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Author Topic: Filter and Phase Coupler Questions  (Read 20255 times)

gder

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Filter and Phase Coupler Questions
« on: January 16, 2007, 04:55:11 PM »

Did a search on the forums and got most of my answers, I still have a few questions however:

I've seen that the greatest problems for X10 signals seem to come from computers, TVs, and AV equipment. 

1)  If I have a room like an office that has at least 4 computers running in it all the time would I be better off with an in-line filter? 

2)  If I go for an in-line filter can it be placed in the breaker box for easy access or does it have to be mounted in the wall? 

3)  If I still want to controll a device and filter it at the same time (like my projector or AV equipment) can I plug the filter into the appliance module without problems?

4)  Is there any problems plugging a power strip (for the computers) into a filtered wall outlet?

Really what I'm thinking is a combination of in-line, outlet based, and plug in filters.  For the office I was going to put an in-line filter on the outlets running all of the computers.  I need to leave one outlet unfiltered to plug the USB controll module into.  For the AV equipment I was thinking of using an appliance module (or X10 outlet) for controll and then using a plug-in type filter to keep noise off the wires. 

I'm just not sure if this setup will work correctly and am wondering if you guys have any suggestions.  I would also like to know if there are any specific filter manufacturers you guys would recommend.  I also need to find an X10 phase coupler for the breaker box.  My X10 devices will be working cross phase and I figured it would be easiest to have the electrician install it while he's wiring up the new basement...

It may not seem like it but I've actually come a long way since I first started looking at automating the house.  This forum has been a great resource for me.

Thank you in advance

Gene
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Charles Sullivan

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Re: Filter and Phase Coupler Questions
« Reply #1 on: January 16, 2007, 06:36:16 PM »

Did a search on the forums and got most of my answers, I still have a few questions however:

I've seen that the greatest problems for X10 signals seem to come from computers, TVs, and AV equipment. 

1)  If I have a room like an office that has at least 4 computers running in it all the time would I be better off with an in-line filter? 

2)  If I go for an in-line filter can it be placed in the breaker box for easy access or does it have to be mounted in the wall? 


An inline filter in the breaker box should keep the other lines from the box clean, but the line from the filter to the receptacles will be dirty.  I really think you'd be better off installing individual filters for each offending appliance or group of appliances - if you get a momentary short anywhere on a filtered line it could easily smoke the electrical components in a filter.  It has to be rated for the full amperage of the breaker.  And you'd better make sure installing it in the breaker box meets the electrical code in your locality - stuff like this is normally installed in a separate enclosure.

BTW, you need to use a special filter made for X10 signals - ordinary noise filters may act like signal-suckers and do more harm than good. 

Quote
3)  If I still want to controll a device and filter it at the same time (like my projector or AV equipment) can I plug the filter into the appliance module without problems?

Yes, that's what you should do.

Quote
4)  Is there any problems plugging a power strip (for the computers) into a filtered wall outlet?

There shouldn't be, but I'm wondering what you have in mind by a "filtered wall outlet".  The typical setup would be to plug a plugstrip into a plugin X10 noise filter which is plugged into a standard wall receptacle.

Quote
Really what I'm thinking is a combination of in-line, outlet based, and plug in filters.  For the office I was going to put an in-line filter on the outlets running all of the computers.  I need to leave one outlet unfiltered to plug the USB controll module into.  For the AV equipment I was thinking of using an appliance module (or X10 outlet) for controll and then using a plug-in type filter to keep noise off the wires. 

I'm just not sure if this setup will work correctly and am wondering if you guys have any suggestions.  I would also like to know if there are any specific filter manufacturers you guys would recommend.  I also need to find an X10 phase coupler for the breaker box.  My X10 devices will be working cross phase and I figured it would be easiest to have the electrician install it while he's wiring up the new basement...


The X10 Pro PZZ01 whole-house blocker/coupler is probably what you want.  See the catalog at http://www.x10pro.com
It runs about $35 + S&H from dealers with X10 stores on eBay.

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JeffVolp

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Re: Filter and Phase Coupler Questions
« Reply #2 on: January 16, 2007, 06:59:35 PM »

Quote
1)  If I have a room like an office that has at least 4 computers running in it all the time would I be better off with an in-line filter?

2)  If I go for an in-line filter can it be placed in the breaker box for easy access or does it have to be mounted in the wall?

I have one circuit in my house designated for electronics, and most "problem loads" are powered off that circuit.  It is filtered through the big X10 20 amp XPF filter.  To be code compliant, it should be installed in a box adjacent to your breaker panel.  The older model screwed into a triple-wide electrical box.  The new one should fit inside a similar sized box.

Jeff
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gder

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Re: Filter and Phase Coupler Questions
« Reply #3 on: January 16, 2007, 07:02:44 PM »

Thanks for the response Charles,

Quote
There shouldn't be, but I'm wondering what you have in mind by a "filtered wall outlet".  The typical setup would be to plug a plugstrip into a plug in X10 noise filter which is plugged into a standard wall receptacle.

