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Author Topic: Is it time to give up on X10 ?  (Read 467 times)

Gismo

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Is it time to give up on X10 ?
« on: August 09, 2017, 02:53:13 PM »

I have lamp modules and timers that are (Radio Shack) ~30 years old.  Over the years I purchased the CM15A with working software and some other x10 stuff so I basically use it to turn lights off and on and yes it works (sometimes hahaha).
With all the HA stuff available and with those prices getting reasonable, I think it's  time to move on to something else.

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Tuicemen

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Re: Is it time to give up on X10 ?
« Reply #1 on: August 09, 2017, 03:29:42 PM »

Many have moved on to other protocols abandoning X10 totally.
Others have simply added to their X10 setup and expanded on it with other Protocols.(best route I think) ::) :'
With Authinx taking over the X10 line we've seen some improvements in newly redesigned modules and the promise of new (yet to become reality) modules.
It may be worth while making your setup more reliable instead of moving on and learning a new protocol.



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Gismo

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Re: Is it time to give up on X10 ?
« Reply #2 on: August 09, 2017, 06:38:04 PM »

Sorry for the post in the wrong place.

I do have an Amazon Alexa Dot. Don't have any HA products with that as of now.
I also use my old phones with the app from Manything for security now. Since I can't use my x10 cameras via internet. But Manything is better.

I may still use my x10 to control the lights I have since they do work at least with  fluorescent bulbs.

I was hoping that Authinx would have had new units by now. But as you can see with so many companies jumping on wifi bulbs, amazon control units, iphone home units etc, I doubt they can compete.

Thanks for your feedback.
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HA Dave

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Re: Is it time to give up on X10 ?
« Reply #3 on: August 09, 2017, 06:50:58 PM »

..... I basically use it to turn lights off and on and yes it works (sometimes hahaha).
With all the HA stuff available and with those prices getting reasonable, I think it's  time to move on to something else.

Many have moved on to other protocols abandoning X10 totally.
Others have simply added to their X10 setup and expanded on it with other Protocols.(best route I think) ::) :'

I am with Tuicemen on expanding our setups! I personally think we are in a new "golden age" of home automation. And those 30 year old (radio shack) modules still work just fine. And with all the modern cloud-based cool-tech stuff out there (and I have my share of the new stuff).... the CM15A is still a fine piece of automation technology. Setting aside the CM15A and AHP running on an old (or tiny newer) PC.... would be a step away from cutting edge... IMHO.

But like Tuicemen I have added many new IP and cloud based HA devices and functions. I control my X10 now (mostly) using my Amazon Alexa devices and a Homeseer HomeTroller. Which I can also control via my smart phone from anywhere. But the ole Theater remote (and the palmpad in the man-cave) still work/control my X10 just fine too.

I've also added a Wink Hub, Cree wifi bulbs, and ihome modules. Plus I've added the Chamberlain online (cloud) garage door and light automation. And as the old X10 cameras became obsolete I went with a new online (cloud) setup linked with our phones and tablets.

Your instincts are correct... about using new stuff. But X10 (with AHP and the CM15A) is still pretty high-tech and is irreplaceable IMHO. Your only errors are limiting your HA to turning lights on and off.... and thinking of abandoning X10. Expand, expand, expand... X10 included. What we can do now-a-days with this stuff is just barely this side of magic.   
« Last Edit: August 09, 2017, 06:55:45 PM by HA Dave »
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There is a lot more to automation... than turning things on and off.
The use of Home Automation is limited... only by our imaginations.

HA Dave

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Re: Is it time to give up on X10 ?
« Reply #4 on: August 09, 2017, 07:08:47 PM »

..... I was hoping that Authinx would have had new units by now. But as you can see with so many companies jumping on wifi bulbs, amazon control units, iphone home units etc, I doubt they can compete.

Yeah.... I too was hoping there would more new X10 stuff by now. The old X10... sure picked the wrong time to NOT expand and develop. But no fat lady's have sung yet either. And the old PowerLine Commands still work fine.

I do have an Amazon Alexa Dot. Don't have any HA products with that as of now.

There you go! Like I posted earlier I am now using a Hometroller with Alexa to controll X10. But Tuicemen has found a couple inexpensive fixes for controlling X10 with Alexa. One is a software bridge... you could run on a CM15A connected PC. There is a LOT of fun to be had with this stuff now.
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There is a lot more to automation... than turning things on and off.
The use of Home Automation is limited... only by our imaginations.

