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Author Topic: Two home external lighting projects  (Read 16683 times)

ggrote

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Two home external lighting projects
« on: July 21, 2009, 09:32:02 AM »

Hello ... I'd like to jump in to X-10 ... I bought a firecracker kit many years ago, so I understand the general concepts, if not the details ... I have two projects (for starters) ...

_______________________

Project #1:

My house has 7 external down-lights, all controlled by a single switch ... I'd like to have those lights come on at dusk and then off either at a set time or dawn (I want the capability to do both, because I'm not 100% sure which I will prefer in the long run) ... I want to use CFL's to keep the costs down.

My first thought was the WS467, but I fear that it won't handle CFL's, and in any case 7 lights would stretch its capabilities.

I hate to go to Socket Rockets because of the cost, but if that's my only option I will consider it ... is it easy to control 7 separate devices with a single sensor?

And as for the sensor, if I can't find a Sundowner somewhere, what should I use?  Can I easily use the ActiveEye motion sensor to trigger a macro that would turn the lights on (and/or off)?  I'd appreciate any advice.

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Project #2:

I have 7 (hmmm, there's that number again) entrances that each have from 1 to 3 external wall-mounted lights ... each set of lights is controlled by its own single switch ... I'd like to use motion sensors to turn each light on when someone approaches that entrance ... I plan to stick with incandescent lights because these will cycle for shorter periods ...

My thought was to use WS467's and either EagleEye or ActiveEye sensors, which will cost $38-$43 per door if I buy everything separately (but I will bundle as much as I can) ... it appears that the primary reason to pay the extra $5 for the ActiveEye is that it will permit me to trigger macros in a controller (which probably isn't required for this application).

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Controllers ... based on what I read about the ActiveEye sensor, I assume that the CM11A is the way to go, but it looks like the CM15A is included in the ActiveHome kits ... I'd appreciate any suggestions you might have in this regard.

Am I correct that I will not need the Smart Macros module because the ActiveHome software does macros?

________________________

Sorry for so many questions.  Thanks for your help!
Greg
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HA Dave

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Re: Two home external lighting projects
« Reply #1 on: July 21, 2009, 11:10:55 AM »

Welcome to the forum ggrote be sure to keep us informed on your projects progressions (they sound interesting).


project #1

I have recently put up a LED floodlight right next the a CFL flood. The LED only uses 5 watts (4.5?) and produces a great light. Since your looking at using 7... and the cost per unit is only about $4 more for each LED.. you may want to check that out. Payback would be pretty quick. I can't think of the non-dimming switch... but I am pretty sure there is one... and weather you use 5 watt LEDs or 19 watt CFLs (I don't think) wattage would be a problem. Something to remember with ether LED of CFL is they can both generate powerline noise that interfears with the X10 signals. You might want to consider a setup that will allow you to filter that line noise out between the switch and the lamps (making SocketRockets less desireable)

You may want to look at the X10 floodlight as the controller (instead of BOTH, or ether... the switch and the activeeye) for this project. It can do the automatic on at dusk off at dawn, or be switched manually using a regular switch... or controlled by X10 remotes, and macros. PLUS the floodlight can preform extra functions turning on other devices (inside lights or cameras) when motion is detected. Or other dusk related device(s) on... even on other unit codes.

Project #2

Activeeye and switches looks like the way to go at your entrances.

Although a couple well located X10 floodlights (PR511) could add some extra safety there too. One floodlight can turn ON 4 seperate Unit codes when motion is detected (as well as 4 for dusk/dawn).

The CM11A (activehome) is the old interface and software (not even sure where you could buy it). You want (IMHO) the new Active Home Pro and CM15A with the entire software suite (it doesn't cost any extra anyway). I run a night-lighting macro on mine that is triggered (by the X10 floodlight PR511) at dusk... then at midnight turns off... then a (AHP) timer turns lights back on at 5 AM... and the floodlight then turns the lights off at sunrise.

I also use BVC with my Home Automation setup. Besides allowing me to control my lights and devices by voice command... it gives me voice announcements when motion is detected... and tells me WHERE the motion was detected. With SEVEN entrances... its something to consider.
« Last Edit: July 21, 2009, 11:43:00 AM by Dave_x10_L »
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dave w

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Re: Two home external lighting projects
« Reply #2 on: July 21, 2009, 12:06:57 PM »

FWIW on project # 1

You could use the inexpensive, two wire WS467 for the seven down lights IF you keep one of the bulbs as an incandescent bulb of at least 40W, and if you do not mistakenly try to dim the switch (that is unless you have dimmable CFLs). The single incandescent filament will provide a current path to power the electronics in the WS467. Other wise you would need a WS13 which functions as a relay rather than a dimmer. The WS13 requires a neutral line.

As Dave X10 stated, you may have noise issues with six or seven CFLs on the circuit. An in-line filter would probably solve the problem if noise is an issue, but I would wait to see if it actually impairs X10 signalling. I have three CFLs and one incandescent light in a ceiling fan, and although my X10 signal level meter pegs when the lights are on, I have no X10 signalling issues.

