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Author Topic: LM465's STOP receiving ON codes!  (Read 48625 times)

Brian H

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Re: LM465's STOP receiving ON codes!
« Reply #30 on: August 11, 2007, 01:48:37 PM »

« Last Edit: February 27, 2010, 12:47:26 AM by JeffVolp »
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Boiler

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Re: LM465's STOP receiving ON codes!
« Reply #31 on: August 11, 2007, 02:42:43 PM »

To answer some of your questions:

- all automated commands coming from the CM11A are "timed' functions, not macros. As of last week, the timed commands are staggered slightly (by 10-15 minutes) so that they do not "collide" and possibly confuse the X10 module(s).

- not sure what the phase coupler is, passsive or active. Been a few years since I installed it so I'll have to pull the circuit panel cover off to check. Why would either active or passive have any issue with this situation?  ???

I was trying to determine the following:
  • Macro execution sometimes stacks multiple commands back to back.  These can confuse active couplers and require the insertion of delays between the commands.  You don't have this situation.  You shouldn't have a problem with timed events 15 Min apart.
  • As I indicated above, some active couplers can get confused.  You aren't doing anything extravagant here (no extended code commands) so you again should not have a problem.  A passive coupler can't get confused, but the signal level on the opposite phase will be lower.

Why should I get a tester when I can transmit the "on" commands to the X10 modules manually through the CM11A from Active Home and they work just fine? Does that not prove that the CM11A "on" commands can be seen just fine? What is the difference between the manually sent commands and the automated ones? Should be no difference.

I have 4 X10 modules with the same unit code, 07, placed in different locations around the house. Only one on that particular electrical circuit does not get the "on" commands. What is different about "on" commands from "off" commands since this same module receives the automated/programmed "on" command and does not respond to the "on" command? Why would the module respond to the "on" command executed from Acitve Home through the CM11A and not the progammed one?

The on commands can be seen under certain conditions.  You have a long run to your problem device and (as Jeff has pointed out) a marginal signal at that device.  As noise levels change in your house (electrical loads being switched on and off) you are losing communication with your problem unit.  There should be no difference between On and Off commands.  The difference is the noise environment when you are transmitting.

The ELK-ESM1 would allow you to measure background noise levels.  Using it, you should be able to unplug devices and determine which ones are generators.  These can be filtered.

The other alternative is using a booster like the XTB (or XTB-II).  These devices will amplify your existing signal to get it above the noise level.
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BSarte

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Re: LM465's STOP receiving ON codes!
« Reply #32 on: August 12, 2007, 07:10:15 AM »

It is Jeffs device.
http://jvde.us/x10/x10_xtb.htm

Since the XTB is not UL approved, who has these installed and what issues do they have?

I read the description of both the XTB and XTB-II. The basic difference is the XTB is for plugging into a 120VAC outlet for a house that has a passive phase coupler installed and the XTB-II is for connection between the 2 - 120VAC phases in a home?

If that is true, then since I have phase coupler installed, it would then probably be best to use the XTB and not the XTB-II?

I am also going to get the tester (ELK-ESM1) from Automated Outlet. Seems like even if I install the XTB, I could still run into a noise issue that the XTB might not overcome, then I would still need to figure out where the noise is coming from.

Anyway, thats the plan for now.....I'll report back how this goes!   ;)

Bruce
« Last Edit: February 27, 2010, 12:46:55 AM by JeffVolp »
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steven r

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Re: LM465's STOP receiving ON codes!
« Reply #33 on: August 12, 2007, 09:41:23 AM »

Since the XTB is not UL approved, who has these installed and what issues do they have?...
No problems at all. I believe it could easily meet UL standards but as I understand the cost to get it approved would be prohibitive.
Care to comment, Jeff?

...I read the description of both the XTB and XTB-II. The basic difference is the XTB is for plugging into a 120VAC outlet for a house that has a passive phase coupler installed and the XTB-II is for connection between the 2 - 120VAC phases in a home?...
I think there is a slight advantage of the XTB-II over using a coupler and the XTB but if you already have a good coupler just get the XTB. I already had a coupler so that's what I did.

...I am also going to get the tester (ELK-ESM1) from Automated Outlet. Seems like even if I install the XTB, I could still run into a noise issue that the XTB might not overcome, then I would still need to figure out where the noise is coming from......
You'll find the tester to useful and fun to use.