Okay, I looked again.  I thought I had seen wall receptacles with filters built into them but what I think what I was looking at was the 5 and 10 amp plug-in filters from FilterLinc

Quote
The X10 Pro PZZ01 whole-house blocker/coupler is probably what you want.  See the catalog at http://www.x10pro.com
It runs about $35 + S&H from dealers with X10 stores on eBay.

This seems like a perfect solution.  Kill two birds with one stone.  My house (after the basement is finish) will be roughly 2700 sqft, will a coupler be enough or would I be better off with a coupler/repeater combo?  I've also read that the coupler repeaters can have issues re-transmiting the dim signals.  Since a large part of this project was putting all my existing incandescent lights on dimmer switches (something like 34 of them) I wouldn't want this to become a problem.
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Charles Sullivan

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Re: Filter and Phase Coupler Questions
« Reply #4 on: January 16, 2007, 10:05:22 PM »

Quote
The X10 Pro PZZ01 whole-house blocker/coupler is probably what you want.  See the catalog at http://www.x10pro.com
It runs about $35 + S&H from dealers with X10 stores on eBay.
This seems like a perfect solution.  Kill two birds with one stone.  My house (after the basement is finish) will be roughly 2700 sqft, will a coupler be enough or would I be better off with a coupler/repeater combo?  I've also read that the coupler repeaters can have issues re-transmiting the dim signals.  Since a large part of this project was putting all my existing incandescent lights on dimmer switches (something like 34 of them) I wouldn't want this to become a problem.

The PZZ01 will attenuate X10 signals leaving or entering your house wiring from the outside and help keep from having possible problems with neighbors who are also equipped with X10.  I gather it's not a perfect blocker because the description says it's best if both you and your neighbor's house have them.  I don't think it will do anything for noise or signal suckers in your own house.

Your house isn't that big and if you can get away with a passive coupler like the PZZ01 you'll probably have less grief.   However each of those 34 dimmers (plus other appliances on the lines) represents a load on the line which may overly attenuate the X10 signals.  If this turns out to be a problem I'd take a look at Jeff Volp's XTB (http://jvde.us/xtb/xtb_ordering.htm), which is strictly a signal amplier, not a repeater - you plug your CM15A or other computer interface into it.  (I have one and it works great.)  Jeff also has his XTB-II but I don't know enough about it.

« Last Edit: February 27, 2010, 12:53:11 AM by JeffVolp »
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gder

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Re: Filter and Phase Coupler Questions
« Reply #5 on: January 18, 2007, 03:48:04 PM »

Quote
The PZZ01 will attenuate X10 signals leaving or entering your house wiring from the outside and help keep from having possible problems with neighbors who are also equipped with X10.  I gather it's not a perfect blocker because the description says it's best if both you and your neighbor's house have them.  I don't think it will do anything for noise or signal suckers in your own house.

You are correct, it doesn't do anything for interference inside the house.  However it does answer my phase coupler question and seems like a good solution.

Quote
Your house isn't that big and if you can get away with a passive coupler like the PZZ01 you'll probably have less grief.   However each of those 34 dimmers (plus other appliances on the lines) represents a load on the line which may overly attenuate the X10 signals.  If this turns out to be a problem I'd take a look at Jeff Volp's XTB (http://jvde.us/xtb/xtb_ordering.htm), which is strictly a signal amplier, not a repeater - you plug your CM15A or other computer interface into it.  (I have one and it works great.)  Jeff also has his XTB-II but I don't know enough about it.

This looks like it may be interesting as well.  I'll consider something like this if it turns out I have problems.  You say you use one of these, do you have remote control dimmers in your house?  Have you had any problems transmiting dim commands to modules?

If it does turn out that the PZZ01 is a complete solution I'll probably look into the XTB-I or XTB-II.  Since the XTB and the PZZ01 serve different functions I can't see any problems having both devices on the X10 network.
« Last Edit: February 27, 2010, 12:44:43 AM by JeffVolp »
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Charles Sullivan

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Re: Filter and Phase Coupler Questions
« Reply #6 on: January 18, 2007, 05:40:11 PM »

This looks like it may be interesting as well.  I'll consider something like this if it turns out I have problems.  You say you use one of these, do you have remote control dimmers in your house?  Have you had any problems transmiting dim commands to modules?

I have 16  dimmers, mainly WS467.  I had only infrequent problems but the measured X10 signal levels at most locations were very low before I added the XTB.  The major problem was getting status acks from 2-way appliance modules in an outbuilding.

Quote
If it does turn out that the PZZ01 is a complete solution I'll probably look into the XTB-I or XTB-II.  Since the XTB and the PZZ01 serve different functions I can't see any problems having both devices on the X10 network.

The XTB and any passive coupler ought to work well together.

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JeffVolp

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Re: Filter and Phase Coupler Questions
« Reply #7 on: February 27, 2007, 06:03:13 PM »

I tried to cover the filter issue in the latest installment of my troubleshooting series.  I think I have caught the typos, but please let me know if anything is unclear.


I plan to address the phase coupler issue next.

Jeff
« Last Edit: February 24, 2010, 10:57:49 PM by JeffVolp »
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