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Thread: A few Noob Q's

  1. #1
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    Question A few Noob Q's

    Hi Guys,

    Sorry for my long initial post to the forums

    We are currently doing a house renovation project and are currently installing the electrics. One of things I am interested in implementing is home automation. Having done a small amount of investigation, I have decided to use the X10 protocol due to cost and the fact that most HA shops and forums seem to support it.

    I have tried to search around looking for specific issues I think I will encounter, but havenít been able to find much information on it. Would it be possible for some expert in the area to point me in the right direction or answer my question below?

    1. I wish to install an intruder and fire alarm system which probably will not natively support X10 (I have already seen the X10 versions and would still rather install my own). Is there a module which can receive a signal from the systems and Ďcovert ití to x10. The type of thing I am after is:
    --When the alarm goes off, all the lights in the house come on.
    --When the front door keypad is used to arm the system all the lights go out.
    --When the bedroom keypad is used to arm the system all the downstairs lights go out
    --When the front door keypad is used to disarm the system the lobby and hall lights turn on for 5mins.
    --If the fire alarm system goes off, all the lights come on.

    2. Iíve seen the modules which fit behind the light switches to control the lights. We will have a few lights being controlled from 2 or 3 switches. We also have lounge lighting which will have dimmers, but we want them switched from two places. Does the X10 modules support these situations?

    3. Where ever possible, I wish to use light energy lighting. How well in general does X10 work with low energy bulbs. Are there any dimmerable versions of them?

    4. I have already found a few controllers for X10 but they seem to be quite limited in memory and use. I think most use PC software connecting to these units to perform the main control functions. Is there an advanced controller available which can be fully programmed up with various macros from the PC, but doesnít need to the PC to actually work?

    5. Some of the other general functions I would like to include is motion sensors auto switching lights on for a limited time and also the lived-in look for when we are away. In practice, how reliable are these modules and controllers? Do they often go wrong?

    Thanks for reading down to the bottom

    Adam.

  2. #2
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    I'll just number my answers rather than using quotes.
    1. If you want an independent alarm that is X10 compatible then You've got the Visonic powermax plus and now the Pro www.visonic.com This will need an X10 interface. Or there is the SC9000 or the SC9100. Comfort Alarm system may also be worth looking at but is a little expensive.
    If you go the Visonic route then buy the PC interface as its really hard to set up the X10 side of things using the Alarm panel.
    We have installed quite a few SC9100 panels. These have basic alarm features. But will when you say arm it switch on lights for a couple of minutes then off and when you get an alarm will flash lights. You can also control up to 4 heating zones and it will enable you to set the temperature back when you leave the house, so the heating doesn't come on at full blast when the house is empty. It has a built in X10 interface and RF transceiver. It is also possible to set up 4 of the zones a X10 triggers when the system is armed as well. Oh and you can have smoke detector linked to it as well. If you want I can email you the manual. Just PM me.
    Another option would be to use RFXCOM. www.rfxcom.com this reads Visonic wirless sensors and all x10 modules, sensors and security sensors. ANd a few others
    The X10 wireless movement sensors such as the MS13 work reasonably well but battery life tends to be 12 months. These send out normal X10 signals as RF.

    2. No problem I have micro modules controlled via 2 switches. Just requires a bit of thought connecting them up.

    3. Energy saver bulbs or CFLs can cause problems. There are actual X10 modules available that have been designed for CFLs we can supply these. They have built in filtering, but will only turn lights on or off but will also respond to all lights on or off.

    4. The new CM15 Pro is quite good I have a review of this coming out Tuesday 22nd April at Automated Home. I use the Homevision controller and it has never let me down in the 3 years I have had it. Its been on constantly all that time. www.csi3.com . The Homevision can run stand alone or via a PC the choice is yours.

    5. Reliability used to be an issue but the newer modules seem to be much better. I have lights coming on and off to create that lived in look. Hasn't let us down yet.

    I've probably left a few things out and maybe created more questions than I have answered but I hope this helps.

  3. #3
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    On the subject of dimmable low-energy lightbulbs is it possible to use these?

    http://www.lightbulbsuk.co.uk/energy...n-dimmable-gls

    Also if I was to try using this kind of thing and it didn't work are we talking lightbulbs exploding or just not turning on? Considering the mercury content of low energy bulbs this is quite an important question...

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    The only problems I can see is that it can't be dimmed to 0% and that many X10 lighting modules require a minimum load of 60W, and these are 14W.
    Also most of the specs state incandescent or halogens only.
    I would be very surprised if one would explode. But it could happen I suppose.

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    Hi,

    Thanks for your quick reply and quite informative answer.

    1. Regarding the Alarm system, I was really looking for a wired system, although I am not totally against installing wireless. The only issues I really have with wireless is the fact you have have to replace the batteries in them. Also there maybe interference with other wireless devices on the same/similar frequences etc. From looking at the docs on their website, it seems you can't install this as a fully wired system. Am I correct in this?

    Are there any other alternative alarm system which an X10 interface can be installed?

    2. That sounds good.

    3. With the switch modules can you configure them to just come fully on/off. And will this work with the Low Energy bulbs? I am thinking of using normal bulbs for the lounge and bedrooms where I will be installing dimmer functions.

    4. The CM15 Pro you speak of. Is this Wireless only also, or can you use wired modules? The HomeVision I can't seem to find anyone selling it. How much estimated does it cost and do you know anyone selling them?

    5. Sounds good enough for me

    Thanks again

    Adam.

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    The modules we use that are designed for CFL can be set up to respond to All lights on or off or the more general all off command.
    The CM15 is both wired and wireless. And can act as a Standalone controller.
    If you send Craig at www.csi3.com an email he can probably supply you a homevision unit. He is having a sale at the moment. So you can buy a Homevision for quite a lot less than what they are selling them here for. Here is the automatedhome article http://www.automatedhome.co.uk/New-P...ial-Offer.html
    If you want a HomeVision controller and have trouble getting one let me know and I will see what I can do.

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    The HomeVision equipment does look quite good! Do you know how much more expensive the Pro version is, out of interest?

    I have found another alarm system from Home Comfort systems (http://www.home-control.co.uk/index_...lt.php&cPath=1).

    Has anyone had any dealings or experience of them? Does the Interface provide good automation functions. Reason I would go for something like this instead is that is it fully wired and also provides a seperate control unit.

    Thanks

    Adam.

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    The pro version costs about 680 pounds. But if you get a normal Homevision unit direct from CSI3 it will cost 270 dollars plus postage etc. This offer is for May. As CSI3 don't normally sell direct to the consumer.
    It is also possible to connect wired PIR sensors to the homevision unit giving it alarm functionality. You can also buy a 12V standby supply, (a bit like a 12Volt version of a UPS) so this would power your HV or HV pro and your sensors for about 8 to 12 hours if there is a power cut. The downside is you would have to program the alarm functionality yourself, though this would mean you get exactly what you need.
    Another controller you might be interested in is the em-power. http://www.smartsystemstech.com/flash_index.htm
    This has security functions, and can be armed or disarmed via iButton keyfobs. They are available in the Uk but I can't remember where. Maybe send them an email.

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    You may want to have a look at The Marmitek Proguard800 Alarm system http://www.marmitek.com/en/catalogus...22&product=390
    http://www.marmitek.com/en/pdf/9750.pdf

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