X10 Wireless

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X10 commands are sent over your house electrical wiring to the modules connected to your controlled device. If you wish to control the device wirelessly, you will need a wirless remote to transmit an X10 command as a radio signal and you will need a tranciever module to receive the radio signal and retransmit it on your electical wiring. Besides wireless remotes, some other X10 devices, such as many motion detectors, transmit commands only by radio signals and will also require a tranceiver module to relay commands to your wired devices and controllers.

This page discusses both kinds of modules, the remote controls for transmitting X10 signals by radios, and the tranciever modules that relay the signals.

Tranciever Modules

The three most commonly used X10 tranciever modules are the PAT01, RR501, and TM751. The PAT01 and the RR501 are different version of the same device, and one of these comes with many of the starter kits available. All three of the devices provide the ability to receive X10 radio commands from a single housecode and relay them onto the wire. The PAT01 and the RR501 also provide the functionalty of a limited two way appliance module that accepts X10 commands both by radio, and over the wire. The limitation of the appliance module is that the unit code must be set to 1 or 9 (the TM751 also has an embedded appliance module, but it receives commands only by radio and responds only to unit code 1, so it is not suitable as a replacement for a two-way appliance module).

If your X10 system uses more than one housecode, which it will if you need more than 16 addresses, and if you want to send wireless commands to devices using different housecodes, then you will need more than one of these tranciever modules. Note that some modules like this are described as capable of transmitting "any housecode", but what is meant is that you can turn a dial to select which one of the 16 housecodes will be relayed,n and the fine print disclosed that you will require an extra tranciever for each houscode you want to use.

There are other tranciever modules available such as the V572A which relays all housecodes, eliminating the need for to use multiple tranciever modules. If you are comparing trancievers, read the descriptions carefully to be sure you understand which meaning of any or all housecodes is intended. The V572A will relay all housecodes simultaneously, and can be configured to specify which housecodes you want to relay (including all 16 simultaneously if you want). This is important because you will want to configure these modules to not relay the housecodes that you are not using, especially if you have neighbors who also use X10. Note that the V572A must be connected to the powerline through one of either a Powerlinc II, a PSC05, or a TW523 powerline module which can be purchased in a package with the V572A.

The CM15A Active Home Pro controller includes a built in all housecode tranciever which may eliminate the need for other transciever modules in your X10 system. This tranceiver can be configured to specify all the housecodes you want it to relay, including none if you choose not to use this functionaility. My experience with the CM15A in a large house is that the sensitivity of the built in tranceiver is low, giving you a range for use of your remotes that is less than the single house code modules. Unless your will only be using your remote from the same room or an adjoining room, you may find that your commands are not received. I have found also that the reliability of the tranciever function is poor. Others have claimed that this is the result of the controller being overloaded by other activitity, causing it to occasionally become incapable of keeping up with and processing the wireless commands it receives. If you have a CM15A as your system controller, using its tranceiver functionality is the most economical way to add wirless remote control, if you can get it to work in your environment. I expect that for a small X10 system (both in distance, and number of modules) it will work satisfactorally.

Remote Control Transmitters

There are many remotes available that are capable of transmitting wireless X10 commands to your tranceiver modules. These remotes take many form factors from keyring contollers that can send two X10 addresses to credit card sized contolers that can send 8 addresses, and keypad remotes that send 16. All allow you to choose a housecode, and some provide the ability to set unit codes, although the settable unit codes often need to be sequential. Some combine X10 remote functionaility with a universal remote for your television, VCR, DVD or satelite components.
  • HR12A Palmpad Remote - Can send commands to 16 devices on a single housecode. Dial allows one to select the housecode.
  • Leviton Universal remote with X10 - replaces the remotes for your television, cable, and other A/V components and can send X10 codes for all units in a single housecode to a tranciever module.
  • RKR24, PHR04, or KR19A Two device keyring remote - with dim and brighten can send X10 commands to a tranciever modules for two consecutive unit codes on a chosen housecode.
  • There are many other remote controls available, including credit card sized remotes and other keyring remotes, and more advanced learning A/V remotes. When looking for these remotes carefully read the manuals, if available, to see if the addresses they support must be consecuritive, and which X10 commands they can send (some for example can not send dim or brighten, but only on and off)

I have not yet (as of July 2006) seen an Insteon remote, but most Insteon devices can be configured to respond to X10 powerline signals, so the devices listed here, when used with tranciever modiles to bridge the wireless signal to the powerline (as described earlier on this page) will allow wireless control of Insteon devices, although not using the more reliable Insteon protcol.

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