Smarthome's ApplianceLinc - Kills X10?


Active Member
Okay, I think I've read similar comments here, but I just wanted to confirm that others were still experiencing issues. I purchased the Insteon Appliancelincs from Smarthome, as they no longer sold the X10 only version of the product. The Insteon version is backward compatible with X10, so I figured it would be fine. Since installing 5 of these modules, I've had a large amount of issues with my x10 network and reliability has been very poor.

Does anyone have any idea why that might be? Is it a coincidence, or have others seen this as well?

I'm sending 4 of them back to Smarthome due to the recall, but I might be better off just buying 2-way appliance modules from X10 instead!
One possibility is that since all Insteon modules are receiver/transmitters (and we know that transmitters tend to absorb X10 signals), your X10 signals are probably getting weakened by all the added transmitters.
In a mixed environment, there is evidence that Insteon drowns out X10 at a certain number of Insteon devices.
All two-way devices that speak x10 (i.e. devices that will confirm an action took place) , including Insteon v2, older 2-way *link devices, even two-way units or plug-in controllers from, will draw down signal strength somewhat. If your home network signal strength is marginal to begin with, a single two-way device from any manufacturer might send your network over the edge.

The usual advice for weak x10 signals applies: install a phase coupler, if you don't already have one; buy or borrow a signal meter and test other electronic devices in your home to find any "signal suckers", then install a filter between them and your powerline; look for known noisy appliances/CF light bulbs/UPS units/switching power supplies and install a filter between them and your powerline.

If this all sounds like a hassle, it is. That's why people are moving away from 30-year old x10 signalling to more robust protocols like Insteon, ZWave and UPB.

Stinger said:
I'm sending 4 of them back to Smarthome due to the recall, but I might be better off just buying 2-way appliance modules from X10 instead!
Is there some reason why you need 2-way modules? I could never see the point of paying for 2-way in an appliance module so I always purchased the "PLC" version. Less cost and less line loading.

The Smarthome 2002SHL is half the price of Insteon, very reliable, and is in-stock.
Actually, there are a few places where bi-directional modules come in handy. I put one on my soldering iron to make sure it is off an hour later. I did the same with my air compressor. Basically, it's wherever a set schedule is not ideal.

As others have said, any of these devices that include a transmitter will load the X10 signal. We had one central circuit with several transmitters that had marginal signal levels from the Ocelot before adding the XTB.
The odd part is my x10 network was very heathly prior to installing a couple of these, but I need to get before and after numbers with my powerlinc. I've got a hardwired Leviton repeater and purchased two XTB's as well to boost signals sent.

To the question of 2-way, I use it primarily for the reporting feature. It keeps touchscreens and homeseer more "honest" with the true status.

In addition, the devices I control, I want to know for sure the status, like my gas fireplace, pinball machines and slot machines.
Several have reported that the X10 portion of a combined system becomes unreliable after a few Insteon modules are installed. Each Insteon module contains a transmitter to echo Insteon commands. That same transmitter is just a signal sucker for X10. More Insteon modules mean more loads, and eventually the X10 signal becomes too weak for reliable operation. The XTBs should help.