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Author Topic: Pseudo X10 Mod for Remote Indication of Module Status (On/Off)  (Read 15526 times)


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First, sorry if this is in the wrong section, I was not sure where it might best fit, and I also though that perhaps there is a better solution then my brute force solution that will work, but is not very sophisticated. This was in response to a forum email, so I have removed all info that says who it was, I assumed if they wanted folks to know they would have posted their issue/question in the forum. In any event here was their problem/request, and how I suggested to solve it, for background, the person said that they had limited electronics or X-10 knowledge so this solition is with that in mind, if you have a better idea you might keep that constraint in mind also.

The person wanted to know the status (On/Off) of 5 modules from a location where they did not have their AHP computer and they wanted to know it for each of 5 X-10 modules by having a different color light or LED, in a nice box to be on or off to show the state of the actual X-10 module they were monitoring. So while a little on the brute force side, this solutuion requires no actual mods to X-10 devices, but uses them in a unconventional way.

My Reply / Solution:

With a limited background in electronics and I will assume (no insult intended) a limited software background this would be a VERY difficult project, as you would either have to modify every X-10 module you have to drive a LED or use the SDK and find a way to gather that information from AHP, then get it out of your computer to an LED Array. On top of that, unless you have all X-10 2-Way modules then you would have no way to "poll" them for status, and even if you did you would have to write a program, interfaces, and the LED box. <That is the bad news>

Now for the good news...

Since I don't know the modules you have and it does not really matter, the key is they just must all have a unique Unit Code which I will assume they do, that each module is uniquely addressed that you want a unique indication for.

So for this plan we'll say you have 5 modules of some kind that are addressed C1, C2, C3, C4, & C5, I picked C for this example they could be any House/Unit Codes you want.

There are 2 ways you can do this, Cheap & Easy or More Expensive & Harder. The Cheap and Easy approach only requires you know how to plug stuff in, the More Expensive approach requires that you know how to solder, cut and strip wire. The Cheap approach will not look as good perhaps as the expensive approach, but will do the job fine!

All parts you need for this are listed at the end with prices and where to get them, the easy and cheapest way would cost you about $75, the more expensive way, provided you already have a soldering iron would be $122.

The Design

No matter what approach you choose the core design is the same, you take 5 Lamp Modules and address them the same as the ones you are using for your controls, so in this example C1 - C5. When the module is on/off, so will your Indicator Lamp Module since they are set to the same House and Unit Codes.

The Assembly (Use for Either Approach)

In the room with your desk:
1. Plug in the Plug Strip (Unfiltered kind)
2. Plug the 5 1 foot extension cords in to the plug strip
3. Plug in an appliance module (LM465) to the short extension cords
4. Address the LM465's each to the code you need, in this example C1, C2, C3, C4, C5

Use Only for Cheap Approach

1. Get a nice board (pre-finished)
2. Mount the 5 Night Lights on to the board (might use stick-on Velcro Pads to make them easy to replace if you have to)
3. Either buy 5 different color (ie Christmas 110VAC) bulbs and put one in each night light or
3a. Label each Night light with what it indicates.
4. Plug in each extension cord to a Lamp Module
5. Turn on the Night Lights, make sure all come on, you may have to flip them On/Off a few times)
6. Sync the night lights to the actual control modules, that is make sure they show the same state on or off)
Note1: For this approach you want extension cords that just have one plug at the end
Note2: This will use a little more power.
Note3: This will be brighter and perhaps more annoying depending on the bulbs and night lights you get)
Note4: You still have to option of putting this all in a box if you want it to look nicer, just make sure you drill some vent holes for the heat
Note5: If you use the Dimming feature, the night lights will dim also, a plus to this approach.

