Submission by Steve – First a big thanks to Li at Laser.com for lending me the X10+ Light Spike to play with and review. The X10+ light spike is advertised as “a convenient way to automate garden lighting” but is it?
The unit comes with about 3 metres of flex so my first job was to put a plug on the end of it. In normal circumstances you would need to wire it into a waterproof enclosure of some sort as the light operates at 240v. The next step was to give it an X10 address. To do this you need to power it up (or plug it in my case) then press and hold the push button on the side for 3 seconds. The spike confirms it is in programming state by briefly flashing the light. The next X10 off command that it receives is programmed as the spike’s X10 code. This type of programming being similar to some other X10 devices.
The unit responds to X10 On, Off, Bright, Dim, All-Light-On and All-Lights-Off commands and soft starts to the last set dim level when switched on. So far this is not looking any different from using a cheap light from your local diy store and buying a LD11 DIN rail module for it. So why does it cost £50 and why is it X10+. Well I will explain.
To start with you will need to clear X10 house code O and P. Why, well because these are the codes you use to programming and activate the stored scenes. Yes that’s correct, scenes. It’s a UK X10 modules that will allow you to program and recall scenes.
So how does it work. Firstly you set up all your light spikes to the levels you wish for scene 1 then when you are happy send an O1 On command. You can store up to 16 scenes using X10 command O1 through to O16. When storing a scene the light briefly flashing to indicate the level has been successfully stored. Then to recall the scene you use the P1 through P16 On commands. The light also responds to any P Off code allowing you to control your scene lighting completely on the P house code. Switching between different scenes causes the light to either brighten or fades slowly rather than going straight to the new level giving a very pleasing effect.
So what are the pros and cons are
- True scene lighting in your garden
- Only need to run one cable round the garden to control multiple lights
- Range of bulb colours
- Soft start, prolonging bulb life
- Easy to set up and program
- More expensive than standard DIY garden lighting
- 240v input requiring properly sealed waterproof connections
- Requires House codes O and P (plus an X10 address for each light)
My conclusion – Whilst lighting a whole garden, especially a large, one with just X10+ light spikes might get a bit expensive. However, used in combination with some normal garden lighting I think they work well. They are especially good when used to pick out particular feature plants or trees in your garden. The ability to create scenes is the real gem of these lights and this in combination with an intelligent controller can make for a very professional look. I tried this out by getting Homevision to cycle round the scenes I had programmed at an interval of one a minute.
Ideally to get the most out of the X10+ light spike you need to have several probably with different coloured bulbs in. As for the one I had for review, well I’ve let Li know that he can bill me for it as I have decided to keep it and will be adding more in the near future. You can’t get a better recommendation than that I suppose.