X10 Controller Question

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I've been sent here from alt.home.repair<g>

Is it possible for an X10 "control box" to show (say, with an LED maybe)
whether a remote device is on/off or has been sent the on/off signal?

I would like to control my water heater re-circulating pump (or garage
drive-way lights) - devices I cannot normally see from inside the house.

I'm sure someone will just say "switch it on/off - then you will know" - but
the notification on the re-circulating pump is useful to know whether it has
been on or off, because it takes a few minutes for the water to get to the
shower.

Will "Insteon" solve my problem? or anything else?

Thanks for any suggestions.


--
Brian



Re: X10 Controller Question
We use the Leviton 16400 controller for devices that we want to know their
status - such as scheduled irrigation cycles.  That in-wall controller has
up to 4 rocker switches for on/off control, and has a LED that indicates
when the device is on.  The LED also illuminates when the device that switch
normally controls is turned on by another controller.

We also have a re-circulating pump for instant hot water at all locations.
The Ocelot turns that pump on every 15 minutes, and runs it only long enough
to push new water to the furthest point.  With the entire hot water loop
well insulated, the temperature remains essentially constant.

Jeff

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Re: X10 Controller Question
In article

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IIRC, the LED indicates the last signal sent, not wether the
device is actually on or off

Re: X10 Controller Question

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The LEDs can be turned on and off by remote X10 signals.  So, if you use it
for things that are only controlled by X10 signals, it always indicates the
status.  It is perfect to trigger and indicate the status of macros, and
control devices like the Rain8.

Jeff



Re: X10 Controller Question

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Unless the controlled device reports _its_ status to the controller, the
controller has no way to know if the controlled device actually
responded to the last sent command.

--
Tom Stiller

PGP fingerprint =  5108 DDB2 9761 EDE5 E7E3
                   7BDA 71ED 6496 99C0 C7CF

Re: X10 Controller Question
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That is true if one's X10 system doesn't work properly, but it is not an
issue here.

Jeff



Re: X10 Controller Question

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It it's not an issue, why does the OP have any question about the state
of the controlled device?

--
Tom Stiller

PGP fingerprint =  5108 DDB2 9761 EDE5 E7E3
                   7BDA 71ED 6496 99C0 C7CF

Re: X10 Controller Question
The current X10 controller (X10 Pro 4 station) that I have has no LEDs on
it.

Just to make the issue clear here...I need to see the status of the remote
device displayed at the controller (in the house)...not an the remote device
itself.

BTW - I looked the Leviton web site and it`s not obvious (to me at least)
whether Leviton products are X10 compatible...are they?

--
Brian
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Re: X10 Controller Question
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The original Leviton 4-switch controller didn't have LEDs either.  I
understand the LEDs were first included on the 6400.  Some people reported
reliability problems with that unit, and it was replaced by the 16400.  Our
16400s have worked flawlessly for almost 4 years.  It has since been
superceded by newer models, but the 16400 is still available.  I prefer the
look of the 16400, and it provides the ability to label each of the
switches.  The 16400 is the "Uni-Base" which interfaces to the line.  It
also requires a 16450-series keypad that provides 1 to 4 switches.

Leviton uses "Decora Home Controls" (DHC) to describe their X10 compatible
devices.

Jeff



Re: X10 Controller Question
Ah! I now see how these two units work together....I think! the 16450 just
plugs into the uni-base 16400?

http://www.smarthomepro.com/4217wr.html - oddly this page idetifies this 4
switch unit as 16450-4W and also as 4217WR

http://www.smarthomepro.com/4210R.html - this unit is identified as 16400
and 4210R

Am I correct in thinking one is a Leviton part number and the other is a
SmartHomePro number

Now, interestingly, the Leviton web site shows something slightly different
as 16450-4W

http://www.leviton.com/OA_HTML/ibeCCtpItmDspRte.jsp?a=b&item=4536 - I think
the picture is wrong.

Anyway, my next problem is how to buy them...Leviton's web site identifies
just one outlet within 100 miles of me and its a distributor, not a
retailer.