Use for More Expensive Approach

(Note: Test this with one 110VAC LED first and make sure there is enough draw to allow the LM465 to work!!)
1. Get the box you bought/built for this.
2. Cut the receptacle ends off of the 5 extension cords.
3. Spit each cord where you cut the end off about 1/2 - 1" (make sure not to expose the wires when you split them)
4. Strip off 1/8" to 1/4" of insulation from each of the wire ends. (That will be 10 ends)
5. Twist them tight, then tin them with solder. (This means heat the wire and adds a little solder to them, it should flow into the twisted wire)
6. Drill a hole in the back of the box big enough to put the 5 cords through.
7. Drill 5 holes in the front of the box where you plan to put your LED's
8. Run the 5 extension cords through the back hole of the box.
9. Tie each cord inside the box in a small one loop knot so they can't slip or be pulled out of the hole, make sure you have enough cord in box to reach each of the LED's.
10. Put in the first LED, don't fully secure it yet, but put the nut on so you can in a later step.
11. Solder the ends of one Extension Cord wires to the LED (MAKE sure they are NOT touching each other or anything else!!)
12. Wrap electrical tape about the all exposed contacts/wire. (never leave 110VAC contacts/wires exposed)
13. Tighten up the LED
14. Trace that extension cord to the plug end and label LED-1
15. Repeat Steps 10 - 14 for the remaining 4 LED's (remember to label them LED-2, 3, 4, 5)
16. Plug in/Unplug each extension cord to the appropriate Lamp Module until they turn on.
17. Using your X-10 Control, Cycle each one so the LED and actual Module reflect the same Status On / Off)
18. Seal up the Box.
19. Label the back of the box with a warning there is 110VAC Power inside, No User Serviceable parts!
Note1: For this the kind of end on the extension cords does not matter you are cutting them off
Note2: This will use a lot less power power.
Note3: This should not be too bright
Note4: If you use the Dimming feature, the LED's may or may not dim.


There are of course far more sophisticated ways to do this but with limited electronics knowledge or X-10, and not having to modify a single X-10 device this will do the job for you. How it looks in the end is only limited by your creativity, there are endless styles of nightlights and boxes boxes you can put this in. The LED's come in Red, Green, Yellow, White, and Blue.)

Parts Sources
5 -  1 Foot Extension Cords $3 each -- Winford (5 = $15)

5 - Extension Cords $3 each -- Home Depot (5 = $15)

1 - Non-Filtered Plug Strip -- Home Depot $4

6 - LM465 2 Pin Lamp Modules -- $30 X10 Warehouse Ebay (2 orders of their 3 Packs)

5 -- 110VAC LED's - Digikey @ $11.42 each = $57.71 (Harder Approach Only)

(You would need wire cutters, solder, and a soldering iron for this approach)

Optional approach to LED's

5 -- 110VAC Nightlights -- Home Depot $2 Each = $10 (Easy Approach Only)

1 -- Plastic / Wood Box to mount everything in (optional depending on approach) < $10 (Target, Wal-Mart, etc...)

Hope This Helps,



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Re: Remote Indication of Module Status (On/Off) -- Update
« Reply #1 on: April 09, 2009, 05:12:13 PM »

Two quick updates to my post:
1. knightrider found this which might just do the job with one part and for about the same price, not sure if it will work or not but it might be worth calling then and asking, here is the link:

2. If you go with the design I suggested in the first post, I found a 110VAC LED in my junk box, DigiKey PN 679-1540-RED and it works perfectly with a LM465, the LEt is on when the LM is on and off when the LM is off, no leaking current issues, 100% reliable on/off, well in the 20-30 times I cycled it.

Just switch out "1540" which is red, for 1541=Green / 1542=Yellow / 1543=Blue / 1544=White

You can also get them in Super Bright and various mount style, flush, prominant, recenssed, and diffiernt diameters from 6mm - like 20 mm. The one I tested was 8mm normal brightness.

Oh and the good part is the total power draw is 6ma, so if you use 5 that would be 25ma only.



Brian H

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Re: Pseudo X10 Mod for Remote Indication of Module Status (On/Off)
« Reply #2 on: April 10, 2009, 06:53:56 AM »

Great project.
Thanks for sharing.
Helpful Post from me.


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Re: Pseudo X10 Mod for Remote Indication of Module Status (On/Off)
« Reply #3 on: April 10, 2009, 08:35:01 AM »

Great project.
Thanks for sharing.
Helpful Post from me.

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