I would like to know what people are using to control their home
Also a short note on how reliable they feel the system is.
I use Harpers HC2000 / DOS control programme...has some quirks and the
system is too slow.
-I found X10 receievers work flakey in certain locations, despite
trying to correct for 15 years. Must be a resonant piece of wiring??
-I found X10 wireless RF receiver/X10 converters to be really bad.
They send out All Lights On codes at random sometimes and mistake
codes. I run four units with different house codes and they all seem
to do it about once every month or two.
- I found wireless X10 motion detectors do not work well in the cold.
Not the batteries, unless just weaker. They begin to work better as
the weather warms up (garage wall)
I use software I've written myself so I'm not familiar with the packages
others use or the reliability level.
Your flaky receivers may have a nearby signal sink which attenuates the
signal. Usually, this is a piece of electronic gear that has a capacitor
across the mains. Some of these are only bothersome when turned on, some are
always a problem. For a brief explanation see...
An ELK ESM1 X-10 Signal Strength Meter can eliminate most of the guesswork.
You can even "borrow" one from AutomatedOutlet.com.
Which RF receivers do you have? The TM751 does not "hear" powerline activity
so it's output can collide with other signals on the line. Usually, the
result is like automobile collisions (junk) but occasionally the result is a
valid X-10 code (even when both have different housecodes). This is the most
likely cause of what you experience. The RR501 "hears" the powerline and
backs off after sensing a collision, sending its code only after the line is
clear. It doesn't totally eliminate collisions but does reduce the number.
The Leviton HCPRF handles all housecodes so you may not need as many of them
although none of these have really great range so you may need multiples
just for coverage. There's a brief paragraph on the HCPRF here...
X-10's wireless motion sensors can exacerbate the collision problem,
especially when placed where one or more see the same motion.
Batteries lose their "oomph" rapidly as the temperature drops (and recover
when they warm up). A few people have run tests using their freezers and
posted their results. To begin with, the X-10 motion sensors are not top
shelf in terms of quality. There are more costly (but non-X10) motion
detectors designed for outdoor, cold weather use but all have problems at
really low temperatures - 'tis the nature of the beast.
I'm using Indigo from Perceptive Automation. The software supports both
X10 and Insteon (although, my house wiring is too old for Insteon, so
I'm stuck with X10 and all of its quirks). It's nice because it runs a
server invisibly in the background, then the client software may
connect from any computer on your network. I've also been able to set
up responses to expected "bad" X10 messages from my wireless
transmitters so that the software sends the correct message when a bad
one is detected. It's very sophisticated software and worth the price.
Thanx for the reply. I have a couple of questions for you.
1) Can you explain how your wiring is too old for Insteon. I thought
it was backed up by RF connection and much faster but using alower
freq over the power line. This sounds more tolerable.
2) How does this software know any unit has received a bad message?
Everyone of my units receives an "All lamps on" signal about once per
month. A few receive "unit off" signals when I get collisions
"Bream Rockmetteller" wrote
The Insteon switch require power for its own purposes.
In a modern electrical box, you'll find individual wires for power and
return as well as ground wires and wires to the load. All of the common
return wires are typically bundled together, and each load gets its own
switched power line.
An Insteon switch has three wires: one for power, one for return and
one for load. You can connect the Insteon switch to the power and
return, and connect a lamp to the load, but only assuming it has its
own common return path.
My old house only has power entering the box, and a single wire to the
load. There's no power for the Insteon circuitry itself, and the load
has a return path I can't access. So, The blue wire out of the Insteon
switch doesn't do me much good. I've discussed this with the SmartHome
folks, and they basically told me it won't work.
The old-fashioned X-10 switches have only two wires: power in and power
to the load... 1970's-style code. The switch gets its own power and
provides power to the load from the same source.
Regarding the software, the reason it knows it has received a "bad"
message is because I told it so. When I have a light act in a strange
manner, I look at the log that Indigo keeps.
If I see that an RF switch somehow transmitted "turn on E10" instead of
"turn on the kitchen lights" which are E1, I'll add a script in the
"Trigger Actions" sections that says something like "If you receive a
message to turn on E10, send a message to turn on the kitchen lights."
That way, even if the switch or the receiver or some random noise has
caused the message to go bad, the software will re-transmit the correct
I hope this helps...
While you did not address your questions to me, I can answer some of them.
Insteon devices require neutral.
