MMIR X-10 Macro IR Module

I recently bought an MMIR X-10 Macro IR module from SmarthomeUSA (Item # MMIR) for $89.95. I got it mainly to extend the power of my X-10 8-in-1 UR24 remote control. One of the limitations of the X-10 remote is that unless you're a custom PICmaster like Dan L., or an Ocelot wrangler like Jeff, it's difficult to get an X-10 remote to easily control more than a single house code. That's become a growing need for me.

The MMIR is very small - about half the size of a cigarette pack. On the back it has jacks for the TW523 line cord and the 9VDC center negative PS - a Panasonic phone unit, actually and a single programming pushbutton. Unlike the Ocelot, this unit uses a normal phone cord to connect with the powerline interface. (Anyone know why ADI made that somewhat unusual choice?) It's light enough to mount with Velcro nearly anywhere. On the front is a receiving IR sensor and a red LED.

Nothing on the SmarthomeUSA site was explicit about needing a TW523 or PSC05 (shame on them) although if you downloaded the document file, you could figure it out.

Since I only use 5 of the 8 devices programmed into the remote, I had 3 complete sets of push buttons that I wanted to be able to use for various chores. Primarily, I wanted to send X-10 commands on multiple housecodes. But I also wanted to program macros to set up the home theater lights, the X-10 HAC 8x8 video switcher and even more gear as well. I know that the Ocelot's capable of doing all this, but at a big jump in cost and complexity. This should do what I want it to do very nicely: allowing me to use all the unused IR capacity of UR24 remote in the form of complex X-10 actions.

That's why the unit's main feature:

  • IR Control. Transmits up to 27 codes of any House and Unit code with any IR Remote Control

had great appeal to me. The biggest advantage that give mes is that I can switch video inputs and outputs on the HAC switcher with a single button press AND without having to assign the UR24's X-10 housecode to match the HAC's instead of the house lights. While the HAC has a number of great features, it does require either a PalmPad and eight unit codes, or some sort of IR remote. My goal was to reduce the number of button presses. To switch the unit, and you have to push button pairs in within a second or so. So I would press 1ON and 4OFF for example to switch the input 1 to the output 4. Not a big thing, but most pairs, at least in my house, are constant and really require just one push to switch configurations.

Since I wanted to control the matrix switcher through walls, I plugged an RR501 set to the same housecode as the HAC's TW523 into the same powerstrip as the TW523. Because the transceiver and the TW523 are next to each other, I didn't even need to boost the RR501's output with an XTB! That's a rarity for anything X-10 these days.

Now, any X-10 transmitter set to that housecode can control the home video system matrix switcher remotely. I can switch the video feed from any of 8 devices to any of 8 TVs throughout the house. I've got the CCTV front, side and driveway cams on three of the inputs, the cable box, a jukebox, a HTPC, a DVR and a DVD recorder on the others.

Sorry I had to stray, but I needed to explain my setup to show why the MMIR is so useful to me. The unit claims to:

  • Holds up to 42 macros which store up to 36 X-10 codes each

I get nervous when I see the words "up to" because I suspect there's a serious caveat coming, as it you can store one 35 code macro and 7 one code macros. I don't know if that's the case, but it's one of the things I want to test. Programming and resetting the unit seems to be pretty simple. They recommend a minicontroller because it sends both address and function commands with one button push, but that is kind of limiting because the mini's (unless modded) can only handle unit codes 1 through 8. I'll probably test program the MMIR for starters with the mini, because it's what they recommend but then switch to the ControlLinc Maxi that can address all

256 codes for the real programming work.

The promo lit further states:

  • Larger macros can roll over code storage into other macros

but I am not sure what they mean, but I think it's basically what that "up to" phrase means in the previous paragraph. I doubt anyone with much X-10 experience would send a lot of 36 command macros via X-10 because of the corruption potential, but the MMIR docs also say:

  • Detects and corrects bad X-10 signal transmissions. Non-volatile memory holds your programmed macros during a power failure.

