X10 Appliance Module Local Control: Disablement Thereof

After we rearranged the living room, we had a few floor lights in different locations that called for more X10 Appliance Controllers. I’m not a big fan of automated housing, because X10 communication is unreliable with a bullet, but it’s convenient to turn off all the lamps from the bedroom.

Anyhow, the old RCA HC25 X10 Appliance Modules I pulled out of the Big Box o’ X10 Stuff suffered from the usual conflict between compact fluorescent lamps and the “local control” misfeature that’s supposed to let you turn the appliance on by simply flipping the switch. The problem is that a CFL ballast draws a nonlinear trickle of current that the module misinterprets as a switch flip, thus occasionally turning the lamp on shortly after you turn it off.

This has been true since the first compact fluorescent bulbs appeared. The circuitry inside X10 modules hasn’t changed much, at least up until I bought the last round of switches quite some time ago. That’s either a Bad Thing (still a problem) or a Good Thing (everybody knows about it).

The solution (everybody knows about it, just use the obvious keywords) is to cut a jumper on the module’s circuit board that’s obviously placed there for this very reason. In this view, it’s just below the lower-right corner of the fat blue capacitor. If you need confirmation, it’s connected to pin 7 of the only IC on the board.

Snip the wire, move the cut end a little bit, and button the module up again.

Local control jumper cut
Local control jumper cut

Oh, yeah. No user serviceable parts inside is a challenge around here…