X-10 Support?

OK I know this is a stupid question.

Does anyone think it is possible to add support for X-10 to the hubitat? Meaning... could a driver be written to write to the CM15A X-10 module to allow communicating to these devices?

I know the question would be... "why would you want to do that?" ... but I just have to ask... :slight_smile:

There have been numerous X10 to SmartThings integrations over the years. You should be able to port one of those to Hubitat relatively easily...but why would you want to? :wink:

Yeah I agree... "Why would I want too"... I guess I would want too b/c I have so much of it in this house and it actually works well except for the "hub" part of it...

and it is so freaking cheap... I know these are all bad reasons... :slight_smile: I'd just like to gradually move over to z-wave rather than all at once I guess... :slight_smile:

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I completely understand! If it still works, why not use it? I still have a bunch of X-10 equipment laying around, including a few CM11A interfaces, as well as a CM17A (aka Firecracker) interface. A long time ago I actually hacked together an ESP8266 + CM17A to create a proof of concept that I could turn on and off X10 outlets. I never bothered to take all the way to a SmartThings integration.

Hard to find this stuff searching. I had a brief discussion with @rayb.17 regarding his X10. You can send HTTP GET to control X10 correct? That means Rule Machine or a simple modification (simple for someone other than me that is :wink:) of @ogiewon 's HTTP switch could do it. @cwwilson08 used that as the base for the Insteon Direct driver he wrote.

Also, you can still buy the 2244-243 kit and you'll get a few more modern Insteon devices with it as a bonus. That hub has the full PLM in it and can control X10.

With that hub, there should be no reason you can't also use the HTTP driver Chris wrote for the Express Server. You need an extra RPi or computer running Node.js, but having a Node.js server available is a tool I wouldn't be without now. Lot's of cool stuff you can do with that like Google Assistant Relay and Homebridge. I'm controlling my Insteon devices with a combination of the HTTP driver for the Express Server for devices I need a refresh of their physical state changes (I use a simple period refresh Rule Machine rule to refresh), and the Insteon Direct HE driver for devices I purely control from HE, never the physical device.

x10, wow, those were the days. I remember throwing out every florescent bulb and fixture trying to reduce the noise on the line, and looking for vamps sucking the signal. Finally I gave up. Thank goodness for wireless protocols.

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Yeah, it's a little surprising to see them still in use. I'm grateful that it existed or Insteon would never have been born. The dual mesh is a blessing. Once you get control of them from HE, they're solid. No such thing as dropped devices unless they're faulty.

In my experience X-10 CAN be made pretty reliable - you just have to get an aftermarket RF receiver box AND this super power repeater blaster from JV engineering... that is the secret... Once I got that thing... the hunt for signal suckers etc was over. It really got my X-10 installation almost perfectly reliable EXCEPT for hub issues... thus the move to Hubitat and probably abandonment of X-10 finally. It is a little bittersweet b/c I have so much X-10 stuff.

Anyhow, I know this is not the right forum for this but @SmartHomePrimer, do you have any experience with that Insteon hub? I'll have to look around to see what it can do.

It's been too long for me to provide any valuable guidance on either x10 or insteon. But I did just find a pile of those old devices in my attic. Nostalgic.

I have the 2245 (a few of them actually) and I know that it's got a limited PLM and very limited support of X10. They recalled those and reissued them with an update to patch some security flaws that couldn't be flashed. The 2245 got rid of the ability to use telnet to the hub. But the 2244 has that. It's actually possible to control a 2244 via telnet from HE I believe. Just never explored that because it's a discontinued hub, I have 2245, and that's what's available.

Is there something specific you're wondering about? I have someone that I can ask any Insteon question if I don't know the answer.

Well, My hub needs are pretty basic,

I need sunrise / sunset scheduling
I need a couple lights to come on when motion is sensed but only after sunset
and I need a couple macro's / scenes

That is about it. Do you know if this Insteon hub could do that sort of thing?

Yes they do, but you need an Insteon motion sensor if you're only using an Insteon hub. They have scenes, but there isn't any automation with Insteon. You can make devices connected to an Insteon hub do automations, scene's, sunrise/sunset and much more with a Hubitat hub.

You will then have the capability to use any button or sensor with lights and outlets connected to the Insteon hub (which would be X10 in your case). For example, after 10pm, this tiny Xiaomi motion sensor in my kitchen will turn off the Insteon switch if there is no motion for 10 minutes. This behavior continues until sunrise.

