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x10 stuff?

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mattseattle

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does anyone use x10 modules to control their reef tank? or other appliances/lighting in their house? if so where do you purchase your modules from? do you have others you'd like to sell?

i just recently started getting into the home automation thing due to i wanted to automate the lights in my tank as well as hook up my lights and appliances in my house.

let me know if you are using x10 stuff.
 

Salsaking

Salsa soon in Safeway!!
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X-10 Modules

Go to x-10.com You can find everything there. If you buy 4 you will get the fifth for free. This is the cheapest place by far to buy them as well. Cost's around $27 everywhere else. X-10 has them for around $12. Good Luck

Salsaking
 

mattseattle

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Thanks.....yeah I bought a kit from x10.com because they were offering a 'free' firecracker kit. guess i'll purchase the modules/etc. from them as well.
 

Ed Hahn

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matt,
We have a guy wanting to help people do this. He works with PCs for a living and enjoys it very much. If you want to ask him you may? He is alway offering to help others. I am not sure this will work but here it goes?...www.midcolumbiasaltwater.com
Then go to forum and ask Rico. He runs X 10 modules to monitor his tank. I hope this helps?
wish you a super weekend!
Ed
 

DonW

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Matt,

My entire house, every light, sprinkler ect...... is automated mostly with X10.
I've been playing with this stuff for years. Do not buy the cheap stuff from X10.com for your reef!!! Its ok for lamps and things. Leviton products are far superior.
Let me know if you need help with something or working out the bugs. Everyhouse is wired differently so you WILL get a few bugs to work out. I have a bunch of solutions and devices that I've built to to fix the problems with MH, VHO and T5 lighting bugs.

Throw that firecracker in the trash!!!

Don
 

mattseattle

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yeah I recently bought the CM11a module off of e-bay. the firecracker of course did not do even remotely what i needed. the CM11a seems much better.....at least it stores macros and timers and such.

where do you buy your modules from? which ones do you recommend to use for MH lighting as well as VHO? because that is what I am running. I'm also thinking of using x10 modules to create a wavemaker out of my powerheads. ideas on modules for that?

Don - thanks for the help.
 

DonW

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You can get the better stuff at www.smarthome.com or even beter at www.worthingtonsolutions.com.

For lighting T-5, MH and VHO x10 alone is just plain the worst option out there. The modules go bad quickly, the other lights that are in the system interfere.
Mechanical timers never seem to keep time so everthing is out of sink and the relay burns out.
Relays do wonders for the reliability of x10 and are easy.

As far as your wave maker they to are easy. All you need is a DPDT relay 12v, outlet, double outlet box and a x10 camera power supply can be had at x10.com. This will get you a two pump wave maker using only one module and one source outlet.
I can make you a diagram and parts list if your interested.

If you tell me what your lighting and scheme is ,I can help you design a reliable system. If you want the best option that does not use a smart controller or x10 100% accurate.My 12v 4 zone sprinkler light controller with temp sensor works absolutely perfect.

Don
 

mattseattle

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My lighting consists of 2x250 MH run by a Dual PFO Ballast. Then I have 2x110w VHO super blues run by a single ballast. I found a really good deal on e-bay for lamp appliance modules. I bought 10 PLM01 Lamp Module with AGC. I think these modules could handle the VHO's but doubt they'd stand up to the MHs. Right now I am using heavy duty timers to turn on/off my lights. But I want something that can automate the lights and do different lighting schemes.

As far as using the wavemaker. I have 2 MJ 1200's and some other type of powerhead. I would like to set these up on a wavemaker type of thing. Right now they are just running all the time.

Any help would be appreciated. You can email me directly at mattseattle@earthlink.net if that is easier for you.

Thanks
 

DonW

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Pretty simple. You can fit the whole thing in a radioshack project box if you dont want a seperate outlet box. You just need to program the loop in your x10 controller. For those that dont want to use x10 control. You just use any old 12v powersupply and connect it to a multi-timer.

Hope this helps, Let me know if there is anything else.
 

DonW

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Matt

Dont use lamp modules with VHO or MH. They are dimmable, They cut back power to the ballast and burn up the ballast.

Don
 

mattseattle

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yeah i was wondering about that...so strictly use appliance modules for the VHO and MH ballasts then?

what about dimmable lamp modules for the maxi-jet's? would that burn out the motor running at a lower voltage or however it works.
 

DonW

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Beats me never tried it. But I can tell you if you use modules lamp or appliance your going to burn up alot of modules. Besides they are noisy.

Don
 

Rico

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Richland, WA
Matt,

I have been using X10 very succesfully for about 9 years on my reef tanks. Here are a few things I have learned.

1) For any MH, VHO, Pump, Power Head or Chiller you must use the appliance module or the Split receptical wall outlet rated at 15 amps. True these do have an audible click when turning on & off, but I do not find it to be an annoyance.

