Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
Advanced search  

News:

The X10Hub (PiX10Hub) is here! Created by the Community, for the Community.:)% #:)

Author Topic: Add extra switch to existing circuit  (Read 7941 times)

bretonj

  • Newbie
  • Helpful Post Rating: 0
  • Posts: 5
Add extra switch to existing circuit
« on: October 18, 2008, 02:28:18 PM »

I've read the article on Three way switch emulation here: http://kbase.x10.com/wiki/Three_Way_Switch_Emulation
But I'd like to know if it's possible to do something similar to this, but a bit different. I would like to replace the existing wall switch with an X10 receiver, and then can I add an X10 transmitter somewhere else, wire it to any outlet (I have access to the back of the wall - ie: furnace room), and have the new outlet control the existing switch (which is replaced with the receiver)?

The current layout is that I have a switch at the top of stairs going to the basement which controls the lights going down the stairs. When I'm downstairs, I want to turn the lights off. I don't want to use something like in the article since it's simply a wireless transmitter, and requires an ugly module plugged into an outlet.

I know that running a 14/3 wire to the existing switch would be the cheapest way to do it, but I can't run the wire easily, without tearing up the walls (heating ducts in the way). So I'm hoping X10 can help with this.

Sorry for the length of this post.

Logged

Boiler

  • Guest
Re: Add extra switch to existing circuit
« Reply #1 on: October 18, 2008, 04:54:47 PM »

I've read the article on Three way switch emulation here: http://kbase.x10.com/wiki/Three_Way_Switch_Emulation
But I'd like to know if it's possible to do something similar to this, but a bit different. I would like to replace the existing wall switch with an X10 receiver, and then can I add an X10 transmitter somewhere else, wire it to any outlet (I have access to the back of the wall - ie: furnace room), and have the new outlet control the existing switch (which is replaced with the receiver)?

The current layout is that I have a switch at the top of stairs going to the basement which controls the lights going down the stairs. When I'm downstairs, I want to turn the lights off. I don't want to use something like in the article since it's simply a wireless transmitter, and requires an ugly module plugged into an outlet.

I know that running a 14/3 wire to the existing switch would be the cheapest way to do it, but I can't run the wire easily, without tearing up the walls (heating ducts in the way). So I'm hoping X10 can help with this.

Sorry for the length of this post.

brentonj,

Welcome to the forum.

What you've described above is very doable, depending on what type of transmitter you want to use in the basement.

Were you intending to add a wired in transmitter somewhere in the basement?  If so, you are correct that this unit would not need to be physically connected to your switch circuit at the top of the stairs.  Being a transmitter, it would only require connections to power and neutral and would then "communicate" with the other unit.

Another option could be a plug in maxi controller, but it sounds as if you prefer the "built in" look.

X10Pro offers a series of wired in transmitters that can accomplish this: XPT IN Wall Controllers

If you prefer the decora or toggle style there are also units available from Smarthome and Leviton (more expensive).

Let us know your preference,

Boiler

BTW - your post provided an appropriate amount of information (please don't apologize).  It's far preferable to get the information up front rather than engaging in a round of "20 questions".
Logged

bretonj

  • Newbie
  • Helpful Post Rating: 0
  • Posts: 5
Re: Add extra switch to existing circuit
« Reply #2 on: October 18, 2008, 05:45:16 PM »

Thanks for the reply, and for the recommendations. You're right that I do want the finished look, I want it to look as much like a regular switch as possible.

Also, I would prefer the decora style switch, so I was looking on Smarthome, but am just overwhelmed with the different products available. I don't even know what to look for specifically. Now I know how other people feel when I try explaining anything computer related to them...

If you don't mind, could you possibly recommend (or point me in the right direction of) some decora transmitter and receiver switches from smarthome or other websites? (Also good to note I guess is that I'm Canadian, so if there are Canadian sites, that would help too).

Thank you, bretonj.
Logged

Boiler

  • Guest
Re: Add extra switch to existing circuit
« Reply #3 on: October 18, 2008, 07:28:52 PM »

Thanks for the reply, and for the recommendations. You're right that I do want the finished look, I want it to look as much like a regular switch as possible.

Also, I would prefer the decora style switch, so I was looking on Smarthome, but am just overwhelmed with the different products available. I don't even know what to look for specifically. Now I know how other people feel when I try explaining anything computer related to them...

If you don't mind, could you possibly recommend (or point me in the right direction of) some decora transmitter and receiver switches from smarthome or other websites? (Also good to note I guess is that I'm Canadian, so if there are Canadian sites, that would help too).

If you are looking to coordinate "styles" you should probably stick with one supplier.  The X10 decora switches are single contact - push the bottom of the paddle once for on, push the bottom a second time for off.

Smarthome and leviton decora switches are "true rocker" or two contact switches - push the top of the paddle for on, bottom for off. 

While you could save some money by using an X10 switch at your stair location, it may be confusing for your family mixing these different styles.

