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    Suggestions for X10 Gear...

    Hello,

    So, I bought a new house and am looking to install some X10 gear for some basic home automation. I have an old starter kit that I pruchased a while back so I have a CM11A Serial controller and some basic lamp modules. I also went to RS and bought a few Wall Switch Modules (61-3005: http://www.radioshack.com/product.as...3005&hp=search) and installed one of them. The Wall Switch seems to run great, however, I have a few issues with it. One, The switch seems to emit a subtle yet noticeable 'hum' when the lights it is controlling are on. Secondly and most disturbing, the light switch itself gets rather warm (not hot) when left on for any amount of time. Anyone use these switches? Did I just get a bad one/wire something wrong? The switch says it is rated for 500W - it is controlling 4 can lights with 65W a piece so I do not believe I am overloading it...

    I guess my ultimate question is: what switches and gear should I be looking at? It would be nice to have something that more elegantly dims the lights as well as gear that communicates 2-ways...

    Thanks,

    Kevin

    #2
    Kevin,
    Welcome to the HS BB. If you want a bit more elegant switch I would suggest getting the Switchlinc line of switches is you want to stick with X10. These are true 2way rocker switches and they have a good look and feel. Here's a page that has the different offerings. If you choose to buy these http://www.automatedoutlet.com has excellent prices and the owner is a top notch guy.

    http://www.automatedoutlet.com/home.php?cat=35
    💁‍♂️ Support & Customer Service 🙋‍♂️ Sales Questions 🛒 Shop HomeSeer Products

    Comment


      #3
      I too am very interested in X10 items and wanted to get a few under my belt since I am so new to the Home Automation arena. I haven't bought any switches yet but I have bought a few of the lamp modules and about 8 of the SR227 (Supersocket Wall Receptacle Module). So far I have my outside fountain and outside lights working using the SR227 modules. No heat since they do not dim or loud noise like some have mentioned. They seem to work great and were fairly cheep (cheep is not always best) at X10.com. The Lamp Modules I bought have dimming capablilites and do not put off any heat or make any noise that I can hear. The switch you are using, are you using it to dim? What about if you just turn the switch fully on without dimming, does it make a noise and get hot then?
      Billy

      Comment


        #4
        My $0.02
        1. Yes, the wall switches get warm .. more so with increasing load (wattage), and also when dimmed. (Full on doesn't heat up much) In Canada these units are derated by the CSA to 300 watts max (I think). I figure 300 watts is pushing the heating limit... for greater wattages, see the Smarthome or Leviton products.
        2. The SR227 wall outlet modules work 'OK', although I (and some others) have found wide variability in their lifespan. Some I've had have only lasted 40 or so on/off cycles, some have been working for years. There's a fragile nylon piece in the mechanism which can break, rendering the unit useless. I keep lots of spares; and X10.com will often have them on sale at 4 or 5 for the price of 1. At that price, they can't be beat.
        3. I have bought a couple of X10 'two way' dimmer modules (LM14 I think?) and have had bad experiences with them. They are unreliable and one that I had would periodically 'jam' the X10 signal, rendering my whole house useless.
        4. I think of the X10 brand (which is what Radio Shack sells) as an 'introductory' product line... I'm a great fan of the Smarthome Switchlinc line for one-way and two way wall switches, 6 and 8 gang pushbutton controllers, computer interfaces, etc. The items cost more than x10.com (or Radio Shack), but are worth it. I have X10 brand switches in places where the 'general public' (me) don't use them much... the laundry room, the garage, etc. A great many of my lights are controlled by motion detectors anyway, so I never touch the switches. For those, the X10.com brand works fine.
        5. Having dissed the X10.com products, I'll throw in a plug for their wireless stuff (the Activeeye/Hawkeye/Eagleeye (etc) wireless motion detectors work well, and can be had for 3 or 4 for the price of one. The different 'eye's have slightly different options, but are all essentially the same. The while colored one is for indoors, the dark colored ones are indoor/outdoor. The DS10A door/window sensor is a gem as well. When (not if!) you get into wireless, BE SURE to investigate the WGL 800 wireless receiver. It plugs into your serial port and interfaces to Homeseer that way. The X10.com receiver for wireless devices plugs into the wall, receives the wireless signal and transmits the X10 signal over the power line. This wastes bandwidth and is slower than the direct wireless-to-serial-to homeseer method with the WGL 800.
        Enough pontificating. I've said enough to be confusing. Read this board and you'll find all kinds of interesting projects, ideas and opinions... It won't be long before you have DS10A's on your doors, windows, fridge door (yes, I have that, my son has this habit of leaving it open...). A sensor on the toilet seat? Sure! I hate it when someone leaves the seat down...

        Comment


          #5
          I would spend just a bit more around $10.00 a switch and go with Lightolier.

          I think the quaility is second to none.

