md
X10's Bright Future?
March 2nd, 2015

There have been interesting developments at X10. It's web site has changed name to http://www.x10.com. The old address http://x10pro-usa.com is redirected to the new site. It seems that most of the X10 products are back on the shelves. There is even talk of an upcoming Wifi switch. This is all very encouraging.

Of particular interest to me, all the computer interfaces (also variably called controllers, transceivers, transceiver modules) are available:

InterfaceX10 CommunicationPC Connexion
CM11A ActiveHome Plug-In Controller Power line RS232
CM17A FireCracker Computer Interface Module Radio
CM15A ActiveHome Pro Transceiver Module Power line and radio USB
CM19A PC Transceiver Radio

I have a CM11A, CM15A and CM19A.

The "new" X10 continues to present the software available for these interfaces in a confusing manner which can only lead to much frustration on the part of first time purchasers.

CM11A ActiveHome Serial Plug-In Controller and Software

The CM11A is supplied with the ActiveHome software. This is a Windows 3.1 program which Windows 8.1 (and probably Windows 7) refuses to install. But exactly which program is supplied? For reasons unknown, the supplied program is called X10 ActiveHome Software (SW13A) on the page from which the interface can be ordered. Short of ordering the interface, I cannot verify just what software is included but I can confirm that the link to the software at the bottom of the page is to the Windows 3.1 ActiveHome application.

Furthermore, it is a serial RS232 device. Most newer computers do not have a serial port. To use the CM11A on such a computer you will need a USB-Serial cable. Windows is quite finicky about these cables. I have a couple of cheap cables that worked with Windows XP and Linux but do not work Windows 7 and Windows 8. Furthermore I have à third cable that does work except that ActiveHome Pro will not recognize the serial port even though ActiveHome Vista has no problem communicating with the interface using this adapter.

CM15A ActiveHome Pro USB Transceiver Module

The USB interface CM15A has been available without software for some time. The manual for the software can be downloaded from that page. Lately the software (ActiveHome Pro 3.318), has been made available at no charge. This is an unregistered copy of ActiveHome Pro (SW31A) without extra modules which nags about being unregistered. According to the site, it will work if the sign-on window requiring registration is ignored. I did install this on Windows 8.1 and did check that I can send commands with it.

As far as I can tell, X10 is making available tuicemen's "unregistered AHP". Hence you will find it useful to read tuicemen's forum about the limitations imposed by the impossibility to register.

CM19A USB PC Transceiver

This is the most confusing of the three modules. The page from which the interface can be ordered provides a link to the ActiveHome software while boldly stating "USB Transceiver does not work with Active Home Software". Instead, get ActiveHome Pro which does handle the CM19A.

AHSDK

The ActiveHome Scripting Development Kit (AHSDK) can be downloaded from the product support page. Manuals for X10 products are available there too. There is also an older version (2.10) of ActiveHome Pro on that page.

More good news

The company's server is hosting the Knowledge Base Wiki and the forums again.