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Too much to go into to fully explain what X10 is here. If you don't know, then you don't need this and there are other modules required to do anything useful. Basically, it's a home automation system that you can use to control and automate lights, appliances, alarm-type systems, remote cameras, etc. If you're interested, then do a search for 'X10 home automation' and you'll find lots of information. It's a somewhat older, less capable system versus Insteon or some others but it's a decent relatively simple, inexpensive way to do many basic home automation-type things. You might be able to piece this together with one of their other packages for less than buying one with the controller and phone app.

Anyway...

I was looking at various options for using an iPhone to control some of my X10 stuff and saw that X10.com now has their own app out called ActivePhone (which also works on other phone platforms). As always, they're running their typical "OMG!!! BLOWOUT SALE OF THE CENTURY!!!" but this actually is a pretty good deal if you want to add a controller to your X10 stuff or update from one of the old CM11A serial controllers. They usually sell the CM15A controller + ActiveHome Pro package for ~$49.

You get the ActivePhone app which runs on your phone (duh), ActiveHome Pro software which runs on your computer to control how things work, macros, etc., and the CM15A usb controller/transciever which plugs into the wall and is used to store and run things so that you don't have to leave a computer running. (Note that you DO need to have the computer on when using ActivePhone - ActiveHome acts as a server for ActivePhone by sending a web page to the phone.)

The ActivePhone app itself is $9.99. Not a great deal in itself, but it is what it is. If you have all of the rest, then that's all that you'd need. There are a number of other apps that you might want to take a look at too before buying it.

Here are the better deals...

Adding the ActiveHome Pro software and the CM15A controller is $29.99 (Click the box that shows the $29.99 deal):

http://www.x10.com/promotions/sw44a_ed_world_premiere_0920.html#up1


Warranty: 1 year
Features:
•Control your lights/appliances by PC
•Save money and energy - set your lights/appliances on energy-conserving schedules
•Keep your home safe - turn your lights, radios, and TVs on and off while on vacation
•Let your home run itself - set it in Lifestyle Mode, and it will memorize your actions and repeat them
•Completely X10 compatible - expnd with as many light/appliance modules as you want!
•Easy do-it-yourself setup

1 ActiveHome Professional Computer Interface and USB Cable (CM15A) $99.99
1 ActiveHome Professional Software (SW31A) $49.99

SOLD SEPARATELY: $149.98 <--- (Never lol)
NOW ONLY: $29.99


So basically you get the ActivePhone app for free and ActiveHome Pro + the CM15A for about $20 less than what they usually get for the AH Pro + CM15A. Save another $5 if you friend them on Facebook (as below) = $24.99 + ~$5 shipping.


Also as alternatives...

Adding ActiveHome Pro and the CM19A/TM751 package is $19.99. I've not used this one but my understanding is that the difference versus the CM15A above is that while it will run the same timers, schedules, macros, scenes, cameras, whatever, the computer needs to be on.

http://www.x10.com/promotions/sw44a_ed_world_premiere_0920.html#...


Warranty: 1 year
Features:

•Control your lights/appliances by PC
•Save money and energy - set your lights/appliances on energy-conserving schedules from your PC
•Keep your home safe - turn your lights, radios, and TVs on and off at random times while on vacation
•Let your home run itself - set it in Lifestyle Mode, and it will memorize your actions and repeat them
•1-Year Replacement Warranty included
•Easy do-it-yourself setup

What's included:
List Price
1 Wireless PC Transceiver (CM19A) $49.99
1 ActiveHome Professional Software (SW31A) $49.99
1 X10 ActivePhone (SW44A) $49.99
1 Small Wireless Transceiver (TM751) $12.99

SOLD SEPARATELY: $162.96 <--- Never
NOW ONLY: $19.99



If you don't need the phone app, then they also have the ActiveHome Pro + recertified CM15A for $19.99

http://www.x10.com/promotions/cm15a_ed_twenty_sd.html


Certified Like New
Warranty: 1 year
Features:
•Control your lights/appliances by PC
•Save money and energy - set your lights/appliances on energy-conserving schedules from your PC
•Keep your home safe - turn your lights, radios, and TVs on and off at random times while on vacation
•Let your home run itself - set it in Lifestyle Mode, and it will memorize your actions and repeat them
•1-Year Replacement Warranty included
•Easy do-it-yourself setup

1 Certified Like New: ActiveHome Pro Interface (CM15SD) $29.99
1 ActiveHome Professional Software (SW31A) $49.99

SOLD SEPARATELY: $79.98
NOW ONLY: $19.99



Also there's a $5 off deal if you friend them on Facebook (long enough to do the transaction):

BACK BY POPULAR DEMAND! You can SAVE $5 on EVERY order under $79.99 and $10 on EVERY order $79.99 and over. All you have to do is Like us on Facebook! It only takes one click of your mouse and it's free. This one's a no-brainer!