Everyone that's been here awhile knows Jeff to be a wealth of information. There are links around somewhere to his site where just about any problem you might have with X10 is covered. I posted my recommendation for the XTB because I believe it to be a great product and so it didn't seem to those new to the site that he was here to just sell his products. :)
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JeffVolp

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Re: LM465's STOP receiving ON codes!
« Reply #34 on: August 12, 2007, 11:33:13 AM »

Quote
No problems at all. I believe it could easily meet UL standards but as I understand the cost to get it approved would be prohibitive.

Having designed electronic equipment for decades, I believe both the XTB and XTB-II are conservatively designed.  Both units are fuse-protected, and the power supply uses a UL-rated impedance-limited transformer that will open circuit if there is a failure that overloads the power supply, but doesn't take out the fuse.  Printed circuit traces have more than adequate spacing in the high-voltage section.  Line coupling capacitors are rated for more than the AC voltage that they will see.  Surge protectors are included on all AC inputs.  And both units use a UL rated flame-retardant plastic case.

I began the UL approval process months ago, but the quote was $6,000 to $14,000.  An independent testing laboratory (not UL) quoted about $5,000.  My entire net from this project last year was about $2000.  Since that included $35 labor each for the over 100 that I assembled myself, obviously my margin is very slim.  There is no way I can cover the cost of UL testing.

I'm getting tired of assembling these myself, and investigated an assembly service.  Their quote was $125 each at 10 units, which went down to $90 each at 40 units (not including components).  That shows you the real cost of producing a unit in this country.

Quote
I think there is a slight advantage of the XTB-II over using a coupler and the XTB but if you already have a good coupler just get the XTB.

They are really two different animals.  The XTB is an easy to use simple plug-in booster for just about any X10 transmitter.  The XTB-II is more like a 2-phase coupler that has a high-power TW523 "front end" grafted on to it.  And, it also boosts the output of a plug-in X10 transmitter.

Jeff
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Boiler

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Re: LM465's STOP receiving ON codes!
« Reply #35 on: August 12, 2007, 12:15:58 PM »

I am also going to get the tester (ELK-ESM1) from Automated Outlet. Seems like even if I install the XTB, I could still run into a noise issue that the XTB might not overcome, then I would still need to figure out where the noise is coming from.

That's a personal decision, but one that can eliminate significant hair loss.

I recently "broke" my system by replacing two X10 switches with Insteon 2 way switches.  The Insteon switches worked flawlessly, but my other X10 switches became intermittent.  Using the ELK tester I was able to determine that the Insteon switches were loading the line and preventing the X10 devices from reliably receiving (the Insteon devices have AGC, the X10 devices do not).

Since I can't filter the Insteon switches themselves I'm stuck.  I simply need more signal on the particular leg.  I've yanked the Insteon devices while I'm looking for a booster solution.  Jeff's XTB-II is #1 on the list.
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Brian H

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Re: LM465's STOP receiving ON codes!
« Reply #36 on: August 12, 2007, 02:20:23 PM »

The Insteon devices also are two way as they transmit back on the powerline. This transmitter circuit absorbs X10 and Insteon signals when it is receiving. Many report their X10 reliability goes down; as more Insteon devices are added to an installation.
A new X10  sender like a Mini-controller technically can also absorb and lower signals. As would a new AM14A or LM14A
Isn't this fun. ::)
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BSarte

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Re: LM465's STOP receiving ON codes!
« Reply #37 on: August 16, 2007, 05:10:07 PM »

I received the XTB yesterday and was all excited. I installed it in front of the CM11A. Well the first thing that was timed event after I installed the XTB was an "OFF" signal at 6:00 pm for the pond pump to shut off. That worked! But all the "OFF" commands had been working but at least I knew that the CM11A was transmitting through the XTB.

Well at 30 minutes past dusk the next timed event was to send out an "ON" command to all modules with code 7 for our night lights. All the modules went on EXCEPT THOSE ON THE PROBLEM CIRCUIT! Now the next timed event is for an "ON" command to be sent out 45 minutes after dusk for modules with code 15 which is for the flag pole lights. NOTHING!

The next timed command is sent at 11:00 pm with and "OFF" command for both code 7 & 15 to turn off. WORKS!

