Motion control for exterior lights

I want to add motion sensor and timer control to front porch and driveway lights for convenience and to save power. I have no x10 or Insteon equipment right now. I've been looking mostly at smarthome stuff.

So I start my design with a couple of 4087 wireless motion sensors, a 4005x RF base, a 2414U PowerLinc controller and some sort of switches. Then I run into problems:

The PowerLinc controller says it has on-board memory so timers and macros can be downloaded without the need to have a computer running. But the mControl software they recommend says it doesn't download to the controller so you need a PC running to execute timed commands and triggered events. I don't want to dedicate a PC to this project; if nothing else, the power used by a PC running 24/7 would be comparable to what I would save by having the lights off most of the time. (Using a PC for setup, however, would be good.)

I can't find any documentation for what the PowerLinc controller can actually do, or how to get programs into it.

The front porch circuit has 540 watts of lights on it. All of the switches seem to be rated 500 watts or less for incandescent loads.

Some of my computers put enough noise into our power lines to mess up an old intercomm system (depending on which outlets the units are plugged into). How robust is X10 protocol?

Any comments or suggestions?

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Bob Babcock
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PowerLinc needs the SmartHome Manager or Insteon software to be autonomous. Also look at the X10 CM15A and AHP software, it is cheaper than the Smarthome unit, will run stand alone, and (now) is as good as Smarthome PowerLinc. (I have three PowerLinc 1132s setting on shelf gathering dust. kept sending me replacement units until they discoverd my problem was a software bug in their SmartHome Manager Plus software). Don't dismiss the full time computer. I use 24/7 computer for automation, security, and voice control. It costs 50 cents a day to run and is an older Pentium 4, sucking ~200 watts With computer controlling lights, HVAC, and eliminating the need for a security service, it is paying for it's meeger electrical cost many times over.

X10 protocol is ancient and susceptible to noise. BUT is still the least expensive and can be "tuned" to be reliable. Just figure in the cost of a good repeater such as ACT or XTB II and some X10 noise filters when you starting buying. The newcomers such as Insteon, Z-wave,and UPB are all probably more solid from a signal propagation point of view (say that three times fast) but who knows who will win the battle of supremacy and be around in three years. I have about 150 X10 modules and can not afford to "upgrade" to a new "standard". But even if I could I would not know which system/protocol to still buy X10.

Best of luck

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"D&SW" wrote in news:TIF3k.6064$LN.1211@trndny03:

I shied away from the SmartHome software because it doesn't run under Vista. I'm not running Vista now, nor do I have any plans to, but lack of Vista support suggests that this software is not being developed and may not run under other future operating systems either. I'll look at it again.

The only computer I have that runs full time runs Linux. From what I've seen with limited searches, X10 is not well supported under Linux.

Thanks for your comments. My research continues.

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