Over the past week I have introduced you to some products that can be used for home automation. Now that you have some home automation products installed such as the X10, I want to take a few minutes to show you how to control your X10 enabled lights and other devices using the Simon XT security control panel from GE. This is the control panel that was provided to me when I had ADT do their installation in my new house. Before we go any further, this article assumes that you already have some X10 devices installed and operational in your home. I am also assuming that you are using the Simon XT home security control panel from GE and that it too is already installed and operational. If you have these devices already installed in your home and they are working correctly, then we can begin. If you do not have the Simon XT Wireless Security System, you can pick it up from Amazon for about $200 by clicking here.
In order for your Simon XT control panel to control the lights in your home, the first thing you will need to do is make sure the control panel can communicate with the X10 devices. Just like the X10 Powerhouse transceiver we discussed in Part 1 of the home automation series, the Simon XT control panel will communicate with your X10 devices using the existing wiring in your house. So, it is recommended that you have your Simon XT control panel plugged into a wall outlet that is on the same lines as your X10 devices. If you are using pluggable X10 devices such as the X10 appliance module, you should connect the module to a wall outlet nearby the outlet that your Simon XT is plugged into. After you have tested that your Simon XT control panel can communicate with your X10 device, you can always move the X10 device to another location in your house. If you do, I would recommend that you retest the communication as I have already discussed how some devices have difficulties “seeing” each other on the network when they’re not plugged into the same leg of your circuit breaker.
To test that your Simon XT control panel can communicate with your X10 devices, you will first need to configure your “house code” just like you did when setting up the X10 transceiver and other devices. To do that, press the down arrow on the control panel until you see “System Programming” on the LCD screen. Once you see that screen, press the “OK” button to select it. At this point you should be asked to enter your security “access code”. Go ahead and do that, then press the OK button again. Next, press the down arrow again until you get to “Light Control”. When you get there, press the OK button again to enter that sub-menu. From here, scroll down again until you see “House Code”. When you see this on your screen, press the OK button again, then type in the number that represents your house code & press OK. For example, if your house code is “A”, press 1 on the keypad and then press OK. If your house code is “B”, press 2 on the keypad and then press OK. If your house code is “M”, press 1 & then press 3 indicating “13” and then press the OK button. Before you press the OK button, you should see the correct house code on the LCD screen. If the code is not correct, simply retype it on the keypad until you see the correct code. When you are done, continue pressing the “Status” button until you are back to the main screen (you should see the clock).
After you have set your house code, you are ready to test your X10 devices. To do that, press the * (star / asterisk) button on the keypad followed by the unit code of the device you want to turn on (Example: #1). Unfortunately, this particular model of the Simon XT control panel only supports unit codes 1 thru 8. So, whatever device you are testing with will need to have its unit code set to one of those values. If everything worked correctly, whatever device is attached to the unit code you entered should now be turned “on”. To turn the device “off”, repeat the same steps for turning on your device, but begin the sequence using the # (pound sign) button instead of the * (star / asterisk) button (Example: #1). If that worked, your device should now be turned off. If you want to turn on “all” devices at once, you can press the * (star / asterisk) button twice (Example: **). To turn “all” device off, press the # (pound sign) button twice (Example: ##).
If everything is working correctly, you can also do a few other things with your Simon XT control panel too. For example, if you go back to the “Light Control” menu as explained earlier, there you will be able to setup a schedule for turning lights on & off as well as configure the lights you want to activate when one of the alarm sensors is tripped. As an example, I have configured my control panel to activate the exterior lights of my house as well as a few interior lights whenever someone opens a door or window while the alarm system (or “force field” as I like to call it) has been activated.
That’s it. You should now be able to control your X10 devices using your Simon XT Wireless Security System. If you experience any problems with the things mentioned in this article, let me know in the comments below and I’ll try my best to help you out. Until next time, stay safe and happy automation!
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