X10 Community Forum

🔌General Home Automation => Automating Your House => Troubleshooting Automation Problems => Topic started by: TakeTheActive on August 27, 2006, 05:54:01 PM

Title: TTA's X10 Troubleshooting Tips Thread [Updated: 2007/03/05]
Post by: TakeTheActive on August 27, 2006, 05:54:01 PM
I'm gathering all of my X10 Troubleshooting Tips into this one thread.

This should serve 2 purposes:

MAP / MEASURE / CORRECT (http://www.x10community.com/forums/index.php?topic=10732.msg61055#msg61055)

TTA's Tips Discussion Links:

Click on a LINK to go directly to the thread and discuss what you LIKE  ;D  *OR* DISLIKE  >:(  about a TIP !

TTA's Selected Tips From Other Members Links:


Reviews from our Valued (and Happy !) X10 Community Members:

Quote from: marineau
Your method is very clever, and deserves that I studied it of advantage!
I could surely use this method for other things too !


Quote from: Puck
I'm fairly new with using X-10 stuff (about a year now) and since I started using AHP (last April), I have visited this site as a Guest almost daily. ...in some cases (at least with me) the help I was looking for either already existed so I didn't bother to join in or I just worked through the problem myself.

So, now I decided to join in for 2 main reasons...

  • 1) to say thank you to all the regulars here for all their help. Particularly guys like TTA & Tuicemen. I don't know if you realize how many people you help, or at least lead in the right direction, but I guarantee you it's more than you are aware of.
  • 2) In the year that I've been using X-10, I have learned a lot and the only way I can help share my experience is be a member of this board.


Quote from: Don N

I think you should change the name of your thread from "TTA's X10 Troubleshooting Tips Thread" to "TTA's X10 Troubleshooting Tips Thread for Dummies."  And of course you will need to make sure the title (lettering) is yellow with a black background.  Just a a thought!!!!!  And by the way, great tips and thanks for providing a great service!!!

Don N

"TTA's X10 Troubleshooting Tips Thread for Dummies" . . . . . Thanks Don N, Dan, marineau!  :D

Since the 'Post Ratings' (i.e. 'Helpful'/'Unhelpful') were recently turned back on, if you've gotten *ANY* benefit from my efforts here,
*ALL* 'Helpful' Votes are most certainly appreciated!
But, if on the other hand, you read something that you *TOTALLY* disagree with, PLEASE, *BEFORE* you DING me with an 'Unhelpful',
send me a PM, explain the problem to me, and allow me the opportunity to correct it.
Title: PLC / RF Transmitters, Receivers and Transceivers
Post by: TakeTheActive on August 30, 2006, 05:43:25 PM
EVERY X-10 installation needs a:

In addition, you can optionally add:

A module that is listed in BOTH the Receiver *AND* Transmitter groups for either PLC or RF is known as a Transceiver (Transmitter *AND* Receiver)

NEWBIE Additional Purchases LINK - when I get some more time. (http://www.x10community.com/forums/index.php?topic=11129.msg63651#msg63651)
Title: X-10 Checklist (from GROUP:comp.home.automation)
Post by: TakeTheActive on August 30, 2006, 06:17:35 PM
I came across this excellent "X-10 Checklist" over in the comp.home.automation newsgroup:
  • Install a whole house surge suppresser at the breaker box.  Use one for each feed if you have more than one.  Leviton and others make them that are compatible with X10.  You will need an empty 220v breaker slot.
  • Install a "phase" coupler at the breaker box.  You will need an empty 220v breaker slot for this as well.
[Another newsgroup User followed up with: I agree with everything Larry says with one additional recommendation. Instead of the coupler, use an ACT234 Signal Repeater/Coupler.  Rather than just coupling it repeates the signals at a higher level and will provide better coverage throughout the home.]

(Hire an electrician for these two steps if you are not comfortable doing this type of work.  This is nothing to fool around with.)

