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What You’ll Need

To kick-start your study of X10, get an X10 FireCracker kit (CK18A). You can pick up the kit directly from X10.com for about $50, although sellers on eBay usually have the kits available for much cheaper.

The kit includes four pieces:

  • The FireCracker computer interface (CM17A) fits into the serial port of your computer (see Figure 1). It’s used to control your X10 devices wirelessly via your computer.
    Figure 01

    Figure 1 FireCracker Computer Interface (CM17A).

  • The PalmPad remote control (HR12A) is used to control your X10 devices wirelessly (see Figure 2).
    Figure 02

    Figure 2 PalmPad remote control (HR12A)

  • The transceiver module (TM751) is a transmitter that listens for radio frequency (RF) commands from your remote control and FireCracker computer interface and sends those commands to receivers such as the lamp module or appliance modules (see Figure 3). The transceiver module should be plugged into one of your wall outlets.
    Figure 03

    Figure 3 Transceiver module (TM751).

  • The lamp module (LM465) acts as a receiver of X10 signals. You can plug in an incandescent light or lamp into the lamp module’s outlet (see Figure 4). Note that halogen and fluorescent lights are not supported. In turn, the lamp module should be plugged into one of your wall outlets.
    Figure 04

    Figure 4 Lamp module (LM465)

The FireCracker kit also ships with software that can be used to control your X10 devices via your computer. The software talks to the FireCracker computer interface (CM17A) to send signals to the transceiver module, which in turn sends X10 messages to listening receiver modules. The software can be downloaded for free and runs on the Windows platform.

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