X10 Lighting

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Lighting is an important aspect of our automated home. Most of our lights are controlled via either X10 DIN-mounted Lamp Modules or X10 DIN-mounted Appliance Modules. (Some are RGB LED lamps but I'll cover them in a later post.)

Although I am a morning person, I still need a little help waking up in the morning. My lovely children help a bit but being able to have the lights gradually brighten to full brightness when it is time to get up helps a lot, particularly in the winter. It also means that the children wake up at the same time every day, which in turn means they tend to go to sleep pretty reliably in the evening. In the event that they wake up too early, they know it's too early as the lights aren't on yet so generally don't wake us.

We also have X10 Motion Sensors so can automatically trigger lights in rooms with no natural light. Our utility room, where we change nappies, is a good example as this behaviour is particularly useful when you have your hands full carrying a reluctant toddler.

The children rather like the low-level stick-on X10 RF Remotes that enable them to turn on their lights (and I like the fact that they don't have to climb on the furniture to reach the "normal" switches). (They also like having the remotes trigger wolf howls, T-Rex roars and Michael Rosen from the ceiling speakers.)

One disadvantage of the dimmable lights is that most dimmers have a minimum rating. The LD11 X10 DIN-mounted Lamp Modules that we use require a minimum load of 60W. This is a problem because it is becoming increasingly difficult to buy bulbs that meet this requirement. At the moment, we typically use Energy Saver GLS Lamps which look great and use just enough power to keep the dimmers happy.

I'd be very interersted to know how others with X10 solve this problem as I'd love a solution that used less power but which was still dimmable and produced a pleasant bright light.

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Sunshine

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Finally, a fine day, so our decorator installed the Solatube. I was entirely taken in by the product literature the moment I read the slogan - "Stick it where the sun don't shine!". Fortunately the tube entirely lives up to my expectations.

Sunshine

It's still a little odd whenever I catch sight of the previously dingy room out of the corner of my eye. As you can see there's still a bit of work to be done before the en suite is ready, so I have a little bit of time to get over it before that room is functional.

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Scenes

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While the lighting on the stairs was being worked on, we had no lights on the landing. To make it safer going up to bed, we used an RF remote to trigger a appliance module to turn a lamp on in the bedroom. This also had the advantage of being able to turn the light off later without getting out of bed.

The natural extension of this using the new X10 lighting is to have the same "On" button triggering a sequence of light settings - a "scene". So now the "On" signal triggers a simple sequence of commands:

x10 turn l_landing on
x10 turn l_bed_2 on
x10 turn l_bath on

They set the scene for going up to bed. Later, the "Off" signal triggers a second sequence:

x10 turn j1 lightsoff
x10 turn l1 lightsoff

That is the X10 magic necessary to turn off any lights we happened to leave on anywhere in the house. This is great! No more going back to the bottom of the stairs to switch of the hall light.

It's great to see how even simple things like this are coming together. Things should really pick up now that the first phase of electrical work is coming to an end. (Phase two will be the new fan/light for node 0 and phase three will be the en-suite electrics - i.e. underfloor warming, demister, fan, etc.)

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Fancy lighting

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Well, I wasn't sure about having coloured lights when Tracy first talked about it, but now I definitely love the idea. The effects you can create are great. We've been experimenting lighting different objects - like the radiator covers in our living room - but the photos really don't do them justice.

Radiator Cyan Radiator Purple

We've set up some neat controls based on this Colour Wheel.

Tracy's ChromaDome, from A.C. Lighting, arrived this week. It's going to be really neat when we have this installed lighting the tall space above the stairs.

Since we're sold on the Pulsar Chroma range now, I cancelled the outstanding order for the DMX pinspot. (I don't blame 10outof10 for not completing the order because I was told by other suppliers that they were impossible to get hold of when I placed the order in July.) Now we just need to decide what Chroma lights we are going to use to bring colour to the white walls of the kitchen.

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