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anyone help with x10 ideas ?

Discussion in 'Home Cinema Control & Remote Controls' started by jonnyv, Aug 28, 2004.

  1. jonnyv

    jonnyv
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    moved into new house and thinking about getting some x10 gadgets.

    Anyone any ideas what i should get ?

    Have a pronto remote, would like to control x10 system from there.

    Maybe control a dimmer switch in the lounge, maybe a lamp also.

    Any other ideas for automating a 2 bedroom house

    thanks
     
  2. Gooba

    Gooba
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    Hi

    Have you got any x10 or are you starting from scratch? Are you sure you want x10. What about z-wave or cbus.

    If you haven't already done this go to www.automatedhome.co.uk and join their yahoo group. It is very active and very open to questions like yours. There are representatives from most of the retailers of x10 kit in the UK as well as many other pieces of homebrew kit.

    Were you going to use software to control the x10 modules? I use Homeseer (www.homeseer.com) but there are several alternatives. Using software give you much greater control. For example I have an event that turn the lights on just before sunset. It is also much easier to setup lighting scenes as well. There are lots if plug-ins and scripts that greatly extend what can be controlled or monitored.

    I am using x10 in my house to control most of the lights and some of the TV's. What about some wireless PIR's in the communal areas of the house to control the lights in the hall and bathroom. I don't ever need to touch the light switches and I have a script which varies the light intensity in the bathroom depending on the time of day. This means that if I get up in the middle of the night I don't get blinded by the lights.

    It really just depends on how deep are your pockets.

    Hope this helps.

    John
     
  3. jonnyv

    jonnyv
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    Thanks John, i dont have any x10 products yet and will be starting from scratch.
    Wasnt thinking of software control of x10 was going to use my pronto remote, maybe living room lights, a lamp (both of these are halogen, is this ok with x10 ?) and bedroom 2 bed side lights and main light.
    i will check out the yahoo group.

    thanks
     
  4. Gooba

    Gooba
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    If the lights are mains voltage halogen then they should be ok but if they are low voltage then it will depend if the transformer is dimmable. It is a bit trial and error. You will still be able to control them from a appliance module but no dimming.

    I would suggest buying a light and appliance module to start with. You will also need a IR7243 for infra-red control. I would suggest the all housecode version so you are not limited to one housecode. I would also suggest looking at the LD11 units. They are much better at dimming and also seem to be less susceptable to interferance on the power-line.

    You might also need to buy some of the filters as some electrical appliances will block the x10 signals. I currrently have four filters in my house!!!!

    If you have a pc that can be used for control then you should seriously consider this route.

    I started out the same as you with the idea that it would be nice to control just a couple of lights. Now x10 control all the lights and stops the children watching the tv in the middle of the night. Any more questions please ask.

    John
     
  5. Docta teef

    Docta teef
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    Im just starting to think along these lines myself. Have you any idea what kit i would need to control 3 rooms the cinema room having 2 lighting zones with abot 9 halogens. I want to be able to have mood lighting in this room and control all 3 areas with IR. This is to be done with a view to extending x10 into the rest of the house in the long term. I would intend to site the IR box in the cinema room, as this functions as a control pannel would i have to have switches on desplay as well?
     
  6. Docta teef

    Docta teef
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    Also ive just had a look and it would appear that all the switches in the house are wired with 3 core cable therefore i assume i could make use of the stuff thats available in the states (better looking switches and being able to use low valtage bulbs)
     
  7. Gooba

    Gooba
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    Hi

    MY previous advice of joining the Automated Home Yahoo group still stands as the guys on that list have much more experience than me!!! There are some very interesting links about how to plan a whole house install as well.

    I have LD11 units that control the main lights in my house. They are installed in the loft and I have 'normal' MK switchplates in each room. The LD11's have some nice features such as soft start and stop (they fade up to and down to zero). They can also be made to dim direct to any level. This is essential for 'mood' ligthing. The switchplates are not quite 'normal'as the switches need to be momentary (ie push to make contact).

    The LD11's will work with low voltage lights but success really depends on the transformer. Ask the guys on the Yahoo list.

    I wouldn't suggest using the American units as they will made to operate on 110v and will need to be butchered to work in the UK. There are instructions available on the internet on how to do this. I am just very wary of mains electricity and DIY modifications.

    Also as before look at software to control the lights. I use Homeseer as the back-end with Mainlobby on a tablet PC to control my house. This with a few other bits and pieces enables me to control X10 and infrared from one interface. Now when I press play to start a DVD the lights automatically dim if it night-time. When I press 'pause' the lights automatically come back up.

    Hope this helps.

    John
     
  8. Docta teef

    Docta teef
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    so i get an ld11 for each lighting zone i want + a momentary switch for each zone?
    If i get an IR convertor can this be used as an addiional multi light switch if the ld11's are in place?
    Also as the ld11 has soft start which none of the switches appear to do who would i go about installing them for other switches around the house without major work or is this not possible?

    cheers for the help john
     
  9. Gooba

    Gooba
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    Yes you need a LD11 and switch for each lighting circuit that you want to control. The LD11's are DIN rail modules and should really mounted in some sort of enclosure. I have five MK consumer units in the loft. Some people put them in the garage, under the stairs or with their existing consumer unit. It really depends on what is easier in your home. Like most dimmers there is some buzzing from LD11 when in operation so putting them out of the way means no noise in each room.

    There is inevitably some disruption as the LD11's are wired into the circuit differently to 'normal'. Basically there is one cable from the switch to the LD11 and one cable from he light fitting to the LD11. There is also a power in and power out to the LD11. This is not actually half as bad as it seems if you know anything about lighting circiuts. If your not sure then you will need to enlist the help of an electrician. There are couple on the Automated Home Yahoo group!!!

    Yes you could use the IR control box as a 'virtual' light switch and not have any traditional light swiches as I rarely touch a wall switch now! It might be a bit confusing for friends and family though if they can't physically touch a switch to turn in the lights.

    I did originally start out with the LW10U which has the advantage of being able to just replace a standard UK lightswitch. The disadvantage is that it is just plain ugly and has no soft start and no direct dim. Once you live with them for a few weeks it soon become apparent that you really want/need/crave the extra features of the LD11.

    Other systems to consider are Z-wave which is just about available in the UK with more modules supposedly being launched in the next couple of months. Anothet one to consider is cbus which is considered one of the best by the guys on the Yahoo list. You can get some very s****y switchplates but this system does mean a complete rewire as you need to run a special CAT5 cable to each lightswitch. Worth considering if you plan to stay in your existing house for the forseeable future.

    HTH!!!

    John
     

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