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X10 - Anyone do it?


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12 replies to this topic

#1 of 13 OFFLINE   Patrick Larkin

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Posted December 04 2003 - 06:12 AM

I dabbled a bit in X10 in my old house but didn't have much success. I wrote it off to the oldness of the house. I have a new house now and want to do some X10 automation. I want to start very simple at first: I want my porch and outside garage light to go on and off themselves.

I'm thinking I just need to replace the switches that control those lights with X10 switches and then program the X10 interface to do its job.

So I go to an X10 site, and I see these two switches:

This one is $65
http://smarthome.com/23891.html

This one is $13
http://smarthome.com/2031.html

Do I need the $65 one? I'm confused. I had one of the $13 ones in my old house and it worked for a day and then stopped. I put the old switch back in. I could never tell what the little button at the bottom was for either...

Thanks...

#2 of 13 OFFLINE   CRyan

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Posted December 04 2003 - 06:24 AM

You just need the second one. I have had a few of these and they all work fine. The slide switch at the bottom prevents you from pushing it in and turning the lights off and on locally. C. Ryan

#3 of 13 OFFLINE   Patrick Larkin

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Posted December 04 2003 - 06:27 AM

So the switch at the bottom is something you engage if you don't want someone turning it on or off at the switch?

#4 of 13 OFFLINE   James Gillespie

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Posted December 04 2003 - 06:36 AM

Actually the way the switch works is it is always passing a small bit of current through the load (light bulb) in order to detect the X10 signal. That switch is so you can stop this flow of electricity, making it safer to change the light bulb when it burns out. It does render the push button inoperable, but that is due to the lack of power, and this is secondary to its primary purpose.

#5 of 13 OFFLINE   Patrick Larkin

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Posted December 04 2003 - 06:49 AM

So that little thing gets pushed in? what makes that other switch $65?

#6 of 13 OFFLINE   Jeff Hoak

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Posted December 04 2003 - 08:28 AM

We're pretty heavily X10'd here. All of the bedroom lighting, coffee maker, almost all of the living room lighting, a couple of outdoor lights, the christmas lighting, etc. etc. etc. For a simple "single pole" incandescant the $13.00 switch is fine. X10 stuff gets a lot more complicated when you start messing with 3-way circuits or flourescent lighting. I've messed with the various "computer" based interfaces and software quite a bit. In the end I bought a couple of the timer based units and programmed them to run the lighting that I want automated. When we go on vacation I program the timers (each controlling up to 8 modules) to replicate our lighting pattern. Right down to the TVs going on and off at their usual times. Looks so convincing that one of our neighbors didn't even know we were gone. It's pretty cool... Go for it...

#7 of 13 OFFLINE   Chris Hovanic

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Posted December 04 2003 - 08:59 AM

I use these. They are very nice swithces and worth the extra cash. They dim very nicely and do not make the bulb(s) hum when dimmed (like my manual slide dimmers do)

I have tried the "cheeper" x10 (rca) brand swithces and I was not very happy with it. Seemed cheep! I dont think they can handel as much wattage as they say they can.

I do however use the cheeper x10 appliance modules and lamp modules with very good luck. I plan to add some motion sensors to automate some lights as well.

I use the CM11A to communicate with my PC to controll all my x10 automation via
MisterHouse
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#8 of 13 OFFLINE   Greg_L_C

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Posted December 04 2003 - 10:30 AM

I've always wanted to be able to dim the can lights in my living room by remote right from my chair. how can I do that. Greg

#9 of 13 OFFLINE   BrianW

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Posted December 04 2003 - 10:59 AM

If your lamps are incandescent, then the $13 switch will work just fine and fully accomplish your stated automation goals. Even if you're contemplating eventually retrofitting your house with Jetson-style automation, I'd still recommend the $13 switch, simply because it's a good, cheap way to start. However, if you're determined to expand and enhance your automation goals now instead of later, then I'll second Chris's recommendation for the SwitchLinc switches. Which model you get will be determined by what you want to accomplish. Ask, and we'll help you determine which one to get. But for now, you can't go wrong automating your porch and garage lights with the cheaper $13 switch. I can't think of a reason to spend more for what you want to do.
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#10 of 13 OFFLINE   Patrick Larkin

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Posted December 04 2003 - 11:39 AM

I'm not sure if I like the giant rocker switches or not. Thats why I pointed out the two "regular" style switches. I'll be putting these in panels with 3-4 switches and if I went with the gig Decora style, I'd have to change out all of the regular switches as well.

My last foray into X10 didn't seem to go so well. For one, if you plug a regular lamp into a lamp module, you have to turn the light off with the remote - which is annoying if you can't find it! Otherwise, the lamp needs to be turned on manually next time.

I have a room with 4 recessed lights. Is it safe to use one of the above switches? I'm not educated on matters of wattage etc.

After the porch and garage lights, I'd like to be able to do the various recessed lights. I just need them to work like normal lights as well. These switches appear to act like normal switches when you need them and can't find the remote. Posted Image

#11 of 13 OFFLINE   nolesrule

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Posted December 04 2003 - 12:23 PM

The cheap switch will be fine. That's what I use to control my kitchen light.

I use Homeseer for my compute-based automation. Great flexibility and support from the userbase.

[quote] After the porch and garage lights, I'd like to be able to do the various recessed lights. I just need them to work like normal lights as well. These switches appear to act like normal switches when you need them and can't find the remote. [quote]

The cheap X10 wall switches will do that just fine, because whether you use the remote or the switch, the switch knows if it is on or off.

#12 of 13 OFFLINE   BrianW

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Posted December 04 2003 - 01:20 PM

[quote] For one, if you plug a regular lamp into a lamp module, you have to turn the light off with the remote - which is annoying if you can't find it! Otherwise, the lamp needs to be turned on manually next time. [quote]As Joe correctly points out, this will not be a problem with the wall switches as it is with the lamp modules.

As for the use of lamp modules, if you have to use them, the best way is to always use a remote (X-10 transmitter) to control them. If this means getting an extra button box to put by the bedside or by the doorway, then that's what you have to do.
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#13 of 13 OFFLINE   nolesrule

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Posted December 04 2003 - 03:34 PM

Thanks for clarifying my point Brian. I was in a hurry and left out the sentence I meant to write about the lamp modules.

I use the alarm clock/controller at my bedside and I have I think 4 remotes scattered throughout the house. A wireless wall switch (really a remote made to look like a wall switch that sticks to the wall with adhesive) mounted by a doorway can also be of some help when a remote is not around.

Here's an example:

http://www.smarthome.com/4095.html




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