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Author Topic: x10 Reliability with many devices?  (Read 4225 times)

reid8120

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x10 Reliability with many devices?
« on: July 03, 2006, 10:27:03 AM »

I'm relatively new to x10, but think I think it's the technology I need to solve a challenging automation problem. My main concern is whether x10 remains reliable when you have many (100 or more) devices connected to the system simultaneously. With this network, there will be cases where a dozen or more devices are actively sending signals within the same few seconds. Assuming the circuit is free of external noise, is x10 reliable when the system starts to get busy or is there a critical mass of x10 devices where it starts to break down?

I'm hoping some more experienced folks can advise me on whether this would work, or whether it's a bad idea.

Thanks!!!
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Dan Lawrence

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Re: x10 Reliability with many devices?
« Reply #1 on: July 03, 2006, 12:50:34 PM »

Are you referring to X10 modules, or general electronic devices?

The X10 protocol uses digital signals sent on the AC sine wave to control addressable modules.
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reid8120

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Re: x10 Reliability with many devices?
« Reply #2 on: July 03, 2006, 01:24:11 PM »

I'm referring to x10 modules; specifically, approximately 25 Model 4060 Powerflash Interfaces (each connected to a weatherproof momentary-contact switch), 50 lamp modules, and possibly 25 to 50 Model 2010 Universal Modules. Other modules are possible as well.
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Brian H

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Re: x10 Reliability with many devices?
« Reply #3 on: July 03, 2006, 03:34:45 PM »

Most X10 problems are from signal suckers [surge suppressors some UPS units etc.];  noise generators [many new electronic devices some CFLs etc.] and phase coupling where the X10 signals on one phase of most homes can't get through the pole transformer to the other. A phase coupler or coupler repeater many times corrects that.

The one thing I see in your thoughts is the 25 PowerFlasher Modules. It could be possible; if two transmitted at the sametime. The signals could be scrambled. The other one with that many PowerFlashers is any X10 module or console that can sand an X10 signal back on the powerline, will absorb X10 signals if it is not the one transmitting. If you had like 10 on one circuit. They could absorb the transmitting units signals.

Also you have 256 combinations of addresses. You can have more then one module on a House/Unit Code and they will each follow the commands for their address. Most remotes and Transceivers for RF devices only do ONE House Code. The AHP USB CM15A can tranceive more then one House Code if you need remotes.
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reid8120

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Re: x10 Reliability with many devices?
« Reply #4 on: July 03, 2006, 03:47:04 PM »

Ahhh. Is that (the signal-absorbing nature of sending modules) why most of the modules that generate signals use RF to send the signal back rather than sending the signal along the power line? (I was wondering why there didn't seem to be a motion sensor that sent the signal back over the power line.)

Is there a device like the PowerFlash that can send RF signals based on external inputs (like those from custom switches)?

My only concern with the RF devices is that this system will be in an environment where Bluetooth, 802.11b/g, 2.4Ghz, and wireless headsets will also be in use. Lots of potential for interference.

Thanks!
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Brian H

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Re: x10 Reliability with many devices?
« Reply #5 on: July 03, 2006, 06:38:33 PM »

The RF frequency used by X10 is 310 MHz. Only things that have 2.4 Ghz problems are the wireless cameras.
Never seen an RF device that can act as a Powerflasher.
RF is used for motion sensors and remotes mostly. Powerline signals are from controllers; computer interfaces and things like the Touchtone Responder. It lets you phone home and control X10 devices by touchtone. Remember Transceivers that convert the RF signals to powerline signals are also a transmitter.
If you want more than one house code tranceived you will need more than one transceiver and the TM751 is not polite and also will step on other powerline signals. WGL makes a nice all house code transceiver that can do all 16 house codes.
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dave w

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Re: x10 Reliability with many devices?
« Reply #6 on: July 10, 2006, 12:12:37 PM »

reid8120
Brian makes a good point regarding the loading of X10 transmitters. Although you could probably solve that problem with a good high output repeater / coupler. I have six Powerflash modules in my setup, but see little attenuation I can attribute to them, after my ACT repeater boosts the X10 signal on both legs.
However one problem I do have and you will have far worse, is signal collision or "bus contension" from the Powerflashes. They are not polite transmitters like the RR501 or CM15A. They transmit with no regard to any other X10 transmissions taking place. So if you have potential for multiple powerflashes triggering at nearly the same time, all the signals all collide and you will get squat.
Have you looked in to Z-Wave?
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