[rescue] Phaser ink - turning off phantom loads.

Mike Hebel nimitz at nimitzbrood.com
Wed Aug 20 14:17:14 CDT 2008

laz at moaa.net wrote:
>> --- On Wed, 8/20/08, Robert Darlington <rdarlington at gmail.com> wrote:
>> I'm really annoyed with all the devices that don't outright
>> shut *off* (after a prolonged idle period).  Especially all
>> these things with stupid wall warts/bricks...
>> Unfotrunately, I can't arrange for the things that I use
>> "seldom" to all be on the same power strip or I could just
>> flip one switch to kill them all!
>> _______________________________________________
> get a few of these: http://www.smarthome.com/2040.html
> and a timer/controller, and a wall switch transmitter by the door you use.. 
> plug all your phantom loads into the controlled plugs, and turn them all off with one remote switch when you leave the house...
I use a fair amount of X10 stuff in the house now to help keep my 
electric bill low and there's a few things I've noticed that people 
should be aware of when using them:

1) They sometimes need a signal booster from the transceiver/timer/etc 
to where the module is actually located.  This is due to going across 
circuit breakers, bad wiring, and any number of things.

2) Some of them have a "local on" feature that allows someone to turn 
off the device locally then turn it back on and it will cause the module 
to turn on.  Because this is done by IIRC monitoring voltage surges some 
things plugged into the X10 modules will TURN RIGHT BACK ON WHEN TURNED 
OFF!  *ahem*  Sorry - it's frustrating to have to open up and cut a wire 
in the X10 appliance modules to make them work right.  Plugging in a 
night-light into the circuit is another work-around.

3) LAMP modules do not work with CF bulbs. Nor do any "dimmer" modules.  
Appliance modules are the only ones that work.  I use nothing but 
grounded appliance modules.

4) If you're using a wireless remote you'll need to get more than one 
receiver if you want to use more than one "house code".

5) Don't pay for modules locally unless they come out to less than $5 
each.  I mean it.  There are plenty of deals out there.  I bought 10 
modules off E-Bay for about $30 shipped.

6) Don't use these for things like servers or TiVo boxes or things that 
are hard-drive based unless you need to hard-kill them.  I have one on 
my router because of AT&T's annoying ability to refuse to fix the local 
router loop for my PPPoE static ADSL.  It goes down regularly so I have 
a no-ping-reboot script in cron on one of my servers that cycles the 
router power when it can't ping the border router, Google, and a DNS server.

I really need to write up an instructable or how-to on this stuff.

That said I have a few server scripts running the application 
Bottlerocket to turn things on and off via a Firecracker module.  The 
whole setup has cost me about $75 total so far. 

Mike Hebel

In the end the journey only matters if you've helped people along the way...

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