X10 Community Forum

🔌General Home Automation => Automating Your House => Topic started by: madbrain on November 13, 2010, 03:15:36 AM

Title: Remote Internet access to x10 without leaving home PC on
Post by: madbrain on November 13, 2010, 03:15:36 AM
I'm interested in having remote access for the purpose of turning off devices when I'm not using them to conserve power. Unfortunately, it looks like X10's solution, AHP, involves a USB device hooked up to a PC, that needs to stay on for remote access. Keeping the PC on would negate any power savings I could ever achieve. At 40c/kWH (peak PG&E summer tier - now you can see why I want to save power) the cost of keeping the PC 24/7 would be prohibitive.
I'm also concerned about the fact that AHP uses a USB device that requires a driver, which may not work long-term on future versions of Windows. As well as the fact that it requires an x10 service.
I'm looking for a device with low power consumption and usable through a web browser, that I can open a port for on my firewall - something that doesn't require a PC to be on, and thus doesn't require a driver. Does x10 make such a device ? If not, what other suitable devices are you using ?
Title: Re: Remote Internet access to x10 without leaving home PC on
Post by: Brandt on November 13, 2010, 04:51:25 AM
Smarthome sells a powerlinc that hooks up to your router
Title: Re: Remote Internet access to x10 without leaving home PC on
Post by: HA Dave on November 13, 2010, 08:28:44 AM
I'm interested in having remote access ............... to conserve power.
The best way to conserve power is to just turn things off. Automation has many advanages... including being able to conserve energy but with limits.
At 40c/kWH (peak PG&E summer tier - now you can see why I want to save power)
Most of that cost is TAX. Home Automation products do nothing to reduce taxes. Are you wanting to save power... or money?
the cost of keeping the PC 24/7 would be prohibitive.
Many low power PC's are available.
I'm looking for a device with low power consumption and usable through a web browser, that I can open a port for on my firewall - something that doesn't require a PC to be on, and thus doesn't require a driver. Does x10 make such a device ? If not, what other suitable devices are you using ?
You may want to research Elk [alarm and automation] products.

Please note: Energy costs to the consumer have very little to do with the actual cost of energy. The percentage of the cost as profit to energy suppliers is also very low (as a percentage of investment) as that is also regulated. The outrageous cost of energy today is caused by government regulation. The purpose of the regulation is to inflate energy costs out of reach of most users.

In a environment this hostile to the consumer... there is no actionable resolution.. as far as energy usage.
Title: Re: Remote Internet access to x10 without leaving home PC on
Post by: Oldtimer on November 13, 2010, 11:23:04 AM
Smarthome sells a powerlinc that hooks up to your router

Would you please give us a link.  All I foiund was for USB or RS-232.  Thanks.
Title: Re: Remote Internet access to x10 without leaving home PC on
Post by: anthonylavado on November 13, 2010, 11:38:49 AM
I believe Brandt was talking about the SmartLinc as seen here: http://www.smarthome.com/2412N/SmartLinc-INSTEON-Central-Controller/p.aspx

It has it's advantages and disadvantages. It'll get the basic work done though. Make sure you read up extensively on the subject. During my month long investigation before I got started with home automation, I spent a good week looking at the SmartLinc, then decided it wasn't for me.

It still may do the trick for you.
Title: Re: Remote Internet access to x10 without leaving home PC on
Post by: HA Dave on November 13, 2010, 02:28:06 PM
If your looking for basic "remote" control for turning lights off the TouchTone Controller (http://www.x10.com/products/x10_tr16a.htm) can handle that. Although it may take a bit of looking and searching to still find one.
Title: Re: Remote Internet access to x10 without leaving home PC on
Post by: Brandt on November 13, 2010, 03:17:09 PM
Good one Dave I didn't think of that because I don't have a land line  -:)

I saw one at Fry's the other day...
Title: Re: Remote Internet access to x10 without leaving home PC on
Post by: madbrain on November 13, 2010, 06:02:26 PM
Hi,

I'm interested in having remote access ............... to conserve power.
The best way to conserve power is to just turn things off. Automation has many advanages... including being able to conserve energy but with limits.

Yes, the goal is to turn things ofF. x10 allows turning things off conveniently with the use of appliance modules.
It's much easier to send an x10 command to turn on/off the 5-10 transformers in each room, than plug them/unplug them one at a time every time I want to use or stop using them. Timers can help, but I am not on a fixed schedule so I want the ability to remote control.

Quote
At 40c/kWH (peak PG&E summer tier - now you can see why I want to save power)
Most of that cost is TAX. Home Automation products do nothing to reduce taxes. Are you wanting to save power... or money?

Actually, that is the cost per kWH before taxes. Taxes are additional. And it doesn't matter since they are proportional to the power usage. If I save power, I save money. So the answer is, I want to save both.

Quote
the cost of keeping the PC 24/7 would be prohibitive.
Many low power PC's are available.

Link ? How many watts ? How much space does it need ? Keyboard, mouse, display, etc ?
Even so, I don't want to pay for a Windows license, and for a USB interface that may become obsolete over time when there are no drivers for Windows 8. I feel like a device with an Ethernet plug and web access has longer-term potential. I'm quite set on not using a general-purpose computer for this, I prefer an embedded system.

Quote
I'm looking for a device with low power consumption and usable through a web browser, that I can open a port for on my firewall - something that doesn't require a PC to be on, and thus doesn't require a driver. Does x10 make such a device ? If not, what other suitable devices are you using ?
You may want to research Elk [alarm and automation] products.

Thanks, I will.

Quote
Please note: Energy costs to the consumer have very little to do with the actual cost of energy. The percentage of the cost as profit to energy suppliers is also very low (as a percentage of investment) as that is also regulated. The outrageous cost of energy today is caused by government regulation. The purpose of the regulation is to inflate energy costs out of reach of most users.

In a environment this hostile to the consumer... there is no actionable resolution.. as far as energy usage.

I'm not looking for a political debate here. It's not in my power as an individual to control the cost of energy, but it is in my power to reduce usage - that is certainly actionable. And I'm looking to x10 to help with that.
Title: Re: Remote Internet access to x10 without leaving home PC on
Post by: madbrain on November 13, 2010, 06:03:51 PM
I believe Brandt was talking about the SmartLinc as seen here: http://www.smarthome.com/2412N/SmartLinc-INSTEON-Central-Controller/p.aspx

It has it's advantages and disadvantages. It'll get the basic work done though. Make sure you read up extensively on the subject. During my month long investigation before I got started with home automation, I spent a good week looking at the SmartLinc, then decided it wasn't for me.

It still may do the trick for you.

Thanks. I saw that one. But the reviews on Amazon indicate x10 support on it is tricky and somewhat of an after-thought. Is there any network appliance designed mainly with x10 in mind ?
Title: Re: Remote Internet access to x10 without leaving home PC on
Post by: madbrain on November 13, 2010, 06:05:35 PM
If your looking for basic "remote" control for turning lights off the TouchTone Controller (http://www.x10.com/products/x10_tr16a.htm) can handle that. Although it may take a bit of looking and searching to still find one.

Thanks, but I'm looking for Internet access, not phone. I have a large house with 16.5 rooms. By the time I'm done with automation I will have lots of x10 codes. It would be very painful to enter through phone. I want web browser control.
Title: Re: Remote Internet access to x10 without leaving home PC on
Post by: anthonylavado on November 13, 2010, 10:57:54 PM
Is there any network appliance designed mainly with x10 in mind ?
No unfortunately. Even the (expensive) ISY interfaces require a serial controller to interface with.
If you really wanted to get into using an "embedded" device, something to look into would be a Sheevaplug with a CM11A like Brandt has been using.

I'm actually in the process of getting HEYU to run with PlugBox Linux on my PogoPlug v2 that I picked up for $49. Only uses about 5w compared to my 300w Pentium 4 :)
Title: Re: Remote Internet access to x10 without leaving home PC on
Post by: madbrain on November 13, 2010, 11:05:33 PM
Is there any network appliance designed mainly with x10 in mind ?
If you really wanted to get into using an "embedded" device, something to look into would be a Sheevaplug with a CM11A like Brandt has been using.

I'm actually in the process of getting HEYU to run with PlugBox Linux on my PogoPlug v2 that I picked up for $49. Only uses about 5w compared to my 300w Pentium 4 :)


Sounds interesting. I'm a software guy and I could probably do something like that too. But life is too short. And as I understand the CM11A is discontinued. I would rather buy something pre-built and made for x10. Even if it costs twice as much as the Smartlinc device. Too bad it doesn't seem to exist :-(

My google searches found the following : http://www.webio.us/ . This sounds like it might be suitable. Has anyone else tried it ?

I might have to give the Smartlinc a try and see just how bad it is.
Title: Re: Remote Internet access to x10 without leaving home PC on
Post by: HA Dave on November 14, 2010, 12:19:35 AM
I might have to give the Smartlinc a try and see just how bad it is.

Your heading..... in the wrong direction.
Title: Re: Remote Internet access to x10 without leaving home PC on
Post by: madbrain on November 14, 2010, 12:26:44 AM
I might have to give the Smartlinc a try and see just how bad it is.

