Two-Way Lamp and Appliance Modules with Status Polling

Dave Rye

HTINews Article

Two-Way Lamp and Appliance Modules with Status Polling, Automatic Status Response, and Automatic Gain Control (A.G.C.)
By Dave Rye

The X-10 Two-Way Lamp and Appliance Modules are the first in a range of advanced Two-Way modules introduced by X-10 (now shipping). Working with the X-10 ActiveHome Two-Way Computer Interface (CM11A) and software, they provide the most versatile (and cost effective) high-end Home Automation solution available.

There are 3 types of module available:

  • AM14A Two-Way Appliance Module (2 pin polarized)
  • AM15A Two-Way Appliance Module (3 pin grounded)
  • LM14A Two-Way Lamp Module

The Two-Way modules are controlled using standard X-10 commands such as A1-ON. Once the command has been carried out, the module can then be polled for its status.

Status Request
When the module is polled for its Status, it responds with its on/off status in the same code format as existing X-10 Two-Way modules such as the RR501 Transceiver Module and the PR511 Floodlight Motion Detector. This allows existing software and hardware designed to work with the RR501 and PR511 to automatically work with these new Two-Way Modules.

Automatic status response
The Two-Way modules can also be configured from the next generation of ActiveHome software (coming soon) to automatically transmit their status when turned on either for the CM11A computer interface and ActiveHome software or from any other X-10 controller. They can even transmit this change in status when turned on locally by cycling the on/off switch on the connected light or appliance.

Output Monitoring
The acknowledgment is not sent simply after the command is received, but only after it has been successfully carried out by the module. The module monitors the output status of the relay or switching circuit, therefore any failure of the hardware is communicated back to the controller when polled.

Two-Way Lamp Modules can even be polled for, or automatically transmit their present brightness level.

Enhanced Reliability
The X-10 communications protocol has already proven itself to be the most reliable powerline Home Automation protocol available. The addition of Two-Way polling and automatic software retries take reliability to a new level. X-10 Two-Way modules also fully implement collision detection and contention resolution ensuring even complex Home Automation systems will run smoothly. And the addition of Automatic Gain Control (A.G.C.) ensures that the modules operate reliably even in the most harsh conditions. As long as there is always at least twice as much signal as there is noise, the Two-Way modules with A.G.C. will always operate even if there is several volts of noise on the AC wiring.

Unlike other systems which require that ALL modules in the system are fully Two-Way, X-10 systems can be built from a mixture of Two-Way and standard modules. Critical items such as water heaters, air conditioners etc. will benefit from Two-Way control, while lighting can be controlled with standard modules if desired.

X-10 (USA Inc., 91 Ruckman Rd., Closter, NJ 07624 (201) 784-9700, Fax (201) 784-9464 e-mail

The content & opinions in this article are the author’s and do not necessarily represent the views of HomeToys

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