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Author Topic: Remote Controlling lights on another building.  (Read 5535 times)

timc4444

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Remote Controlling lights on another building.
« on: March 19, 2008, 11:19:08 PM »

I've avoided X-10 because I knew I would have to fully understand it before using it. I've probably been missing out. I read some of the basics and understand some of it.

The project is controlling barn lights from a house. The two structures are about 100' away from each other and both share the same service.  At the barn there is a wall mounted switch. At the house there is not.

1. What parts do I need to make this work?
2. What type of switch is available for the house (pad mounted , key fob ??)
3. Do I need a coupler ?

Any help will be appreciated. ::)
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zach1234

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Re: Remote Controlling lights on another building.
« Reply #1 on: March 19, 2008, 11:35:07 PM »

All you need is a transceiver, a will switch module, and a wireless remote or Wall switch. If you call 1800 676 3044. I am sure they can put a package togeather for you.
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timc4444

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Re: Remote Controlling lights on another building.
« Reply #2 on: March 19, 2008, 11:40:37 PM »

Do you have part numbers from x10.com for my budget ??
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Puck

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Re: Remote Controlling lights on another building.
« Reply #3 on: March 20, 2008, 09:02:02 AM »

timc4444: Welcome to the forum.

If the barns are 100' from the house, then a simple X10 transceiver is not likely to work very well; their reception range is not that good.

If the barns are on a separate service from your house, then you have a second issue to deal with if you want to send a Power Line signal from the house to the barns.

An X10 transceiver from WGL Designs should give you the reception range needed along with an X10 PalmPad remote and of course X10 light switches in the barn, but that is a more costly alternative.

I'm sure there have been other users who have done what you are trying to do, and if so they will post more info for you. We also have members who can advise on coupling X10 signals across the 2 services as well.
« Last Edit: May 25, 2008, 10:34:16 AM by Puck »
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timc4444

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Re: Remote Controlling lights on another building.
« Reply #4 on: March 20, 2008, 09:30:15 AM »

Thanks. 

It is about a hundred feet between the two.  Why wouldn't I plug the transceiver into an outlet (assuming the same leg) in the house and let the x-10 signal travel over the AC ?
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Puck

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Re: Remote Controlling lights on another building.
« Reply #5 on: March 20, 2008, 10:01:05 AM »

It is about a hundred feet between the two.  Why wouldn't I plug the transceiver into an outlet (assuming the same leg) in the house and let the x-10 signal travel over the AC ?

When you stated the barns were on the same service, did you mean that they are on the same circuit breaker and is part of your regular house electrical service?

If so, then you might be able to get away with sending a PLC signal from the house to the barns... I don't know what your total electrical path distance from the house to both barns is, and I'm not sure how far an X10 PLC signal will travel before it becomes too weak. But if you can plug something like a Mini-Controller into a house outlet that is on the same breaker as the barns, that will give you your best chance of controlling the lights.
« Last Edit: March 20, 2008, 11:43:05 AM by Puck »
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steven r

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Re: Remote Controlling lights on another building.
« Reply #6 on: March 20, 2008, 02:05:39 PM »

...you might be able to get away with sending a PLC signal from the house to the barns... I don't know what your total electrical path distance from the house to both barns is, and I'm not sure how far an X10 PLC signal will travel before it becomes too weak. But if you can plug something like a Mini-Controller into a house outlet that is on the same breaker as the barns, that will give you your best chance of controlling the lights.
I'm inclined to agree that you have a much better chance of getting a PLC to the barn than an RF signal. It's a lot easier to boost a PLC signal than a wireless one.
Try Puck's suggestion to test if it will work or if you need to boost your signal. (He's one of our experts here.)
There are fancy tools for figuring out what is on the same circuit as your barn if you don't know. While they don't cost much and are very useful, the "poor man's" solution is to just flip a few circuit breakers.
If you end up needing a boosted signal, search this forum for "boosters", "signal suckers", "filters" and "phase couplers". Reading them will soon make you an expert on the subject also.  ;)
Another point to consider is the type and wattage of the light(s) you will be controlling. Florescent lights add more variables and if your wattage is more than 400 or 500 watts you may need to split up the lights and use more than one switch.
« Last Edit: March 20, 2008, 02:18:27 PM by steven r »
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timc4444

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Re: Remote Controlling lights on another building.
« Reply #7 on: March 20, 2008, 11:26:44 PM »

Thanks to both of you. The building is about 100' away. The actual wiring is probaly +- about 50 ft. more in length. They are both on the same service. The house has the meter main and a couple of subpanels are located in the  barn and one other garage? 120/240 single phase 3 wire service.


If the barn lighting circuit is not on the same phase, he'll move it to the other leg. 

My dad, brother and I are electricians.  It is interesting that neither of us have have come across x10 yet. I'm not sure why but I know that it was one more technology that I didn't have time to fully learn. We do Traffic Signal Construction so we are versed in a lot of trades. (Directional Boring, Concrete, the wiring , Video detection) and for hobbies: cars, car electronics(emissions), LEDs, Ademco alarm stuff and internet stuff. While never boring , it gets kind of overwhelming and time consuming to indulge all of it. 
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steven r

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Re: Remote Controlling lights on another building.
« Reply #8 on: March 21, 2008, 01:46:45 AM »

...My dad, brother and I are electricians.  It is interesting that neither of us have have come across x10 yet....
Well welcome to it now!
It looks like we may be asking you questions soon.  ;)
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EL34

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Re: Remote Controlling lights on another building.
« Reply #9 on: April 10, 2008, 05:48:15 AM »

I have two buildings here on the same service and control things nicely in the second building from the first.
My wiring is at least 150ft from the main panel to the sub panel in my second building.

Things were a bit if'y at first and then I nailed down all the problems by using passive couplers, one active coupler/repeater and several filters.

Been rock solid since I figured it out and fixed everything.

Go to my web iste here to read how I solved the problesm of having two buildings and 3 electrical panels.
http://www.el34world.com/Misc/home/X10_Problems.htm
« Last Edit: April 10, 2008, 05:51:19 AM by EL34 »
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