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Author Topic: x10 Newb here. Looking for some advice/answers.  (Read 3609 times)

golfmister

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x10 Newb here. Looking for some advice/answers.
« on: February 03, 2010, 04:21:23 PM »

Hi everyone,
First time poster. First of many probably from now on.
My boss has recently got me hooked into all the x10 stuff and I want to start out with some minor home automation projects.
Currently the only x10 device I have is a simple wall switch that controls some accent lighting in my kitchen through a receiver plugged into a receptacle. Very simple, I know.

I want to do a more slightly complicated project now, or to me what seems complicating. I want to set up a motion sensor that turns on the front porch lights when someone approaches the front door. I also want to turn on those same front porch lights when my garage door opens, but not closes. Both staying on for about 10 minutes, then shuts off. However, I want the inside light switch for those front porch lights to act just how it is. If I turn them on, they stay on until I turn them off. If I have the light switch turned to off, then they only come on when the garage door or motion detector turns them on, or I manually turn them on. I would then eventually like to have something that either tells me that my garage door is open or automatically closes it after 10 minutes. I actually think I read about someone doing that in the personal projects page. But that's after I get the front porch lights project going.
Is this possible? Or does anyone have a better idea.

My problem is that I'm not exactly sure what I need to buy for this project besides a motion sensor, wall switch and some sort of contact switch for the garage. I'm hesitant to buy any of them because I'm not sure what I need exactly. Most of the descriptions for the x10 products I'm looking for are like 1 sentence long. I'm a software developer so it shouldn't be too hard to explain to me how it all works.

Can anyone point me in the right direction?

Thanks in advance.
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HA Dave

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Re: x10 Newb here. Looking for some advice/answers.
« Reply #1 on: February 03, 2010, 07:12:08 PM »

Hi everyone,
First time poster. First of many probably from now on.
I want to set up a motion sensor that turns on the front porch lights when someone approaches the front door. I also want to turn on those same front porch lights when my garage door opens, but not closes. Both staying on for about 10 minutes, then shuts off.
I would then eventually like to have something that either tells me that my garage door is open or automatically closes it after 10 minutes. I actually think I read about someone doing that in the personal projects page.
Can anyone point me in the right direction?

OK X10 works by (RF) Radio Frequency signals and (PLC) PowerLine Commands/signals sent via your 120 Volt AC. Simple enough... the motion sensor will send a RF signal which will need to be received by a device and then a PLC put on your line for the switch to receive and react (turn On/Off).

To accomplish the more thoughtful switching your after.. you will need a device that has some smarts or at least a bit of memory. The AHP (ActiveHome Pro) CM15A interface will do that. The CM15A and AHP software connects to a PC for programming (or PC aided control) by a USB cord. DON'T WORRY. AHP is extremely simple... almost too easy for a programmer or tech type. The normal purchase of a CM15A AHP "package deal" contains a suite of software that all will be helpful... sooner or later.

The garage door can report it's door up or door down status with a simple (RF) security motion sensor (DS10A) which can talk to your AHP interface (CM15A) via a running connected computer with the AHP and OnAlert software. Or you may want to just use the reed switch from the DS10A connected to a Powerflash module which plugs into an outlet and puts the X10 signal directly on the powerline (PLC). To actually close the door you will need a 2nd reed switch (for safety) and Universal Module.

You might need ...
  • Motion sensor MS14A (look for a package and you can find a package that includes something free.. like a 2nd sensor or a chime).
  • Light switch (I'd look for a package deal that included several items in the $50 price range).
  • (CM15A) AHP with the entire software suite.
  • Maybe a 5 pack deal of the (DS10A) door/window security sensors (cheaper than buying reed switches in most cases).
  • Powerflash module and Universal module.

