Phases and filters
Phases are important only for few of us!
Since x10 devices are added the mains installation in your home it is wise to know a bit more about this topic
On this page I will concentrate on the situation in the Netherlands and I believe most of it also makes sense in other EC European countries. It centainly is not applicable to most other parts of the world like the USA.
In the Netherlands there are two situations:
Single phase installationOne Live (fasedraad, brown) and one Neutral (Nuldraad, blue) wire goes to every connection point in the house.
Do note that the Neutral wire is not the grounding wire (Aarde)!
This is the standard situation for normal (less than 50 KVA) installations in the Netherlands. In the next picture you see what the the ac signal looks like, the blue dots are the transmissions of the 120KHz carrier frequency done by a X10 transmitter. For a receiver only transmissions on the zero crossing are detected, so only the first blue dot is detected.
As you can see there is no difference between 50 or 60 Hz here, the seond and third transmissions are ignored.
The conclusion therefore is: you can use X10 transmitters like the CM11 or a minicontroller MC460 designed for 60 HZ in a singlephase 50 Hz environment, An X10 receiver like the Lampmodule is, as far as detecting the X10 carrier on the Live wire, independent of the 50 or 60 Hz frequency.
Three phase installation
In a threephase installation there are three Live wires and one neutral wire. The three signals on the livewire are shifted in phase so that they nicely fit together, as shown in the next picture. Each sinewave represents the signal presemt on a different Life wire. Again with the blue dots showing a transmission by a X10 device. This is for a X10 trasnmitter designed for 60 Hz on a 60 Hz powerline. Again the transmissions are done at the zero crossing. X10 devices are always connected between a Live Wire and a Neutral. So any X10 device connected between Neutral and one of the Live wires will see the transmission.
How do you know if you have a trhreephase installation? Look in the "meterkast" or ask a professional to check it for you. IF you plan to make modifications in the installation be aware that you do need the assistance of a professional for legal reasons and for safity!
In the next picture you see what happens if you use a 60 Hz X10 transmitter in a 50 Hz environment:
- only on the Live wire connected to the X10 transmitter the X10 120 KHz carrier is present at the corect moment!
- Devices connected between the other two Live wires and neutral will not see a X10 carrier at the zero crossing!
The conclusion therefore is: you cannot use X10 transmitters designed for 60 HZ in a threephase 50 Hz environment.
But you can without limitations use a 60 Hz X10 receivers in a 50 Hz threephase environment..
Phase couplers are not to be used in a singlephase system, because there is only one phase.
In a threephase system, to get the X10 carrier from one Live wire to the others you need to bridge the X10 120 KHz carrier. Some persons report that using a 0.1 uF X2 rated capacitor will do (see also Connecting low power X10 110V to 220V). In a professional installation you need to use the DIN FD10 filter/couplers (three, between every phase!) that also isolate your house (see also the section on Limit X10 signals to your house) and reduces noise.
Limit X10 signals to your house
X10 signals travel from transmitter to the receiver via the powerlines. There is nothing that stops the 120 KHZ carrier signals leaving your house or preventing X10 signals from your neighbours entering your house. The X10 carrier will be blocked by the transformer (transformatorhuisje) bit many houses share the line., as illustrated in the next picture, which is typical for the dutch situation. X10 Since X10 is still rare in the Netherlands and certainly in my street. A picture showing how the typical dutch insatllations look like is shown in the next picture.
I have not had trouble with this feature. But if you see unexpected X10 device activation you need a TF278 200A Signal Blocker or (one) DIN FD10 device. And you probably need a professional installer to install these devices to keep with legal restrictions of the Powercompany.