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New x10 Setup - What do I REALLY Need?

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    New x10 Setup - What do I REALLY Need?

    Hi all. Just starting to do my 4 year old 1600 sq.ft house with a variety of X10 products. All switches, lamps, A/V, HVAC, etc.

    What I want to know is what do I really need to start with to ensure a good reliable system. I am planning on filters for all computers and TV/DVD's, but am curious about couplers/repeaters etc.

    I want to start stable and keep it that way, so what do you suggest as a good place to start in addition to filters?

    Thanks in advance.

    #2
    I think you'll find that most people recommend a coupler/repeater. My last house was about 2200 Sq ft and with a signal bridge and filters I had no problems. The new house is 3500 sq ft and X-10 was pretty unreliable until I got the repeater in. If you are planning on doing a lot (and it sounds like it), I'd spend another $70 for the repeater.

    http://www.worthdist.com/Leviton/hca02-10e.htm

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      #3
      IMHO, If you want reliability, abandon X10 and go wireless.

      It's not that X10 cannot be made somewhat reliable, it is simply more expensive to do so.

      X10 is getting harder to make reliable as more and more appliances become electronic and use switching power supplies or have internal surge suppressors. Both of these play havoc with X10. Powerline noise will continue to get worse, and will eventually kill X10.

      Let's look at X10. To start, you need a good quality coupler/repeater and a good quality computer interface (I recommend TI103). Right there, you are already above the price of the ZWave starter kit. The good quality X10 switches (any with preset-dim, I believe) will be more expensive than a ZWave switch.

      Sure, ZWave is still in it's infancy, and it may be overtaken by ZigBee, but, IMHO, two years is all it will take before there are ZWave versions of everything you need.

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        #4
        Well I'll take the middle of the road and say after you install a coupler/repeater, then a mixture of z-wave and x10 make a nice system. Keep in mind though, zwave switches need a common wire so yo need to look to see if the switch contains one. If it does then go zwave if it doesn't then go x10.
        -Rupp
        sigpic

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          #5
          I'd say save some of the money you're spending on filters and put it into a repeater. I've got an ~1000-1100ft apartment and even though I don't need a repeater here I've got way more than my fair share of stuff plugged in and the only thing I've EVER had a problem with is one computer's power supply. Even then it was just cheaper and easier to buy and install a new power supply than a filter (about $20 & a quick trip to CompUSA). You'll probably have more problems with reach than with signal problems.

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            #6
            Can all electricians install a coupler/repeater? Or should I look for one who has knowledge of X10? Maybe things have changed recently but it was only about 3 years ago that I finished my basement and when I talked to an electician about home automation and X10 all I got was puzzled look. I can swap out a light switch but I'm not sure I would be comfortable getting close to that big, metal box in the garage.

            Terry

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              #7
              Any electrician can install a repeater / coupler. Basically one wire goes to circuit breaker on one electrical "leg" and the other wire goes to a different circuit breaker on the leg (usually two breakers ontop of each other are on different legs). Takes all of 10 minutes.

              Of course anyone doing this work should shut the main breaker off before doing work in the box. Note that where the service comes into the box is still Hot when the main is off. So, just don't go messin around what is usually the top of the box (where the real thick wires are). If you aren't comfortable with doing it, hire an electrician and show them the directions without explaining X10 to them and they will get it installed.

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                #8
                Another alternative is the plug in coupler/repeater. I purchased one about a year ago, and what a difference! I used to have a really bad itme getting commands to about 3 devices, and just about anything to the back bedroom. mixed with routine hit and miss commands now an again. After installing it, I have not had a single missed command yet that I know of.

                It is very simple, and needs no electrician (SPend the money for the electrician on some other needed stuff . You simply plug it onto either your Electric dryer or electric oven outlet. Then plug the over/dryer into it. The status lights are also a great bonus, as you can see when you press a button, just how long it takes to be seen, and how much X10 traffic is running about.

                Automated Outlet has them HERE for $69. I also have a brand new one, still in the box, that I never used. I ordered the 3 prong instead of the 4 prong by mistake, and just never returned it. I will sell it at a very reasonable price if you or anyone are interested. It is the 3 prong version. If interested, just drop me an email (in my profile) or instant message me here on the board.

                Sorry to post this here, and not in the for sale section. I just thought you might be interested, as this is the topic of the post.
                Visit My Home Seer Site at:
                www.JohnWPB.com
                Created with LCARS

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                  #9
                  How does the plug-in coupler/repeater compare versus the hardwired version? I think I have seen some discussions here but I can't find them right now. I apologize if this has been discussed ad nausem, just point me to the threads and I'll check them out later.

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                    #10
                    tpriest,
                    There have been many discussions about these and many haven't had a lot of luck with plugin coupler/repeaters. A good rule of thumb is, if turning on your dryer doesn't help with difficult switches then a plugin coupler will not help. The repeater will be a big boost but these just do not work as good as one installed in the breaker box. I would suggest simply trying one and see if it works if not upgrade.
                    -Rupp
                    sigpic

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                      #11
                      The biggest disadvantage of a Dryer plug coupler is it's distance to the fusepanel. You want your Coupler/Repeater at the point that is nearest to all of your controls.
                      I.E. the fusebox.
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