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mochad, Multiple Online Controllers for Home Automation Daemon

mochad is a Linux TCP gateway daemon for the X10 CM15A RF (radio frequency) and PL (power line) controller and the CM19A RF controller.

mochad stands for Multiple Online Controllers for Home Automation Daemon.



Build it

mochad compiles and runs on Ubuntu 10.04 and 10.10. It probably works on older versions but has not been tested. See OpenWrt for details on building and running on an OpenWrt platform.

The libusb-1.0 development files are required. To install,

   sudo apt-get install libusb-1.0-0-dev

The usual pattern for building the code applies.

   tar xzf mochad-...tar.gz
   cd mochad-...
   sudo make install

Run it

Plugging a CM15A or CM19A should launch mochad. There no need to run mochad by hand or run it from /etc/rc.local. mochad is launched by a udev rule that matches the CM15A and CM19A USB vendor and product ID codes.

To run manually, run mochad as root (that is, sudo ./mochad). mochad will detach from the terminal and continue to run in the background. See /var/log/messages for error and status messages. mochad will exit if it cannot find a supported controller.

The only command line option so far is -d which will cause mochad to run in the foreground and produce debug output.

Use it

Connect to mochad using netcat. For example,

   nc localhost 1099

You can connect to mochad from another host by specifying the IP of the host running mochad. netcat is available for Windows at <>.

For a complete list of commands and event messages, please see mochad Reference.

Everything sent by mochad appears on netcat standard output. In the simplest use case, mochad/netcat can be used to see X10 PL and RF activity. For example, run mochad on one host with a CM15A then connect to it using netcat from a netbook. Walk around with various X10 RF remote controls and the netbook to see which remotes work from various locations.

Sample output:

   12/07 20:49:10 Rx RF HouseUnit: C3 Func: Off
   12/07 20:49:10 Tx PL HouseUnit: C3
   12/07 20:49:10 Tx PL House: C Func: Off
   12/07 20:49:10 Rx RF HouseUnit: C3 Func: Off
   12/07 20:49:10 Tx PL HouseUnit: C3
   12/07 20:49:10 Tx PL House: C Func: Off
   12/07 20:49:17 Rx RFSEC Addr: 0x11 Func: Lights_Off_SH624
   12/07 20:49:17 Rx RFSEC Addr: 0x11 Func: Lights_Off_SH624
   12/07 20:49:37 Rx RFSEC Addr: C6:1B:00 Func: Motion_alert_MS10A
   12/07 20:49:37 Rx RFSEC Addr: C6:1B:00 Func: Motion_alert_MS10A
   12/07 20:49:37 Rx RFSEC Addr: C6:1B:00 Func: Motion_alert_MS10A
   12/07 20:49:37 Rx RFSEC Addr: C6:1B:00 Func: Motion_alert_MS10A

Everything sent to netcat standard input is sent to mochad. The following is a brief list of mochad commands.

   pl a1 [on|off]
   pl a1 [dim|bright] 0..31
   pl a1 xdim 0..255
   pl a1
   pl a2
   pl a [on|off|dim|bright|xdim|all_lights_on|all_lights_off|all_units_off]
   rf a1 [on|off|dim|bright]
   st  -- show device status including RF security devices

By default, received RF X10 commands are repeated on the PL interface for all house codes. This can be changed using the rftopl command (RF to PL repeater).

   rftopl *    -- enable all house codes (default)
   rftopl abc  -- enable for house codes A, B, and C. Disable for all others.
   rftopl 0    -- disable for all house codes. This is useful if more than
                   one CM15A is in use. Leaving both enabled will result in 
                   PL collisions and redundant commands.

Multiple controllers

The Perl program shows how to monitor more than one instance of mochad. It is possible to create a master home automation master which talks to more than one X10 controller. For example, a mocha master could receive RF commands from controller A then send PL commands on controller B in a detached building.

Command line X10 control

Command line control is useful for controlling devices from cron or CGI programs.

   $ echo "pl a all_lights_off" | nc localhost 1099

More generally, create a file name x10cmd with the following

   echo "$@" | nc localhost 1099

Make the file executable.

   $ chmod +x x10cmd

Run x10cmd with command line parameters to control X10 devices.

   $ ./x10cmd pl a all_lights_off

Application examples

Simple applications in scripting languages.

Simple bash Application

Simple Perl Application

Web Interface

The cgi/ sub-directory holds a simple Perl CGI web application that uses mochad. The interface is designed for small hand held devices over slow connections (not broadband) so the web pages are very basic and small. No GIFs or JPGs are used. To accomodate older devices with limited web browsers, CSS, Javascript, or AJAX are not used. The web applications has buttons at the top to send commands to mochad. The remainder shows status information for X10 devices.

Details on installing the cgi files are at Installing CGI Files.


X10 controllers: CM15A and CM19A

Various X10 devices that have been tested with mochad:

   AM486, LM465 softstart, PAM02, RR501 (2 way), DS10A, MS10A, KR10A, SH624, KR19A

NOTE: CM15A macros and timers are not supported. For best results, use AHP (ActiveHome Pro) to clear interface memory and disable the internal RF to PL repeater. This ensures the CM15A behaves like a transceiver.


   *.c *.h     -- C source files -- Perl program showing how to connect to three instance of 
                   mochad and dumping out the output to standard out.
   cgi/        -- Sample Perl CGI utilizing more than one mochad

X10 Protocol

See X10 RF Security Extended Address for details on extended RF security addresses.


The Perl CGI scripts uses the venerable copyright Steven E. Brenner. cgi-lib is simpler and smaller than which is appropriate for small embedded systems such as WiFi routers.

For OpenWrt based systems, using LuCi would make more sense than Perl since LuCi is already present in the system. However, the Perl CGI scripts work fine with lighttpd on OpenWrt.


The following documents were useful in development of this program.

X10 Power Line Protocol


X10 RF including RF Security Protocol


X10 CM11A Protocol


Linux Daemon HowTo