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This has nothing to do with X11 (X window system). This is for remote control of hardware.

X-10 Powerhouse

X-10 Powerhouse or X10 Powerhouse is a cheap and simple home appliance remote control and automation system. Notice I didn't say X-10 was good or reliable. Those are two words rarely used to describe X-10... But it is cheap and simple and that's usually fine. There's a fairly good chance that your signal will get lost when you send a message to turn ON or OFF a device. Any device attached to an X-10 control module will occasionally turn themselves off or on. Beware! It's your town's funeral if you use one of these gizmos to control the magnetic containment field of your antimatter power generator.


Bottlerocket is a command-line tool for sending commands to a Firecracker device. The ones I have seen were all RS-232 serial with a DE-9 connector on each end. They might have graduated to USB by this time. If they did, then I would bet that they simply implemented a USB-to-RS-232 interface, so the following instructions will probably still work. These days chances are that you do not have a RS-232 serial port. All you need to do is attach a USB-to-RS-232 adapter. Plug it in -- no drivers usually needed -- and you should now have a serial port. Under Ubuntu Linux the first USB dynamic serial port will show up as /dev/ttyUSB0.

The X-10 Firecracker Transceiver module also has a built-in lamp switch. You can set the House Code, but for some reason you cannot set the Device Number. The Transceiver lamp switch has a factory default device number set to #1.

The Bottlerocket command is br. Examples are the best way to describe how to use it.

Turn all lights on in house A
br --port=/dev/ttyUSB0 --house=A --ON
Turn all lights off in house A
br --port=/dev/ttyUSB0 --house=A --OFF
Turn just light #1 on in house A
br --port=/dev/ttyUSB0 --house=A --on=1
Turn just light #1 off in house A
br --port=/dev/ttyUSB0 --house=A --off=1

The Ubuntu bottlerocket package will create a device link in /dev/firecracker, but it just assumes an old-fashioned ttyS0 port. If you don't want to specify the port on the command-line every time then you have the option to update this link. If your USB serial port is not /dev/ttyUSB0 then change the following to the appropriate device:

sudo ln -sf /dev/ttyUSB0 /dev/firecracker

If you do that then you may run br commands without specifying the port. Additionally, if you are using house code A then you don't need to specify that either since br defaults to A if you don't specify. The following turns all lights on:

br --ON