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Author Topic: Console operation while on battery backup.  (Read 7661 times)

tradesman

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Console operation while on battery backup.
« on: March 14, 2007, 08:45:02 AM »

Can anyone tell me whether the X10 console continues to send out an activation signal even while on battery backup?  And if it does, is there a module available that would operate on 12vdc in order to activate a strobe light and alarm even if the 120 volt power is off?  I would like to install a 12 volt backup system to turn on an outside strobe light and alarm even when the 120 volt power is down.  I can use a standard 120 volt lamp module to turn on a plug-in power supply for the outside light and alarm when there is power to the console, but when the power goes out, nothing will work outside, which I find a big drawback since I live in the country and there is a manual disconnect on supply transformer to my house.  Anyone could come along and shut off my power and I would be left with just the alarm on the console which is woefully inadequate. 
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jeffdharlan

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Re: Console operation while on battery backup.
« Reply #1 on: March 14, 2007, 09:09:12 AM »

Can anyone tell me whether the X10 console continues to send out an activation signal even while on battery backup?  And if it does, is there a module available that would operate on 12vdc in order to activate a strobe light and alarm even if the 120 volt power is off?  I would like to install a 12 volt backup system to turn on an outside strobe light and alarm even when the 120 volt power is down.  I can use a standard 120 volt lamp module to turn on a plug-in power supply for the outside light and alarm when there is power to the console, but when the power goes out, nothing will work outside, which I find a big drawback since I live in the country and there is a manual disconnect on supply transformer to my house.  Anyone could come along and shut off my power and I would be left with just the alarm on the console which is woefully inadequate. 

Upon reading this message, I thought, "If the power does go out...what vital parts of the security will work?"  The sirens and lamp modules need AC power- which are both effective in warning neighbors!  I know the console has an alarm siren, but I feel the wall powered ones are the attention-getters!  I do not have an answer for you, but I am curious to know as well!
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Re: Console operation while on battery backup.
« Reply #2 on: March 14, 2007, 11:59:31 PM »

Maybe not a complete answer (and please someone correct me if I have missed something!), but any X10 device that gets its power and / or trigger signal over the A.C. line will not work if the power is out.  I can't think of an X10 output device (other than maybe the security panel itself) that does work without A.C. power.

Sorry for the bad news.
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tradesman

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Re: Console operation while on battery backup.
« Reply #3 on: March 15, 2007, 04:14:24 AM »

Actually, the console continues to work on its 9v backup battery and will sound the siren on the console as well as call out to the phone numbers entered into it.  However, as has been stated here, the accessory sirens don't work and those are the attention-getters, although they're not very loud outdoors.  I want to install an outdoor siren and strobe and can operate them through a light module and plug-in power supply going to the siren/strobe.  But if the power is off, they will not operate because there will be no 120v going through the light module.  This is a major factor for me because of the area where I intend to use it.  The neighbors are not close and I need something to draw attention.  Also, being in the country, the power company puts manual disconnects on panels feeding the house.  Anyone can come along and throw the switch shutting off my power.  Short of locking the switch out, which I believe is probably illegal to do for safety reasons, I need a backup system.  Besides, bolt cutters could easily open any lock I would put on the panel.  It wouldn't take much really.  Just a signal from the console, and a 12 volt module that activates like the 120 volt light modules except on 12 volts.  If X10 doesn't offer one, they should as this is a serious flaw in their system.     
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Puck

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Re: Console operation while on battery backup.
« Reply #4 on: March 15, 2007, 09:48:39 AM »

X10 signals are sent and received when synchronized with the zero-crossing of the AC signal. If there is no AC signal, most likely nothing can be sent and definitely nothing can be received.

So for a DC only backup system, it would have to be something different than X10.
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tradesman

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Re: Console operation while on battery backup.
« Reply #5 on: March 16, 2007, 01:26:26 AM »

Thanks, Puck, I was afraid of that.  I've emailed X10 about the issue but if past experience is any indication, I probably won't hear back.  Their auto-reply works well but the followup on the actual question is marginal at best.
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tradesman

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Re: Console operation while on battery backup.
« Reply #6 on: March 27, 2007, 02:10:29 AM »

Okay, I've pretty well resolved the issue by using a UPS.  In fact, I'm going to put the entire system on a UPS.  I'm fortunate in that I'm putting this in while all the walls are just studs and I can run a separate circuit just for the security system.  By putting it all on a UPS, the horns, sirens, strobe, and the console itself will have a backup power source.  With the system not triggered, it uses very little power and the backup batteries in the UPS will last for hours.
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Brian H

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Re: Console operation while on battery backup.
« Reply #7 on: March 27, 2007, 06:51:56 AM »

If the UPS doesn't put out a pure or close to pure sine wave when on backup batteries. Some modules may not like it. I fried a TM751 on an USP because it was a stepped sine wave.
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tradesman

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Re: Console operation while on battery backup.
« Reply #8 on: March 28, 2007, 03:16:37 AM »

Unfortunately, that's true.  A lot of UPS's, especially the cheaper ones, are pretty lousy at replicating an actual sine wave.  For some applications, it isn't that important, but I've noticed the X10 modules are sensitive to noise on the sine wave let alone a totally hacked-up one.  If I run a drill on the same circuit as a lamp module, the module turns on.  That sucks!  So I went with a Powerware PW9120 UPS which is online all the time.  It puts out a really clean wave and shouldn't cause any problems.  It wasn't cheap and it more than doubled the cost of the entire system I'm installing, but break-ins aren't cheap either and I'll sleep better knowing there's a battery backup.  Thanks for your comments.       
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Brian H

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Re: Console operation while on battery backup.
« Reply #9 on: March 28, 2007, 06:54:46 AM »

That UPS sounds like a good one. Should work fine; I would think.
Keep us in the loop on developments.
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