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LOR X10 Questions


bob_moody

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I picked up about 16 X10 device modules, a CM11A interface and an X10 Coupler/repeater (amp) for less than 75 bucks.

I thought it would be beneficial for static portions of the display such as the radio frequency sign, inflatables, uplighting of cutouts, running the suspended G-Scale train etc.

I realize that X10 is less than stellar for blinky/flashy but as mentioned that is not the intent. I will have the abilty to place the module very close to the originating power source and run extensions out to devices and I do have the repeater/coupler so phase blockiing shouldn't be an issue.

My question(s) is this:

1. If I wanted to place all three inflatables on one X10 (lor controlled) channel, can I simply set the three X10 modules to same channel number (A-1 for example) and send a barrage of ON commands when the show starts at 6:00PM and leave them on until the show goes off at 10:00 ?

2. Is an ON X10 command persistant? In other words if I send ON commands at show startup, do they stay that way until I send an OFF at shutdown?

I all add that I also have a DC controller and about 100 Contenental 10 AMP SSR's and I could use that as well but I was trying to conserve "genuine" LOR channels for other projects like my hacked Gemmy Santa, and my animated wireframe bells etc that needed high speed control.

I appreciate any input.

Thank you all,

Bob Moody

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bob_moody wrote:

I picked up about 16 X10 device modules, a CM11A interface and an X10 Coupler/repeater (amp) for less than 75 bucks.

I thought it would be beneficial for static portions of the display such as the radio frequency sign, inflatables, uplighting of cutouts, running the suspended G-Scale train etc.

I realize that X10 is less than stellar for blinky/flashy but as mentioned that is not the intent. I will have the abilty to place the module very close to the originating power source and run extensions out to devices and I do have the repeater/coupler so phase blockiing shouldn't be an issue.

My question(s) is this:

1. If I wanted to place all three inflatables on one X10 (lor controlled) channel, can I simply set the three X10 modules to same channel number (A-1 for example) and send a barrage of ON commands when the show starts at 6:00PM and leave them on until the show goes off at 10:00 ?

2. Is an ON X10 command persistant? In other words if I send ON commands at show startup, do they stay that way until I send an OFF at shutdown?

I all add that I also have a DC controller and about 100 Contenental 10 AMP SSR's and I could use that as well but I was trying to conserve "genuine" LOR channels for other projects like my hacked Gemmy Santa, and my animated wireframe bells etc that needed high speed control.

I appreciate any input.

Thank you all,

Bob Moody


I have several X10 switches/modules in my home. Yes, they stay in whatever position on/off/dimmed you send to them, until you send another command. There is no reason to keep sending commands, unless they don't all turn on the first time. You could send two or three ON commands two or three seconds apart, just in case they don't work. In theory, you can set all of your modules to the same address (say A1), and you should only have to send one A1 On command to turn them all on at once. I say in theory, because there are several things that can interfere with the command: 1) Each module is always "listening" for a command and absorbs part of the signal, so the more modules you have, the weaker the signal is. If this is a problem, you can buy modules that have boosters built in, or you can buy a booster module that you just plug in; 2) The length of wire the signal must go through could affect the signal also. A booster would help here too; 3) Other electronic devices can put "noise" on the line, but they make filters to help with this; 4) You have to make sure that your CM11A is plugged into the same phase of your wiring as the modules you want to control---OR---you have to install a phase coupler, so the signal will go across phases.

Now, having said all that, I still use two X10 modules in my light display. All they do is turn something on and then back off two or three minutes later. As you mentioned, you cannot send commands quickly, or the modules will not respond. At least one full second is needed between each command.

For my home, I have been gradually converting to INSTEON, which send a radio signal through the air, as well as a command through the electrical line. There is much less failure than with the X10 units. An added advantage of INSTEON is that you can still assign an X10 address to them, so you can use them in an X10 network until you can afford to change everything to INSTEON.

Ok, that's more than you ever wanted to know, but I've used X10 for about 10 years now, so I think I've seen most of the problems.
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bob_moody wrote:

2. Is an ON X10 command persistant? In other words if I send ON commands at show startup, do they stay that way until I send an OFF at shutdown?


Jeff Millard wrote:
One way around it is to place the channels for your X-10 in the background sequence. The continually recieve an on, and mostly remain on. There can be communication problems that cause them to occasionally turn off. That is outside of LOR.

