Utilizing a Switched Outlet to Control X-10 Lights

Updated: 09/10/03
ave you ever wished there was a device you could connect to your existing switched-outlet which would send an appropriate X-10 ON/OFF in response of the existing switch position! WELL! I have just the idea for you!

I have been using 4 setups described below ever since last year when I encountered the same problem. Most of my bedrooms have existing wall switches located just inside the doorway. They control an existing 110VAC outlet (actually, only one half of the duplex outlet is controlled by the switch, the other half is always powered... this is pretty normal in most switched outlet configurations... I've sometimes heard it called "California Wiring" ??)

In the switch controlled outlet, I plugged in a 110VAC-to-4.5VDC wallwart/transformer. The VDC output of this transformer was then connected to a PowerFlash Module (via series & parallel resistors, one to limit current into Powerflash unit and another to discharge transformer when powered OFF). This PowerFlash Module is set to receive VDC (Input Select = 1) and is also set to trigger ON/OFF the selected X-10 Housecode & Unit Code (Mode Select = 3). Unfortunately, this duplex outlet is completely dedicated for this use since both outlets are being occupied.

When you now switch ON the existing switch, the switched outlet supplies power to the transformer which in turn supplies VDC to the PowerFlash Module. Upon the Powerflash sensing VDC, it sends an X-10 ON signal for the selected House/Unit Code. When the switch is turned off, the transformer is de-energized, (with help of parallel resistor). This absence of input voltage sensed by the Powerflash tells it to then send an X-10 OFF command for the selected House/Unit Code. You can then control another light (most likely in the same room) by using either an appliance or lamp module set to the identical House/Unit Code as the PowerFlash module.

1 - Switched Duplex Outlet (1 outlet switched, other always powered)
1 - X-10 PowerFlash Module
1 - 110VAC-to-5vDC Plug-in Transformer
2 - 10K resistors (1 in parallel w/ Xformer, 1 in series to Powerflash)
1 - Appliance or Lamp Module

Under $30

VIOLA! You can use that existing switched duplex outlet for a GREAT purpose after all! This same light can also be controlled with all other X-10 controllers you have in your HA system. You can even monitor it's status (via Stargate, Homevision, ActiveHome etc...) seeing that every time the switch is toggled, it transmits X-10 signals! (unlike the ordinary X-10 wall switches)

Below is a rough diagram of the required setup!

!!! UPDATE --- UPDATE !!!"
It has been determined that a simpler approach to this mod is possible. You can also use a 100VAC-to-6VAC transformer in place of the DC transformer as shown. This will not require any of the resistors (actually, on the diagram I show 1 series resistor for current limiting/safety. This is not needed with low current AC transformers). Reaction time (of Powerflash sensing voltage) will be much better (quicker) too ! Both diagrams are shown below:



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