A new USB controller for Home Automation

by Gordon Meyer

The CM11A interface is the most common X10-to-computer device in use today, but its old-school standard serial interface requires you to use a USB-to-Serial adapter, which adds to the expense and hassle of using a modern computer to automate your home. This week brings a long-anticipated update to X10's venerable "ActiveHome" power line controller. The ActiveHome Professional (CM15A) not only sports USB connectivity , it includes a built-in RF transmitter and receiver.

In other words, the CM15A consolidates three devices into one. The previously mentioned CM11A power line interface, the CM19A for sending wireless commands to XCam cameras, and the popular MR26A for receiving wireless commands from motion detectors and other X10 wireless devices. That's a lot of bang for the buck!

Of course, it will take a while before the popular home automation software packages catch up with all these changes. You can get an updated copy of X10's ActiveHome software now, of course, and it looks to have some other nice changes, but many home automation enthusiasts will wait for packages like XTension, Indigo, and HomeSeer to work with the new device. And, naturally, to see if the CM15A can overcome the CM11A's spotty track record for speed and reliablity.

If you'd rather not wait, but are interested in USB-connectivity, check out Smarthome's PowerLinc USB. And when it comes to receiving wireless X10 commands, you can't beat WGL Design's W800RF32 -- it outdoes the MR26A by adding an external antenna and the ability to receive signals from security sensors.

Is the CM15A too late to the party?


2 Comments

roastbeeftonight
2004-09-12 22:37:37
wow...
..."home automation enthusiasts." The new geek fronteer!
roastbeeftonight
2004-09-12 22:38:11
ier...