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Author Topic: Partial operation of dimmer switches  (Read 10509 times)

calvinhc

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Partial operation of dimmer switches
« on: November 28, 2010, 06:09:32 PM »

I am having problems with a pair of WS12A dimmer switches.

The only command they respond to is an "OFF" command, so if I manually turn either on, I can turn it off through Active Home Pro. If I try to send an "ON", or a "BRIGHT" or "DIM" command, nothing happens.

I have tried other address settings, but the operation remains the same.

In the same 3-gang outlet box, there is an XPS3 switch controlling a fluorescent light, and it responds to both "ON" and "OFF" commands without any problems.

I should add that I recently installed the WS12A dimmers to replace a pair of XPD3 dimmers. These were replaced because the previous dimmers were randomly getting turned on (unless their hardware switch was off). This random problem has not been an issue with the WS12A dimmers.

Any ideas on what to try?
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Brian H

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Re: Partial operation of dimmer switches
« Reply #1 on: November 28, 2010, 06:18:11 PM »

They are probably the new soft start ones. Try calling them an LM14A two way maodule.
http://kbase.x10.com/wiki/Newer_Wall_Switches_and_Preset_Dim
http://kbase.x10.com/wiki/SoftStart
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calvinhc

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Re: Partial operation of dimmer switches
« Reply #2 on: December 10, 2010, 10:36:13 AM »

I'll give that a try when testing with Active HomePro.

Is there any special steps that must be followed when using the SDK in one's own application?
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lodtrack

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Re: Partial operation of dimmer switches
« Reply #3 on: December 10, 2010, 10:45:04 AM »

I has the same problem with switches from Radio Shack...could turn them off or dim with Activehome but not turn them on...?
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Dan Lawrence

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Re: Partial operation of dimmer switches
« Reply #4 on: December 10, 2010, 01:48:15 PM »

I has the same problem with switches from Radio Shack...could turn them off or dim with Activehome but not turn them on...?

NONE of the X10 items sold by Radio Shack were SoftStart, Radio Shack was out of their Plug-N-Power line.   

In AHP, any Radio Shack modules use the AHP standard modules, Active Home was the same.
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calvinhc

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Re: Partial operation of dimmer switches
« Reply #5 on: December 10, 2010, 09:09:53 PM »

When I changed the setup in AH-Pro, they worked fine.

THEN, I tried the application I was working on. In the test, it was to send an ON command, followed by a series of DIM commands (95, 90, 85,...) every 10 seconds. The lights came on alright, but never dimmed.

I see from AH-Pro's activity monitor that when dim levels are changed through it, Extended Codes are sent instead of bright/dim commands, so I'm concluding that is why my application is not changing the brightness.

However, since trying the application, I can no longer control the switches except manually. If I try to use AH-Pro, there is no response to any command (on, off, extended codes for dimming). I have tried switching them off with their hard switch for several minutes before trying again, but they remain totally stuck.

How can this be fixed?
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Dan Lawrence

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Re: Partial operation of dimmer switches
« Reply #6 on: December 11, 2010, 02:25:21 PM »

When I changed the setup in AH-Pro, they worked fine.

THEN, I tried the application I was working on. In the test, it was to send an ON command, followed by a series of DIM commands (95, 90, 85,...) every 10 seconds. The lights came on alright, but never dimmed.

I see from AH-Pro's activity monitor that when dim levels are changed through it, Extended Codes are sent instead of bright/dim commands, so I'm concluding that is why my application is not changing the brightness.

However, since trying the application, I can no longer control the switches except manually. If I try to use AH-Pro, there is no response to any command (on, off, extended codes for dimming). I have tried switching them off with their hard switch for several minutes before trying again, but they remain totally stuck.

How can this be fixed?

AHP doesn't like what you did.   If you set up a brightness level in a timer you don't need any of the "every ten seconds".  The CM15A doesn't work that fast sending the signals.  If you have a timer set to turn on a light at 6:00 PM and load it to the CM15A, the light will turn on anywhere in the 60 seconds between 6:00 PM and 6:59PM.  AHP has ALWAYS worked like that.
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calvinhc

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Re: Partial operation of dimmer switches
« Reply #7 on: December 11, 2010, 04:09:53 PM »

For whatever reason, the dimmers were functioning fine again today.

