Jump to content

X-10 Problems

Dogan Bora

Recommended Posts

I have Re 2.7.7 and have purchased the installed the X10 module and have inserted 4 X10 devices to my tree. The event viewer confirms the commands are going out to turn on and off but the device does not hear it. I have a fresh PLM, the units respond to X-10 Controllers but not ISY. Any other ideas on diagnostics?

Link to comment

Is your PLM in the same plug as your computer system? Is your computer system filtered? Did you plug your X-10 controller into the same plug as the PLM, or in another room somewhere?


Depending on the X-10 devices, move it closer (on the same cirucit) as the PLM. See if it helps the response. If so, you may have some interference.


Another option would be to get an extension cord and plug it into the same outlet into which you plugged your X-10 controller and successfully controlled your devices. The other end should be used to power your PLM, keeping it plugged into your network as before. See if you can now control your X-10 devices from your ISY. If so, you may have some interference.


Try this out, and see what you can conclude, if anything.

Link to comment

When I attach an X10 Lamp Controller on the same circuit it hears ISY. If this is pointing to "noise", are we talking line noise on AC or RF noise. I am not sure how the signal is being transmitted, through AC power line or RF or both? In any event now what?

Link to comment

X-10, in this case, is all powerline noise.


The fact that you can control them when plugged into the the same circuit suggests powerline communication interference. Before go there, however, let's confirm one thing...


Do you have a phase bridge? Forgive me if I tell you things you already know, but most houses' electrical system consists of two "phases" of electric power. Most powerline communication, including X-10, have difficulty bridging those phases. There are devices that provide a communication bridge between the phases. Are you familiar with these devices? Do you have one? If not, I can almost guarantee you will not be happy with your X-10 system.


If you have a phase bridge, I think it most likely an interference problem. These are generally solvable by identifying the devices throughout your house causing this interference and powering those through X-10 filters. My experience suggests that devices such as computers, UPS, power supplies, TVs, CFLs, can all cause some level of interference. The trick is to identify what is causing it in your house and eliminating it.


I don't want to make this sound like a trivial task. Much has been written about the difficulty with this, but it can be done. It is mostly trial-and-error. Start with the obvious devices mentioned above. Unplug them. See if that helps communication. If not, move on to the next device. Perhaps try unplugging all TVs and power supplies. Make sure flourescent lights in your house are off. See if this helps. Sometimes, it is the sum of many devices causing problems. Keep at it. Assume nothing. Eventually, you can find it.


First, though, let's ensure you have that phase bridge.

Link to comment

CR 230 Phase Coupler and repeater connected to my main house power panel. I also have several IR receivers sprinkled around the house in different outlets to deal with the phase split issues. The iffyness of X10 is the main reason I am going to Insteon. Is there any technical diagnostic tool to pinpoint ID or cean AC line noise? If not the trial and error method Sounds like a lot of work unplugging anything electronic and plug in one at a time to test. May be easier, but expensive, just going totally over to Insteon.

Link to comment

I also have Elk Automotion ESM 1 X10 signal meter to diagnose. I noticed the x10 signal is weak 2V even at the same outlet as PC and non existent in another plug, whereas Insteon command is strong at 5V. Is there a way to boost the X10 comman or prelong or repeat it as the X10 devices seem slow to pick up?

Link to comment

PC Power Supplies are notorious signal suckers. Is there an X10 filter on the PCs AC? I have a 10 Amp FilterLinc on my APC BX1000 UPS with my PLM in the unfiltered pass through outlet.


I also now have a JV Engineering XTBM that is a great X10 signal tester as the ESM1 and Smarthome TesterLinc are now discontinued. If you have a repeater it even senses it and sends a test X10 signal and reads back the returned levels. One thing it also found. Insteon devices are two way and their transmitter circuit can absorb X10 and Insteon signals. Insteon gets resent. X10 does not. In one test I had 7.71 volts on an outlet with all five of my Insteon ApplianceLincs out of the circuit. With all five in their normal positions the voltage was 2.85 volts. So as many have found. As you add Insteon devices. Insteon gets better and X10 gets worse.


I had an ACT CR134 but now have a JV Engineering XTB-IIR. It blasts up to a 20 volt PP X10 signal back on the power lines.

Link to comment
I also have Elk Automotion ESM 1 X10 signal meter to diagnose. I noticed the x10 signal is weak 2V even at the same outlet as PC


Like Brian H, I am an advocate of putting a filter on the computer if your PLM is plugged in to the same set of outlets. At the suggestion of those much smarter than I, I eventually added a dedicated circuit for my PLM. Right now, my X-10 communication is good.

Link to comment

The PLM is connected to my network by CAT5 cable, I should be able to have the PLM as far as 100m from the PC and still be OK. A long patch cord should give me enough distance to tap into an entirely different power circuit. I'll try that and report.

Link to comment


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...