X10 equipment in Europe
Introduction and Overview
X10 is not about those spy-on-your-neighbour's-daughter video cameras that
keep annoying us in popup ads on the net. X10 is a standard for sending
control signals over the power line. Invented in the 1970s, it's now
widely used in the USA. There, a huge selection of X10-enabled devices
is available for automating lights, lawn sprinklers, and all sorts of
other devices. You can use wall-mounted switches, infrared or radio
remote devices, or microcontrollers and PCs as input devices.
X10 is much less sophisticated than the EIB (a.k.a Instabus) system used
in modern European installations. However, EIB equipment is about five
times as expensive as X10 stuff, so EIB is really not suitable for the
average hobbyist. If you're planning and building your own house,
you should go for EIB, because with proper planning you can reduce the
bill. But for automating existing installations, X10 is quite
If you're new to X10, you'd best take a look at the following basic
- Lamp Modules and Appliance Modules are installed between
the power line and a device. They decode the signals from the power
line and switch the device on or off when they receive a command.
- A Controller like the CM-12 can be connected to a PC's
serial interface to send and receive powerline signals through
- Transceivers receive infrared or radio signals from a remote
control or from wall-mounted switches and propagate them via the
- Filters can be used to keep your neighbour from switching
your lamps on and off.
There's a vey small number of X10 devices adapted to the European
power net (230-240V, 50 Hz instead of 110V, 60 Hz). These are significantly
more expensive than their US counterparts, but still not as expensive as
the EIB devices. You can get them at Intellihome in Belgium or at Laser Business Systems (which I prefer) in the UK.
To save money, you can try to convert American X10 modules for use in
Europe. Depending on the module you're trying to convert, this may be
easier than you think;
the redoak web site has a lot of resources.
Here's my (hopefully growing) contribution to this idea:
Frederik Ramm, 2002-11-01