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🛡Home Security => Problems and Troubleshooting => Topic started by: Jeff74 on October 03, 2012, 12:38:12 AM

Title: Noob with some questions
Post by: Jeff74 on October 03, 2012, 12:38:12 AM
I just got the $149 system, seems to work fine except with steel doors.  What is the solution for this?  There has to be something that can resolve it, most people have steel, exterior doors, don't they?  Thanks for any information.
Title: Re: Noob with some questions
Post by: Brian H on October 03, 2012, 06:20:47 AM
Your Security Kit came with the DS12A or the older DS10A Door and Window Sensors?
Looking at the sales page it is showing the DS12A model.

You may want to try mounting the sensor and magnet on a spacer that holds it about 1" away from the steel door and frame. Though metal between the sensor and the consoles location. Can effect the communication range.

I have wooden doors and frames but they are decorative so mounting the DS12As where a problem for me also.

What I did and maybe what you can do. Is not use the internal magnetic switch and wire an external one to the optional second zone terminals inside the DS12A. Then I just registered the second zone on the SC12A and the internal one was ignored.
With the second zone being used. You could get the sensor away from the steel door and frame.

Others with metal doors may have other solutions for you.
Title: Re: Noob with some questions
Post by: Jeff74 on October 03, 2012, 07:47:48 AM
Thank you for the reply.  I am going to try and mount the sensor on the wood casing.  Does it matter which part of the sensor attaches to the door and which attaches to the frame?  What is the maximum distance the 2 can be apart while still getting a connection?

I did notice that when I went to bed, the alarm was disarmed, but several of the zones were showing on the display, not flashing, but just showing up.  What does that mean?
Title: Re: Noob with some questions
Post by: dave w on October 03, 2012, 08:27:13 AM
Does it matter which part of the sensor attaches to the door and which attaches to the frame? 
Yes. Do not attach the sensor to a metal door. The metal door will affect the transmitter circuitry in the sensor. In fact, as Brian suggested, you may have to go to a completely separate magnetic switch wired to the aux terminal in the sensor, enabling you to move the sensor farther away from the door. 
Title: Re: Noob with some questions
Post by: Jeff74 on October 03, 2012, 10:03:06 AM
Something else I noticed this morning was that after the front (metal) door had its problem of not being recognized and the console said it was "open", I shut it locked it and went upstairs to work.  About 2 hours later, I came down and noticed the console had no flashing numbers and no numbers at all.  I pushed the ARM button and it seemed to work.  I pushed DISARM, went to the problem door and opened it, console CHIRPED as it should.  I shut the door, reopened it and NO CHIRP.  I don't know what to do other than try repositioning the sensors off of the metal as Dave W suggests or get a magnetic switch, however another metal door I had a problem with I did mount the sensor onto the wood casing and the smaller magnetic part onto the metal door and it doesn't work at all.  This door is also the furthest away from the cosole.  Thanks.
Title: Re: Noob with some questions
Post by: Brian H on October 03, 2012, 11:25:37 AM
Watch the Green LED on the DS12A as you close and open the door.
If it does not flash or flashes twice like the sensor showed closed and open again. The steel door maybe modifying the magnets field.
Title: Re: Noob with some questions
Post by: Jeff74 on October 03, 2012, 12:38:14 PM
well, now I just got through putting a sensor on a vinyl window, about 30 ft away from the console.  It had some trouble picking it up, but eventually did, but it doesnt work when the window is pushed open.  Also, a window that is about 15 ft in the direct line of sight from the console that worked fine, doesnt work anymore.  The green lights flash, etc, just no chime when opened.  The batteries are Alkaline and brand new.  Maybe the sensors are bad?
Title: Re: Noob with some questions
Post by: dave w on October 03, 2012, 01:19:13 PM
You might want to do some searching on this forum. The SC1200 can be persnickty. One thing that seems to make a difference is orientation of the console (vertical/horizontal) since the antenna is internal.
Title: Re: Noob with some questions
Post by: Brian H on October 03, 2012, 03:22:36 PM
Here is a thread on the SC1200 antennas placement.
http://forums.x10.com/index.php?PHPSESSID=468ohrlu4ckirulej1c7r0i4n3&topic=26293.msg148480#new

I am NOT advocating anyone modify their SC1200 but the threads clear photos show exactly where the antenna is.
Title: Re: Noob with some questions
Post by: Jeff74 on October 03, 2012, 04:53:32 PM
One more question, what is the lightcode and housecode and what should it be set to?  And what do the flashing numbers mean vs. the non flashing numbers?
Title: Re: Noob with some questions
Post by: Brian H on October 03, 2012, 06:22:42 PM
House Code and Light Code {Unit Code}. Set an X10 address you can set things like a LM465 Lamp Module to.
Default is House Code A. Light Code {unit code dial on module} 1.
The SC12A sends X10 power line signal to that address and the Light Code +1.
At Default. When you arm the system it would send an A1 A2 AOn then an A1 A2 AOff. To flash the lights so you know it was armed.
On an alarm the cycle of On and Off commands. Flashing the lights.
This cycle can also trigger a Powerhorn Siren. Though some date code hardware act slightly different than expected.