2) A coupler is required to connect both legs of the 110 volt feeds to your breaker box. I installed a coupler with signal booster to help ensure the x10 signal was distributed throughout the entire house. If you have a small home you can put a capacitor across the legs in the breaker panel and it will only cost about $2.

3) Line Noise Filters are mandatory after the X10 module and before the MH ballast (especially the electronic ballasts). Other wise the X10 modules will not receive the controll signal and you cannot control them. If you have other noisy appliances in you home, filters may be required there as well. Make sure you get a filter that is rated for the amperage that the ballast will draw. I had to test a few before I found one that would adequately block the line noise (not all filters are equal in their ability)

4) I started out with the home automation kit that allowed me to program in a set of on & off times and download them to a module (CM11A) that would store them and activate the X10 modules separate from my computer. This works very well and the computer does not have to be on all the time. It also has a battery backup so if you have a power outage every thing fires back and works.

5) I have now abandoned my CM11A in favor of the Firecracker! The advantage is that now my reef lighting is not restricted to a static schedule. I am using a great computer program called eLightMaster that allows me to choose the tropical location of my reef (Fiji is current choice) and my lights will turn on and off at the correct sunrise and sunset as if they were located in Fiji. I am also controlling a set of 11watt blue moon lights with a lamp timer and the Firecracker setup. The moon lights follow the moon phases and brightness for the Fiji location. So far the only drawback is that the computer must be up all the time. I have the computer set up with an autologon and the program starts automatically if I have a power outage while I am not home.

Conclusion, X10 works great for controlling the reef tank. A lot of people are using X10 very successfully and most any problem you may hit has been solved by either a device (filter, signal booster etc) or an ingenious person like Don W.

I even setup a float switch on the top of my tank to temporarily shut off one of my pumps through an X10 low voltage controller and appliance module (I run dual redundant pumps) if the water level gets to close to the top of the tank. I had a flood once when a large Heniocius got slammed up against the oveflow and reduced the amount of water leaving the tank! Not fun.

If you need any help, just ask

Rick
 

MzWeazelle

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We have been trying to find a solution to the interference we get on out tv whenever our MH's are on. Would a Line Noise Filter help? If so, where do we go to get one? The only thing we've found so far - and it didn't work - was some inexpensive filter from Radio Shack.

Thanks for any help.

JanMarie
 

DonW

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Rico said:

2) A coupler is required to connect both legs of the 110 volt feeds to your breaker box.

Rick
If you go ahead and automate you hot water heater you will save money and bridge both phases to your home.

The filters from smart home work well.

Don
 
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DonW

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MzWeazelle said:
We have been trying to find a solution to the interference we get on out tv whenever our MH's are on. Would a Line Noise Filter help? If so, where do we go to get one? The only thing we've found so far - and it didn't work - was some inexpensive filter from Radio Shack.

Thanks for any help.

JanMarie
I need more info. Do you use a antenna, cable or satelite? Is your tv on the same pase as you MH? Just jook at your breaker box if the breakers for both the tv and mh are on the same side they are on the same phase.
Do you get the same interference with the vcr or dvd players?

Don
 

DonW

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tamarindthai said:
where can i get a filter or a signal booster,and what is the spec ?.
thanks,dang
Dang,
The leviton filters from www.smarthome.com work well. As far as a booster. What are you trying to boost. Either the X-10 line signal strength or the fircracker rf signal.

The best unit I'v found is the leviton HCA02-10E. It will bridge both phases and boost and repeat the signal at a full 5v. (almost double)

Don
 

MzWeazelle

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DonW - thanks for getting back to me!

We currently have a regular old big dish satellite for most of our tv watching, but must use an antenna for local channels. The MH's do not affect anything but the antenna reception. All of our "entertainment" electronics are on the same circuit.

I'm not sure about the house wiring diagram. At first glance it looks like all of our "light" circuits, which includes the plugins, are on the same side of the box. The MH's & tv may or may not be on the same breaker, but we did try plugging the tv into what we know is a separate breaker (but still probably on the same side of the box) and it didn't make any difference.

Okay - your turn. :)

JanMarie
 

DonW

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Janmarie,

Thats the toughest to fix. Since its not going to be power line noise that can be filtered.

First you must have a dedicated ground stake for your antenna. This means you can not use the one that came with the house. This should help the low frequency rf noise.
Now you need a magnet shaped like a donut. It has to be a full circle with a hole in the center. It cannot be rare earth, just a standard iron ferite sp?. You need to get the cord of your metal halides through the hole. This needs to be a big one, like a speaker sized magnet. This will absorb the high frequency rf signal.

Also firing your mh with a 12v low voltage relay will help lots. Somehow the relay coil absorbs rf signal and its disipated through the dc transformer rectifier bridge. It cured 100% of mine. But you still need a grounded antenna for your own safety. (lightning rod)

Don
 
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