• You've been granted Beta access to this site, allowing you to explore some of the new features while they're still under construction. More information can be found in the Beta forum.

Quick x10 question ..

jbinphx

New Member
Trying to keep things simple .. Was about to expand my automation with insteon but critiques here have me thinking otherwise. I have some X10, and gotta say, they work great. No status feedback to my API but you get what you pay for. But the biggest annoynace: Light's off, fade up, goes straight to full bright.

I know fading 100% down (not switching off), and then fading up works .. but good luck teaching that to the fam. Is the "off-fade up-full bright" issue a cheap x10 switch, or a fault of x10 ?
 

SmartLabsMike

Active Member
SwitchLincs (X10 only) and SwitchLinc V2 both have this feature built in. You can Brighten without having to go to 100% first.
 

JeffVolp

Member
Is the "off-fade up-full bright" issue a cheap x10 switch, or a fault of x10
Cheap switch. X10 wall switches can be found new for 10 bucks. Higher end X10 switches from several manufacturers offer ramp-up / fade-off. The Leviton 16383 switches we have here do that, and there has not been one failure since they were installed several years ago. They can also be set to a preset brightness level with a single command.

The LM14A 2-way lamp module also does ramp-up / fade-off, but they cost about twice as much as the standard X10 lamp module.

Jeff
 

KenM

Active Member
Hi Jeff,

Way back when; the X10 company decided to make the 'preset dim' X10 command obsolete. I think they (X10) shot themselves in the foot with that decision. The newer ActiveHomePro software, as of late last year, did not support 'preset dims'. The only way, the more economical X10 devices, know at what brightness they are at, is to go to either full dim or bright and then transverse from there.

SmartHome, somewhere along the line, built economical X10 devices that support 'preset dim' commands. That means, tell the device to goto 50% bright, and it will go there without any of the silly bright/dim garbage.

You can now get INSTEON wall dimmer switches, branded as 'ICON', for a reasonable price. The ICON wall switches that I had, worked very well for me. They can also be set up as X10 so that you will not need to change your control devices. I, personally, would not recommend controlling a load greater than 200 Watts with one of those. They seem to work good at well under their rated load.

Some of my last posts may have been confusing, so, let me say, what my actual thoughts about INSTEON are in some short statements.

1) The protocol (the way commands are sent) is a great improvement over X10. In my case it was 98% reliable over a period of about three months. X10 was, maybe 70%, in my house.

2) The V2 plug-in ApplianceLinc. I would not recommend the V2 ApplianceLinc to anyone. That one needs more engineering. If Mike wants to call me on this, he can send me some new ones and I will control my lights and fans and heaters and will most likely be able to kill them all while operating within the published specifications.

3) The V2 plug-in LampLinc module is probably ok now. There has been some (I think) firmware upgrades that may stop the 'flashy' stuff that killed mine.

4) ICON wall dimmer switches. I only ever operated one at 200 Watts. It did work very reliably for me.

5) KeyPadLinc wall switches. The only one of those I had was installed in my bedroom. The lights drove me nuts at night. The software support is still a little crazy. Link-link (to everything) and lights go on but the indicators on the KPL do not always update correctly. Linking everything to everything? Try again.

6) I used some of the 'high end' V2 wall dimmers and did not care much for the overly bright LEDs. The people who say the LEDs are too dim never had to sleep in a room where one was installed.

Ken
 

JeffVolp

Member
I believe all but the cheapest Leviton X10 dimmers include the preset dim capability. The Ocelot supports it, and it is very convenient.

Most of our loads are under a couple hundred watts, but we do have several 1000-watt Leviton dimmers controlling loads around 500 watts. They can get a bit warm, but work flawlessly. The Leviton dimmers have gated AGC, which may be the reason they work so well.

The Icon switches are significantly cheaper, but there have been quite a few failure reports. They also load down X10 signal levels on a split system, and often cause reliability problems on the X10 side.

Even before adding the XTB, our X10 reliability level was virtually 100%. With hundreds of commands sent daily only one module controlling a compact fluorescent bulb missed its OFF a few times a year. Even that was corrected by the XTB. I will admit that I designed this electrical distribution system to be X10 friendly, and that is probably a significant factor in its reliability.

Jeff
 

upstatemike

Senior Member
KenM said:
2) The V2 plug-in ApplianceLinc. I would not recommend the V2 ApplianceLinc to anyone. That one needs more engineering.

I use about 22 of these, mostly switching CFL bulbs and small fans. The only place I had a problem was with a fluorescent fixture with a ballast. I used an ICON relay switch to make my own appliance module for that one and have had no problems.


5) KeyPadLinc wall switches. The only one of those I had was installed in my bedroom. The lights drove me nuts at night. The software support is still a little crazy. Link-link (to everything) and lights go on but the indicators on the KPL do not always update correctly. Linking everything to everything? Try again.

If you are going to use KeypadLincs you need to use PowerHome to manage them. Doing it manually just isn't practical.

6) I used some of the 'high end' V2 wall dimmers and did not care much for the overly bright LEDs. The people who say the LEDs are too dim never had to sleep in a room where one was installed.

Ken

Remove the light pipe for the OFF LED and put some black tape on the back side of the hole to block it completely. The nice thing about the light pipes is that the light bar is separate from the OFF pipe. Out of all my Insteon devices about 96 of them are switches and out of those, 4 of them are in bedrooms. I would not want SmartHome to dim the OFF LEDs on their switches to accomodate 4 bedrooms when I have 92 other places where I need a nice bright status indicator that won't get washed out by sunlight etc.
 

upstatemike

Senior Member
JeffVolp said:
The Icon switches are significantly cheaper, but there have been quite a few failure reports. They also load down X10 signal levels on a split system, and often cause reliability problems on the X10 side.



Jeff
I do see X-10 loading from Insteon switches but most of the X-10 switches I replaced were not 2-way models. I suspect the loading from Insteon is not much different than any other X-10 transmitter. But even if it is a bit more, I'm sure I can fix things with an XTB-II.

Insteon gives you most of the features of a high end X-10 switch at a much lower cost. It also has the advantage of supporting a second protocol (Insteon) which you can use or just ignore depending on your needs. Even if you just use them for X-10 you still get the lightbars and color change options and they are much cheaper than Leviton.
 
Top