A Zone Number that is On indicates the Zone is Open.
A Zone Number flashing. Is the Zones sensor has not successfully checked in with in four hours. Since the sensors check in at roughly one hour intervals. There is most likely a communications problem between the sensor and the console. A flashing Zone or any open zones will not allow you to Arm the system unless you bypass that zone. Manual gives details.
Title: Re: Noob with some questions
Post by: Jeff74 on October 03, 2012, 07:12:02 PM
Thanks for that info.  I guess I should just leave those as the default settings and not mess with them. 

I work from home and my wife left and via the keyfob, armed the system (with what sensors are still working, which is about 1 at this point).  I came downstairs and tried to disarm the system via my keyfob.  I could not get any further than about 6 feet for the keyfob to get the signal to it.  I am pretty sure this is not normal, since the keyfobs are really for when you are out side the house.  I would excpect better range than 6 feet.  I called tech support, and of course, they are closed.   I am really comtemplating sending this back.  I guess the other name brand systems are expensive for a reason, but I cannot get them to come to our house since we live outside the service area.
Title: Re: Noob with some questions
Post by: Jeff74 on October 03, 2012, 10:34:36 PM
I think I may have solved my problem.  The location I had the console setting was at my desk area in my kitchen.  In that area is a laptop with wifi always on and about 4 network jacks and 1 cable jack running in the wall right behind where I was mounting the console.  I moved the console to a different location in the house and reinstalled all of the sensors and it seems to work perfectly.  I also got some more reliable brand of batteries (rayovac) than what I was using (AmazonBasics and Harbor Freight Brand).

I am going to continue to install 3 more sensors tomorrow and 1 motion detector and I am now contemplating getting another siren for upstairs so we can hear it better.  Has anyone installed a different siren than the one x10 sells for these systems?  Also, when I am installing a sensor, it installs 2 zones for each of them.  How do I stop that and only install 1 zone?
Title: Re: Noob with some questions
Post by: Brian H on October 04, 2012, 06:21:10 AM
Sounds like the original location had too much electronic pollution and the new location is much better.

Each sensor is registering two zones?
I know the DS12A has the internal magnetic switch zone and the external terminal block zone.
I only saw mine install both when it happened to be checking in at the exact time I was trying to register it.
You may want to verify the small jumper on the terminal block in the DS12A is firmly tight and the cover is on tightly as the tamper switch could send a tamper for both zones if loose.

Only the PH508 Large Powerhorn and the SH10A Small Powerhorn sirens can be directly triggered by the SC12A sending the flashing lights signals on an alarm. There are a few modifications to a SH10A module here where it was used to trigger an external siren.
I will see if I can find a few links. If not you can use our search function and find them.
Title: Re: Noob with some questions
Post by: Brian H on October 04, 2012, 07:12:45 AM
Quick check found these. There are more.

http://forums.x10.com/index.php?topic=18542.0
http://forums.x10.com/index.php?PHPSESSID=gnesvv200kld37mebj6ev213o4&topic=21998.0
Title: Re: Noob with some questions
Post by: Jeff74 on October 05, 2012, 07:46:37 AM
Ok, now that I have my system all squared away, I noticed that the sensors are not wanting to stick to the windows as wells as they should.  In the last 2 nights, I have been woken up to the alarm because the sensor has fallen off.  I use the sticky pads that came with the sensors, the windows are vinyl, so I thought it would get a solid connection.  I don't want to screw anything into the vinyl.  What are my other options for sticking it to the vinyl windows?  Does anyone have any luck with the Command strips?  Thanks.
Title: Re: Noob with some questions
Post by: Knightrider on October 05, 2012, 09:11:42 AM
I stick a little dab of silicone caulk/sealant between the sensor and the mounting surface.  The sticky pad keep the unit in place until the silicone cures.
Title: Re: Noob with some questions
Post by: Brian H on October 05, 2012, 10:38:24 AM
Did you clean the mounting surfaces with alcohol before mounting them?
That sometimes helps.

Also try firmly holding the sensor or magnet firmly onto the surface for a minute or more. When I use tie wrap anchors with sticky on them. The manufacture recommends firmly holding the mount to the surface for a minute to assist in bonding.

