Need Help Using X10 Firecracker, CM17A

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yoonmetoo
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Need Help Using X10 Firecracker, CM17A

#1 Post by yoonmetoo » Wed Mar 06, 2013 7:20 pm

Hi, Don here. I have a set of X10 H/W not being used and I thought I would try OSA.

I have a CM17A Firecracker com port RF unit and an X10 RF receiver.
I am running OSA on Win XP w/SP3. I had problems with MySQL at first,
but it turned out to be that the DB was specified incorrectly in the mysql.ini file.
Since then I have watched the videos and I have a virtual light bulb that turns
on and off (most cool).

Now I want to get my X10 equipment working. I installed the CM17A plugin and it appears
to be running. I am stumped as to how to set up the objects for my X10 setup.

Do I need an object for the CM17A H/W? If so, what object type and address?
If no object is needed for the CM17A, how does OSA know to use the CM17A?

I suppose I need an object for each X10 wall unit? What object type and address should I use? The X10 unit address, A1 for example?

Is there any other setup work that I have to do for the X10 CM17A setup?

Thanks for any help. Once I get started, I know I will catch on.
Don
Don

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Re: Need Help Using X10 Firecracker, CM17A

#2 Post by Automate » Thu Mar 07, 2013 9:02 am

The OSA software should create a CM17A plugin Object for you. Make sure the "Port" property of the CM17A object it set to the serial port number your CM17A is plugged into. If you change the port number while the plugin is already running then you will need to restart the plugin.

You should be able to use any of the X-10 Object Type switching devices but since the CM17A plugin does not support dimming, you could just use the X10 Relay Object Type. Create a wall unit object using the X10 Relay Object Type. Give it an address of A1

Then make sure the X10 Relay Object Type is "Owned By" the CM17A object.

For more help see the usage videos http://www.opensourceautomation.com/usage_videos.php

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yoonmetoo
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Re: Need Help Using X10 Firecracker, CM17A

#3 Post by yoonmetoo » Thu Mar 07, 2013 2:16 pm

[sigh of success]

Thank you. Your instruction got me to the right places and I can now turn my X10 wall units
on and off. The problem is/was that I have zero (zip, zilch, nada, nunca, cero) experience
with this software. Just navigating around from your instruction, as simple as it may have been,
gave me what I needed to get a better feel for the organization and procedures to follow.

It is nice to hear the clunk of the old X10 unit switching state.

Thank you again for your time and attention to this matter,
Don

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dbemowsk
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Re: Need Help Using X10 Firecracker, CM17A

#4 Post by dbemowsk » Thu Mar 07, 2013 3:58 pm

Just few things that you may or may not be aware of when using a firecracker module:

The CM17A firecracker is an RF device only, so if you are using any modules on the powerline, you will also need a TM751, RR501 or similar tranceiver to make things work. Another thing to note is that the TM751 only tranceives commands for the house code that is set on it's front dial. Therefore if you have your TM751 set to house code A, you will not be able to control modules set to house codes B-P The RR501 is a whole house tranceiver. This means it will tranceive commands sent on any of the house codes A-P.

Dan

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yoonmetoo
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Re: Need Help Using X10 Firecracker, CM17A

#5 Post by yoonmetoo » Thu Mar 07, 2013 4:41 pm

I am using the RR501. My equipment is very old... I think I bought most of it in the 1980's (maybe 90's too).
I used to use the old Radio Shack Mini Controller that looks like an alarm clock. It is programmable and I used
it to automate the lights in our house when we went on vacation. It did the job. I used the CM17A and the RR501 for other uses.Though all my X10 equipment is very old, it all still works like it did on day 1. I do have a concern
that the old RR501 is always very warm to the touch. It has always been that way but I would not trust
using it when we went on vacation.

My major problem with X10 is that it does not cross over to circuits on the other side of my main panel so I
have to be mindful of which circuits [in the house] that I use.

I would be interested in a new, better controller system. I'll have to study up on the newer controller systems.
Don

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dbemowsk
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Re: Need Help Using X10 Firecracker, CM17A

#6 Post by dbemowsk » Thu Mar 07, 2013 5:12 pm

I have my old XPCR phase coupler that I don't use. I would be willing to sell it if you are interested.

