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Author Topic: Keep X10 or go Z-Wave?  (Read 19355 times)

ciaccia

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Keep X10 or go Z-Wave?
« on: November 05, 2014, 07:09:54 PM »

Guys I've been thinking as I do like my X10 system it is really not what the future holds in my eyes.....I know there is talk about this wifi device and such but is RF the way to go now?  I mean Lutron RA is expensive but it works and Z-wave is a similar system and is less expensive and has many manufactures integrating with it.  I hate to pour more money in my system but I really want to connect to my system via PC or through my smart phone or tablet.  Any thoughts on this?  Am I crazy for thinking this...I don't want to plug into my CM15A any more and re download my info when the power goes out even though there is a battery back up but it still screws with my timers.  I do have my activehome software back up and running thank God to the dedication to you guys on this forum.  I think the good old days of buying 3 appliance modules for $30-40 are long gone.  just look at the website an appliance module it $23 with no more special deals and a wall switches are $23-$28... Its still cheaper but no deals and its old technology....I don't know what to do! The other systems look so much more enticing. 
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dave w

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Re: Keep X10 or go Z-Wave?
« Reply #1 on: November 05, 2014, 09:20:38 PM »

FWIW
1. X10 is living on borrowed time, but I bet it is here for another four or five years, or until Z-Wave prices or WiFi system prices drop to same as X10.
2. Z-Wave will lose popularity as more WiFi based systems debut.
3. Z-Wave tends to get slower as the system gets bigger.
4. Z-Wave communication is more reliable than X10.
5. Z-Wave is two way, so the controller always knows the true status of a module.

Having said that, although expensive, the Homeseer program talks X10 and Z-Wave (it can use CM15A or CM11A as an interface). Homeseer acts as a server so can be accessed through internet via remote PC, or tablet - smartphone browser. Homeseer can act as media controller, email server, etc with voice control and text to speech capabilities. Since Homeseer talks both X10 and Z-Wave you could use it as a hybrid system, migrating slowly from X10  to Z-Wave. Also Homeseer has plugins for Phillips Hue system, Lutron RA and Homeworks, Lightolier, DSC, HAI, and Gemini security systems, etc. etc. etc. I have Homeseer ver 2 and like it. Version 3 is out but their upgrade cost is outa control (pun intended).
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HA Dave

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Re: Keep X10 or go Z-Wave?
« Reply #2 on: November 05, 2014, 11:50:00 PM »

I think.... you might be thinking in terms of a worn out paradigm.

Back in the old days.... everything had it's own remote. The TV had it's clicker (OK... I am really old) the VCR had it's remote.... and for your X10 had a PalmPad (or maybe a tabletop plug-in controller. Those were the days huh.

But now you can control everything... in so many different ways. There is no longer a need or advantage to limit your home automation use to a singular flavor. I find that more and more I end up controlling things using my iPhone.... or alternately my android tablet. What's the difference if I over-ride my timer/event X10 lighting using my Melloware app.... and control wifi linked bulbs with some other app? Or use an app and IR device to control the TV, cable box, DVD, and sound system up stairs.... and different setting on that app to control the Home Theater downstairs.

The proliferation of new devices and ways to access and control automation (which will soon include cloud-based automation... I am sure) creates price reducing competition. As well as great new innovation.

There is absolutely no reason whatsoever why X10 can't also include a wifi protocol.... in addition to their RF and PLC control. And no reason why an automation user should limit there setup to one, two, or even three different brands and/or flavors of automation.
« Last Edit: November 05, 2014, 11:52:41 PM by HA Dave »
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dhouston

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Re: Keep X10 or go Z-Wave?
« Reply #3 on: November 06, 2014, 07:33:06 AM »

There have been a number of alternatives to X10 introduced in the past few years. A few were reviewed here...
And there have been a few more automation hubs that integrate multiple protocols.

Almost all have one thing in common - they lack X10 support.
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JeffVolp

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Re: Keep X10 or go Z-Wave?
« Reply #4 on: November 06, 2014, 10:03:39 AM »

I don't want to plug into my CM15A any more and re download my info when the power goes out even though there is a battery back up but it still screws with my timers.

