Need general advice. Migrate from x10 and old alarm system

Need general advice. Migrate from x10 and old alarm system

I've been using X10 for a long time, 30 years or so. My devices are pretty much limited to lamp modules, especially around the holiday season.
Currently I run linux on my laptop with an XP VM running AHP that controls a CM15a. Everything is working fine.

I also have an old alarm system I got from many years ago. It's a standard wireless alarm with contact sensors for doors and windows. Requires a phone line for notifications so that hasn't been hooked up in years.

I would also like to add some cameras, a couple inside (to keep tabs on the cat) and one or two outside, maybe a doorbell camera.

So I'm not a total noob, per se, but I still have gaps in my knowledge about modern implementations.

As you can tell my setup is pretty much obsolete.
Looking at getting the Hubitat but I'm kind of stuck trying to understand how this hub acts like an alarm system. I see that we can get z-wave or zigby windows and door sensors but how do we arm/disarm the system? I would like to have a keypad or some sort of a touch panel. I will need about 20 window sensors and 3 doors.

As an added plus, it would really be nice to be able to use the x10 lamp modules since they're paid for and work fine, at least until I absorb the initial cost hit and expand the system.

I would really appreciate some advice about how I'll build this system. I haven't decided on a budget yet since I'm not yet sure what all is needed, besides the obvious controller and sensors.

I've also been reading about other controllers like ISY ,vera and homeseer, so I'm really not sure which would fit my setup the best.

Many Thanks

Welcome to the Hubitat Community!

You're going to find some stuff here on X10 if you search. There were a couple of users that came and went, and some that converted. Half my stuff is Insteon, and I think there's limited support via the Insteon 2245 hub. I worked with @cwwilson08 to create a driver that works with the Insteon hub (Chris did the work, I did the testing). The Insteon driver he wrote works great with the hub, but it's specific to Insteon devices, so I don't think it would work, even if the hub did support your X10 devices.

You'll probably get the most success with ISY. I think there's an implementation that @jeubanks wrote if I'm not mistaken, but I don't think he made it public. I think ISY supports Google Assistant, so you could use Google Assistant Relay to send commands to the ISY via Hubitat, but that seems silly to go out to the cloud to accomplish what's been local in your home for years.

It's all a bit costly for some lamp modules, so it might be better to just run parallel systems until you've upgraded everything. However, if they're just on/off lamp modules, Zigbee On/Off plugs are really inexpensive.

As for the alarm, I personally don't believe in using a home automation hub for an alarm system. Hubitat can do it, but I personally feel that security devices should be kept dedicated. They can interact with the hub to turn on lights and send notifications, I'm fine with that. And if the hub has control to arm and disarm the system, I'm good with that too. I built a Zigbee bridge to give local control over my current alarm system. But for security and safety, I prefer a device that is purpose built for the task.

Sorry I cannot be of more help. I will steer you away from Vera though. I don't hear good things about them them or their direction of late.


I was tinkering with a Hubitat <-> ISY implementation. I completed the ISY Nodeserver for the ISY to see/control Hubitat devices but I haven't done the reverse as of yet. However I don't think @reapur has an ISY? If he does then Hubitat can control the ISY devices using the ISY REST interface which is quite simple through Hubitat rules with HTTP calls.

I have to agree though if this is for a few lamp modules (how many?) it may be cheaper in time/effort to simply replace them with z-wave or zigbee plugs.


Hey @reapur, this just popped up today. It's been around since April, but I didn't notice it (because I wasn't looking for it I suppose). Anyway, there seems to be another way available. I have no experience with node red, but perhaps this is something you'd be comfortable taking on.

Hope it helps in some way.

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My home automation origin is similar, so I'll weigh in with an opinion. I, too, used X10 for decades before adopting SmartThings, and then a couple years later, Hubitat.

I initially wanted to preserve some of the existing X10 devices too, but after a while, I realized that it was better to rip the band-aid off and put modern protocols to work instead. X10 has its issues (i.e. the phase problem, conflicts on the powerline, and its hostility to LED lighting). It is actually quite liberating to not have X10 at all.

