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OEM chips for X-10 available?

Discussion in 'Electronic Design' started by Eduardo Gimeno, Feb 8, 2005.

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  1. Hello.

    I'm new on X10 and home automation, but have been on electronics for
    several years.

    I'm looking for some OEM module or "all-in-one" chip containing all
    the circuitry for signal_processing->mo/dem->decoder for building my
    own X-10 appliances. I can use several microcontrollers I have
    experience on, and I just need some kind of asic IC or so to make all
    the stuff regarding the X-10 protocol and interface with power line.

    Any help would be appreciated, because I have not found anything yet
    for this.

    Many thanks in advance.

    Eduardo Gimeno.
  2. mike

    mike Guest

    PicBasic Pro has macro functions to send/receive X10 commands with a
    PIC. The X10 chip does the decoding but
    you're gonna need an oscillator and line isolation components.
    Unless you need a LOT of 'em, it's hard to imagine building one cheaper
    than you can buy a module. If you're using a computer for the transmit
    end, a firecracker module is the easiest way to go.
    There's a ton of info on the web. Google is your friend.

    Return address is VALID.
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  3. Well, let's take another view.

    I started talking about X-10 because it seems popular, and it made me
    think I would find lots of info about it. But let's assume I have no

    I only need to send/receive commands over the power line (in my case
    es 220V 50Hz, Spain), and I need it with the simplest solution, in
    terms of price and circuit simplicity.

    I would like to know there is some IC which I can feed with the power
    line signal (after some treatment), connect 8 dip switches to 8 pins
    to fill the code, and receive a digital signal 0/1 on some other pin
    (for a receiver, reverse for a transceiver).

    Any other protocol available for this?

    By the way, what is a firecracker???

    Eduardo Gimeno
  4. Joerg

    Joerg Guest

    Hello Eduardo,
    It depends on how reliable it has to be. Personally I would not control
    anything critical with X10. Other than that it works for us.
    Several, such as Lonworks. But then it gets expensive.
    A device that plugs into your PC. It sends X10 RF commands to the
    wireless transceiver instead of using a powerline modem like we do.

    Whatever you do, make sure it is geared towards 50Hz. The X10 modules we
    are using in the US are set for 60Hz. For a reasonable signal to noise
    ratio you need to have the 120kHz bursts of X10 happen at the zero
    crossing. Or at least near those.

    Saludos, Joerg
  5. mike

    mike Guest

    If you're building a zillion, that may be the right question to ask.
    If you're building one, you're probably better off buying a solution.
    Messing with the power line when you don't know what you're doing is
    an invitation for a fire truck.
    And that "treatment" is the problem. Safety issues, reliability issues
    for hardware and data.

    You can buy devices that can connect your modem over the power line.
    My experience was that the performance was horrible...when they worked
    at all.

    connect 8 dip switches to 8 pins
    google firecracker x10, you can't miss it.
    Sad that they're now $40. They used to give them away.

    Return address is VALID.
    Wanted, PCMCIA SCSI Card for HP m820 CDRW.
    FS 500MHz Tek DSOscilloscope TDS540 Make Offer
    Wanted, 12.1" LCD for Gateway Solo 5300. Samsung LT121SU-121
    Bunch of stuff For Sale and Wanted at the link below.
  6. I've converted a few of the MC460 mini controllers to work from
    240V just by changing the dropping and coupling capacitors (and
    mains lead), and they work fine on 50Hz without any other mods.
  7. Joerg

    Joerg Guest

    Hello Andrew,
    It's been too long ago that I looked at the protocol. But I remember it
    detected the zero crossing and placed the burst there, plus on
    subsequently calculated three-phase crossings. So while it may work on
    single phase it might not be that reliable when another module runs off
    another phase, even when there is a bridge.

    Thing is, in the US homes don't generally have three-phase power.

    Regards, Joerg
  8. Jim Thompson

    Jim Thompson Guest

    69th Place between Oak and Thomas in old-town Scottsdale, AZ, has
    three-phase power. Makes for very efficient A/C. I lived there from
    1964 thru 1969.

    ...Jim Thompson
  9. Joerg

    Joerg Guest

    Hello Jim,
    Lucky you. We live in a house with 200 amp two-phase. Out here they are
    all two-phase. When I turn on a big analyzer some of the lights dim and
    others brighten for a split second. Sometimes I have to ask my wife not
    to turn on the vacuum cleaner just yet, or plug it in somewhere else.

    We had three phases in our house in Germany. 380V/63A, plus another for
    the heat pump. Boy, did I get spoiled by that. Just imagine, 230V and
    16-25 amps per circuit (and 7 cents per kilowatthour...). Now I have to
    account for all the printers, copiers and so on to make sure I don't
    exceed about 2000 watts per circuit. Else I'll be scurrying for the
    flashlight after clicking the print button.