Early in the morning just a couple of weeks ago I was working on the computer.  It was still dark outside, but one light was on in my room.  My wife had been in the bathroom drying her hair, but came out asking about the power outage.  Apparently the power had gone off for a few seconds, but I didn't see it because the computer and light are on our "electronics circuit" fed by a big 2200VA UPS down in the basement.  The Ocelot (which is our X10 controller) is also on that circuit, and it runs year after year without a problem.  The internal clock battery must be dead by now because it is over a decade old.  The only time I connect to it is when I want to tweak a setting - usually for the irrigation system.

Many folks here know our X10 system is virtually 100% reliable.  The only quirk we had over the last year was one X10 spotlight had turned on but would not respond to an OFF command.  A quick check with the XTBM confirmed no noise on that circuit, and the commands were certainly getting through.  Thinking it might be a code setting switch, I started sending different OFF codes with a Maxi Controller.  (It was night, and it is impossible to get to that floodlight without a ladder.)  Sure enough, the housecode had changed to the one we use for inside lights, and it had responded to one of those ON commands.  I figured I would get the ladder out the next day and spin the code switches, but for some reason it was back on its regular housecode.  That was months ago, and it has been fine since then.  We did have a nasty storm about the time it happened, so maybe some water got somewhere it shouldn't.  Anyway, X10 has been 100% this past year except for that.

Jeff
« Last Edit: November 06, 2014, 10:06:46 AM by JeffVolp »
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HA Dave

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Re: Keep X10 or go Z-Wave?
« Reply #5 on: November 08, 2014, 12:42:22 PM »

There have been a number of alternatives to X10 introduced in the past few years. .....And there have been a few more automation hubs that integrate multiple protocols.

Almost all have one thing in common - they lack X10 support.

With the exception of INSTEON? I thought the Internet connected hub they sell offers X10 support. But even so... X10 is suitable as a standalone as well. I use the Melloware App on my phone. And if that app was written to be a little more inclusive... I would think... I could control my X10 with a $70 android tablet and a CM19A.

Like Jeff... my X10 setup runs flawlessly... and has for years. Sure the X10 technology is old. But so is the entire home electrical systems we use (or much of them). X10's biggest problem appears to be the lack of a corporate structure that keeps the product line alive and innovative... IMHO. 
« Last Edit: November 08, 2014, 01:06:09 PM by HA Dave »
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JeffVolp

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Re: Keep X10 or go Z-Wave?
« Reply #6 on: November 08, 2014, 01:16:00 PM »


The Foard X10/UPB bridge controller supports both X10 and UPB, and can connected to a network.  I have not tried that configuration myself, but I think it requires a PC host.  While the software is a little quirky, the Foard is a very capable controller for its price.

Jeff
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dhouston

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Re: Keep X10 or go Z-Wave?
« Reply #7 on: November 08, 2014, 02:03:56 PM »

With the exception of INSTEON?
I did write almost all. Given that most of the new integrators are ignoring X10 should make folks pause. I suspect they want to avoid support issues - both technical and otherwise.

Both Insteon and UPB have been around for a few years - from when X10 was more viable. Insteon was created by the same engineering team behind Switchlinc (who made X10 compatible devices under license). And even Insteon has dropped X10 support from several switches and modules.

I believe UPB was designed by another team that had originally made X10 devices under license (PCS Powerline Systems of Northridge, California) so that may explain their X10 support.

And Z-wave would not be my choice for the future - there are problems as installations grow. I think WiFi is a better choice although one needs to be aware of LAN security issues. WiFi range is excellent and if each device has its own IP address, there's no need for hubs/bridges. I think it will make for simpler system management.
« Last Edit: November 08, 2014, 06:38:48 PM by dhouston »
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HA Dave

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Re: Keep X10 or go Z-Wave?
« Reply #8 on: November 09, 2014, 01:08:56 AM »

...... Z-wave would not be my choice for the future - there are problems as installations grow. I think WiFi is a better choice although one needs to be aware of LAN security issues. WiFi range is excellent and if each device has its own IP address, there's no need for hubs/bridges. I think it will make for simpler system management.

I have never been concerned about limiting my setup to a singular protocol or brand. I have mixed feelings about which secondary or alternate "flavor" or brand of technology I prefer. But I agree WiFi does have some real pluses.

Currently... I will wait to see what X10 is doing. I keep reading and am continually intergrading my phone (and tablet) into my setup (more and more). The phone(s), the Internet (and the cloud), are altering how I imagine automation to be.

