I don't like x10, is there a better alternative?


New Member
Okay, face it x10 is really OLD technology, and the isn't that reliable.

I've tried, and while i like the concept of automatic homes, remote control for everything, etc. I hate x10.

Computer software is old, the hardware is old, and I can't program everything, I'm not a genius.

So what is the thing to replace x10? Is available now? Is it expensive?

The logical solution to me, would be having a external line (like a CAT-5, or two lines goes to the device) instead of the message being sent over the power source. Hasn't someone invented it yet? Isn't this 2006?

Thanks for any info you guys can give. :blink:
and oh boy is there a lot of info out there.

There are 3 new technologies that have just recently begun to be sold as replacements for X10. They are Insteon, UPB, and Z-Wave.

Insteon and UPB, like X10, use your existing powerlines to send commands. Z-Wave on the other hand is designed completely around RF and uses a mesh design to send and receive commands.

There are multiple threads on here discussing the merits and problems with each. Some folks who know more than I do may give you more info here but I would suggest search for, "Insteon", "UPB", and "Z-wave" just as a primer to see what other people think.
Sounds like you are asking for a hardwired lighting control system.

Several companies make hardwired lighting controls:

OnQ-ALC, Centralite to mention two of many.

Pros: Absolute control of lighting with feedback of lighting status.

Cons: Mostly only installed in new construction due to running the wires to the light switches.

Pricing: In line with a good PLC or RF lighting control.

If you are looking for the least expensive lighting control, stick with X-10 and add filters, repeaters, and couplers. A properly installed X-10 system can work pretty good. I have used X-10 in my house for years with a phase coupler and repeater. Works acceptable!

Least expensive price and good operation are generally mutually exclusive in the lighting control world.

Every lighting technology has its good and bad points.

I would still like to see todays advanced lighting technoloy with the simple X-10 style rotary address switches. ;) :angry: :blink:
What you are asking for exists several years ago. Its called hardwired and there are several vendors supporting it. Do you have several thousands to throw away? Go for it. You will get the best. Tipically starting on $100-$120 per lightning plus central devices plus intallation. I mean, this is in the high four digits.

Moderm non-hardwired solutions mentioned above start in $20 per lightning plus about $20-$100 for the controller. Reliability for well installed system much, much better than X-10, and almost matching hardwired. Price, high 3 digits to low 4 digits for a comparable installation.

Search the forum. Your question has been posted here several time. The nice thing is that all responses complement each other to give you very complete idea of each solution and their pros/cons.
My system has both X10 and hardwired, and I have my Insteon equipment on order as of today. Here is my take on what I know, and what I've heard:

- X10 is absoluely old technology and while it is fine for a few devices, I have personally had a lot of problems. The biggest seems to be line noise, which will cause lights to come on unexpectedly. Very big hassle, and defeats much of the reason for automation. I will not be adding any more X10 devices to my house.

- Hardwired is great and rock-solid reliable but as another post mentioned, really only practical for new construction or duringa major remodel. It is also often ridiculously expensive. The controller / interface device for mine, which is Multiset Pro, is outrageous at over $500 just for the device that allows me to hook my automation comptuer to the lights. It's so unreasonable that I'll just replace the switches with Insteon if it works out, instead of paying such an outrageous price. BTW, these were in the house when we bought it - I would not add them even if I were building new.

The three newer technologies, also mentioned earlier, are Z-Wave, UPB and Insteon. UPB is known for being the choice of pro installers but it is very expensive. I priced it vs. Insteon today and would have paid over twice as much as Insteon to accomplish the same thing. No, thanks - it's not worth it to me.

Z-Wave looks interesting but I haven't been impressed by what I've heard about it. I do not have first - hand experience with it at all, but it just never seemed to be exactly what I wanted. Others seem to love it.

Finally, Insteon, which is where I'm headed. Uses BOTH the powerline and RF, and allegedly has almost no "falsing", or lights turning on unexpectedly. It's also two-way, so you can tell if something actually turned on or off as expected. Everyone seems to love it, so I decided to give it a try. Equipment is about the same price as the better X10 stuff on the market.