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Author Topic: Returning to the fray?  (Read 15158 times)

ggrote

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Returning to the fray?
« on: January 03, 2011, 04:00:15 PM »

Hi All,

It's been over a year, so I thought I stop by to see what's new ... turns out there is quite a bit! (see the end of my post for background info, if interested)

Last time I was here, AHP was v3.236, but it was highly recommended by folks in the forum that users downgrade to 3.228, which was more stable (ironic, given the release notes for 3.236), and that is what I am still running.  And as of last fall there hadn't been a software update in 9 months.  However, I see that there have been 10 updates since March, including Win7 support (which is good because I just bought a Win7 PC), so hopefully I'm returning at a good time.

I plan to read through a ton of posts, but I would appreciate any assistance you can give me:  Is AHP v3.301 a solid release?  Have there been any hardware advances to improve the reliability of X10 signal transfers in the modern household?  Can you point me to any specific new and interesting automation products or features?

Thanks, all!
Greg  ;D

Background:  I bought a bunch of X-10 stuff fall 2009 for some projects (CM15A, RR501, AHP, and a wide array of switches, etc.), but couldn't get it to work reliably except for an XPS3 that does a decent job of controlling my 7 outdoor soffit can lights with CFLs.  I was planning to install a XTB-IIR in the hopes of blasting through the noise but balked at the installed cost (most of which was going to be the electrician fees).  I'm using a WS12A and two WS14A dimmers in my living room (manual operation only) and a couple of WS467 switches for outside lights near doors (also manual operation only), the latter only because I'm still hoping to someday get them to work with MS16A sensors to automatically turn on the lights when someone comes to the door.  I also use a TM751 to turn on the Christmas tree lights, or to operate a lamp when we're on vacation.  But suffice it to say that I never did get my initial design concept to work.
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troll334

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Re: Returning to the fray?
« Reply #1 on: January 03, 2011, 04:56:04 PM »

Jeff,
I've since joined the group while you were out  :)
Get a copy of Jeff Volp's XTBM. It's a great plc testing tool. You will be amazed at the dirty
things you'll find on your powerline.  Once you've worked that tool, you'll likely be purchasing
a few XPPF filters to squash the noise makers.  Heck, you may not need Jeff's XTB-IIR. I chose
to get all this stuff (in reverse order - duh!). I may not have needed the XTB-IIR but still glad
I made the purchase. My X10 voltage signal readings are over 5V everywhere in the house. I've
now got a nearly 100% purrrfect system.
Make the investment in the XTBM. You won't be sorry.
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AHP 3.236. CM15A. XTB-IIR. XTBM. Hauppauge 950Q.

dave w

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Re: Returning to the fray?
« Reply #2 on: January 03, 2011, 05:33:08 PM »

Make the investment in the XTBM. You won't be sorry.

I second that motion.
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Brandt

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Re: Returning to the fray?
« Reply #3 on: January 03, 2011, 05:57:24 PM »

Yeah you can't really play until you have the playground setup  :)%

XTBM, XTB-IIR, and filters of a wide assortment...
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mike

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Re: Returning to the fray?
« Reply #4 on: January 03, 2011, 07:09:12 PM »

Jeff,............you'll likely be purchasing
a few XPPF filters to squash the noise makers. 

Yep, third those opinions;  all except quoted one above;  if you can afford it, do NOT buy any XPPF filters - they tend to catch fire at well under their 5 amp rating!  buy the smart home equivalent ones instead and save your house from the fire!
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Brian H

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Re: Returning to the fray?
« Reply #5 on: January 03, 2011, 07:23:43 PM »

I would also say. The Smarthome 1626 five amp or 1626-10 ten amp FilterLincs are a better choice.
Though the 1626 seems to be discontinued and only the 1626-10 is showing on the Smarthome site.
There  is also the ACT AF120 for loads up to fifteen amps if you need that much current capacity.
I have tested an XPPF at close to five amps and it did get warm and smell. They are fine if the current is kept to less than maybe three amps.

