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Michael M

X10

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Just a quick question for some more seasoned folks out there.... I got my display up and running -the sound last night and was thinking i need to add a controller some day to the outside lights and the christmas tree....





What would i need in minimum to run a few X-10 channels for some of this misc stuff?

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Michael M wrote:

What would i need in minimum to run a few X-10 channels for some of this misc stuff?


Michael, my recommendation might be too much overkill for what you need, but I will mention below what I use for X10 control. There are many solutions and I am sure you will get a lot of good responses.

This information below is copied from my web site and is more than you likely care to know about X10 technology. You probably know all this stuff already, yet I will mention some issues with old X10 for people not that familiar with it.

X10 technology is over 20 years old and the designs of the circuitry have not changed much. I have found X10 to be very unreliable since they first came out. A few years ago, I ran across an upgraded X10 design that I purchased. For me, it has been extremely reliable in sending signals. It is a company called SmartHome and here is a link to their X10 stuff...
http://www.smarthome.com/_/X10_Compatible/_/23X/land.aspx

I've used their equipment all over the house to automate lighting.

While on the subject, I should mention that it is worth looking into "Insteon", also found at SmartHome. The is a newer generation of device that is even more reliable. For replacement X10 devices and adding new one ones, I have been buying the Insteon devices. They also work with older X10 devices.

The biggest problems with X10 over the years has been that signals sent from a control device to a receiving device has not been very reliable. It is a "simplex" communication, so signals are not sent back to the controlling device. Therefore the controller does not know if the receiving device really got the signal or not. As such, you can't poll the status of a device to know if it is really on or off. Some of the newer generation stuff (not the Radio Shack junk), uses a half duplex communication method where a controller can poll the status of a receiving device. All SmartHome equipment works this way and it improves reliablility.

With X10, there are many forces at work which make them generally unreliable. Electrical lines tend to be very noisy because of heavy load devices like refrigerators, air conditioning, and heaters turning on and off. Many plasma TVs and other high tech devices will kick low and high frequency noise back into the electrical lines if not well regulated or filtered at the outlet. If that were not bad enough, there is also an issue of trying to send signals from one leg of the house current to a device on the other leg (your house as two 110 Volt legs to generate 220 where needed). The signal almost never gets to the intended device unless you use a "crossover" device at your electrical panel or at the clothes dryer. And lastly, as your house is bigger and the more devices you use, the problems get worse because of the longer electrical lines and loading from many devices.

This is where Insteon helps. Those devices send control signals both wirelessly and over the house wiring.

My long winded message can be summed up to say, don't buy the cheaper old X10 devices. They are not worth the hassle. And if you have a lot of devices, a big house, or need to send signals across different AC legs of your house, then you probably need to invest in signal boosters and a crossover device.

Richard
http://MagicLightShow.com

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I use X-10 mostly successfully to control the static portions of our display. We also use it year-around to control outdoor lighting, our fountain, and some security lighting. Not a big system by any stretch, but it usually works...

For use with LOR, the minimum you need is a CM-11A controller and at least one module. Ebay seems to be the best prices...

-Tim

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medman2000 wrote:

Ok total noob question but even more basic, what is X10? Like is it a timer or something?


This explains it better than I could:

http://www.smarthome.com/about_x10.html

It' s a slow protocol and is not appropirate for synching lights to music. It can, however, but used for things that are on for longer periods of time (like static portions of the display) and things that don't require precise timings (like if you want to turn on a hippo during the "Hippopatamus for Christmas" song, but doesn't have to be synced to a specific beat).

-Tim

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