Graduation Day: Phasing Out X10 in Favor of Insteon


I finally had it with X10 issues last night. Granted, the problem that frustrated me had more to do with the CM15A adapter falling off it’s perch at some point and busting the USB interface, but one more night of fiddling with X10 was the final straw (I happened to have a spare but I had to mod the antenna on that one, too). Ever since I began implementing it I’ve experienced frequent issues with reliability. Now, yes, I was aware this could be an issue before I even started buying home automation products. However, initially I did not know how much time I’d invest in this project.

Even after adding a SignaLinc phase bridge I still have reliability problems. I do not suspect it’s a problem with the Signalinc device, but rather inconsistent communication between the remotes and the CM15A. And as far as mControl, it seems to be running great. There have been a few other problems such as having to mod the basic CM15A antenna to get fair reception. I’ve also had a few modules stop responding. In addition, there are certain things I’d eventually like to do with home automation that I can’t do with X10 devices (such as control the drapes or thermostats).

I’ve been looking at Insteon devices since I first researched home automation products and protocols. Today I finally decided to take the plunge and order Insteon modules. They’re significantly more expensive than most X10 products, but they’re also (at least on paper) much more reliable. I’ll blog about whether or not I have that experience, though several blog and forum posts that I’ve read keep me confident that I’ll finally be able to stop fiddling with this gear just to make sure certain lights will go on and off as expected. I can’t afford to completely phase out X10 at home in one month but I’ll be replacing a few of the most common lights and adding some other modules.

One of the modules I’ve purchased is a wall switch relay, which means I’ll finally be able to put a fluorescent bulb in the back porch light (something I couldn’t do with available X10 modules – at least not any that I saw for a reasonable price). In the future I may replace bedroom light switches (that have fans) with Insteon switches or even add the ability to open and close drapes with remotes (but those modules are considerably more expensive so it won’t be soon).

My goal is to have a home automation setup that is unnoticed and reliable. Changing the devices and protocol used may be one more step toward that goal.

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