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Author Topic: Remote Internet access to x10 without leaving home PC on  (Read 49380 times)

madbrain

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Re: Remote Internet access to x10 without leaving home PC on
« Reply #30 on: November 15, 2010, 07:55:36 PM »

Dave,

................. It's possible I will need more repeaters.

More repeaters? If you have two repeaters... and one heard a signal from another... and repeated it. And then the first repeater heard that repeated signal and repeated that.... where would it all stop?

I think the best repeater on the market is made by Jeff Volp... and may very well be what you need. I would consider returning the one to Smarthome and contact Jeff. His repeater... is famous!

Looks nice, but requires work at the electrical panel. Also, the site says some parts are backordered until 7/11/2011 . I guess it's not really an option.

I should have said more amplifiers, not repeaters - you are right, only one repeater is needed.
I see that Smarthome has some plug-in amplifier models, but very pricey ...
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kevinwheeler

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Re: Remote Internet access to x10 without leaving home PC on
« Reply #31 on: November 15, 2010, 11:07:37 PM »

I'm not a big Windows fan either, but I just consider this box a turnkey and don't worry about the OS. As for a hard drive, if you want to spend a little more you can get a nice 64GB solid state drive for around $100 - that should cut down power, heat and noise. As I recall this unit has a fan on the power supply, another on the side of the case, and a small CPU fan. But I really don't hear the machine at all because it is in the basement on a small shelf near the circuit breakers, phone and cable entrances and my cable modem and wireless router. But you might want to re-think about cameras. Even if you don't want to use them for security or have them pan/tilt, a couple around the house to spot-check on really important locations that your lights/appliances actually turned off or on or that the garage door is open or closed are a great addition. Remember that almost all of the X10 stuff is really only one-way communications - you can tell that you sent a command but you can't be sure that the device received it. The only practical way to do that is to use the Insteon stuff but at $35 or more per device that can get real expensive real soon. And the hardware devices can get obsolete even quicker than a computer. But if you want a little more time before your stuff is obsolete pay the man (Bill Gates) and put Windows 7 on the box (still keeping it turnkey). All the new X10 stuff has been upgraded and works fine with Windows 7. So it will be quite a while before your X10 gear will be obsolete.

Kevin
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HA Dave

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Re: Remote Internet access to x10 without leaving home PC on
« Reply #32 on: November 16, 2010, 11:14:58 AM »

..... But you might want to re-think about cameras. Even if you don't want to use them for security or have them pan/tilt, a couple around the house to spot-check on really important locations

All the new X10 stuff has been upgraded and works fine with Windows 7. So it will be quite a while before your X10 gear will be obsolete.

Once again Kevin... I think your on top of this stuff!
 
There is a great deal of convenience in being able to see who pulled in the driveway, or what it was that triggered the floodlight on, or made that noise late at night. I also used a camera to check if my garage door was closed at night. That's a great feature... but now I use my garage door reminder macro.

Properly placed cameras can actually help deter an intruder. Of course... deterrents are sorta like elephant repellents. Living in a nice area in the midwest... it could be difficult to prove that ether the deterrent or repellent is working. But the convenience that the cameras bring is a great value by itself.

A lot of people automate around the edges of automation (and there is nothing wrong with that). They like the control of being able to turn on lights with a remote. And maybe they even setup a timer or two. But they get a little scared at the idea of turning control over to a computer, or a program. The excuses about OS's, hardware, wattage usage and such are meaningless.

Don't get me wrong, some do have true environmental concerns. I know the environmental movement has deep spiritual and religious roots (and I both except and respect that). To some people saving a little electric usage makes them feel good. I think it may be the same feeling I get when I donate to “toys for tots”. For these/those people I think their sacrifice has a deeper meaning.
« Last Edit: November 16, 2010, 11:24:21 AM by Dave_x10_L »
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madbrain

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Re: Remote Internet access to x10 without leaving home PC on
« Reply #33 on: November 16, 2010, 03:23:21 PM »

Kevin,

I'm not a big Windows fan either, but I just consider this box a turnkey and don't worry about the OS. As for a hard drive, if you want to spend a little more you can get a nice 64GB solid state drive for around $100 - that should cut down power, heat and noise. As I recall this unit has a fan on the power supply, another on the side of the case, and a small CPU fan. But I really don't hear the machine at all because it is in the basement on a small shelf near the circuit breakers, phone and cable entrances and my cable modem and wireless router.

