CM11A Description Page 2

This is the Genuine Original model number CM11A ActiveHome Serial Computer Interface. These were a limited production run manufactured just for us. They are as brand new as you can possibly find anywhere. Originally a deal was worked out with another seller that had backed out for whatever reason. Our X10 rep at the time knew we wanted these if they ever came across any so he made the offer to us and we took over the deal that had already been set up. This is literally a once in a lifetime opportunity to get any more of these.

Original ActiveHome Interface Screenshot
(Both Screenshots are from the Original Software)

ActiveHome Software 1

Rather than having your lights go on and off at the same time each day, you can use the Dawn and Dusk feature. Simply choose the nearest major city from the Geographic Location menu, and the ActiveHome interface will calculate dawn and dusk times for your location each day. No matter what time of year, lights of your choice can be turned on or off at dawn or dusk.

ActiveHome Software 2

Hardware Requirements:
  • IBM compatible computer with a 386DX processor or better.
  • Windows 3.x, 95, 98, ME, NT4, 2000, Windows XP, Vista, 7 and 10 (32 bit operating systems).
  • Using the free ActivHome Vista, you can use the CM11A with 32 or 64 bit Windows XP, Vista, 7 and 10 operating systems. Though I have not been able to try it myself, my guess would be that it should work on Windows 8 PC's.
  • A minimum of 8 MB RAM and 5 MB of available hard drive space or 15 to 20 MB for ActiveHome Vista
  • A 9-pin serial port. You can also use a USB to serial port adapter if you don't have a serial port on your PC. Click here for more info on a serial to USB adapter.
Parts Included are as Follows:
  • CM11A ActiveHome Serial Computer Interface.
  • 9-pin serial cable.
  • FREE software download of your choice. You can try any or all software titles as often as you want on as many PC's as you want totally free.

    You can download the ORIGINAL ActiveHome software (3.45 MB) by clicking here.

    You can download the new ActiveHome Vista software as a compressed zip file (2.03 MB) by clicking here.

    You can also download the same ActiveHome Vista software as an uncompressed file (11.6 MB) by clicking here.

    You can view the release notes from the creator of the new ActiveHome Vista software by clicking here.

    You can download the SW31A ActiveHome PRO software (13.8 MB) by clicking here. You will not need to register the software - ActiveHome PRO does not need to be registered for it to be fully functional. You will be prompted to register each time you run the program. Simply select "CLOSE" when prompted and you are done.

    NOTE: If you can't install the original ActiveHome software on your PC, then you most likely have a 64 bit operating system and would need either the ActiveHome Vista or the SW31A PRO software.
In the interest of full disclosure, you can also download the ActiveHome Vista software directly from the site where I received it by clicking here. The download links above are for the exact same software, just hosted on my own site.

The beauty of the CM11A with the options of the original, ActiveHome Vista, or PRO software is that the CM11A can be used on virtually any Windows PC ever made, in current production, or that will be made in the future. You can use the CM11A and it's original software with older (even pre USB) PC's and the most current up to date Windows 7 and 10 machines in either 32 or 64 bit just by using the appropriate software.

Compatible with all manufacturer's X10 home automation products including those from but not limited to GE, IBM, HomeLink, Leviton, Magnavox, RCA, Radio Shack, Safety First, Smarthome, Stanley, X10, and X-10 PRO.


Due to the myriad number of third party software titles that can be used with the CM11A, each unit is given a quick go-no-go test before shipping using the ActiveHome Vista software to be sure that it can both send and receive X10 powerline signals. This is to avoid the possibility of getting a bad one right out of the box which can happen about 1 out of every 500 units. There's nothing more irritating than trying for hours to get the software to work only to find out that the unit itself is defective. Due to the numerous 3rd party software titles available for the CM11A, it makes for easier troubleshooting if you have problems getting it to work as I have already ruled out the possibility of a DOA by doing a simple send/receive test.

If you are using a serial port and you can't get any communication with the CM11A, uninstall your serial port. To do this, go into Device Manager, then Ports (COM and LPT), then right click Communications Port (COM1) and select Uninstall. It should then give you a warning--select OK or apply. Then restart your PC. When it restarts, the serial port will reinstall itself. You may see a pop up like "found new hardware" or something to that effect. Let your PC automatically finish installing it. Now try the CM11A and see if the serial port works. I can't speak to other operating system, but this seems to be the norm for Windows XP. I also had a fellow tell me this fix worked for his Windows 95 machine. Apparently this is a very common problem with a serial port. The only way I discovered this fix is because I have a digital camera that uses a serial port to connect to my old Windows XP machine. The serial port would always seem not to want to work when I wanted to upload photos. Uninstalling and letting the system reinstall the serial port would always get it back to working.