Much nicer to be able to use this, instead of this monstrosity. Or worse, https://www.amazon.com/Insteon-2842-222-Wireless-Motion-Sensor/dp/B003IHTZEO

Another example would be the buttons I use. I don't have Insteon buttons. I use a Xiaomi Aqara Zigbee button in my living room to control the door lock (Yale YRD256 Z-Wave), a floor lamp (Insteon outlet), the kitchen light (insteon on/off switch) and my dining room lights (Sengled Element Plus Zigbee bulbs). Five presses and a hold possible. I also control my deck light (Insteon Dimmer) and my dining room lights. with a Lutron Pico remote via my Lutron Caséta SmartBridge Pro with directly integrates with Hubitat.

You can kind of get the picture from this that once. you have a Hubitat hub, you can pretty well control Insteon and X10 via the Insteon 2244 hub, with just about anything. You break outside the beige box!

OK this is great to understand!

I am currently using HomeGenie on a PI which connects to my X10 PLM and it is quite a contraption. I am looking to minimize the rube-goldberg nature and improve the WAF. :slight_smile:

So I LOVE the idea of keeping my X10 stuff installed or at least gradually switching it out by making use of the Insteon Hub controlled by Hubitat BUT I am concerned that this is yet again a bit of rube-goldberg... I may bug you more about this... so be warned :slight_smile:

Right now, I have the hubitat up and one Neo power plug working (z-wave) ... and a few more things on the way... Gotta test it all out before the return period expires!! :slight_smile:

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It's maybe a fair statement, but anything that isn't Zigbee, Z-Wave or IP is going to need another hub to translate between protocols. Hubitat has two radios and can work with some devices over IP. It's not a one hub talks to them all deal. That's just never going to exist again. Closest was the Staples Connect, but they never got the Insteon radio either.

Really it's one extra hop if you need feedback to Hubitat when a switch is manually controlled. Don't know if you have that with X10. I do with Insteon, but if you don't, then that method is not worth your time.

I'm going to reiterate that if you can't see the change from physical manipulation of your switches anyway, and you can control them via HTTP GET, you don't need an Insteon hub at all. You should be able to use what you have. Unless of course it requires an old power hungry Windows PC to be running all the time or something like that. In that case, I'm on your Wife's side. Get the Insteon Hub or just replace the X10 altogether.

So it's like this:

• Method 1 (direct to PLM): Hubitat HTTP GET via driver > Insteon PLM > X10 device

• Method 2 (HTTP GET via Express server driver): Hubitat HTTP GET > Express Server (a simple Node.js app) > Insteon PLM > X10 device
• Refresh for Method 2: Rule Machine rule simply refreshes the devices on a periodic shedule. I use 10 second intervals and have had no issues from it.

Thanks for being SO helpful!!!

I will be thinking through this.

Since you are so helpful, maybe I could ask a couple other questions?

  1. I've seen some "bad press" on Xiaomi devices... Sounds like you are using them... any feedback on that? Are they "high maintenance" ? Why do people not like them?

  2. Just curious... is Insteon a long term solution do you think? They've been around forever... do you think they will continue forever? Competition has got to be great.

Thanks again!

Sure no problem.

So Xiaomi devices are close to the Zigbee spec, but they don't follow it exactly. So for developers this is a pain because they have a lot of design variation. However, we're so lucky to have such very talented developers that have managed to create some really reliable drivers.

The Xiaomi also tend to fall off your network unless they are either really close to the hub or you have repeaters. Because they are non-compliant Zigbee, many repeaters do not work with them. The list is short. However, the recently introduced IKEA Trådfri outlets are compatible repeaters for Xiaomi and other Zigbee devices. They're only $9, so that's another bonus, but as a result they also do not have strong radios. But they connect to each other nicely, so if you buy several of them and place them around your home, you should have a healthy Zigbee mesh. This is my experience since adding just two of the IKEA Trådfri outlets. None of my Xiaomi devices have dropped.

Insteon is about 14 years old now I think. They were bought by Richmond Capital Partners and Rob Lilleness is their new CEO. So far they haven't produced much more than they had before, but the insider info suggest they're not giving up and we can expect more from them. Honestly it's tough for me to recommend someone go out any buy their devices if they don't already own them. I'd be more inclined to recommend Lutron Caséta, which I know isn't going anywhere. There are several ways to control Insteon via cloud, but it's not 100% reliable if the cloud doesn't have a 100% up time, which it most certainly does not. Not bad, but at times it was getting some harsh feedback. Very, very low WAF.

