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Author Topic: looking for advice getting started  (Read 37433 times)

NESter

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looking for advice getting started
« on: October 24, 2010, 11:48:01 AM »

I'm interested in getting started with X10 hacking.  Currently the only X10 equipment I own is a wireless security system.  I see that finally it is possible to monitor and activate such a system, at least from a windoze PC.  I have some interest in playing around with home automation and such as well.  But first and foremost I would like to be able to interface to the RF security modules to see which doors are open, etc.  I don't currently have any interest in getting into cameras, but I don't discount the possibility that I may want to play with them in the future.  I have been wanting a way to monitor contact closure from Linux, and have considered the velleman kits, but I am thinking that a door/window sensor will perform the same function without needing to run any wires.  If I can really set up a "binary sensor network" using X10 door/window sensors, that would really kick some serious butt.  I have visions of interfacing to the buzzers on my washer and dryer so my computer can notify me when I need to switch the wash.

What I have to work with other than my existing wireless security system...  I have a server running fc5.  I have another GNU/Linux based desktop running FC9 which also has an XP VMWARE box running on it.  I have a spare "laptop" which is has Vista Home on it (quoted because the screen hinge is busted such that I avoid folding/moving the machine when at all possible).  I figure I have several options...  I can use activehome on the "laptop" as intended, but that's not quite ideal due to windoze being unreliable and far less convenient to operate remotely.  Possibly, I could run activehome on the VMWARE box and control it remotely without needing the "laptop" (both Linux boxes are 24/7 and already perform important functions in my home).  Or I could try to get an interface that I can control natively from Linux.  That brings in the possibility for Perl scripting (my preferred language). 

Features I am looking to implement:
Monitor security modules for events (door open/close, etc)
Control lamp modules and other X10 devices for automation
Custom responses to events
-send notifications of events via email/SMS
-activate X10 modules as a result of X10 inputs or other sources like command line or web interfaces

For example, I want to be able to have my computer SMS me when the alarm is tripped.  As mentioned above, I would love to be able to use door/window sensors as "contact closure" detectors...  I could then implement anything from detecting the closure of a relay when my washing machine buzzes to detecting that the water level in my hot tub is low and should be topped off.  these events would trigger a notification.

Basically, could someone who has played with this stuff please review my ideas and tell me what is feasible using current software?  Obviously there has been work in a CM15A driver for Linux and given enough time and patience I could write it ALL from scratch.  When I win the lottery, I can take that on.  I would love to have a better starting point than simply a device driver.  The realistic possibility is that I could use activehome for the short term and play with an open-source interface in my free time until I can implement all of the features I want.  Unless someone already has something that works.  Please advise, and thanks for any input.
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pconroy

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Re: looking for advice getting started
« Reply #1 on: October 24, 2010, 12:25:58 PM »

I run Linux on all my home servers too.  As do a few others here.
I *think* you're going to have roll up your sleeves and do some digging.

AFAIK - the CM15 code for Linux is incomplete.
The first thing I'd do is make sure someone's able to see Security data coming in on the CM15A.
Reliably.

I have NOT looked (as I have a CM11A), maybe someone's figured it out.
I just thought there were still plenty of holes in the reverse engineering effort left open.

"heyu" - the classing UN*X based X10 control program does not support the CM15A.
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NESter

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Re: looking for advice getting started
« Reply #2 on: October 24, 2010, 11:50:19 PM »

I'm definitely thinking of trying to interface to the box that has vmware on it.  I should be able to access the USB from vmware to use activehome, and play with getting the cm15a to work from linux without having to buy a second one or physically move it from one machine to another.  Other option is to pick up a cm19a for $11 delivered off ebay and try to get that working in linux.  The certified like new kits are too cheap to resist so I am pretty much convinced I want one as I can get a cm15a and some extra lamp and appliance modules for $35, along with windoze software to play with...  any chance activehome can run under wine?  my vmware box is always booted though, so I guess I probably wouldn't use wine anyway, but it would be an interesting option to have.
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Brandt

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Re: looking for advice getting started
« Reply #3 on: October 24, 2010, 11:54:15 PM »

keep it simple. don't introduce potential problems into your HA system. Get a used CM11a from someone on this forum, and run heyu...Heyu is light, fast, and a perfect linux wrapper for the CM11a.
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pconroy