Focusing on the Smarthome Insteon line, there are two "levels" of switches offered - Icon and Switchlinc.  The Icon line is somewhat less expensive due to it's fewer features.  These switches are transmitter/receivers so you can use the same units at the load location (top of the stairs) and at the remote location in your basement.
Your choice will depend on the type of bulb you are activating.  If you are using (or ever plan to use) Compact Fluorescents, you want a relay Switch (non-dimming).  For this application I would recommend the Icon 2876 (there isn't a lot of difference in the relay units): Icon 2876 Relay Switch

If you are planning on using the switches with Incandescent bulbs only, a dimming switch might be appropriate.  Here the choice between the Icon and Switchlinc line comes down to price and personal preference.  The following link is for a Icon dimmer (300W) and shows a comparison to it's Switchlinc brother: Icon 2876 Dimmer

For your second location in the basement, I'd recommend using the same style switch (relay or dimmer).  If you are planning on "expanding" your system in the future, you could also use a 2486 KeypadLinc as the transmitter.  This would allow remote activation of up to 8 different "scenes".

One important note on the above - All of the Smarthome units require bot a hot and a neutral (white) connection.  If you don't have a neutral wire available in your switch box, we'll need to look at other alternatives.

Finally, the Smarthome units are Insteon with backward compatibility to X10 communication.  Unfortunately, the units use "address capture" to program their X10 base address (no code wheels).  This means you would need another controller to program the units initially (maxi controller or similar).

If you instead select the Insteon communication mode between the switches, things become a bit easier.  The "linking" between the two units can be done at the switches themselves with not additional controller.

In either case, try to put both units on the same electrical phase to ensure good communication.  If this is not possible you may require additional hardware to "couple" the phases (X10 phase coupler or Insteon Accespoint(s)).

Hope that's not too confusing,
Boiler
Logged

bretonj

  • Newbie
  • Helpful Post Rating: 0
  • Posts: 5
Re: Add extra switch to existing circuit
« Reply #4 on: October 19, 2008, 07:47:17 PM »

Thanks for all the information, that really helps.

I looked at the Icon 2876 Dimmer and I think that's what I'll be buying. I'll buy 2 of them: one connected to the lights, the other to a completely different circuit, and then I'll link them together. But how can I ensure that the two circuits are on the same phase? I only have one fuse panel in the house, so does that mean that everything is in phase?
Logged

Brian H

  • Community Organizer
  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Helpful Post Rating: 289
  • Posts: 12679
Re: Add extra switch to existing circuit
« Reply #5 on: October 20, 2008, 06:47:59 AM »

No most homes are split single phase. With 240 Volts between both Lines and 120 between 1 line and Neutral. So most homes have about 1/2 on each phase. Now just because one; maybe on each phase; doesn't mean they will not communicate with each other, but problems are more likely if they are.
Logged

Boiler

  • Guest
Re: Add extra switch to existing circuit
« Reply #6 on: October 20, 2008, 04:13:07 PM »

As Brian indicated, having your switches on opposite phases does not insure a problem.  It's just more likely.

You mentioned "Fuse Panel" - not many of these left these days.  Did you mean "breaker panel"?

If you have a breaker panel, you can normally determine whether two breakers are on the same phase by inspection.  Breakers that are vertically adjacent to one another are on opposite phases.  Breakers horizontally adjacent are on the same phase.  In the photo below breakers 1,2,5,6,9,10,13 and 14 are on the same phase.

« Last Edit: October 25, 2009, 05:23:27 PM by Boiler »
Logged

bretonj

  • Newbie
  • Helpful Post Rating: 0
  • Posts: 5
Re: Add extra switch to existing circuit
« Reply #7 on: October 20, 2008, 04:31:11 PM »

I did mean "fuse panel". It's an older house (1970's), and it was never replaced. I'm not planning on living there too long, so didn't bother replacing it either. Can't justify the cost since it's still working just fine.

After looking at the fuse panel, and the details you included, I know what you mean by 2 phases now.

And, actually, it turns out that the lights are on the same circuit that I was going to add the extra switch to, so it should work without a problem... fingers crossed.

Thanks for all the help everyone.
Logged

Brian H

  • Community Organizer
  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Helpful Post Rating: 289
  • Posts: 12679
Re: Add extra switch to existing circuit
« Reply #8 on: October 20, 2008, 04:49:37 PM »

Should be fine if on the same circuit. Anything on that circuit like a TV or electronic devices that may cause noise?
Logged

bretonj

  • Newbie
  • Helpful Post Rating: 0
  • Posts: 5
Re: Add extra switch to existing circuit
« Reply #9 on: October 20, 2008, 08:15:26 PM »

I currently have a receiver, subwoofer, and will later have a media PC there too. I know, it's a lot for one circuit including lights, and I'd really like to know who wired this house because it seems like half the house is on one circuit...
Logged

Brian H

  • Community Organizer
  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Helpful Post Rating: 289
  • Posts: 12679
Re: Add extra switch to existing circuit
« Reply #10 on: October 21, 2008, 06:51:11 AM »

Since both switches will be on the same circuit. Most likely they will talk to each other. If not one X10 [Insteon is close in line frequency and should be fine] type filter on the electronics would be needed.
Logged
 

X10.com | About X10 | X10 Security Systems | Cameras| Package Deals
© Copyright 2014-2016 X10.com All rights reserved.