Ghost in the machine

01/10/2009 17:56

The problem with X-10 technology is, well, X-10 technology.  Now I must caveat that it works very well on clean lines.  The problem is that there are several "dirty devices" that produce an inordinate amount of line noise.  For the last few months, I've been chasing a pest in my lines that inadvertently turns on lights or changes temperatures.  Annoying, to say the least.  It requires some on-the-spot programming to check for bad signal reports.  That way I can intercept the surreptitious commands and undue the damage.  Anyway, remember the scene in the movie Phenomenon where John Travolta figures out the reason the rabbit kept getting into his garden is because he fenced it in, rather than out?  Well, after many moons of chase, I finally turned off every single device in the house, killed all the breakers, and methodically monitored all line signals.  And do you believe it, the cause of the line noise was the X-10 amplifier itself.  The one thing I never would have thought to test.  The XPCR device is merely supposed to serve as a repeater to boost signals and to jump them across the three-phase power system. 

Problem solved.  Well, for a small fee of purchasing another amplifier.  Unfortunately, X-10 technology hasn't caught up with Insteon plug-in wireless repeaters.  So I have to buy another device that wires directly into the breaker box.  I think I'll go with Leviton next.