Using X-10 remotes and motion sensors with SmartThings?

I have been a user of X-10 technology for many years, but wanted to take advantage of new capabilities through Google Assistant or Alexa, etc. Also, X-10 native software has been in decline and seems to have died so I have had to run a Windows XP VM to use with my CM15A. Unfortunately, I have already had one instance where a SmartThings outage prevented the home automation in the house from working properly so now I am looking more closely at X-10 and newer Zigbee and Z-Wave devices and how to get more local control while having the advanced features that one can obtain through the cloud when needed. I have found a fairly easy way to be able to control my current X-10 devices through SmartThings by using some software running on a Raspberry Pi.

I must say that I now have renewed interest in keeping my X-10 switches and other modules. With SmartThings, I miss having inexpensive remote controllers, such as the X-10 PalmPad Remote (HR12A), that can control individual devices, or even better, can be used with native X-10 software to enable each button on the remote to do something completely different.

With the integration of SmartThings and X-10, my third-party whole house X-10 receiver has been rendered useless so I am back to dealing with the very poor reception of the CM15A. I have experimented with one project to modify the antenna on one of my CM15As, which increased the range significantly but not to cover my entire house.

Can anyone point me in the right direction to solving these three issues?

(1) Being able to use X-10 remotes to their full potential to control devices, automations/macros, etc.
(2) having bidirectional support for the X-10 CM15A so that I could use other X-10 wired and wireless devices to send signals to SmartThings, such as the WGL X10 RF Whole House Transceiver
(3) Local control

HomeSeer seems to be the only home automation software that has native bidirectional X-10 support, which would allow me to use all of my current X-10 gear, but it is expensive, and I am not sure what, if any, negatives there would be to moving to it other than cost. Maybe it is more difficult to use with Zigbee and Z-Wave devices.

Sorry to say but there isn’t much support left for X-10 in the market place. I retired my last of the X-10 hardware in December. I had to choose to either move to 100% SmartThings vs. trying to hack the Insteon USB gateway on a PI to make the functionality work on the SmartThings hub. I hate Rube-Goldberg approaches.

I chose to replace the button pad controllers with Action Tiles running on tablets and have a lot more functionality now. With low cost Amazon tablet, and replacing 20 year old wall switches it did set me back a bit in the finances but everything is now in one platform using SmartThings hub , Action Tiles, and WebCORE.

Homseer works very well with Z wave, but doesn’t have much Zigbee support. ( The list of compatible sensors is a giveaway on that.)

There are some people who have built “man in the middle“ integrations between smartthings and X10 using mochad:

While it’s quite a bit of work to set it up, you can see from the following thread that many people find it worth it:

If you search the forum for “X10“ you can find some additional discussion, but I would start with those two. :sunglasses:

However, it’s not going to be local control, because smartthings just doesn’t support that for custom development. If you want to go completely local, you would need to go to something like hubitat ( which has very similar zigbee and zwave support to smartthings), although you still need a “man in the middle“ server.

https://community.hubitat.com/t/x-10-support/7286/

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@RonV42 & @JDRoberts - Thank you both for the responses. The X-10 integration with SmartThings for me was quite easy and is proving reliable. It does not appear to be bidirectional, though, with the CM15A interface. It can receive wireless signals and then SmartThings will send out the appropriate X-10 command via the CM15A, but the CM15A does not receive any powerline X-10 signals for processing by SmartThings. I used the thread noted above to configure X-10 functionality with SmartThings. The ease and reliability of the X-10 integration via mochad and Node Red for me has breathed new life into my use of X-10 switches, outlets, etc. My current big disappointment is the lack of the bidirectional feature of the CM15A and no good means of fully utilizing the X-10 remotes that could be much more powerful, but that is because there are no similar cost-effective remotes with many buttons in the smart home world, which I find surprising in this day and age. HomeSeer still seems to be the only viable option to meet all of my wish list, but it is a bit costly.

@RonV42 - I have looked a little at the ActionTiles and using smart phones or tablets to become controllers. Tablets and phones have not seemed like great solutions to me as they would have to be on all of the time or would require logins to access the app, etc. I wouldn’t want a tablet to be logged into my Google account all of the time, for example, for security reasons. They would either need to be permanently powered, which means dealing with cables, or would need regular battery charging. The X-10 remotes could go for months to years without needing any cables or changing batteries. How do you deal with these types of issues?

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The remotetec 90 is a battery operated Z wave button pad which allows for press, double press, or Long hold for each of eight buttons. So that gives you 24 functions. :sunglasses: It’s about the size of a single gang light switch and is very popular. But of course it does cost more.

image

Also, quite a few people use a $20 Wi-Fi phone without a contract. Or an inexpensive android tablet. It doesn’t have to be logged into Google to function. ActionTiles can work in almost any browser, And you can customize the display. You do have to solve the power problem, but there are a lot of ways to do that.

IMG_1038 IMG_1242

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FWIW - I have a box of X10 “stuff” will ship to new home for price of shipping.

No idea what all is in there, switches, receptacles, a couple controllers. I still have 2 switches in the walls that i’ll remove as well.

Free to good home

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For the replacement of the x10 keypad I used older Moto G4 phones I got for cheep, $49 each. I left the stock android image on the phone and skipped the Google setup. Side loaded fully kioskbrowser and its the only app running on the phone. None have sims and they are in a custom frame stands I made out of wood that hides the USB power connector. But you are right they have to stay plugged in. I have 3 more fire tablets that I put next to the entry ways and upstairs in basically the same configuration as the phones.

I will say having this has made the wife a lot happier with not only having a button but seeing the room status changes on the display as confirmation. In my old x10 environment I would have to make the whole house audio beep when a button command was accepted in the x10 controller.

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@Paul_Haskins If you can give some more details about what devices are in this box, I may take them off your hands.

Thanks, all! These have given me some things to think about and to test. I am not going to be adding any Zwave for now so am going to focus on Philips Hue devices (as they are working very well), SmartThings buttons (for things that do not require fast response / local control), openHAB, and further testing with X10. I am seeing some info about possible bidirectional X10 support which would allow me to use my X10 remotes, if true.