Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Flash, this just in ...

... quite literally. This week I received quite a few packages. So I've been a bit busy around here with setup and writing software. I have a working skeleton of libusb code for the X10 CM19A & the CM15A (I hope to have actual device drivers for both units based on the LabJack USB drivers). Woody Wilson has his code working for the CM15A using some code from the Dallas Onewire USB libraries. Woody helped me to get started with both X10 devices. I also received my NC1000-L10 IP camera which runs Linux! And finally I received word from the UPB folks that they have no problems with me writing a driver to use their RS232 interface and that if I need any help they'd be glad to assist! So here is a bit more on the details:

CM19A - X10 USB Wireless Transceiver

CM19A - ( - X10 Wireless transceiver. Looks like the MR26A except instead of having a RS232 plug it has a USB plug. So far I can verify that it supports all the standard X10 On, Off, Dim and Bright commands along with the commands to control the wireless cameras. I've already checked out X10 and they have no drivers but I did find Java code which interfaces to the CM19A. I couldn't really use it but it made a great source of information such as the initialization code that was needed to receive certain wireless X10 signals.

CM15A - X10 USB Powerline and Wireless Transceiver

CM15A - ( - This is a big unit which replaces both the CM11A and the CM19A. It looks like the CM11A except it's about 1.5 times the size of the it. The front has the battery holder (4 x AAA), the bottom has the USB port and there is no AC outlet on the front. Dave Houston did a test of it's power line signal and came up with 6v p-p. So it's a little stronger than it predecessor the CM11A. Dave also commented that it's wireless coverage was on the weak side as well. The CM15A has the capabilities of the CM11A (X10 powerline transceiver, battery backup for it's clock, can run macros without the PC connected) and CM19A wireless transceiver. Again no drivers for Linux. Woody has done most of the work on this but now that I have mine I'll start moving forward on my code also.

NC1000-L10 (wired 10/100) or NC1000-W10 (802.11B wireless)

I've been poking around for a cheap IP camera and accidentally came across the NC1000-L10. It's a 10/100, 32 bit ARM processor (Windbond) camera (640x480, 320*240 , 352*288 or 176x144 resolution). The camera runs Linux 2.4 but we haven't any other details yet (other than the spec's). I have an upgrade but no idea how to upgrade it using a Linux based browser (requires IE and ActiveX)! Nathan Daniel Holmes has a brief page with what he found out about the NC1000-W10 (wireless), NC1000-L10 (wired) and the O-Rite IC-300 IP Cam (here's a hint: they have the same guts :-). The site that seems to provide support for these cameras is It seems to use cab and asp files (oh joy) so some functionality is strictly IE only. But you still can view it with Mozilla/FireFox and other browsers just can't configure it if you don't have Active X.

UPB - Universal Powerline Bus

UPB - Yes I have high hopes for this technology! I contacted the folks at PCS Lighting about programming their RS232 interface, just to make sure I wasn't stepping over any kind of legal boundaries (as I might have if I reversed engineered another vendors wireless solution). They made it clear they have no problems with me using the available information! So here's a few more links:

Also, I checked out the dimmer switch and it can be programmed to send a status message when someone manually uses the switch. So yet another major problem of X10's technology has been overcome. Those major problems are reliability of signal and product, open loop natural of X10 protocol and no status sent when a device was manually controlled. UPB looks like it solves the last 2 easily. Only time will tell if it overcomes the first.


You'll note that I've posted X10 links next to the item the link would normally be associated with. I've done this for 2 reasons:

  1. X10's pop-ups, pop-unders and generally annoying ad's (bright, blinking, busy and in your face)!
  2. X10's annoying habit of providing only Windows support. They only need to share a little bit of the details of the device communications and the Non-Window community would be happy.
As a community we go a long way to help support X10 yet the community sees very little supports in return. As a general rule I don't like to recommend X10™ products. Instead I recommend X10 compatible products from ACT Solutions, Leviton, Smartlinc and PCS At present X10 is the leader in low cost HA so I can't ignore them but at the same time I don't want my readers to not have the links to the items I'm trying to describe. So my solution for now is the non-click-able links. Sorry!


At 5/02/2005 7:29 PM, Blogger Nathan said...

Can you tell me if the Vcenter Wireless cam supports WEP?


At 5/04/2005 9:54 AM, Blogger Neil Cherry said...

I'm afraid that I don't know. I have the wired version. I tried looking at the PDF file I have but parts of it are in Chinese. Remember I got the camera off ebay and it didn't come with any CD's or manuals. The stuff I have is what I've found by 'googling' about the net. Sorry about that.

At 10/16/2006 11:21 AM, Anonymous electronics-marc said...

I am more interested in the pure electronics details on how upb interfaces to the powerline. Are these circuits available because I have searched the net and have found nothing !

At 10/16/2006 7:30 PM, Blogger Neil Cherry said...

I don't beleive the circuits are available, but I suspect that the folks at UPB may provide a 'ready made' board that you could use to interface your project to a UPB network. The Insteon folks have this (a hardware development kit).


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