You can use my garage door reminder to accomplish the door announcement (for that you also need BVC) and even auto close the door. The macro description is here. You can even download the maco here.
« Last Edit: February 03, 2010, 07:21:59 PM by Dave_x10_L »
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golfmister

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Re: x10 Newb here. Looking for some advice/answers.
« Reply #2 on: February 04, 2010, 12:53:05 AM »

Awesome, thanks Dave. That's basically exactly what I needed to know and I now have a pretty good idea of what parts I need.  :D

A few questions though:  ???
1) I noticed that the some of the devices require AA batteries. How long do they typically last? Is this ever a problem have to replace them frequently?
2) What exactly do you mean by "puts the X10 signal directly on the powerline (PLC)" when connecting a reed switch to a Powerflash?
3) What is the difference between a Universal and a Powerflash module? The modes?
4) With these parts. How do I control the ON/OFF of the front porch light switch? Through the AHS? At what point is the x10 connected to the wired porch lights?
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Brian H

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Re: x10 Newb here. Looking for some advice/answers.
« Reply #3 on: February 04, 2010, 06:14:10 AM »

2) The PF284 or X10Pro PSC01 Powerflash module. Takes either a switch closure or an application of a low voltage and sends an X10 powerline signal to other devices. It has two input settings. Dry Switch Closure and Low Voltage Input. Has three choices of operation when triggered. Choice three gives a simple on at trigger and off at remove trigger. The other two choices send things like All Lights On and All Units off. Many times used with X10 Siren Modules.

3) Powerflash module sends X10 signals on the power line. The UM506 Universal Module is an X10 Powerline receiver with a low voltage switch and sounder in it. When turned on it can be set to sounder only, sounder and relay switch, relay switch alone. Also has a choice of a of continuous closure with an on signal or a two second momentary closure with an on signal.
http://kbase.x10.com/wiki/UM506
http://kbase.x10.com/wiki/PF284

4) AHP is Active Home Pro Software that runs with the CM15A USB interface. With it the sensors and times could be used in macros to determine when and what happens. The sensors sending signals to the AHP macros. They could send X10 power line signals to the porch lights depending on the time and what is open or closed.
« Last Edit: February 04, 2010, 10:32:08 AM by Brian H »
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mkgriff

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Re: x10 Newb here. Looking for some advice/answers.
« Reply #4 on: February 04, 2010, 11:06:38 AM »

I use several motion detectors outside, I live in the Midwest and it does get cold in the winter.  So for so good, I've only had one battery issue and that was actually inside my garage.  The ones outside in the yard work great.  I use these with BVC (bills voice control, check it out is really cool), anyway these outside motion detectors signal BVC to give me a verbal warning when someone is in a particular part of my yard or at my door.  It's like a automatic doorbell "THERE IS SOME ONE AT YOUR DOOR".

 It's also going to be my guess that in order to do everything you're wanting to do your probably going to have to change the porch light switch to an actual x10 unit which is nothing more than removing the old porch light switch and replacing it with an x10 module switch.

The other suggestion that I might make it is getting on the x10.com website e-mailing list.  They are usually running some kind of special every day and they will e-mail these offers to.  You can also search eBay for some pretty good deals that will  also save you some money.

There are so many things that you can do with home automation and it does not set you back any further than you actually want to be...  I would definitely check out these ad on programs like BVC and PC Companion etc..  Anyway enjoy and share your ideas >!
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BVC & AHP mean never having to say "TURN THAT LIGHT ON WHEN YOU GO BY"

dave w

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Re: x10 Newb here. Looking for some advice/answers.
« Reply #5 on: February 04, 2010, 11:55:03 AM »

A few questions though:  ???
1) I noticed that the some of the devices require AA batteries. How long do they typically last? Is this ever a problem have to replace them frequently?
2) What exactly do you mean by "puts the X10 signal directly on the powerline (PLC)" when connecting a reed switch to a Powerflash?
3) What is the difference between a Universal and a Powerflash module? The modes?
4) With these parts. How do I control the ON/OFF of the front porch light switch? Through the AHS? At what point is the x10 connected to the wired porch lights?
Maybe this will help


http://www.nomad.ee/micros/x10faq.html#section1
http://kbase.x10.com/wiki/Powerflash
http://www.x10.com/automation/um506_s.html
http://www.x10.com/automation/index.html
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golfmister

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Re: x10 Newb here. Looking for some advice/answers.
« Reply #6 on: February 05, 2010, 12:01:07 PM »

Cool. Ok I think I know everything I need to order now. Everything makes sense.
I'll probably be back with some more questions when I'm setting it all up.

Thanks again guys. Also, thanks Dave for those links.
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