Also as Dave suggested the CM15A and AHP software will meet your needs a lot better than the Firecracker.
« Last Edit: July 27, 2009, 11:31:00 AM by dave w »
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ggrote

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Re: Two home external lighting projects
« Reply #3 on: July 21, 2009, 02:01:47 PM »

Excellent suggestions, Dave and Dave ... thanks a bunch ...

WS13 ... I will check for neutral wire, as this sounds like a great option.

I forgot to mention that all of the switches in question are in double-gang boxes ... will both the WS467 and WS13 work in that sort of application (i.e., next to a standard light switch in a double-gang box)?

In-line filters (if required) ... I assume that the filter has to be installed between the switch and the first light in the circuit?  That could be a challenge, but my house is a ranch with an unfinished basement so I should be able to splice in either the basement or attic.

PR511 flood light controller ... very interesting idea ... I can't visualize a place to put it/them just now, but will read up on them and walk around the house and see if any ideas surface.

LED lamps ... I would definitely spend the extra to get LED lamps, but haven't found any that I think would work ... either too dim (based on lumen ratings of typical models, it seems that I would need ~7W to equal ~70W incandescent?) or not rated for outside (my down lights are all open recessed cans) ... can you post a few links to get me started?
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HA Dave

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Re: Two home external lighting projects
« Reply #4 on: July 21, 2009, 04:53:39 PM »

... can you post a few links to get me started?

LED's are just this close (holding my fingers close together) to being mainstream. I bought my LED floods at Sam's Club.
« Last Edit: July 21, 2009, 04:56:40 PM by Dave_x10_L »
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Brian H

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Re: Two home external lighting projects
« Reply #5 on: July 21, 2009, 07:04:37 PM »

I have two of the EarthLED EVOLUX LED bulbs that are 13 watts and the manufacturer says they are comparable to a 100 watt incandescent bulb. Comparable is not really equal.  ??? Since they have a 180 degree illumination pattern. In a table lamp much of the light goes up to the ceiling.

http://www.earthled.com/index.html
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HA Dave

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Re: Two home external lighting projects
« Reply #6 on: July 21, 2009, 09:32:09 PM »

I have two of the EarthLED EVOLUX LED bulbs that are 13 watts and the manufacturer says they are comparable to a 100 watt incandescent bulb. Comparable is not really equal.  ??? Since they have a 180 degree illumination pattern. In a table lamp much of the light goes up to the ceiling.

Your right Brian H and I really didn't mean to make ggrote's thread about light bulbs ether.

Like many of us... I've converted most of my lighting over to one or the other newer lighting technologies. And I've learned to change habits too. Actually... I am to the point where very little of the electric I use is used to produce light. Rarely does a project come along like ggrote's where there is such clear and easy ways to use less energy compared to standard bulbs burning dusk to dawn.

Consider the dollar saving of using a light and motion sensor... along with macros to turn lights on and off at dusk to dawn. Then add in a midnight to 5 AM off MACRO... but BACK ON if motion is detected.

Even if the user decided to use "energy saving" 26 watt CFL floodlights. An every night 5 hour off time could save 910 watt hours or nearly one KWH (also about the same amount as would be used, adjusted for the seasons) Of course the LEDs would only consume roughly 175 watt hours a night (about one fifth of the CFL).

I think the motion sensors and the macros are the real energy savers. The area around my home lights up bright enough for night baseball... but only when motion is detected. But all the lights come on so rarely... I would guess-a-mate the cost as pennies a year.
« Last Edit: July 21, 2009, 09:36:05 PM by Dave_x10_L »
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ggrote

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Re: Two home external lighting projects
« Reply #7 on: July 23, 2009, 12:06:11 PM »

I have two of the EarthLED EVOLUX LED bulbs that are 13 watts and the manufacturer says they are comparable to a 100 watt incandescent bulb. Comparable is not really equal.  ??? Since they have a 180 degree illumination pattern. In a table lamp much of the light goes up to the ceiling.

http://www.earthled.com/index.html

Ah, so they would work well in can lights ... but unfortunately they're a bit out of my price range for this application ... $80 vs. about $5-$6 for a comparable CFL would take a long time to pay back even running all night, every night ...

And to Dave, I don't mind discussing bulbs because I haven't positively decided what to use for the downlights yet ... I'd love to use LED's if the extra cost would pay back in a reasonable period of time (perhaps a year or so) ... I've seen the LED bulbs at Sam's but I was afriad they would not be bright enough, so I guess I just need to pull the trigger and try one to see if I like it.
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Brian H

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Re: Two home external lighting projects
« Reply #8 on: July 23, 2009, 12:10:50 PM »

Very true on the cost differences.

I just had a need to try one.  ;D  rofl
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HA Dave

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Re: Two home external lighting projects
« Reply #9 on: July 23, 2009, 03:18:25 PM »

... I've seen the LED bulbs at Sam's but I was afriad they would not be bright enough, so I guess I just need to pull the trigger and try one to see if I like it.