Your heading..... in the wrong direction.

Thanks for the helpful reply.
Title: Re: Remote Internet access to x10 without leaving home PC on
Post by: Brandt on November 14, 2010, 05:24:03 PM
I am using the $99 Sheevaplug which is a little bigger than a wal-wart and uses 2-7watts depending on how active it is. If you want, I could walk you through my setup.

Title: Re: Remote Internet access to x10 without leaving home PC on
Post by: madbrain on November 14, 2010, 05:34:26 PM
I am using the $99 Sheevaplug which is a little bigger than a wal-wart and uses 2-7watts depending on how active it is. If you want, I could walk you through my setup.



Yes, I'm interested !

Thanks.
Title: Re: Remote Internet access to x10 without leaving home PC on
Post by: pconroy on November 14, 2010, 06:26:16 PM
There are several low power computers.
Personally that's the way I'd head.
Title: Re: Remote Internet access to x10 without leaving home PC on
Post by: Brandt on November 14, 2010, 06:30:56 PM
I am using the $99 Sheevaplug which is a little bigger than a wal-wart and uses 2-7watts depending on how active it is. If you want, I could walk you through my setup.



Yes, I'm interested !

Thanks.


My setup involves Linux command line...are you comfortable with that?
Title: Re: Remote Internet access to x10 without leaving home PC on
Post by: madbrain on November 14, 2010, 07:56:45 PM
I am using the $99 Sheevaplug which is a little bigger than a wal-wart and uses 2-7watts depending on how active it is. If you want, I could walk you through my setup.



Yes, I'm interested ! But I hope your remote access doesn't involve typing commands each time you want to turn a module on/off.

Thanks.


My setup involves Linux command line...are you comfortable with that?

Yes. I'm a software engineer.
Title: Re: Remote Internet access to x10 without leaving home PC on
Post by: Brandt on November 14, 2010, 10:09:00 PM
Please check out the ISY99 first!
Title: Re: Remote Internet access to x10 without leaving home PC on
Post by: kevinwheeler on November 15, 2010, 01:09:04 PM
I just went through this whole process myself, as I have 10's of light/appliance/outlet X10 devices, as well as the DS7000 system with many motion sensors and Door switches, and 4 X10 cameras with Ninja (robotic pan/tilt) devices. I also looked at most of the devices (Smarthome stuff, the ISY-99i) and other solutions, and had been rather disappointed with the MyHouse add-on as well as the high "cost" (power, etc.) of a PC. But after they introduced their new "Mobile" apps and moved the web server to your local PC (Active Phone, iWatchMobile Pro, OnAlert Mobile), I decided to go with a PC based solution. I found this unit at Newegg - an Atom system for $129 (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16856119025), added a hard drive, memory, DVD and USB hub all for under $300 and have a very nice low power system (normally runs under 20W per my UPS). I have an old keyboard/mouse/monitor attached, although I almost never use it - I use VNC for remote access and have the BIOS configured to ignore mouse/keyboard errors.

If you treat this system more like a hardware box (find an old copy of XP, add the free Microsoft Security Essentials, turn off automatic updates), then you won't need to worry about your stuff being obsoleted - if it works now it will keep working until you change something.

This was the only solution for my X10 cameras - nothing else works as well. If you don't have any cameras yet you can buy IP ready pan/tilt cameras for about $80 apiece that you can control directly, but I already had the X10 stuff and it all ties in together nicely. I also have the firecracker USB (CM19A) device and so I can support any of the X10 wireless devices as well. And sophisticated macros and "standalone" timers through the CM15A, as well as e-mails or phone calls via a USB voice modem.

Anyway, just my $.02.

Kevin
Title: Re: Remote Internet access to x10 without leaving home PC on
Post by: Brandt on November 15, 2010, 03:19:06 PM
If your looking for basic "remote" control for turning lights off the TouchTone Controller (http://www.x10.com/products/x10_tr16a.htm) can handle that. Although it may take a bit of looking and searching to still find one.

Thanks, but I'm looking for Internet access, not phone. I have a large house with 16.5 rooms. By the time I'm done with automation I will have lots of x10 codes. It would be very painful to enter through phone. I want web browser control.



I dunno if x10 is a good idea with that many rooms....anybody??
Title: Re: Remote Internet access to x10 without leaving home PC on
Post by: madbrain on November 15, 2010, 03:25:26 PM
Please check out the ISY99 first!

Thanks ! It appears that it would meet my needs. Why did you go the custom route ? Is it because of the price ? Or some missing functionality ?
Title: Re: Remote Internet access to x10 without leaving home PC on
Post by: madbrain on November 15, 2010, 03:31:38 PM
Hi,

I just went through this whole process myself, as I have 10's of light/appliance/outlet X10 devices, as well as the DS7000 system with many motion sensors and Door switches, and 4 X10 cameras with Ninja (robotic pan/tilt) devices. I also looked at most of the devices (Smarthome stuff, the ISY-99i) and other solutions, and had been rather disappointed with the MyHouse add-on as well as the high "cost" (power, etc.) of a PC. But after they introduced their new "Mobile" apps and moved the web server to your local PC (Active Phone, iWatchMobile Pro, OnAlert Mobile), I decided to go with a PC based solution. I found this unit at Newegg - an Atom system for $129 (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16856119025), added a hard drive, memory, DVD and USB hub all for under $300 and have a very nice low power system (normally runs under 20W per my UPS). I have an old keyboard/mouse/monitor attached, although I almost never use it - I use VNC for remote access and have the BIOS configured to ignore mouse/keyboard errors.

If you treat this system more like a hardware box (find an old copy of XP, add the free Microsoft Security Essentials, turn off automatic updates), then you won't need to worry about your stuff being obsoleted - if it works now it will keep working until you change something.

This was the only solution for my X10 cameras - nothing else works as well. If you don't have any cameras yet you can buy IP ready pan/tilt cameras for about $80 apiece that you can control directly, but I already had the X10 stuff and it all ties in together nicely. I also have the firecracker USB (CM19A) device and so I can support any of the X10 wireless devices as well. And sophisticated macros and "standalone" timers through the CM15A, as well as e-mails or phone calls via a USB voice modem.

Anyway, just my $.02.

Kevin

Thanks. I don't have X10 cameras at this time. And not sure that I would want them. 20W is a little bit higher than I'm looking for though it might be livable. How is the noise ? Some people on newegg complain it's not that quiet. Does it have a fan ? Having a hard drive is a major downside reliability wise and noise wise.
I'm still not crazy about using windows. My preference would go to some diskless embedded device with network interface.
Title: Re: Remote Internet access to x10 without leaving home PC on
Post by: madbrain on November 15, 2010, 03:36:22 PM
If your looking for basic "remote" control for turning lights off the TouchTone Controller (http://www.x10.com/products/x10_tr16a.htm) can handle that. Although it may take a bit of looking and searching to still find one.

Thanks, but I'm looking for Internet access, not phone. I have a large house with 16.5 rooms. By the time I'm done with automation I will have lots of x10 codes. It would be very painful to enter through phone. I want web browser control.



I dunno if x10 is a good idea with that many rooms....anybody??

It is a 5000 sq ft house. I'm going to check out how reliable x10 is in the place before I buy the remote server.
I just ordered a dryer type phase coupler/repeater from Smarthome so I can pass commands around. I will see if the X10 commands can get through or not between rooms, and how far. I have a few spare x10 appliance modules to test with. It's possible I will need more repeaters.
Title: Re: Remote Internet access to x10 without leaving home PC on
Post by: Brandt on November 15, 2010, 04:33:23 PM
ick...i used to have one of those dryer type couplers....it was terrible...with that size house i would recommend an XTB-IIR
Title: Re: Remote Internet access to x10 without leaving home PC on
Post by: Brandt on November 15, 2010, 04:34:44 PM
I went the custom route because I'm not all about just throwing money at things to make them work, I'm more into DIY and flexibility to do what I want.
Title: Re: Remote Internet access to x10 without leaving home PC on
Post by: HA Dave on November 15, 2010, 04:39:51 PM
................. 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 (http://jvde.us/). His repeater... is famous!
Title: Re: Remote Internet access to x10 without leaving home PC on
Post by: HA Dave on November 15, 2010, 04:59:51 PM
..... I also looked at most of the devices (Smarthome stuff, the ISY-99i) and other solutions, and had been rather disappointed with the MyHouse add-on as well as the high "cost" (power, etc.) of a PC. But after they introduced their new "Mobile" apps and moved the web server to your local PC (Active Phone, iWatchMobile Pro, OnAlert Mobile), I decided to go with a PC based solution. I found this unit at Newegg - an Atom system for $129 (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16856119025 Anyway, just my $.02.

Kevin Your solution is elegantly simple, you did a great job. I don't care what anybody says, IMHO: Nothing beats a computer for making a home smart. If someone doesn't think their convenience, safety, and security is worth burning a few watts... lets hope they live alone.

