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X10 Wireless Motion detectors?

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#1 123



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Posted 06 March 2008 - 09:33 AM

Hi Folks

This is my first post here. I'm very glad to find this group after learning of the fate of Premise at the hands of Motorola. I'm hoping that you can help me out with a problem that's driving me crazy.

I need reliable X10 based wireless motion detectors to automate and bunch of lighting and audio throughout my home. Right now I'm using the less than stellar Activehome indoor model which I'm finding is way too insensitive. I literally have to jump up and down in front of the thing to get it to register motion.. Can you recommend a better alternative?

I'll be migrating over to Insteon based detectors when they become available (Many thanks to John for all his hard work on the Insteon drivers - Please keep up the great work!!) but for now I need an X10 solution that just works.

Many thanks in advance!


Like you, I started with X10 and moved to Insteon. I'm still using X10-based Motion Detectors (the Active Home variety) until the Insteon versions become available. For what it's worth, I found a dramatic increase in X10 performance just by using the Insteon PLC vs. the CM11 .
It's still not perfect, but at least when someone walks into a room, the lights come on within a second versus almost 10 seconds under X10 and the CM11.

A few other things to consider. I found putting the wireless receivers (I have three) on the same side of the breaker panel as the PLC (or CM11) made a world of difference too.

You might have already noticed an issue with Premise not always registering the fact that a motion detector had gone from the "ON" to "OFF" state. It's caused by the fundamental reliability issues with X10, however seeing that transtion is very important to Premise. If Premise doesn't see the transition to OFF, it won't ever know when the motion detector kicked "ON" again. If that happens, Premise will assume the room with the motion detector is not occupied after the occupancy timeout. To help with this, I added a little feature you might find useful. There's a property associated with each X10 device called Auto Reset Mode. If you enable it, the X10 device will automatically turn itself off after the number of seconds in the Auto Reset Timer property (defaults to 10 seconds). I found that enabling this mode with motion detectors greatly improves the reliability of X10 motion detectors integrated into Premise.

Finally, the X10 support in my Insteon driver is very basic. It's just simple on/off type switching, so I wouldn't use it to control your X10 environment if you do anything more sophisticated than on/off.


This behavior is definitely something Iíve noticed. Iíve got the detectors configured to send an OFF command 1 min after it detects motion. Sometimes this doesnít get received by Premise and the subsequent ON command gets ignored when motion is next detected.

I checked through all the property pages I can find for the X10, Motion Detector and Occupancy objects but Iím not seeing the ďAuto Reset ModeĒ property anywhere. Is this a property that you have written into your Insteon module and therefore is not available in the SmartHome PLC module? If thatís the case is there some way to put this logic into the MotionDetector class without swapping out the driver (I need X10 dimming, etc)?

Also, I checked on the interface Iím using and itís not the CM11 itís the PowerLink 1132U (I think the latest one is 1132UC). Do you still think Iíll see an improvement in the X10 performance by going to the newer V2 model?

Iím using the Leviton receiver. Iíve tried many different locations for this including putting in the same room and on the same circuit as the sensor and it doesnít seem to make a different to the reliability. Iím going to try putting on the same circuit as the PLC. Iíll let you know if that helps.

Thanks again for all your help. Iím learning a lot here.


You won't find the auto reset mode in the Smarthome driver. It's part of my Insteon driver (sorry...). While I was transitioning from X10 to Insteon, I actually used both the Insteon PLC and the CM11. Once I replaced all of my X10 dimmers, I removed the CM11 and used the PLC to interface with the motion detectors. You just need to make sure you bind the home level objects to the right device.
I use X10 motion detectors, but I pick up the signals using a MR26 and a custom-built "turnstile" antenna (http://www.shed.com/tutor/mr26ant.html) that dramatically extends the range of it. This avoids sending anything over the power-line and speeds everything up. SYS includes a driver for the MR26. I also just noticed that smarthome has an X10 RF to RS232 adapter that looks pretty good. (http://www.smarthome.com/4832.html) I don't know if the protocol is the same as the MR26, however.

None of this may help if the underlying problem is just the motion detector actually detecting motion, however.

#2 TCassio


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Posted 06 March 2008 - 12:48 PM

I don't use Premis, but I do use Insteon devices and X10 motion detectors. I can say that they work great. I use the WGL-W800 RF reciever. This connects to the PC directly via RS232, thus not putting the X10 signal onto the power line. I've found that not putting the X10 signals on the powerline make there RF devices very reliable. I've also discovered that X10 powerline signals interfear with the Insteon powerline singnals (slows them down).


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