X10 – Buggy and Embarrassing problems.

Old 01-22-03, 11:10 AM
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Unhappy X10 – Buggy and Embarrassing problems.

Hi, I'm fairly new to the home automation thing but have become very familiar with the X 10 products. I have installed several wall switches that I control via a handheld remote and by a couple of wall plate remotes. My house is new. The house is one story about 3000 square feet on a basement of the same size. I am trying to decide if I should to invest more in to x10 products or go with another system.

Problems encountered.

First problem is with lights switching off and on sporadically. This can sometimes be quite disturbing in the middle of the night and embarrassing when trying to watch a movie with friends. I have found several offending devices causing this. Both are computers, a desktop, which I would like to keep on, and a laptop that tends to be plugged in anywhere I decide to have my coffee. So I leave these unplugged right now I have these unplugged. Till I find some filters.

Second problem I have is encountered was signal not passing well to the other hot leg of house. Have corrected this with a signal bridge across a 220 breaker in my panel box. This seems to have solve some of the range issues but I still a may need a signal amplifier as I still have issues of lights not responding well. Sometimes I can turn lights on but not off.

I got the X10 system cause it was cheap, about $130 bucks for the 15 or so switches and the couple of remotes. I was thinking that later on I would get hard wired system but I m finding out from these forums that X10 is pretty much all that’s available for home use applications. Ok, so it looks like X10 is pretty much the way I can go. But GODD GIGGLY WIGGLY these filters and amplifiers I need can be pretty expensive. About seventy five bucks a piece. I know I need two already and maybe more as I ad appliances. So I am already having to stomach having to invest more into what I thought was just a starter system.
The Questions:

Am I right about needing to install filters to correct my problems?

Can I get whole house filters and / or can I possibly build them? Like I did when I added the capacitor across my panel. That only cost me 50 cents. Are they only a few parts to built these filters? Does any one have schematic?

If I have to buy these filters, Please someone advise what you have paid for them and where. I have been all the over x10 and smart home sites and have found them to be fairly expensive.

What problems have others had and the end price of getting your systems up and running well?

Are there other alternatives to the X 10 products, some thing more reliable, not as susceptible to problems as X 10 products are? Price may not be an issue, with in reason, if a different method or system is more reliable.

Darn, I have written a novel haven’t I? (No response needed to this question.)

Thanks, for all your help. Mot
Old 02-04-03, 12:45 AM
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Lightbulb X10 problems

I have a few ideas for you. first of all, under the activehome software(if you have it), under one of the top tabs, you will find 'search for other computers' click on that and if you see any red dots, that means one of your neighbors is getting into your system with their X10. If you do not have activehome, try changing the channels on the modules you are having problems with. If that still doesnt work, try a new housecode all together. And if it STILL doesnt work, go to this URL, it is the Bible for x10 automation..

And if that dont work, I'll buy your system off ya
Old 02-04-03, 09:21 AM
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Hey thanks for your reply. I will get one of those Fire Cracker units for my PC and check for other systems. Maybe a neighbor’s signal is reaching my lines. I will also try changing the house code to see if my range increases.

Have you ever bought/used any of those filters for offending devices or an amp to improve range?

A couple of my computers really like to have the lights on. If I unplug the computers that problem with random lighting stops. I wonder if an amp will solve the issue of not having consistent control of the lights. My house square footage is with in the specs. I am not sure if it is range issue that an amp would solve.

I will let you know how things go this weekend after I move the transmitter and change the house code on all the switches.

Again Thanks,
Old 02-17-03, 06:10 PM
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Filter, filters, filters. Yes you need filters. This is one of the problems with X10. A whole house filter will only stop noise from going in or out of the house. Each offending piece of equipment plugged in to an outlet will need to be filtered. Computers are noisy. Motors and compressors can be. Hairdryers. I could go on & on.

A blocker at your main, by the meter will stop stray signals going to or coming from your neighbors.

An amplifier is probably needed for a house of that size, especially if the basement is finished or has alot of electrical done.

And when you get it working perfectly, it will be easy to find an offending device. (what did you buy recently?).

X10 is great for the DIYer. Some but not many professionals use it for major systems. Just the occasional lights, etc, for the most part.

Look for CEbus or 2 way x10. It may be more reliable. Also, X10 is a trademark, so look for line carrier items.

Good luck.
Old 07-07-03, 01:22 PM
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Smile X10 !!! NO MORE !!!

Thanks Integrator97

Thanks for your response as your answers were to the point.

Since I last posted I failed at getting the system to work any better. Actually I have given up on the X10 products altogether. I have removed just about all of the switches and thrown them in to a box. Just a few more before the whole box ends up on ebay. (My99gmcz71 hint! hint!)

Soon I will start over.

This time I will go with higher quality (thus more expensive) brand of line carrier modules. As I believe my biggest problem, lights sporadically going off and on, is definitely related to the 6 dollar X10 modules I have been trying to use. I know I will need an amp to resolve my range issue. So I will start by purchasing a good amplifier and a nice controller / transceiver that is maybe computer controllable / accessible. Also I will get a few wall switch modules at first. I expect to pay around 20$ to 25$ for some good ones. Hopefully this will get me to a good start this time and not be so susceptible to false signaling from noisy devices such as computers. From there I will evaluate how the system has done and then decide if I shall invest further in line carrier type automation.

I’ve heard Leviton makes quality line carrier products? I’m open for suggestions of quality manufacturers of line carrier equipment; also specific recommendations on a controller / transceiver. ??

Thanks Everyone ,

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