Putting an X10 channel in the background sequence works well. Just make sure it's on for the entire sequence. If your background sequence is 60 seconds long, then it will send another X10 "On" command every 60 seconds. This in the easiest way to get LOR to send multiple "On" commands if the connection is flaky.

An X10 Light controller will stay on after an "On" command is received until it receives an "Off" (or "All Off") command, as long as it doesn't lose power. If your LOR computer crashed in the middle of the show, your X10 lights would stay on.

An X10 "Appliance Module" will stay on after an "On" command is received even if it loses power (because it's controlled by an actual mechanical switch inside). You can turn and appliance module on, then unplug it and put it in storage, and when you take it out again it will still be on.

I used X10 to turn on my FM transmitter and it never failed in 3 seasons. (I now use the parallel port.)
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Thanks to everyone that replied.

I do have a Phase Coupler/Repeater which is supposed to tie the two phases coming in together AND boost the X10 signal to 5V. I also have an electrical box outside for all of this. The X10 modules can live on a socket right off the breaker, in the same box with the coupler and just run cords out to the display elements. The entire operation would exist with the power source not more than 12" away.

My intent is to fire up the inflatables, turn on the Tune To sign, start the train, and light up the cutouts.

Should this occur under the BACKGROUND tab or the STARTUP tab and should it ALL end in the SHUTDOWN tab?

Bob

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Jeff,

My SSR's are NOT dimming (unfortunately) but I can use them for things like the animation of my wire frame bells where dimming is not required (Wreath and 3 bells - 4 channels).

I got these several years ago when I had a Measurement Computing DIO-192 board. Project never came together and I sold the board. Then I found a DIO-96 and it fell to the same fate.

Now I live in Texas with 100 Hockey Pucks and not an ice rink in sight .. :D

Bob

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bob_moody wrote:

Should this occur under the BACKGROUND tab or the STARTUP tab and should it ALL end in the SHUTDOWN tab?

You can do it either way.

The advantage of using the BACKGROUND tab is that the "On" signal is sent every time the sequence loops. This means that if there is a power glitch or the X10 module gets unplugged temporarily that it will then turn back on in a minute or so. This may not be an issue for you.

The advantage to using the STARTUP and SHUTDOWN tabs is that you don't have to turn all the X10 channels on and off at the same time. You can stagger the on and off for a smoother startup and shutdown.
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Thanks for the info Steven.

So, bottom line is, the X10 should work fine for what I intend it for considering the module placement, and the coupler/repeater?

I will try the sequence in both tabs and experiment with what will work best for my application.

one more question. Say I have 6 devices to turn on in a 10 second sequence with 1 second timing grids. Should the ON be sent and left on until the end of the sequence or would a one second ON result in a 5 second OFF being sent?

I havent picked up all the equipment yet so I'm sure most of these questions would be self answered with testing and observation, but I'm at work loading a server and BORED to tears.. LOL ..

Bob

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bob_moody wrote:

So, bottom line is, the X10 should work fine for what I intend it for considering the module placement, and the coupler/repeater?

I didn't use a repeater, but I had the CM11A on the same power strip as the controllers. I had a bunch of X10 throughout my house (I've converted almost all of it to Insteon now), and I found I had to use a bunch of X10 filters, on the computers, the TV, etc. Last Christmas I had some trouble with the signal from the CM11A (driven by LOR), not always being received by the ISY-99i, which is controlling my Insteon modules. So I bought an X10 signal detector and a repeater, and we'll see if I can solve that problem this year.

I'm using this to turn the motion-sensor porch light and the garden lights off when the show starts. During the rest of the year the show computer is turned off, and I let the Insteon control everything.

Say I have 6 devices to turn on in a 10 second sequence with 1 second timing grids. Should the ON be sent and left on until the end of the sequence or would a one second ON result in a 5 second OFF being sent?

When processing an X10 channel, LOR will send an X10 command at the start and end of each event, unless the end of the event is at the end of the sequence and you have the "Turn used lights off at the end of each sequence" option un-checked.

So if you have an event at 0:01.00 that is a 1-second "Completely on" event, and there is nothing else for that channel (i.e., it's off), then LOR will send an X10 "On" command at 0:01.00, and an X10 "Off" command at 0:02.00. That's not what you want in a startup sequence. Instead, the "Completely on" event should continue to the end of the sequence.

