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Author Topic: A Power Phase Compatibility Issue ?  (Read 2941 times)

petespin

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A Power Phase Compatibility Issue ?
« on: September 05, 2010, 10:34:15 AM »

In my hone, it seems like I have 2 outlets (physically close to each other)
that do not seem to get X-10 protocol commands from my computer-controlled
tranceiver (unless I plug that tranceiver into one of those outlets...then all
is fine).   I am figuring that this is an incompatible house AC phasing issue,
and that a phase coupler of some sort will fix the bug.   Stuff plugged into
other outlets in the house seem to work just fine - including the actual modules
that don't work in these few "problem" outlets.  So the modules and controller
are certainly properly functional.  Palmpad Remote hand control works just fine.
 
Any thoughts on this ?   Maybe you have seen this kind of thing before....and
know how best to fix it.
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Charles Sullivan

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Re: A Power Phase Compatibility Issue ?
« Reply #1 on: September 05, 2010, 10:45:34 AM »

In my hone, it seems like I have 2 outlets (physically close to each other)
that do not seem to get X-10 protocol commands from my computer-controlled
tranceiver (unless I plug that tranceiver into one of those outlets...then all
is fine).   I am figuring that this is an incompatible house AC phasing issue,
and that a phase coupler of some sort will fix the bug.   Stuff plugged into
other outlets in the house seem to work just fine - including the actual modules
that don't work in these few "problem" outlets.  So the modules and controller
are certainly properly functional.  Palmpad Remote hand control works just fine.
 
Any thoughts on this ?   Maybe you have seen this kind of thing before....and
know how best to fix it.


You said it yourself - a phase coupler.

If you have an electric clothes dryer outlet, simplest installation is a Smarthome SignalLinc passive coupler:
http://www.smarthome.com/4816B2/SignaLinc-trade-Plug-In-Phase-Coupler/p.aspx
There is also a 4-prong version for newer outlets.

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Today it doesn't work.
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AZDoug

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Re: A Power Phase Compatibility Issue ?
« Reply #2 on: September 05, 2010, 10:54:31 AM »

I have seen this sort of problem that is caused by phase coupling and I have also seen the same sort of problem caused by a laptop charger that created interference and made it impossible for x10 signals to be detected by devices plugged into that circuit. 

It's fairly easy to sort out the second by unplugging everything that might be remotely suspicious.  The first can be more difficult.  Fortunately, there is a lot of info here and a lot of people with more experience than I have. 

One thing you can do, if you are not sure already, is to determine if both outlets are on different phases.  An easy way to do this is to plug an extension cord into one outlet that is long enough to reach the other outlet you want to test. 

Drag the cord close to the outlet you want to test.  Use a voltmeter or neon indicator light and verify that there is voltage across each plug.  Now, take the terminals of the tester and connect them between the narrow flat pin of each plug.  If the tester shows voltage (220 volts), then they are on different phases.  If the tester shows no voltage, then they are on the same phase.  Ditto for other outlets you want to check. 
« Last Edit: September 05, 2010, 12:30:02 PM by AZDoug »
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petespin

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Re: A Power Phase Compatibility Issue ?
« Reply #3 on: September 05, 2010, 06:00:21 PM »

Thanks, guys !!!  It's good to get a "calibration" on my thinking here.  :-)

I believe that I will probably go the phase coupler route.  It seems like I tried relocating the breaker for the circuit giving me problems...and put it on the other phase - but it didn't help.  I didn't try the suggested voltage measurement, though.  That also might be a good data point for me to collect.

The power company transformer that supplies this home serves one other - and it is > 100' away.  From what I read in the X10 help area, this might also put the phase coupler mechanism on my "to do" list.

Thanks again guys !  ...and have a great day !

:-)
Pete
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dave w

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Re: A Power Phase Compatibility Issue ?
« Reply #4 on: September 05, 2010, 06:13:04 PM »

One thing worth adding is the fact that a "flame thrower" repeater will not only take care of coupling X10 signals across the two phases, but will boost the x10 signal to the point that X10 noise filters are not needed, or needed only for the worst offenders.

"Flame Throwers"
"XTBIIR" from JV Digital Engineering
"CR 234" from Automated Control Technologies
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