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Author Topic: What's the best home automation in a post-X10 world?  (Read 21246 times)

Rocket J Squirrel

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What's the best home automation in a post-X10 world?
« on: May 08, 2012, 11:49:07 PM »

I have used X10-based controls in two homes for the last 20 years or so. At the time of my last move in 1999, I wasn't aware of anything better and replaced virtually every light switch with X10 or Leviton PLC switches.

I will be moving again in a few months, into a large home with 2 breaker panels and no home automation pre-installed.

Forgive me for asking a short question which probably has some long answers: what's the current thinking on HA systems which are easier to use and more reliable than X10-style PLC systems?
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dave w

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Re: What's the best home automation in a post-X10 world?
« Reply #1 on: May 09, 2012, 07:18:35 AM »

Forgive me for asking a short question which probably has some long answers: what's the current thinking on HA systems which are easier to use and more reliable than X10-style PLC systems?
Stricktly from a "last man standing" standpoint, I think Z-Wave will be the winner simply because it has far more manufacturer adopters than ZigBee, UPB, Insteon, etc. But Z-Wave is not problem free either.
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Knightrider

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Re: What's the best home automation in a post-X10 world?
« Reply #2 on: May 09, 2012, 06:07:49 PM »

What's a post X10 world?  Even if X10 stopped making x10, I'd bet there would still be other companies out there making the products. 

Seems to me that X10 (the company) had one little hiccup, and the whole world wants to jump ship on the mother of all HA protocols.  In turn, places like SmartLabs can all sell us on much more expensive products. 

Read what Dave W said in his above post.  No HA is without faults.  Fortunately, us x10 users have Jeff Volp who designs and sells all kind of gizmos that make x10 as reliable as it was before cheap switching power supplies and other x10 problem causers.  Just read about Volp's products carefully, as each work with a different problem.  For most of us, the XTB-IIR repeater/coupler is enough to solve the problems and then some.

Even on a budget, filters can still be found relatively cheap.  If you can track down the culprit, filters work wonders.

I just can't believe that someone would call x10 dead.  For a young geezer like myself, x10 will always be there for me.
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Rocket J Squirrel

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Re: What's the best home automation in a post-X10 world?
« Reply #3 on: May 15, 2012, 04:40:12 PM »

My new 4800 square foot single story house will be a post X10 world. I am having reliability problems in my current 2-story 2500 sf house, both from hardware and power line issues. Each new piece of electronics - and we have many more since the early X10 days - seems to either add noise or suck signals. The old X10 Brand switches are worn out. Either the target device fails to turn on or several nearby devices turn on along with it.

I have been using X10 since 1988 or so, and it just isn't holding up for me. I'm tired of debugging it. If it continues to work well for you, Knightrider, great, you're lucky.

Thanks, Dave, for the constructive reply about Z-Wave.
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dave w

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Re: What's the best home automation in a post-X10 world?
« Reply #4 on: May 15, 2012, 08:01:03 PM »

Thanks, Dave, for the constructive reply about Z-Wave.

'welcome.
But Z-Wave will probably be five times or more the cost of X10. Before abandoning X10 completely, you might invest in a XTBIIR coupler repeater, especially if you have many X10 modules.. There are many, many, X10 users who give total credit to the XTBIIR for making their system 99% reliable. $0.02
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Brian H

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Re: What's the best home automation in a post-X10 world?
« Reply #5 on: May 16, 2012, 06:10:55 AM »

Since the some of the latest Insteon modules have dropped X10 support completely.
If you wanted to convert slowly. Good chance some would not work with X10 controllers.
Also Insteon maybe somewhat more tolerant of power line noise than X10. It still can have issues. Along with power line filters.
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Noam

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Re: What's the best home automation in a post-X10 world?
« Reply #6 on: May 16, 2012, 11:03:21 AM »

... Also Insteon maybe somewhat more tolerant of power line noise than X10. It still can have issues...

Actually, the Insteon modules I have were MORE affected by my noise problem (neighbor's CFL - I'm sure you know the story by now ;) ) that my X10 modules were.
Of course, mine are an older revision that still supported X10 commands, it might be different with the new ones that don't have X10 support.
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dhouston

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Re: What's the best home automation in a post-X10 world?
« Reply #7 on: May 16, 2012, 02:59:40 PM »

Actually, the Insteon modules I have were MORE affected by my noise problem (neighbor's CFL - I'm sure you know the story by now ;) ) that my X10 modules were.
The only most logical explanation is that the noise was very low amplitude. Insteon has much greater sensitivity (10mV) than X10 so a very low level noise component near the Insteon frequency (131.65kHz) might have caused Insteon problems yet be missed by less sensitive X10 modules which tend to be affected by 75kHz-200kHz but usually need ~100mV minimum.

In general, greater sensitivity is a plus.
« Last Edit: May 16, 2012, 03:33:37 PM by dhouston »
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dhouston

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Re: What's the best home automation in a post-X10 world?
« Reply #8 on: May 16, 2012, 03:40:43 PM »

In reply to the original question...

There are a lot of major players that are (once again) showing an interest in HA. This article...
lists a few and some of the links in the article refer to still more. It remains to be seen whether any of them have a Jetsonesque killer application or whether all this will just lead to further fragmentation of the market. There have been attempts to create a unifying standard (e.g. HomePlug Command & Control) that went nowhere.

There are also several premium systems (hardwired, wireless, hardwired & wireless) available. Some (e.g. LiteTouch, Centralite) predate X10. I have a partial list on my website.