Now this *could* mean that if some segment of a long macro gets stepped on by some other X-10 transmission it will wait until the line is clear or it could be marketing hype. It's certainly going to be interesting trying to test some of these features. It's also got 32 timers (16 simultaneously) to initiate another macro or X-10 code from 2 minutes to 8.5 hours after a macro has been transmitted. (Doesn't sound like there's an absolute time reference available, but that may be a blessing in disguise based on the mischief the CM11A clock was capable of doing when it got whacko.

  • Each macro can contain up to 48 X-10 commands! Program your own macros, like mood lighting, movie time, intermission, romance, TV, lighting, end of day and lots more!

It was 42 macros a few sentences ago. What happened? Is this what happens when you try to express a fixed storage capacity in terms of variable length elements? No, wait, they're talking about commands and macros, two different things. I see . . .

I'll be playing with this today to see how it holds up against stray IR and my limited tolerance for arcane programming techniques. There's lots of button pushing, and as far as I can tell, no way to core dump the unit to see what it thinks it's storing. Dave, if you're still with me, this is another area where the Monterey is invaluable because its command buffer should be able to capture any macro embedded in the MMIR and play it back to me at the receiving point. What I need now is a program that steps through every housecode and unit code combination in sequence to "check" the memory.

Anyway, I realize I'll have to set up a fairly complex "test bench" to thoroughly evaluate how the unit programs, how well it sees IR, its real world command capacity and how well its "error detection" function works and even HOW it works. So, more later, but right now, it's a beautiful day here and that means time to trot . . .

-- Bobby G.

Reply to
Robert Green
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Hi Robert,

Last week there was a Homevision controller on eBay for $199 with no takers. Wouldn't you be money ahead buying a Homevision? I know it's twice what you paid for the macro gadget, but it's 1000 times the capabilities. IR on the HV is flawless and robust.


Reply to
John, SW Missouri

I thought they had gone out of business but I am not sure why. (-: Are they still up and running? What's the programming of the HV controller like?

I have an Ocelot (well, actually its predecessor, the CPU-XA) which has 1000 times the capacity of the MMIR, but . . . and it's a big but . . . it has

1000 times the complexity as well. I really wanted something so simple I could write up programming instructions for my wife to follow if it somehow needed to be reset. It's hard to believe, but we really don't have much need for a centralized controller beyond what the 8 channel Minitimers offer.

With the random mode, it's fairly easy to simulate that "lived in" look when we're away. I got a bunch of the timers on closeout at Ratshack for under $20 each and we keep one programmed for summer, one for winter and one for spring/fall and switch them in and out from behind an X-10 filter as needed. My wife can actually program them better and faster than I can (and shoot a .22 target pistol better than me, too, but not a .45!). If there's any leftover capability on the MMIR, I can use its timers to simulate movement throughout the house.

But I might just add the word Homevision to my Ebay watch list. A current search reveals only a copy of the manual. )-: For me, $89 is a "noise level" purchase but $199 isn't. Don't ask why, there's really no reason. I'd certainly take a look if the price is right (meaning < $100, most likely). Thanks for the input, John (aren't you an Ocelot guy, BTW?) The MMIR has yet to pass its tests, so there might still be room for a more capable device.

-- Bobby G.

Reply to
Robert Green

Hi Bobby,

If you want to contact the seller to see what offers he might entertain you can get to him from the listing:

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He was asking $199, but received no bids.

Considering these sell new for $600 it was a fair price. In the event it needs an upgrade (EPROM) it's only about $15 from

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In my opinion the Homevision controller is much easier to program than the Ocelot. I've had both. I currently use a Homvision Pro and an Elk M1G. I'm still a long way from getting all my home automation back up and running. We're having a new porch put on the back of the house and I'm making my own wrought iron railings - which is taking up way too much of my time ;-(

You might take down the Homevision manual here and look it over before making an offer.

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Because HV is a hybrid looping/event driven controller it can often respond more quickly to events like IR or digital/analog inputs. It has many neat features built into the programming to make life easier like,

if receive x10 A1 A2 A3 within 5 seconds do whatever

This would be possible, but cumbersome in the Ocelot - and many other HA controllers.

For me IR recognition and transmit work flawlessly on the HV, but was a pain on the Ocelot.

