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My Experience with X-10 Devices

March 11, 2008

My experience after a couple of months of using computer control of X-10 devices in our house has been pretty good, with a couple of minor exceptions. The good:

  • I can turn off all the lights in a couple of rooms with a keyfob remote, or using a button on the pad of a wall switch.
  • I can turn on and off a whole floor’s lights at once.
  • I can set certain interior and exterior lights to go on in the evening, making a more welcoming house for my wife when she returns from work.
  • I can easily achieve preprogrammed dimming levels for lights in certain rooms.
  • We can easily set our lights to go on automatically when we leave on vacation.

This was exactly the sort of thing I though we might want to do when we made the decision to use predominantly X-10 switches (all purchased from Smarthome.com)when we a large remodeling project in 2005.

There are a couple of things that are annoyances:

  • In one of our rooms two of the four X-10 controls respond only intermittently to commands, despite replacing the controllers.
  • Occasionally (in fact regularly during the time we were having a back up generator installed and the power was often turned off to various circuits throughout the day) the HomeSeer service will cease to respond to any new commands or successfully send any.

I have generally found HomeSeer to be a capable application even if it is not as "slick" as some new applications, it works well for my purposes. I had previously looked as less expensive PC software for controlling X-10 devices and found such software lacking in features (e.g. no capability to control X-10 thermostats). I have HomeSeer running on Windows Server 2003, which is not officially supported, but seems to work fine for me.

There are other things I would like to automate, but right now am in no particular hurry to do so. I’ll report on how that goes when I do.

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