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Author Topic: X10 Dimmer Switch - Vera 3  (Read 10541 times)

Offline williaj

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X10 Dimmer Switch - Vera 3
« on: February 05, 2012, 08:28:07 am »
I have an X10 light dimmer switch PLC-R-2222E that can using any X10 compatible r.f, infra-red, or PC controller. To set the address on the module I have to send an A3 "off" address code.

Any advise on how to get this operational would be appreciated.

Thanks

Offline radarengineer

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Re: X10 Dimmer Switch - Vera 3
« Reply #1 on: February 07, 2012, 12:53:25 am »
@williaj,

I'm a little confused what you mean by "to set the address". Or rather, I think you may have misread the instructions.

I pulled up a pdf for that module and it looks like once you put the switch into programming mode (by hitting off once followed by on three times) you can send any X10 off command (not necessarily A3, but maybe D5 for example) and it will take that address. The easiest way to set the address is probably with an X10 remote or using their ActiveHome software.

If you are asking how can you control this with Vera one option is to get a cm15a or cm19a and hook it up to a linux computer running the mochad daemon and use the plugin I wrote for vera. This is what quite a few of us here do. There are quite a few posts on that option if you search the forums.

Hope that helps, if you need more help let us know.

Offline williaj

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Re: X10 Dimmer Switch - Vera 3
« Reply #2 on: February 07, 2012, 02:58:10 am »
Thanks for your feedback and the time you took to research this module.

I think I have misread the instructions, I still find them confusing. Is the adress just an identifier for the item or could be category id for multiple modules you want to operate when a command is given? Is their a protocol for this or can it be anything?

I really didn't want to go down the Unix path as I have a PC, SQ Blaster, Vera and just the thought of buying yet another box to control a few items in my unit is not soething I want to do. Is there another option apart from the UNIX one?

As you can tell I am pretty new to this.

Thanks again for your advice.


Offline radarengineer

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Re: X10 Dimmer Switch - Vera 3
« Reply #3 on: February 07, 2012, 11:00:33 am »
The address is not a unique identifier. X10 devices can have one of 256 addresses (16 house codes, A-P, and 16 unit codes, 1-16).

Any command you send out is either a house code + instruction (A on, A off) or house/unit code and + instruction (A3 on, A3 off). In the first case any A devices will go on and off, and in the second only a unit set to that specific house + unit will be controlled.

Hope that isn't too confusing. Anyway, you could have 200 lights all on A3 if you wanted. Again, no rule that says it has to be unique.

As for controlling it... do you keep your PC on all the time, or at least anytime you want to control this dimmer switch? Also, do you have any X10 computer interfaces already, and multiple X10 devices, or is this the only X10 device you have? Fill us in on the details of your setup and maybe we can come up with a solution.

Offline williaj

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Re: X10 Dimmer Switch - Vera 3
« Reply #4 on: February 07, 2012, 04:41:23 pm »
Thanks for clarifying the addressing. I understand it now. As always with something new there is so much to learn. That was part of my problem. got excited about Zwave and went down that path I though I had researched things well but I really didn't understand anywhere as much as I needed to know. For example I live in Australia and the zwave items we can buy here are minimal due to the frequecy and equipment voltage. Also, I live in a unit that has concrete walls, floors and ceilings and the wiring for lights does not have neutral, you have to put a switch between the hot wire.

So that in mind, I bought:
- Vera 2 (not 3 as originally stated)
- 3 Aeon Lab in-wall micro light dimmers
- 2 plug-in switch controllers.

That's when I found out that I needed 3 wires to make each light switch work. There is no opportunity re-wire so I know have 3 modules going to e-bay very soon.

I then realised that I couldn't control my air conditioning without some major wiring so I bought a Sq blaster with the idea of controling it by IR. Sadly research was not up to scratch again and then found that the codes sent are very long and the techs said it may be possible but still working on it.