I use an old P3 to control and monitor my home. I rescued it from the trash and recycled it with a used (flea market find) RAM upgrade. I have a YouTube Video (http://www.youtube.com/suitmanIM) that shows just a small part of what I do using the Home Automation PC.
Title: Re: Remote Internet access to x10 without leaving home PC on
Post by: madbrain on November 15, 2010, 07:50:45 PM
ick...i used to have one of those dryer type couplers....it was terrible...with that size house i would recommend an XTB-IIR

Just coupler or coupler-repeater ?
Title: Re: Remote Internet access to x10 without leaving home PC on
Post by: madbrain 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 (http://jvde.us/). 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 ...
Title: Re: Remote Internet access to x10 without leaving home PC on
Post by: kevinwheeler 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
Title: Re: Remote Internet access to x10 without leaving home PC on
Post by: HA Dave 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 (http://forums.x10.com/index.php?topic=14721.msg81860#msg81860).

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” (http://www.toysfortots.org/default.asp). For these/those people I think their sacrifice has a deeper meaning.
Title: Re: Remote Internet access to x10 without leaving home PC on
Post by: madbrain 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.
Title: Re: Remote Internet access to x10 without leaving home PC on
Post by: madbrain 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 (http://forums.x10.com/index.php?topic=14721.msg81860#msg81860).

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” (http://www.toysfortots.org/default.asp). 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.
Title: Re: Remote Internet access to x10 without leaving home PC on
Post by: dave w 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.
Title: Re: Remote Internet access to x10 without leaving home PC on
Post by: Tuicemen 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.
 >!
Title: Re: Remote Internet access to x10 without leaving home PC on
Post by: Brandt 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 (http://jvde.us/). 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.
Title: Re: Remote Internet access to x10 without leaving home PC on
Post by: madbrain 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.

Title: Re: Remote Internet access to x10 without leaving home PC on
Post by: madbrain 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.

Title: Re: Remote Internet access to x10 without leaving home PC on
Post by: madbrain 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 (http://jvde.us/). 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.
Title: Re: Remote Internet access to x10 without leaving home PC on
Post by: Brandt on November 17, 2010, 01:16:50 AM
Then I'd recommend the xtb-iir AND the Xtb.
Title: Re: Remote Internet access to x10 without leaving home PC on
Post by: HA Dave 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.
Title: Re: Remote Internet access to x10 without leaving home PC on
Post by: Brandt 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.
Title: Re: Remote Internet access to x10 without leaving home PC on
Post by: Tuicemen 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.
Title: Re: Remote Internet access to x10 without leaving home PC on
Post by: madbrain on November 17, 2010, 03:11:24 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.

3 watts standby times 365 days times 24 hours is 26 kwH per year. I can run my 8kw sauna heater for 3.5 hours with those 3 watts. So yes, I care about every single watt.
And I do very well realize that x10 modules use power. I have measured the usage of the x10 appliance modules (AM466) to be about 0.4W using a kill-a-watt. Obviously I wouldn't connect anything to it that uses less than a few watts, or it wouldn't make sense to have the module inline to turn off the load.
Title: Re: Remote Internet access to x10 without leaving home PC on
Post by: madbrain on November 17, 2010, 04:35:08 PM
Hey, I care about 3 watts it is those little 3 watt items that can leave me in the dark!

Yup. And if you have lots of 3 watt items, it really adds up.
Here is an excerpt of the items I want to turn off when I'm not home and their standby wattage :

- 4 battery chargers that each use between 0.3 and 1.5 watts idle. I am thinking of putting them on a power strip, controlled by a module
- shredder uses 1watt when idle. Clearly doesn't need to be on when nobody is home !
- Brother MFC-9840CDW networked laser all-in-one uses 27.6 watts when idle . This has a clock, but it's not critical. Too bad it doesn't have built-in NTP client. The savings from having this turned on/off will be big.
- D-link wireless router uses 6.4 watts. But I'm not going to turn this off, I already have some internet monitoring for my solar system. And I plan to have remote x10 access.
- cable modem uses 5.9 watts. Again won't turn this off due to the solar monitoring. And I plan to have remote x10 access.
- HP LP3065 30" monitor still uses 5.8 watts idle.
- Ooma hub uses 7 watts idle. This provides my telephone connection. Right now it's hooked up between my modem and router. It could be hooked up after the router and turned off when I'm not home instead. Not sure.
- Panasonic cordless phone base. Uses 1.5 watt.
- 5 Panasonic handsets throughout the house. Use 2.5 watts each.

- Roland VS-3100 Pro mixer . Uses 10.6 watts idle. Already have this on an x10 wall switch.
- M-Audio BX5A speakers. Use 8.9w idle x2 . Already have this on an x10 wall switch.

In the home theater, tons of things have idle standby power.
Trendnet gigabit switch 2.1 watts.
Polk subwoofer 6.6watts
Yamaha receiver 2.2watts
Boston subwoofer 8.5watts
HTPC (Asleep) 5.5 watts. Can't turn this off or it won't record.
Dish 722 DVR . 50.7 watts !!! Can't turn this off or it won't record. The power usage from having this on standby is about $15/month, vs the $55/month satellite service bill.
Yamaha DVD changer 0.3 watts. I can still  turn this off if hooked up to a power strip with a bunch of thing in one x10 module.
Sony SACD changer. This has a front power switch and not remote controllable for power. 0W standby, but 16.4W if front switch is left on ...
Yamaha Cd changer. 7 watts standby. Clearly never needs to be on unless I'm home.
Channel master antenna amplifier. 2.9 watts. This needs to stay on or the DVR and HTPC can't record OTA signals.
Zektor audio switch. 3.5watts. Doesn't need to stay on.
Simple Tech Hard drive. The power supply uses 5.7 even if the drive is off!
HDMI switch 2.9watts. Doesn't do anything unless I'm watching.
x10 ir543 receiver . 0.9 watts. needs to stay on
20+ air wick warmers throughout the house. 2.5W each ! And I thought the oil cost for these was the main cost. But actually power is just as bad. And it still drinks power even if the oil is out.
washer and 110V gas dryer use 1.6watts each. No clock in those. It still makes sense to turn those off together via x10.
3 Roomba chargers that take 3 to 6watts standby each. I have to allow for enough time to recharge the roombas, so not sure how long I want to turn those off. These might be good candidates for timers.
toothbrush chargers use 1watt each whether the brushes are on it or not. Probably not worth controlling.
sharp microwave takes 1.6w idle just to keep the clock. I don't know why I need a clock on a microwave. Timer yes, but clock ?

And the list goes on. It took me a week to go over everything with a kill-a-watt. There are still a few things I haven't measured like the 2 garage openers on standby (which I may not want to turn off, anyway - but thinking about replacing because they have no built-in light when opening). I also couldn't measure several hardwired appliances either with the kill-a-watt. I may need to figure out the standby usage them using the smartmeter and turning off some breakers and seeing the difference.

All those things may look small by themselves (except the printer), but they actually add up to hundreds of watts. I have accounted for 642 of the roughly 800 watts of standby so far in my spreadsheet. I might end up turning things off selectively with 20 to 50 appliance modules throughout the house that use 0.4 to 0.5w each. It would still be a huge savings.
Title: Re: Remote Internet access to x10 without leaving home PC on
Post by: dave w on November 17, 2010, 08:39:59 PM
I might end up turning things off selectively with 20 to 50 appliance modules throughout the house that use 0.4 to 0.5w each. It would still be a huge savings.
I can't explain this discrepancy with your Kill-A-Watt readings unless it has to do with the purely reactive power supply in the Lamp and Appliance Modules. But back in the mid 80s, the X10 VP of Technology Development told me no load current of the modules is 3 to 4 watts. Just the fact that they always feel a bit warm tells me they are sucking more than 5 tenths of a watt.
Title: Re: Remote Internet access to x10 without leaving home PC on
Post by: madbrain on November 17, 2010, 08:51:05 PM
Dave,

I might end up turning things off selectively with 20 to 50 appliance modules throughout the house that use 0.4 to 0.5w each. It would still be a huge savings.
I can't explain this discrepancy with your Kill-A-Watt readings unless it has to do with the purely reactive power supply in the Lamp and Appliance Modules. But back in the mid 80s, the X10 VP of Technology Development told me no load current of the modules is 3 to 4 watts. Just the fact that they always feel a bit warm tells me they are sucking more than 5 tenths of a watt.

I haven't noticed any of my x10 modules running hot. Is it possible that x10 has been improving their power efficiency over time ? My oldest modules are from maybe 1999 or 2000. I have some x10 brand and some RadioShack. The kill-a-watt (P4460) measurements where the same. Perhaps they are inaccurate. These are readings over a short period of time. I just plugged it in for about minute and looked at the watts display, and it fluctuated from 0.4 to 0.5. I will try to run it longer term against one module without anything plugged into it and see what the usage comes to.

