[mythtv-users] Power Line Network Connections

John Nourse John at thenourses.ca
Mon Sep 27 02:53:22 UTC 2010

Having used and developed systems with X10 power line systems, here is a little input. In North America house power is divided in two, signals on the same half (phase) generally work well but suffer from poor connections at plugs and switches.  When crossing phases without any cross over hardware the signal must travel to the nearest outside transformer and may even be interfered with by a neighbor with similar equipment.  Cross over capacitors as advised must be carefully installed to be effective (they are often disguised in a black box type of connection).  The biggest issue is however brown outs and power surges. Most homes have no protection (whole home isolation) from the outside world, this would involve a transformer for each house. This means that most equipment is vulnerable to power surges. Placing an inline surge protector will interfere with any signals on the power line.  X10 switches (the lower cost non-commercial type) seem to die after a few years.

So yes you can make this type of connection work, but you are taking a chance with your equipment. Possibly some of the more expensive equipment may have built in protection. If you have a forced Air ducting system you can buy cat 6 cable that is designed to run in duct work and can be safely installed in the return air duct work in your home. This is an effective route for retrofitting Ethernet cable since the power on the cable is low wattage and there is always a route from lower to upper floors, Attics and Basements are often accessible from the return air duct work.

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