Yep. Many of us have more than a decade experience with using the CFL's. And some of have been testing and using LED's too. I am not pushing ether technology. But the only way to try it... is to buy it.

My goal.. is to have GOOD lighting. What good is... depends on the use. Sometimes good means bright, or sets a mood, or is cheap to put up... or cheap to use. I don't think in terms of payback time... cause I don't live that way. (plan like you'll live forever... live like you'll die tomorrow) You never mentioned the actual use for the lighting in your post (security, decoration, advertisement) and I never bothered to assume.
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ggrote

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Re: Two home external lighting projects
« Reply #10 on: July 25, 2009, 10:10:40 PM »

Okay, after a good bit of reading, here's the BoM for my projects:

Model   Description               Qty
CK12AS  ActiveHome Kit             1  (controller + software)
WS467   Wall switch                7  (one for each set of entrance lights)
MS16A   ActiveEye Motion Sensor    7  (one sensor for each WS467)
XPS3    Wall switch (non-dimming)  1  (to control outside down lights)
SD533   Sundowner                  0  (see note below)


I'm planning to use the dusk-dawn signals from one of the ActiveEyes to trigger a macro that will control the XPS3, but if that doesn't work it appears that I can still get a Sundowner on eBay (etc.) ...

I verified that I have a neutral in my switch boxes, so I'm hoping that the XPS3 will work for my down lights.

If you notice any holes or unnecessary components, please chime in, but I'm going to order everything soon.

Thanks again for everyone's help, and wish me luck!  I'll post again when it's all set up and running (oh, who am I kidding ... I'm sure you'll hear from me when I get stuck)!
« Last Edit: July 25, 2009, 10:20:14 PM by ggrote »
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HA Dave

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Re: Two home external lighting projects
« Reply #11 on: July 25, 2009, 10:27:02 PM »

Model   Description              Qty
CK12AS   ActiveHome Kit                1  (controller + software)
WS467   Wall switch                7  (one for each set of entrance lights)
MS16A   ActiveEye Motion Sensor   7  (one sensor for each WS467)
XPS3   Wall switch (non-dimming)   1  (to control outside down lights)
SD533   Sundowner                0  (see note below)

CK12AS   ActiveHome KitYou must be putting together an ebay order. The old CM11A was state of the art... some years ago. If your a serious Linux user that is looking for an automation hobby... the CM11A is your only choice. But if your looking for Home Automation that you can use with ordinary (and somewhat current) computers... you will need the AHP with the CM15A interface.

However... if you've decided to try the old interface be sure to get a couple transceivers as the CM11A can't send or receive RF.
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ggrote

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Re: Two home external lighting projects
« Reply #12 on: July 25, 2009, 10:40:58 PM »

CK12AS   ActiveHome KitYou must be putting together an ebay order.[snip]

Actually, I'm pretty sure that I got that off the X-10 web site somewhere (BTW, and FWIW, I hate the X-10 web site) because I didn't start poking around on the web for the best prices until after I had put together my BoM ... but of course now the pages I was using are different (or I just can't find them again) so I can't say for sure ... suffice it to say that I do plan to get a bundle with the CM15A and software ... thanks for keeping me on track!
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ggrote

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Re: Two home external lighting projects
« Reply #13 on: July 27, 2009, 09:24:51 AM »

Okay, everything's on order ... I even picked up a WS12A and two WS14A's so that I can dim the can lights in my living room when we're watching TV (there are 3 switches that control those lights) ... and I earned some X-10 bucks!

I've been reading up on phase couplers but didn't buy one yet ... I haven't gone out to check the breaker box yet, but will do so when I'm setting it up so that I will know what I'm up against ... I have an electric dryer and range ... I also have an electric water heater (much to my chagrin, but I digress), which I will probably turn off during testing just to make sure it doesn't cloud the results ... and I have a subpanel in the basement for my shop that has 220 in it as well (for the dust collector) ... so perhaps you can see why it's not obvious to me whether I will need the coupler ...
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dave w

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Re: Two home external lighting projects
« Reply #14 on: July 27, 2009, 11:56:39 AM »


I also have an electric water heater (much to my chagrin, but I digress), which I will probably turn off during testing just to make sure it doesn't cloud the results ... and I have a subpanel in the basement for my shop that has 220 in it as well (for the dust collector) ... so perhaps you can see why it's not obvious to me whether I will need the coupler ...
ggrote
FWIW
In most cases, good phase coupling will not take place unless the 220V appliance is ON (running), especially true for your water heater and stove. If the stove or dryer has a clock or electronic controls some coupling takes place 100% of the time across the appliances internal transformer which reduces the 220V to something the electronics can use, but transformers with primaries made for 60 hertz usually are lously at coupling the 120KHz X10 signal.  Your water heater and stove oven, or burner will provide good coupling, but again, only when ON.

So having a lot of 220V appliances does not guarentee good phase coupling. Once you get your system installed you may need a coupler and depending on size of house I would recommend a (good) coupler/repeater rather than a simple passive coupler. 
Good luck with the project...X10 can be really fun.
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