If I had to go with a PC I would definitely go with something driveless, SSD is a bit pricey but maybe a flash card if it's sufficiently fast. I still don't like the idea of having to maintain/back up the box. And possibly restore it if things fail. Anyway, I don't want a single point of failure, whether it's with an appliance or a PC, so I will have some manual remote switches first, and the automation server second.

Quote
But you might want to re-think about cameras. Even if you don't want to use them for security or have them pan/tilt, a couple around the house to spot-check on really important locations that your lights/appliances actually turned off or on or that the garage door is open or closed are a great addition.

I don't want to use x10 for lights, except in 2 rooms in the house. #1 is home theater, where the lights are already controller via IR543 from the couch, XPS3 from the wall, and an RF switch from the next room. #2 is my home office where there is an XPS3 wall switch behind a door, and an RF switch in a better location.
For most of my other lights (200+), I have put in vacancy switches. These are manual-on, auto-off. They turn off automatically after 30 minutes if one forgets to turn them off. The only switches I didn't convert to vacancy are for outside lights so they don't go off unless I press the switch, which is indoors. I rarely have the outdoor lights on except the porch, unless I have a party. For the porch I just put a photocell.

Quote
Remember that almost all of the X10 stuff is really only one-way communications - you can tell that you sent a command but you can't be sure that the device received it. The only practical way to do that is to use the Insteon stuff but at $35 or more per device that can get real expensive real soon. And the hardware devices can get obsolete even quicker than a computer. But if you want a little more time before your stuff is obsolete pay the man (Bill Gates) and put Windows 7 on the box (still keeping it turnkey). All the new X10 stuff has been upgraded and works fine with Windows 7. So it will be quite a while before your X10 gear will be obsolete.

Yes, I'm aware it is one-way. But I want to use x10 for controlling a large number of standby power loads, with a lot of transformers. The main way to check that they are really off would be to touch the transformers and see if they are hot or not. And then, only some amount of time after they are turned off, to make sure they have cooled down. Maybe an infrared camera would help for that. But I would still have to wait. And the power usage from the cameras might be more than what I am saving. Not to mention the camera cost, since there are so many rooms. So, I'm really not keen on having any indoor cameras.
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madbrain

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Re: Remote Internet access to x10 without leaving home PC on
« Reply #34 on: November 16, 2010, 03:43:41 PM »

Dave,

..... But you might want to re-think about cameras. Even if you don't want to use them for security or have them pan/tilt, a couple around the house to spot-check on really important locations

All the new X10 stuff has been upgraded and works fine with Windows 7. So it will be quite a while before your X10 gear will be obsolete.

Once again Kevin... I think your on top of this stuff!
 
There is a great deal of convenience in being able to see who pulled in the driveway, or what it was that triggered the floodlight on, or made that noise late at night. I also used a camera to check if my garage door was closed at night. That's a great feature... but now I use my garage door reminder macro.

Properly placed cameras can actually help deter an intruder. Of course... deterrents are sorta like elephant repellents. Living in a nice area in the midwest... it could be difficult to prove that ether the deterrent or repellent is working. But the convenience that the cameras bring is a great value by itself.

Please note that I am not trying to solve any security problem at this time. I am purely trying to save money on electricity. These are 2 completely different problems.

Quote
A lot of people automate around the edges of automation (and there is nothing wrong with that). They like the control of being able to turn on lights with a remote. And maybe they even setup a timer or two. But they get a little scared at the idea of turning control over to a computer, or a program. The excuses about OS's, hardware, wattage usage and such are meaningless.

Don't get me wrong, some do have true environmental concerns. I know the environmental movement has deep spiritual and religious roots (and I both except and respect that). To some people saving a little electric usage makes them feel good. I think it may be the same feeling I get when I donate to “toys for tots”. For these/those people I think their sacrifice has a deeper meaning.

There is nothing scary to me about computers whatsoever. I am just looking for the right kind of a computer, one that's low power and custom designed for a particular purpose. I think the reasons I am stating for not wanting to use a general-purpose computer are quite rational, and very far from meaningless. Not wanting fan noise, extra heat, extra power usage, maintenance of one more networked Windows PC with all that entails (anti-virus, etc) are reasons, not excuses. Don't be condescending just because they are not issues to you. They are to me.