FYI, it looks like somebody else did measurements on x10 modules :
http://davehouston.net/x10-power.htm
They list 0.4W for the AM486 . Mine are mostly AM466 .
Title: Re: Remote Internet access to x10 without leaving home PC on
Post by: troll334 on November 18, 2010, 02:06:35 PM
Madbrain,
Forgive me for budding in...couldn't help myself. Have you tried running X10 on your inverter yet (assuming you're running
true sinewave)? I've been thinking about it as I decommission TM751's and RR501's. I've got so many good dreams...
We'll see if Outback's really true sinewave or not :).
tnx,
mike
Title: Re: Remote Internet access to x10 without leaving home PC on
Post by: madbrain on November 18, 2010, 02:14:50 PM
Madbrain,
Forgive me for budding in...couldn't help myself. Have you tried running X10 on your inverter yet (assuming you're running
true sinewave)? I've been thinking about it as I decommission TM751's and RR501's. I've got so many good dreams...
We'll see if Outback's really true sinewave or not :).
tnx,
mike

I'm running Enphase microinverters. And my solar system is grid-tied. So, no true sinewave for me. I'm running x10 on the inverters - no need to ever turn them off.

EDIT: I meant I am NOT running x10 on the inverters ;)

Title: Re: Remote Internet access to x10 without leaving home PC on
Post by: troll334 on November 18, 2010, 02:51:17 PM
Ah, very good. I'm off-grid for Fridge, freezer, some CF's and an entertainment center. A wonderful thing in S. Fla after
Wilma trashed us. Well, if I decide I can smoke a transceiver or two, I'll try it out and let you folks know. After all, what
better system to reduce energy usage than on a battery powered AC system... X10's a natural no-brainer there.
tnx,
mike
Title: Re: Remote Internet access to x10 without leaving home PC on
Post by: Brian H on November 18, 2010, 02:58:40 PM
I fried an earlier version TM751 on an APC UPS. While running on battery. Yes it isn't a pure sine wave type.
Title: Re: Remote Internet access to x10 without leaving home PC on
Post by: Tuicemen on November 20, 2010, 01:11:01 PM
Ah, very good. I'm off-grid for Fridge, freezer, some CF's and an entertainment center. A wonderful thing in S. Fla after
Wilma trashed us. Well, if I decide I can smoke a transceiver or two, I'll try it out and let you folks know. After all, what
better system to reduce energy usage than on a battery powered AC system... X10's a natural no-brainer there.
tnx,
mike

I run X10 on a true sine wave inverter (Magnum) You should have no problem with an Outback!
The only issues I have is if I max out the inverters out put.
This causes some phantom signals But I think I've got them pin pointed now.
 >!
Title: Re: Remote Internet access to x10 without leaving home PC on
Post by: jbmcc on April 14, 2014, 02:28:18 PM
I see this is an older post and you may have solved it already, but I had a thought:  I am using an Arduino Uno with a Sain-Smart ethernet shield.  I know others have been able to control X10 devices with an Arduino also.  Could you use the Adduino/ethernet setup to be an interface with the X10 system?  If anyone wants my Arduino code, please post and I'll be happy to post it.  Good luck!
Title: Re: Remote Internet access to x10 without leaving home PC on
Post by: Noam on April 18, 2014, 01:41:34 PM
I see this is an older post and you may have solved it already, but I had a thought:  I am using an Arduino Uno with a Sain-Smart ethernet shield.  I know others have been able to control X10 devices with an Arduino also.  Could you use the Adduino/ethernet setup to be an interface with the X10 system?  If anyone wants my Arduino code, please post and I'll be happy to post it.  Good luck!
I suppose it is possible to do it that way, and I found a few examples online - but none were quite there yet.
In my case, my Arduino is connected to the TW523 emulation port on my XTB-IIR.
Title: Re: Remote Internet access to x10 without leaving home PC on
Post by: madbrain on November 26, 2021, 07:44:43 PM
I see this is an older post and you may have solved it already, but I had a thought:  I am using an Arduino Uno with a Sain-Smart ethernet shield.  I know others have been able to control X10 devices with an Arduino also.  Could you use the Adduino/ethernet setup to be an interface with the X10 system?  If anyone wants my Arduino code, please post and I'll be happy to post it.  Good luck!

I still haven't fully resolved this.

I have an Odroid XU4Q single board computer with a CM11A in my office. That consumes about 3W-4W idle.
The Odroid is also used for my Unifi controller.
I can VNC into it and used heyu through the command-line . It's very crude. Would prefer a good HTTP GUI. Not sure if one exists. I haven't researched it in a while. I haven't been expanding my X10 system, though. I have kept it to two rooms, only the home office and home theater. I have 4 hardwired switches for lights.

For the audio amps, I switched to TP-link Kasa HS100 modules that use Wifi to communicate. They have been reliable, much more than Belkin Wemo that I had before that. The reason I switched is that I think the loud relays in the X10 appliance modules were causing power surges on startup, which caused damaged to some equipment, including an ECHO Audiofire 12 mixer/Firewire audio interface. I now leave that one on 24/7. There are also driver issues that make it preferable to do that and not try to power it off ...

Kasa "works" with Google assistant, but that hardly ever understands my voice. The UI on the smartphone lists too many devices to scroll through, many screens worth, and is basically useless. I want a customizable HTTP interface ...
Ideally it should be able to integrate both the Kasa and x10. There is probably software out there that can do it. I just haven't looked lately.
Title: Re: Remote Internet access to x10 without leaving home PC on
Post by: brobin on November 26, 2021, 08:45:06 PM
Take a look at the Smartenit Harmony P2. It'll give you X10, Insteon & ZigBee control through an app or web portal. It just uses a cellphone charger for power.

The Smartenit Harmony P2 with a bundled Insteon 2412UPLM is $60 for both it's an economical solution that not only gives you Alexa skill supported control of X10 but an app and a sophisticated automation controller with email and text notifications.  I've been using it for almost 3 years and it's rock solid.  It's virtually plug 'n play so you can be up and running 30 minutes after you open the box.  Everything is done through an Android/IOS app or web portal from anywhere.  In addition to X10, you can also use it to control Insteon and ZigBee devices should you ever wish to.

https://smartenit.com/shop/zigbee-insteon-x10-multi-protocol-gateway-hub/

If you order be sure to click the selection to include the 'Add Insteon/X10 powerline only PLM.' bringing the total to $59.99.

Feel free to ask any questions.  A growing number of us here are using the P2 successfully.
Title: Re: Remote Internet access to x10 without leaving home PC on
Post by: madbrain on November 26, 2021, 10:28:17 PM
Take a look at the Smartenit Harmony P2. It'll give you X10, Insteon & ZigBee control through an app or web portal. It just uses a cellphone charger for power.

The Smartenit Harmony P2 with a bundled Insteon 2412UPLM is $60 for both it's an economical solution that not only gives you Alexa skill supported control of X10 but an app and a sophisticated automation controller with email and text notifications.  I've been using it for almost 3 years and it's rock solid.  It's virtually plug 'n play so you can be up and running 30 minutes after you open the box.  Everything is done through an Android/IOS app or web portal from anywhere.  In addition to X10, you can also use it to control Insteon and ZigBee devices should you ever wish to.

https://smartenit.com/shop/zigbee-insteon-x10-multi-protocol-gateway-hub/

If you order be sure to click the selection to include the 'Add Insteon/X10 powerline only PLM.' bringing the total to $59.99.

Feel free to ask any questions.  A growing number of us here are using the P2 successfully.

Thanks. The only Zigbee device I have is my Smartmeter. I have a Rainforest Eagle to connect to it.

As I mentioned, I use Wifi Kasa smartplugs for my audio amps. Just two of them, though. I don't see any Wifi smartplugs in the list of supported devices for Smartenit. I don't want to use the X10 appliance modules to the relay power surges.
I need 15amp smartplugs. The models I have are HS100 and I bought a 2-pack from Amazon last year for $40 + tax.

Zigbee hardware seems to be pretty costly. Not sure if I want to introduce a 3rd system in my house, especially a wireless one. I'm really not too fond of wireless. I prefer something wired with Ethernet, even if I have to use powerline ethernet modules to get the ethernet. They are slow, but bandwidth is just not needed for all this IoT stuff. If there were good Ethernet smartplugs rather than Wifi, I would buy some.
Title: Re: Remote Internet access to x10 without leaving home PC on
Post by: brobin on November 27, 2021, 03:08:39 AM
I just mentioned the Smartenit device for X10 control from afar via an Android or IOS app, through the web portal or Alexa/Google Home.  No need to use the ZigBee or Insteon protocols if not needed.  Of course the Kasa products have their own app.
Title: Re: Remote Internet access to x10 without leaving home PC on
Post by: madbrain on November 27, 2021, 07:08:54 AM
I just mentioned the Smartenit device for X10 control from afar via an Android or IOS app, through the web portal or Alexa/Google Home. 

Yeah. It looks like I could use Habridge on my Odroid XU4.
https://coreyswrite.com/electronics/home-automation/amazon-echo-x10-home-control-updated/
I haven't gotten that to work yet, though.

Quote
No need to use the ZigBee or Insteon protocols if not needed.  Of course the Kasa products have their own app.

Yes. The Kasa app is pretty basic, though, unfortunately.

Google Home seldom understands my voice. I have yet to try Alexa.

I would prefer a good web UI that works well in a browser, be it desktop, tablet or mobile.
Title: Re: Remote Internet access to x10 without leaving home PC on
Post by: brobin on November 27, 2021, 07:42:03 AM
I just mentioned the Smartenit device for X10 control from afar via an Android or IOS app, through the web portal or Alexa/Google Home. 

