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Author Topic: What will I need to build my security system?  (Read 6389 times)

LightworkerNaven

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What will I need to build my security system?
« on: September 05, 2012, 02:44:58 PM »

I looked around on tutorials on getting started with X10, but I haven't found any that helped.  Can I use any X10 software with any X10 compatible devices?  I'd imagine so, but I'm new to the protocol and was researching it a bit earlier.  I'd like to know more about that as well.

Here's what I'd like to do.

1.) Have my computer run software to control my devices in my home.
2.) Have color video cameras in my house that will work well, but not be over the top expensive.  ($20-40 per cam is what I'd like to budget.)
3.) Have everything wireless.
4.) Be able to control the lighting in the house.  (Maybe use a module with many outlets that have their own house codes?)
5.) Open and close doors inside the house and lock and unlock them.  (I'm a certified electronics technician, so if a mod like that doesn't exist, then as long as I can use a different module to work with a motor and an electronic lock or something, I should be good to go.)

So, here's what I THINK I'll need.

1.) Software
2.) A communications device for my computer (Like a modem, but for X10)
3.) A transceiver to talk to my computer and the modules
4.) The modules that listen to the transceiver and perform the required operation

What kind of range do these devices usually have and is the connection encrypted?  I need to make sure the system is secure.
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beelocks

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Re: What will I need to build my security system?
« Reply #1 on: September 05, 2012, 07:31:54 PM »

Locking and unlocking doors is not a great idea for reasons which have been discussed at great length elsewhere.

Basically, the chances of someone hitting the X10 House & Unit code for your front door is 255:1 unless you get funky with multiple modules.
Different house and unit code for front and back doors? chances of hitting one of the codes is 254:2 or 127:1.
Three exterior doors with different house & unit codes per door and you might as well leave the doors unlocked.

Also electric strike plates are a method of locking convenience, not locking security. Of course, you could go for something with a UL security rating like a HES 1006, but for most people multiple hundreds of dollars on a burglar resistant strike is not feasible.

Cameras that work well are not wireless, nor are they X10 - this is an opinion that is bound to be disputed. If you buy a camera for $20 then you get a $20 camera. Wireless cameras still need wires unless you've mastered the art of remote control electricity.

It looks like 1) and 4) of your mission statement will be possible with basic X10 equipment.

Good Luck
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LightworkerNaven

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Re: What will I need to build my security system?
« Reply #2 on: September 05, 2012, 09:02:09 PM »

They would be for inside doors only as I don't trust the protocol yet and I don't want external doors on a wire anyway.  If I wired them, I'd leave a literal backdoor.  As a hacker, I know all too well how hackers think and even if I didn't want to get into a house, I'd still have fun playing with other people's systems for the tactical part of it all.  So, I won't be wiring the external doors, but internal doors could be interesting and if I'm in the control room and someone breaks in, I could see them and trap them in a room.  lol  This is why I said, "5.) Open and close doors inside the house and lock and unlock them."

As for the cameras, the only wires on a wireless camera would be to plug it in.  Wireless in this sense means that the signal is transmitted through the air.  Think of a WiFi router.  You plug the router in, but you can wirelessly connect to it for data.  I don't need HD quality top of the line cameras all over the place, but I want a colour camera that will allow for a wireless connection and work well enough.
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dave w

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Re: What will I need to build my security system?
« Reply #3 on: September 06, 2012, 08:30:09 AM »

Sounds like you have it under control.  ;)

The X10 IP cameras will likely suit your needs and most of the problems with them are related to connecting to wireless router and accessing the feed remotely. A self admitted hacker with a "control room" will have no trouble with that.

As far as the locks, I would recommend using a X10 Universal Module to energize the striker plates. http://www.x10.com/products/x10_um506.htm.   They have a "momentary" setting. Thus, even if falsed after a power outage, will only hold the striker plate open for a couple of seconds before resetting. Also it is a good practice in your automation software to have a recovery routine execute after a power outage. The routine would reset ALL modules to the state they were in before the outage. ("dirty restoration" power outages can cause X10 modules to false to the ON state)

Just as background you might search the terms "noise", "signal coupling", "signal sucker" on this forum to become aware of some of X10 signal foibles.  Or read the entire series of "Uncle Phil" articles I posted on your other thread.
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LightworkerNaven

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Re: What will I need to build my security system?
« Reply #4 on: September 06, 2012, 12:09:09 PM »

Thanks Dave.  =)  Also, any X10 software will work with these devices, right?
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dave w

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Re: What will I need to build my security system?
« Reply #5 on: September 06, 2012, 12:59:49 PM »

Thanks Dave.  =)  Also, any X10 software will work with these devices, right?
"Any" X10 software will control the X10 controlling modules (Wall switch, Lamp, Appliance modules, Universal Module, etc...any module that uses the "House Code - Unit Code" addressing convention), but not the cameras.

X10 has just announced that the CM15A will again be available soon. X10's software "ActiveHome Pro" with the SDK will let you hack you hearts content. Otherwise when looking at non X10 developed software, look for compatibility with CM15A or CM11A interfaces.
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Mr. Jones

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Re: What will I need to build my security system?
« Reply #6 on: September 06, 2012, 03:59:18 PM »


X10 has just announced that the CM15A will again be available soon. [/quote]

They did? I missed it. But like someone mentioned, do you want to be the first with a new X10 CM-15a? Maybe not. Let them work the bugs out first. Let me ask, do you think that they will fix the RF receive distance problem EVERYBODY has complained about all these years? If they don't, that is a big miss! I would sell my current CM-15a and buy a new one if they did. Plus, they would sell more of them too. anyways that's my 2 cents
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dave w

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Re: What will I need to build my security system?
« Reply #7 on: September 07, 2012, 06:49:25 PM »


Let them work the bugs out first. Let me ask, do you think that they will fix the RF receive distance problem EVERYBODY has complained about all these years?
My $0.02.
Nothing will be changed on the *new* CM15A. It will be the old CM15A from a new manufacturer. One can hope they went to a different receiver board, but unless they change their antenna design, it won't help that much IMHO.
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