          Comment


            #6
            X10 gear

            I tried cheap X10.com switches. I think I had 6 at first they all crapped out one by one, not one lasted more than a year. Don't waste your money. I would suggest the Switchlincs as well. They are more expensive but do more and are reliable. I use a Rain8 for sprinkler system and highly recommend it, no problems after 3 years of service. I use a small PLC for inputs and outputs to switch things like pool pumps and lawn lights, etc. This is way is much more flexiable than single point X10 switch types or automation/alarm panels.

            Comment


              #7
              IMHO Leviton is the way to go. I say that because:

              1) They have additional circuitry beyond X10 standard for noise immunity
              2) They have a very full line including couplers, repeaters, noise surpressors
              3) I have had no absolutely problems with their "green line"
              4) I buy the from Worthington Distributors because of their low prices and one year warranty policy no questions asked.
              5) The only place I did not use Leviton was for the coupler repeater where I used ACT. I believe it is the ACT 230.
              6) I have 99.99% reliable operation in a 5000 sq ft single story house with in excess of 70 x10 devices installed. The only failure is the turning on of a particular lamp module (non leviton in fact) after a power failure. no missed commands, no spurious operations, just works.

              Comment


                #8
                Yes, quality switches are the way to go - you definately get what you pay for. I think if you picked Switchlinc, Lightolier, or Leviton, you're making a good decision. They are all very good.

                The Coupler/Repeater Barry was talking about is the CR234. It's a great coupler/repeater.
                Martin Custer

                Comment


                  #9
                  Martin is correct, it is the CR234. I was just too lazy to go in the garage and look.

                  I have described in several posts the electrical system I designed for the house. I am an electrical engineer by profession, was an electrician, but really am a computer scientist. When I got my degrees there was no such thing as Computer Science, there was only Slide Rule Science.

                  The house also has two (one for each main circuit breaker panel) Leviton whole house surge suppressors. There are no other surge suppressors anywhere in the house. I live in central FL and lightning is very prevelant, especially air to ground strikes. The problem with many surge supressing devices is they add inductance and sometimes noise on the lines. X10 does not like that.

                  The house has a computer grade grounding system with all the rules with regard to neutral/ground bonding carefully followed. The house has been up now about 8 years, with only one attributable loss to lightning. That device, a Jandy Aqua link PC interface, would get hit on its data lines which acted as an antenna in the attic. That was solved by putting small data suppressor devices on each end of the line. Jandy supplied them after replacing the device 4 times. Originally they only had them on one side of the wires, now they are on both ends with no problems in 2 years. Obviously no effect on the Power mains.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Thanks all for the information. So, as I figured, I guess you get what you pay for with these deivces like everything else...


                    I will look into the Swtichlinc, Lighttoiler, and Leviton X10 lines - any other suggestions then what has already been posted on where to buy these, please let me know - especially if I can get a deal in bulk. I figure I will start with a few lights and such and move my way to covering the whole house - I have about 3000+ square house to cover and at some point will want to buy a crap load of these if I can get a deal...

                    Thanks,

                    Kevin

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Kevin,
                      I would contact Martin directly at automatedoutlet.com and ask he if he can give you a bulk deal.
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                        #12
                        I buy/bought all my X10 stuff (plus some other stuff) from Worthington Distributors

                        1) Very Low pricing (not always the lowest, but close)

                        2) One year no questions asked exchange policy on Leviton X10

                        3) Very responsive, no voice menus, real people

                        4) Ship overnight at reasonable cost

                        5) Good tech expertise

                        6) Excellent customer relations/support. Customer as right 99% of the time

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Thanks again for the replies and info...


                          After taking some looks around, I think I will aim toward the SwitchLic line - more specifically the togglelincs as I have the traditional toggles right now and I feel these will blend better in my house with my standard switches. Plus, I have a lot of 2-, 3, and even 4-way wallplates which would make finding replacement wall plates difficult with the approproate cut outs iin the right positions!!!

                          So, my next debate is to wheter get 2-way or standard 1-way switches. The 2-ways seem to cost a bit more and there seems to be issues if you have many of these in your system. Anyone have any expereinces with these? Are the 2-ways worth it? What do I truly miss out if I do NOT get the 2-way (other then the obvious which would be sto get a status check of what is on, off, dimmed, etc.)...

                          Thanks,

                          Kevin

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Kevin, I personally like the 2-way switches. That way HomeSeer and any keypads you have will always know the correct status of the switch.

                            I'll also work with you on a bulk order. Just call the office at 817-539-1705. Just ask for me. I'm normally here during business hours.

                            Warranty on the Switchlincs is 2 years - no questions asked.

                            Thanks,

                            Martin
                            Martin Custer

                            Comment


                              #15
                              I like the ToggleLincs. I use both 2-way and non-2-way.

                              I use the 2-way on those lights that I would like HomeSeer to track. They are mainly outdoor lights and garage lights. The non-2-way are mostly indoors, where I can tell whether or not they are on without HomeSeer's insight.

                              An advantage of the 2-way ToggleLincs is that they come with BoosterLinc built in. I don't think the non-2-way have this. You may want to put them in places with weak X10.

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