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Thread: Newbie X10, Crontrol4, AMX understanding

  1. #1
    Automated Home Jr Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2008

    Default Newbie X10, Crontrol4, AMX understanding


    I'm moving to a new house shortly that requires renovation and thought it would be a good opportunity to carry out some home automation (lights, audio, video, phone and perhaps security).

    I've read through "Smarthomes for dummies" and quite a bit about X10 in the past and thought I'd got to grips with, until I recently went to a "Home Automation" show.

    I saw a few demos of "Control4" and "AMX". The guys said it wasn't X10-based and I shouldn't really go down that road for reasons such as it can be unreliable and you don't get status feedback amongst others.

    However, these systems seem quite expensive and I'm worried about spending money unnecessary and also been tied into a manufacturer, so I'm trying to clear things up a little and have a few questions...

    Are these proprietary systems still X10-based?
    Should I be dropping the idea of using X10?
    Can I rewire the house then choose a supplier, or will each supplier specify different wiring schemes?


  2. #2
    Moderator toscal's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Near Alicante Spain


    X10 does have status. The modules we supply are what are known as 2 way modules meaning they give you their status. Some do it automatically when the state of the module changes, such as Xanura and many of the Marmitek micro modules. We also do a budget range of modules which only give their status when you poll them.
    X10 has improved in reliability over the years. It is possible to make the system very reliable. But you also have to understand it does have some shortcomings. Namely it can be susceptible to mains born interference. And since each command takes about 47 cycles of the mains supply you get a delay of just under a second. To some this is OK, to others its completely unacceptable.
    As for pre wiring for a potential system you can't go far wrong with running cat5 cable to your switches, make sure the insulation of the Cat5 cable is mains rated. Also a neutral wire wouldn't go amiss either. As the status capable X10 modules will require it, and some of the other systems out there may also need it.
    At the moment the Home Automation industry is a bit like the video format wars of the 80s. Except that instead of about 3 or 4 competing formats you have many many more. Some do have interfaces to X10 etc and I do know that there are EIB to X10 gateways.

  3. #3
    Automated Home Jr Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2008


    Thanks for that.
    I'd come across the 2-way modules; in fact that's what made me wonder about the setup.

    So, is it correct to say that if I base my system around 2-way X10, wire as per your wiring guide, control everything with something like LinuxMCE and am prepared to do some of my own coding where necessary I'd get a system that approaces the commercial stuff as far as reliability etc is concerned?

    Or do systems such as Control4 and AMX (sorry only two I know at present!) offer something that I can't reproduce using my own hardware?

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