Insteon has over-hyped some of their marketing jargon, particularly the
"dual mesh network" phrase, leading to a frequent misunderstanding. There
are only a very limited number of Insteon devices that send/receive RF. They
use an RF link to couple the phases and you can add RF Access Points, if
needed, but the switches and plug-in modules are not-RF capable, they only
send/receive via the powerline. They are planning more RF devices. There's
awhitepaper on the Insteon web site that gives the details if you want to
Forward error correction is impossible with X-10.
"John J. Bengii" wrote:
Unless you're using something that receives RF directly, you cannot see the
RF messages. You only see powerline messages so the incorrect command has
already made it to the powerline before your software is aware of it.
Even if your software does receive direct RF messages, there are seldom
collisions between RF codes and when there are, the result is garbage -
there's no possible way to sort out what the two colliding messages were.
The RF messages do contain data which allows a receiver to check validity
but any corruption will merely cause an invalid message it will not cause
one message to be transformed into another. IOW, corrupt RF messages never
make it to the powerline from any X-10 transceiver.
Bream Rockmetteller wrote:
So the Insteon devices all require netrals to perform properly and get
clearer signals. I know the X10 devices typically do not require
neutrals but there are a few starting to need a neutral . I think I
have one device. Of course non of this discussion woul apply to a wall
wart device where all conductors are available anyway...correct?
In modern wiring techniques the neutral is often not accessable
either. Wiring codes recommend the feed goes to the lamps octagon box
first, where there are more cubit inches of air for the multiple
connection heat to be disapated. Then the light switch only gets two
wires and cannot ake a device requiing a neutral. It would appear,
with CFL lamping and their 3rd harmonic generations, any system
without a neutral will become a problem.
Thanx. This is beginning to clear in my head somewhat.
"Bream Rockmetteller" wrote
I was not aware of the RF missing factor on these devices. You are
correct on the overhype. They discuss this technique in depth and give
the impression all Insteon devices are "fully equipped" but when
examining their remote units, the RF is never mentioned.
The units are quite pricey and the slow replacement of X10 devices
seems attractive. Most of mine have been removed from service due to
- I am building a new home and recovering units for the move.
- many operated unreliabily or not at all despite two powerline signal
bridges and neighbour blocking devices.
- too may light left on for days is costing me energy money on my
bill, despite software to shut them down a few times a day for "just
in case" scenarios.
- too many "all lights on" in the middle of the night from wireless
receivers (I think)
I short the three of four dozen units and 15 years of trying to
perfect the system has resulted in a complete distrust for X10 units
and there is only a few spots where flakey can be useful. Soon I will
retire and won't need my "sunrise" algorythm for a 300W halogen
anymore either. I was hoping Inteon may be an answer for a technology
There's a "gotcha" with the gradual replacement scenario. Each Insteon
device is two-way and the transmitters attenuate X-10 signals in the same
manner as two-way X-10 devices do. The more Insteon devices, the better the
Insteon reliability but the bigger the hit on X-10 reliability. It depends
on how many total devices you have but at some point you'll probably find
you need to convert all remaining X-10 devices.
All that said, most of the people using Insteon report good reliability
although some report problems. While Insteon is subject to the same signal
attenuators and noise sources as X-10, filters will fix most problems as
they do for X-10. There are some persistent complainers on the Insteon forum
but I suspect most are from people who really do not understand it.
I think an ESM1 signal meter is almost a necessity. It lets you see X-10 and
Insteon signals (although it cannot interpret Insteon) and measure relative
amplitudes. It can eliminate most of the guesswork. AutomatedOutlet.com will
even loan you one - knowing full well that 98% (my WAG) of the loaners turn
Insteon prices have edged up plus they have apparently discontinued some of
their lower priced "value" lines but I think it is still the best choice for
new installations where the user doesn't want to spend far more for
hard-wired low voltage control. However, someone who has a large X-10
investment and understands the ins and outs is probably better off sticking
Given that you've had X-10 problems, you may continue to have them with
Insteon. You probably need to run the the problems down before deciding.
Whichever way you go, as you move into the new house, deploy switches and
modules in sub-groups so you can find and fix problems before you have a a
large number of devices. Troubleshooting a limited number of devices is
easier to manage. You'll have lots of time to troubleshoot.
"John J. Bengii" wrote:
LOL. I doubt I will have lots of time to troubleshoot. I am building
the home, mostly myself. This wasn't intentional but it is hard to
find decent labout at a realistic price around that area.
