Table of Contents
RFX, RFXe and RFXt
The original RFX plugins have all been ported to Catalina and newer. If you are happily using the original RFX plugins there is no longer any need to convert to the newer plugins which are different enough for some folks to have trouble with them. The original and newer plugins will continue to be part of the XTension distribution going forward. If you are creating a new interface for a new device please use the newer version 2 plugins that are also in the package.
These are new receivers from RFX Comm. The RFX is the USB version and the RFXe is the same but with an ethernet interface for connecting to XTension. The RFXt is a RF transmitter module that can exist along in the USB version, or with one RF receiver in the ethernet version.
- The RFX receivers can be outfitted with many combinations of receivers for different devices. XTension supports the 310Mhz and the 433.92Mhz receivers.
- The 310Mhz receiver module can receive X10 wireless and security devices from US versions of the X10 products.
- The 433Mhz receiver module receives European X10 wireless and security products as well as a long list of other devices including the many temperature, humidity and weather sensors from Oregon Scientific. XTension supports most of these devices.
- XTension supports both the USB and the ethernet version of the RFX.
- Since the RFX uses a USB chip that does implement a unique name multiple devices can be connected to XTension at one time.
- Multiple ethernet devices are also supported.
- Though the picture shows the device with attached antennas they are really attached to standard coax connections so you can add remote or higher quality antennas very easily.
What to buy
The combination of available pieces and parts of the RFX receivers can be a bit daunting. XTension supports the “single com port” version of the ethernet and usb device with either or both the 310mhz and 433mhz receivers. While it is possible to add a receiver later it's simpler to order the whole thing at once.
Where to buy
RFX Receivers can be purchased in the US from cheapertronics and in the US, UK and anywhere directly from rfxcom and in France from Domadoo
Basic support for X10 wireless and security devices is included in XTension at no extra charge. To receive Oregon Scientific and other “exotic” devices requires the RFX plugin from sentman.com
Configuration of the RFX USB Version
The USB version contains a USB/Serial chip that requires a driver. The Macintosh driver can be downloaded directly from here: FTDI Chip Driver Once that is installed and the device plugged in a new serial port will be available on your Mac. When setting up the new device in the XTension preferences window simply select the serial port from the popup menu. That menu is built when you open the window, so if you plug in the device after you open the window you may need to close and open it again for it to be displayed.
Configuration of the RFXe Ethernet Version
The ethernet version requires a bit more setup before it's ready to use. When you first connect it to the network and power it up it will ask for an address from your local networks DHCP server. You will need to consult the DHCP server logs or configuration screen to find what address it was given in order to connect to it. After you know the IP you can telnet to the box to set it's networking configuration, I recommend you give the box a static IP address so XTension will always be able to find it and reconnect to it. It is also vital that you properly configure the internal baud rate between the ethernet adaptor and the receiver modules. Details on doing this are in section 4 of the Ethernet Interface Docs
That link is broken at the moment so I will flesh them out here:
- in a terminal window telnet to the device via the command:
telnet (the IP address from DHCP) 9999
- You will get a prompt asking you to press enter to enter setup mode. Do so.
- if you dont get the prompt you may have to hold the x key down and send some in a row to it.
- Configure the server: (note that the prompts are as you will see them, but the responses are conversational, do not enter the phrases “Set to 0” or “leave as default” treat them as instructions for what to do.
- Select option 0 “Server”
- Enter a static IP address and make a note of it for connection in XTension
- Gateway IP address enter N
- Netmask enter 0
- Change Telnet Config Password enter N
- Configure the COM port:
- select 1 from the main menu
- Baudrate (4800)? if it's not 4800 enter that, otherwise just press enter to accept the default
- I/F Mode (4C)? should be 4C if just receivers installed, change to CC is you have a transmitter card
- Flow (00)? should be 00
- Port No (10001)? accept default, or if you change it make a note of it for connection in XTension
- ConnectMode(C0)? Accept default or set to C0
- Send '+++' in Modem Mode (Y)? set to Y
- Auto Increment Source Port (N)? set to N
- Remote IP Address: This is not used by XTension , leave all as 000.000.000.000
- Remote Port (0)? leave as 0
- DisConnMode(00)? Leave as 00
- FlushMode (F7)? Leave as F7
- Pack Cntrl(00)? Leave as 00
- DisConnTime(00:00)? Leave as 00:00
- SendChar 1(00)? leave as 00
- SendChar 2(00)? leave as 00
- Back and the main menu now, select 9 for save and exit. you should now be able to connect the device to XTension with the address and port you setup above.
The RFX RF Transmitter
As of this edit, the XTension supports both X10 transmission in both the US and EU frequencies. ( but the unit you buy is specific to the locale). The RFX transmitter is also capable of sending RF commands to the HomeEasy and KlikAanKlikUit product range. But you can control a lot more using XTension so this text can be extended with RF modules used in other European countries. All these products use the same technology (same Taiwan factory . The European 433.92MHz RFX transmitter is also capable of sending RF commands to the HomeEasy, DomiaLite, Chacon, NEXA, Intertechno, Düwi and KlikAanKlikUit product ranges and to the (Dutch) Harrison electrical curtains.
Chacon is used in Belgium and France, NEXA is used in the Northern European countries (Sweden, Norway, Denmark,Finland) Intertechno is used in Austria (and probably Switzerland and Germany) Düwi is used in Germany (and probably Switzerland and Austria) HomeEasy and DomiaLite is used in the UK KlikAanKlikUit is used in The Netherlands Harrison curtains are controlled using X10 commands with the Harrison protocol enabled in the RFXCOM transmitter. On=Close, Off=Open.
Common Questions and Issues
* Being an international company the Ethernet version I received shipped with a UK power adaptor. Not having a 5v adaptor handy I plugged in a 6v one. Turns out that the device is very sensitive to it's voltage supply and while it did not damage the device to give it slightly more voltage than I was supposed to it could not actually receive anything in that state. Make sure to use a regulated 5v power supply.
* Failing to set the baud rate correctly on the ethernet version as per the instructions will still allow packets to be received, but they will all be gobbledegook. If nothing but errors are received check the baud rate settings via the telnet interface.
* If you've done all that and it still doesn't get any recognizable packets then it's possible that the device is stuck in X10 emulation mode. The default mode is to send packets that look like the other X10 receivers. XTension supports the “variable length mode” packet that can contain more than just X10 wireless signals like the emulation mode. Though XTension attempts to set this at startup it can help to set it manually once. From the command line in XTension enter the script:
send data "F02C" interface "the name of your RFX interface from preferences"
and that will resend the command to the device to fix it into variable length packet mode.
* If you're suffering poor reception open the box and check that the ground connection to the antenna coax connector has not come loose in shipping. I've had report of at least one instance where this has happened. Easily fixed if that is the problem.