Shipping is ~$5.

Yes, X10.com's web site is a mess and has pop-ups.

Yes, X10.com will spam you mercilessly for the remainder of your natural life unless you use a throw-away address (although actually they seem to have gotten better about it in recent years).

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Nice post! Green for the clear, detailed writeup (and for the X-10 popup/spam warning). As you say, X-10 gear is not high end, but it works pretty well for basic, inexpensive home automation.

Thanks OP, I've been living with a serial interface that hasn't worked with xp in years resulting in the need to boot up an old win 98 machine to change my timers. Went with the refurb CM15A since that's all I need.

Can anyone verify if ActiveHome Pro can work with Windows 7? I doesn't list it as an option.

I just converted to from XP to Windows 7 and Active Home Pro and the CM15a are working fine with no modifications. I have not tried any Smart Macros though (never had much luck with those on XP either!) I have a pretty large X10 system but I stopped buying new products for years as it was the same sale every day; lately they really have had some decent deals. I know a lot of folks switched to Insteon but I just can't justify paying $40 to turn off one lamp when with X10 I can control 8 lamps for that price.

I swore 15 years ago after being frustrated to no end by x-10 popups that I couldn't control for weeks that I would never buy anything from this company even though I admired their products.

I'm thinking about going ahead and taking the plunge.

Thanks OP -- I also have been using the OLD serial port module to control my outside lights, along with the old software on a Win 98 PC. The new USB based module and the updated software is well worth the $21 ($20 + $6 shipping - $5 coupon).

Thanks OP. Boxed up all my X10 stuff like 6 years ago when I moved. Never got it to work completely to my liking. Guessing my previous house probably needed to have the 110/220 line bridged, just wasn't worth the cost/hassle at the time. May look into again at my current place.

Seems to me that the unavoidable Achille's heel to X10 (and pretty much any powerline technology---powerline Ethernet, etc) is that you cannot put a surge suppressor between the PC/x10 interface and the power. Hence, if you use X10 with a PC interface, you render your PC permanently vulnerable to a destructive surge. Granted such episodes are rare, but having lost some appliances to a bad storm once, I was never thrilled with this limitation.

ktg said: Thanks OP. Boxed up all my X10 stuff like 6 years ago when I moved. Never got it to work completely to my liking. Guessing my previous house probably needed to have the 110/220 line bridged, just wasn't worth the cost/hassle at the time. May look into again at my current place.

Seems to me that the unavoidable Achille's heel to X10 (and pretty much any powerline technology---powerline Ethernet, etc) is that you cannot put a surge suppressor between the PC/x10 interface and the power. Hence, if you use X10 with a PC interface, you render your PC permanently vulnerable to a destructive surge. Granted such episodes are rare, but having lost some appliances to a bad storm once, I was never thrilled with this limitation.


An easy and cheap way to bridge phases in many cases is to just plug in another transceiver into an outlet on that phase. Lots of other issues that can affect things though if you have noise on the line or some other interference (hence the benefits of Insteon, etc.).

I've not used them but they do seem to have some surge protectors with USB pass-throughs. No idea how well they work. We had lightning strike a pole about three houses down which completely took out one side of the power to several houses on my street. When that happens, I can tell you first hand that surge protectors are pretty much toast. lol Luckily, not much important on that side other than the AC and dryer which were on both and a few little things, most of which insurance covered. But as you say things like that are rare and not much that you can really do anyway. For normal spikes I'd think that somebody somewhere makes a decent enough USB surge protector.

Anyone know how this software would get onto the iPhone? Don't see it in the app store ...

Edit: Sorry, saw this in the FAQs


Q: Do I need to have Apps on my phone for ActivePhone to work?

