Best place for X-10 interface


I am currently running homeseer from the PC on the 3rd floor in my house. I have a Ti-103 interface( also on the 3rd floor) to send X-10 commands to various contols in the home.My main breaker panel is in the basement. I have 3 other sub panels in the house as well. All of the sub panels have repeaters installed in them. The house is 9,000 s.f. spread over 4 levels.Most of the X-10 devices work fine but there are a few device that are not getting the signals consistantly or at all. I have purchased a few filters and installed them at the most likely suspects but before I go and purchase signal bosters at $100.00 each, I am wondering if it would be better to start optimizing my situation by plugging the TI-103 into an outlet that comes right off the main panel. So here is my question.

Can you tell me if I made an cat5 extension cable ( about 100-120 feet long) from the serial connection port on the back of my PC to allow me to put the TI103 at my main breaker panel in the basement, would that work? I am concerned that the signal from the PC would be too weak if it had to travel 100-120 feet before it got to the TI103.

After making that change, I would then try to optimize the system.

Any comments?

Hi, MV. Has any one said "Welcome to CocoonTech" yet?

Just the other day, a similar situation arose on the HomeSeer board. Rather than repeat myself, I'll simply quote myself (since no one else is dumb enough to):
I would not recommend using more than one coupler/repeater. Multiple passive couplers are ok, but two repeaters would cause the following symptoms:

1) If the repeaters started repeating at exactly the same time, and their respective 120kHz carriers were in phase, the system would work. The chances of this happening are almost nil.

2) If the repeaters started repeating at exactly the same time, and their respective 120kHz carriers were out of phase, they would degrade each others transmission, but the resulting signal might be discernible. The chances of this happening are pretty good.

3) If the repeaters did not start repeating at exactly the same time, the resulting signal would be totally corrupted. The chances of this happening are high, if they are from different manufacturers.
I would try disabling the repeaters in all but the main panel.

The TI103 puts out a strong signal, and it shouldn't need to be close to the breaker panel. However, if the leg that it is on also contains a lot of noise or devices that could suck-down the signal, then the TI103 should be moved.

And getting it close to the main panel is a good idea. I have run RS232 a few hundred feet without problems, but I've never tried it with the TI103.
Moving the interface might help, but extending the serial port some distance might leave you more vulnerable to lightning damage.

Personally? I'd start by tracking down a signal/noise meter and looking closely at "the usual suspects" for signal interference.

Contact Martin at Automated Outlet. I THINK they have a loaner program for X10 signal meters that might help you track down the problem. Great place to buy equipment, and the service is terrific. I don't have the number in front of me, but it's clearly displayed at

I would be wary of a serial cable that long, and agree that concentrating on improving the X10 signal itself is probably your best bet.
Don't forget about your computer UPSs (if you have any) they have the amazing ability to suck the X-10 signal out of the circuit branch they are plugged into (doing their "power cleaning" job too well in this case). I solved this problem in my home with inexpensive power strips between the UPSs and the wall outlets. If you have the space and can hide them or don't care about aesthetics power strips accomplish the same thing are much cheaper than the "specialized" line filters.