X10 the Grandfather of Automation

If you’re interested in home automation, then chances are, you’ve already encountered X10. It’s kind of impossible to miss when it’s the most widely distributed, most popular, and most affordable home automation technology on the market.

The protocol was developed in 1975 and has remained largely unchanged to this very day – which, in today’s fast-paced world, is quite an achievement. Constant advances in technology mean that systems and programs usually last a year or two before they’re phased out, but X10 has evaded this fate.

So how has X10 not only survived but has been able to dominate the home automation market more than 30 years later?

Save money!

The reason this virtually ancient technology is still thriving is twofold: X10 still works well, and it’s outrageously friendly on your wallet. Units rarely exceed $20 each, but the real savings are in the discount kits, where you can typically get everything you need to set up a basic home automation system for less than $250.

What does it do?

Simply put, X10 makes your life easier.

With the right combination of equipment and controllers, you can do just about anything. For example, you could set up a system to help you save on your energy bill, by using a mix of light detectors and internal and external thermostats to automatically open and close your blinds, shut your windows, and turn on your lights.

This example involves a complicated system with many features, so it would likely be attached to a centralized and computerized control system. But you don’t need to go that complex: if you just want to add a switch to the wall without running wires, X10 will do that too.

What doesn’t it do?

X10 is an old system, and it’s therefore limited in quite a few ways. Generally, most issues can be overcome; read about the pros and cons of this technology to find out more.

How does it work?

If you can plug in a lamp and turn it on, then you can install and use X10. I kid you not, it really is that simple – most of the time, anyway.

But how does plugging in something on one side of your house, allow you to turn off the lights on the other side?

The secret lies in the power lines that carry your home’s electricity; X10 piggybacks on the power line to carry messages that it slips into the current. Therefore, devices that you have plugged in can pick up the message and carry them out, without needing to install additional wiring.

Convenient? Totally. And better yet, there are RF adapters available that even allow you to control your home wirelessly. Could home automation be any easier? To learn more about how X10 work

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