X10 Information

What is X10?

There are a bunch of different types of X10 devices, but I'll start explaining them in chronological order.  X10 started with switches that can be controlled either at the switch or remotely via a code that is sent through the wiring in your house.  There are other devices that will send the codes that are received by the switch, and they can be plugged in anywhere in the house.  They also moved into radio controlled devices such as motion sensors where a code is sent via radio waves to a receiver that is plugged into the wall, and from there, the code is sent through the wire to all X10 switches in the house.  Each switch can be set to a particular house code and unit code.  A switch will respond to the code if it is set to the appropriate house and unit code.

X10 is also branching out into video as well.  Most of their cameras are wireless, which makes them easy to install. Home Domination supports most X10 devices including the video cameras.

How do I get a CM11A Computer Interface?

To get the CM11A interface that plugs into your serial port, click here: and pick up the Active Home Kit.  If you can't find it, you may need to follow this link: http://www.x10.com/automation/x10_ck11a.htm.  It also comes with a lot of useful stuff besides the interface.  It also comes with some software also, but it's really frustrating and limited, so I wouldn't recommend even installing it, but you can if you like.  Just don't say I didn't warn you.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of X10?

One big advantage of X10 devices is that they use the existing wiring in your house.  This makes them ideal for existing houses.  The down side of X10 devices is that there is a slight delay from the time the code is sent until the code is received and acted upon.  Also, sometimes electrical noise or simultaneous sending of codes and cause codes not to be received.  So X10 is not ideal when speed and reliability are a must.  Home Domination is capable of using an IO board, which is an electronic board that can be installed in your computer.  These boards are capable of monitoring sensors and controlling switches, and are much faster and more reliable than X10.  However, this requires special wiring and is really only an option for new construction or houses already equipped with low voltage wiring.  It's more difficult to set up initially as well since you usually have to send a series of codes to the board to tell it which items are sensors and which are switches.  If you would like to use an IO board, email with your requirements and we can work with you to help set that up.  Keep in mind though that we may not be able to support your particular IO board.  If you would like a suggestion on which IO board to use, let us know that too.