Yeah. It looks like I could use Habridge on my Odroid XU4.
https://coreyswrite.com/electronics/home-automation/amazon-echo-x10-home-control-updated/
I haven't gotten that to work yet, though.

Quote
No need to use the ZigBee or Insteon protocols if not needed.  Of course the Kasa products have their own app.

Yes. The Kasa app is pretty basic, though, unfortunately.

Google Home seldom understands my voice. I have yet to try Alexa.

I would prefer a good web UI that works well in a browser, be it desktop, tablet or mobile.

Those two items are solved with what I recommended. There's an app for your Android devices and a Web Portal for your PC. You can use the web portal from a mobile device but the app is easier.  For $60 you'll have it all working in 30 minutes.
Title: Re: Remote Internet access to x10 without leaving home PC on
Post by: madbrain on November 27, 2021, 08:55:01 AM
Those two items are solved with what I recommended. There's an app for your Android devices and a Web Portal for your PC. You can use the web portal from a mobile device but the app is easier.  For $60 you'll have it all working in 30 minutes.

Only for my X10 devices, though. Using a bunch of different apps for different home automation devices isn't the greatest experience.

Title: Re: Remote Internet access to x10 without leaving home PC on
Post by: brobin on November 27, 2021, 11:20:41 AM
Please let us know when you find the app that does it all.
Title: Re: Remote Internet access to x10 without leaving home PC on
Post by: madbrain on November 27, 2021, 06:37:47 PM
Please let us know when you find the app that does it all.

I will :-)
Title: Re: Remote Internet access to x10 without leaving home PC on
Post by: bkenobi on November 27, 2021, 07:44:17 PM
I can't say what the best option is today.  I can say that I have used HomeGenie for this very purpose over the years.  It has an app or you can use the regular web interface.  I run HG on a RPi3 currently but it will work on any variant.  I haven't used remote access i a couple years due to a change in my ISP, but if you have external access to your home network it should still work great today.

The only limitation for HG working is if it works with the protocols you need.  It works excellent with X10 and should work with plenty of other systems.  However, nobody has been making updates for a few years with any regularity so I wouldn't necessarily recommend starting with HG today.
Title: Re: Remote Internet access to x10 without leaving home PC on
Post by: b0b99 on November 28, 2021, 11:32:12 AM
Have you looked at Domoticz? It supports many protocols and has a very active user community. I have been using this on a Raspberry pi for 4 years, running X10 devices, temperature sensors and Foscam cameras without any problems. If interested check out the WIKI at https://www.domoticz.com/wiki/Main_Page.

Bob
Title: Re: Remote Internet access to x10 without leaving home PC on
Post by: HA Dave on November 28, 2021, 09:20:12 PM
Honestly.... I removed X-10 from being controlled via Alexa (via homeseer).

But that's ONE way to extend control remotely. I (of course) use Amazon-Alexa, along with routines, timers, etc to control my Home Automation. Last year I bought the Amazon ear pieces (like ipods). They work GREAT at controlling and monitoring my home. I normally wear a single ear bud and listen to the local news stuff while out cycling (I am a bicyclist). And I can control everything and hear all my alerts too.
Title: Re: Remote Internet access to x10 without leaving home PC on
Post by: madbrain on November 29, 2021, 06:34:40 AM
I can't say what the best option is today.  I can say that I have used HomeGenie for this very purpose over the years.  It has an app or you can use the regular web interface.  I run HG on a RPi3 currently but it will work on any variant.  I haven't used remote access i a couple years due to a change in my ISP, but if you have external access to your home network it should still work great today.

The only limitation for HG working is if it works with the protocols you need.  It works excellent with X10 and should work with plenty of other systems.  However, nobody has been making updates for a few years with any regularity so I wouldn't necessarily recommend starting with HG today.

Thanks. I wasn't able to find the list of supported devices for HomeGenie. Is there one somewhere ?
Starting on something no longer supported is probably not ideal, though. But it does look like it does what I want, if it supports my devices.

I just ordered 3 more XPS4 switches to control my porch light, circulation pump, and the lights near my hot tub. I hope there won't be noise issues. Don't expect it for the first 2 locations, but quite possibly for the 3rd.
Title: Re: Remote Internet access to x10 without leaving home PC on
Post by: madbrain on November 29, 2021, 06:38:14 AM
Have you looked at Domoticz? It supports many protocols and has a very active user community. I have been using this on a Raspberry pi for 4 years, running X10 devices, temperature sensors and Foscam cameras without any problems. If interested check out the WIKI at https://www.domoticz.com/wiki/Main_Page.

Bob

I have not. The only devices I have are X10 switches, X10 appliance modules, and TP-Link Kasa wifi switches. I don't see any of them on the supported device list for Domoticz at https://gadget-freakz.com/product-category/domoticz-compatible-products .
Title: Re: Remote Internet access to x10 without leaving home PC on
Post by: madbrain on November 29, 2021, 06:48:15 AM
Honestly.... I removed X-10 from being controlled via Alexa (via homeseer).

But that's ONE way to extend control remotely. I (of course) use Amazon-Alexa, along with routines, timers, etc to control my Home Automation. Last year I bought the Amazon ear pieces (like ipods). They work GREAT at controlling and monitoring my home. I normally wear a single ear bud and listen to the local news stuff while out cycling (I am a bicyclist). And I can control everything and hear all my alerts too.

I don't think something voice-based and that goes through the cloud is the way to go for me for home automation. It always takes at least 2-3 tries for the voice recognition to understand my accent with Google assistant. Just drives me crazy. It used to work pretty well, but the quality of voice recognition has severely worsened over time. I can't explain why. I have tried to redo the voice training to no avail. It can no longer even understand very basic commands like "navigate home" on the first try. It would be great if it worked, but it just doesn't anymore. I have yet to try Alexa, admittedly. Not sure how that would integrate with things like Google maps.
Title: Re: Remote Internet access to x10 without leaving home PC on
Post by: petera on November 29, 2021, 06:54:06 AM
Have you looked at Home Seer. If the CM11 is the at the heart of your automation setup it will tick all the boxes for you including secure remote access without opening your ports to the outside world. Have a look for yourself https://homeseer.com/

You can see the level of community here too for X10 https://forums.homeseer.com/forum/lighting-primary-technology-plug-ins/lighting-primary-technology-discussion/x10-homeseer
Title: Re: Remote Internet access to x10 without leaving home PC on
Post by: bkenobi on November 29, 2021, 10:50:10 AM
The main homepage lists the main ones in the top blue section.

https://homegenie.it/

Quote
X10, Insteon, Z-Wave, Philips Hue, UPnP/DLNA, RFXCom, KNX, communicate with external web services

I would not recommend using HG unless it is the only one that meets all of your needs.  It has no active development to speak of and the user community is paltry at this point.  The author deleted the user forum which was a vibrant community and moved over to Google before deleting that and only retaining GitHub issues for feedback.  I haven't checked in recently, but he was silent for over a year before having a spurt of updates in early 2021.  I believe it's been quiet since.

That said, the reason it's so quiet is that the author feels HG is a finished product which it mostly is.  The problem is, it's best used in Linux on a SBC and the OS changes regularly meaning software requires maintenance too.
Title: Re: Remote Internet access to x10 without leaving home PC on
Post by: brobin on November 29, 2021, 11:30:10 AM
The whole issue of remote access has me wondering.  Just how much control is needed when one isn't home?  I've had remote access ever since the X10 phone responder and now via apps/Alexa but I can't remember the last time I've used it.  My schedules control everything and I rarely touch a light switch so what is everybody controlling when they're not home?
Title: Re: Remote Internet access to x10 without leaving home PC on
Post by: Tuicemen on November 29, 2021, 04:56:48 PM
I use HomeGenie and monitor both locations via IP cameras in the interface which I can move to presets. I can easily see if something needs switching on or off if switch status showing is incorrect.  As well turning on a light can result in a better pic.
Since when I travel from one place to the other is never the same time, I can also turn on/off heat or AC so place is comfy when I get there.
Title: Re: Remote Internet access to x10 without leaving home PC on
Post by: madbrain on November 29, 2021, 05:20:03 PM
Have you looked at Home Seer. If the CM11 is the at the heart of your automation setup it will tick all the boxes for you including secure remote access without opening your ports to the outside world. Have a look for yourself https://homeseer.com/

You can see the level of community here too for X10 https://forums.homeseer.com/forum/lighting-primary-technology-plug-ins/lighting-primary-technology-discussion/x10-homeseer

I have not. It does look like it supports X10 and Kasa, though, so it seems interesting.
I would need to buy an Rpi4 to run it which eats a few watts.
Not quite clear what the difference is between the pi4, standard and pro versions, also.
Title: Re: Remote Internet access to x10 without leaving home PC on
Post by: madbrain on November 29, 2021, 05:22:49 PM
The whole issue of remote access has me wondering.  Just how much control is needed when one isn't home?  I've had remote access ever since the X10 phone responder and now via apps/Alexa but I can't remember the last time I've used it.  My schedules control everything and I rarely touch a light switch so what is everybody controlling when they're not home?