Tuicemen

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Re: Is it time to give up on X10 ?
« Reply #5 on: August 10, 2017, 07:17:21 AM »

But Tuicemen has found a couple inexpensive fixes for controlling X10 with Alexa. One is a software bridge... you could run on a CM15A connected PC. 
The bridge software HA-Bridge is free and is can be run on many platforms so if your running windows or a PI it will work.
I created a windows front end Alex10 which is also free and includes the HA-Bridge, you can find it Here
Alex10 does all the complicated script writing to the bridge saving you hours of frustration as the Bridge can be complicated to work with for those not familiar with scripts.
Since this uses the AHP SDK it works well with AHP allowing Alexa to fire macros.

Another route to get Alexa control of you X10 setup is to pick up a inexpensive Broadlink RM Pro, Amazon carries these.
This will allow control with out your PC On or Off and allow control of other RF and IR devices.
The hardware will require a couple of apps (I'm not sure if there are iPhone app for this)
 >!
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Gismo

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Re: Is it time to give up on X10 ?
« Reply #6 on: August 11, 2017, 05:51:31 PM »

Thanks Tuiceman
Looks interesting. I don't leave my pc on so I'll pass on your bridge. I'm getting older so I'm looking for something easy now.
I use to use the old radio shack alarm clock timer to turn lights on and off. That worked fine until it died. Then I purchased the CM15A with software.
I agree I'm limiting my HA just turning lights on and off but that was my main purpose when I started. I have a few motion detectors to control other lights but they are not reliable.  I tried the x10 camera but the Manything app works great.
I agree the CM15A with software is good HA technology even for today.
If Authinx gets x10 back with new units and software I may try it. But it does not look like that will happen soon.
I'm sure HA controllers for Amazon/Google/iPhone products being sold for around $20 soon so when that happens I'll jump on that.
Thanks for your input
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HA Dave

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Re: Is it time to give up on X10 ?
« Reply #7 on: August 11, 2017, 08:38:43 PM »

...... I'm getting older so I'm looking for something easy now.....
.....I agree I'm limiting my HA just turning lights on and off but that was my main purpose when I started.....

Many of us here at the forum are aging... myself included. I feel fortunate all my HA is still UN-needed fun.... and of course a lot of convenience and security. Aging does solidify those old pre-technology paradigms... but that isn't healthy... and it isn't necessary either. We need to keep our minds (and body's) healthy. With modern medicine what it is... we may be stuck in these body's for a long, long time. Staying active with our favorite sport or outdoor activity and our intellectual activities/hobby's (like Home automation).... is just plain good for our mental and physical health.

Since we're going to grow old anyway... we might as well do the things that help us to enjoy ourselves.   

I also started with X10 to operate the lights in my Home Theater... from my chair in the theater. Then I added a CM11A for macros, a high-end remote, then a CM15A upgrade. My setup has been growing since. And by reading what smarter and more imaginative HA users were doing... I realized that HA is so much more than lights. And they have inspired me to do more, and more.

If Authinx gets x10 back with new units and software I may try it. But it does not look like that will happen soon.
I'm sure HA controllers for Amazon/Google/iPhone products being sold for around $20 soon so when that happens I'll jump on that.

I used the Voice Control Software, BVC.... for nearly a decade (and I still run an old XP Laptop running AHP and BVC 24/7)... before Amazon released the Echo/Dot/Alexa devices. What Amazon has done with Alexa and the "skills" (lighting devices included)..... has forever changed Home Automation.... and the direction it's going. If you use an iphone.... many devices work well remotely (from anywhere) or directly by Alexa... with NO HUB what-so-ever. I saw ihome modules (no hub needed) at Sam's Club last weekend in a package of two for $50. And I have seen wifi bulbs (that would work with most hubs) on-line for as little as 8-9 bucks. So.... you should be feeling just a little froggie already.

But some of my favorite things.... have NOTHING to do with lights. I love the alarms and warnings I get. Being able to check-in on the house from the middle of no-where. Reminders from Alexa, entries into my calendar (which is always with me via my iphone). Heck... I've even been out bicycling and yelled (to my iphone) Hey, Siri.... what time is it? 
« Last Edit: August 12, 2017, 10:32:16 PM by HA Dave »
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There is a lot more to automation... than turning things on and off.
The use of Home Automation is limited... only by our imaginations.

Walt2

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Re: Is it time to give up on X10 ?
« Reply #8 on: August 12, 2017, 06:55:15 PM »

My major home automation is still X10 even after all these decades.   However, I have MyQ for my garage doors.  My HVAC thermostats are rooted in WiFi, Z-wave, and Nexia.    My refrigerator and dishwasher on their own GE network (thru WiFi).    My cars can use their Homelink to do some basic local X10 on's. and Homelink for door status too.   

