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Author Topic: Inconsistant responses  (Read 11042 times)

Jerry Yachabach

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Inconsistant responses
« on: July 30, 2010, 02:09:44 PM »

I have a system which was installed in 2001 with about 50 X10 devices.  It worked almost perfectly except for a couple of duplex outlets being sporatic.  I have since added several Switchlink devices 2476D, 2476S and most recently, a Carlon extend a chime.  The flakey operation started this spring before the Carlon chime was added.  It is getting worse. As part of the research, I tried to activate the various flakey switches by putting the comand controler at the same location as the switch and then the switch worked.  I assumed line loss, resulting in signal loss, was the reason so I decided to replace the leviton 6299 coupler with an amplified one , ZPCI-B from Simply Automated.  Same problem.  The breaker panel has about 70 circuits total.

I originally purchased a power line signal analyzer, Monterey Instruments, and it works as advertised.  When I read signal levels they appear to be attenuated sometimes to the limits of the analyzer and at that point they are ignored.  Also sometimes the error code is identified as something like "spacing code error". 

I adapted my scope to look at the power line and found X10 command signals in groups of 22 but the timing was such that the bursts occurred throughout the 60 Hz cycle rather than just at the zero crossing points of the 60 Hz. waveform.  I thought they were always at zero crossing.  I tried to turn off all X10 devices and observed the line noise and it was almost totally gone.  Still the flakey problem persisted.

When I activate dimming controllers (which I have about 20 of) the line noise as seen on the scope is huge. 

I originally purchased several noise filters but didn't put them on the system because the system worked fine without them.  I'm not sure they will help since the problem perists even when all noisy switches are off.

The switches with the problem are Switchlink 2476D.  One controls a water feature and the other controls landscape lights.  They both worked fine for two years till now.

Thanks for any suggestions.

Jerry
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JeffVolp

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Re: Inconsistant responses
« Reply #1 on: July 30, 2010, 02:37:03 PM »


Most X10 controllers transmit signals after the zero crossing of all three phases, so you will see 120KHz bursts at angle zero, 120 degrees, and 240 degrees.

It is not at all unusual for dimmer switches to generate a large line transient when they switch on.  However, that normally occurs well after the X10 transmission window, so it should not be an issue for X10 control unless the dimmer is controlling a CFL or LED bulb.

You might want to read some of my troubleshooting series if you have not already done so:

     http://jvde.us/x10_troubleshooting.htm

Jeff
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X-10 automation since the BSR days

Brian H

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Re: Inconsistant responses
« Reply #2 on: July 30, 2010, 03:39:18 PM »

If I read the ZPCI-B Datasheet correctly it is a passive coupler and does not amplify any signals. Just inverts the signal to the other phase so in theory it adds to what was present already. Since it is a UPB coupler that also passes X10 it maybe passing added noise from one phase to the other phase.
http://simply-automated.com/documents/Datasheet_ZPCI_081215.pdf.

Are the 2476D switches controlling standard lights or something like low voltage ones?
Since the 2476D switches are two way devices. Their transmitter circuits may absorb some of the power line signals and if the levels are marginal. They maybe close to the edge. I am not 100% sure if they have AGC in them.

I would also say Jeff's Troubleshooting Guides are a great help in finding X10 problems. As it sounds like something may have changed in the home as it was OK for two years.

Anything new like a LCD TV or cell phone with charger?
Some electronic devices moved to a new location?
« Last Edit: July 30, 2010, 03:45:27 PM by Brian H »
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dave w

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Re: Inconsistant responses
« Reply #3 on: July 30, 2010, 07:57:18 PM »

With as many X10 devices as you have, I would invest in a good repeater. XTBIIR From JV Digital Engineering, or CR234 from ACT (Automated Control Technologies).
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