Not a lot, admittedly. And I could use a VPN to login to the home LAN. So, any software that works on LAN should work on WAN also.
Schedules are not a solution for me other than for very simple things like sunset/sundown for my porch light. I do things at fairly random times every day, whether it's wake up, shower, etc.
I need remote control because of this.
Title: Re: Remote Internet access to x10 without leaving home PC on
Post by: madbrain on November 29, 2021, 05:24:33 PM
The problem is, it's best used in Linux on a SBC and the OS changes regularly meaning software requires maintenance too.

Yes. This is one of the major problems with Linux. The developers change/break compatibility all the time, in a way MS doesn't with Windows, at least not as much.
Title: Re: Remote Internet access to x10 without leaving home PC on
Post by: petera on November 29, 2021, 05:36:46 PM
The whole issue of remote access has me wondering.  Just how much control is needed when one isn't home?  I've had remote access ever since the X10 phone responder and now via apps/Alexa but I can't remember the last time I've used it.  My schedules control everything and I rarely touch a light switch so what is everybody controlling when they're not home?

Completely agree with you. The concept of the word automation would indicate that you wind it up and let it do its thing. People are spending hours in front of their screens watching events instead of just letting them do what they do best. Automate. As long as your setup is reliable it’s irrelevant what solution you use. It’s the ease with setting it up in the first place and modifying when necessary it is all that matters. With that in mind choose the solution that looks best for your needs. You’ve plenty of choice there.
Title: Re: Remote Internet access to x10 without leaving home PC on
Post by: bkenobi on November 29, 2021, 06:52:22 PM
I haven't used it in a couple years since changing ISP and losing access.  That said, I don't really think it's made much difference.  The only time it matters is if I want to turn on an outside light when I'm away if, for instance, I'm away on a weekend after dark and the dogs happen to be in the kennel.  If this were an issue, there are ways to work around this so it's not really a problem.  IMO, if your automation system is set up correctly, it is automated.  Being able to control it is a bonus but that wouldn't exactly make it...automated.

The other reason it's less of an issue these days is I'm down to just one motion sensor controlled light that HG handles because it's also tied to a light switch.  All other motion sensor lights are autonomous LED units now.  I have a few timers, but those are all left alone.  Other than that one kennel light which I may change to a motion sensor too, I don't really need much any more.
Title: Re: Remote Internet access to x10 without leaving home PC on
Post by: HA Dave on November 29, 2021, 07:09:23 PM

I don't think something voice-based and that goes through the cloud is the way to go for me for home automation. It always takes at least 2-3 tries for the voice recognition to understand my accent with Google assistant. Just drives me crazy. It used to work pretty well, but the quality of voice recognition has severely worsened over time. I can't explain why. I have tried to redo the voice training to no avail.

I never voice "train". I let the program do it's stuff... and I do mine. I DO NOT have a particularly good voice. But I've had good voice control results for well over a decade (I started with Microsoft).

I took a clue from Star Trek. Kirk seemed to always look to the top left (of the set) when speaking to the computer. And he didn't speak... naturally. But instead spoke slowly and clearly... using words with few syllables.

Now... I KNOW.... William Shatner was just showing his "best side" to the camera while stealing the scene and reading the script. But I realized that a standardized "line delivery" would be good for voice control. And it has worked well for me. 

But with Alexa/Amazon.... my phone also gives me full remote control and monitoring.
Title: Re: Remote Internet access to x10 without leaving home PC on
Post by: madbrain on November 29, 2021, 07:17:23 PM
I never voice "train". I let the program do it's stuff... and I do mine. I DO NOT have a particularly good voice. But I've had good voice control results for well over a decade (I started with Microsoft).

I'm French. Despite living in the US for over 25 years, I still have a strong accent. Not one that too many people can place, actually. Some think it's eastern european or russian. It's there and will never go away. Trying to tell it to "turn downstairs amplifiers off" almost always results in a search for something ending in "fire", or something. It simply never learns, no matter how many times, on a daily basis. As far as I can tell, Google assistant doesn't seem to realize that it made a mistake, even when I repeat. It's just not learning at all over time. I have pretty much given up trying to control it by voice. The Google home app unfortunately is extremely cluttered with the 15 Chromecast audio, 3 video devices, and the 2 KASA smartplugs. And I haven't linked any X10 to it yet ... Scrolling through 10 screens worth of devices on a small smartphone screen is not practical. And there is no web UI at all in Google Home, unfortunately. It's smartphone/tablet oriented only.
Title: Re: Remote Internet access to x10 without leaving home PC on
Post by: HA Dave on November 29, 2021, 07:21:35 PM
The whole issue of remote access has me wondering.  Just how much control is needed when one isn't home? 

I like the term "monitoring" for remote access. You're correct... I have very little need to remote control much of anything. But... if a get perimeter detection alerts (or if the garage door opens)... I might check my cameras. Or... if it's 100 degrees and I am going to be away for the day. I might check to be SURE the Nest Thermostat caught that and set-back the AC (or heat as needed).

Soon... I hope to have my new water/leak detection set-up installed. And anytime I am away from home and have my phone... I am passively monitoring everything. 
Title: Re: Remote Internet access to x10 without leaving home PC on
Post by: HA Dave on November 29, 2021, 07:30:58 PM

I'm French.
Trying to tell it to "turn downstairs amplifiers off" almost always results in a search for something ending in "fire", or something. It simply never learns, no matter how many times, on a daily basis. As far as I can tell, Google assistant doesn't seem to realize that it made a mistake,

  1.  Instead of "turn downstairs amplifiers off"..... I'd say: "AMP (or amps) OFF". With Alexa you can setup routines to operate dependent from where YOU are when you speak. BTW.... I am pretty sure Alexa also speaks French.

  2. Google is smarter than Alexa... but Alexa learns voices. Alexa even understood the tiny grandkids (they LOVED that).
Title: Re: Remote Internet access to x10 without leaving home PC on
Post by: madbrain on November 29, 2021, 07:38:26 PM

I'm French.
Trying to tell it to "turn downstairs amplifiers off" almost always results in a search for something ending in "fire", or something. It simply never learns, no matter how many times, on a daily basis. As far as I can tell, Google assistant doesn't seem to realize that it made a mistake,

  1.  Instead of "turn downstairs amplifiers off"..... I'd say: "AMP (or amps) OFF". With Alexa you can setup routines to operate dependent from where YOU are when you speak. BTW.... I am pretty sure Alexa also speaks French.

  2. Google is smarter than Alexa... but Alexa learns voices. Alexa even understood the tiny grandkids (they LOVED that).

I have multiple sets of amps, and I don't want to turn them all on at the same time due to power consumption. That's why I use this long command.
There is one Kasa HS100 smartplug downstairs powering 3 amps. Another HS100 upstairs powering 3 more amps. Altogether these power 32 speakers in ceilings/walls.
The amps are receivers using 5.1 and 7.1 analog inputs, with Chromecast audios. Each 5.1 receiver can handle 2 Chromecasts. Each 7.1 can handle 3.

My entire use case for home automation is to save power, so it's crucial to me not to turn on amps that aren't needed. If I could, I would create ways to turn on only the one amp for a specific room. But it gets very complicated to figure out which one that is, since the mapping isn't 1 to 1. And I would need more smartplugs.

Hell, ideally, there would be some kind of beacon detecting which room I am on, and when I want to turn audio in, it would figure out which room I am in, and turn on the right amp, without needing to tell the software which room I'm in. One can dream...

Same thing for the circulation pump, there should be a motion sensor to turn on the circulation pump only when I'm about to take a shower.

The other thing is that I'd like some auto-off timer for all these devices, in case I forget to turn them off. The Belkin Wemo I had before had this feature built in to the firmware. The Kasa do not, unfortunately. The Belkin kept dropping off the network randomly, though, so I replaced them with Kasa, and those have been reliable.
Title: Re: Remote Internet access to x10 without leaving home PC on
Post by: HA Dave on November 29, 2021, 08:27:49 PM

I have multiple sets of amps, and I don't want to turn them all on at the same time due to power consumption. That's why I use this long command.

My entire use case for home automation is to save power,

I've heard (read) that before! Home Automation.... does MANY wonderful things. Like enrich peoples lives! Even save lives and protect property. But saving energy.... yeah. I guess.

...it's crucial to me not to turn on amps that aren't needed. If I could........
Hell, ideally, there would be some kind of beacon detecting which room I am on, and when I want to turn audio in, it would figure out which room I am in, and turn on the right amp, without needing to tell the software which room I'm in. One can dream...

No need to just dream (if you have a few extra bucks) Alexa can tell where (which room) your at/in. So setup can include "lights ON" (or Amp ON) to mean in the room that hears you.

And don't forget.... those Alexa devices play music and such too (some of the better ones do a decent job).

But.... I disassembled my Home Automation setup and rebuilt it differently. Because I believed it was the only way I could make it progress. I have no regrets. But I realize that's one heck of a leap of faith.
Title: Re: Remote Internet access to x10 without leaving home PC on
Post by: brobin on November 29, 2021, 08:44:39 PM


I took a clue from Star Trek. Kirk seemed to always look to the top left (of the set) when speaking to the computer. And he didn't speak... naturally. But instead spoke slowly and clearly... using words with few syllables.