I used the external zones on my DS12As and they came with what looks like a permanent type double sticky pad. After I got them on there was no moving them.

Hardware Stores and Radio Shack carry this type mounting material if the X10 supplied ones are not cutting it.
Though my gut feeling is the surfaces may not have been clean enough.
Title: Re: Noob with some questions
Post by: Jeff74 on October 17, 2012, 02:26:52 PM
Where can I get the extra external magnetic switch?  Is it something x10 sells?
Title: Re: Noob with some questions
Post by: Brian H on October 17, 2012, 03:01:43 PM
X10 mentions a second switch for the DS10A here.
http://kbase.x10.com/wiki/Adding_A_Switch_To_A_Door_Sensor

Any security type web site would carry them.

I used a Large Gap model as my doors where hard to mount a switch with the normal smaller gap.
Seco-Larm SM-431-T
http://www.smarthome.com/77414/Enforcer-Surface-Mount-Magnetic-Contact-Sensor-Switch-White/p.aspx
Title: Re: Noob with some questions
Post by: Jeff74 on October 17, 2012, 03:25:34 PM
Would this work?

http://www.amazon.com/Magnetic-Sensor-Window-Warning-Switch/dp/B0050N7SM0
Title: Re: Noob with some questions
Post by: Brian H on October 17, 2012, 03:47:07 PM
Can't say with 100% accuracy.
It has to be closed when the magnet is next to it and their description does not say.

Not trying to confuse you but there is two ways to describe the switch.
In Electronic terms it is a Normall Open Switch as that is its condition when not activated.
In Security terms it is a Normally Closed as the magnet next to it closes it and is used in a normally closed zone.
Title: Re: Noob with some questions
Post by: Jeff74 on October 17, 2012, 04:00:39 PM
Yes, I remember seeing "normally closed" in some descriptions.  But for $4, I am willing to try it and see what happens.  Really, the only problem is 2 metal doors that I have in the house.  I have a 3rd metal door that works flawlessly and it is the furthest sensor away from the console.  But these other 2 metal doors are a problem and they are only about 6' and 15' away.  I am going to try and mount the sensor as far from the metal door as possible with these switches and maybe even putting some insulation under it.
Title: Re: Noob with some questions
Post by: Jeff74 on October 18, 2012, 12:02:53 PM
Also, what does it mean when 1 sensor is not "checking in"?  This one is about 6 feet from the console in a direct line of sight.  The sensor is mounted to a steel exterior door.  It doesn't check in, but it will chime when opened every time.  So, for me to arm the console, I have open and close that door so that it registers with the console again.
Title: Re: Noob with some questions
Post by: Brian H on October 18, 2012, 02:25:54 PM
The display shows Problem and the Zone #1.
Means the sensor has not checked in within four hours. Since they have a loose {some are longer some shorter} 1 hour check in. The console didn't receive the check in message for four hours. Why opening and closing the door corrects it. Difficult to say for sure but mounting directly on a metal door is a good chance of being the problem.
Title: Re: Noob with some questions
Post by: Jeff74 on October 20, 2012, 02:14:38 PM
Well, I unmounted the sensor and put some insulation under it, hoping it would fix the problem, but it didnt.  Still, the same probs and this tone problem with the chime and siren is really annoying.  It may be time for a new console or something when I call Monday.
Title: Re: Noob with some questions
Post by: Brian H on October 20, 2012, 03:07:55 PM
How far away where you able to space the sensor from the metal door?

Did you try the unplugging the wall supply and removing the batteries for a minute or so. For the tone mixed with the chime sound?


Title: Re: Noob with some questions
Post by: Jeff74 on October 20, 2012, 07:50:43 PM
The sensor and magnet are about 1/4" apart, if that.  But does the magnet have anything to do with the sensor not checking in? 

I have thought about unplugging all power sources from the console, but would that wipe out all of the codes and zones causing me to do it all over again?
Title: Re: Noob with some questions
Post by: Brian H on October 21, 2012, 06:39:39 AM
On the older DS7000 removing the power including the batteries. Would wipe out everything.

On the SC1200 all the registered zones are not lost. You do have to reset the clock and maybe the Tamper Message from opening the top cover and removing the batteries.

I believe a fellow user did have a problem with a metal door. Effecting the magnetic field.
Title: Re: Noob with some questions
Post by: Jeff74 on October 23, 2012, 12:15:21 AM
I removed the power and batteries.  Isnt the alarm supposed to go off when you open that door?  It didn't.  I also notice that every time I open a sensor cover, it doesnt alarm, but it does say Tamper Zone 1 or whatever, but it never alarms.  Once I reset it, it seems to work a little better.  Still, a door or window that has been a top performer with NO probs, now is not checking in.  sometimes doors or windows will not chime until you shut/open about 5 times consecutively.  weird.