In you show, you need to go to the "Startup" tab and un-check "Turn used lights off at the end of each sequence." Otherwise, it will send an "X10 Off" command for every X10 channel in your sequence when the sequence reaches the end. When testing with the sequence editor, un-check the "Lights Off at End" play option.

LOR will also send an X10 command at the start of the sequence for every X10 channel in that sequence, even if the first event doesn't happen at 0:00. So if your first event for an X10 channel is at 0:02.00, then it will send an "X10 Off" command at the start of the sequence, and "X10 On" 2 seconds later. Usually this isn't a problem in a startup sequence because the device is already off. You can't change this behavior and it happens for all channels, not just X10.
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Jeff Millard wrote:

bob_moody wrote:
I got these several years ago when I had a Measurement Computing DIO-192 board. Project never came together and I sold the board. Then I found a DIO-96 and it fell to the same fate. Is this because you couldn't find a way to interconnect them? I made a DIO buffer board a few years back to be used for this application. It connects directly to the high density ribbon cable for the DIO96. Each buffer has 48 channels and uses RJ45 connectors for 4 channel outputs. Search for the thread "My DIO Solution" for a little history on it.

Now I live in Texas with 100 Hockey Pucks and not an ice rink in sight ... Now that we're actually experiencing the changes brought on by Al Gore's invention... "Global Warming" it seems the Winter's are longer, colder, have more precipitation and reach further South than before-Gore... Hang on to your pucks! :cool:


With the DIO192, yes it was a how in *&$% do I connect all of this. Then when I got the DIO-96 I also bought a couple of screw down break out boards and scrounged up some cables and had a pair of 48 port RJ45 break out panels. Then when it came time to hook it all up I found I needed these pull down resistors. They were hard to come by in the SIP package and were expensive to boot. Project abandoned.... I decided to do it all with LOR.

Its kind of ironic I never did anything with it. I spoke with Dan on several occasions about the DIO boards and the software always seemed to come into play. He may have known but never persued it but I found the free runtime library that would work with the MC boards and told him about it. Up until then, it was you had to buy the software to get the drivers needed. Ancient history..

Bottom line I decided I wanted to do it all with LOR software and hardware. Big dreams.... little budget... which is what brings us to this conversation about X10. If I can implement the static items with X10 then I save $$$ on LOR channels that can do blinky/flashy and not waste them.

Thats my story and I'm sticking to it.

Bob


PS. Thought I should mention that both of my MC DIO cards were ISA which today makes it really hard to put a PC together. ISA slots on a modern mother board are not that common anymore. The DIO-192 was a full length ISA card and the DIO-96 was a half length card. Cases, mother boards etc ... iffy ..
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I used X10 to flash errr I mean turn my lights off and on one year.

I had 3 colours on the house and a few things in the yard but it was slow (I think it had to be 10 seconds between each command).

I had 6 of the appilance moduals controlling my lights.

Problems I had was putting the transmitters close enough to the receivers and on the same side of the power.

2009 I used them to blow my inflatables and turn on a bunch of static lights.

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Paul,

What you ended doing is exactly what I want to do with it.

My CM11A controller, modules and coupler/repeater came just came in and I am playing with it as I type this.

I see what you mean about the delay. Even if I send a 1 sec ON, I can count to about 3 (one thousand one, one thousand two, one thousand three) and the string of lights will come on. Same experience when I shut it off.

I think if I set up a 30 second "ON" sequence and put it in startup, then a 30 second OFF sequence and put it in shutdown telling the startup sequence to leave everything on and telling the shutdown to turn it all off when the seq ends it should work for this app just fine.

Thanks for the input.

Bob

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I use X-10 around the house, porch lights, indoor lights and use the home automation software Active Home Pro.

I used that to schedule my outside radio turn on 1 hour before the show starts so Christmas music is playing in the yard.

I have a business out of the house where customers are coming and going, and I put the lights on 20% static and music on low for the first hour, until the show starts. Customers love it.

AT 10pm I turn off the outside radio with the x10 Home automation software.

After the show, I have my lights go to static for a couple of hours at 20% static, then around midnight, I turn off the main Christmas lights and turn on the security lights with X10, and have them on until dawn.

Since I am already using the X10 software, it works really well to add a couple of other on/offs and it is very reliable and timely.

Just a couple more ideas.

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