I think you've solved Madbrain's problem!  He's been looking up to the RIGHT when speaking!  :' rofl
Title: Re: Remote Internet access to x10 without leaving home PC on
Post by: madbrain on November 29, 2021, 08:51:22 PM
No need to just dream (if you have a few extra bucks) Alexa can tell where (which room) your at/in. So setup can include "lights ON" (or Amp ON) to mean in the room that hears you.

How so ? By putting Alexa devices everywhere ? I want to play music on the Chromecast audios that feed my amp/receivers. Not some tiny crappy smart speaker. Some of the locations are outdoors, too. Patio, hot tub, balcony. I don't think the devices are weather proof. The outdoor speakers already are, though. Adding 17 Alexa devices is not going to just be a few extra bucks in either purchase price or power consumption, also.

Quote
And don't forget.... those Alexa devices play music and such too (some of the better ones do a decent job).

I would never in a million years consider listening to those, when there are nice speakers in the ceiling everywhere already, driven by high fidelity receivers.
Right now, I use Spotify with the Chromecast audio / receivers. There is still the issue of turning on the amps, though. Without that, I only get silence.
Title: Re: Remote Internet access to x10 without leaving home PC on
Post by: madbrain on November 29, 2021, 08:51:56 PM


I took a clue from Star Trek. Kirk seemed to always look to the top left (of the set) when speaking to the computer. And he didn't speak... naturally. But instead spoke slowly and clearly... using words with few syllables.



I think you've solved Madbrain's problem!  He's been looking up to the RIGHT when speaking!  :' rofl

I have tried that also. The Google assistant just times out, in that case.
Title: Re: Remote Internet access to x10 without leaving home PC on
Post by: HA Dave on November 29, 2021, 10:08:11 PM
I have tried that also. The Google assistant just times out, in that case.

I just don't have any expertise with the Google device. I've seen them in use but never owned/worked with one myself.
Title: Re: Remote Internet access to x10 without leaving home PC on
Post by: HA Dave on November 29, 2021, 10:17:34 PM

I want to play music on the Chromecast audios that feed my amp/receivers. Not some tiny crappy smart speaker.......... I would never in a million years consider listening to those, when there are nice speakers in the ceiling everywhere already, driven by high fidelity receivers.

It pretty much sounds like you've pinned yourself in to a phone app (or push button devices) to control your audio. That's not so bad.

Don't worry.... once the economy turns around.... technology will out-date your system in short-time anyway. I don't really know if Home Automation is a hobby, or a lifestyle. But either way.... it's NOT static.
Title: Re: Remote Internet access to x10 without leaving home PC on
Post by: HA Dave on November 29, 2021, 10:31:21 PM
I think you've solved Midbrain's problem!  He's been looking up to the RIGHT when speaking!  :' rofl

Cute. But unlike pretend spaceships.... the mixture of hard and soft, padded surfaces in a home can really mess with audio. Projecting a consistence [voice] product to your devices makes a huge difference.

In Kirks case... I am sure they had to move the boom mike to the camera's right... if the "star" though his right side was his best. At home... it might be a tad more productive to look in the direction of the device/mike your using.
Title: Re: Remote Internet access to x10 without leaving home PC on
Post by: madbrain on December 11, 2021, 04:51:29 AM
It pretty much sounds like you've pinned yourself in to a phone app (or push button devices) to control your audio. That's not so bad.

Well, for the whole house audio, a mobile device makes sense. When it comes to high end home theater audio, not so much. There are a lot of speakers in the house. Not just the ones in the ceiling.

Quote
Don't worry.... once the economy turns around.... technology will out-date your system in short-time anyway. I don't really know if Home Automation is a hobby, or a lifestyle. But either way.... it's NOT static.

Speakers that I have in the ceiling will continue to be driven by amplifiers. Amplifiers are power hungry, when you are talking about 16 pairs of speakers. Some kind of power management is required. I'm using old dumb receivers picked up for $100 or so with 5.1/7.1 multi-channel inputs.

I haven't changed the amps since I bought them, and it's been a decade. I do have Chromecast audio connected to the amp inputs, whereas I used to have CD players connected, and an RF remote control.

The CCAs afford many more possibilities, but they have already been obsoleted by Google. And there are a lot of unfixed bugs. At least with the CD players and the remote control, I knew what the limits were going in. There were no Wifi AP/router firmware updates, phone firmware updates, CCA updates, to mess up everything randomly every week of the year.

I pretty much wasn't using the audio system with the CD player/remote because it was too cumbersome to change disc, and one was driving the system "blind" with the RF remote - no feedback at all as to what was happening. Eventually the CD players died due to dust and cat hair, and I replaced them with CCAs.

I use the audio system more now with the CCAs. I am not happy that it's dependent on the cloud for almost all tasks, though. And it's just not smart. Audio apps on the phone don't know that they need to turn the amps on to play audio, much less which amp to turn on. The smart speaker vendors solved this by integrating everything - the streaming source, amplifier, and the speakers. That's the opposite of hifi which is by definition modular, and where you can swap/improve one part of the system without affecting the rest. All these new smart devices do is lock you into using a single hardware vendor and specific cloud services. And that's just downright terrible.
Title: Re: Remote Internet access to x10 without leaving home PC on
Post by: madbrain on December 11, 2021, 04:54:39 AM
I have tried that also. The Google assistant just times out, in that case.

I just don't have any expertise with the Google device. I've seen them in use but never owned/worked with one myself.

The only Google devices I use are Chromecast audios, and they are output-only, there is no microphone. It's just a network streamer, with a Wifi chip, and a 1/8" jack analog stereo output. And since I prefer wires rather than Wifi, all 15 of them have Ethernet NICs attached to a USB OTG cable, so Wifi is turned off.

The Google assistant is an app I use on my Android smartphone, a Samsung device. I believe you can use it on an iOS device as well.

Title: Re: Remote Internet access to x10 without leaving home PC on
Post by: madbrain on December 11, 2021, 05:04:36 AM
I think you've solved Midbrain's problem!  He's been looking up to the RIGHT when speaking!  :' rofl

Cute. But unlike pretend spaceships.... the mixture of hard and soft, padded surfaces in a home can really mess with audio. Projecting a consistence [voice] product to your devices makes a huge difference.

In Kirks case... I am sure they had to move the boom mike to the camera's right... if the "star" though his right side was his best. At home... it might be a tad more productive to look in the direction of the device/mike your using.

It's not just in the home. It's in the car also, through the bluetooth car audio system.

Also outside when I control my patio/balcony/deck/hot tub speakers from my phone. No surfaces for voice to bounce off of.

I think voice input has its limits. Even back when Google assistant could recognize my voice properly, if I wanted to ask it to play a specific piece of music, it would only search the Youtube music/Google play music catalog. Not the Spotify catalog, or any other music app I might prefer to use.
And when I asked it to play the Goldberg variations, for example, it would always for some reason choose an interpretation by Glenn Gould, and play variation N°29 specifically. I never figured out why. I have over 70 recordings of this works on CD, by different artists, on different instruments. Sometimes the same artist and same instrument, but different year recording. Trying to ask Google to "play the 1992 recording of Johann Sebastian Bach's Goldberg Variations by Pierre Hantaï" was an exercise in futility. Having a sentence containing words in multiple languages - 3 in this case - is just not something it was ready for. Hell, I have programmed the assistant to understand my voice in both French and English. It replies with different voices in different languages, depend on what I ask it. For English commands, it responds with a male voice. For French commands, with a female voice. Sometimes it can't even figure out which language I'm speaking in. I'll give it a command in English, and I'll have a French female voice babble some random stuff at me because it understood nothing. You can't imagine how much I curse at the damn thing. If only Google was learning my voice from all the cursing. Alas ...

And yet, in the car, voice is really the only safe user interface. In any other situation, I will pick a better user interface.
Title: Re: Remote Internet access to x10 without leaving home PC on
Post by: HA Dave on December 11, 2021, 09:07:05 PM

I think voice input has its limits......................
...................And yet, in the car, voice is really the only safe user interface. In any other situation, I will pick a better user interface.

"Nail-on-the-head". As of todays date.... voice technology... hell ALL the modern automation technologies have limitations. Although they're much improved over a decade ago.

They'll be irreplaceable in another decade. AI may even be considered a type of intelligent life-form. But we only have what's here in the now.   
Title: Re: Remote Internet access to x10 without leaving home PC on
Post by: madbrain on December 23, 2021, 12:36:55 AM

I think voice input has its limits......................
...................And yet, in the car, voice is really the only safe user interface. In any other situation, I will pick a better user interface.

"Nail-on-the-head". As of todays date.... voice technology... hell ALL the modern automation technologies have limitations. Although they're much improved over a decade ago.

They'll be irreplaceable in another decade. AI may even be considered a type of intelligent life-form. But we only have what's here in the now.