  • Buy an ELK ESM X10 meter.
  • Buy a handful of X10 filters.  The 5 amp ones are usually enough but if you have a lot on one strip use the 15 amp ones.
  • Put the filters on all of your computers, TV's, video and audio equipment.  If you have any low voltage halogen lights, like puck lights, for under cabinet, in nooks, etc., use one of the wire-in filters to isolate them.  They are great noise generators.
  • Build a list of ALL of your circuits.
  • Put your X10 controller in a "test" mode or get your partner to keep pressing the controller buttons and walk around and measure the signal level at every circuit.  Use a screw in lamp plug to check out lighting circuits.  When you are doing this you should have a good signal without any noise.
  • Do the same thing without any X10 signals.  The Elk meter should be dark.  Any indication is a noise problem.  You will then have to figure out what is causing it.  Do things like start the Heat/AC, appliances, turn off breakers, etc., until you find it.  I have never had any trouble with appliances, AC, etc., generating noise and since they are always on separate circuits anyway they should not be a problem but something is causing your problem.
  • Use a computer based controller that will log valid X10 activity. That will tell you if you have problems with neighbors, or things like the X10 RF modules that have a set of known problems.  If you have neighbor problems then you will have to use a X10 filter on your feed.
  • Don't use house code A or M.

Originally created and posted on another Forum by me on Sep/05/2004 @ 1:46 PM
Title: TTA's "Quick N Dirty" X-10 Troubleshooting Hints...
Post by: TakeTheActive on August 30, 2006, 07:03:06 PM
What Do I NEED :

. . . . .CM11A or CM15A: to log X-10 transmissions
ELK ESM1: to "see" X-10 transmissions and noise
FILTERS: to "block" noise and/or signal suckers
KNOWLEDGE: Follow my SIG LINK and then read all of the LINKs you'll find there - ESPECIALLY Uncle Phil's

What Do I DO :

IMO, the *BEST* way to troubleshoot X-10 is:

. . . . .Swap modules (Everybody keeps a JUNKBOX full of spares, right? ;) )
Unplug 'suspects' and/or Install 'temporary' filters
Measure Signal Strength (I have my ELK on an extension cord so that I can plug it into the 'circuit in question'
 and easily see the display from wherever I'm activating the transmission)
You *DO* have all the circuits in your home mapped out on paper, right?  ;)

List of LINKs ( more to be added to as time allows ):

Title: ACT X-10 Troubleshooting Flowchart (courtesy of 'Uncle' Phil Kingery)
Post by: TakeTheActive on August 30, 2006, 11:42:00 PM
Please, for the sake of everyone involved, try to avoid posting any questions until you've followed the Troubleshooting Flowchart *AND* read all of "Uncle" Phil's excellent articles located at:

PCC Technical Tips Directory (http://www.act-solutions.com/uncle.htm)

No one can learn everything in one day - X-10 takes an investment of TIME on your part. But, when you're finished reading & absorbing, you'll be a MUCH HAPPIER X-10 Camper. :)

Thanks in advance! ;)
Title: HOUSECODES: By Room or By Module Type or By Function or...?
Post by: TakeTheActive on September 01, 2006, 11:05:30 AM
When choosing HouseCodes (after you purchase your 17th module!  :o ), how do you decide how to group things?

Do you go by:

Well, since I'm writing this tip, I recommend Function.  :)

Here is My Current HouseCode Setup, for example:


Post by: TakeTheActive on November 18, 2006, 02:56:46 PM
Boilerplate NEWBIE Response:


JV Digital Engineering's X10 Troubleshooting Tutorials Series (courtesy of Jeff Volp) (http://jvde.us/x10_troubleshooting.htm) (http://www.geocities.com/taketheactive/Images/X10_New.gif) (http://www.geocities.com/taketheactive/Images/X10_Updated_blue_sm_wte.gif)

How-To: Map Your Electrical Circuits (courtesy of Puck) (http://www.x10community.com/forums/index.php?topic=11117.msg63562#msg63562)

Locating and Filtering SIGNAL SUCKERS Using the ELK ESM-1 (courtesy of Jeff Volp) (http://www.x10community.com/forums/index.php?topic=10187.msg58732#msg58732)

ACT X-10 Troubleshooting Flowchart (courtesy of 'Uncle' Phil Kingery) (http://www.x10community.com/forums/index.php?topic=9899.msg57828#msg57828)

{WiKi} Phase Coupling  (courtesy of Roger H.) (http://kbase.x10.com/wiki/Phase_Coupling)

I understand that most users don't want to hear this but
to have a reliable X10 System requires a substantial upfront investment in time and effort[/b]

To Get a Reliable X10 System (and I mean RELIABLE), One Has To Do Some Homework (courtesy of Jeff Volp) (http://www.x10community.com/forums/index.php?topic=10187.msg58732#msg58732) (http://www.geocities.com/taketheactive/Images/X10_New.gif)