I still do have sensors/alarms/relays that were part of my old system, now connected via Konnected, but X10 stuff is all gone. No regrets skipping any sort of transition phase.


Thanks for the great advice.
I'll need to go thru and read up on every post and then get back here if I have more questions.
In general I do agree to leave the alarm to a dedicated system. I have a buddy who is happy with his Honeywell systems, and it seems to also have the ability to control z-wave, again, more reading is needed on my part.

Thanks again guys.

a quick update, I bought a HE and 4 peanut plugs. So far so good. Pretty easy to setup and configure.
I think at this point I've left x10 behind, it's a shame I have so many good devices, but the x10 controller situation is sad.

I wish the Tile sizes were adjustable on the android dashboard, I don't like scrolling needlessly.

A quick question. How do you determine if a device on amazon works with HE? It's pretty easy if they use zigbee or z-wave in the title, but a lot of them say things like smartthings, or ifttt, etc. Not sure how to wrap my head around this yet.
Thanks again.

You can set the tile size indirectly by setting number of columns and rows. It also helps to have a separate variant of a dashboard for each type of device (i.e. one for Desktop, one for your mobile) and create the dashboard while on the device you are targeting. Common trick: Make your tile size as small as the smallest possible tile you might want, and then use multiples of that to create larger tiles.

Easy. List of Compatible Devices - Hubitat Documentation

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Can you elaborate?

I'm successfully using two different power-line protocols (UPB and X10) with a houseful of LED lighting and I haven't noticed 'hostility'.

I can attest that LED lighting can be hostile to X10. Noise generated by (under-designed) circuitry in the LED bulb can pollute the powerline and impede X10 signals. UPB is less affected by this (i.e. never had a problem). In my experience, the worst offenders were the CFL bulbs I had that were handled by some very old Smartlinc switches. Once they were on, they'd generate enough noise to make it challenging to turn the switch off.

LED lights consume far less power than X10 technology anticipated. The light switches leak power through the load can cause some LED bulbs to stay on dim when off, or buzz. X10 light switches assume the load is a simple tungsten filament, when in fact LED bulbs contain electronics and AC->DC conversion. Lamp modules have a similar issue. Finally, some LED bulbs create line noise ..

OK, I see you've added your edit saying what I'm saying. I'm specifically talking about LED lighting.

Yes, I agree, this is the case with older X10 devices. I have a few of them and they've been relegated to handling incandescent Christmas lighting. The others can be programmed to detect a local load (by allowing for some leakage current) or not. Nevertheless, even when not allowing for leakage current, the end-result remains dependent on the nature of the load's circuitry.

Anyway, I wouldn't characterize it as 'hostility' but I do get your meaning now. X10 predates LED lighting by several decades so some issues are to be expected. I don't think anyone would tell a friend to use X10 nowadays.

UPB also predates LED lighting but, in my experience, is far better designed and easily handles all my LED bulbs without buzzing or 'ghost lighting'. It's been rock-solid reliable, doesn't need a hub (like Insteon), but it comes at a premium (not 'Radio Ra2' premium but 50% more expensive than a typical Z-Wave dimmer).

Anyone wishing to replace their stable of X10 devices, with an inexpensive lighting technology, should look at the ones that are getting all the mind-share nowadays: Z-Wave, Zigbee, Lutron Caseta, (all supported by Hubitat).

It's worthwhile noting that there are smart switches that are designed to work without a neutral wire. So how do they pull off that trick? Leakage current. A trickle is allowed through to keep the circuitry powered. Whereas X10 used that trick to determine if someone manually turned on the load, these devices use it to keep themselves powered. Depending on the sensitivity of the load, it may be affected by the trickle of current.

Yep, we are on the same page. I was just economizing on words. What I meant to indicate to the OP was that there are benefits to swapping out old X10 switches beyond just the issue of having to have a gateway of some sort between Hubitat and X10.