The same applies if you are using a serial to USB port adapter. If you can't get it to work, uninstall it from device manager and then restart your PC. Then plug in the adapter and let Windows search for and install the correct driver. Don't bother with using any software that came with the adapter as it may be incorrect or outdated. Letting Windows find and install the correct driver for your particular PC is going to be the best option.

If you try using a USB to serial adapter, this will increase the number of ports in device manager. Even if the installation of the adapter doesn’t take, it will always be counted as one in device manager. If you try to install a second, third, or forth adapter, and so on and so on, the number of “available" ports will show up as increased device numbers by the number of failed installations of the adapters. If they are adapters that aren’t compatible with your operating system and would never work no matter what you try, they’ll still be counted in the number of available ports. This is why you can end up with a ridiculous number of ports to choose from in the CM11A software, all of which won’t work of course.

To correct this, hook the adapter back up to your computer. In device manager, you will see a yellow triangle with an exclamation point next to a device or port that has problems. Right click to pull up its properties and then click uninstall. If it asks you to delete the driver, select yes. Then uninstall it. Then that port will be removed from your PC reducing the port numbers by one. You can do this for as many failed adapter installations that you tried to install. This will leave the adapter that did install correctly that you will be using. This will also show fewer ports to choose from in the CM11A software.

The new ActiveHome Vista software also appears to work fine when using a USB to serial adapter.

I have tested using a USB to serial port adapter and the CM11A will work on a 64 bit PC operating system (Windows 7 and 10). Be sure that the USB adapter you choose is compatible with your particular PC's operating system. Not all of them are compatible with all systems. X10's SW31A Pro software appears to work fine with the CM11A. When you open the software, you select TOOLS which allows you to set up the port to use with the CM11A. You can view a screenshot of this by Clicking here.

If you are using a USB to serial adapter and you cannot load schedules and timers to the CM11A, try uninstalling the adapter software. To do this, first unplug the adapter and then uninstall the adapter software. Then restart your PC. After restart, be sure you are connected to the internet. Then plug in the USB adapter. A pop up saying that windows found new hardware (or something to that effect) should come up. With the adapter still connected to your PC, run Windows update and let it find and install the correct software for your USB adapter. Most times when you can’t download to the CM11A, it’s the software that came with the USB adapter that is the problem. Be sure the USB adapter you choose is compatible with your particular PC's operating system. Not all of them are compatible with all systems.

The CM11A’s free standard software will not install on PC’s with a 64 bit operating system. The easiest way to test this is to try to download the free CM11A software. If you get an error or pop up saying that it can’t be downloaded or is incompatible with your operating system (or something to that effect), then you can’t use the standard original software. You would need to use the ActiveHome Vista (see link above) or SW31A Pro software.

If you already have a copy of the SW31A Pro software version 3.318 or higher installed on your PC, then you should be able to use it with the CM11A. When you open the Pro software, click on TOOLS and you should see CM11 configuration. This allows you to select the port to use with the CM11A. Most times one will already be selected by default. Typically it’s port 1, but it may be a different number especially if you have others in use.

You should set up a new program for your schedules and timers instead of using an old one or one transferred from a CM15A or vice versa. You are supposed to be able to use an existing CM11A timer and schedules program for your CM15A and vice versa. But don’t count on it. It’s best just to create from scratch a brand new set of schedules and timers for the CM11A.

When setting up a program for the CM11A using the Pro software, you may need to select soft start or non-soft start in the software for the modules you want to control. Modules may not respond otherwise especially when trying to dim. Not only do you need to set the house and unit code of the module you want to control, but you may need to tell the software what the module is, LM465, WS467, WS13A, etc. If you have an X10 compatible module that you cannot control no matter what module you set it as in the software (model number, soft start or not), then try using one of the Leviton model numbers. These seem to be a default if nothing else will work. This also allows you to use non-X10 brand modules as long as they are compatible with X10 signals. For example, we were able to control a Smarthome brand wall switch module by selecting the Leviton designation.

The new ActiveHome Vista software does not appear to be as specific as to what the designation of the module needs to be. You can set the house and unit code for any module and that appears to be all that is needed. In his release notes, ActiveHome Vista was created by someone who needed the ActiveHome CM11A to work with his PC which was Windows Vista--hence the name ActiveHome Vista. It's not that it is designed only for Vista, but rather that is the name he decided to call his creation.