X10 Community Forum

🛡Home Security => Problems and Troubleshooting => Topic started by: Hawaii_SE-R on February 24, 2009, 02:40:11 AM

Title: testing powerhorn independently
Post by: Hawaii_SE-R on February 24, 2009, 02:40:11 AM
Hi, new to this  forum.

I am having problems with my DS7000 not setting off my powerhorn (PH508).  The powerhorn has only been activated once while testing multiple house codes, unit codes, and outlets.  I've never been able to recreate the success.  Same DS7000 also has not been able to activate the lamp module (LM465).  I am beginning to wonder if the problem actually lies with the DS7000 even though the door/window sensors, motion sensors, and remotes all work.  Is there a way to activate the powerhorn without the use of the DS7000 so as to help determine the problem?

Thanks in advance,
Title: Re: testing powerhorn independently
Post by: Brian H on February 24, 2009, 06:52:35 AM
Sounds like you have some power line signal problems. Can you put the PH508 in the same outlet and then at a safe distance [your hearing] trigger a alarm. If it then goes off you most likely have a signal problem. The LM465 is it a new one? The new soft start models don't flash correctly as they ramp up and down with the on and off signals.
Another quieter way would be try the LM465 in the same outlet and use the security remotes standard on off buttons to try and turn it on and off.
Also if you use the security remotes standard on off buttons. Sending an one second on and off sequence to the address the PH508 is set to should also sound it. After about four on of cycles and it should sound for about four seconds after the cycle stops.
Title: Re: testing powerhorn independently
Post by: originalevil on February 24, 2009, 04:27:49 PM
If you have a palm pad remote (HR12A) and a transceiver of some sort (CM15A, TM751 set to the same house code as the power horn, a V572RF32, etc), you can set the house code for the Palm Pad to the same house code as the Power Horn, then use the button corresponding to the Power Horn's unit code to test it.

I think you have to send 4 on/off commands rapidly to get the Power Horn to activate, but I'm not exactly sure.

Title: Re: testing powerhorn independently
Post by: Hawaii_SE-R on February 24, 2009, 05:37:31 PM
Sounds like you have some power line signal problems. Can you put the PH508 in the same outlet and then at a safe distance [your hearing] trigger a alarm.

I've actually tried that at multiple outlet locations.  It did go off once this way and only once.  This was by triggering the panic button.  By no fault but my own I was only a few feet from the horn and immediately hit disarm.  That was my only success after multiple attempts.

Any yes, I've attempted to use the lamp module is a quieter way of testing but the lamp will only dim down once it is plugged in.  It will not turn off.  Perhaps I need to use the control to turn it off?

Thanks for your inputs.
Title: Re: testing powerhorn independently
Post by: Hawaii_SE-R on March 03, 2009, 06:46:01 PM
I actually got some useful help from X10 in regards to this:

If you can control some lights, but sirens are intermittent or not responding, then generally the problem will fall into one of two categories: phase issues and line noise. Here is a webpage with technical information:


Sometimes the solution is as simple as moving your transceiver to a different circuit breaker. Try moving it to the nearest outlet to the breaker box. If that does not solve the problem, please try the steps below.

One of the best ways to determine if you have a noise problem is to eliminate every possible noise source. The easiest way to do that is to start at your electrical panel and begin turning off breakers, one at a time. (Make sure that the breakers which power your transmitter and receiver stay on, of course.) There are lots of ways to go about this. Some technicians turn each breaker off, test the system, then turn on that breaker and go on to the next one. This is not ideal, as it works only when there is one big source of noise. If there are several sources that disrupt your X10 system, turning off only one breaker at a time makes it difficult to isolate the problem. We advise turning off a breaker, testing the system, turning off another breaker, testing the system, and so forth.

Another test is to try plugging your transceiver (the module with the antenna) and a plugin module (like an LM465 or AM466) into a surge protector. Unplug all other devices in the surge protector. Turn the lamp on and off with your remote to verify that everything is working properly. If it does, then the modules work correctly in a "safe" environment, one free of noise.

Once you have determined the circuit (or circuits) that are your nasty ones, now you need to figure out which device on that circuit is to blame. Many electronic devices will still generate significant noise when it is "off" or in "standby mode."  If you suspect a particular electronic device (TV, fax machine, computer, etc.) is a source of noise, we recommend you unplug it.

Once you have determined which electronic device (or devices) is causing your problems, you will need to filter it. The most common filter in these situations is the common 5 amp plug-in filter. Occasionally, we have seen devices generate so much interference that one filter does not quite do the job. If the noise level is extremely high, say over 3 volts in amplitude (which is quite high), then several millivolts will still get through an average filter. That is enough to cause X10 control problems. For almost all common residential noise sources, a single filter is more than sufficient.

For installers of X10 Pro equipment like noise filters, please visit www.x10.com/pro.

Problems communicating with modules can sometimes happen when the module to be controlled is on the opposite phase of the house wiring from the phase where the controller (CM15A, RR501, TM751, etc.) is connected.

In most cases, the signals transmitted by a controller will control any module plugged in anywhere in the house. The signal level transmitted is usually four to five volts but varies with line impedance and loading. However, the amplitude of signal required to operate a module is only 50 millivolts (0.05 volts) so there is enough tolerance in the transmit/receive ratio to allow for considerable signal attenuation. Most signal attenuation occurs when the signal has to "jump the phases".

Most houses are wired such that 220V (240V) is brought into the breaker panel and then split into two phases of 110V (120V) each. The signals from the controller are transmitted onto one phase and have to travel all the way out to the pole transformer to couple across to the other phase. The amplitude of signal on the "other" phase can therefore be greatly reduced.

Try turning on a 220V appliance (electric stove, clothes dryer). If the lamps respond properly when the 220V appliance is on, but do not respond when it is off, you are in need of a phase coupler. Note that this does not correct all phase problems; if this test fails, it does not rule out phase issues. If it works, though, get a coupler.

You can go to http://x10pro.com to purchase a phase coupler (A.K.A. phase bridge).

There is a 220V plug-in coupler repeater available that is often the quickest solution to both phase and line noise problems:


I opted to do what would seem the quickest way to test by using the power strip/surge protector method.  It worked!  The next step now is to go the slow route to get the system to work properly.
Title: Re: testing powerhorn independently
Post by: jpeckiii on March 27, 2009, 03:06:18 AM
I bought the signal bridge that plugs in with your stove or electric dryer, and it has solved numerous problems. Things have never worked so well throughout the whole house. Also had the same problems as you with powerhorns only working on certain outlets, and this fixed that problem as well. I recommend it highly! Just make sure to plug it in on the 220v outlet closest to your breaker panel for optimum performance. Not an issue since my dryer is installed directly below my service panel! Have you tried running your electric dryer and testing the powerhorn? The dryer, when running, acts as a phase coupler itself.