And I'm not religious in any way. The "little electric usage" from standby power adds up. My house has 800 watts of standby power with no lights on according to the SmartMeter, and nothing turned on except the fridges/freezers, which don't even run all the time since they are Energy Star. That adds up to 19.2 kWh per day, which is 58% of my total daily electric usage at this time. With PG&E's insane summer electric rates, the electric bill has been $280 per month. And about half of that has been complete waste. A lot of which I intend to cut, hopefully with the help of x10. My motivation is to save money. Hopefully the sacrifice won't be too hard, it might be as simple as pressing one switch at the front door to turn everything back on when I come into the house, and again when I leave the house to turn them off. And additional timers/remote access if I forget. I might achieve more savings by doing this room-by-room, but it would be more inconvenience also. So I'm not quite sure yet which way I will go. Anyway, I need to make sure the x10 signals can reach throughout the house. The automation server is fairly secondary to my application.
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dave w

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Re: Remote Internet access to x10 without leaving home PC on
« Reply #35 on: November 16, 2010, 05:23:01 PM »

................. It's possible I will need more repeaters.
Looks nice, but requires work at the electrical panel. Also, the site says some parts are backordered until 7/11/2011 . I guess it's not really an option.

I should have said more amplifiers, not repeaters - you are right, only one repeater is needed.
Unless your house is very large (> 5000 or 6000 sq ft) or has distant outbuildings that you are trying to feed, one good repeater (like the XTB-IIR or ACT CR234) should be all you need.
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Tuicemen

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Re: Remote Internet access to x10 without leaving home PC on
« Reply #36 on: November 16, 2010, 05:25:43 PM »

 madbrain:
I understand your reasoning, I too have limited power from which to draw from at my cottage (hope to be home in a few years)
I'm on solar/wind and sunny days are not an issue but as the nights get longer my power resever is harder to replenish.
The $99 Sheevaplug looks like the way to go to me.
Maybe put it on a timer so it isn't always on, only when you need it.

I've connected my router/modem combo to an x10 outlet and turn it off at night it made a big difference at the cottage.
Eliminating all thouse Phantom draws is a big plus for a off grid home.
 >!
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Brandt

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Re: Remote Internet access to x10 without leaving home PC on
« Reply #37 on: November 16, 2010, 06:19:55 PM »

Dave,

................. It's possible I will need more repeaters.

More repeaters? If you have two repeaters... and one heard a signal from another... and repeated it. And then the first repeater heard that repeated signal and repeated that.... where would it all stop?

I think the best repeater on the market is made by Jeff Volp... and may very well be what you need. I would consider returning the one to Smarthome and contact Jeff. His repeater... is famous!

Looks nice, but requires work at the electrical panel. Also, the site says some parts are backordered until 7/11/2011 . I guess it's not really an option.

I should have said more amplifiers, not repeaters - you are right, only one repeater is needed.
I see that Smarthome has some plug-in amplifier models, but very pricey ...


The XTB-IIR does not necessarily require any work at the panel. You can connect a dryer plug to it and plug it in just like the other plugin ones you may see. That is what I'm doing. From there you plug in your computer powerline interface (cm15a/cm11a) directly into it, and it blasts ~8-9V of X10 signal throughout the house versus only 1-5V of X10 signal without it.
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madbrain

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Re: Remote Internet access to x10 without leaving home PC on
« Reply #38 on: November 16, 2010, 11:20:12 PM »

................. It's possible I will need more repeaters.
Looks nice, but requires work at the electrical panel. Also, the site says some parts are backordered until 7/11/2011 . I guess it's not really an option.

I should have said more amplifiers, not repeaters - you are right, only one repeater is needed.
Unless your house is very large (> 5000 or 6000 sq ft) or has distant outbuildings that you are trying to feed, one good repeater (like the XTB-IIR or ACT CR234) should be all you need.

The house is 4700 sq ft. No distant outbuildings.
Looks like ACT CR234 is unavailable too. It doesn't seem to be plug-in either.

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madbrain

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Re: Remote Internet access to x10 without leaving home PC on
« Reply #39 on: November 16, 2010, 11:23:06 PM »

Tuicemen,

madbrain:
I understand your reasoning, I too have limited power from which to draw from at my cottage (hope to be home in a few years)
I'm on solar/wind and sunny days are not an issue but as the nights get longer my power resever is harder to replenish.
The $99 Sheevaplug looks like the way to go to me.
Maybe put it on a timer so it isn't always on, only when you need it.