I'm not knocking the Ocelot, just pointing out some of the advantages HV has.

I picked up a device similar to your MMIR on eBay awhile back and it's sitting on the shelf. It does NOT have the IR capabilities, just macro expansion. The first thing I didn't like about it is there's no way to tell what you have in it and it would be very easy to overwrite one macro with another. The thing I bought is called a Macro Module

16 (MACMOD16). Rumor was that it was made by the people that produce the Monterey Signal Analyzer. It does look very similar to the MSA.

See you're thinking your wife can handle the MMIR reprogramming, but if you had a Homevision you wouldn't have to worry about resets - it just runs and runs ;-)

If you're turning your outside lighting on/off with mini timers then you're wasting electricity. You need to follow sunrise and sunset to do it right ;-) The Ocelot will do that and I suppose you're using it for that purpose. I have compact fluorescents in my post lights which stay on all night. However if someone enters the drive in the middle of the night the M1 turns on the 3 lights on the front of the house, besides announcing an arrival. The HV currently does just lighting and some temperature recording, oh and it records all security events like arming, disarming, alamrs, etc. It prints these on a POS printer

- another eBay find. In my prior install I had quite a few messages that would pop up on the TV to remind us to take the garbage out, birthdays were coming up, time for medication, etc. With HV and your IR remote you can control all 256 x10 devices, control macros, timers, virtually anything in the HV controller can be run with your remote. I sound like a salesman for them, but I'm just a happy customer. I have a touchscreen laptop with HomevisionXL (

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) running that lets me turn lights, fans, etc on/off with a simple touch on a graphical screen that shows what's on. You can use this same touch screen to control your TV or other IR appliances through HV.

Bobby - I have to admit that my wife can shoot her p3AT in .380 acp way better than me - it hurts my hands. But I can whip her with any other firearm ;-) She is a good sport though and trys her best with everything I teach her. I'm a .45 fan as well - I particularly like my Para Ordnance P13-45 which gives me 14 with one in the snoot. I like Glocks too, but then there aren't many firearms I don't like ;-)

Last comment - send the MMIR back and put $100 with it and buy the Homevision.



Reply to
John, SW Missouri

Really odd - I see message #4 listed, but no message is displayed. Why is that?

This should be message #5 - I hope they didn't loose #4.

My age is really showing now.

Reply to
John, SW Missouri


Well at least I know my message didn't get lost ;-)

You can download the software for Homevision free from their website, or better yet you can download HomevisionXL from here:

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Then you can play with it on your computer and get an idea of how it programs compared to the Ocelot. For me the Ocelot was fine for time of day type events. It could be a pain trying to do anything involved. I tried IR with it a couple times but didn't have any luck and gave up. I know there are people that do IR with the Ocelot so I'll blame that on myself. When I did IR with Homevision it just worked as advertised - how nice. I have an MX3000 remote upstairs set up with all kinds of screens for home automation - just need to time and energy to get it working with Homevision. We rebuilt our home after storm damage and I have the Elk M1G permanently installed in the attached garage and 97% wired and operational. I have my Homevision Pro laying on it's back on a table near my HA computer down in the family room (used as my laboratory). It is eventually going to be up next to the Elk, but I'm very slow in getting it there.

In my bathrooms I have ACT 2-way non-dimming switches controlling the exhaust fans. When you turn one on Homevision starts a timer and turns the fan off automatically if you leave it on. This is one of my favorite things, though my wife doesn't think it's so great. I have a detached work shop which is about 80 feet from the house and the lighting there is all ACT controlled and you can see what's on from the touchscreen display (also laying on it's back on the table by HV). Same thing is true for a small barn I have not far from the shop. We have a little over 3 acres and I have lots of outside lighting - all controlled by Homevision.

I hate to knock the Ocelot as it served me well for several years and was rock solid. As you experienced, programming could be a test of your patience. Prior to the storm I had been using a Homevision basic controller and was phasing out the Ocelot. One thing holding me back was all the messages I had in the SpeakEZ. When I installed the Elk with built-in audio messages I missed the Ocelot even less.

