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Anyone else had an unexpected situation from owning a Volt? I may be a rarity but I still use the X10 home automation system through-out my house. This is a power line home automation communication system. Although the X10 technology is getting pretty old now (40 + years), I have kept it running reliably over the years as I have added new electronics to the home environment. Usually adding a filter here and there to kill power line noise introduced from the new device. Just was not thinking about buying a car would affect the system. Actually it is the 240v EVSE charger introducing the noise affecting the X10, and when the car is charging it just gets worse. All kinds of crazy results. Sensors not working when we walk into a room, lights coming on and off, irrigation pump not coming on... So now have heavy duty filters on order to place in the EVSE. "Electric car" part of the home electronics....:)
 

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X10 troubles, this has been expected

I believe the X10 home automation uses a type of micowave technology.. Doesn't matter... The system stopped working for me a couple years ago. And I was a bit peeved when they dropped the ball on the computer controlled controller. The only part of the system stat still worked PRE-VOLT was the remote control and the receiver that recieves the signal and talks to the modules / switches from that outlet. I have been slowly converting to electronic timers which I have found to be extremely reliable vs the X10 stuff which is buggy at best.
Saying that It would not surprise me to hear that it (x10) does not like the battery chargers "noise". I would suggest finding a different lighting system as the one you are hanging on to has seen better days.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Sorry, I did not find the other thread when I searched, or would have used that... I was not looking here for a solution. I fully understand the technology behind X10 and know the filters I have ordered will solve the problem. I was more talking about the situation of a car now affecting my home electronics. Something we did not have to consider in the past. Curious to see what other situations in buying a Volt have affected other folks unexpectedly..
 

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Discussion Starter #7
The EVSE is a GE DuraStation. Works great for the car. Have not put a scope on the line, but my X10 tester shows it is corrupting the start bits of the X10 command signals. It actually triggers an X10 Storm on the power line while the car is charging. I doubt very seriously GE would care about a home automation that is 40 + years old, X10 is basically obsolete. It is still in use by a lot of hobbyist because it is cheap and works great if you know how to set it up. To correct the noise problem you have to use power line filters that are specifically designed for the X10 120Khz carrier frequency. Does not take a lot of noise, just enough at this frequency to screw up the command bits. You can't just put any power line noise filter on the power line that would kill the X10 frequency too. So other EVSE probably have the same issue when it comes to X10, just not a problem since there is not many of us still using X10 for home Automation. This is NOT an EVSE problem, but adding a home charger can sometimes have unanticipated results in other systems. That is all my post was about...
 

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X10 uses very old power line transmission technology. The charger in the car can generate hash on the power line that can interfere with it. The charger is supposed to have an RFI filter in it but it could be insufficient or defective... The EVSE is just a large, intelligent power switch so it plays no part in this... One could place an additional RFI filter at the input to the EVSE and that would likely help the problem... The early Leafs had this problem to a much more severe degree and they had to add an additional filter at the AC input to the charger in the car...
 

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I could see that preventing noise in this range from a 3.3KW DC-DC converter (Volt OBCM) could be quite difficult/expensive (and yes, even worse on a 6.6KW). Switching noise in this KHz range and power is hard to attenuate. And also why AM radio is mostly obsolete. Makes me wonder what dc-dc switching speeds are used in the DCFC stations.
 

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I have a lot of experience with X10 as I was a developer for it at one point in my past. X10 was developed in 1975 by Pico Electronics of Glenrothes, Scotland. All I can say is... X10 is 40+ year old technology that is has no place in todays world. They are unreliable. (As you discovered.) They are also so poorly made they can pose a fire hazard. (There were many safety recalls over the last 40 years for X10 devices...) The technology is 40+ years old! (We can do much better now...)

X10 relies on sending relatively low frequency 120 kHz carrier command signals over your home wiring. The main problem for this technique in todays world is that most modern devices use high frequency switching power supplies that generate some RF in this frequency band. (Back in 1980, when X10 was invented, switching power supplies were relatively rare in home use.) Today nearly every device we buy uses a switching power supply. Cell phone chargers, clock radios, TV's, EVSE's etc... And all of those devices can potentially emit RF back into the power line. As a result... power supply manufacturers add RF FILTER circuits into the power supply design that are designed to trap & absorb RF on the power line side of the supply. These RF filter circuits also absorb and trap the 120khz carrier signal from your X10 controller. Hence the more appliances with switching power supplies plugged into your home's wiring the worse your X10 devices will function.

Fortunately there are many alternatives with far superior technology available today. Z-Wave, Zigbee various WiFi and Insteon are all good alternatives. This comparison chart gives you an overview of different tech: http://www.smarthome.com/sc-what-technology

I have been using an Insteon system in my home for the last 7 years. Insteon devices use both a carrier frequency + 900mHz radio. The Insteon modules form a "mesh" network in your home relaying the signals to each other. The more Insteon devices you add the BETTER the network performs. And the Insteon devices have 2 way communication so if you send a command to turn a device on the controller waits to get a confirmation back from the device that it switched on. It is a closed loop. And it will keep re-sending that command until the device responds. It is extremely reliable. I have over 40 of these Insteon switches, dimmers and thermostat controllers in my home. I have ZERO issues and they have performed flawlessly for the last 7 years. The main problem people have with Insteon is the initial purchase cost for the modules is higher than desired. (You get what you pay for.)