Title: Re: Noob with some questions
Post by: Brian H on October 23, 2012, 06:01:28 AM
The alarm will sound if it is armed and you do a cover.
If it is not armed. All you get is the Tamper message.

Sounds like the console has a problem with processing RF messages.
I would call X10 support and see if you can exchange it. Remember the guarantee is now ninety days.
Title: Re: Noob with some questions
Post by: Jeff74 on October 23, 2012, 11:34:59 PM
yep, I agree.  I will call tomorrow since I can now call before they close.
Title: Re: Noob with some questions
Post by: Jeff74 on October 25, 2012, 02:21:56 PM
Called x10, did some troubleshooting (power cycle, hard reset, power cycle, etc).  I reinstalled all the sensors again and let the system burn in over night.  I had the same probs with 2 of the sensors not checking in (furthest and closest sensors to console).  X10 is calling it a defective console, so I have to send it back. 
Title: Re: Noob with some questions
Post by: Brian H on October 25, 2012, 03:14:22 PM
Thanks for the update.
It did sound like a defective console.
Title: Re: Noob with some questions
Post by: Brian H on November 02, 2012, 07:30:10 PM
Hurricane Sandy forced me to do a test.
Just to verify for some future reference.
After three and a half days of no AC power and batteries dying. At power up. The SC1200 had retained all its registered sensors and keyfob remotes.
Title: Re: Noob with some questions
Post by: dave w on November 02, 2012, 07:46:35 PM
Welcome back!
Title: Re: Noob with some questions
Post by: Jeff74 on November 20, 2012, 12:00:47 AM
Just got my replacement back.  Its a brand new unit, installed it with no problems.  Now, its day 3 and 1 sensor started acting up and shows it is open when really it is not.  Kind of annoying.  I guess 1 out of 13 isnt bad at this point.  It has kind of deterred me from getting more sensors and other accessories or devices to work with it.  It seems a bit flaky and the range is absolutely horrid.
Title: Re: Noob with some questions
Post by: Brian H on November 20, 2012, 05:55:11 AM
Sorry to read of your continued sensor problems and horrid RF range.

The error message you are getting is Open Zone and not a Problem Zone indication?
Problem Zone would be a sensor not checking in and an Open Zone would be the last message received was the Zone Was Open.

Since a sensor checks in around an hour interval, with an Open or Closed message and the Problem Zone message is flagged at about four hours.
My thoughts are the sensor is checking in but indicates it is Open. Could be magnets at the edge of detection and sometimes it is sending an Open message.
Title: Re: Noob with some questions
Post by: dhouston on November 20, 2012, 06:34:00 AM
It seems a bit flaky and the range is absolutely horrid.
This will likely solve your range problems.
Title: Re: Noob with some questions
Post by: Mr. Jones on November 20, 2012, 01:57:58 PM
dhouston you still haven't built any att. mods yet? Potential buyer here.....i'm just saying.  :'
Title: Re: Noob with some questions
Post by: dhouston on November 20, 2012, 03:32:43 PM
dhouston you still haven't built any att. mods yet? Potential buyer here.....i'm just saying.  :'
In the past few years I've dealt with congestive heart failure, lung cancer, three prostate surgeries, increasing paralysis from a 50+ year old spinal cord injury plus several serious infections acquired in various hospital emergency rooms.

I have sent about $200 worth of modified transceivers, antenna kits, keychain remotes, etc. to someone who frequents the forum who was going to range test them. Having heard nothing for about 7 weeks , I am sending a similar package to a distributor who will test them and, if he decides to distribute them, make them available through his web site. However, it's likely to be several weeks before he can test them, arrange for someone to build the kits and get them in stock.

I'm also finalizing the hardware, firmware and software for this...
which the same distributor will handle. And there are a half dozen accessories for it which I'm currently testing.

Then there is a daughterboard to replace the controller in the CM15A, turning it into a more powerful and far more accessible device. Plus, there is an X10 power-line modem of my own design under development. The same distributor is interested in them.

So, no, I haven't built any antenna kits yet beyond a few for demo and testing purposes.

 
Title: Re: Noob with some questions
Post by: Mr. Jones on November 20, 2012, 04:04:15 PM
Wow, that's impressive! You contributions to the X10 world are enormous. Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge and expertise with us. I just figured that I would ask about the att. mod. I didnít mean to bother you. Iím just not as savvy with electronics like you are to pull off a mod myself. Iíll keep an eye on the link you posted and see what will transpires over time. Thanks!