A bunch of newbie questions

I'm rebuilding a house from the ground up after a fire.

I was getting enchanted with the whole X-10 idea until reading many of the posts on a.h.a and c.h.a. Since I'm starting from nothing, would I be better off just going hardwire controls for everything?

If so, what kind of equipment am I looking for?

I want to use a lot of flourescent lighting and have it be controllable -- am I looking to create a disaster by trying to use X-10? It certainly seems from reading posts that flourescent lighting and X-10 are like cats and dogs.

I primarily want to control lighting, insulating shutters, fans and dampers, monitor thermistors embedded in solar mass and use to turn on and off radiant hot water heating. I'll have some cat5E running around for a lan in the house. I don't much care about distributing audio and video, but guess I should make some accomodation for it to make the house nicer for the next guy.

I'm going to have a photo-voltaic grid-tied system. Assuming I end up using X-10 for some of the lighting control, should I expect the inverter to cause problems for the X-10 signals?

Again assuming X-10, I plan to have a whole-house blocker/phase-coupler. Would tieing the PV feed on the utility side of the blocker solve inverter noise problems?

I'm at the stage where I need to learn a lot in a fairly short amount of time. I'll sure appreciate some suggestions about where I should concentrate my study.


Best regards, Dennis

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Their are several alternatives to X10 that are better. Just to name a few

UPB-Still powerline but uses different freq. Far better in term of realibility Zwave-Rf solution No powerline Zigbee-Rf When products come out

Some of what you are doing I would chose an Ocelot with a hardware solution. Just can't beat it for realibility.

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I just wouldn't go with X10 for what your wanting to do.

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I would definitely recommend AGAINST X10. If I were doing a house again, I would prewire it for automation. Having said that, UPB will work as well,but may be more expensive depending on what you want to do. The nice thing about UPB is that it can work with your existing system if you buy a system that supports it. This means if you decide you forgot something, you can add it later without Tearing up the walls.


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Fluorescents, per se, don't give X-10 trouble but the switching power supplies used with many CFLs can cause problems. There are even dimmable fluorecents that will work with X-10 but it all depends on the specifics and with most of them coming from China, you can't always trust the specifications.

The inverter may cause problems for any PLC system, whether it is X-10, UPB, or the still vaporous Insteon - it depends on how clean a sine wave it provides. The use of photo-voltaics is certain to increase once the newly invented, much more efficient, spray-on plastic infrared cells reach the market.

I think hardwire makes more sense with new construction but the cost is still much higher than for most PLC systems. Here are some hardwire systems...

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http://www.>I'm rebuilding a house from the ground up after a fire.

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Dave Houston

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