X10 and Insteon Lamp Modules
X10 lamp modules accept X10 commands on your home wiring and turn on
or off the incandescent lamps with which they are connected. Most
lamp modules have an integrated electronic dimmer that can be used to
change the brightness of the lamp. You should not use a lamp module
for a fluorescent lamp, even if you will not be using the dimmer
feature. For flourescent lamps, use an appliance module instead.
Lamp modules come as small boxes which plug into the wall, and into which you plug a lamp, or they come as wall switch modules that your wire in place of your existing lightswitches (be sure to follow the installation instructions carefully, and turn off power to the light at the circuit break box, before rewiring the switch). On this page, I focus on lamp modules that control a single light. There are KeyPads available that send commands to many X10 devices, which sometimes embed a lamp module, but these modules are discussed on the KeyPad page.
There are many options available for lamp modules, including whether they are one-way or two-way modules, whther they have a ground pin (three prong plug), whether they support local control or scene lighting (see below), and many technical difference such as signal level that can be detected, how their addresses are programmed, and whether the remeber the last dimmer setting. For wall switch modules there is also significant difference in appearance, with the least expensive appearing as push buttons, some looking like standard light swithces, and some as decorative rocker switches.
Scene lighting provides a way to control multiple X10 modules without the use of macros (sequences of X10 commands). Each device responding to a scene has a primary address, and secondary scene addresses for which it listens. The modules in a scene are programmed to take a specific action for each of the programmed scene address for which they monitor. This is faster and more reliable than using long sequences of X10 commands since each device responds to the scene command simultaneously.
Local Control in a module indicates that the module monitors its load (the lamp 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 a lamp plugged into the module off, then on, the light 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 lamp modules available, and their characteristics:
The fololowing items have been discontinued (table lists possible replacement - see table above for details)