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Author Topic: What's the best home automation in a post-X10 world?  (Read 21384 times)

dhouston

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Re: What's the best home automation in a post-X10 world?
« Reply #15 on: May 18, 2012, 10:56:18 PM »

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

Nor have I said it was related to Smart Meters. I was merely pointing out that The Smarthome made devices seem immune to those random event problems whether in Insteon or X-10 mode.

And, it's likely that the offending CFLs would also have blocked Insteon signals had you been using that protocol as Insteon has problems with noise similar to those seen with X-10. It might be worthwhile to test Smarthome made devices against noise in the 75-200kHz range. I suspect they will be bothered by a much narrower band than X-10 made devices, especially in Insteon mode.
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Noam

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Re: What's the best home automation in a post-X10 world?
« Reply #16 on: May 19, 2012, 10:57:52 PM »

I think we've gotten a little off-topic from the original question about other home-automation systems as alternatives to X10. Everyone will have a different experience, even with the same technologies. I have a neighbor up the block (different pole transformer, though) who had horrible luck with his X10 system, and decided to switch over to Insteon a few years ago. He had a difficult time getting it set up initially, because he needed to find the right combination of outlets for the wireless bridge modules to be effective as a phase-coupling pair. Once he got that straightened out, however, he has had a very reliable system. He isn't all that thrilled with the Insteon software, but the signals work just fine.
I also have had a number of problems with my X10 system over the 8 years since we moved into this house, but I decided to stick with it and make an effort to fix it (a number of well-placed filters, and Jeff Volp's XTB-IIR, were a huge help in my case).
My point is, every installation is different, so there is no one correct answer for everyone.
The right system for anyone is the system that works best for them.
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luke03

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Re: What's the best home automation in a post-X10 world?
« Reply #17 on: June 03, 2012, 11:00:09 PM »

Basically, there are power line based controllers and there are RF based controllers.  The power line controllers are easy to be inteferenced by noisy CFLs, or other noise source.  For example, one new projector purchased from Costco caused 1/3 of my X10 devices not working.  Once I replaced that with a different brand, everyting works again.  I am sure RF based controller having different noise problems. Z-Wave is probably the best in RF based controllers. However, if you don't have enough Z-Wave based devices in your home, Z-Wave RF signal may not propagate to the far corner of your home.

To be fair, X10 based controller works well, if you could identify the noise source and filter it out. Anyone using X10 based HA control must make sure the incoming power line is filtered and install a good signal bridge between phases.  Since I have a good power line filter and active bridge  installed on my incoming power panel, I have X10 based working well over 10 years.  I plan to keep using it, as long as I can get X10 modules.
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dhouston

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Re: What's the best home automation in a post-X10 world?
« Reply #18 on: June 04, 2012, 06:23:08 AM »

Z-Wave is probably the best in RF based controllers. However, if you don't have enough Z-Wave based devices in your home, Z-Wave RF signal may not propagate to the far corner of your home.

I have not kept up with any changes that may have been made to Z-Wave since its introduction but the original system had a finite number of hops and each device had a limited range (by design). While it depends on the specifics (e.g. just how far is the far corner), there was a real probability that you could run out of hops before you run out of real estate, making for a corner too far no matter the number of devices. There was also a problem with removing a failed device from the system route map (but it's been too long for me to recall specifics).
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dave w

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Re: What's the best home automation in a post-X10 world?
« Reply #19 on: June 04, 2012, 07:11:31 AM »

So Z-Wave has it's share of problems also. I feel better about not jumping on the Z-Wave band wagon.
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Brian H

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Re: What's the best home automation in a post-X10 world?
« Reply #20 on: June 04, 2012, 12:38:07 PM »

I remember looking at a GE ZWave devices manual. It had a chart of distances with varied things like line of sight or wall between devices and metal or plastic electrical boxes.
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RTD

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Re: What's the best home automation in a post-X10 world?
« Reply #21 on: July 25, 2012, 10:05:49 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

I consider myself a one time relatively tech savvy x-10 user. But it's been too many years now for me to keep my x-10 working very well.
I've been using it for over 20 years. Have had problems but seemed to work them out. Now it works sometimes. Some codes don't work at all except by the switch itself.
Over the years I've installed the capacitor to bridge the two phases. Then I used that plug in device on the dryer to do the same.
Then I recently tried a XPCR phase coupler/repeater the other day with no improvement. I even  tried the smarthome software but it was a bit much too much to program.
I can't imagine trying to go through the whole house trouble shooting by unplugging, TVs, computers, chargers, etc one by one etc.
I see that you mentioned the XTBIIR coupler repeater as a likely solution.
Please tell me about it. Is it expensive, hard to install etc?
I really would like my Activehome Pro to work properly like it did not so terribly long ago.
Please advise.
                        Tim fm CT
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Brian H

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Re: What's the best home automation in a post-X10 world?
« Reply #22 on: July 26, 2012, 06:13:01 AM »

JV Digital Engineering make the XTB-IIR and is blasts a very powerfull X10 signal back on the power lines and respsects Insteon. Yes I am  a mixed protocol system user and have one myself.
http://jvde.us//xtb/XTB-IIR_description.htm

I also have one of their X10 test meters. XTBM
http://jvde.us/xtb/XTBM_description.htm

If things are deteriorating that much. You may still have to do some troubleshooting. The XTB-IIR is great but a real severe signal sucker or noise maker may still be a problem.
http://jvde.us/x10_troubleshooting.htm
http://www.act-remote.com/PCC/uncle.htm
http://www.davehouston.net/
« Last Edit: July 26, 2012, 07:35:31 AM by Brian H »
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pomonabill221

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Re: What's the best home automation in a post-X10 world?
« Reply #23 on: July 26, 2012, 02:57:24 PM »

I HIGHLY recommend the XTBM for hunting down signal suckers and noise makers.
I improved my X10 system from about 60% to 99% and my father's X10 from 40% to 99% also, by setting up a repeating macro in AHP and scouting the house with the XTBM.
  I even found his refrigerator to be a HUGE signal sucker, and the cause of about half of the problems!!!!
  Plugged the fridge into an XPPF (5 amp filter), (the fridge really only draws less than 3 amps, and we measured the power with a Kill-a-watt, and monitored the temperature), and BINGO!!! instant improvement!
  There were a few other things that sucked signal... his UPS for the computer, one of his stereos, but these were somewhat minor, but still sucked signal.
  I have an infocus SP-4805 (Costco special) projector that really sucks signal AND is a noise generator.  XPPF solved that!
  My VCR's/DVD players/UPSs/tube tv were signal suckers.... NO MORE with the filters.
  NOW we both have a very reliable system!
All it took was a little time and the XTBM and my investment was well worth it.
So it CAN be done!
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HA Dave

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Re: What's the best home automation in a post-X10 world?
« Reply #24 on: July 26, 2012, 07:17:32 PM »

I reviewed that some time ago.... and even made a YouTube Video:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1FijFRdxaos&feature=plcp
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JeffVolp

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Re: What's the best home automation in a post-X10 world?
« Reply #25 on: July 26, 2012, 07:44:34 PM »

I HIGHLY recommend the XTBM for hunting down signal suckers and noise makers.

I have been working on a Pro version with some new features:

http://forums.x10.com/index.php?topic=23636.msg152692#msg152692

It should be available in a couple of months.

Jeff
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X-10 automation since the BSR days
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