My experience is that voice recognition has improved from a decade ago, but not in a straight line. Sometimes there are regressions in technology, and I'm experiencing one right now. I tried to rename my "upstairs amplifiers" to "upstairs amps". Now instead of trying to start dumpster fires, Google tries to turn on lamps. You just can't win.


Title: Re: Remote Internet access to x10 without leaving home PC on
Post by: bkenobi on December 23, 2021, 11:39:13 AM
Different providers have better voice than others.  My phones have always been Android but I know plenty of people who have Apple as well.  From what I've seen in practice and experienced in person, Apple seems to be faster to respond to voice commands than Google.  She doesn't always get it right, but she is quick about it.  That may not be as much the voice recognition as it is the settings on the devices though.  I turn off voice recognition triggers so (supposedly) Google is only recording when I say "hey google" on a screen with the google voice is displayed.  When I had it turned on all the time, it was pretty snappy.  We've all heard rumors of ads being displayed after talking about a unique subject, especially with Apple.  Well, when the phone is listening all the time, it will respond quicker too.
Title: Re: Remote Internet access to x10 without leaving home PC on
Post by: HA Dave on December 23, 2021, 04:29:59 PM

...... I tried to rename my "upstairs amplifiers" to "upstairs amps". Now...... Google tries to turn on lamps. You just can't win.

Lamps... amps. Yeah I can see that happening. But then... I may be a bit fortunate as a little event decades ago (when in the Army) left me slightly hearing impaired (NOT disabled in anyway... just slightly damaged).

I can't say my Alexa devices understand every word I utter 100% of the time. But... I think Alexa hears me as accurately as does my wife. But Alexa continues to grow. She's developed a slight bit of personality over the years. And I've been playing with Voice recognition since the early "Dragon Speech Recognition" software I bought for windows 95.     
Title: Re: Remote Internet access to x10 without leaving home PC on
Post by: madbrain on December 26, 2021, 08:35:02 PM
Different providers have better voice than others.  My phones have always been Android but I know plenty of people who have Apple as well.  From what I've seen in practice and experienced in person, Apple seems to be faster to respond to voice commands than Google.  She doesn't always get it right, but she is quick about it.  That may not be as much the voice recognition as it is the settings on the devices though.  I turn off voice recognition triggers so (supposedly) Google is only recording when I say "hey google" on a screen with the google voice is displayed.  When I had it turned on all the time, it was pretty snappy.  We've all heard rumors of ads being displayed after talking about a unique subject, especially with Apple.  Well, when the phone is listening all the time, it will respond quicker too.

I have my phone setup to respond to "hey google" / "ok google", which means it's listening all the time. For most voice commands, it seems to be going to the cloud for recognition. Even with a very fast network, that induces some delay. I think Apple does some/most of the voice processing locally on the phone. I wish Google did, too. I use a Samsung Note 20 Ultra. Perhaps google does voice processing on their own Pixel hones. But I always ruled them out due to lack of SD card slot.

When I leave my house by car, I lose all cell signal temporarily for roughly the first few minutes - the joys of living in the hills. Even though I have regional maps for Google maps downloaded locally on my phone's internal memory, it's impossible to use Google assistant for that initial stretch to ask for the best directions to a particular destination, because there is no network. Better set directions while at home ... If I use the keyboard, Google maps works even without network. But of course, that's not safe to do while driving.
Title: Re: Remote Internet access to x10 without leaving home PC on
Post by: madbrain on December 26, 2021, 08:38:25 PM
I can't say my Alexa devices understand every word I utter 100% of the time. But... I think Alexa hears me as accurately as does my wife. But Alexa continues to grow. She's developed a slight bit of personality over the years. And I've been playing with Voice recognition since the early "Dragon Speech Recognition" software I bought for windows 95.   

I'm going to try my luck with Alexa. I just set up HomeGenie on my Raspberry Pi 3B+ with my CM11 yesterday. Maybe Alexa will work better than Google voice.
At the moment, I haven't tried to integrate X10 with either Google Assistant or Alexa. I will be trying both and see which one is better.
Title: Re: Remote Internet access to x10 without leaving home PC on
Post by: HA Dave on December 26, 2021, 09:31:40 PM
I'm going to try my luck with Alexa. I just set up HomeGenie on my Raspberry Pi 3B+ with my CM11 yesterday. Maybe Alexa will work better than Google voice.
At the moment, I haven't tried to integrate X10 with either Google Assistant or Alexa. I will be trying both and see which one is better.

For some time.... I ran a Homeseer (Pi) device with a CM15a.... integrated with Alexa (Amazon) dots. It was all good... except Homeseer support for X10 was all user-volunteer. And whereas the skill level of the support was world-class top-of-the-line.... up dates and configurations were always a concern for me. I am an old Microsoft guy... and the Raspberry stuff was always over-my-head.

But I can't complain. Homeseer worked well with Amazons stuff.

But as I continued to add various (Alexa compliant) wifi devices.... I decided to reimagine my home automation set-up. So now the bulk of my X10 is part of my Home Theater which is controlled via a Universal Remote Control (NO voice control) plus a couple PalmPads and my phone (app).
Although I have many flavors and brands of Home Automation devices integrated with Alexa... some things (like X10, theater) the wifi garage door, and part of, my wifi home security.... remain NON-voice controlled.

But although for me Home Automation IS a lifestyle... Home Automation is also a hobby. My set-up is always growing, and changing. 
Title: Re: Remote Internet access to x10 without leaving home PC on
Post by: madbrain on December 27, 2021, 01:28:43 AM
For some time.... I ran a Homeseer (Pi) device with a CM15a.... integrated with Alexa (Amazon) dots. It was all good... except Homeseer support for X10 was all user-volunteer. And whereas the skill level of the support was world-class top-of-the-line.... up dates and configurations were always a concern for me. I am an old Microsoft guy... and the Raspberry stuff was always over-my-head.

I'm in tech and a programmer since I was 12, so the Raspberry Pi stuff is mostly OK for me, at least as far as the OS goes. Programs that run on top of it, somewhat different - varies widely.
Having commercial level support is good. But having an automation program that's open source is great. Ideally, it should be both.

Quote
But as I continued to add various (Alexa compliant) wifi devices.... I decided to reimagine my home automation set-up. So now the bulk of my X10 is part of my Home Theater which is controlled via a Universal Remote Control (NO voice control) plus a couple PalmPads and my phone (app).

My home theater automation is still comprised of mostly old technology. For the longest time, I used a Sony RM-AV2100, then RM-AV2500, IR remote. Lots of hard buttons, and screen with about 200 different possible options, but non customizable. A couple years ago, I moved to using an ARRX18G remote. It does both IR and RF. But I'm only using it for IR. I use RemoteMaster / RMIR software to customize the commands. I have made sure every device in my home theater supports infrared input. That means an IR543 for the lights, that I have for nearly 20 years. But also OTG cable and USB FLIRC IR receiver for the Firestick, which only come with Bluetooth remote. Similar setup for the Chromecast with Google TV. I actually have many more functions on the ARRX18G remote than are on the original remotes for the Firestick and Google Chromecast with Google TV. The main downside is it needs line of sight to operate, since it's IR. And there is no voice input from that remote, since it's not bluetooth.

The home theater lights used to be plug-in X10 lamp modules in my old house. In my current house, there are hardwired ceiling lights, so I put in a few XPS3 a decade ago. It has all worked well, except for the part about lights not turning themselves off automatically when people leave the room. Up until now, I have used my CM11A and a script that turns off the HT lights every 30 minutes. I have cursed more than a few times when I was recabling a device or working on the HTPC, and the lights turned off at xx:00 or xx:30. I really want to solve the motion sensor issue.
Title: Re: Remote Internet access to x10 without leaving home PC on
Post by: HA Dave on December 27, 2021, 10:02:33 AM
My thoughts were that it was advantageous to take my (basement located) theater off-line (automation wise). I stream using a ROKU device (I use ROKU through-out the house). I use switched (mostly can overhead lighting) X10 in the theater and my office/mancave (also in the basement). There are very few automation lighting products made today... that work with remotes (other than phones). And... IMHO... voice control is NOT the best way to control theater lighting. I DO BELIEVE X10.... is an excellent automation product for a Home Theater. X10 was for me... my best choice for the Home Theater.

I use a "IR X10 Command Console" to allow IR to convert to X10. And a POWERMID (like) device to reach the ROKU device (both mounted just below the screen). So the remote(s) operates by pointing in the direction of the screen.... which has a natural, intuitive, feel to it.

I built the original theater about 20+ years ago. And having to start the movie (VHS with TV tuner, and DVD back then) and then fiddle with lighting was a hassle. And THAT is what brought me to X10. Plus X10 gave the theater and extra "WOW Factor". Hard to believe... but back then push button control of lights was still very cool for most people. And... the CM15a allowed me to set-up routines (which was extra cool).

Of course... the video technology has changed dramatically over the years... and I've up-graded accordingly. Only a couple speakers from the original 5.1 surround sound system remain. And HDMI long ago replaced all the Pre-HDMI cables.

Now.... the theater looks and sounds much better (in every way). VHS is completely long-gone.... and even though we own about 1000 blue ray and DVD movies..... everything is streamed.