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Author Topic: JV Digital Engineering's X10 Troubleshooting Tutorials- Feedback/Input Requested  (Read 69954 times)

JeffVolp

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I plan to write a series of X10 troubleshooting tutorials in the coming weeks.  They can be accessed at:



Other tutorials will cover collisions, and go into more detail on compact fluorescents, and filters.  I will only be covering X10 automation devices, but would appreciate feedback and suggestions for other topics in that area.

Jeff


[TTA Edit: Created Table of LINKs to Tutorials Created To-Date; emphasized FEEDBACK & SUGGESTIONS REQUESTED section.]
« Last Edit: February 26, 2010, 09:47:46 PM by JeffVolp »
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Dan Lawrence

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Re: X10 Troubleshooting Tutorials - Feedback & Input Requested
« Reply #1 on: February 20, 2007, 02:29:03 PM »

Excellent work.

One question:  In your X10 Troubleshooting Tutorials you refer to X10 sending "radio signals" at the top of the AC Sine Wave. I have a 1993 book that refers to digital signals (00001, 10001, etc) being sent.  Which is correct?

The book in question is Approaching Home Automation by Bill Berner and Craig Elliott. Copyright 1993 by Approaching, Inc. The book devotes a lot of pages to the MAC world use of X10 and a small chapter on the IBM computer and X10's DOS software (which I began with in 1993) and the CP290.
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JeffVolp

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Re: X10 Troubleshooting Tutorials - Feedback & Input Requested
« Reply #2 on: February 20, 2007, 04:13:33 PM »

Actually, I said it sends X10 commands as short bursts of low-frequency radio signals just after the zero crossing.  These are bursts of 120KHz that last for 1mS after either the positive or negative going zero crossing.  The presence of a burst is decoded as a logic "1", and the absence of a burst is a logic "0".  Stringing together the bursts and gaps gives you a sequence of digital bits like you describe.

There is a X10 Tech Note that goes into much greater detail:

http://www.x10pro.com/pro/pdf/technote.pdf

Jeff
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Dan Lawrence

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Re: X10 Troubleshooting Tutorials - Feedback & Input Requested
« Reply #3 on: February 20, 2007, 05:07:01 PM »

Thanks for the explanation.

I've been using X10 since the DOS days, and now I'm using AHP and the CM15A. Everything X10 in the house works the way I want it to. I've only had two problems, one was a phase problem, easily fixed by a 99 cent 0.1 uF 250 VAC Capacitor in the electric stove's connection box to bridge the phases for X10 signals. The other was two RR501's colliding, easily fixed  by putting the Kitchen/Breakfast Room on a different housecode, which is "F" (for Food). The other 501 stayed on housecode "A".

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JeffVolp

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Re: X10 Troubleshooting Tutorials - Feedback & Input Requested
« Reply #4 on: February 20, 2007, 06:17:51 PM »

I may go back a little further with X10.  We started with the brown BSR modules and boxy maxicontroller back when they first came out.  Then that "slide switch" timer with the blue clock readout.

The .1uF has a capacitive reactance of 13 ohms at 120KHz.  That can work pretty well if you keep your AC network "X10 friendly".  I used one at our last house.  A downside of the inexpensive capacitor coupler is that it is not a bandpass device.  So it can pass higher frequency noise even better than X10 signals.  That's why I recommend the tuned-circuit coupler.

I plan to cover details like this in future tutorials.

Jeff
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dave w

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Re: X10 Troubleshooting Tutorials - Feedback & Input Requested
« Reply #5 on: February 21, 2007, 12:23:08 PM »

Hey Jeff, do you have any of the old BSR appliance modules that used the amature of a relay to activate a micro switch? Do you have any ultrasonic remotes with your boxy maxi controllers? Those were the great days of X10, although I also remember coming home after an electrical storm (south Florida) only to find EVERY light and applince in the house was ON. It was a good source of entertainment. :D
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JimC

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Re: X10 Troubleshooting Tutorials - Feedback & Input Requested
« Reply #6 on: February 21, 2007, 12:57:33 PM »

Jeff,

Thanks for the very interesting article. I am looking forward to reading the planed future ones.

Jim
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JeffVolp

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Re: X10 Troubleshooting Tutorials - Feedback & Input Requested
« Reply #7 on: February 21, 2007, 04:41:10 PM »

Thanks for the feedback.

Not sure about the appliance module.  There are still a couple of those in service, but I never had to take them apart.  One makes sure my air compressor is off at night.  (My shop is across the hall from a guest bedroom.)  The other controls an auxiliary vent fan to bring in the cool morning air.

I believe the command module I use for testing the XTBs has the ultrasonic transducer - it originally came from Sears.

Jeff
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TakeTheActive

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Re: X10 Troubleshooting Tutorials - Feedback & Input Requested
« Reply #8 on: March 17, 2007, 08:32:55 AM »

How many of you folks reading / benefiting from Jeff's *EXCELLENT* Tutorial Series have come back and BUMPED his Helpful count?!?

:-\

Currently at 14 because *I* just BUMPED it.
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Duck69

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Re: X10 Troubleshooting Tutorials - Feedback & Input Requested
« Reply #9 on: May 11, 2007, 11:03:22 PM »

JeffVolp,
 ;D ;D ;D I just read your Excellent Tutorials - Great Job !
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JeffVolp

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Re: X10 Troubleshooting Tutorials - Feedback & Input Requested
« Reply #10 on: May 12, 2007, 12:46:49 AM »

Thank you for the feedback.

Jeff
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Boiler

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Re: X10 Troubleshooting Tutorials - Feedback & Input Requested
« Reply #11 on: June 16, 2007, 08:01:10 PM »

Jeff,

I have a number of Insteon switches (Icon, V2, and Kepadlinc V2) that I'm using in X10 mode.  I've always assumed these have "collision avoidance".  Now I'm starting to wonder.  Do you have any experience/opinion on their ability to avoid X10 collisions?

Thanks,
The Boiler
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JeffVolp

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Re: X10 Troubleshooting Tutorials - Feedback & Input Requested
« Reply #12 on: June 16, 2007, 11:26:38 PM »

I have no direct experience regarding collision avoidance with Insteon switches.

The Insteon white paper includes a comparison table that says Insteon has collision avoidance, but X10 does not.

It is not clear whether that means that the X10 protocol does not support collision avoidance (which is wrong), or that Insteon transmitters do not provide collision avoidance while running in the X10 compatibility mode.

X10 collision avoidance requires sampling the line during every zero bit window.  If a 120KHz burst is seen while a transmitter is sending a zero (no burst), then there is another X10 device out there also sending a message.  An intelligent transmitter would immediately abort the transmission and re-transmit after the line has cleared.

Jeff
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Re: X10 Troubleshooting Tutorials - Feedback & Input Requested
« Reply #13 on: June 17, 2007, 08:40:47 AM »


I wrote a few tutorials to share that knowledge with others:


Jeff


Jeff: Very complete and accessible.  Obviously a labor of love.  Thanks for sharing.

« Last Edit: February 26, 2010, 09:46:58 PM by JeffVolp »
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Boiler

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Re: X10 Troubleshooting Tutorials - Feedback & Input Requested
« Reply #14 on: June 17, 2007, 09:04:25 AM »

Jeff,
Thanks for the response.  I had previously read the white paper and interpreted things a little differently.  Most of the comparisons were between the Insteon and X10.  When they were making claims for the collision avoidance I took that to mean in Insteon communication mode not in X10 compatibility mode.  I'll have another look at the report.

In my previous post I forgot to commend you on the excellent tutorial (complete with scope traces).  Nice work - and a lot of it.

The Boiler
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