What is X10

X10 Cameras are becoming very popular for several reasons. But what is X10?

X10 is a communications language that allows compatible products to talk to each other using the existing electrical wiring in the home.

Most X10 compatible products are very affordable and the fact that they talk over existing wires in your home means that no costly rewiring is necessary.

X10 is Simple

Press a button on the transmitter and the signal is sent over the home’s wiring to a receiver.

In the past, if you wanted to be able to control certain lights and appliances from one location, you would have to run hundreds of feet of wire to route the power switches of each device to one location.

Using X10 modules, you don’t have to do this, since the X10 House/Unit codes and commands are transmitted over your existing house wiring.

X10 devices can be categorized into 3 distinct groups:

  1. Transmitters
  2. Receivers
  3. Transmitter/Receivers (2 way devices)

X10 communicates between transmitters and receivers by sending and receiving signals over the power line wiring. These signals involve short RF bursts which represent digital information.

Using simple dials or buttons you assign each product with one of up to 256 addresses.

If you want more than one device to respond to the same signal, simply set them to the same addresses.

All X10 compatible products can be freely mixed and matched.

It is estimated that X10 compatible products can be found in over 10 million American homes.

Advantages

  • Inexpensive
  • No new wiring is required
  • Simple to install
  • Hundred’s of compatible products
  • Control up to 256 lights and appliances
  • Time proven, this technology has been around for over 20 years.

How to avoid problems?

Most of the time, X10 products works without any problems. However, because they talk over your home’s electrical wires they may have difficulties in two situations.

The first is when there is an appliance running that generates “noise” onto the power lines.

Appliances that may cause problems are motors (e.g. dryer, treadmill, vacuum cleaner, etc.) and advanced electronics (e.g. switching power supplies on some laptops, some big screen TV’s, etc.).

The good news is that all you need to do is plug the appliance into a noise filter.

Quality X10 noise filter are sold for $20 or less.

The second situation is when your X10 transmitter is on one side (phase) of your home’s electrical wiring and the receiver is on the other side.

Many times the signal either bridges the two phases at the transformer at the street or via some 220V appliance in the home. When this doesn’t happen, a simple plug-in phase coupler called SignaLinc will solve this problem.

What devices are known to interfere with X10 commands?

There are many devices in most homes, which interfere with the X10 signal, preventing it from getting to its destination.

Some have circuits which eliminate noise (conditioners). These circuits absorb the X10 signal, making it weaker throughout the house. Other devices put noise on the power line making it difficult for the signal to be heard.

The following lists of devices are likely to interfere with X10 signals:

  • Televisions
  • Computers: Clone-type computers seem to be more of a problem than name brands
  • Computer monitors: No-name brands are bigger problems than big name brands
  • Laptop computer power supplies: NEC is a known problem
  • Ozone/Air ionizers and filters
  • Game Systems: Nintendo, X-Box, PlayStation, etc.
  • Audio/Video components: Satellite receivers, CD players, VCRs, DVD players, Cable boxes, Tape Decks, TIVOs, AV Receivers MIDI musical instruments Synthesizers, Electronic pianos, Drum machines, Mixers, Reverbs, etc.
  • Fax machines
  • Surge-protection power strips, UPS’s, and Power Conditioners.
  • Noisemakers (Devices that actually put out electrical noise onto the electrical line)
  • Transformers: Motors: Refrigerator, heating systems, pumps, attic fans, treadmills
  • Microwave Ovens
  • Fluorescent-based lighting and ballast transformersCell phone chargers, Toothbrush chargers, Razors, etc.

Importance of Noise Filter

X10 technology is simple, inexpensive, and compatible with almost everything.

But because it is using the same power source of electronic appliances like cordless phone, computer, computer monitor, television, satellite, dryer, electric toothbrush it is important that you spend a few extra dollars on noise filters for these electronic devices.

The reason to get noise filter is because X10 signal looks like electrical noise and quality power supplies used by computer for example, will destroy the X10 signal!