--
Brian
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Re: X10 Controller Question
Yes, the 16400 uni-base and a matching 16450 keypad work together.  Yes,
those are SmartHome part numbers.

There are many different keypads.  The one in the Leviton picture shows a
4-button keypad with 3 on/off switches and one bright/dim control.  The
SmartHome link is for a 4-button keypad with just on/off control.  There is
also a 4-button keypad for scene lighting.  And there are 1 and 2 button
keypads too.

There are a bunch of places that sell it on the web.  I bought ours through
Worthington.  SmartHome sells to individuals.  Just Google "Leviton 16400"
to find other distributors.

Jeff

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Re: X10 Controller Question
tomstiller@comcast.net (Tom Stiller) writes:

| Unless the controlled device reports _its_ status to the controller, the
| controller has no way to know if the controlled device actually
| responded to the last sent command.

ACT's in-wall controllers can be configured to poll the device to confirm
its state change.  Unfortunately, last time I checked the ACT controllers
required ACT's modified status response (they add the unit code) so you
couldn't use a generic X10 2-way module.  Of course, at this point I'm
not sure where ACT is in the X10 market...

                Dan Lanciani
                ddl@danlan.*com

Re: X10 Controller Question
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but
has

I'm a little confused by your requirements.  You talk about "whether it has
*been* on or off" and to me, that implies knowing more than simple status
LEDs will tell you.  All status LEDs will tell you is whether the device IS
on or off, but nothing about how long it has been on or when it was last on.
In fact, Nick correctly points out that all status lights will really tell
you, without getting complicated, is that a command to the device has been
sent.

I'd probably opt for monitoring the pump's piping with a $20 wired or
wireless remote sensor thermometer that would tell you the water
temperature.  That would give the feedback I think you are looking for,
based on your comments.  Can you please clarify whether your main concern is
the status of the devices or their remote control or both?

The devices Jeff talks about will probably do at least some of what you want
to do, if not all.

--
Bobby G.





Re: X10 Controller Question
The hot water re-circulating pump is outside (we live Phoenix, AZ)...of our
master bedroom, in the water closet only accessible from outside.. The pump
is currently on a timer to come on in the mornings for showers an again in
the evenings. However, if we want to take a shower in non-normal times, then
we either wait for the hot water to arrive at the shower head...which is a
long time when you're standing naked....waiting<g> or we step outside and
manually hit the timer ON. Sometimes we get undressed and then realize the
pump may not be on...my wife frowns on this procedure of having to go
outside to turn on/off the pump.

As an aside, we recently installed an outside pool and the pool light, water
feature and landscape lights were all hooked up to a new X10 remote control.
So, it crossed my mind that I could control the re-circulating water heater
pump with the same x10 controller and dis-connect the time al-together- this
I could do now. But the my current controller does not tell me if the pump
has been switched on/off - so, we would never know if we could get instant
hot water from the shower.

However, if the controller had a LED, even just to say it had been switched
on, then that would be sufficient to tell us that someone had previously
switched it on and by now the hot water would be flowing. If the LED was
off, then we could switch it on (without having to go outside semi-nude),
wait a few minutes and then take a shower.

The reverse of this is also consideration too. If I see the LED ON and I
know we are not going to require any hot water soon, I can switch if
OFF...all without going outside.

--
Brian
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Re: X10 Controller Question
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Ah, in the middle of the new dustbowl, or so the nightly news would have us
believe!

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pump
then

OK.  That's a lot more information.  Clearly you want a way to remotely turn
that pump on when you're covered with dust and need to take a shower in the
middle of the day, outside of the normal hot water schedule.  But you've
introduced a bit of new wrinkle, I think.  If you put the pump on X-10, you
would have to account for the timer and that might get sticky.  Power the
timer via X-10, and the timer no longer works correctly, only when the X-10
outlet is powered.  Downstream of the timer and the X-10 remote only works
when the timer is running and there's power to the circuit.  Can you
describe the wiring of the manual switch to us?  That's where you're going
to have to have your remote control active - to mimic the push of a human
finger.

