X10 & HomeKit ?

Posted on
Wed Jan 13, 2021 5:19 pm
FlyingDiver offline
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Re: X10 & HomeKit ?

rlesperance wrote:
As for the HomeKit bridge, what would that mean for the Indigo team to take over the work ? Isn't that a good investment for them ? I think that for Indigo to be accessible from the Home app is a great advantage.


This has been discussed in other threads. As long as Apple refuses to certify a software implementation of a HomeKit bridge, there are some significant legal issues for a commercial entity like IndigoDomotics to include it in their product. Like if it pisses Apple off they could loose their Developer license.

joe (aka FlyingDiver)
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Posted on
Thu Jan 14, 2021 6:04 am
rlesperance offline
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Re: X10 & HomeKit ?

Thanks ... The importance of that bridge got so obvious that I forgot that Matt had already spoke about it. It would be a great opportunity for all legacy home automation hardware to have a place in the Home app.

That being said, what incentive would Apple have to allow that bridge ?

Posted on
Thu Jan 14, 2021 10:53 am
jay (support) offline
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Re: X10 & HomeKit ?

rlesperance wrote:
I probably ear in advance that X10 is a dead protocol. I suspect that X10 is probably the most used one as of now,


We collect some anonymous statistics from Indigo servers when they do an update check, and currently X10 (compared only to Z-Wave and Insteon) is only 6% of all device types used by Indigo users. If you add in custom plugin devices (which may not be apples to apples since devices can be many things other than an actual physical device) it's around 3%.

rlesperance wrote:
Thanks ... The importance of that bridge got so obvious that I forgot that Matt had already spoke about it. It would be a great opportunity for all legacy home automation hardware to have a place in the Home app.


We agree that native HomeKit support would be great, and we have some hope that the alliance between all the big players will eventually lead to a single open standard where we can support them natively.

rlesperance wrote:
That being said, what incentive would Apple have to allow that bridge ?


I believe that's exactly Apple's point, at least that was in the beginning. Apple positioned HomeKit (among other things) as the most secure solution. Allowing software bridges like Indigo and HomeSeer would eliminate that advantage and expose a threat vector. I think they are probably beyond that now, having joined with the other big guys to define a new secure standard. Time will tell, and I really hope that is the case.

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Posted on
Thu Jan 14, 2021 11:45 am
rlesperance offline
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Re: X10 & HomeKit ?

Thanks Jay.

Regarding X10 use, I am surprised and sad to read that Indigo only has a ±5% X10 customer base. I have a X10 system with more than one hundred (100) LM465 modules and all circuits all wired-inwall. The system makes full use of X10 wall transmitters to send/receive their signal to modules.

I understand that it is an old system but it works without a glitch. I have to confess that I had a recurrent problem with a faulty wall transmitter but, now, it's fixed,

Changing the system will require, at least some very good reasons to do so, or better, a little bit of serious thinking ahead.

After reading about newer alternatives and speaking to my X10 repair man, all of the suggested new protocols were either (1) unable or not designed to manage so many devices or (2) there was no reason to believe for how long any of those protocol would be in the market, not mentioning the sad reality that any of those changes would imply heavy investment and probably also a lot of rewiring.

Actually, house automation is far from being a stable or universal paradigm. That being said, I am either looking for ways to live happily with X10 for a few years until protocols stabilizes or to have some very-very serious reasons to believe that I am doing a serious investment by migrating to new stuff at this scale.

Any wise advice are welcome. Thanks for being there.

Posted on
Thu Jan 14, 2021 11:51 am
FlyingDiver offline
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Re: X10 & HomeKit ?

rlesperance wrote:
After reading about newer alternatives and speaking to my X10 repair man, all of the suggested new protocols were either (1) unable or not designed to manage so many devices or (2) there was no reason to believe for how long any of those protocol would be in the market, not mentioning the sad reality that any of those changes would imply heavy investment and probably also a lot of rewiring.


I hate to say this, but I don't think your X10 repair man is up to date on the lighting control market. Or he was working with constraints you don't list. As an example, Lutron RadioRa2 has been around for years, will be around for many more to come, and is a very popular commercial lighting system. I have over 100 Lutron devices in my home and it works flawlessly. But yes, the sad reality is that it's not cheap. OTOH, you can probably do it without much if any re-wiring. You can certainly place the Lutron switches/dimmers wherever you currently have the LM465s. The only question is what wiring do you have in place to the wall keypad locations.

Any there are a number of other solutions out there, Lutron is just the one I'm familiar with.

joe (aka FlyingDiver)
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Posted on
Thu Jan 14, 2021 1:31 pm
rlesperance offline
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Re: X10 & HomeKit ?

Thanks FlyingDiver.

My general installation: Any light or group of lights in my house are hardwired to a LM465 located just beside the main electric panel and live wired to it. As for the wall tranmitters, they are simply wired to a live feed anywhere in the house. They usually have 3 or 4 buttons, preventing me of having 3 or 4 Decora single switches beside one of the other. That simplifies greatly the gang set of switches we usuaslly need.

To avoid a complete overhaul, I would need typically wall transmitters with 3 or 4 buttons and a module similar to the LM465. I would then have to simply remplace one by the other. Is Lutron RadioRa2 a possible system to do that ?

Posted on
Thu Jan 14, 2021 2:29 pm
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Re: X10 & HomeKit ?

rlesperance wrote:
To avoid a complete verhaul, I would need typically wall transmitters with 3 or 4 buttons and a module similar to the LM465. I would then have to simply remplace one by the other. Is Lutron RadioRa2 a possible system to do that ?


