What is X10?

What is X10?

Home Automation over Powerline

A pioneering home control technology when it was introduced in 1975, X10 has seen decades of use from home automation enthusiasts all over the world. Like several other competing technologies to come after it, X10 devices utilize a home’s existing powerline wiring for communication. X10 products can be used to can control lamps and appliances, replace wall switches and even be used to monitor doors, windows and motion. Below are some of the X10 devices available.

X10 Appliance Module X10 Lamp Dimmer Module X10 Universal Module X10
Mini Controller
X10 In-Wall Dimmer Switch X10 In-Wall Dual Outlet Receptacle

Technologies like UPB continue X10’s legacy of powerline networking while alternatives like Z-Wave and Zigbee eschew the powerline completely in favor of wireless systems. Systems like Insteon use some of the principles of X10 powerline technology while coupling it with advanced wireless technology to create highly-reliable dual-mesh networks.

Insteon is the best-selling, most-reliable home control and automation technology available today. Using both the existing wires (powerline) in the home and radio-frequency communication, Insteon adds remote control automation to lights and appliances throughout your home, and can even be integrated with various security systems. Insteon is the gold-standard in home automation, allowing you to manage your home the way you want. Easy to install and setup, Insteon delivers the flexibility and dependability to make your life more convenient, safe and fun. Below are some of the more popular Insteon devices:

Insteon Dimmer Switch Insteon On/Off
Insteon Dimmer Module Insteon On/Off
Insteon Motion Sensor Insteon Open/Close Sensor

Technical Facts About X10

X10 sends bursts of 120 kHz(RF) signal, representing digital information, onto the powerline at the zero crossing of the AC sine wave (to minimize interference). Each X10 product can be assigned a house code (A-P) and a unit code (1-16) – thus providing up to 256 unique addresses. Most products contain two small address wheels which are used to set the address.

X10 is largely a one-way technology (signals are not expected to, nor required to be acknowledged). Therefore, each signal is sent twice (A-1:On, A-1:On). Signals take about ½ to ¾ of a second to reach the responder – leading to clearly visible delays between pressing a button and the “light going on”.

X10 is more sensitive to attenuation and line noise than other, more modern powerline technologies. Filters, couplers and repeaters are commonplace requirements. A simulcast signal booster called Boosterlinc is also available from Smarthome.

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