Home Depot has many choices from Lutron, GE, Cooper and many more that use much more reliable technology.

I highly recommend the Smarthome Insteon products: http://www.smarthome.com/insteon.html
 

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Fulgerite, this describe the X10 issues very well: it's noisey switching power supplies. I have used the X10 system for thirty years successfully. Three times in that time new items in the house that use switching power supplies have caused unreliability with a couple of the 18 modules in the house: an expensive dimmer. an electric blanket controller, and a Samsung Smart TV. The solution was to isolate those units by installing filters that stop the interference from entering the home wiring. (In my mind, the power supplies should not be inducing this interference -- they should be filtering it themselves.) I have used probably in on the order of hundreds of switching power supplies and electronic components that use them over the years and three units impact one specific X10 device ID that the filter mitigate successfully. If the charging station the OP is using causes the issue their solution to filters it is reasonable.


Rather than abandoning X10, these filters mitigate the issues caused by switching power supplies. Eventually I may have to switch to another type of automation system and will review your suggestions for future use. But in the mean time I won't get the same charging unit as the OP since the manufacturer clearly is not using a good design if it emits interference into the home system in the first place (although it could be a bad filter component in the unit). A well designed and manufactured switching power supply should have zero imapact on anything outside it's electrical interface.


Thanks for your consice defitnition and suggestions.
 

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Insteon devices work quite well, when they are actually working... My problem has been that the wall dimmers fail with great regularity... When we remodeled our house in 2006, I installed Insteon everywhere (over 50 of them)... Ten years later, I have had to replace half of the devices... Durability is not their strong-suit...

I have ZERO issues and they have performed flawlessly for the last 7 years.
 

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Any EVSE has almost nothing to do with powerline RFI. All it essentially does is close a relay that applies AC power to the vehicle. RFI suppression is supposed to be the responsibility of the charger IN the vehicle...

Alternately,you can install a RFI filter between the EVSE and the mains... Make sure that it can handle the rating of the EVSE...

But in the mean time I won't get the same charging unit as the OP since the manufacturer clearly is not using a good design if it emits interference into the home system in the first place (although it could be a bad filter component in the unit).
 

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The dc-dc switch mode power supply I was referring to is in the Volt (OBCM), not the EVSE. If the EVSE smps is at fault, it should be fairly easy to filter (low power, high impedance noise), although agree it shouldn't be there in the first place, whereas if the Volt OBCM is at fault, it may be difficult (low impedance transients).
 

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Any EVSE has almost nothing to do with powerline RFI. All it essentially does is close a relay that applies AC power to the vehicle. RFI suppression is the responsibility of the charger IN the vehicle...
Thanks for explaining this. I just found the 20 amp wired X10 filter to install on the 120 volt circuit that will be used to charge our Volt when it arrives.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I have to agree in today's world X10 has no place for the average consumer, but I too have used it successfully and overall reliable for probably 30 years. When I have introduced something new to the house and it caused an issue, I resolved it. As I will do with my EVSE.

In X10 terminology, stereos, TVs, computers, Solar inverters, and now EVSE, etc. are called "Signal Suckers". The goal of a good X10 environment is a strong clean X10 communication signal at the power line's zero crossover. These devices reduce the amplitude of the X10 signal, or corrupt the bit communication, i.e. they are actually providing some power line filtering along with some feedback noise (into the power line). They are not defective, that is just their design (switching power supplies, etc.). Thus the purpose of the X10 XPPF and the XPXPF filters are to isolate these devices so the rest of the power line will have a strong X10 signal. The new home automation technology is the way to go for someone just starting out (no investment), they have addressed these issues with different communications methods to improve reliability and stability for the average consumer market.

As was stated earlier, X10 is cheap compared with other methods. You do get what you pay for... There are lot better systems out there now. Early on when these new systems came to market to replace X10, I couldn't afford them, the initial investment is steep. I already have an investment into X10, and the understanding to maintain it. I too may switch in the future, but for now, my EVSE should be just another easy solution for a couple of X10 XPF filters. For those of us still using X10 there is still a lot of great support like http://jvde.us/ (and others) to help maintain our systems without abandoning our current investments.

Didn't mean to take the Volt forum into home automation ! Lets close this discussion. On one hand I was thinking car with my EVSE installation, not about affecting my house systems. Just was surprise, but I quickly realized what was going on and thought I would share the unexpected from my new volt purchase.
 

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...I fully understand the technology behind X10 and know the filters I have ordered will solve the problem. ...
Could you post information (web links if you're buying) about the filters you have ordered? I have a 120V/20 amp filter but am considering using a 240V charging system.
 

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I think the 120/220 filter I have would work (would have to get a second to have one each for the two legs of the 220 circuit) but it's only for up to 20 amps loads and many 220 chargers are higher.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I think the 120/220 filter I have would work (would have to get a second to have one each for the two legs of the 220 circuit) but it's only for up to 20 amps loads and many 220 chargers are higher.
This is true for the XPF filter. They are only good for up to 20 amps. The VOLT on my charger draws 16 amps per leg. My filters arrived today. Will install tomorrow.
 
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