Going forward, I will have to resolve this as I may need to send a command "every 10 seconds" to change the dim level.

The application has a feature that animates a day/night transition. Control of the room lighting is done using X10 dimmers and the CMA15. The application is configured with a sunset and sunrise time along with the transition duration (how long sunrise/sunset takes). If sunset is configured for 20:30 and transition time is configured for 30 minutes, then dimming should begin at 20:15 and be down to level zero at 20:45. A new lighting level is calculated every "minute".

I put "minute" in quotes because all this uses a fastclock, not real time, and this is configured for some ratio of real time. I am using 6:1, so one minute is 10 seconds in real time. Therefore, a new dim level is sent "every 10 seconds". Doing this with Active Home Pro, or with a command line utility is no problem for the CMA15. In fact, my application worked quite well with the Bright/Dim commands that were used with the old dimmers (when the dimmers worked).

It would be really nice if there were a command I could send to the dimmers to have them start a slow dim to zero (or 100 for sunrise). Then one command would initiate the operation and the dimmer would perform the dim over whatever real time were desired (300 seconds, using my example above). I am not aware of a command that will do that, so I have to implement it through my own code.

The only issue I am stuck with is what are the actual codes to send. The event logs show AHP sending two bytes. The first varies with the dimmer level and the second is always 0x31. The byte that varies appears to be approximately 2.1 times the dimmer level. For level 0, the value is 0; for level 100, the value is 0xD2 (210).  Trying  a few other levels seems to back this up (11% sends 0x18, 30% sends 0x3E, 62% sends 0x83, and 85% sends 0xB3). I haven't gone through the extended code specification deep enough to understand just why this is the case.
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Dan Lawrence

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Re: Partial operation of dimmer switches
« Reply #8 on: December 11, 2010, 04:54:06 PM »

Can you explain what a "fast clock" is and how you use it?   I've never seen one or used it.
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calvinhc

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Re: Partial operation of dimmer switches
« Reply #9 on: December 28, 2010, 12:22:35 AM »

Sorry for going so off topic, just what a "fast clock" is really irrelavant to the problem at hand. It is a clock that runs faster than "real" time in order to simulate a situation. It is external to any of the X10 operations. The point is that at some point in time, I need to send a new dimmer level to adjust the brightness of the lights, thus simulating a slow dimming up or dimming down of the lights between fully on and fully off.

The problem I am having is just understanding what codes need to be sent, even for just one command to change the level of the lighting.

Where exactly do I find the documentation on the extended codes to send for these new dimmers? I can see what the Activity Monitor in AHP shows when AHP is used to set various dimmer levels, but when I try to use the command-line sample program that comes with the SDK, I am not clear on what should be sent.

It tells me that the format of the command is:

    sendplc extcode command data (in hexadecimal)

But if I try something like "sendplc G2 extcode 31 D2", the activity monitor shows that "G2 Extended Code 3b 31" was sent.

I have to issue the command "sendplc G2 extcode 31 FE" in order to show that "G2 Extended Code d2 31" was sent, which brings the lights up to full brightness.

At the other end of the scale, I have to issue the command "sendplc G2 extcode 31 41" in order to show that "G2 Extended Code 0 31" was sent, which brings the lights down to no brightness.

This process of reverse engineering is telling me that I need to send values between 0x41 and 0xFE to obtain lighting levels from 0% to 100% respectively (that's 189 steps of resolution between 0 and 100). I can simply move forward with the code I am writing based on this, but it would be really nice if I could read some sort of specs to see if I have misunderstood something about extended codes.
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dave w

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Re: Partial operation of dimmer switches
« Reply #10 on: December 28, 2010, 10:46:49 AM »

Go here: http://www.hometoys.com/article_library.php
and use "Kingery" as the Author.
Maybe Phil describes what you are looking for.
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