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Author Topic: Remote Internet access to x10 without leaving home PC on  (Read 57957 times)

HA Dave

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Re: Remote Internet access to x10 without leaving home PC on
« Reply #90 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.
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HA Dave

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Re: Remote Internet access to x10 without leaving home PC on
« Reply #91 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.
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madbrain

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Re: Remote Internet access to x10 without leaving home PC on
« Reply #92 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.
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madbrain

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Re: Remote Internet access to x10 without leaving home PC on
« Reply #93 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.

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madbrain

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Re: Remote Internet access to x10 without leaving home PC on
« Reply #94 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 Hantaļ" 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.
« Last Edit: December 11, 2021, 05:10:05 AM by madbrain »
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HA Dave

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Re: Remote Internet access to x10 without leaving home PC on
« Reply #95 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.   
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madbrain

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Re: Remote Internet access to x10 without leaving home PC on
« Reply #96 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.


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bkenobi

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Re: Remote Internet access to x10 without leaving home PC on
« Reply #97 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.

HA Dave

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Re: Remote Internet access to x10 without leaving home PC on
« Reply #98 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.     
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madbrain

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Re: Remote Internet access to x10 without leaving home PC on
« Reply #99 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.
« Last Edit: December 26, 2021, 08:36:43 PM by madbrain »
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madbrain

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Re: Remote Internet access to x10 without leaving home PC on
« Reply #100 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.
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HA Dave

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Re: Remote Internet access to x10 without leaving home PC on
« Reply #101 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. 
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madbrain

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Re: Remote Internet access to x10 without leaving home PC on
« Reply #102 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.
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HA Dave

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Re: Remote Internet access to x10 without leaving home PC on
« Reply #103 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.
« Last Edit: December 27, 2021, 11:47:54 AM by HA Dave »
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madbrain

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Re: Remote Internet access to x10 without leaving home PC on
« Reply #104 on: February 07, 2022, 10:02:19 PM »

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.

I agree with you, voice control really is not the way for home theater, remote control it. X10 is indeed excellent for home theater. I also started using X10 about 20 years ago. It might be a few years more than that. I use 3 XPS3 switches for the 3 sets of LED ceiling lights in my home theater, total of about 15 bulbs in different areas. It took a lot of work with many filters, some plug-in, one in a wall box, to get X10 signal to behave just in that room, though. There is of course an IR543. Still , the home theater doesn't exist in isolation. The utility room is just behind it, and the circulation pump is there. I want to be able to turn it off when using the home theater. For now, I have an XPS4 on the circulation pump also. Not sure I made the right decision, though. At the moment, it's on a different house code than the XPS3s in the home theater, also, so a second IR543 might be needed, or opening boxes again to change codes, sigh. Any, ultimately, I don't expect to use X10 for everything in the house due to noise on the powerline. There are things that are really hard to filter, like the EV charger, that interfere with it. Some more modern devices might be preferable. I'm not crazy about all the IoT stuff, especially due to constant firmware updates, often forced, that can break the system. That's one thing for sure that can never happen with X10. Of course, the USB serial driver on the Odroid can get a regression, and break things still, as happened to me once. I bought a second CM11A until I figured that one out, now have a spare (but I only have one RJ11 to DB9 cable). I thought my CM11A had died. Anyway, I don't know what other technology might be the way to go. Maybe Zigbee or Zwave. I haven't tried either. But there doesn't seem to be much of anything in the way of IR to Zigbee or IR to Zwave bridges. For rooms other than home theater, those other techs with a smartphone might be suitable. But it's the integration of everything that's painful.
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