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X10 Computer Control

Saturday, December 19th, 2009

With this blog post comes a warning, this post is for Geeks, Nerds, Techno-freaks, or people that just like 100% Tech! (you’ve been warned!).

This isn’t new Tech, the X10 protocol was invented 30 years ago, the X10 protocol sends packets of information across house hold mains wiring to receivers to turn items on or off. Computer software is then used to build macros and timers, which can be downloaded to the standalone programmable computer interface to instruct various modules (appliances) to turn on or off, so no need for a computer to be left on and running. What X10 can do for you is limited only by your imagination or programming skills!

I’ve recently invested in X10 computer control, because

  1. various appliances which need timers.
  2. take more advantage of Economy 7 and reduce electrical consumption.
  3. and I like my tech!

okay, I could do this with manual/electronic timers from a well known DIY store, but there would be no fun, but on a serious note, the timers I’ve been purchasing in the last few years, have all failed, the manual segment timers (which I need for the fish house, because digital timers will not start the ballast units on the lighting circuit, because digital timers will not start-up fluorescent tubes). Also various other projects, and I also wanted to create a moonlight light in the fish house, a ceiling rose light which comes on before tank lighting (goes off), and then on before tank lighting goes off - since I’ve turned off fish house main lighting 2 x 70 watt tubes, the fish frighten to easily from dark –> light (vice versa).

So I’ve purchased a Marmitek CM15PRO standalone programmable computer interface, and various X10 Modules, the modules I’ve purchased are plugin modules which plug in to a standard UK 13Amp socket, your appliance then plugs into this socket, you can also get DIN rail modules, wall switches, micro modules as well, and wired modules, and also lamp modules which plug into bayonet or edison screw light fittings. The modules I’ve purchased are:-

  1. AM12 Appliance / Switch Module
  2. AM12W Appliance / Switch Module (Wired)
  3. LM15 Bayonet Lamp module

The following screen shot shows all the modules (appliances) in the house, that are currently being computer controlled. The green light currently indicates they are on. Macros and timers vary the on and off times for every module.

Active Home Professional Software

All Rooms in the house with modules

Screen shot of the software, rooms can be created to organise your modules.

ActiveHome Professional screen shot

ActiveHome Professional screen shot

Here are some pictures of the computer interface and the actual modules in use:-

Now if you think this Tech is OTT, it gets worse, I’ve also found that sometimes I need to be able to control these modules when I’m not at my main production workstation. I could purchase an X10 remote control to send signals to the transceiver to send to the units, but hey that’s too easy, lets find a Tech way to do it!

I leave this to another exciting Geek, Nerdy, Techno-freak blog entry here!

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