[clug] X10 Home Automation + Linux

Robert Edwards Robert.Edwards at anu.edu.au
Fri Sep 2 23:02:11 GMT 2005

I looked at using X10 at home many years ago, but we have 3-phase power,
so I needed to ensure that all the X10 devices are plugged into power
points (ahhh, I love using that term in it's older sense) and lamp
fittings on the same phase. There is, apparently, a device for carrying
the X10 signalling across phases, but I haven't seen it advertised for
the 240V market.

One day, I'll have to scope out which power points (there it is again -
bliss!) are on which phase. Same problem applies for those intercoms
that plug into power only and work over the mains wiring.

The other alternative is to buy multiple X10 "controllers", one for each
phase that is being used, and then sorting out which controller is on
the same phase as which device.

Using X10 in the Leonard Huxley machine room may have been intermittent
due to cross-phase issues. Then again, there is a whole lot of heavy
machinery in there (especially the Air Con) that I am sure the X10 folk
did not allow for in the design for when it is switching on and off in
the near-vicinity (X10 was intended for home use, not industrial use).
There is also, probably, some massive power-line filtering - another
killer for X10.


Bob Edwards.

Paul Warren wrote:
> Matt Smith wrote:
>>> I've had some experience with the x10 modules you can get from Dick 
>>> Smith.
>>> Basically, they suck.  We wrote some python code to talk to the x10
>>> modules, and we had reliability issues from all the modules. eg. the 
>>> lamp
>>> module would turn on once out of three times, and then wouldn't turn off
>>> until after midday ;)
>>> Even the 'heyu' program had the same issues as our python modules.
>>> Just my experience, Others have had better experiences :)
>> Paul,
>> Would you put this down to the X10 protocol, dodgey house wiring 
>> (noise on
>> the line), or dodgey units from DSE, or some magical combination that is
>> left to the imagination?
>> Cheers,
>> Matt
> We never figured out what the problem was, so I'll leave as "Some 
> magical combination".  We ended up not needing the functionality anyway, 
> and killed the project.  We were trying to control things for the Access 
> Grid (http://agcentral.org) room in the Leonard Huxley building at ANU.
> Cheers

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