I too have an XTB - what a great device !!

Yes, "point of sale" - a little 40 column printer that prints on adding machine tape. I bought one on eBay for $2 ;-) Takes about 16" of tape per day to records all the house vitals including high and low temps, drive activity, alarm on/off, etc.

So you have dogs! I had 5 when the tornado hit, had to give one up and have 4 left. Alpha dog is a 13 year old Shih Tzu, #2 is a 7 year old 130 pound black lab, #3 is a 4 year old beagle and #4 is a 4 year old poodle that blew in with the tornado in 2003 - yes we've been through two tornados. What dogs do you have?

My wife limp wrists everything but her .380 and the .22. She will get a FTE 80% of the time with my 9mm Glock. She actually does better with my .45 which is metal not polymer. She does very well with a wheel gun and so that's her choice for protection. As if I don't have enough on my plate already I just started reloading about 3 months ago. Rifle only at this time, and 99% is .308 winchester with a little 30-06 and 270 for grins. I belong to a local bench rest shooting club in Springfield, Missouri.

I've owned 3 Brownings over the years - wish I still had one.

Without one in the chamber, boooo, ALWAYS carry with one in the tube, unless you're an Israeli soldier as they are trained to carry unprepared. My Glock and Para Ordnance are 100% safe with one in the chamber as long as they are in a GOOD holster.

Great joke about the Italian submarine ;-)

Off hand I can't think of a way for Homevision to detect a storm, but that doesn't mean it can't be done. Anyway the new XTB-IIR will be doing this from what I read.

You're not in D.C. are you - can't be with a functional firearm in your home.


Reply to
John, SW Missouri

Nope, things went wild way fast today. I shouldn't even be here now because the chores aren't done, but I needed to set a while an give my aching feet a rest.

Thanks. I will. Been browsing briefly through the manual. I like the way it's organized. With a quick overview, a "parts required" list and more. Sometimes, a system just feels like it fits. I'll take a look at the software over the next few days. I'd hate to end up abandoning the MMIR before I even got started. I doubt it, though. At least a few folks must remember me going on about wishing the X-10 remote (and all of the higher priced remotes that can do X-10 that I've bought or looked at) could do multiple housecodes.

The ControlLinc Maxis have a built-in macro keys, but they're "dumb" and only play back sequences and can't respond to line or IR events. I can see a setup where I use both the MMIR and HV because I can distribute and decentralize functions between them so if either device failed, it wouldn't knock out the entire system.

I went back and tried again with the CPU-XA recently and concluded that success or failure could easily depend on exactly what you're trying to control. It's hard to design a really good IR management program/device because there's such a wide range of IR schemes in use. The USB IRTrans has a separate receiver circuit for B&O equipment because it transmits way outside the range of what devices like ADI's can see. As I noted elsewhere (or meant to) it wasn't until I got a very sophisticated IR-only device like the IRTrans that could translate what it saw into strings of hex codes that I realized that some of my more non-standard devices (AV switcher, A/C, space heater, etc) were sending very weird codes depending on the length of the button press and maybe the phases of the moon. The deal-breaker for me with the CPU-XA as an IR translator was the time lag. It made it impractical to use in that mode, although I bet it would work quite nicely for what I want the MMIR to do: turn the unused keys on my remote into X-10 macro commands. O

Alas, no matter how I tried I couldn't really make the Ocelot a "family affair." There were just too many places where something could go wrong and technical expertise would be required. On the other hand, my wife can clearly follow programming instructions as carefully as she can follow recipes. The Army really gave her great training in what we call "grunt and crank" operations. For the MMIR that will look something like:


MMIR, X-10 remote, ControlLinc Maxi, Monterey Line Analyzer

Press red button 6 times to clear memory.

Place UR24 facing LED on MMIR.

