X10 and Insteon Appliance Modules
X10 appliance modules accept X10 commands on your home wiring and turn
on or off lamps or electrical appliances using an internal relay.
Appliance modules should be used (instead of lamp modules) for
flourescent lamps since the dimmer in lamp modules is not compatible
with most flourescent lamps.
Appliance modules come as small boxes which plug into the wall, and into which you plug an appliance, or they come embedded within a wall outlet, which responds to X10 commands. They also come in the form of a wall switch that you wire in place of your existing lightswitches. When installing an appliance module in the form of a switched outlet or wall switch, be sure to follow the installation instructions carefully, and turn off power to the light at the circuit breaker box, before rewiring the outlet or switch. The functionality of appliance modules is also included in several popular transceiver modules, the PAT01 and the RR501. If you only need the module to respond by radio X10 remote and you don't need it to respond to X10 commands on your house wiring, then you also get the functionaility of an appliance module in the TM751 tranceiver module.
There are many options available for appliance modules, including whether they are one-way or two-way modules, whether they have a ground pin (three prong plug), and many technical difference such as signal level that can be detected, and how their addresses are programmed.
Local Control in a module indicates that the module monitors its load (the appliance plugged into the module) and if the device changes start (i.e. on or off) as controlled from the device itself, the module reacts as if it received the appropriate X10 command directly. In essence, this means that if the X10 module is off, but you turn an appliance plugged into the module off, then on, the appliance will turn on even though no X10 command was received. For a two-way module with local control, the module would send an on command when turned on by local control so that other nodes monitoring the status of the device know that it has been turned on.
The table below lists some of the appliance modules available, and their characteristics:
* Although this module is manufactured by X10, it might not be available through their web site. It might be possible to order it by phone, or from a third party web site such as SmartHome, or you might find it included bundled with other modules as part of a starter kit.
** Some modules from X10 come in a version with automatic gain control, which allows the module to operate better in an environment with noisy signal reception. Some vendors sell only the AGC enabled version, but list the module with both part numbers (AGC and non AGC versions).