I wish someone would come up with a reasonable priced anything-to-X10/X10-to-anything standalone box.   Yah, like the CM15A, you can program it with an app/program running on a PC.  Just to give an example, when it "sees" a particular X10 house/unit code 'on', it came map it to a z-wave module 'on'.   And visa-versa.

I have played with Voice Control over the years.   Very "Star Trek" like.   But even today's best solutions are pretty awkward and not yet understanding true natural speech.
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* Sears Home Control System, Radio Shack Plug 'n Power, NuTone, Stanley LightMaker, BSR, HomeLink.
* Tecmar Device Master, CP290 (LightHouse), CM11A (AH), CM14A (AH2), CM15A (AHPro).

bkenobi

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Re: Is it time to give up on X10 ?
« Reply #9 on: August 14, 2017, 10:50:06 AM »

If you already have a CM15A and are willing to give something new a try, there are a few options that might work that don't involve a running PC.  I opted to use a Raspberry Pi with HomeGenie to control my X10 via the CM15A as a transceiver.  There are other HA programs that would also work but I've been happy with HG.  The only down side to selecting it today is that the author has decided to scale back development.  The project is free to the user which means the author is donating his work and being unemployed doesn't help.
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SteveMann

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Re: Is it time to give up on X10 ?
« Reply #10 on: August 15, 2017, 12:00:52 AM »

New member here.
Like many of you, I have boxes of X-10 modules that moved with me from my prior home.  But I never installed them.
Now, I am looking at repurposing them, using the ESP8266 WiFi module.  It's about the size of a large postage stamp and has WiFi a processor and memory sufficient to make the module into a tiny web server.


My theory is that I can use the power supply and powerline components from the modules and replace the RF section with the ESP.  this would put the module on the web, at least locally inside the home.

Has anyone else done a similar conversion?
« Last Edit: August 15, 2017, 12:03:22 AM by SteveMann »
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Tuicemen

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Re: Is it time to give up on X10 ?
« Reply #11 on: August 15, 2017, 07:36:56 AM »

I believe most have been waiting on the promised X10 Wi-Fi hub to materialize.
However some of us have experimented with modules that use the ESP chip.
Since the x10 Wi-Fi unit basically is a converted PAT03 I suspect converting one would be a easiest step.

The original proto type for the x10 Wi-Fi unit still included the RF board & antenna  ;)
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Brian H

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Re: Is it time to give up on X10 ?
« Reply #12 on: August 15, 2017, 08:12:12 AM »

Which X10 or X10Pro modules are you thinking about?
You mentioned an RF sections. Maybe a Transceiver or CM15A?
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SteveMann

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Re: Is it time to give up on X10 ?
« Reply #13 on: August 15, 2017, 08:52:07 AM »

I hope that I am not hijacking the OP's thread...

Putting WiFi on the PAT03 would only perpetuate the problems in the X10 technology- specifically the noise sensitivity of the 120 kHz powerline RF and the limited range and noise sensitivity of the 315MHz wireless controllers.  My biggest frustration with the original X10 was the need for a cross-phase link/repeater for split-phase home services, followed by areas in the home where no X10 module would work because of noise on the power line.  (I suspect that noise on the power lines makes the module detecting the zero-crossing of the AC an issue causing the timing to be confused.)  in my home where I had X10 just about everywhere, few of the modules would work when the clothes dryer was running.  Modifying the PAT03 would be difficult as I would have to be able to analyze and replicate the encoding protocol.  Wikipedia has the basics, but my simple digital o'scope just isn't up to the task of analyzing a 120 kHz protocol.  Putting one of the 16-button controllers on WiFi would be much more straightforward because all I would need to do is put a port expander in parallel with the buttons.  Done.  But it's still X10 at heart.

The X10 was indeed the pioneer in home control and automation and I spent hundreds of 20th-century dollars on X10 technology.  But 21st-century technology has advanced so far that I can't justify putting any more lipstick on that grand old lady.  No, my plan would just use the X10 hardware and put WiFi into each module.  Similar to WeMo, but at a fraction of the price.
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SteveMann

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Re: Is it time to give up on X10 ?
« Reply #14 on: August 15, 2017, 08:57:18 AM »

Brian-
I suspect that I may be speaking heresy here, but when I am done, the modules would no longer be X10.
The RF I am referring to is the 120kHz data pulses on the powerline control protocol (PLC).  While groundbreaking at the time, it's simply old technology ready for retirement or regeneration.  I choose to regenerate.
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