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Re: looking for advice getting started
« Reply #4 on: October 25, 2010, 12:16:52 AM »

Never tried VMWare - but I do run Virtual Box.
I've tried AHP with Wine - no go for me.
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NESter

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Re: looking for advice getting started
« Reply #5 on: October 25, 2010, 01:10:15 AM »

not sure how much anyone here would want for a cm11a but they sure sell for a lot on ebay.  also, I need the ability to interface to my RF modules.  I don't yet use any powerline interfaces, though I plan to.  I think I'm just going to buy it, and if I end up just using it with windoze, so be it.  I'm not afraid to do a little coding though, so we'll just have to wait and see.  Maybe one day everyone will be asking me for help.  :)

The current "support" for cm15a sounds like it works just fine for sending commands.  I also want the ability to receive signals, such as from motion sensors, door/window sensors, and even x10 switches and remotes.  I want to be able to do everything activehome does and more and have it be open source and free.  x10 has nothing to lose here since they'll keep supplying the hardware, so I really don't understand why they haven't cooperated with better documentation and support for third-party software. 
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Brandt

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Re: looking for advice getting started
« Reply #6 on: October 25, 2010, 01:37:29 AM »

not sure how much anyone here would want for a cm11a but they sure sell for a lot on ebay.  also, I need the ability to interface to my RF modules.  I don't yet use any powerline interfaces, though I plan to.  I think I'm just going to buy it, and if I end up just using it with windoze, so be it.  I'm not afraid to do a little coding though, so we'll just have to wait and see.  Maybe one day everyone will be asking me for help.  :)

The current "support" for cm15a sounds like it works just fine for sending commands.  I also want the ability to receive signals, such as from motion sensors, door/window sensors, and even x10 switches and remotes.  I want to be able to do everything activehome does and more and have it be open source and free.  x10 has nothing to lose here since they'll keep supplying the hardware, so I really don't understand why they haven't cooperated with better documentation and support for third-party software. 


Heyu and some extra hardware can handle all your needs ;) Trust me I'm doing it now...

CM11a's sell for about $10-$20 on here from generous members...

basically Heyu is the linux version of ActiveHome as it perfectly implements every feature of the CM11a. It is not open source but it is free, on the heyu_users mailing list you can make direct suggestions to the developer and the community is awesome!
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dave w

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Re: looking for advice getting started
« Reply #7 on: October 25, 2010, 09:43:33 AM »

I've tried AHP with Wine - no go for me.
Yup, I did the same thing. After a month I decided I would have to move on to Homeseer or AA.   rofl
(Sorry couldn't stop myself).
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NESter

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Re: looking for advice getting started
« Reply #8 on: October 26, 2010, 01:29:09 AM »

heyu can do cm19a, right?  I need the wireless in order to be able to "hear" my sensors, unless I can use a plug-in module that translates the signals onto the powerline for a cm11a to read...?  I may be interested in picking up some of the older hardware so I can play with heyu and whatever else is already out there.

I'm convinced I'm going to get a cm15a regardless, just because it's a steal in the package deal with the lamp and appliance modules and door/window sensors which I will make use of anyway.  I want to eventually write my own software if need be to get it working in linux.  And if I do, it will be GPL.  This is a project I'm interested in for myself that I know will benefit others if I can pull it off, so I want to share.  Wish me luck.  :)
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Brandt

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Re: looking for advice getting started
« Reply #9 on: October 26, 2010, 02:16:02 AM »

a plug in transceiver such as tm751 or rr501 won't receive signals from security devices

Here is from the x10 auxiliary RF man page:

Quote
NAME
       x10aux - Auxiliary input to Heyu via RF

DESCRIPTION
       Heyu is a program for controlling an X-10 "CM11A" home control device.  See  the heyu(1) man page for usage information.

       This  page  contains  information about the capability of Heyu to receive and process signals from RF remotes and sensors
       using a WGL W800rf32a/usb, an X-10 MR26A, or an RFXCOM X10 RF receiver connected to a second serial port.

