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Author Topic: X10 Signal Meter  (Read 88245 times)
steven r
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« Reply #15 on: July 05, 2009, 08:23:32 PM »

I was hoping for bright yellow so I could find where I last left it.
It might have to glow in the dark for me to find it.  laugh

The cost is dominated by a few components:  PCB, LCD display, case, connectors, power transformer, and AD817A op-amp.  The other 70 odd components are relatively inexpensive.... ...I'm shooting for the kit to be $70-$80, and the assembled unit maybe $40 more....
Hmm... Now I just have to figure out if I'm a good enough solderer to get all the "70 odd components"+ in the right place without frying any or if I should shell out the additional to have it done for me.
« Last Edit: July 05, 2009, 08:55:46 PM by steven r » Logged

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JeffVolp
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« Reply #16 on: July 05, 2009, 09:04:05 PM »

Quote
Hmm... Now I just have to figure out if I'm a good enough solderer to get all the "70 odd components"+ in the right place without frying any or if I should shell out the additional to have it done for me.

It is a relatively loose layout.  Most components solder flat onto the board.  The only thing that may be a little tough to do is to get proper alignment of the LCD connectors so they mate correctly when the cover is installed.  The downside of a loose layout is that the PCB is more expensive than it would be for a tight layout.  But you can more than make up for that by warming up the soldering iron.

Jeff
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dave w
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« Reply #17 on: July 06, 2009, 07:49:13 AM »

I'm so excited, I'm vibrating.
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steven r
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« Reply #18 on: July 06, 2009, 03:05:03 PM »

I'm so excited, I'm vibrating.
You know you're a die hard X10 user when a signal meter is a turn on.  Wink laugh
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dave w
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« Reply #19 on: July 06, 2009, 04:19:22 PM »

I'm so excited, I'm vibrating.
You know you're a die hard X10 user when a signal meter is a turn on.  Wink laugh
Yeah,  you have seen me the day I got my first repeater.....oh my goodness.  Wink
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JeffVolp
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« Reply #20 on: July 18, 2009, 06:25:40 AM »

Another status update on the signal meter (revised 7/24):  As mentioned earlier, I incorporated a hardware mod to be able to measure the carrier frequency.  I updated the prototype photo showing that readout:

http://jvde.us/xtb/XTBM_prototype.jpg

You may notice I also increased the X10 signal level resolution.  (I deleted the "V's" from the display to cram on more data.)

During testing, one of my Maxi Controllers read out 130Khz.  While I first suspected something was wrong in the code, checking with my digital scope confirmed the number was indeed correct.  That is one of the ancient boxy Sears units, so it may have drifted from the nominal 120KHz over the years.  A relatively new Leviton Maxi Conroller is exactly at 120KHz, and my TW751 reads 121KHz.

I was a bit surprised that X10 modules still work fine with a Maxi Controller that far off frequency.  I was going to use frequency to recognize an Insteon transmission, but clearly that won't work by itself.

In addition to displaying VALID X10 commands, the unit will also display:

BAD START CODE (something other than 1110)
ERROR: COLLISION (too many bits received)
ERROR: BIT COUNT (not enough bits received)
ERROR: NOISE (for excessive noise on the powerline)

The modified prototype hardware is working well, and PCBs have been ordered.  Availability should still be early fall.

Jeff
« Last Edit: July 24, 2009, 06:00:15 AM by JeffVolp » Logged

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dave w
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« Reply #21 on: July 18, 2009, 10:44:10 AM »

O-boy, o-boy, o-boy, o-boy, o-boy!   HAPPY
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steven r
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« Reply #22 on: July 18, 2009, 12:33:38 PM »

Wha whoo!!!!   GoodJob

Looking forward to it!
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« Reply #23 on: July 18, 2009, 12:53:45 PM »

...  That is one of the ancient boxy Sears units.....


Ah! A kindred spirit!
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JeffVolp
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« Reply #24 on: July 20, 2009, 09:16:23 PM »

Question for you fellows using the CM15A...

So the signal meter can automatically display a repeater's signal level when it is plugged in, it will issue a command shortly after power-up, and read back the repeated amplitude.  Only the first half of the command will be sent so it can monitor the powerline during the repeated second half.  I plan to use "P Hail Acknowledge" for the command to try to avoid causing any problems.  Does anybody see a problem with that?

Also, for the noise monitor, it will send a command when there is a sudden increase or decrease in noise level.  I know P16 is used by some other equipment, so I thought I would piggyback on that code.  It would send "P16 ON" if there is a sudden increase in background noise, and "P16 OFF" for a sudden decrease.  I had thought about using Bright and Dim commands as more intuitive, but ON and OFF should be easier to capture in a reporting system.  Any comments?

FYI, PCBs ordered today...

Jeff
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steven r
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« Reply #25 on: July 21, 2009, 06:13:08 AM »

...It would send "P16 ON" if there is a sudden increase in background noise, and "P16 OFF" for a sudden decrease...
Doesn't the CM15A send a "P16 ON" when power is restored. If so, would that be any conflict?
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JeffVolp
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« Reply #26 on: July 21, 2009, 07:01:21 AM »

...It would send "P16 ON" if there is a sudden increase in background noise, and "P16 OFF" for a sudden decrease...
Doesn't the CM15A send a "P16 ON" when power is restored. If so, would that be any conflict?

It wouldn't be at my end.  The XTB-IIR sends "P16 Status ON" when power is restored.

The X10/Leviton tester pair sends a P1 ON/OFF repeating sequence.  Since that is already defined for tester use, perhaps I should use that here too?

Jeff
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dave w
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« Reply #27 on: July 21, 2009, 08:20:19 AM »

Question for you fellows using the CM15A...

So the signal meter can automatically display a repeater's signal level when it is plugged in, it will issue a command shortly after power-up, and read back the repeated amplitude.  Only the first half of the command will be sent so it can monitor the powerline during the repeated second half.  I plan to use "P Hail Acknowledge" for the command to try to avoid causing any problems.  Does anybody see a problem with that?

Also, for the noise monitor, it will send a command when there is a sudden increase or decrease in noise level.  I know P16 is used by some other equipment, so I thought I would piggyback on that code.  It would send "P16 ON" if there is a sudden increase in background noise, and "P16 OFF" for a sudden decrease.  I had thought about using Bright and Dim commands as more intuitive, but ON and OFF should be easier to capture in a reporting system.  Any comments?

FYI, PCBs ordered today...

Jeff

#1
Not a problem for me.

#2
This is great!! What a great tool to help us track down intermitent noise problems, by logging the precise time the noise occured (or started). Just for giggles I think my system will say, "Dave, what was that noise?" with every P16 ON.   HAPPY
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JeffVolp
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« Reply #28 on: July 21, 2009, 09:48:01 AM »

Just for giggles I think my system will say, "Dave, what was that noise?" with every P16 ON.   HAPPY

How about:  "Dave, TURN THAT OFF!"

Jeff
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GregH
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« Reply #29 on: July 25, 2009, 06:52:29 AM »

I'm looking forward to building the meter.  For those who haven't built a kit in a while, fear not, I successfully assembled the XTB-IIR earlier this year.  Jeff's kit instructions are complete (and accurate!).

Oh, I vote for black because it matches better with my OptiVisor.  Now if I could just get a deal on a lab coat... Idea
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