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Author Topic: X10 Sensors & Cold Weather  (Read 10507 times)

tom j

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X10 Sensors & Cold Weather
« on: January 05, 2008, 10:01:30 PM »

Hay guys just got an e-mail from x10 for a terrific offer on an X10 security console and two key fobs and one motion sensor all for only 50 bucks with FREE shipping that's a great backup system. If you use this as your primary system having backup modules is a must!! One thing I feel you should be aware of is that x10 sensors I don't know about the console but the sensors are NOT winterized and if exposed to below freezing weather will fail!!! X10 advertises this deal as a setup for your garage and intimates that they can be used in cold weather well NOT TRUE! unless you have a heated garage or live in Florida or California or some other warm climate.

Now let me tell you my experience I was having problems with sensors failing and I just thought well you know poor quality until I realized that the only ones that were failing were the ones in the unheated addition we were adding to the house this project took a few years and every spring or early summer like clock work the sensors in that area of the house would fail, had numerous other ones throughout the house and never a problem but the ones that were exposed to extreme cold below freezing temperatures would always fail now it doesn't have to happen immediately you're probably make it through the winter but come spring expect trouble, who knows I think one of mine went through two winters before it failed but it did fail. I don't even recommend putting them in a drafty window seal. Had two just laying in a window seal these windows have been replaced but were very drafty and these were exposed to a steady stream of cold air over the winter, sure enough that summer the two that were sitting in the widows failed now maybe it was just a coincidence but I've never had a door window sensor go out that wasen't exposed to the cold. Another thing when these things fail they tend to give a lot of false alarms the last ones that did this were giving false alarms every 30 minutes or so until I got home. Had to come all the way from work cuz it was driving my neighbors crazy because I had a third party x10 outside siren. If I had been out of town when this happen it would have been disastrous with my alarm being tripped every half hour. So if you need backup equipment by all means snap up this deal just be warned that if you use the sensors window/door or motion expect trouble if you plan to use them in a cold environment.

Tom j
« Last Edit: January 05, 2008, 10:29:42 PM by tom j »
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Puck

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Re: X10 Sensors & Cold Weather
« Reply #1 on: January 05, 2008, 10:52:09 PM »

Hey tom j, what sensors were producing your false alarms in sub-freezing temperatures? The DS10A, MS10A or both?

I don't use any of my MS10As, but I do use a DS10A for my garagedoor. The garage is unheated and its exposed temperature on the Canadian Prairies is ofter sub-freezing for weeks on end, and that DS10A has been flawless now in it's 3rd winter since I installed it.

I can see the MS10A false triggering with temperature swings, but so far so good for the DS10A I am using outside of the heated part of my home.
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tom j

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Re: X10 Sensors & Cold Weather
« Reply #2 on: January 05, 2008, 11:15:39 PM »

Hey tom j, what sensors were producing your false alarms in sub-freezing temperatures? The DS10A, MS10A or both?

I don't use any of my MS10As, but I do use a DS10A for my garagedoor. The garage is unheated and its exposed temperature on the Canadian Prairies is ofter sub-freezing for weeks on end, and that DS10A has been flawless now in it's 3rd winter since I installed it.

I can see the MS10A false triggering with temperature swings, but so far so good for the DS10A I am using outside of the heated part of my home.


Hi well actually I've personally experienced problems with both like I said one of mine lasted a few years but the MS10a's usually only made it through one winter. Hum... really  surprised yours haven't failed but given time they might I hope not but I personally just haven't had any luck with these in the cold 100% of the ones I've exposed to the cold have failed, maybe someone can give us can relate their experience. Just can't believe the failures were random these are the only failures I've ever experienced. Thanks for the feedback!

Tom j
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Walt2

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Re: X10 Sensors & Cold Weather
« Reply #3 on: January 06, 2008, 08:44:29 AM »

As long as the batteries are in good shape, I have no problems with my motion detectors and door sensors, which are outdoors (front porch), in my unheated attached garage, and in the shed out in my backyard.

However, if the batteries are marginal, and stop working due to drop to sub-freezing temps, then, yes, I have problems.   But that, IMHO, is a battery fault.  Replacing the battery with a new, fresh, one, quickly solves any such problems.

BTW, the wall switch modules, both in my garage and out in the shed, have no problems at all, regardless of temps (and of course, the wall switch modules use AC not batteries).
« Last Edit: January 06, 2008, 08:48:25 AM by Walt2 »
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Tuicemen

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Re: X10 Sensors & Cold Weather
« Reply #4 on: January 06, 2008, 10:16:13 AM »

I also haven't had any problems with cold weather and the door/window sensors Yet! ;)
I have them installed at the cottage (unheated except when I'm there)!
It was -28 c  last weekend and no problems.
Although this is the first year using them time will tell, but Intend on replacing the batteries in the spring anyways!
I also have a sensor outside in an unheated shed here and have yet to experience a false activation from it although it doesn't get as cold here! (Southern Ontario)::)
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tom j

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Re: X10 Sensors & Cold Weather
« Reply #5 on: January 06, 2008, 08:05:19 PM »

Well hopefully you guys won't experience any problems, I was just trying to relate my experence in the hope it might help others. Well you know it would be nice if x10 would chime in on this and tell us if these things are designed to be used in sub freezing temperatures. Most other other security equipment that at least I've seen don't recommend using their sensors in sub freezing conditions unless it's been specified that they have been harden for these conditions, and they also give you a recommended temperature range but I don't see this in x10's literature. Like I said this could take a few years  ;)

Tom j
« Last Edit: January 07, 2008, 11:55:29 AM by tom j »
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tom j

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Re: X10 Sensors & Cold Weather
« Reply #6 on: January 07, 2008, 11:59:41 AM »

I also haven't had any problems with cold weather and the door/window sensors Yet! ;)
I have them installed at the cottage (unheated except when I'm there)!
It was -28 c  last weekend and no problems.
Although this is the first year using them time will tell, but Intend on replacing the batteries in the spring anyways!
I also have a sensor outside in an unheated shed here and have yet to experience a false activation from it although it doesn't get as cold here! (Southern Ontario)::)

Hay Tuice Happy New Year!! say just curious how far it that shed from the console.

