I’ve been using X10 home automation devices for over a year and overall they’ve worked well. However, I have had issues with signal reliability. Sometimes signals just don’t reach their intended devices. This isn’t entirely unusual with X10 hardware – the protocol itself isn’t very robust. The equipment I own doesn’t confirm that a device received a command.
One related frustration is when a device simply quits responding on a consistent basis. I have a few specialized devices that appear to have stopped communicating with my CM15A completely. Based on reading various comments and forum posts this seems to be problem that is often caused by the signal not being able to bridge across two phases.
To resolve this issue I finally decided to purchase a Signalinc Repeater, which will pass X10 signals across both phases, thus (hopefully) reaching every corner of the house. There are less expensive bridges available, but this particular solution doesn’t require an electrician. Instead, it just plugs into the dryer’s electrical outlet.
Unfortunately, our dryer uses a four wire connection, which requires a coupler that is more expensive than the models available for three wire connections. Amazon has the device listed as a Signalinc Repeater 4WIRE 220V Coupler & Signal Repeater.
I’ll post an update on how well this device works in our house.
Update: Nearly three months have passed and the device seems to be working great. The X10 modules themselves are another story, but it does seem to be bridging the signal just fine. In fact, it’s rather obvious at times when a couple of lamps come on a second later than when the commands were sent, an indication that the signals crossed phases (when they might otherwise have been lost).