Re: modified through-hole cm15a
Post by: dhouston on April 21, 2016, 12:38:06 PM
While I have a dozen bare PCBs for the CM15A2Z, my ongoing spinal cord travails have kept me from populating and testing. Any movement of head or limbs has been troublesome for the past few weeks.

Consequently, I have requested a quote for a small batch of assembled boards. If the quote is not outrageous, I'll order them and create/test the firmware. If it works and there's enough interest to justify the cost it can go forward.

Gus Dattilo (who designed the PLC Amp) has offered to test one.
https://www.laser.com/dhouston/plc-amp.html (https://www.laser.com/dhouston/plc-amp.html)
Since he is a C/C++ guy, I'll see if he might want to write the Arduino firmware.

He has also updated the PLC Amp design. I'll try to update the web page once I update the CM15A2Z page.
Title: Re: modified through-hole cm15a
Post by: dhouston on May 19, 2016, 08:24:49 PM
I'm afraid there has been minimal progress on the hardware side. I have several medical appointments over the next 6 weeks. Hopefully, I can spend more time on this once those are out of the way.

There has, however, been a very encouraging development on the firmware side. Anywhere Software (Basic4Android, Basic4iOS, Basic4Java) has recently released Basic4Arduino (B4R) a freeware package that supports Arduino and with ESP8266 support under active development. They have a tutorial for the HC-05 Bluetooth module as well. It's almost like they were looking over my shoulder at the list of devices I plan to support for the CM15A2Z.

Anyway, it means we can open things up so that anyone who wishes can create their own firmware using B4R and it means the CM15A2Z can be upgraded in the field. Plus, it will simplify support should I become totally incapacitated. I'll be able to release my B4R code as open source and I won't need to install the ZBasic bootloader on each CM15A2Z which further simplifies things.

https://www.b4x.com/index.html  (https://www.b4x.com/index.html)
Title: Re: modified through-hole cm15a
Post by: Tuicemen on May 20, 2016, 08:00:10 AM
This (Anywhere Software) is awesome!
The cm15a2z will be unbeatable!
Title: Re: modified through-hole cm15a
Post by: dhouston on May 20, 2016, 08:40:39 AM
This (Anywhere Software) is awesome!
I agree - I've had a B4A (Basic4Android) license since they first started.
Title: Re: modified through-hole cm15a
Post by: dhouston on May 20, 2016, 10:05:03 AM
Blumoo looks like it might be a viable controller option. I've asked them if there's a way to import CCF files.
http://www.blumoo.com/ (http://www.blumoo.com/)
I think it is cloud based, however.