Press SAT on UR24 then press 1 on UR24. Within 5 seconds press K and then 1 ON then 1 OFF on the Maxi controller

Press SAT on UR24 then press 2 on UR24. Within 5 seconds press 1 ON then 2 OFF on the Maxi controller

. . . and so on. Not really much more tedious than writing code and the benefit of doing it this way is that if the memory gets corrupted, either one of us can reload it easily. It sure would be nicer to load and unload programs like the Ocelot OR do it with the cheat sheet, but I don't expect the unit to require massive reprogramming so I can live with the primitive button pushing method of programming. Homevision sounds a tad easier, though, I must admit. (-:

HA around here means "haltingly addressed" since so many more critical problems keep cropping up. Besides, we're still enjoying our new found reliability created by the XTB. When I press ALL UNITS OFF the lamps finally do all go off. That has a big neighbor wow factor, too, oddly enough.

That's fascinating. My wife is equally unimpressed by automatic timer functions. I think the concept of computer control implies an ambiguity of operation that makes her uncomfortable. Phrasing that her way would be "I don't need a computer to tell me when to turn the bathroom fan off, especially when I wouldn't have even turned it on in the first place." I'll tell her she has a kindred soul in Missouri.

We haven't done audio messages around here - yet. But your earlier message about medication reminders got me thinking that it would be a very useful thing for my Dad since he's pretty poor about compliance. I'm sure the Ocelot would let me program a system that reminded him to take med X at time Y and I could rig a switch of some kind in bathroom, maybe on the medicine cabinet - no - wait, a touch screen with the med's name that he has to touch to cancel the 10 minute voice reminders.

We've tried a lot of methods and so far, he's overcome automatic pillboxes,

5 channel voice timers, manual pill boxes with labeled compartments and phone calls from me to check. What I really need is a videocam in the medicine cabinet to confirm he's actually taken the pill. Shades of THX1138.

I'd like to store something like that to a CF card but for $2 I might go POS!

Little bitties with big hearts. 1 JRT and one rat terrier. Had a few more that we had rescued but we placed those in good homes. One was allegedly a JRT but since he's now over 55 pounds, I suspect other lineage. The JRT we kept was born an alpha dog. Doesn't roll over for ANYONE and challenges me for the true top dog spot any time I show weakness! 50 pounds of dog packed into 15 pound body. Definitely a working dog. I have no doubt the stories of JRT's killing more than 200 rats a day are true. She's got the most incredible rat-neck-breaking head shake. I tie rawhide "ringos" to some clothesline to play tug of war and she'll nearly dislocate my wrist whipping it back and forth so hard. My wife had a Samoyed for nearly 13 years but the poor dog really suffered in the heat in this area. I've got to find my photo of a friend who runs a beagle rescue organization. Feeding time with

12 of them is quite a sight. She lives in a cabin in the mountains without heat - the dogs provide it and believe me, they really do!

There have been some pretty endless arguments at the local range about Glocks, FTE's, FTF's and stovepipes and what causes them. We've got a pretty serious feud between old Army shooters with their 1911-A1's v's the new hi-tech pieces. My feeling is they're like DVD-recorders. Some like Brand X disks and won't work with Brand Y. There's so much variability in ammo that I believe failures are mostly ammo related and only secondarily the recoil/ejection and "limp wrist" issue. I know the recoil kinetics differ between guns that are tightly gripped vs. LW so I guess I'll have to reconsider since you've seen it happen. I love watching crime flicks where the bad guys hold the gun sideways. I also think: "what a great way to have an eject shell drop back down on the shooter's hand or maybe even back into the gun's innards!" (-: Either way, it's not an issue for my wife who prefers wheelguns for self-defense, too. No FTE's at least.

They hold their resale value quite nicely except I can never bring myself to sell any. I've got one of nearly every caliber, and that took a long time to pull together. The thing I like most about them is that they are effortless to hold - they seem nearly perfectly balanced. The Colt 1911 always feels nose-heavy by comparison.

I've got a lot of friends in LE and they ALL have stories of one in the chamber that got out the door. At one cop party, someone was showing off his new shotgun and put a huge hole in the ceiling. Another shot himself through the butt cheek with his backup .25. Boy did he *never* hear the end of that little accident, pardon the pun. I hear you about being prepared, but even the best of holsters can have a bad moment.

Works for a lot of other nationalities, too. However, the mechanical mishaps of my Italian made Beretta inspired me to diss the Italians.

