X10 (industry standard)

When X10 is become a power line based home networking protocol in which the switching signals are sent through the existing house wiring ( 115/230 V, 60 Hz ( U.S.) or 230/400 V, 50 Hz ( Europe) ), laid without new cables need. It can thus be automated and controlled remotely simple switching operations. The switches or controls are either permanently installed or plugged into outlets, and they communicate with each other via 120 kHz control signals. These are sent to avoid the increase of the switching safety and to interference by phase control ( dimming ) only during the zero crossings of the AC voltage. The concept is similar to newer versions that allow the home appliance networking via the power line. However, these other signal transmission method ( two frequencies, scattering spectra and others) that are less susceptible to interference and allow a higher signal transmission rate. In addition to the pure current network-based elements, there is also for X10 remote controls and controls on wireless technology.


The X10 protocol has been promoted mid- 1975 developed by Pico Electronics in Scotland / UK and GE (General Electric), but therefore found mainly in the U.S. distribution. The chips were marketed by the X -10 Group in Hong Kong, which was at that time still under British administration. In Germany a license from the Busch -Jaeger was acquired in Lüdenscheid that has X - 10 to about 1990, also marketed in Germany the technique under bush Timac, but later increasingly (wired EIB or EIB Powernet ) on the European Installation Ground surrounded.

Large-scale applications from Timac -X10 are the late 1980s through the company Enertech from North Rhine -Westphalia under the direction of Dipl. -Ing. Detlef Harpers been realized by the X-10 protocol ( up to 1300 switching points) was only used to turn off unnecessary energy consumers. Here 35 percent energy savings have been realized without displacing even a new wire in schools.

The main disadvantage of the X10 protocol is actually not the low data transmission rate, or to 256 channels ( light switch, shutter controls, thermostats and so on ) limited address space. The protocol did not see any feedback before, so that high-order tasks, the switching reliability required (for example, reliable alarms ), could not be realized.

In Germany two main problems hindered the use of X -10:

The really properly functioning equipment had to be mutilated for admission in Germany so that a plug-and -play operation was almost impossible. An electronic ballast for fluorescent lamps, for example, could send up to 200 mW interference power into the grid and was still allowed with radio interference suppression N. A German X-10 signal with 5 mW would be covered in this strong emission and could no longer function.

Furthermore, the chip design called for no level control. With close to 300 mW output power saw to all network impedance variations (impedance modulation ) grown - if correct. The mutilated in Germany to 5 mW devices thus also had no level control - every little noise suppression capacitor was the safe destruction of the signal.

The 3- phase AC power is in Anglo-Saxon virtually unknown. The developer had this still considered a precaution during protocol design and the signals repeated every 120 degrees after the zero crossing, so that all control pulses again found in all phases of the zero crossing. Only signals between phases must be coupled consuming - too expensive for a private household. In the U.S. there are only single phase networks - and therefore there were no problems in this regard. Electronic ballasts are future music even today in the United States. General Electric marketed X-10 until today quite successful.

Alternative control protocols were therefore to automate large buildings in the U.S. developed (about CEBus ). Because of the low cost found X10 devices in the United States continues to be a growing distribution. This in turn meant that not only newly developed X10 devices came on the market, but also that the protocol for new functionality has been enhanced, and that X10 in the U.S. reached high penetration levels in the private home automation.

This development in the U.S. meant that X10 in Europe became interesting again. Although the devices send independent of the mains frequency only at the zero crossing, which could cost American X10 devices because of different line voltage ( and the lack of approval) in Germany not be used. It is different with the American home automation software. It can also be used in Germany in conjunction with X10 devices. New and very powerful X10 devices for 230 V, 50 Hz with CE approval are offered by several European companies and are now again available in Germany. Particularly interesting are small X10 receivers that can be installed in the switch and junction boxes domestic installations, so that the transition to home automation without major changes to the existing installation is possible.

The above then problems with electronic ballasts in the controlled loads ( eg energy saving lamps, fluorescent or LED bulbs) are today usually with the current European X-10 products is no longer a problem.