And, the Wikipedia page for Insteon has links to a few more possibilities in the See also section.
« Last Edit: May 18, 2012, 08:47:30 AM by dhouston »
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Noam

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Re: What's the best home automation in a post-X10 world?
« Reply #9 on: May 16, 2012, 09:41:07 PM »

Actually, the Insteon modules I have were MORE affected by my noise problem (neighbor's CFL - I'm sure you know the story by now ;) ) that my X10 modules were.
The only most logical explanation is that the noise was very low amplitude. Insteon has much greater sensitivity (10mV) than X10 so a very low level noise component near the Insteon frequency (131.65kHz) might have caused Insteon problems yet be missed by less sensitive X10 modules which tend to be affected by 75kHz-200kHz but usually need ~100mV minimum.

In general, greater sensitivity is a plus.
Actually, it was the X10 signalling that was affected by the noise and not working. I wasn't using the Insteon signalling (I don't have any Insteon controllers).
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dhouston

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Re: What's the best home automation in a post-X10 world?
« Reply #10 on: May 17, 2012, 06:35:02 AM »

Actually, the Insteon modules I have were MORE affected by my noise problem (neighbor's CFL - I'm sure you know the story by now ;) ) that my X10 modules were.
The only most logical explanation is that the noise was very low amplitude. Insteon has much greater sensitivity (10mV) than X10 so a very low level noise component near the Insteon frequency (131.65kHz) might have caused Insteon problems yet be missed by less sensitive X10 modules which tend to be affected by 75kHz-200kHz but usually need ~100mV minimum.

In general, greater sensitivity is a plus.
Actually, it was the X10 signalling that was affected by the noise and not working. I wasn't using the Insteon signalling (I don't have any Insteon controllers).
Then your assertion is extremely misleading and you should stop making it without clarifying that it was the X10 signals that were compromised. But, it is still probable that, even in X10 mode, the Smarthome modules are more sensitive than X10 modules and that my supposition that it was a low level noise signal still applies.

What were the problems you saw?

A couple of people who experienced the smart meter induced random events found that Smarthome modules (one Insteon/X10, one X10 only but possibly just relabeled) did not see problems with these modules set to the same address as the affected X10 switches.
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Noam

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Re: What's the best home automation in a post-X10 world?
« Reply #11 on: May 17, 2012, 10:32:14 PM »

Actually, the Insteon modules I have were MORE affected by my noise problem (neighbor's CFL - I'm sure you know the story by now ;) ) that my X10 modules were.
The only most logical explanation is that the noise was very low amplitude. Insteon has much greater sensitivity (10mV) than X10 so a very low level noise component near the Insteon frequency (131.65kHz) might have caused Insteon problems yet be missed by less sensitive X10 modules which tend to be affected by 75kHz-200kHz but usually need ~100mV minimum.

In general, greater sensitivity is a plus.
Actually, it was the X10 signalling that was affected by the noise and not working. I wasn't using the Insteon signalling (I don't have any Insteon controllers).
Then your assertion is extremely misleading and you should stop making it without clarifying that it was the X10 signals that were compromised. But, it is still probable that, even in X10 mode, the Smarthome modules are more sensitive than X10 modules and that my supposition that it was a low level noise signal still applies.

What were the problems you saw?

A couple of people who experienced the smart meter induced random events found that Smarthome modules (one Insteon/X10, one X10 only but possibly just relabeled) did not see problems with these modules set to the same address as the affected X10 switches.
What problems did I see? My neighbor's noisy CFL completely stopped three of my four Insteon switches from working in X10 mode. "Regular" x10 modules on the same circuits, both closer to and further from the noise, worked fine (the fourth one was on a different phase, and not affected by the noise).
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dhouston

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Re: What's the best home automation in a post-X10 world?
« Reply #12 on: May 18, 2012, 07:54:47 AM »

What problems did I see? My neighbor's noisy CFL completely stopped three of my four Insteon switches from working in X10 mode. "Regular" x10 modules on the same circuits, both closer to and further from the noise, worked fine (the fourth one was on a different phase, and not affected by the noise).
Since the Min Receive Level: 10 mV is quoted for the Power line physical layer it also applies for their X10 circuitry, so the most logical explanation is still that the noise was very low amplitude - below the minimum receive level of your standard X10 devices.

I've yet to see reports where any Insteon system was affected by the smart meters.

 
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Brian H

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Re: What's the best home automation in a post-X10 world?
« Reply #13 on: May 18, 2012, 02:54:51 PM »

I have not seen any smart meter problems with Insteon so far.
I have seen CFLs reported to effect Insteon signals.
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Noam

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Re: What's the best home automation in a post-X10 world?
« Reply #14 on: May 18, 2012, 05:39:36 PM »

What problems did I see? My neighbor's noisy CFL completely stopped three of my four Insteon switches from working in X10 mode. "Regular" x10 modules on the same circuits, both closer to and further from the noise, worked fine (the fourth one was on a different phase, and not affected by the noise).
Since the Min Receive Level: 10 mV is quoted for the Power line physical layer it also applies for their X10 circuitry, so the most logical explanation is still that the noise was very low amplitude - below the minimum receive level of your standard X10 devices.

I've yet to see reports where any Insteon system was affected by the smart meters.

 
I never said this was a smart meter problem. I don't have a smart meter. It was a failing CFL bulb problem.
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