Tom j
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steven r

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Re: X10 Sensors & Cold Weather
« Reply #7 on: January 07, 2008, 12:20:43 PM »

...if the batteries are marginal, and stop working due to drop to sub-freezing temps, then, yes, I have problems.   But that, IMHO, is a battery fault.  Replacing the battery with a new, fresh, one, quickly solves any such problems....
I too am inclined to to believe failures as a result of cold weather or more often due to marginal batteries than defective sensors. If one continues to have failures in cold weather they may benefit from using lithium batteries which are less subject to voltage drop off in cold weather.
« Last Edit: January 07, 2008, 06:43:39 PM by steven r »
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Tuicemen

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Re: X10 Sensors & Cold Weather
« Reply #8 on: January 07, 2008, 04:01:19 PM »


Hay Tuice Happy New Year!! say just curious how far it that shed from the console.

Tom j
Thanks! I don't run the DS7000 console here only AHP, shed is 50 feet from the CM15A.
I only run the DS7000 at the cottage in DC mode!
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tom j

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Re: X10 Sensors & Cold Weather
« Reply #9 on: January 08, 2008, 08:46:24 PM »

...if the batteries are marginal, and stop working due to drop to sub-freezing temps, then, yes, I have problems.   But that, IMHO, is a battery fault.  Replacing the battery with a new, fresh, one, quickly solves any such problems....
I too am inclined to to believe failures as a result of cold weather or more often due to marginal batteries than defective sensors. If one continues to have failures in cold weather they may benefit from using lithium batteries which are less subject to voltage drop off in cold weather.

Well all I can say is I only use alkaline batteries, checked the batteries and actually used the same ones in the new sensors that replaced them, haven't had a problem with the new sensors and they have not been exposed to the cold. Like I said guys this doesn't happen immediatlly only time will tell if you experence this problem.

Tom j
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steven r

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Re: X10 Sensors & Cold Weather
« Reply #10 on: January 08, 2008, 10:32:23 PM »

...Well all I can say is I only use alkaline batteries, checked the batteries and actually used the same ones in the new sensors that replaced them, haven't had a problem with the new sensors and they have not been exposed to the cold.....
Keep in mind that if the batteries are marginal they can work perfectly well in a new sensor till they get cold again.
Batteries can test fine at room temperature and still fail in extreme cold.

From http://chemistry.about.com/od/howthingsworkfaqs/f/coldbattery.htm:

"...Lowering the temperature causes chemical reactions to proceed more slowly, so if a battery is used at a low temperature then less current is produced than at a higher temperature. As the batteries run down they quickly reach the point where they cannot deliver enough current to keep up with the demand. If the battery is warmed up again it will operate normally."

From http://data.energizer.com/PDFs/E91.pdf: See the Constant Current Performance chart on page 2 of the PDF.

Note the voltage drop off curves. e.g. At freezing point voltage drops in half the time of room temperature and even more so as it gets colder.
« Last Edit: January 08, 2008, 11:04:01 PM by steven r »
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tom j

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Re: X10 Sensors & Cold Weather
« Reply #11 on: January 09, 2008, 09:12:54 PM »

...Well all I can say is I only use alkaline batteries, checked the batteries and actually used the same ones in the new sensors that replaced them, haven't had a problem with the new sensors and they have not been exposed to the cold.....
Keep in mind that if the batteries are marginal they can work perfectly well in a new sensor till they get cold again.
Batteries can test fine at room temperature and still fail in extreme cold.

From http://chemistry.about.com/od/howthingsworkfaqs/f/coldbattery.htm:

"...Lowering the temperature causes chemical reactions to proceed more slowly, so if a battery is used at a low temperature then less current is produced than at a higher temperature. As the batteries run down they quickly reach the point where they cannot deliver enough current to keep up with the demand. If the battery is warmed up again it will operate normally."

From http://data.energizer.com/PDFs/E91.pdf: See the Constant Current Performance chart on page 2 of the PDF.

Note the voltage drop off curves. e.g. At freezing point voltage drops in half the time of room temperature and even more so as it gets colder.

Well that may be all true but when I hooked these up to a spare console and left them in the guest room with NEW BATTERIES they would trigger about every half hour. The guest bedroom is heated ;)

Tom j
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tom j

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Re: X10 Sensors & Cold Weather
« Reply #12 on: January 12, 2008, 06:17:13 PM »

Quick questions guys anyone ever have a door/window sensor fail?? for any reason even old age just curious cuz other then the problems I've noted I have never had one go out on me even one that watches over a basement window that has never been open in 8 years, but it's still going strong reporting in like clockwork every day.

Tom j
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