Nothing changed! Dissappointment sets in! I was really hoping that the XTB amplified signal would fix this but I guess I have to wait for the ELK-ESM1 to get here to see if there is noise on that particular circuit. Somehow I don't think that is the issue since I can turn both code 7 & 15 on with the handheld remote via the RR501 and the signal gets to those modules on that particular circuit just fine. Wouldn't the amplified signal from the CM11A through the XTB be greater than that coming from the RR501?

Time for a cold one......and wait for some feedback!

Bruce
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JeffVolp

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Re: LM465's STOP receiving ON codes!
« Reply #38 on: August 16, 2007, 06:25:56 PM »

I went back and scanned this entire thread.  It stared with:

Quote
I have had an installation at my home for over 8 years. One of the things I control is outdoor lights with many LM465's across several legs/phases of power lines. I have a phase coupler installed and these have worked very nicely for several years.

The XTB will drive a much stronger signal on the phase it is plugged into.  However, a good tuned-circuit passive coupler must be installed near the main distribution panel to propagate that strong signal over to the opposite phase.  I am also puzzled by "across several legs/phases of power lines".  Most North American residences have a 120V/240V split-phase distribution system.  So there would only be two legs.  If there are multiple distribution panels with independent feeds from the street, a more complex coupling scheme may be necessary.

Since merely plugging in the XTB didn't solve the problem, would you please supply more information:

1)  Could you elaborate on your electrical distribution system.  (number of phases, legs, panels)

2)  Can you identify whether your CM11A/XTB combo is on a different phase from the "problem" circuit?

3)  Can you identify whether your RR501 on the same phase as the "problem" circuit?

4)  Are there any compact fluorescent light bulbs anywhere in the installation?

5)  What type of phase coupler do you use?  (Manufacturer, part #)

6)  Does a manual command from the CM11A/XTB combo exhibit the same problem?

Jeff
« Last Edit: August 17, 2007, 12:58:01 AM by JeffVolp »
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Brian H

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Re: LM465's STOP receiving ON codes!
« Reply #39 on: August 16, 2007, 06:59:41 PM »

Jeff; I actually saw a Condo, that was wired three phase 'Y'. 208 Volts between two Lines and 120 Volts between any one Line and Neutral.
To get best performance with things like electric stoves and dryers. 208 Volt units where used if available.  ;D
Rare to be sure but who knows.
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BSarte

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Re: LM465's STOP receiving ON codes!
« Reply #40 on: August 17, 2007, 06:38:10 AM »

I went back and scanned this entire thread.  It stared with:

Quote
I have had an installation at my home for over 8 years. One of the things I control is outdoor lights with many LM465's across several legs/phases of power lines. I have a phase coupler installed and these have worked very nicely for several years.

The XTB will drive a much stronger signal on the phase it is plugged into.  However, a good tuned-circuit passive coupler must be installed near the main distribution panel to propagate that strong signal over to the opposite phase.  I am also puzzled by "across several legs/phases of power lines".  Most North American residences have a 120V/240V split-phase distribution system.  So there would only be two legs.  If there are multiple distribution panels with independent feeds from the street, a more complex coupling scheme may be necessary.

Since merely plugging in the XTB didn't solve the problem, would you please supply more information:

1)  Could you elaborate on your electrical distribution system.  (number of phases, legs, panels)

2)  Can you identify whether your CM11A/XTB combo is on a different phase from the "problem" circuit?

3)  Can you identify whether your RR501 on the same phase as the "problem" circuit?

4)  Are there any compact fluorescent light bulbs anywhere in the installation?

5)  What type of phase coupler do you use?  (Manufacturer, part #)

6)  Does a manual command from the CM11A/XTB combo exhibit the same problem?