I've connected my router/modem combo to an x10 outlet and turn it off at night it made a big difference at the cottage.
Eliminating all thouse Phantom draws is a big plus for a off grid home.
 >!

I have solar as well for the last 3 weeks, but my house is grid tied. In the last few days I manually unplugged a bunch of things in my home theater with a power strip. The weather has been good and my meter showed 4131 today vs 4134 three days ago. Producing more power than I use is pretty good. I might be able to afford running the 8kWH sauna and 4 kWH spa heaters some day after all the phantom power is eliminated, without buying more solar panels.

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madbrain

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Re: Remote Internet access to x10 without leaving home PC on
« Reply #40 on: November 16, 2010, 11:34:18 PM »

Dave,

................. It's possible I will need more repeaters.

More repeaters? If you have two repeaters... and one heard a signal from another... and repeated it. And then the first repeater heard that repeated signal and repeated that.... where would it all stop?

I think the best repeater on the market is made by Jeff Volp... and may very well be what you need. I would consider returning the one to Smarthome and contact Jeff. His repeater... is famous!

Looks nice, but requires work at the electrical panel. Also, the site says some parts are backordered until 7/11/2011 . I guess it's not really an option.

I should have said more amplifiers, not repeaters - you are right, only one repeater is needed.
I see that Smarthome has some plug-in amplifier models, but very pricey ...


The XTB-IIR does not necessarily require any work at the panel. You can connect a dryer plug to it and plug it in just like the other plugin ones you may see. That is what I'm doing.

I guess I didn't see that in the instructions.

Quote
From there you plug in your computer powerline interface (cm15a/cm11a) directly into it, and it blasts ~8-9V of X10 signal throughout the house versus only 1-5V of X10 signal without it.

Well, I wouldn't want my computer anywhere near that dryer outlet. The laundry room is upstairs way in the back of the house. The home office is downstairs by the front door. These 2 rooms are as far as they can possibly be in the house. There is no network plug in the laundry room also, so I would have to add a wireless bridge. Another $100 and 3 watts standby. I would prefer to be able to send the signals over the powerline from downstairs and only have the coupler/repeater in the laundry room, but nothing else. Typically I will want to send the signals from downstairs through an RF wireless switch located by the front door, and sent to the power line via RF transceiver in the home office. If the signals can't get through from there, I may need to scrap the whole project. As I mentioned before, remote automation is secondary.
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Brandt

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Re: Remote Internet access to x10 without leaving home PC on
« Reply #41 on: November 17, 2010, 01:16:50 AM »

Then I'd recommend the xtb-iir AND the Xtb.
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HA Dave

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Re: Remote Internet access to x10 without leaving home PC on
« Reply #42 on: November 17, 2010, 09:13:28 AM »

...... I would have to add a wireless bridge. Another $100 and 3 watts standby.

3 watts? You care about 3 watts? Do you realize that EVERY x10 module uses wattage... even when it just sits there and waits?

I had posted my thoughts about your thread. My post was deleted. Apparently.... environmentalism wins (too bad for X10). I guess there isn't much need for me to post here anymore.
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Brandt

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Re: Remote Internet access to x10 without leaving home PC on
« Reply #43 on: November 17, 2010, 12:34:51 PM »

...... I would have to add a wireless bridge. Another $100 and 3 watts standby.

3 watts? You care about 3 watts? Do you realize that EVERY x10 module uses wattage... even when it just sits there and waits?

I had posted my thoughts about your thread. My post was deleted. Apparently.... environmentalism wins (too bad for X10). I guess there isn't much need for me to post here anymore.

This is true, every home automation device uses wattage itself.
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Tuicemen

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Re: Remote Internet access to x10 without leaving home PC on
« Reply #44 on: November 17, 2010, 02:11:43 PM »

Hey, I care about 3 watts it is those little 3 watt items that can leave me in the dark!
I had posted my thoughts about your thread. My post was deleted. Apparently.... environmentalism wins (too bad for X10). I guess there isn't much need for me to post here anymore.
Not sure why that happened Dave I'll see if I can find out what happened.
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