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Author Topic: Newbie - READ ME - What I wish I knew before I realised I did not know it !  (Read 15197 times)


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As a complete newbie to the world of AHP and X10, I like many others thought the small investment in an X10 starter kit would be all that was required to get started. If I had known the following as I started the deployment I could have saved myself a lot (I mean a lot!) of time and some money.

Here is a summary of the things I wish I knew and had found on the forum in a simple 'Newbie Read Me' format. It does not explain where or how to find the detail behind the issue, all are adequately covered in this forum - lesson one 'LEARN TO USE THE FORUM SEARCH'!

Excited when the equipment arrived so immediately plugged it in, setup the AHP software and wow it worked:-) Before I knew it another order on the supplier was issued, more kit, more macros, more complexity:-

1. - I wish I had read somewhere that I should not have used A1 or House code 'A'!
Seemed harmless when I started as I knew none of my neighbors used X10, It was only later I read about failing batteries and erratic behaviors arising from this simple error. Not to mention the pain of changing all my codes and macros when I finally moved off House code A.

2. - I had purchased a  few LM15's with my original order then realized I could not program them without a remote control, 2 days waiting for a little #4 code remote to arrive, only to find in the X10 Wiki recently a work around to program them using AHP![/li][/list]

3. My starter kit had a CM15 and AHP, setup the PC, connected the system and it worked. Later I found I either have interference or range problems and needed to move the CM15 to a different location. Fortunately I had a position in the centre of the house with an old Notebook handy, still setting it all up again as I had not learnt how to copy all my configuration yet was a pain.
A quick read on interference, signal suckers, phase's and problems with UPS, surge protectors etc would have saved myself a lot of time in the early days.

4. When working through a transmission problem (still not resolved) I had the CM15 in my hand, no wires connected, yet pressing my little RF remote still worked? Took over an hour for me to realize the additional IR7243 I had purchased to enable my Logitech 1100 to control the lights was acting as a transceiver. Still not clear on the relationship between the CM15 and IR7243 in terms of RF and wire code transmission (does it act as a repeater, a simple transceiver, an amplifier, more research required).

If I had realized the LM7243 seems to act as a repeater I would have positioned my CM15 in the original location referenced in point 3 above.

5. Hawkeye motion sensor, seemed like a good idea at the time but how I wish I had fully read and absorbed the instructions in regard to the dawn/dusk code+1 issue! If you do not know what I am talking about and use one of these devices then use the search, the problems this can cause can be a real tricky to identify for the newbie.

Whilst on the Hawkeye, I thought it monitored motion as it was advertised as a motion sensor. If I had realized it actually measured moving thermal changes I could have saved several Velcro pads and screw holes in the wall and fence, when trying to get it to reliably monitor my garage door opening and closing (the door is in the shade and there is generally little difference between the door temperature and the air inside the garage).

6. I purchased an SVX10 (Single phase coupler/repeater) to solve what I thought was a distance issue. Should have read the forums and learnt about surge protectors, UPS, the 7 PC's scattered around my house (I use MS Media Centre for all entertainment content management). I still have a problem on one side of the house, only two weeks into all this and not had time to fix this one yet. It is probably because I have several PC's, an APC UPS and lord knows what else connected into that particular circuit!

7. A few, easily found tips on copying my AHP configuration and duplicating macros would have helped. Still not had time to work out if I can copy macros to save some typing, but saving the AHP config into a file has been a life saver when I either corrupted my data, confused the CM15 or messed up my macro programming to the punt where I needed to revert to an earlier version.

8. My starter kit came with an LM12, took a while for me to work out why my LED lights I had connected too it still glowed when it was turned off! This time I found the answer on the X10 web site WiKi, another resource not to be ignored.

9. House codes and Unit numbers, I could have saved a lot of time if I had read all the detail scattered throughout the forum on house codes, unit numbers and the pro's and con's of different coding schemas. Recently changed my monitored devices to House code 'B', sensors to 'C' and ghost modules in 'G'. Hopefully there are no downsides to this type of setup which I developed based on tidbits of information gained in the forums.

Someone with more of experience creating advanced systems might like to produce a simple guide, with explanations on how one might setup the house codes from the start - or maybe I just have not had the time to find it yet:-)

Summary, my X10 system is evolving, my macros are still failing, distance/interference is a problem but the core devices I wanted to manage are now working. I just wish I had found a summary of what issues were important and why, right from the start. The hints and tips in the forum are really useful but a Newbie's 'things to be aware of' guide would be most helpful and I do not have the experience yet to write one for the next newbie to read.

« Last Edit: December 09, 2009, 07:52:28 AM by Delboy »


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Someone with lots of experience of creating advanced systems might like to produce a simple guide, with explanations on how one might setup the house codes from the start - or maybe I just have not had the time to find it yet:-)
You haven't found it Yet, here it is: HOUSECODES: By Room or By Module Type or By Function or...?
a Newbie's 'things to be aware of' guide would be most helpful and I do not have the experience yet to right one for the next newbie to read.
Very good start for a guide as far as I'm concerned!
There have been a few users which have taken the time to write extensive posts explaining things or grouping links to important topics!
The problem is even fewer look for these threads and even fewer point newbies to them!
I'm going to sticky this thread so it is easier for newbies to find!
You may edit your original post to add things as you discover them!
Read some of the other sticky threads which are full of valueable info they will help with automation.
As for editing your original post read Topic: The Finer Art of Posting to the Forums  (Read 12329 times)  it may be of some help to you!
 #:)  :)+

« Last Edit: December 07, 2009, 10:29:01 AM by Tuicemen »
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Brian H

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Thanks for the detailed information. It will be a help to others.

#4) The IR7243 {no RF receiver} or IR-RF7243{Has an RF Receiver} are both European Models. That we may not be familiar with.
I would say from reading the users manual for the IR-RF7243 it was also receiving the RF commands from the remote and sending them back on the power line.
It is not a repeater as it does not take a power line command and resend it back on the power line. It was an added receiver to your setup and may help in coverage issues.

You also may have modules. With features. We don't have here; but wish we did.  ???
« Last Edit: December 07, 2009, 09:32:58 AM by Brian H »


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It is, indeed, frustrating that X-10 doesn't have more useful, comprehensive and descriptive instructions, guidelines and warnings about their products. It's aggravating to have to resort to forums...blind leading the blind, sometimes. Is it too much to ask to get accurate and useful instructions when purchasing products?

dave w

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Is it too much to ask to get accurate and useful instructions when purchasing products?
No, it is not too much to ask, or expect. Unfortunately we don't always get what we want, as is the case sometimes with X10. 
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We shouldn't blame X10 for products made by Marmitek and others. There's plenty to blame X10 for without that. ;)
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