X10 Wireless Remotes
While there are many ZWave and Zigbee sensors available now that can be connected through a Vera interface the X10 motion sensors and wireless remotes paired with a W800 receiver or 2 is still an excellent and much less expensive way to get some of that data into XTension.
While any X10 wireless remote can be used with XTension and that interface, many have dim/bright buttons that are not useful. The wireless protocol is much faster than the power line X10 protocol which is normally a good thing, but causes a problem when your system is not just using one of X10’s power line transceivers. Those devices ignored further reception via wireless while it was transmitting a command onto the power line. So you could transmit a sequence of more or less real time dim or brighten commands to a device by just holding the button. In an asynchronous system like XTension you could pass those commands on to the power line as well, but since we can’t know how long it took the power line controller to send the command it will stack up every wireless command that was sent into the queue. You will overshoot your goal by a significant margin. There seems no good way to make those dim/brighten buttons function in the way they did when they were just directly coupled to the power line.
You can make some use of the buttons though. XTension can create a unit for each wireless housecode that you have a remote for and turn that unit on or off with the reception of a brighten or dim command from a wireless remote on that housecode.
The reason that we can only have one for each housecode and not one for each remote is due to the fact that the unit address is not sent in a dim or bright command, only the housecode. This makes some sense since you have only one dim/bright button on a remote and yet you can dim or bright any unit you controlled from the remote. You set up the unit you’re targeting by first sending it an ON command from the remote and then held the dim or bright buttons down to adjust it’s level. Until another On or Off is received for that housecode any dim or bright commands will get routed to that unit.
That also doesn’t work well in a busy house with a lot of reception going on as there might be a motion sensor transmission or some other event that changed what the last received unit address was and also changing where the dim/bright commands would go. As I said, trying to use them as they have been for X10 since the 70’s is nothing but pain in a modern system.
Instead of directly controlling individual lamps and using the dim/bright buttons as you were forced to with X10’s powerline transceiver you should instead consider the buttons and units in XTension as setting up “scenes” setup the levels for units you wish to control from the ON and OFF scripts of the wireless Unit in XTension. Don’t try to make each switch connect to an individual lamp unless that makes actual sense.
Making Use of the Dim/Bright Buttons
Create a Unit in XTension assigned to your W800 or other X10 receiver and set it’s Address to the Housecode, a period and the word DIM, Like “A.DIM” for the A housecode or “E.DIM” for the E housecode.
Whenever the dim/bright buttons are pressed on a remote that is set to the A housecode the “A.DIM” unit will turn off or on. If your remote is on the E housecode then the E.DIM addressed unit would respond.
While not as useful as having a 4th button on a stick a switch it will allow you to make use of those buttons for scripts that might be applicable to more than just one remote. Or if you have fewer remotes than there are housecodes you could have those buttons be unique to each remote.
As an example my wife and I have stick a switches stuck to the side of our bedside tables. They are set to different address ranges but both on the A housecode. Her remote does different things than mine but the dim/bright buttons on both control the same A.DIM unit. That unit has ON and OFF scripts that control the lighting in the bedroom. So either remote can turn off all the lights for bed while doing other things with the other buttons.