Yes, the new IIR will probably have that feature, but I'm not sure I'll need it. Eventually I'll get my ESM1 cradle device working. I went to RatShack to buy some phototransistors but all the little parts pegboards are gone!!!! I give them a year, maybe two, until they go belly up. The only reason anyone bought anything big from them in the first place was as an afterthought after they bought a the fuse or an oddball battery that they originally came in for.

Oh, there are all sorts of exceptions to that law. I wonder, with the law somewhat in limbo, whether they're even prosecuting anything but outrageous violations. As my LE buds always say: "Better to be judged by six men a box than carried out in box by six men. Now in VA, where you can get a carry permit with ease or even buy a gun, apparently, if you're a lunatic like the VA Tech shooter, they made the list of handgun carry permit holders public and what do you think happened? Gun thefts shot up through the roof. It was like publishing a treasure map for the bad guys.

-- Bobby G.

Reply to
Robert Green

I agree the Homevision looks like a very nice controller. However it does seem to be limited to 8-bit arithmetic, which can be a limitation for some applications. The 8-bit PIC can be a pain to use for analytical applications for the same reason. Even the original 1970's 6800 microprocessor would concatenate the A&B accumulators to do 16-bit arithmetic. While I agree the programming can be awkward, at least the Ocelot will do 16-bit arithmetic.


Reply to
Jeff Volp

"Jeff Volp" wrote

Now that I've located and ordered one, (!) what are the real world ramifications of 8 v. 16 bits in a home automation controller? Dawn and dusk calculations? If so, either a "Sundowner" or an Hawkeye facing a window will give you real world data. Two of them in different locations will give you a high degree of certainty that it's really dawn or dusk. Does 16 bits provide meaningfully higher resolution when working with analog inputs?

It will be interesting to compare the tradeoffs between ease of programming and 8 bit arithmetic.

-- Bobby G.

Reply to
Robert Green

Many, if not most, of the higher level PIC compilers, including several Basic dialects, support 16-bit arithmetic, some support 32-bit and some even support floating point. While some do 32-bit rather awkwardly, others do it with ease (for the programmer).

Reply to
Dave Houston


Jeff is trying to scare you - LOL

He's is referring to the fact that variables in Homevision cannot exceed a value of 255 (8 bits). You can work around this by using more than one variable. For example if you want to count the number of times your garage door has opened during a year, you would use one variable and increment it until it reached 99, then reset it and increment variable number 2 by one. So, the total would be var #2 x

100, plus var #1. This is not something that I find limiting.

Timers in HV can be set to 255 hours, 59 minutes, 59 seconds and

99/100 of a second. Can you imagine the Cmax code to accomplish that ;-)

Homevision is a hybrid looping/event driven controller.

Reply to
John, SW Missouri

There are always work arounds. The 8-bit limitation is isn't much of an issue with simple things like timers or counting. It is a factor with any complex arithmetic, like linearization of thermistors, or applying a scale factor calibration. Unlike most people, I do a fair amount of analog processing in the Ocelot. And I run exponential filters on all analog inputs to stabilize readings to the LSB. That can be done in 8-bit land, but it is certainly not as easy.

Talk about work arounds, after using Motorola/Freescale microcontrollers for decades, almost everything in the PIC is a work around.


Reply to
Jeff Volp

LOL. I recently found myself including an autoranging input in a schematic to get more dynamic range out of a 10-bit AVR ADC. (FWIW, the extra two bits, ability to add an external voltage references to some 10-bit ADC MCUs, and a slow/quiet clock mode makes a significance difference). But I ripped it up. Don't *ever* want to go back there ;-)

I recall the guffaws to my emailed response in 1999 when asked by a c.h.a regular who was developing commercial home automation software that flopped about what I/O hardware to support. I suggested some simple PC I/O-mapped

16-bit ADC hardware which was panned as unnecessary academic stuff ;-) Try building a wide-range automated daylighting system with a linear-output light sensors and 8-bit ADC without some sort of companding or other external exponential/logarithmic workaround.

... Marc

Visit my Internet Porch Sale of excess personal Home Automation and electronic gear at

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