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Thread: Use US X10 controllers in UK ?

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    Default Use US X10 controllers in UK ?

    Hello,

    I have a horrible feeling I know the answer to this question....

    I've just taken delivery of some sticky switches, sensors and a pal pad controller from a US X10 wholesaler. None of these work with my UK transceiver. I should have found out earlier I know but am I correct in assuming that US and UK X10 are on differnt frequencies and hence not compatible ?

    Unless anybody can tell me anything different it looks like I now have a bunch of cheap but worthlesss (here at least) X10 gear. If this is the case I'm a bit peeved with the US guy sending it al out without informing me of this ( he claims to be a major X10 wholesaler) as I'm sure he'd have been aware of the problems......

    Lesson learned I suppose.

  2. #2
    Automated Home Sr Member danward79's Avatar
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    Default Re: Use US X10 controllers in UK ?

    Yep, your right. The frequency used in the states is different to ours.

    I expect you know there mains voltage is different to. 110V at 60Hz
    Cheers

    Dan

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    Default Re: Use US X10 controllers in UK ?

    Why not buy the US equivalent to the TM13, and convert it to 220/240 volt. Maybe one of the UK suppliers such as www.laser.com, www.letsautomate.co.uk or www.simplyautomate.co.uk may be able to supply a US spec x10 transceiver.
    The us RF frequency is 315 MHz and in europe its 433 Mhz.
    I know of many people who quite successfully use the US RF devices in europe. So its not impossible to use. IF you don't fancy going down this route why not sell them on EBay.

    Have a look at these pages for using US x10 modules etc in other countries
    http://www.geocities.com/ido_bartana/index.htm this one is quite comprehensive. Scroll down on the lefthand side and you will come to a menu section called Module Modifications.
    http://www.hansotten.com/indexx10.html

    I've dealt with quite a few so called main dealers in the US and they only know of the US and not much else.
    Try Automated Outlet at www.AutomatedOutlet.com Martin does understand that Europe is different from the US, but you will have to explain that you need 220/240 volt stuff. Or you will get US spec stuff. He can get many 220/240 X10 modules. Don't know if he could get a US spec X10 RF transceiver that works on 220/240 volt though. Send him an email.

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    Automated Home Sr Member danward79's Avatar
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    Are you sure you are allowed to use 315MHz in the UK...?

    I know 433MHz is ok, but am not sure about 315MHz, I thought that was for use by aeronautical navigation equipment.

    May be worth checking with the DTI or OFCOM first.
    Cheers

    Dan

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    Default Re: Use US X10 controllers in UK ?

    In theory you shouldn't use 315 in the UK. But as the signal is relatively low powered it shouldn't be a problem, unless you live near to an airport or port or something like that and even then probably not its more likely that you will experience strange behavior of your equipment, rather than the other way round.
    From what I can remember about certain frequencies, in the 220 to 400MHz is that the bottom end is now used for DAB. I think this range of frequencies was initially reserved for NATO, but they are now moving to use only the higher frequecies about 380 MHz onwards. Don't quote me on any of this as I'm not 100% sure, but about 75% certain.

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    Default Re: Use US X10 controllers in UK ?

    Another possibility (if you are using a PC in your system at least) would be a PC-based RF receiver. These will receive the RF X10 commands and send them to your PC. You can then use appropriate software (Homeseer, Misterhouse xPLHal and so on) on your PC to resend the command on the powerline.

    X10 themselves do the MR26A, or there are third party products like the W800RF32 and the RFXCOM receiver. I used to have a MR26A, but have now switched to the RFXCOM unit, which has a much better range and a version that works with both UK and US frequencies.

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    Default Re: Use US X10 controllers in UK ?

    Tim

    This is very helpful and has made me think it might not be atotally lost cause - thankyou.

    Can I clarify a few points ?

    If I get the RFXcomm device which supports both frequencies then I assume this interfaces with my PC and then receives X10 signals via RF which it then sends out from my software (I'm using Harmony). Does it do this via the CM12 I currently have plugged in and ultimately onto my UK TM13 transceiver to make things happen ? Or does it make the TM13 redundant and can the CM12 send the commands on its own ?

    If I have A US motion sensor on say A1 when this is triggered and sends the A1 comand over 310mhz how do I then make this turn on a UK frequency light on say B2 ?

    Hope this makes sense and thanks for putting me on to this potential solution.

    RSK

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    Default Re: Use US X10 controllers in UK ?

    In general terms the RF receiver will pick up the radio signal from the palmpad, motion sensor or whatever and send that via a USB or serial connection to a PC.

    You then need some software on the PC that is able to listen on the appropriate serial or USB port and provide some way of doing "something" in response. In your example, the "something" would be to send a B2 ON command to the powerline (via the CM12) when an A1 ON is received.

    The TM13 is not involved in this process at all and is, as you say, essentially rendered redundant as the RF receiver/PC combination performs the same function.

    I'm afraid I don't know anything about Harmony, so I can't help you with specifics there, but I'll describe how it works in Homeseer, to give you an idea.

    Homeseer supports the MR26A natively (and I think it supports the other two units via a plug-in). An X10 command received via the RF interface is treated in the same way as one received from the powerline via a CM12, so you just set up an event which basically says "if A1 ON received, send B1 ON".

    You'll need to find out if Harmony supports any of the RF receivers so see if this is a viable option for you.

    Hope this helps

    Tim

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    Default Re: Use US X10 controllers in UK ?

    Tim,

    That's great many thanks - so do I take that the A1 and B1 (for example)triggers and events can be on different frequencies ? i.e US sensor on A1 can send to the receiver which will then send out a UK B1 command ? Am I right in thinking that the RF unit conected to the PC effectively makes the codes universal and so I can mix and match my US and UK equipment ?

    Thanks very much indeed for all the help thus far.

    RSK

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    Default Re: Use US X10 controllers in UK ?

    Quote Originally Posted by RSK21
    i.e US sensor on A1 can send to the receiver which will then send out a UK B1 command?
    That's the effect, though the B1 command will actually be sent by your CM12, not the receiver. All the receiver does is tell the PC that it has received an A1 command. It's up to the software on the PC to be able to understand this information and decide what to do about it (send a B1 to the powerline in this case).

    Quote Originally Posted by RSK21
    so I can mix and match my US and UK equipment ?
    Yes. The US frequency versions of any of these receivers coupled with suitable software will allow you to mix US RF modules with your UK lamp modules/wall switches etc. I think the MR26A is US only, the W800RF32 comes in US and UK versions, and RFXCOM do versions for UK, US and one that receives both frequencies.

    If you want to use UK RF modules as well as US, the dual frequency RFXCOM unit might be the best choice (it's what I have and it works well). I think it may be possible to use multiple W800RF32s (one for each frequency) with Homeseer but I have no experience of that.

    Naturally this won't help you use any US modules that connect to the mains as the voltage and frequency are different (not to mention that the plugs are a different shape!)

    You'll also need to make sure that your software supports whichever one you choose, which may be the biggest problem. I had a quick look on the Harmony site earlier and couldn't see any mention of support for any of the RF receivers.

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