Dan

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Re: Need Help Using X10 Firecracker, CM17A

#7 Post by Datahead » Thu Mar 07, 2013 6:48 pm

I also have another phase coupler that I am not using that has to be wired into the circuit panel I would let go of, but as Dan mentioned it first he has first dibs. I went on Ebay and found one that plugs into my Dryer plug so it saved me from having to get into my circuit panel, which is not one of my favorite things to do. But with X-10 that phase coupler is something you have to have otherwise you can only run half your house.

Ron

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dbemowsk
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Re: Need Help Using X10 Firecracker, CM17A

#8 Post by dbemowsk » Fri Mar 08, 2013 2:08 am

I actually purchased an XTB-IIR from JV Digital Engineering to replace mine. A bit pricey, but a great product..

Dan

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yoonmetoo
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Re: Need Help Using X10 Firecracker, CM17A

#9 Post by yoonmetoo » Fri Mar 08, 2013 7:34 am

Well, I am not looking to solve the phase problem right now, but thanks for the offer.
I am more interested in getting rid of the RF interface, mainly because the RR501 runs
too warm for my liking.

Actually, what brought me back into home control was the need to monitor and control
devices that support a solar heater than I have built. The solar heater is made out of
aluminum cans (soda, beer). It can raise the air temp 100F or more, even on days with
an outdoor temp of 32F or less. A few days ago, with outdoor temps in the high 30s,
my heater was pumping out air at 175F. When I increased the airflow (a lot, but I do not
have a way to measure CFM), the output temp went down to 130F, which is still very
good, especially with the higher air flow.

I need to be able to measure outdoor, indoor, and heater interior air temps and control
the fan motor (on/off certainly and maybe speed). My short term approach is to use
a thermostatic switch (snap disc), but I would like to be able to collect lots of data
with a computer designed control approach. I may end up staying simple and just using the snap disc but I am experimenting with computer control.
Don
Don

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dbemowsk
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Re: Need Help Using X10 Firecracker, CM17A

#10 Post by dbemowsk » Fri Mar 08, 2013 8:25 am

yoonmetoo wrote:I need to be able to measure outdoor, indoor, and heater interior air temps
For this I would recommend 1-Wire. If you look on Ebay, you can find a DS9097U USB 1-wire adapter for about $20.00. IF you are okay with soldering, all you need then is wire (I use cat5 wire), and a bunch of DS18B20 temp sensors. They look like little transistors and can be purchased on Ebay in packs of 5 from china for about $6.00 with free shipping. The are insanely easy to wire up. All you do is daisy chain them at different points on the wire and connect them to the USB adapter. The OSA plugin will detect any sensors connected when the plugin is started, and then all you have to do identify them to OSA. I currently have 6 of these around my house and one for outdoor temperature, and plan to add a couple more.
yoonmetoo wrote:and control the fan motor (on/off certainly and maybe speed).
As for controlling the fan motor, you could go with the simple X10 appliance module approach and just turn the fan on and off. For my ceiling fans though, I use an XPD3-IW X10 wall switch. The XPD3-IW is designed to be able to control inductive loads such as a motor. A couple issues. one is that with some motors you will get a hum from the motor when running at anything but full speed. If the hum is not too bad or if the motor is in an out of the way place, that may not matter to you though. The other issue is that I need to make a few adjustments to the X10 dimmer part of the plugin. The newer switches from X10 are soft start switches. I was the one that did the addition to the plugin to work with soft start switches, but since I wrote it I have seen some problems when setting the dim levels for my ceiling fans. It has not been a huge deal to me or others, so I have not fixed this yet. This can be dimmed down from a standard remote with dimming capability though if you wanted to just constantly run it at a slower speed since the switch will remember the dim level when turned on and off.
yoonmetoo wrote:My short term approach is to use a thermostatic switch (snap disc), but I would like to be able to collect lots of data with a computer designed control approach. I may end up staying simple and just using the snap disc but I am experimenting with computer control.
Don
I think that OSA will work well for your situation. You just need the right hardware, and it sounds like you already have some of it.

Dan

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