Jeff


Jeff,

I'll try to answer your questions I can right now and follow up with the others later,

1)  Could you elaborate on your electrical distribution system.  (number of phases, legs, panels)

As you stated, my eletrical feed from the street transformer is 2 phase. The feed comes into the electric meter then comes into my home, first goes to distribution bar, splits so I can feed two circuits panels side by side, one panel is a little larger than the other with 36 circuit breakers, the smaller one with 20 circuit breakers. Both panels are Square D with QOS model circuit breakers. Most of the "standard" circuits feeding the house are 20 amps because we have 12 gauge wiring. The problem circuits (note circuits, not just one) are fed from the larger circuit panel. What I have installed for the controls around my house that use the X10 technology is mostly lighting control, but also use it to control a pond pump, and relay to buzzer. The largest amount of X10 modules around the house are used to control night time low voltage lighting which is code 7. There are 5 LM465 modules on various circuits fed from both circuit panels that have code 7 set on them. All the other X10 modules normally installed (I say normally since we use about 15 LM465's during holiday/Christmas time using code 12 to control Christmas lights and this works fine as well) are all single various model modules. The other module I need to note here is 1 LM465 set for code 15 which controls a spot light for the flag pole. The two circuits which feed X10 modules that are NOT receiving the "ON" codes are 1 LM465 for code 7 and 1 LM465 for code 15. These two LM465's are set in an underground box outside. I recently dug up the box and removed the cover, it was dry and all equipment was in very good condition. This box is fed by one 12 gauge 3 wire with ground cable directly from the circuit panel (about 85 feet from circuit breaker to outlet/X10 module). This 12 gauge 3 wire has the black wire going into one side of a double 20 amp breaker and the red wire going into the other side of the same double breaker, thus these two wires are on separte phases of the electric coming into the house. The phase coupler is in the same circuit panel as these two wires. I do not have the manufacturer/model of the phase coupler but almost sure it is passive. I'll take the circuit panel cover off and get the manufacturer/model later. The two LM465's in the underground box feeding the one for module set for code 7 and the other LM465 feeding the one for module set for code 15 are on separate wires/circuits fed from the circuit panel on the aforementioned 12 gauge 3 wire cable thus these two LM465's are on separate circuits, one on each phase of the electric service. These are the 2 of the 3 LM465's in that underground box on those 2 circuits that do not respond to the "ON" codes but do respond to "OFF" codes. The other LM465 is for the pond pump and the timed event is set for "ON" at 6:00 a.m. and "OFF" at 6:00 p.m. Hope this paints about as good a picture I can without actually having a schematic drawing for you.

2)  Can you identify whether your CM11A/XTB combo is on a different phase from the "problem" circuit?

Not sure how to be able to verify this right now, but as described in answer to question number one, the CM11A/XTB combo has to be on either the code 7 or the code 15 phase since these are on separate phases.

3)  Can you identify whether your RR501 on the same phase as the "problem" circuit?

Pretty much same answer as question number 2.

4)  Are there any compact fluorescent light bulbs anywhere in the installation?

Yes, there are seveal installed and are on/off at various time during the day, but this installation has been working fine with all of these in place for several years, no changes or additions to this since the problem came up!

5)  What type of phase coupler do you use?  (Manufacturer, part #)

Get this and post it later! Not sure it is really relevant since the problem spans both phases of the service.

6)  Does a manual command from the CM11A/XTB combo exhibit the same problem?

Manual command from my PC through the CM11A turns on ALL LM465's with code 7 including the one on the problem circuit and same for code 15.

Now, this is a strange one isn't it!

I got the ELK-ESM1 tester late yesterday. I plugged it into several outlets around the house and tried sending X10 commands with the handheld remote via the RR501. Good X10 command (green light) and very strong signal, went all the way to the right side of the scale. One thing I noticed is that the signal when sent for each command was seen twice. Once about 1 second after the command was sent (signal meter pegged to the right), and a second time about a second later (again, signal meter pegged to the right). Could there be some "reflection" causing this problem?

OK....not time for a cold one now, but definitely later. Wher do you suggest I start now? My plan is to dig up the underground box and plug the ELK-ESM1 into those outlet (one from each separate circuit breaker) and test the manual X10 commands sent. Not sure I have enough patience to sit there and wait and try to see the timed events.

I also plugged the ELK-ESM1 into an outlet next to my TV last night and set the unit on top of the TV to monitor whether or not I saw any transient noise on the meter......NONE AT ALL...ZIPPO....NOT A PEEP OUT OF IT! This also happens to be on the same circuit as one of the fluorscent lights for the fish tank, so I think that eliminates that as a noise source.

Anyway, thats all my thoughts for now.

Feedback?

Again, thanks to all for your help and suggestions so far.

Bruce

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BSarte

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Re: LM465's STOP receiving ON codes!
« Reply #41 on: August 17, 2007, 10:45:37 AM »

More info/update!