One day I found a an X10 PLC-R 2222E dimmer switch which was suitable for my home again I misunderstood the specification and where it said remote control using anyX10 compatible rf, ir or desktop controller I thought I had all I needed. Apparently not!

I now need to take a deep breath and start over without wasting more money.

My dream:
- Wanted the Vera because it would be stand alone
- Wake my PC when needed using one of the plug-in switch controllers and Wake-on-lan (got this sorted)
- Control 3 main lights (2 in lounge, 1 in bedroom)
- Control 2 bedside lights if practical
- Control flourescent kitchen light, if practical
- Set scenarios, incorporating my lights and tv, blueray etc
- Use a zwave doorlock (almost no choice here in Aussie)
- Control my airconditioner

I would have preferred to stay with z-wave and still looking for dimmer switches that meet Australia voltage conditions and the type of wiring I have but prepared to go down the X10 path for lighting if that's the only option.

I really, really wanted the Vera as a stand alone unit. It seems wasteful to have yet another unix box put into the mix and /or have my PC turned on all the time.

I fully understand that sometimes we have to make compromises based on the options available but I have realised that I don't have the expertise to pull it together sensibly and I certainly don't know what the sensible options are.

Any assistance / advice would be very much appreciated.

Regards

Offline radarengineer

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Re: X10 Dimmer Switch - Vera 3
« Reply #5 on: February 07, 2012, 09:34:55 pm »
@williaj,

Not sure if I have any great answers for you. I'll certainly try though. You are probably right about wanting to do a bit more research before buying anything new.

Your best bet would be to find some z-wave modules that don't require a neutral (http://forum.micasaverde.com/index.php?topic=4210.0). But of course you already knew that, and I don't know of any good options available for Australia. Z-wave is a lot more reliably than X10. In general it is easier to find dimmers that work with no neutral than relay (on/off) switches, but no guaranties you will have any luck with that.

Controlling lamps though (I'm assuming your two bedside lights plug into an outlet) should be no problem for you with z-wave.

What I do to control my X10 devices is use a small embedded linux computer (Pogoplug). It is cheap ($20-30) and low power (~4w). You can also run mochad on certain openwrt routers that have USB ports. Note that you would also need the appropriate usb X10 interface (cm19a/cm15a in the US, not sure about Australia). Not quite as wasteful as running another full computer. I think you can get a CM15Pro 240v from X10Europe or Marmitec and that would work for you. I did see a couple of CM15 X10 interfaces for sale by Australian companies but they seemed really expensive ($119 AU).

Another option is to set up Vera to wake up your PC before sending an X10 command through it. That will add latency, but at least you wouldn't need the pc on all the time. I have been thinking about writing a windows version of the mochad daemon that at least supported sending commands.

Offline williaj

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Re: X10 Dimmer Switch - Vera 2
« Reply #6 on: February 08, 2012, 08:50:52 am »
Thanks for your help.

I've been looking online for hours trying to find an Aussie compatible zwave dimmer module but I just can't find any. Zwave products are very limited here and what is available is super expensive. I guess it's the size of the market. Very frustrating!

A bed side light plugin module here costs about AU $99  over US $100 that is just a ripoff as far as I'm concerned.

I'll have a bit of a think about my next step, I really want to go down the zwave path not X10 but not sure how long I will need to wait until the range of products improves.
Thanks again for you advice.
 

Offline futzle

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Re: X10 Dimmer Switch - Vera 3
« Reply #7 on: February 08, 2012, 04:35:04 pm »
Yeah, the range of devices here is pretty limited, I agree. I doubt very much that you will find any in-wall switch modules that you can hook up to your wiring; IIRC current Australian electrical wiring code is that all wiring be Active + Neutral, and it's been that way for many years.

Offline williaj

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Re: X10 Dimmer Switch - Vera 3
« Reply #8 on: February 08, 2012, 04:57:54 pm »
Is that right? Well that will make it tough as there is no way of pulling new wires in my place. Thanks for the heads-up.