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Author Topic: Is it time to give up on X10 ?  (Read 6950 times)

dhouston

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Re: Is it time to give up on X10 ?
« Reply #15 on: August 15, 2017, 04:52:13 PM »

If you plan to eliminate PLC, why go to the trouble of modifying X10 modules? Itead has SocketRocket-like lamp holders and relay modules that are ESP8266 based and are dirt cheap.
https://tech.scargill.net/itead-slampher-and-sonoff/

https://community.smartthings.com/t/release-sonoff-sonoff-th-s20-dual-4ch-pow-touch-device-handler-smartapp-5-10-smart-switches/45957

https://www.itead.cc/
« Last Edit: August 15, 2017, 04:54:36 PM by dhouston »
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HA Dave

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Re: Is it time to give up on X10 ?
« Reply #16 on: August 15, 2017, 06:03:07 PM »

I love this thread. Any conversation on how to best exploit HA technologies gets my interest. I always look to you guys for creative ideas on how to proceed with my setup.

If you plan to eliminate PLC, why go to the trouble of modifying X10 modules? ........

You're so right! Actually Wifi light bulbs can be picked up for about 8-9 bucks on-line. Even if you have to buy a $50 hub... or use an old laptop with a small downloaded app. Easy peasy (lemon squeezy). 

...... when I am done, the modules would no longer be X10.
The RF I am referring to is...... While groundbreaking at the time, it's simply old technology ready for retirement or regeneration.  I choose to regenerate.

I like your idea to "regenerate" the X10 modules. The best HA setups IMHO... are full of creative work-arounds. But... I've only rarely had any problems with my X10 working reliably. Both the X10 RF and PLC are 100% solid. I can't say that about Wifi... as my ISP can drop on occasion leaving my modem and router struggling to keep up.

But X10's old-fashion tech... seems to keep on plugging. I'd love to see X10 get busy with new devices, modules, and most of all... new ideas and ways to exploit the use of Home Automation. I think there is still plenty of room for the old RF and PLC tech.
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Brian H

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Re: Is it time to give up on X10 ?
« Reply #17 on: August 16, 2017, 06:18:04 AM »

Good luck if you decide to try. Keep us informed.

The 2017 specification sheet for the ESP8266 indicates a 2.5 to 3.6 volt DC power.

Most of the X10 modules have between 15 to 18 volt power line derived power supplies.
I have seen 5 volts in the CM15A and around 3.3 volts in the redesigned Soft Start Lamp Modules and CFL Friendly Appliance modules. With the Sonix surface mounted controllers.
« Last Edit: August 16, 2017, 09:43:10 AM by Brian H »
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solareclipse

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Re: Is it time to give up on X10 ?
« Reply #18 on: August 16, 2017, 08:10:58 PM »

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

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

I'm with you.  Each day my X10 setup seems to get a little less reliable.  I think if I bought a couple XPFs I could filter out the most problematic devices, but I can't justify spending much more on X10.  I've already replaced my CM15A once to keep it going.  I don't plan on doing it again.  If the new wifi hub ever materializes, I would still probably get it to extend the life of my system.  But when I sell this house, I wouldn't install X10 devices in the new one. 
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SteveMann

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Re: Is it time to give up on X10 ?
« Reply #19 on: August 16, 2017, 09:54:44 PM »

The 2017 specification sheet for the ESP8266 indicates a 2.5 to 3.6 volt DC power.

The esp module needs about 200mA by spec, so I would make a simple zener regulator for it or just change the zener diode on the PCB.
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SteveMann

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Re: Is it time to give up on X10 ?
« Reply #20 on: August 16, 2017, 10:00:17 PM »

If you plan to eliminate PLC, why go to the trouble of modifying X10 modules? Itead has SocketRocket-like lamp holders and relay modules that are ESP8266 based and are dirt cheap.

Thanks for the tip.  I will definitely look for these units.  If I can reprogram the esp module, then it will save me a lot of effort.
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HA Dave

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Re: Is it time to give up on X10 ?
« Reply #21 on: August 17, 2017, 12:49:16 AM »

....... when I sell this house, I wouldn't install X10 devices in the new one.

An interesting thought.

My own "futuristic Smart Home" may be a bit technologically dated.... even though I try hard to keep my setup up-to-date. I've often pondered the idea of completely dismantling my Home Automation setup.... then [I would] rebuild the setup better.

But I think your right. At this point... without a update from X10 itself... I might hesitate to incorporate as much X10 as I use now.

But I added MyQ when the garage door needed replaced. And Amazon's Echo/Dot devices were completely irresistible... even though I had BVC voice control (which I still use). The ihome stuff works fine without anything other than my iphone (and Alexa). But adding the Wink hub adds so much... and the Hometroller makes even old X10 (with the CM15A) work online and with the Amazon technology.

I might add yet another Hub if I can do so cheaply enough. I like the idea of being able to use whatever brand of HA device on the market I choose. What I learned from X10's failure is not to put all my eggs in just one basket (again). So now I use a nice variety of device brands. And I think I always will. And I can't see any reason to eliminate any brands (X10 included) or limit any of the choices I have (of automation products). Even a clapper is good automation if it fits the application well.   
« Last Edit: August 17, 2017, 12:54:48 AM by HA Dave »
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dhouston

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Re: Is it time to give up on X10 ?
« Reply #22 on: August 17, 2017, 06:49:37 AM »

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Tuicemen

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Re: Is it time to give up on X10 ?
« Reply #23 on: August 17, 2017, 07:25:30 AM »

There are several firmware downloads currently out there for the Sonoff devices. There may even be one that suits your needs that has already been created.
I flashed the firmware in my safe voltage Sonoff with a simple firmware that will work with SmartThings.
https://community.smartthings.com/t/release-sonoff-sonoff-th-s20-dual-4ch-pow-touch-device-handler-smartapp-5-10-smart-switches/45957
 >!
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dhouston

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Re: Is it time to give up on X10 ?
« Reply #24 on: August 17, 2017, 09:28:29 AM »

This is probably the most comprehensive site for ESP8266 programming information...
http://esp8266.net/
Espressif released an SDK for the ESP8266 and this really made a huge difference with sales exploding.

This page links to most, if not all, of the ESP8266 based devices available from Itead...
https://www.itead.cc/smart-home.html
All the ones I've seen have programming terminals onboard.

There are a few other ESP8266 based relay modules on the web...
https://www.bing.com/search?q=ESP8266+relay&qs=n&form=QBRE&sp=-1&pq=esp8266+relay&sc=8-13&sk=&cvid=2CDBBFAF63884553B8855C38116CFF5E

Also, there are numerous examples online of dimmers using Microchip MCUs...
https://www.bing.com/search?q=microchip+dimmer&pc=MOZI&form=MOZTSB
and some ESP8266 based dimmers...
https://www.bing.com/search?q=esp8266+dimmer&pc=MOZI&form=MOZTSB
« Last Edit: August 18, 2017, 11:22:46 AM by dhouston »
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