    Regards, Joerg
  10. Jack Ak

    Jack Ak Guest

    Are you sure that house doesn't have "split phase"? Split phase is single phase
    240 volt service split into two 120v circuits. Look at the label in your power meter.
    The 240 volts is available for clothes dryers and ovens or burner top ranges.
  11. The arguments over whether 120-0-120 is 'two phase' or 'split phase' is
    interminable and futile. It's both, depending on how you define it. I
    think we can rule out 'neither', but I'm not 100% sure.(;-)
  12. Joerg

    Joerg Guest

    Hello Jack,
    Yes, sorry for not being specific, it is split phase. The utility guys
    still called it two-phase. We do have 240V for large appliances.

    Regards, Joerg
  13. Joerg

    Joerg Guest

    Hello John,
    True. But Jack has a point. We do have three phase at the 10KV level.
    The individual transformers are hooked up to two wires each, in a round
    robin fashion along the HV line to even out the load.

    Regards, Joerg
  14. Jerry Avins

    Jerry Avins Guest

    True 2-phase power is rare nowadays, When it's supplied at all, it's
    supplied as two 220V split-phase circuits in quadrature. There are still
    some 20phase motors around, but they are run from Scott T transformers.
    In New York City, the power company must supply three-phase power on
    request. When my cousins built adjacent houses in Staten Island and
    insisted on 3-phase power, it was provided from a Scott T that tied into
    a nearby two-phase feeder. Later, that feed was changed over to
    three-phase ans the transformer bank eliminated.

    For systems with line-to-neutral voltages of 120, split phase is 240
    line-to-line, 2 phase is 170, and 2 drops from three phases on the pole
    -- a common residential service in three-phase areas -- is 208. (208
    volt single-phase home appliances are available.)

  15. '2 phase' in itself doesn't demand that the interphase angle is 90
    degrees. I SAID that argument was pointless.
  16. Jerry Avins

    Jerry Avins Guest

    Would you accept a six-phase rectifier bank that had all phases in the
    same quadrant? The language problem arises because there are two uses of
    "two phase", both legitimate.

    Whenever two separate wires, not in phase, carry power, the system has
    two phases and is loosely called 2-phase. (The common phase differences
    are 180. 120, and 90 degrees. If 135 degrees were supplied, that would
    also be two phases.)

    The technical use implies 90 degrees. See what a 2-phase motor needs for
    power. Look up the connections and turns ratios needed for a transformer
    bank that converts between 2-phase and 3-phase (Scott T) and see what
    angles are involved.

    Both the loose and the technical usages have their places. Arguing about
    which is "right" is not so much pointless as beside the point.

  17. What's the difference? (;-)

    But I agree.
  18. John Fields

    John Fields Guest

  19. You want a Micromint PLIX chip.

    Power Line Interface for X-10 (PLIX)

    PLIX Chip and TW523
    Parallel PLIX is an 18-pin CMOS chip which provides an intelligent
    communication interface between a computer and X-10 AC power-line
    control modules. PLIX removes the burden of complex X-10 programming
    protocol from the designer by providing a simple parallel interface. It
    takes care of the complex zero-crossing timing for sending and receiving
    X-10 commands so you don't have to. An otherwise simple embedded
    controller can now also feature X-10 power-line control by simply adding
    a PLIX chip to the design. PLIX are available in both a Parallel and
    Serial version.

    SERIAL PLIX is designed to interface with the Serial port of any
    embedded controller or computer. Using simple ASCII commands, the user
    now has a simple way to communicate with the X-10 powerline adapter
    module (TW523) to control electronic devices over the existing
    powerlines. With a little imagination and software support from the
    user, Serial PLIX also has the capability to transmit and receive data
    segments via the powerlines. The user can select the baud rate and other
    parameters to obtain the desired communications protocol.

    $19 qty 1.

  20. Let's retake the subject, because it resulted in a discussion about
    pahses and so on...:)

    The micromint PLIX chip seemed perfect for the task until I found out
    I also needed another module (TW523) whose size is huge (apart from
    the cost).

    Once again, I don't want to shut the doors just to X-10. I need an
    easy to implement and unexpensive protocol to communicate over the
    PLC. Even I can lay a data cable for this matter, because I have a
    spare electrical tube between each pair of boxes I asked just for this
    purpose. When I heard about X-10 I thought I wouldn't need to use the
    spare tube, but now when I see the complexity, I do not discard using

    Someone mentioned Lonworks. Does it make my problem easy to solve?

    Another commands protocol for remote switching over the PLC, or over a
    dedicated data line which can be implemented mostly on one chip and

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