Learning Center - Glossary

Learning Center
The glossary of terms has been moved to INSTEON.com. volts AC.
Line- The wire in the junction/gang box which carries the incoming electricity from the electrical panel (breaker box). It is usually black and may be tied with a wire nut to other black wires in the rear of the box. This wire is also referred to as "Hot".
Load- The device that you are controlling (e.g. a light bulb, ceiling fan, etc.) The Load Wire in a junction/gang box runs from the box to the load. Usually, there is just one load wire in a single junction/gang box and it is commonly black. It has no voltage when the switch is off. This wire is also known as "switched leg"
Local Control- The local control feature allows the user to turn on a lamp or appliance module (without using X10) by cycling the devices' power switch.

Macro- A macro is a sequence of commands that can be stored and then recalled with a single command.
Master- This is the main (load controlling) switch in a three-way or more-way lighting circuit. Companion switches are used in conjunction with Masters.
Maxi Controller- An X10 transmitter that has separate buttons for Addresses and Commands. Some of the advanced set up functions for SwitchLincs and LampLincs and other high-end devices, require only Keypresses be sent. The X10 SC-503, Leviton 6320, Stanley 370-2549 are examples of Maxi Controllers

Neutral- The Neutral wire is the return path of electricity, back to the electrical panel, after it travels through the Load. Generally, the neutral wires are white and located in the rear of the gang box. There may be two or more wires tied together by a wire nut. The original mechanical switch does not use these wires. SwitchLincs and other high-end PLC switches will need a neutral connection in order to operate. Neutral wires might not be present in the gang boxes of older homes. The SwitchLinc RX is a high-end switch that does not require a neutral connection and is the solution for older home retrofits.
Non-Toggle Mode- The KeypadLinc will send the same command (e.g. B5-ON) each time the button is pressed regardless of the loads status or indicator light.

Phase- Electric power companies furnish homes and small commercial operations with single-phase current. This would be 220/240v, which is split into two 110/120v lines (legs). This is referred to as a "Split Single Phase" system. (Novices call it two-phase, which is incorrect). Factories, Apartment buildings and large commercial and industrial structures, require Three Phase (120/207VAC) service to power their machinery and equipment.
Passive Coupler- See Signal Bridge
PIR- Passive Infrared is a technology, which is used in motion sensing devices. These PIR Sensors are looking for moving bodies of heat.
Plasma-friendly- "Plasma-friendly" refers to infrared (IR) devices that are designed to be used near plasma televisions. These devices use filters to resist EMI signals (32 to 100khz) emitted by Plasma TVs that can interfere with nearby IR sensors, rendering them useless.
Plasma-proof- See Plasma-friendly.
Plasma-resistant- See Plasma-friendly.
Powerline- A method of communication that uses the transmissions of the existing electric lines in a home.
PLC- Power Line Control- Control signals transmitted through electrical wiring. X10 signals are a type of PLC signal.
Preset ON Level- The default setting for SwitchLincs and LampLincs, allowing one of 32 brightness levels when the ON signal is received, or when the switch is locally controlled. The other option is Resume Dim.

Qualifier- See Conditional Programming.

Ramp Rate- The time it takes for certain X10 devices (with the Fade On/Off or Soft Start features) to reach their ON or OFF level.
Resume Dim Level- This is a feature found in some Lamp Modules and Switches. When the lamp is turned on (by X10 or locally), its brightness level is determined by the switch's level when it was last turned off. This feature is not the default setting for SwitchLincs and LampLincs and can be user programmed. This is also known as "Fade On Rate"
RF- Radio Frequency is a sound wave that is outside the audible spectrum. It is used in remote control devices (e.g. garage door openers). It can also be used in wireless distribution for cordless phones and A/V distribution devices.

Scenes- One X10/PLC signal from any X10 transmitter can simultaneously change the lighting levels of multiple SwitchLincs and LampLincs. Each SwitchLinc and LampLinc (scene capable models only) can be programmed to respond to 64 X10 signals. When the SwitchLinc receives the signal, it will ramp up to its individual, user defined brightness level.
Signal Bridge- A device that allows X10/PLC signals to travel from one leg of your split-single-phase electrical system to the other. A Signal Bridge is the same as a Phase Coupler.
SignaLinc- The SignaLinc is a Plug-In alternative to hard-wired Signal Bridges.
Slave- See Companion.
SPDT- (Single Pole, Double Throw) A property of a switch in which one terminal can be connected to one of two other terminals.
Soft-Start- See Fade-On/Off
Status & Status Request- Some X10 receivers like the SwitchLinc 2-way and LampLinc 2-way contain transmitters that can send X10 signals, giving them the ability to report their status when polled or controlled locally. When they receive a Status Request, they reply with their current status - ON, OFF, or DIM at some % level.
Switched-Leg- See load.
SwitchLinc PLC - This is the entry-level model. The key features are Fade-On and Adjustable Ramp Rate. This series was formally known as "SwitchLinc Lite".
SwitchLinc RX - This is a two-wire version of the SwitchLinc line for homes and businesses that do not have neutral wires available.
SwitchLinc V2- An INSTEON-enabled in-wall controller that controls individual lights or triggers whole-house mood lighting "scenes" with the touch of a button.

Toggle Mode- A defined button on the KeypadLinc that sends two different commands on alternate presses. Press once for ON and again for OFF.
ToggleLinc - This is a line of SwitchLincs with a toggle styled controller, designed to match older homes with existing toggle styled switches.
Traveler- Found in three-way and more-way circuits, the traveler wires connect the various switches from one gang to the next.
Transceiver - A device that can both receive and transmit.
Transceiver Module- A plug-in device that will receive RF signals from a wireless X10 transmitter, and convert them to powerline X10 signals.

Unit Code- See X10 Address

X10- X10 is a communications "language" that allows compatible products to talk to each other using the existing electrical wiring in a home or business.
X10 Address- The Address part of an X10 signal contains the House (or Letter) code, and the Unit (or Number) code. The House code is a letter A - P, and the Number code is 1 - 16. There are 256 total X10 addresses. Examples of X10 Addresses are A-1, B-5, O-9, and P-16.
X10 Command- The Command is the action part of an X10 signal. It tells a module what to do when it sees its address. The most common are ON, OFF, BRIGHT, DIM, PREdim, All Lights ON, and All Units OFF.


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