HARDWARE
       The W800RF32A is manufactured by WGL & Associates (http://www.wgldesigns.com).  Two models are available - the  US/Canada
       model  operates  at  a  frequency  of  310  MHz and the International model (W800RF32AE) at 433.92 MHz.  It is capable of
       receiving signals from standard X10 RF remotes and sensors like the X-10 HR12A "PalmPad", from security X10  remotes  and
       sensors like the X-10 DS10A Door/Window Sensor, and from older entertainment X-10 remotes like the UR81A Universal Remote
       which are designed to be used in conjunction with an X-10 MR26A Receiver.  Its receiving range is excellent.

       The X-10 MR26A is capable of receiving standard X10 and the older entertainment X10 signals, but  not  the  security  X10
       signals.  Its receiving range is somewhat limited, perhaps 20-30 feet.

       The  RFXCOM  X10 receiver (http://www.rfxcom.com) is available in a US/Canada 310MHz version, an International 433.92 MHz
       version, and a dual-frequency version.  All versions receive  signals  from  standard,  entertainment,  and  security  RF
       remotes  and  sensors  (which  transmit at their frequency).  The 433.92 MHz and dual-frequency versions can additionally
       receive signals from various other sensors like Oregon Temperature/Humidity/Barometric Pressure sensors.

       The RFXCOM X10 receiver is supported by Heyu in both variable length packet and 32 bit (W800 emulation) modes.

       The RFXCOM is a USB device but has a built-in FTDI USB-to-Serial converter and communication with it is the same as  with
       a serial port (assuming your OS supports the FTDI chipset, as does Linux).

       All of these devices are strictly RF receivers and have no transmitting capability.
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NESter

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Re: looking for advice getting started
« Reply #10 on: October 26, 2010, 02:42:35 AM »

hmmmm....  so none of these can send RF.  The cm15a seems to be able to send RF based on the fact that X10 advertises that you can arm and disarm the security system over the web using their software.  I would like that ability, though it's not strictly essential.  It would allow me to implement some things which I've always thought were missing from the system.  For example, I haven't seen a wireless keypad for disarming the security console.  Never understood that one.  It would be great to have a keypad mounted by the entrance that could be used to disarm the alarm without a remote, whether for use by guests or for when your remote dies, or for when you simply don't want to carry one.  Also, I could chirp the powerhorns from the server as a signal, possibly as a "repeater" for my laundry buzzers or some other situation where I want to be able to notify whoever's around that there's something requiring attention.  Yes, I really want to know when the laundry's done.  It's quite annoying having the machines down in the basement where I can't monitor them without doing stairs every time.  :)
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dave w

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Re: looking for advice getting started
« Reply #11 on: October 26, 2010, 10:39:44 AM »

The CM15A can send RF.
FWIW
X10 also has a couple of interfacing modules: the PowerFlash accepts low voltage AC, DC, audio, or contact closure, and will respond by transmitting an X10 "ON" command. When the input goes away it transmit an OFF command. If your washer buzzer is low voltage you could use this to interface.
The Universal Module can be set to provide a momentary contact closure when it's address is send an ON command, or a permanent closure until it sees the appropriate OFF command.
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Brian H

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Re: looking for advice getting started
« Reply #12 on: October 26, 2010, 10:57:33 AM »

You may want to look at some of the ways users over in the Cocoontech forums have done appliance monitoring.
http://www.cocoontech.com/portal/articles/tutorials/home-automation/49-how-to-monitor-the-status-of-your-appliances-using-current-sensors
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Brandt

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Re: looking for advice getting started
« Reply #13 on: October 26, 2010, 11:56:13 AM »

Heyu supports the Cm17a firecracker plugged inline with a CM11a if you want to send RF. Or you can use the CM17a alone.


If you want to use the Cm15a you are going to have to go with Windows as their SDK only contains DLLs. No linux support.
« Last Edit: October 26, 2010, 11:58:02 AM by Brandt »
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HA Dave

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Re: looking for advice getting started
« Reply #14 on: October 26, 2010, 06:35:24 PM »

Brandt, you shoud add your HeyU links, maybe in your signature.

http://forum.heyu.org/

http://wiki.heyu.org/
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