Having said that, there's just software standing between their hub and full integration with Hubitat. It's just not a big enough user base for them to get on board with the limited resources they have at this stage, and I completely understand that position. I'm thankful that I have help from Scott Kuester who answered the call to separate the Insteondirect Express Server from Homebridge. That made a huge difference, and if it were not for the generous help from @cwwilson08 and @ogiewon, I wouldn't have the drivers needed to control my lights via the Express Server.

The insteon product actually has got a lot going for it that many competitors still cannot do.

• Dual mesh - Insteon radio mesh and an evolved X10 type powerline mesh.
• Hardware programmable - Switches, dimmers and outlets can be controllers, responders or both. They can also have their ON and ramp rates programmed in hardware.
• Some of their devices, like outlets and plug-in modules have load sensing. So for example, if I turn on my floor lamp connected to my Insteon outlet, it senses that the light is trying to draw power and turns that outlet on. This is then recognized by Hubitat and so nothing gets out of sync. Big WAF. She just uses our lights anyway she wants, and yet still has full control via Alexa.
• They have changeable face plates: For me white is just fine, but some people want other colors. They also offer ivory, off-white and black changeable faces. Leviton is one of the few others that I know offers this. Many want you to replace the whole switch or simply don't offer the option at all.

Now consider these options that typically don't come in a consumer device, or if it does you pay through the nose for it. Insteon are very cost effective by comparison. I do admit to some bias, but ever since I started using the standalone Express Server, which was the beginning of October, my Insteon lights are rock solid. Zero issues other than an old model outlet that needed replacing, and I have suspected issues with it for years. Wasn't until it started physically showing improper behavior that I knew it was time for it to go.

Short summary of my setup...
Using an ACT TI103 RS232 to X10 interface (Advanced Control Technologies)
X10 does not directly support http access...
What I have is a Linux system running Apache server...
The TI103 is plugged into a serial port on the server.
I have a cgi-bin perl script that converts the http get request to the
proper ASCII sequence for the TI103.
http://192.168.0.111:44444/cgi-bin/control.pl?B;1;on
(For this post I changed the IP /port #/ and perl script name- no need to share my
actual values :slight_smile: This would Turn House code B, Module 1 On...
I have set up my HE with a dashboard of virtual switches that can
switch any of my current X10 devices...
Attached is what my current dashboard looks like...(simple but functional)
Summary:basically I'm using linux to bridge the HE to my X10 devices...

I just bought my first z-wave switch... haven't installed/setup yet...
...it's a start...
RayB...X10_DshBd_sm

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Thanks for explaining it Ray. I'm sure your direct knowledge of X10 would be a lot more helpful to @kv1.

Very interesting.... I will digest these last couple posts shortly. Thanks for all the great info.

One other question... since I am just starting out I sort of have the choice of ZWave or Zigbee (or yes... both but I thought I'd try to go with one).

I initially chose ZWAVE bc I like the lower frequency band in general for a couple reasons... but... it seems that ZigBee devices might be quite a bit cheaper in general... for example the plugs and sensors that @SmartHomePrimer mentioned are way cheaper than any ZWAVE device I could find.

Is my observation on cost consistent with what you guys have seen?

THANK YOU!!!!

The licensing is one reason that yes, you will generally pay a lot more for Z-Wave devices vs Zigbee. I'll put in my two bits on the subject, but there will never be a definitive answers, just a bunch of opinions :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

I like Zigbee for these reasons:

  1. Inexpensive
  2. No inclusion/Exclusion/Repair stuff to deal with
  3. No ghost device issues
  4. Generally good battery life with inexpensive batteries
  5. Repeaters for Zigbee are important when you have a lot of devices and/or they're not close to the hub, but their not expensive. IKEA Trådfri outlet is a new example of a very inexpensive, yet effective repeater if you have enough of them.

Having said this, Z-Wave definitely has its strengths and place in Home Automation. I have only two Z-Wave devices myself, but both are reliable. One, a door lock I really like. Good security on Z-Wave devices. Not that I feel a threat from my use of Zigbee devices, but it's a bullet point I guess. I looked at what locks and radio types people here and on other platforms were have the best success with and that helped inform my decision.

My other Z-Wave device is a Home Energy Meter that @ogiewon told me about when he ported @mike.maxwell laundry monitoring driver. That's what I'm using it for and it works great. I have it powered, not running on battery. It's and older device and not a Z-Wave Plus device like my door lock, but it hasn't been trouble to date.

I think the general consensus for Z-Wave is get the Z-Wave Plus devices if you can. They're a lot less trouble.