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?
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.
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.
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.
| 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...
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.
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 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.
Ah, in the middle of the new dustbowl, or so the nightly news would have us believe!
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.
That's good to know. You're already into the X-10 line, so it seems logical to continue along that path.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.