The worst problem I have is my sunrise halogen that I progressively
briighten on work mornings. Some days the wall wart dimmer will not
shut off and I have to unplug it. I have tried different units with
the same success. I suspected I was pushing the unit's heat rating
(300W) and got a 200Watt bulb with the same result. Basically there is
nothing else on the circuit and it appears to work fine in the another
circuit. I have checked all the electrical connections and suspect
some kind of resonant tuned circuit in the cable length. My TW523 is
at the service panel for centralization with a 100' RS-232 connection
to the computer.
Basically I would also like to get something that will run on a
Windoze machine with network access to the beast. Currently I can only
run in DOS and I cannot for the life of me remember how to get all the
NIC drivers working. Win 3.11 used to set them all up for you and then
you just dropped the GUI. I wrote my own code for the CM-11 but can't
get through some of the protocol spec published. AFAIC it just doesn't
work in spots. On a power blink it needs to be accessed and relaod
macros or something (been a long time now) and haven't been able to
make it talk that part of it. I am sure there is all kinds of code and
drivers out there that are good for an old hack like me to boost his
Is code writing for hacks supported with the Insteon i/f also?
The old problem is the wall receiver switch. It ceases to work in the
deep cold even from manual X10 controllers. I have changed it a few
times for other units to no avail. Now that's just weird as it is
mounted in the interior wall and should have some heat leakage into
it. Perhaps the condensation?
It could be condensation, but don't rule out temperature problems
(which can exacerbate condensation) just because it's an inside wall.
Hollow interior walls can sometimes act as chimneys, funneling cool
air from the basement up or even from the attic down if the outside
air is windy. One simple way to check is to remove the switch plate
on a breezy day. Hold a candle or a smoldering wick near the opening
and see if there's any sign of air movement.
You can remedy the problem (assuming that's it) fairly easily by
squirting urethane foam into the wall cavity. The stuff comes in
cans and is intended to block the spread of smoke and fire but it
does a neat job of insulating, too.
I do not recall seeing any reports that cold affected wall switches but
there's always a possibility that I've led too sheltered an existence.
What comes to mind is that you may have a seasonal signal attenuator -
something that's only on in colder weather. Or, you might have just the
opposite something that's on in warm weather that couples the signal.
In any case, an ESM1 can eliminate the guesswork.
"John J. Bengii" wrote:
must be feelings of humility, not from nature, but from penitence, not
to rest in them, but to go on to greatness. There must be feelings of
greatness, not from merit, but from grace, and after having passed through
526. Misery induces despair, pride induces presumption. The Incarnation
shows man the greatness of his misery by the greatness of the remedy which
527. The knowledge of God without that of man's misery causes pride. The
knowledge of man's misery without that of God causes despair. The knowledge
of Jesus Christ constitutes the middle course, because in Him we find both
God and our misery.
528. Jesus Christ is a God whom we approach without pride and before whom we
humble ourselves without despair.
529.... Not a degradation which renders us incapable of good, nor a holiness
exempt from evil.
530. A person told me one day that on coming from confession he felt great
joy and confidence. Another told me that he remained in fear. Whereupon I
thought that these two together would make one good man, and that each was
wanting in that he had not the feeling of the other. The same often happens
in other things.
531. He who knows the will of his master will be beaten with more blows,
because of the power he has by his knowledge. Qui justus est, justificetur
adhuc,88 because of the power he has by justice. From him who has received
most, will the greatest reckoning be demanded, because of the power he has
by this help.
532. Scripture has provided passages of consolation and of warning for all
Nature seems to have done the same thing by her two infinitie
The Jews held their property in peace under Cyrus in Babylon; hence they
could well have the law.
Josephus, in the whole history of Esdras, does not say one word about this
restoration. 2 Kings 17:27.
634. If the story in Esdras is credible, then it must be believed that the
Scripture is Holy Scripture; for this story is based only on the authority
of those who assert that of the Seventy, which shows that the Scripture is
Therefore, if this account be true, we have what we want therein; if not, we
have it elsewhere. And thus those who would ruin the truth of our religion,
founded on Moses, establish it by the same authority by which they attack
it. So by this providence it still exists.
635. Chronology of Rabbinism. (The citations of pages are from the book
Page 27. R. Hakadosch (anno 200), author of the Mischna, or vocal law, or
Commentaries on the Mischna (anno 340): The one Siphra.
Bereschit Rabah, by R. Osaiah Rabah, commentary on the Mischna.
Bereschit Rabah, Bar Naconi, are subtle and pleasant discourses, historical
and theological. This same author wrote the books called Rabot.
A hundred years after the Talmud Hierosol was composed the Babylonian
Talmud, by R. Ase, A.D. 440, by the universal consent of all the Je