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Thread: X10 newbie pt 2 - X10 blues and doubts

  1. #1
    Automated Home Sr Member jaffab's Avatar
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    Unhappy X10 newbie pt 2 - X10 blues and doubts

    Following my previous post on the X10, I connected a CM12U serial controller to my home server, and plugged a AW12 in a socket to which I attached a lamp. Then spent a frustrating hour, trying to get the lamp to turn on or off.

    I managed to get the lamp to switch off twice, but other than that, it failed to respond. Having read about noise from other items, I then spent another hour (to the wifes mixed amusement and annoyance) switching off everything I could think of washing machine, tumble dryer, cooker, Squeezeboxes, etc. All that was really left on was the Dell server (which I needed on to try to get the X10 working, the flat monitor, and the TV(plasma) and Sky box downstairs. In terms of lighting, some overhead lights were on a mixture of halogens and energy bulbs.

    Still no joy. So I have read further, and people then talk about line noise from outside, and need to fit house filters, and possible computer filters. So, my four questions would be:

    1) Could any of the items I said were left on (halagon spot lights, low energy bulbs, plasma, sky box or server) be messing me up?
    2) I have seen about the house filters but not sure what is involved here. Looking at the fuse box (in the garage) we have the main coming in (from the main junction box outside) and then the fuse box with 10 or so fuses, and the lines going out. Does the filter sit on the lines between the main junction box and the fuse box?
    3) If I have to put filters everywhere (Server, Plasma, etc) what filters (make/model) will I need?
    4) I have to ask is X10 the system for me? The problem is, I thought X10 would be good as it involves a lot less wiring (just plug in and go (ish)). But having read the problems regarding noise, and failure of CM12U units etc, I am starting to have my doubts.

    Any advice would be appreciated.

    Thanks

    Jaffa

  2. #2
    Automated Home Jr Member Marc's Avatar
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    I feel your pain.. I really really do.

    Quote Originally Posted by jaffab View Post
    1) Could any of the items I said were left on (halagon spot lights, low energy bulbs, plasma, sky box or server) be messing me up?
    Yes, most certainly. My plasma causes huge amounts of noise. An X10 plugin filter soon sorted that out. don't overlook anything.. my battery drill charger for example will completely shutdown my X10 network, as will my sons Nintendo DS charger !!

    3) If I have to put filters everywhere (Server, Plasma, etc) what filters (make/model) will I need?
    The standard X10 plugin filters work well. Also, let's automate offer a money back guarantee if it doesn't cure the noise for a particular device.

    X10 Filter

    4) I have to ask is X10 the system for me? The problem is, I thought X10 would be good as it involves a lot less wiring (just plug in and go (ish)). But having read the problems regarding noise, and failure of CM12U units etc, I am starting to have my doubts.
    I've been using X10 for over 10 years and I have not had a CM12U fail yet.. maybe I am just lucky. The only real downside for X10 for me is the slow response time and lack of status reporting. I tend to use a mixture of X10 and ZWave.. ZWave for the devices I need a faster response from.

    It certainly has it's problems, but it is good value for money.

  3. #3
    Moderator toscal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marc View Post
    the only real downside for X10 for me is the slow response time and lack of status reporting.
    X10 does support status. But many of the cheaper modules do not support it. We mainly use modules from Xanura when doing installs and almost all of these support status.

    Energy savers will cause you problems.
    A whole house filter such as an FD10 would be a good idea.
    You can buy plug in X10 filters for specific items. You can also get inline filters if you need to hard wire a filter into a circuit such as lighting.

    The XTB from Jeff. http://jeffvolp.home.att.net/xtb_files.htm is halos another possibility if you have problems. I have heard good things about this device, though haven't used one myself.
    IF YOU CAN'T FIX IT WITH A HAMMER, YOU'VE GOT AN ELECTRICAL PROBLEM.
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    Automated Home Sr Member jaffab's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by toscal View Post
    X10 does support status. But many of the cheaper modules do not support it. We mainly use modules from Xanura when doing installs and almost all of these support status.

    Energy savers will cause you problems.
    A whole house filter such as an FD10 would be a good idea.
    You can buy plug in X10 filters for specific items. You can also get inline filters if you need to hard wire a filter into a circuit such as lighting.

    The XTB from Jeff. http://jeffvolp.home.att.net/xtb_files.htm is halos another possibility if you have problems. I have heard good things about this device, though haven't used one myself.
    Are you saying that if my wife puts an energy saving lightbulb somewhere, it will block the X10 signal? Do I need to replace any energy bulbs with standard bulbs?

    Will the FD10 just stop noise from outside, or will it help with any devices (such as my plasma) from creating noise. I have just ordered 4 filters for things like my plasma.

    But clarification would be useful. Thanks.

  5. #5
    Automated Home Jr Member Marc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jaffab View Post
    Are you saying that if my wife puts an energy saving lightbulb somewhere, it will block the X10 signal? Do I need to replace any energy bulbs with standard bulbs?
    The problem is not so much with noise.. certainly I haven't had any problems with noise from them, and I have a house full of them. The problem is that many X10 modules (for instance the dimming x10 plugin module and older appliance modules) will not work correctly when an energy saving lamp for example is plugged into them.

    I get round the issue by using normal bulbs in laps with X10 or using ZWave.

  6. #6
    Moderator toscal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jaffab View Post
    Are you saying that if my wife puts an energy saving lightbulb somewhere, it will block the X10 signal? Do I need to replace any energy bulbs with standard bulbs?

    Will the FD10 just stop noise from outside, or will it help with any devices (such as my plasma) from creating noise. I have just ordered 4 filters for things like my plasma.

    But clarification would be useful. Thanks.
    The FD10 just blocks X10 from entering and leaving the house.
    Some energy saving bulbs, and those T5 style lights will block X10 signals, especially the older ones. If you have to use CFLs . You have 4 options
    1. wire in an in line X10 filter with the light.
    2 Use a special fluorescent X10 mini module designed to work with fluorescent lighting. They can also give out their status if the status request command is sent. I guess the X10-2 modules would also probably work here as well, as they also have built in filtering.
    3. Switch to LED lighting.
    4. Or hope you are lucky enough that they don't interfere.
    We have done a couple of installs where they use CFls and have had no problem with using the normal X10 modules. But we do fit a normal FD10 filter as standard. Which would help reduce the overall noise in the house.

    If you go for option 2, and want to use the mini module we can supply them. Just PM me and I can give you prices etc.
    Last edited by toscal; 2nd April 2009 at 08:07 PM.
    IF YOU CAN'T FIX IT WITH A HAMMER, YOU'VE GOT AN ELECTRICAL PROBLEM.
    www.casatech.eu Renovation Spain Blog

  7. #7
    Automated Home Sr Member jaffab's Avatar
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    Default Thank you

    Thanks you to the previous posters. Just to say that my full X10 kit arrived today (mixture from Lets Automate, and Uk Automation) and after plugging 3 filters in (1 for my server setup, 1 on my plasma and 1 for my garage (freezer, power chargers, etc)), I had my first lights going on and off - very excited.

    Feeling a lot more posotive now. Once again, thanks for the tips.

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