Using Vera to control X-10 Wireless RF, Blind & Shade Controllers for Vera using X-10

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The title of today’s post is really two separate subjects but because they were both intermingled together with what I was doing at the time, I am presenting them in one post, as thats how this whole issue came together for me.

 

The first part of the title, “Using Vera to control X-10 Wireless RF”, was the result of some research I had been doing to help out a fellow redditor on the subreddit I am a moderator on, the Home Automation Sub on Reddit.com.  He had a few X-10 door and window sensors in his home but did not use powerline X-10 devices so was limited to X-10 Wireless RF signals.  He bought a VeraLite and was hoping to use Vera to control his X-10 via a CM15A Transceiver/Controller. The Mi Casa Verde Forums had a number of threads relating to this issue such as Plugin for cm15a/cm19a X10 Controllers, and X10 RF devices? but really no standup solution, hence he turned to the Home Automation Sub-Reddit hoping for some answers.  After a week or so, I came to the following conclusions;

 

My research tells me that either the EZX10RF from Smartenit for about $120 or the RFXCOM RFXtrx315 USB 315MHz Transceiver  for about $165 USD would seem to be the way to go for getting Vera to accept and understand X-10 RF signals.  There was some information, as per the links above regarding plug-ins for Vera on the MCV forums, but unless you know something about Linux OS (which I do not) there doesn’t seem to be an alternative to what they are suggesting with either the CM15/CM19 and linux or pogoplug, other than the EZX10RF or the RFXCOM units.  The CM15A/CM19A plug-in would probably be the cheapest but to me not the easiest nor the cleanest if you need to run Linux to do it.

 

Now the second part of the title, “Blind & Shade Controllers for Vera using X-10” came about as I was researching the first part.  I came across a company that I had heard of in the past but had forgotten about called RollerTrol, and I thought some of you Vera users might find some interest in them and their products. They have some unique products, specifically geared to shade motors and blinds and they are where I first came across the X-10 transceiver from RFXCOM that allows you to use X-10 RF directly with Vera via a plug-in. I am not totally familiar with it yet but would be interested to know if anyone else is, and what their experience is with any of the RollerTrol products.

 

They also have a really great webpage on their site, called “Vera And VeraLite Are Powerful Controllers For Blinds & Shades”  that is a series of articles or step-by-step procedures on how to use their shade and blind motors with the RFXCOM transceiver and then hook it all up to a Vera Controller.  Seems like there may be a lot of potential for some of their devices.

 

Let me know what you think. Btw, we sell Vera for a lot cheaper than RollerTrol does!  We have them on sale for 10% off right now, here is a coupon if you need one.

 

Kelly R. Foster – HA World

X-10 CM15A ActiveHome Pro USB PC Transceivers – Back in Stock!

X-10 ActiveHome Pro USB Transceiver/PC Interface - Model CM15A
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We just received an order of CM15A ActiveHome Pro USB PC Transceivers in today, after being out of stock for quite some time. We only ordered a few of them last week, but more are on their way soon.  These are being sold without software at this time as the ActiveHome Pro software is not yet available from X-10 Pro USA but if you are just replacing your old CM15A or using it with Homeseer HS2 or another third party software you should be fine as long as you do not need to reinstall the drivers.

Please be aware that the new version of Homeseer, HS3, is NOT compatible with the CM15A.  We were told by a customer recently that had wanted to purchase HS3 and had called Homeseer to confirm it was compatible,  was told by them that they considered X-10 a low priority so they were not actively working on a plug-in for the CM15A and also that since X-10 was a “dead” technology – such a low priority for them that they only made the discontinued CM11A (along with the TI103 interface) the only X-10 interface available for HS3 at this time.

Wow, try telling that to the millions of X-10 users in the US and Canada!  Burn!

Plus, where do you buy a PC nowadays with an RS-232 serial connection?  I haven’t seen one of those installed in a PC since Windows XP came out around 2000!  If I were you I would stick with HS2.

Oh well, I guess it’s Homeseer’s loss, because the CM15A is back and it will be selling like hotcakes i’m sure.  There are plenty of other third party apps that will run with it.  We will be posting some other alternatives in the near future so stay tuned!

Kelly R. Foster – HA World

Controlling X-10 devices with a VeraLite from Mi Casa Verde using IR and a USB-UIRT

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Very cool project I just completed yesterday as a result of doing some homework for a customer of mine relating to the use of IR through my Mi Casa Verde Veralite Z-Wave Controller/Gateway (click that link if you need a VeraLite, we are having a 10% off sale on both them and the Vera3 right now!)

In a nutshell, what I managed to do was to be able to control my X-10 devices by transmitting X-10 signals through my USB-UIRT which was plugged into the Veralite, into a 3rd party version of the old, discontinued IR-543 which I had kicking around for testing IR devices that we sell in one of our stores.  Worked great!