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water
control.

That's good to know.  You're already into the X-10 line, so it seems logical
to continue along that path.

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heater
this

And that's probably going to be the best (I use the word loosely!) method
for dealing with the timer v. X-10 issue I described above.  There are any
number of methods for timing X-10 operations, from LED or LCD clock-like
mini-timers to a controller like the CM11A or CM15A that can store commands
(macros) and execute them according to time or even conditions.  I'd go for
the mini-timer for simplicity's sake.

http://www.smarthome.com/1100x.html

I've seen it on Ebay and elsewhere much cheaper and X-10 pro has a new LCD
model that has a much longer lasting battery backup (two AA's instead of one
9v).  Either one will automate your pump for two complete on-off cycles per
day.  No PC, no software required and it gives you manual control of 8
devices right on the clock.

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I'm still keen on a remote sensor thermometer that would tell you whether
there's actually hot water in the pipes.  That's because status LEDs can be
fooled by stray commands and they won't tell you if your wife just had the
unit running.  There's no memory involved in status reporting but there is
memory involved in temperature reporting.  Ideally, you'd want to see
something on a little wall display like alarm systems have that showed the
last time the pump was turned on:

Pump activated at X:XX AM.

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switched

Remote control would certainly eliminate the naked step.  I'm just not sure
status LEDs are going to insure you step into hot water reliably because
there's no way to tell when the pump was last on, only if it IS on or not.

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The X-10 timer also has a sleep mode so that you can turn on a device from
the keypad and then press the SLEEP button -- 15 minutes later the timer
will automatically turn the device off.   That should be helpful in not
remembering to have to shut off the unit.  Before taking an unscheduled
shower, you would just turn the pump on at the clock and tap the sleep
button twice for a 30 minute delay if 15's not long enough.  I don't use the
Leviton unit Jeff's described, but I believe it would be totally compatible
with turning the pump on and off via the mini-timer

--
Bobby G.




Re: X10 Controller Question
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The pumps were just plugged into a 110 outlet. I bought a digital timer from
Home Depot which just sits between the pump cord and the 110 outlet. If I
were to install an X10 remote and obtain a new controller with LEDs, I would
disconnect the timer. We would just control the pump manually from inside
the house.

Brian



Re: X10 Controller Question
Have you considered a low tech (but possibly
more reliable) solution?  Since the pump room
abuts your bedroom, you could just wire a
circuit to light an LED in the bedroom when the
pump is receiving power.

12VDC power supplies are cheap and easy to
find online or at RatShaK.  They generally
employ a plug-in transformer so there's no
need to play with 110VAC.  Here's an example
(my website) but there are others even cheaper
on plenty of sites.
http://www.bassburglaralarms.com/product_12139_detailed.htm

An LED on a plate such as Alarm Controls Corp's
RP28 would complete the hardware requirements.

If you have an electrical outlet that's controlled
by the timer the entire job will take about 20
minutes, including poking the low voltage wire
through the wall.  If it's hard wired you'll
need to add an outlet in parallel to the pump.
That will take another 30-45 minutes and cost
less than $10 at Home Depot.

--

Regards,
Robert L Bass

=============================>
Bass Home Electronics
941-925-8650
4883 Fallcrest Circle
Sarasota Florida 34233
http://www.bassburglaralarms.com
=============================>


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Re: X10 Controller Question
On Apr 15, 10:15 pm, "Brian Staff"
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The RedyTemp hot water recirculator is engineered with the
capabilities your looking for.  It can be controlled by a timer, x-10,
motion sensor, sound sensor, etc. all without any tricky re-wiring.
It's push-button override forces the unit to operate for a single
cycle and stop even when the timer is in it's scheduled-off mode.
It's worth taking a look at http://www.redytemp.com


Re: X10 Controller Question
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That looks ideal, but my house is less than two years old. Also, we have two
water heaters/re-circulating pumps - one on the kids side and one on our
side of the house. I don't think I can justify the expense and the work<g>.

Thanks for th input though

Brian



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