A: Nope! That's the beauty of ActivePhone. It's not your typical App in that it will work on a smart phone that doesn't use standard Apps.

I'm still using the serial interface, but once I download my timers to the interface, I disconnect the interface from the PC. There really is no reason to keep the interface continually connected to the PC, unless you want to turn lights on and off from there. I use other x10 devices to do that.



ktg said:
Seems to me that the unavoidable Achille's heel to X10 (and pretty much any powerline technology---powerline Ethernet, etc) is that you cannot put a surge suppressor between the PC/x10 interface and the power. Hence, if you use X10 with a PC interface, you render your PC permanently vulnerable to a destructive surge. Granted such episodes are rare, but having lost some appliances to a bad storm once, I was never thrilled with this limitation.

clunk said: Anyone know how this software would get onto the iPhone? Don't see it in the app store ...

Edit: Sorry, saw this in the FAQs


Q: Do I need to have Apps on my phone for ActivePhone to work?

A: Nope! That's the beauty of ActivePhone. It's not your typical App in that it will work on a smart phone that doesn't use standard Apps.



Yeah, sorry... wasn't clear as I should have been above. I called it an app but it's not really an iPhone app. It's an HTML/XML plug-in for ActiveHome. You can save the link as an icon for your home screen on the phone so that it's a single "click" and works basically like an app. Some benefits that way as far as access from multiple devices and from other locations if you want to open up your network (haven't tried that - I'm not that confident in ActiveHome's security myself). There's another one called X10 Commander that is a native app with its own server. Some benefits/drawbacks either way.

I'm not that impressed with the "app" itself, could be a lot better, but the various deals for ActiveHome Pro + controller are about the best that I've seen.

skibum43 said: I'm still using the serial interface, but once I download my timers to the interface, I disconnect the interface from the PC. There really is no reason to keep the interface continually connected to the PC, unless you want to turn lights on and off from there. I use other x10 devices to do that.


Yep, that's the usual way to do it. But that doesn't work if you want to control things using a phone (or whatever) since it interacts with ActiveHome or other server to pass the commands on to the controller. You'd need a transceiver/controller with some form of server built in like the more elaborate IP-based systems.

Can't seem to get the ActivePhone, module and ActiveHome Pro in my cart for $29.99. I must be missing something...

HowYouDoing said: Can't seem to get the ActivePhone, module and ActiveHome Pro in my cart for $29.99. I must be missing something...

Looks like something changed. They don't have the ActivePhone plug-in listed in that same package now.

Try the link below:

http://www.x10.com/promotions/sw44a_ed_world_premiere_0920.html#...

There should be a box that shows the $29.99 deal including ActivePhone, AH Pro, and the CM15A. I just tried it and it added all 3 to my cart. It will show in the cart as "X10 PhoneMote" which was the name before they changed it to ActivePhone.

Also keep in mind that they don't ship the software - and they don't clearly tell you where to find it. You need to google X10 downloads, and it'll take you to a page where you enter your order number. I recently placed an order that came with Activehome Pro and five or six plugins - but getting all the plugins downloaded and activated is a pain in the backside.

Also, the software looks dreadful - very much in line with what I had under Windows 95. Still, the USB interface is much nicer than the old serial ones.

Unfortunately no FatCash for X10, but worth mentioning that other CashBack affiliate shopping sites offer up to 25% back on X10 purchases, ie. cashbaqdotcom.

They should send you an email with all of the links and the registration numbers.

If not, then their download center is here:

http://www.x10.com/support/support_soft1.htm

You'll still need the registration numbers.

Yeah, ActiveHome looks like it's looked forever. There are a couple of other X10 packages that you can use but unfortunately they're not any better and in some ways worse. Also some hobbyist-type stuff like Misterhouse and Heyu if you want to get down in the weeds more. Not until you get up into the higher price ranges for other turn-key systems that just happen to also support the X10 stuff too and they generally require another controller. SmartHome, Indigo for the Mac, both of which need the Insteon controllers. You'd think that there would be something better out there by now since the X10 stuff has been around forever but I've not seen it if it is.

ActivePhone looks like one of their palm remotes.

Looking for a deal for the SuperSocket - Wall Receptacle Module (SR227). Any links to the best deal?



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