Normally you would need an Insteon Modem 2413U that you plug into the VeraLite and then configure it to work as an Insteon controller and send Insteon commands.  This also would allow you to control X-10 devices because Insteon is backwards compatible with X-10.  These cost about $80 on Amazon or directly from Smarthome.  What I did eliminated the need for the 2413U modem in my setup because I already use a number of IR-543’s with my universal remotes to control X-10 lights and appliances.  When I started trying to get the IR working on Vera I noticed that there was an IR command set for X-10.  I wondered if it might be similar to the IR codesets that universal remotes use within the auxiliary mode to send X-10 commands over IR.  Low and behold, that is exactly what it seemed to do!  I used the built-in virtual remote keypad inside the Vera, dialed in my house code on the IR-543, punched in the unit code inside Vera and A-1 was up and running!  A-2 was another keypunch away and that was all I needed to know.  Now for some more testing to see what else I can do with it!

Oh, btw, It also allowed me to control X-10 from my Android smartphone using the Vera Mobile app I had already installed!  Worked exactly the same as the Vera Internet GUI on my PC!  More software apps for Vera also available on our Home Automation Software page.

Very cool learning day!  Can’t wait to experiment with Z-wave scene now and using IR commands to control A/V devices as scenes triggered from z-wave events.  More to come on that as well.

Kelly R. Foster – HA World

What is Home Automation – Applications of Z-Wave (Blog Post 6)

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Hi and welcome back to the HA World Online Blog!

To continue the story of my foray into HA, last time I was humming and hawing over the cost and labor of all this new wiring to add in these new lights for my remodel. Over the next day or two, I happened to read an article in a magazine I had just subscribed too. It was an article in “Old-House Journal” magazine about how Black and Decker was getting into the remote lighting control market with a new product they called the “Freewire” system. These devices were supposed to be able to give you remote control over plug-in lights and appliances, no wiring needed!

Wow, I thought, wouldn’t that be a great solution to my problem. A subsequent advertisement in the magazine said that the Freewire products were supposed to be sold at Home Depot – so I headed to my local store to check them out. However, to my chagrin the salespeople at Home Depot did not know anything about the product, except for one fellow who told me about a company he had heard of that made something similar called “smarthome” products. He told me to google the word “smarthome” on the Internet which I did and as I am sure most of you have already guessed what came up, was, you got it – Smarthome. The next day I called up their customer service department, learned a bit about “X-10” and had an inline module, a transceiver and a wireless wall switch on order.

Bottom line is this, I never did have to run that crazy amount of switch leg wiring, in fact, I installed another pair of lights (dialed into a different unit code of course) and used X-10 to control both pairs of my new lights, remotely and very easily!

That was my first experience with home automation and remote lighting control.  In this instance I used X-10 instead of Z-Wave. Each of the different protocols have quite a few similarities, you just use combinations of the appropriate devices to solve similar problems. There are even bridges between some of these different technologies, HomeSeer and Mi Casa Verde each make a software solution, and nowadays there are becoming alot more options in terms of a central controller or gateway that can “talk” to all the protocols, but that’s a topic for another day, and, although I do want to get into the differences between each of these protocols, for the next couple posts I want to delve into some of the more common applications of the Z-Wave protocol.

Please join us next time as we do just that, we look forward to having you as a reader and as always, thank you for letting us “automate YOUR world”.  Please also visit our store for great deals on Z-Wave and X-10 products.  Oh btw, we are running a great sale on the MiCasa Verde Z-Wave, Insteon & X-10 Home Controllers right now, just click on either the following  links, Vera3 or VeraLite, and you will go direct to the product page for each of them – the coupon code for 10% off is added automatically, free shipping too!  All you have to do is pay!

Kelly R. Foster – HA World

 

Welcome to the opening post of the HA World Online Blog!

HA World
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Welcome to the HA World Online Blog!

Home Automation is the way of the future and even after over 30 years of sales in the United States and Canada, Home Automation is still a fledgling industry! HA World Online is the official website of HA World and we are proud to be a certified retailer of Home Automation and Home/Personal Security products representing many popular brands of products from major manufacturers such as General Electric, Mi Casa Verde, X10 Pro USA, Jasco Products, Leviton, Elk, Honeywell and Kwikset. Coming soon we will be adding manufacturers such as Lutron, HAI, Powerline Control Systems (PCS), Yale, and Shlage/Nexia.

Z-wave and X-10 are our most popular products but we will soon be offering HA technologies compatible with Zigbee and UPB as well. Some of our other popular products include brands such as the VeraLite and Vera3 home control devices by Mi Casa Verde, X-10 Powerhouse, X-10 Activehome and X-10 Pro by X-10 (USA) Ltd, Vizia RF products from Leviton, Lutron’s Radio RA2 brand and many more.

We would like to invite others to read our blog and leave comments in order to discuss various avenues of the home automation industry. It is our hope here at HA World to shed some light on this innovative and exciting industry to as many individuals and companies as possible.

HA World Online – Automating your World!

Kelly R. Foster – HA World