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Author Topic: Please help...ready to give up on x10  (Read 54441 times)

kamacozzi

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Please help...ready to give up on x10
« on: September 17, 2006, 01:09:25 AM »

Been searching through all of these posts...and to trying to correct these problems just cost me more money..installed phase coupler/repeater and several filters.  I have replaced all problem switches with new ones, and with old ones from other spots that did work.  So  I am looking for any new ideas, or things to try...

Here is the story, i have been using X-10 for a long time, but only 6 or 7 modules/switches, mostly worked pretty good..just the occasional renegade switch that didn't cooperate, but just replaced them.  Did a remodel on my house, added a room and decided to go with X10 stuff throughout the house, bought about 20 wall switch modules, 6 eagle eye motion detectors, 6 wall receptacle modules, active home pro, several of the slimiline wireless wall switches, and even the remote chime.  Now the good part, all of the new switches come on randomly, but most cant be controlled by any of the controllers, only right at the switch.  I have tried with and without AHP on..even took the AHP module out.  No change...I really don't know what else to try.  I have put filters on the TV's and the refrigerator.  Only 1 flourescent light in the house, and it does not have an X10 switch..but even turned off the circuit that was on to see if possible that was causing the problem..and as I said, did try the phase coupler/repeater.  Help!! any ideas...and if not, anyone want a whole mess of X10 stuff, cause it wont do me any good!
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Charles Sullivan

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Re: Please help...ready to give up on x10
« Reply #1 on: September 17, 2006, 08:01:20 AM »

If you open AHP's Activity Monitor, are you seeing any X10 signals which correlate with the random turn on?

If not, it sounds like something is generating a lot of noise on your power lines (and that something might even be a defective X10 module).  Try this: One by one, turn off the circuit breaker for each branch line in your house and see if you can control modules on other branch lines.  A plug-in Minicontroller (or PalmPad and TM751) you can move around will be helpful here.  If turning off one branch enables control on the other branches, you'll know that the problem originates in the turned-off branch.

What changes were made to your power panel during the remodeling?

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Yesterday it worked.
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JeffVolp

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Locating and Filtering SIGNAL SUCKERS Using the ELK ESM1
« Reply #2 on: September 17, 2006, 10:32:12 AM »

Locating and Filtering SIGNAL SUCKERS Using the ELK ESM1
JeffVolp
[/b]
  • 1.) As a first step, I highly recommend you get a X10 signal level monitor, such as the ELK ESM1 X-10® Signal Meter.  That should allow you to troubleshoot your problem. 
    .
  • 2.) Then trip breakers to all circuits except your AHP, and measure signal levels at several outlets on that circuit. 
    .
  • 3.) Add circuits one by one while continuing to monitor signal levels.  You want a minimum of .1Vpp for reliable operation.  1Vpp or better is great.  Any circuit that significantly decreases signal levels or injects noise onto the line should be further investigated for problem loads.
    .
  • 4.) One other possibility that should be checked is interaction with a neighbor on the same transformer.  X10 has a big blocking filter that slips over the large neutral coming into your distribution panel to isolate your house.
    .
  • 5.) Once all offending loads are isolated behind filters, you should have a reliable system.

Jeff


[TTA Edit: Re-formatted into a LIST; added ELK LINK]


To Get a Reliable X10 System (and I mean RELIABLE),
One Has To Do Some Homework

JeffVolp
(From NG:comp.home.automation, Fri, Dec 1 2006 7:14 pm)
[/b]

...it sounds like the OP arranges his filters by trial and error until he finds a configuration that works.  Unfortunately, that is likely to be just over the minimum acceptable signal levels, and the next widget plugged in could cause a problem.

The fact that adding a filter doesn't seem to change anything doesn't mean that device is not causing a problem.  It may not be enough by itself, but can be when something else is added on the same circuit.

Filters:

  • We know most computers will cause problems, so they all should have filters.
  • Compact fluorescents are a gray area.  Some work fine, but others can be a problem, and will need a filter.
  • Some electronics, like our old Sony TV andour APC UPS are major signal suckers, and need filters.

The best way to identify these is to use a X10 signal level meter like the ESM1 to measure signal levels throughout the house.  I use a palmpad to trigger commands from a RF transceiver near the main controller.  Monitor each AC receptacle with a possible problem device either plugged in or not.  If there is ANY change when the device is either plugged in or switched on, than that device should be filtered.  No maybe.  You want reliability.

Signal Strength:

Then go around to all receptacles.  If any read down around 100mV, that circuit is a candidate for problems.  Locate any remaining signal suckers on that circuit.  If none are found, then the overall signal level should be increased.  That's why I built the XTB in the first place.  We have one central circuit with nine X10 devices on it, including several transmitters.  That circuit read only 100mV.  Everything still worked, but was marginal.  Adding a XTB down at the breaker panel raised that circuit up to 1V, so I don't have to worry about any random device being plugged in.

Other Things:

There are other things that can be done to make the house X10 friendly, like move all X10 circuits to the same phase.  We also installed the small Leviton 6287 filters on all X10 ceiling can circuits that could possibly use CF bulbs.  I didn't bother testing the bulbs first because I was after reliability.

