CM-11A Versus CM-15A

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Hello. I have owned and been mostly happy, for my limited automation
needs, with my old CM-11A serial controller and Active Home 1.42
software. I only have a couple fast macros and I run the unit stand-alone.

I note that there is now a USB CM-15A and Active Home Pro software. So I
wonder about if it improves/fixes the following known issues with the
old stuff:

(a) New Year's - the old stuff seems to get confused at the turn of the
New Year. I generally have to re-program the unit every year at that
time to keep things straight. Not sure why this is.

(b) Daylight savings - the old unit adapts to daylight savings in terms
of correcting by an hour, when macros run if they are driven by
dawn/dusk (which two of mine are). But it seems that items tied directly
to a fixed clock time (say 8am or 11pm) get confused when daylight
savings changes. I am not sure I fully understand the pattern but it
seems like the internal clock keeps running at standard or daylight time
(whatever was correct when it was last set from the computer) and so
when the time change occurs, macros supposed to run at 11pm run instead
later or earlier.

Other than these two items, I am happy enough with my old gear. But the
prices on the newer stuff have dropped to a level where I would consider
changing if the above two issues are resolved. Anyone know if they have?

Thanks for your input.

Re: CM-11A Versus CM-15A

On Sun, 22 Nov 2009 10:41:20 -0800, David White wrote:

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The calendar in the CM11A is just a 366 day counter.  For non-leap years
the ActiveHome software programs only 365 days, so on the 366th day (Jan
1st), nothing works.  The counter will roll over to 0 the next day and
things will start working again on Jan 2nd, although a day off. The day
of the week, an independent 7 day counter, will continue to operate
correctly. So if you are doing the same things on the same days of the
week every week, you probably won't notice much amiss until the date when
Daylight Time starts.

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The CM11A clock is always internally set to run on Standard Time, else
you wouldn't be able to run it disconnected from the computer all year.
There are no one-hour "jumps" in the times of Dawn/Dusk when measured on
Standard Time.  The ActiveHome software adjusts the programmed fixed
timers by an hour during periods of Daylight Time.  However since the US
Congress changed the dates of Daylight time in 2007, it's not clear that
ActiveHome can correctly use the new dates even when manually entered.
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A lot of people are happy with the newer CM15A and ActiveHome Pro
software, but I found the firmware and/or software had more bugs than
fleas on a hound dog, and the more X-10 fiddled with it, the worse it
seemed to get.  I gave it up as a lost cause a year or two ago, but
that's just me.

If you run Linux, Unix, or Max OS X, you can use the free Heyu software
( ) with your CM11A.  It solves both problems you
mentioned above.

Re: CM-11A Versus CM-15A

Charles Sullivan wrote:
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Interesting. I only noticed that stuff didn't work on the new year so I
have gotten into the habit of re-setting the whole shebang on new year's
day. I have never waited to see if things stated working again on the
2nd. Maybe I will this year just for grins.

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Yes, the "jumps" I mean are not caused by the CM11A but by how it is
programmed by ActiveHome. On the statistics dialog one can see the
"jump" in the times used for dawn/dusk at daylight savings. I haven't
checked in detail but it did seem like ActiveHome was doing about the
right thing with the DST. I recall having to do changes to Windows and
it seemed like ActiveHome "saw" those changes. I will have to
double-check though. In my case "close" is ok.

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That's what I was afraid of. I'd rather stick with the devil known than
spend more and get something even worse.

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As a Windows guy, I can't use this. But I did look at it and it seems
interesting. Thanks for your comments and time.

Re: CM-11A Versus CM-15A

On Wed, 09 Dec 2009 17:28:50 +0000, David White wrote:

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The Dawn/Dusk curves displayed by ActiveHome use Civil Time, i.e., wall
clock time, so Dawn and Dusk will show the jumps. The fixed times would
appear "flat".

If displayed using Standard Time, the Dawn/Dusk curves would show only
the stair-step approximations but no one-hour jumps at the Daylight Time
transitions.  The fixed times would have the jumps.

I haven't used ActiveHome in many years.  Have you found that it uses
the correct dates for the post-2007 Daylight Time transitions (either
automatic or manually entered)?  I'd be interested in knowing for sure
whether or not it's salvageable in this regard.
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Before you give it up, check out and see what
others are doing.  I'm more of a nitpicker than most, but many people are
happy with the CM15A and ActiveHome Pro.  A potential problem in sticking
with the CM11A is that it's now out of production and may be difficult to
replace if yours goes bad.  

Charles Sullivan
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Re: CM-11A Versus CM-15A

Charles Sullivan wrote:
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Thanks again for the response. I will have to investigate your query.

However, there are tons of CM11A on EBay right now. I already have a
spare. So I think they will be viable in that regard for a while now.


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