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Have some x10 devices in HT but want some advice

I have some x10 devices plus the maxi controller in my HT. I have 3 light switch dimmers, and 3 light module and 1 appliance module. I am going to be needing 4 more dimmers and a couple more modules. My question is about x10. Should I use something else and if so what? I have also been having a little problem with my switches not always working. Smarthome sold me a signal linc module but someone else said I should have a phase coupler first. Help me out here please. Thanks. :)
 

Chakara

Active Member
ingeborgdot,

You've hit on the magic question right now. There are many competing technologies that are looking to do exactly what you need.

X10 may or may not be reliable for you - but what it can be is cheap. Depending on how far you plan on taking this, you should look at UPB, Z-Wave, and Insteon. There are a couple of others but I don't think they are DIY ready.

There is a wealth of information archived off in these forums...then again, you may just end up joining me on the the fence as to what to use for lighting control.....
 
I think my last thing I bought was insteon from smarthome not sure if it is insteon or not though. It was the boosterlinc that they said would boost my signal. At the moment I don't have any plans to do anymore to my house other than my theater. I just need 4 more light switches and a light module or two. Maybe just sticking with the x10 or insteon is the best way to go for now. If later I decide to do more when I learn more about it from all you experts then maybe I will ebay all my stuff and start with new.
I have a 15amp plug in noise filter installed and a boosterlinc in my house to help. Is the boosterlinc the best way to go. Someone that I talked to that sounded really knowledgeable from automated outlet said I should have used a phase coupler first and my not have even needed the boosterlinc. What do you all think about this?
 

fitzpatri8

Active Member
The x10 signalling scheme was designed decades ago to work in houses completely different from what we have today -- no multiple PCs, no switching power supplies, no capacitors in the coffeemaker that sap signal strength, no home theaters.... Modern homes have a lot of antagonists to successfull x10 operation. Add to that the signal collision issue -- x10 devices are generally too unsophisticated to recognize when two signal transmissions just collided -- you set yourself up for frustration.

Yes, newer technologies cost (marginally) more, but they come with error-checking, higher speed, greater reliability and collision avoidance. What value do you place on your time troubleshooting?

If you stick with x10, a phase coupler is probably advised. The Boosterlinc is great when you have a weak leg of a long circuit run, but from your description I'm not convinced this is your main issue.

Martin @ Automated Outlet used to advertise a loaner signal meter program, wherein you could pay a deposit to borrow a meter to verify signal strength and identify interference. You might check on that, and order a coupler and more filters and the same time.

Tom
 
Ok, what kind of a system could I get if you would tell me? I will need 6 light switch dimmers, 1 light switch dimmer for low voltage lights, 1 appliance module to run my curtain motor, 3 light modules. I will also need a controller. Not on a computer but one that will be by my side. I have one plugged in right now. Set up something for me if you were getting something. I would greatly appreciate your expertise. Thanks.
 

fitzpatri8

Active Member
ingeborgdot said:
Ok, what kind of a system could I get if you would tell me? I will need 6 light switch dimmers, 1 light switch dimmer for low voltage lights, 1 appliance module to run my curtain motor, 3 light modules. I will also need a controller. Not on a computer but one that will be by my side. I have one plugged in right now. Set up something for me if you were getting something. I would greatly appreciate your expertise. Thanks.
First off, ditch the low voltage lighting set, or at the very least isolate it from the powerline with a filter. The power supplies for those and compact fluorescent bulbs are notorious for putting all kinds of noise on the powerline that will interfere with automation gear.

Second, unplug and put away that Maxi controller. For some reason, they tend to interfere with powerline signals from other devices.

Third, install another filter between your AC line and your home theater electronics. Lots of high-end home theater equipment either introduces noise on the powerline or draws down powerline communications signals.

Next, get one of the Insteon dimmer switch starter kits, two SwitchLinc V2 LED Color Kits and a black sharpie marker. Replace your two most uncooperative dimmer switches with the SwitchLinc v2s (after first installing the Blue light bars from the color kits and going over the bottom light insert [lit when switch is at 0%] with the sharpie).

Next, add more SwitchLinc v2s and Color Change Kits to finish the changeover.

Finally, install and set up your five scenes on your ControLinc, including brightness levels and fade rates.

Now you can sit back and enjoy the movie!

Tom
 
I'm not going to throw away a couple of hundred dollar lights so they will have to stay. Is there no switch for these that has a filter on it? At this point the only controller I have is the maxi controller. The devices would only function when I use the maxi. So you are saying get a control linc instead? I have 15amp filter. Should I hook it up to my power conditioner/surge protector? How do I install a filter between my ac and electronics. What type of filter is it and where do I put it?

two SwitchLinc V2 LED Color Kits and a black sharpie marker. Replace your two most uncooperative dimmer switches with the SwitchLinc v2s (after first installing the Blue light bars from the color kits and going over the bottom light insert [lit when switch is at 0%] with the sharpie
).

This part confuses me. Could you please explain further and what we are doing here? Thanks.


I am beginning to wonder if a upb setup won't be the best overall for me?
 
I think I have decided on insteon over upb, zwave and others. It seems to be more reasonable in price and color options are much better. I like the controller features better too. Insteon it is. Any advice for me before my purchase.
 
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