Pulled the cover off the large circuit breaker panel. The phase coupler is a Leviton 6201/120 Coupler/Repeater.

I do stand to correct myself though from the last post. The circuit breakers for each of these circuits are NOT a double breaker, but two singles, one on top of the other on the same side of the panel, so therefore they are on each phase of the electric. Code 7 is on one phase and code 15 is on another. Both of these codes are timed events for both "ON" & "OFF". "ON" codes are not being recognized, but "OFF" codes are!

One last thing I did was to swap the circuit breakers between themselves. One was in slot 34 and the other was in slot 36 of the panel. Swapped them. Does not seem like this could have any bearing, but who knows at this point!

Any ideas guys?

Bruce
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JeffVolp

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Re: LM465's STOP receiving ON codes!
« Reply #42 on: August 17, 2007, 11:19:33 AM »

Quote
Pulled the cover off the large circuit breaker panel. The phase coupler is a Leviton 6201/120 Coupler/Repeater.
Ah!  That is what I suspected.  That is not a passive coupler, but the original Leviton repeater.  It is a fine unit - we used one at our last house - but it will not couple the strong XTB signal to the second phase.

That is not the total answer because the code 7 and 15 modules are on opposite phases, and they both do not work.  That puzzles me because the XTB signal would certainly be strong on its own phase.  However, unless it is near your distribution panels, much of its signal strength can be lost in that initial run down to the panels.  From your detailed description, it is obvious you have an extensive X10 system.  It may take a bit of work to ensure adequate signal strengths throughout.

Since you now have a ESM1, I suggest building a macro in the CM11A to recognize a signal from the RR501, delay 5 seconds, and then send out another command.  Then you could go out to where those 7 and 15 modules are, send a RF command, and see what the signal strength is directly from the RR501 and from the CM11A/XTB combo.

Since you don't already have a good passive coupler installed, you might consider using the XTB-II, which drives both phases directly, and has a built-in passive coupler.  It should be installed at the distribution panel in place of your Leviton repeater.  The downside is that your CM11A would have to be plugged into the XTB-II at the distribution panel for it to directly boost its output.

Jeff
« Last Edit: August 18, 2007, 10:41:06 AM by JeffVolp »
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BSarte

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Re: LM465's STOP receiving ON codes!
« Reply #43 on: August 18, 2007, 06:33:11 AM »

Jeff,

Thanks for the reply. Got a couple of questions from your response:

1. Not sure I understand why the Leviton Repeater will not "couple the strong XTB signal to the second phase". Isn't that what it is supposed to do?

2. Can you help me understand the "macro" thing? I have built some in the past but they really do not work right and when you say "recognize a signal from the RR501", that really looses me!

3. XTB-II? Not sure this is viable right now for several reasons. 1. I don't want the CM11A that far away from my PC right now because interfacing with it is a real pain. 2. If I spend any more $$ on this with out a good reason, I just might be sleeping in the garage!  ;)

I did move the CM11A closer to the circuit panel last might but again, no change. "ON" codes to the X10 modules on these two circuits ignored, but "OFF" codes responded to.

I just don't understand why the difference? I would think that I would see all the X10 commands or none, but not specific commands such as TIMED "ON" codes because the manually sent "ON" codes from the CM11A are responded to. Could there be something wrong with the LM465's in the underground box?

Bruce
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KDR

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Re: LM465's STOP receiving ON codes!
« Reply #44 on: August 18, 2007, 08:59:25 AM »

BSarte although I can't tell you why, I have a basement pull chain light with a screw in lamp module. From there the line goes to an outside wall and up to a livingroom outlet. That is where the circuit ends. If my wife plugs her laptop into that outlet, I can send an ON command to the light downstairs and it comes on. However I can not get it to respond to an OFF command until the laptop is unplugged. I installed a filter between the laptop and the outlet and all works good.

For some reason the on command is always seen and works but the off command won't. Perhaps you have some device plugged in somewhere that is causing a similar problem.

What you might try... Send the wife out shopping. Tell her to get herself something nice. While shes gone try turning off as many breakers as you can and then retest your problem circuits. If it works then start turning them on one by one until you find the circuit causing the problem Maybe this will narrow it down. Just be sure the house is powered back on before she gets home. Good luck.

----------------KDR
« Last Edit: August 18, 2007, 09:34:32 AM by KDR »
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