Summary:

If one takes the time to set the system up properly in the first place, then there is not the continual debugging whenever the next electronic widget is added.  Do the homework, and the system works.  Recently my wife said one light didn't come on when it should have.  It turned out that after several years the bulb finally burnt out. 

I guess X10 can't fix everything. :-\


[TTA Edit: Copied from NG and formatted.]
« Last Edit: December 04, 2006, 12:13:13 PM by TakeTheActive »
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Oldtimer

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Re: Please help...ready to give up on x10
« Reply #3 on: September 17, 2006, 11:01:43 AM »

X10 has a big blocking filter that slips over the large neutral coming into your distribution panel to isolate your house.
What is the model number of the "big blocking filter"?
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JeffVolp

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Re: Please help...ready to give up on x10
« Reply #4 on: September 17, 2006, 11:24:00 AM »


Quote
What is the model number of the "big blocking filter"?

X10 PZZ01 or Leviton 6284.
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TakeTheActive

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Re: Please help...ready to give up on x10
« Reply #5 on: September 18, 2006, 12:05:50 PM »

Been searching through all of these posts...and to trying to correct these problems just cost me more money..installed phase coupler/repeater and several filters.  I have replaced all problem switches with new ones, and with old ones from other spots that did work.  So  I am looking for any new ideas, or things to try...

More than likely, the "problem switches" are good.
MAP / MEASURE / CORRECT
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kamacozzi

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Re: Please help...ready to give up on x10
« Reply #6 on: September 19, 2006, 01:39:59 AM »

Thanks for the responses everyone!  :)

Nothing shows up on the activity meter during the random "turn ons"

As for trying all that other stuff, decided to order some Insteon stuff...if it works and is more reliable I am going that way.  Sorry guys, but decided that I want something more reliable and if can't find reliable, will just have to go back to the plain old switches.  Anyone want to buy a bunch of unused and barely used x-10 stuff, let me know...next stop... Ebay  :)

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Charles Sullivan

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Re: Please help...ready to give up on x10
« Reply #7 on: September 19, 2006, 04:39:15 AM »

Thanks for the responses everyone!  :)

Nothing shows up on the activity meter during the random "turn ons"

As for trying all that other stuff, decided to order some Insteon stuff...if it works and is more reliable I am going that way.  Sorry guys, but decided that I want something more reliable and if can't find reliable, will just have to go back to the plain old switches.  Anyone want to buy a bunch of unused and barely used x-10 stuff, let me know...next stop... Ebay  :)

Have you tried ANY of that "other stuff"?  If not, and with the problems you've described, you should probably save your money and go directly back to the plain old switches.

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Yesterday it worked.
Today it doesn't work.
X10 on Windows is like that.

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kamacozzi

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Re: Please help...ready to give up on x10
« Reply #8 on: September 23, 2006, 02:38:42 PM »

Sorry to take up your time guys, but found another remote way to go that is working perfectly wherever I put it.   But thanks for trying!  ;D
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Charles Sullivan

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Re: Please help...ready to give up on x10
« Reply #9 on: September 23, 2006, 05:37:57 PM »

Sorry to take up your time guys, but found another remote way to go that is working perfectly wherever I put it.   But thanks for trying!  ;D

It'd be nice if you'd tell us what you did (even if it did involve scrapping out all your X10 stuff).


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Yesterday it worked.
Today it doesn't work.
X10 on Windows is like that.

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rgfullerton

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Re: Please help...ready to give up on x10
« Reply #10 on: January 15, 2007, 11:11:08 AM »

How about 10 cents on the $1 .  I'm DESPERATE as well but not ready to give up YET!  I'm waiting to see how others respond.

Regards,
BOB
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jcctx

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Re: Please help...ready to give up on x10
« Reply #11 on: August 11, 2007, 04:02:17 PM »

I am in the same boat, the system worked for several years but now doesn't work at all. The remotes work but none of the scheduled stuff. I even bought a new CM15A and AHP, still no change. I've added filters, capacitor between phases, etc. I am about ready to dump about 50 X-10 items on Ebay also.
Jim
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HA Dave

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Re: Please help...ready to give up on x10
« Reply #12 on: August 11, 2007, 04:27:46 PM »


The remotes work but none of the scheduled stuff. I even bought a new CM15A and AHP


That's interesting! Should I assume that you you had a CM11A and now you have the (newer) CM15A?

Did you download the AHP software to control (and save to) the CM15A? The old CM11A software won't work, you will need to re-write your timers. Did you also get the smart macro software?

Are you using the CM15A to control you X10 devices, when using your remotes?
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dave w

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Re: Please help...ready to give up on x10
« Reply #13 on: August 13, 2007, 02:36:49 PM »

I am in the same boat, the system worked for several years but now doesn't work at all.
Jim
SOMETHING HAS CHANGED!

If the remotes work but the CM15 does not anymore, then troubleshoot the branch that the CM15 it is plugged into. What did you get new? This thread is rich with suggestions.
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spaghettifiend

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Re: Please help...ready to give up on x10
« Reply #14 on: August 13, 2007, 06:01:06 PM »

Hey, if anybody's going to dump some stuff cheap, I'm still a sucker for an X10 deal.  Drop me a line and I'll pay at least a quarter on the dollar for most types of modules, switches, etc.  Especially a phase coupler.
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