 
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dhouston

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Re: Keep X10 or go Z-Wave?
« Reply #9 on: November 13, 2014, 07:14:28 AM »

Quirky/Wink collection of smart devices address several HA issues and might be a viable X10 alternative.
Wink interfaces with a wide variety of devices from multiple manufacturers.
And there now is a WeMo coffee maker which I think more sensible than a smart crockpot.
« Last Edit: November 13, 2014, 07:58:11 AM by dhouston »
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dhouston

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Re: Keep X10 or go Z-Wave?
« Reply #10 on: November 17, 2014, 08:35:22 AM »

I forgot this web page which lists dozens of HA systems.
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ciaccia

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Re: Keep X10 or go Z-Wave?
« Reply #11 on: November 29, 2014, 07:02:17 PM »

Wonderful responses on this I appreciate it....the thing I like about Z-wave is the devices talk to each other to find a path to get the signal as fast as possible to the correct device.  I also like that you don't need a computer host as well....Im not a big fan of WiFi myself although the signal is very strong throughout my home I always have devices disconnecting now and then such as I will be using my laptop and my laptop disconnects from the wifi..not the wifi's fault but that has happened and recently at least once a day both my wifi thermostats fall off the network for a bit and jum back on and the only reason why I know that is that I have it email me when it's offline for an extended period of time.  Im not to concerned about a security issue with wifi but I think that RF is more reliable in my opinion.  I do like that with wifi you can control everything from your router but Lutron RA I donlt think is going anywhere and I will put that in the same category as Z-wave as it uses similar principles.  I don't know....I think I'm done with X10 even though it is pretty reliable for me I just want something more modern I guess where I don't have to goto my controller and set it up with my laptop as they are not close to each other and everytime the power goes out I have to re download my timers......So confused but I want something new.  Thanks Again :)%
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HA Dave

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Re: Keep X10 or go Z-Wave?
« Reply #12 on: November 29, 2014, 10:28:06 PM »

....... I also like that you don't need a computer host as well......
...... I just want something more modern I guess where I don't have to goto my controller and set it up with my laptop as they are not close to each other and everytime the power goes out I have to re download my timers......So confused but I want something new. 

I wouldn't want to live without computer control of my HA setup. Without a computer processor and programs my home wouldn't be smart... it would only be remote controlled. Don't take this wrong.... I like remote controlled! I mean who wasn't impressed with Zenith's Space Commander. (That doesn't make me sound OLD does it?) But I want more than just a modern "clicker" now-a-days.

I would prefer to use a tablet... or better yet my smartphone as the processor/brain for my HA setup. Right now I use two computers... an old XP laptop and a nearly as old netbook. They re-boot themselves when the power fails so that isn't a problem. But since my phone has more processing power than my first TWO home computers.... I'd like to exploit that. Hopefully... the new X10 interface will help.

Meanwhile.... I think the choice (about which new automation protocol to adopt) may be made when I decide I have a "must have" project/idea. And the technology that can best satisfy my new projects need.... will be the winner.

What I'd really like is to get event generated voice announcements.... like I get now from speakers in my home (generated by one of my computers). But I'd prefer to receive them from (and on) my phone.... wherever I am at. Maybe along with text messages as well... for reference and time dating. And then... to verbally command automation actions using my phone and Siri.
« Last Edit: November 29, 2014, 10:47:02 PM by HA Dave »
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dhouston

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Re: Keep X10 or go Z-Wave?
« Reply #13 on: November 30, 2014, 07:21:58 AM »

...the thing I like about Z-wave is the devices talk to each other to find a path to get the signal as fast as possible to the correct device.
If that's the case, Z-Wave has changed considerably from when it was introduced. Then, the networks were configured by a PC and if any devices failed, the chain was broken until reconfigured from the PC. Also, the number of hops was limited to a fairly low number and there was a risk of running out of hops before running out of real estate.
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ciaccia

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Re: Keep X10 or go Z-Wave?
« Reply #14 on: November 30, 2014, 10:45:12 AM »

I hear ya on the computer setup but they do have gateways that you can configure macros, timers and things of the such....They also have tablet and phone apps to use along with email alerts.  It just depends on how far you want to go with it....Well I am proud to say I just ordered  3way switch kits a motion sensor and a Z-wave gateway I hope to get it soon and I will post some of my results and if I'm happy or not
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