Short answer, Yes. Your panel wiring area would be a lot cleaner, because you would have actual switches in gang boxes instead of rows of wall-warts. Then you would have keypads (up to six buttons, plus raise/lower) at each wall transmitter location. Those either need 120V mains power, or they can run low-voltage if you have a central location to put the transformer. That's intended to replace other systems with low voltage keypads.

joe (aka FlyingDiver)
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Posted on
Thu Jan 14, 2021 3:56 pm
jay (support) offline
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Re: X10 & HomeKit ?

I have to agree with @FlyingDiver here. Z-Wave has been on the market since 1999. It supports up to 230+ devices on a single network. There are probably 30+ companies making Z-Wave devices, and there are literally thousands of devices on the market. Reliability is significantly better than the average X10 installation, though there can be range related issues (usually solved with strategic repeater replacement). Reliability of the hardware is just like any other hardware - some vendors make higher quality devices than others, so going the lowest cost might not get you the same quality as spending a bit more, though I've yet to see any significant proof of that.

The Z-Wave protocol is, frankly, light years better than X10. Each message is acknowledged, if the ack isn't received it's retransmitted (all done at the protocol level automatically). Most mains powered devices also repeat the signals making for a much more robust mesh network. The same can be said of Insteon, but it still can suffer from power line signal issues and it suffers from being a single-vendor solution.

Your installation design, while it might have been good to help reduce X10 signal issues, is more complex as Joe points out, because it requires home run wiring. Standard wiring is all that's needed for everything else.

His arguments are pretty weak:

(1) unable or not designed to manage so many devices


As I said, one Z-Wave interface can support well over 200 devices. Other WiFi based systems are unlimited, though they are newer and thus don't have the track record that Z-Wave or Lutron has.

(2) there was no reason to believe for how long any of those protocol would be in the market


This is just silly. There are millions of people using Z-Wave products (even if they may not know it). It's been around for 20+ years, is being actively developed by Silicon Labs which is very stable and reputable technology company that's been around over 20 years.

I would recommend doing your own research, as your X10 guy may have other/different motivations than you do.

Note: I'm not recommending that you switch to anything, but rather just pointing out that you have options that are likely better if you want to consider a transition.

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Posted on
Thu Jan 14, 2021 4:35 pm
autolog offline
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Re: X10 & HomeKit ?

Just to reinforce that Z-Wave is being actively developed: Z-Wave Alliance Announces New Z-Wave Long Range Specification

Devices are already being tested and the range is at least 1 mile and up to 4000 devices can be supported on one network.

What is Z-Wave Long Range and How Does it Differ from Z-Wave?

Z-Wave Long Range Video

Looks like it is built on the series 700 chipset and will be available in the USA first with Europe following on. :D

Posted on
Thu Jan 14, 2021 5:09 pm
rlesperance offline
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Re: X10 & HomeKit ?

Thanks all for these comments. It seems I have some big homework to do.

Having in mind of replacing my X10 installation, what are my serious contenders ? I think Lutron is a long time player in home automation. For Z-Wave, since there is many company supporting it, what would be the 3 most reliable company to look at ?

Posted on
Thu Jan 14, 2021 8:07 pm
macromark offline
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Re: X10 & HomeKit ?

rlesperance wrote:
Thanks all for these comments. It seems I have some big homework to do.

Having in mind of replacing my X10 installation, what are my serious contenders ? I think Lutron is a long time player in home automation. For Z-Wave, since there is many company supporting it, what would be the 3 most reliable company to look at ?


I'll give you two:

GE (Jasco) Z-Wave switches have been around the longest. They were originally manufactured by ACT (now defunct) but they began building their own around 2006 or so. They're solid. I've owned a few. However, they don't support a lot of newer Z-Wave features and they're pretty basic.

HomeSeer switches (my employer BTW) hit the market in 2016 with their 100 series line. We updated the line in 2018 with the 200 series. These dimmers and switches include RGB LED indicators that can be individually programmed to glow or blink 7 different colors when things happen in your home. You can also launch automations by tapping the paddle up to 5 times. We also offer a 2-year warranty - most others are just 1 year.

Posted on
Fri Jan 15, 2021 10:02 am
jay (support) offline
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Re: X10 & HomeKit ?

Thanks @macromark - and I'll second the HomeSeer switches (my former house had a bunch) - they are solid and have great features. In my new place, I'm going with Inovelli switches because of their features and I like the look of the solid LED bar a bit better than the individual LEDs on the HS switches (I will still have a HS Fan switch for one ceiling fan that doesn't have a light kit). They also have a Fan control device that rivals the Insteon FanLinc/KeypadLinc combo that I've used for many years to control ceiling fans and lights. Not installed in the fans just yet (so much still to do after the move), but my testing for 7.5 on them seemed to indicate that they will work well.

Zooz makes a very interesting device that I'll be installing in a couple of places - it's a combo dimmer and relay (on/off) switch. One will be in a bathroom that didn't have enough wall space for 2 switches (one for the exhaust fan and one for a light), so this device can do both independently in a single gang. The other location is by an entry door with the same issue: we need to be able to turn on the outside(relay) light as well as an inside (dimmable) light. The LEDs on the switch are also controllable.

As I said above, I've yet to really hear enough for/against in terms of hardware reliability. I've personally had only one Z-Wave device go bad (a very old GE/Jasco switch) and I think that was because of a power surge.

Jay (Indigo Support)
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