Does a duplicate version of the HTF exist dedicated to X10 stuff?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Daniel Swartz, May 13, 2002.

  1. Daniel Swartz

    Daniel Swartz Second Unit

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    I'm slowly getting more and more into the X10 format and am thus running into more problems and questions. Does a good forum exist out there where people discuss X10 issues? Thanks!
     
  2. Ryan Wright

    Ryan Wright Screenwriter

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    Ask here. I'm Mr. X-10. I hate the stuff and advise you to try a different strategy. If you're having problems already that means you're trying to do something professional with it, and you can't. X-10 is a toy.

    Anyway, I've used X-10 products throughout my home for over 6 years and can probably answer just about any question you have. Post it here and I'll help you out.
     
  3. Daniel Swartz

    Daniel Swartz Second Unit

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    Well, some of the initial problems I had I just took care of like some line interference coming from my server room. Next, I wanted to automate the drapes in my living room. Since I rent my apartment, and hence a complete rod replacement was out of the question, I was curious as to what my X10 options were? I literally installed a few minutes ago a cheap $80 gizmo from smarthome.com that does the trick but rather noisly. Finally, I'm just interested in reading about other people's experiences (just like this forum) in order to build my knowledge base. Perhaps there are some good home automation forums out there that deal with non-X10 stuff?

    What kind of equipment do you use or suggest? Thanks Ryan!
     
  4. BrianW

    BrianW Cinematographer

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    And I've been using X-10 for twelve years, so that makes me, uh... oh, I don't know, Professor X-10, I guess. [​IMG] Ryan's right. There are a few of us here who've done a thing or two with it, so ask away.
    And, no, I've never found a good forum outside of UseNet that discusses X-10. (And for the record, I consider a good forum to be one whose usefulness outweighs the rest of the crap you have to put up with.)
     
  5. Daniel Swartz

    Daniel Swartz Second Unit

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    Brian: Do you mind telling me the usenet groups please? Maybe google carries them...
     
  6. BrianW

    BrianW Cinematographer

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    Daniel, there's alt.home.automation and comp.home.automation. One is bad (the first one, I think), and the other one is good, but it's been so many years since I've gone to either one that I couldn't begin to tell you if either one is worthwhile.
    As for the automated drapes, I prefer the IR-controlled Hunter Douglas blinds, though I realize that getting these would violate your "no complete rod replacement" rule. They're reasonably quiet and attractive, if you like the look of blinds. Since they are IR controlled, I can control them from my remote, and the computer, using an IR blaster, can control them without human intervention.
    If you're interested, I'm using the Ocelot X-10/IR controller. Ryan, I believe, is using the JDS Stargate. (Ryan, step in to keep me honest if I'm wrong.)
     
  7. Ryan Wright

    Ryan Wright Screenwriter

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  8. Daniel Swartz

    Daniel Swartz Second Unit

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    Thanks for the info guys.

    Ryan: You nailed the drape controller I just bought. What bothers me even more than the noise is the fact that you have to hit BOTH on and off switches each time you open and close the drapes. That gets kind of annoying and the "click" of the unit shutting off is almost as bad as the motor's sound.

    *sigh*

    I guess I'll get into some more professional stuff when I buy my first place. For now, I've probably spent about $230 to wire my 2 bedroom apartment. That will tide me over for a while....

    Btw, are the Leviton filters any better or worse than the cheaper brands? Also, what are some of the best/inexpensive places to buy both X10 and more professional stuff online?

    Thanks again!
     
  9. Ryan Wright

    Ryan Wright Screenwriter

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  10. Daniel Swartz

    Daniel Swartz Second Unit

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    Are there any clear pro manufacturers that stand out above the rest? Are their offerings all compatible with one another? Or is one's equipment tied only to a single manufacturer?
    And how the heck did you manage to spend $30 on each outlet? [​IMG]
     
  11. Ryan Wright

    Ryan Wright Screenwriter

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    Most professional equipment is tied only to themselves. That is, you can't buy an AMX Master Controller and expect it to work with a Crestron dimmer.

    HOWEVER, you can generally tie multiple systems together quite easily. My AMX system has 6 RS-232 ports. If I found a Crestron touchpanel that I just had to have, I could buy a Crestron master controller to control it, and then link the Crestron master with my AMX master via RS-232. After the correct programming, they could then communicate with one another.

    All of the high end stuff generally is easily expandable and has multiple communication ports. It's easy enough to integrate multiple systems. I've got an X-10 Activehome interface here that I'm getting ready to integrate with my AMX system so it can speak X-10. All I have to do is plug it into one of the serial ports and write the Axcess (One AMX's programming langauges) code to make them talk to each other. That will tide me over until I am able to phase out all of my X-10 stuff.

    The hardest part about dealing with these companies is that it's generally hard to learn about their systems. They will not sell directly to you but will force you to go through a dealer. I buy most of my equipment on eBay, and I've found a dealer who will sell to me close to his cost (most dealers won't even deal with you unless you're spending a lot of money with them - read: $10k can be a very small install). If you dig, though, you can find what you need to know, and AMX has been helpful in posting their specifications online so anyone who wants to can learn to program their systems.
     
  12. John Giddens

    John Giddens Stunt Coordinator

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    I like the X-10 forum at Remote Central personally for X-10 information and homeautomationnet.com for some shopping. To Ryan Wright, I thought I would chime in to say I'm using CF bulbs with no problems, guess I just lucked out. I'm using PCS wall switches with the CF bulbs. Maybe it's a matter of how many CF bulbs, as I'm only using three of the smallest twist CF bulbs on my front porch, and two Par38 CF floodlights in an X10 Motion Detector Floodlight kit. With all this my front porch lights turn on at dawn and off at dusk. It could also be the brand of CF bulbs. I'm using only one brand from Home Depot, Commercial Electric. The only other thing I could think of is you were using the PCS 2.0 wall switches instead of PCS's specific fluorescent switch or their new 3.0 wall switch but I'll assume you know all about the different switches given the money you put into them.
     
  13. Ryan Wright

    Ryan Wright Screenwriter

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    Hi John,
    I'm actually using SwitchLinc Lite Fluorescent switches (http://www.smarthome.com/2385.html). The switches are fine, but once I turn them on, they either don't turn off or interfere with other X-10 devices around them.
    Interestingly enough, I am also using bulbs from Home Depot. I don't recall the brand but Commercial Electric sounds right. They're the "twist" style bulbs that fit in a standard light socket, and came in a clear package with a greenish colored insert.
    If I put an incandescent bulb in the same fixture with the CFs, it works *perfectly*. Something to do with the incandescent filament blocking the noise. Problem is, it looks stupid. I figure if I have to resort to lame hacks to get a product to work the way I like, it's the wrong product for me. Smarthome's suggestion that I wire a night-light bulb in-line with it and hide it in a wall just didn't appeal...
     
  14. Chet_F

    Chet_F Supporting Actor

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    The company I work for does commercial automation with Alerton equipment(www.alerton.com). We have a few residential customers but mostly commercial. The lowest global controller costs $1000 but you can control and sense anything, i.e. lights, heating, cooling, fans, gases, etc, etc, etc. They use the Bacnet compliant interface for communication. Really interesting to say the least. One of these days I will integrate my home with the equipment.
    Sadly I have heard the same things mentioned about X-10, i.e. low quality and other issues. I have a few x-10 items at home but nothing more.
    Good luck either way
     

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