Is X-10 a low-end product?


Old 03-01-04, 04:16 PM
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Is X-10 a low-end product?

I was surprised to read in another post a response to a question that said, in effect, "...yeah, well, it's X-10.... you get what you pay for."
In my ignorance, I thought X-10 was state-of-the-art.
So here's my question. I'm building a quest house that will eventually be about 80 feet from the main house (as yet un-built).
I'm a definite believer in the KISS principle (keep it simple, stupid) so all I'm really interested in doing remotely is some three-way lighting and a PA system (so my wife doesn't have to scream at me any more than normal)..
I work for a power company, so I'm familiar with power line carrier problems like signal attenuation, impedance problems (both capacitive and inductive), interference, etc.

1. Are some systems superior to others in terms of getting the signal through? Does it seem like this would be a problem in the scenario above?
2. For what I want to do, would I be better off hardwiring it?
3. If X-10 is a low end product, do you have any recommendations as to systems to go for/systems to avoid?

Thanks in advance.
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Old 03-01-04, 04:44 PM
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A hardwire system is definitely better - the reasons are obvious, but the biggest advantages are that you are using proprietary lines (meaning, used specifically for the application - not proprietary in the sense of the manufacturer) to send the signals and not power line carrier, which inherently has problems. Not just X-10, but any PLC technology.

Try Leviton, OnQ, HAI, and some of the other structured wiring/integrated systems designers. Not only do they have superior technology, but you can integrate everything into one panel.

It's going to cost - considerably more than X-10 - and a lot of the technology is also X-10 compatible - but, if you want to do it right, that's the only way to go.

X-10 is a good retrofit alternative to a hardwire system - and, of course, much lower in cost. But, it's not intended to be used as a professional solution.
Old 03-03-04, 05:21 PM
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Is X-10 state-of-the-art? No -- it's been around since the '80's. Is it low end stuff? I suppose, yes. But it might be all you need to get the job done. X-10 has a reputation for being unreliable, and it's somewhat deserved. My own X-10 system was annoyingly flaky -- wouldn't work all the time, wouldn't work in some locations in the home. But all that ended when I installed an amplified coupler/repeater in my breaker box. Now every X-10 device I have is 100% reliable.

That said, the devices sold by the X-10 company itself are low end, compared to X-10 devices made by Leviton and others. Switches function just fine, but they don't look or feel as nice as the Leviton ones, or have as many features (soft start, for instance).

My advice would be to get a couple of X-10 devices and controllers and install them elsewhere in the home, to see if the technology is up to the task at hand.
Old 03-07-04, 05:04 PM
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Yes, I would also go with the opinions of the previous two posts. In the professional world the control info is ususally sent via dedicated control lines. A couple of examples are the DMX512 protocol (used in professional lighting apps like theatre, theme parks etc) or LonWorks. The cost of these systems tend to be high as a result and you will also need dedicated wiring in a home to use them.

X10 is low cost and does not require extra wiring being mains borne but does suffer from the problems you mentioned.
Old 03-19-04, 07:10 AM
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I would also agree with the posts above except for leviton

being a high end product. imo, it's only high priced, not high end. I've got a bunch of cheap x10 switches that have out lasted all that highpriced leviton stuff I bought. also, I agree that you're probably better off with a coupler-repeater. I have reduced my falsing from probably 25 to 30% down to probably less than 1% with a coupler repeater. most of the falsing now is more mechanical than electrical, relays on appliance mods wearing out (cheap x10 3 wire relays on my 2 300w magnetic LV transformers went out after 12 years). I also had an x10 hardwired motion detector bite the dust, and one has to have it's wheels rotated (unit code wheel) and cleaned about every 4 months or the unit starts jumping unit codes. overall, for the price, it's great, but it can be a pain to trouble-shoot if you get a loose canon maxi-controller going off or some other sender constantly sending and blocking the powerlines.
Old 03-31-04, 02:36 AM
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Another option is to go with an RF type system. They can be used in a new construction or retrofit tyupe application. You will have no interference like a PLC, but you will pay more. And depending on the system, it is just as reliable as any hard wired system will be
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