Flipit is a simple command line program that supports the X10 Firecracker (model CM17A) on a Unix machine.

It is known to work on Linux and OpenBSD (and so will assuredly work on NetBSD and FreeBSD as well). I consider portability important, so reports of successes and failures on other operating systems is appreciated.

Flipit Documentation

You can read the HTML version of the man page.

What is the Firecracker?

The Firecracker/CM17a is a tiny device that plugs into one of the serial ports on your computer. Software on your computer sends signals to the Firecracker over the serial port. The Firecracker/CM17a in turn turn sends radio signals to a X10 tranceiver module you have plugged into a power outlet nearby. This tranceiver then transmits the commands to the X10 home automation equipment you have plugged in to outlets anywhere in your house.

In short, the Firecracker/CM17a lets you turn lamps, appliances, and just about any other electrically powered device on and off with your computer. It is not the only device that lets you do this, but it is certainly the cheapest.

The Firecracker/CM17a comes with Microsoft Windows software. Flipit runs on Unix-like operating systems, so you're not out of luck if you use Linux, FreeBSD, Solaris, and the like.

How do I get a Firecracker?

Visit http://www.x10.com/ or go directly to their FireCracker page. Be warned, If X-10 is not currently promoting the FireCracker, you might have trouble finding out how to order one!

Download Flipit

Latest version: flipit-latest.tar.gz.

Older versions can be fetched directly from the download directory.

Other Resources

Check out the BottleRocket page for a similar program.

Check out X10 Ephem for a cool program that'll let you run flipit (or any other program) at times based off of sunrise and sunset. Great for turning on lights as it gets dark, etc.

A nice page showing how an x10 can solve a real world problem, instead of silly things like turning lights on and off (which is what I use it for!): Power Cycle DSL with x10. (also some tips on getting an x10 working with Solaris)

A nifty looking CGI interface to several home automation programs is BlueLava.