X10 - what's new?

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Steve Williams

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Dec 21, 2003, 9:41:28 PM12/21/03
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I just moved into a remodeled house, and I'm trying to get X10 working in
the new house. I'm using parts that were in our old house and working
pretty well, but I havn't paid any attention to set up for a long time since
I had things the way I want them.

In the new house, it's time to pay attention again. I'm using a CM11A
interface from my computer and X10 Active Home software, v1.42.

Is there better software out there now? Is there a better interface? Where
can I go to get up-to-date information on the best way to run X10?

Thanks for any help that comes my way.

Steve


BruceR

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Dec 22, 2003, 12:44:04 AM12/22/03
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IMHO, almost anything is better than the CM11A. Look the the Ocelot, JDS
Stargate, HomeVision and others for a more sophisticated approach that
will give you stand alone operation with conditional statements. My
personal favorite is the JDS Stargate but then I've been a happy JDS
customer for many years and know that product better than others.

Chuck Y

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Dec 23, 2003, 1:24:04 AM12/23/03
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Steve Williams wrote:
> I just moved into a remodeled house, and I'm trying to get X10 working in
> the new house. I'm using parts that were in our old house and working
> pretty well, but I havn't paid any attention to set up for a long time since
> I had things the way I want them.
>
> In the new house, it's time to pay attention again. I'm using a CM11A
> interface from my computer and X10 Active Home software, v1.42.
>
> Is there better software out there now?

Yes. Depending on goals, skills and equipment.


> Is there a better interface?

Yes. see above.


> Where can I go to get up-to-date information on the best way to run X10?

Push button, light goes on.

I'm using a CM11a and looking hard at an ocelot. I have a box about the
size of the 6 port netgear switch that boots from compact flash. It's a
266MHz Intel box (128MB RAM) with 2 ethernet ports, a wireless, no fan
and (best part) it boots from compact flash.

The old one ran OpenBSD (on a 32MB CF), this one runs FreeBSD (needed
802.11g support). 15Watts, dead silent. Firewall, DHCP, Wireless (with
IPSec for actual wireless security), and house controller. Aside from
recent work, it's typically up 200-300 days at a time. At 12-56volts
DC, an alarm battery will let it survive short blackouts (else it
just reboots and life goes on).


It talks to and listens to the CM11a. It communicates to a bunch of
serial based devices to read digital input/outputs, to talk to a
smallish serial LCD device (thank you Dave Houston), read temps and
monitor (read only) certain alarm sensors (if motion in living room at
2AM, turn light on so I don't kill myself. Separately: if the alarm is
set, then it will go off. But the alarm system is 100% isolated from
the home system re alarm things).


I use heyu and xtend to talk to the X10 stuff.

MrHouse is pretty cool too (though I want better). It works with a
3com Audrey to show weather and funny pages in the AM.

The ocelot has a config language to say: If input 4 is tripped, then
take THIS action.

The CM11a is cheap as getout and works when it works (not too strong
a signal). The ocelot is far more rich and robust and costs $180 or
so (needs a TW5?? to talk to the X10, AFAIK).


Active Home is mostly pathetic. Worth free. maybe.

Think of it like Windows: It comes on your computer, but nobody sane
would actually expect it to RUN their house (/me has flashes to the
south korean execs who were trapped in the BWM 800 series that runs
Wince - trapped by a bug in the system. MS software? bugs? Never.)

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