I have both an XTBM and an XTB-IIR myself.
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dave w

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Re: Returning to the fray?
« Reply #6 on: January 03, 2011, 08:58:31 PM »

The XTBIIR high output will reduce the number of filters needed (if any).

We have a majority, the motion is carried. Have the record show that ggrote is to procure a XTBM.
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ggrote

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Re: Returning to the fray?
« Reply #7 on: January 03, 2011, 10:10:53 PM »

You guys make it sound easy, and you obviously enjoy playing with this stuff, but here's what I'm hearing:  I should buy an XTBM, plug it into every outlet in my house and create a map of the results, and then do the same for all of the lighting circuits (I didn't read how to do that with the meter, but I'm sure I can) ... then I need to add myriad filters (BTW, I do already have several XPPFs in play - thanks for the loading warning!) and other restrictions, and/or an XTB-IIR (which will require several hundred dollars in electrician fees, because I want to live to tell about it and I don't want to burn my house down) in order to possibly achieve reliable functionality of my lighting automation ... yeah, when I put it that way it sounds perfectly reasonable!   :angel:

Okay, so I'm (mostly) joking ... but it does indeed sound like this is a lot more than I bargained for when I jumped in last fall ... all I really wanted was for my lights to go on and off at the right times.  I didn't expect that X10 would have decided to bring their automation products out of the hobbyist realm and into the mainstream in the past year, but a guy can hope, can't he?  You guys rock, and this is easily one of the best forums on the web ... in fact, have you ever considered that the excellent way you guys respond on this forum is in part fueling X10's lethargy?

Thanks for the great responses ... and maybe when it all sinks in (or when I see how much the alternatives will cost) I will change my mind.   :-\

Thanks, all!
Greg  ;D
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JeffVolp

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Re: Returning to the fray?
« Reply #8 on: January 04, 2011, 12:16:30 AM »

[if you can afford it, do NOT buy any XPPF filters - they tend to catch fire at well under their 5 amp rating!  buy the smart home equivalent ones instead and save your house from the fire!

While I agree that running the XPPF at its maximum rating is not a good idea, it won't "catch on fire at well under its 5A rating".  They will carry a 3A load of a typical computer just fine.  When pushed to their limit they will get warm and start to smell like hot plastic.

The XPPF does have a significant advantage at lower currents in that it is a low-pass filter rather than a notch filter, which is true of all the high-current filters.  A low pass filter will block noise over a wide range of frequencies.  The notch filters will only block noise that is directly in the X10 bandpass.

Jeff
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troll334

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Re: Returning to the fray?
« Reply #9 on: January 04, 2011, 08:51:41 AM »

To address XTBM in lighting circuits...
I followed one of the other guys' suggestions. Went to Depot; electrical department. Found the screw-in lamp
socket adapter that exposes a standard two-prong receptacle to which the XTBM connects. While there, I also
picked up a screw-in extender. This allowed me to easily get to the porch light fixtures without having to
disassemble the decorative glass panels, etc.
You're gonna have so much fun with this stuff.
Enjoy!
mike
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dave w

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Re: Returning to the fray?
« Reply #10 on: January 04, 2011, 09:59:23 AM »

To address XTBM in lighting circuits...
I followed one of the other guys' suggestions. Went to Depot; electrical department. Found the screw-in lamp
socket adapter that exposes a standard two-prong receptacle to which the XTBM connects. While there, I also
picked up a screw-in extender. This allowed me to easily get to the porch light fixtures without having to
disassemble the decorative glass panels, etc.
Nice KISS suggestion. One *Helpful* from me.
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Brian H

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Re: Returning to the fray?
« Reply #11 on: January 04, 2011, 10:05:11 AM »

Helpful from me also.
Only thing to be careful of. Is not to try using the XTBM on a light connected to the load side of an X10 or any automation module.
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JeffVolp

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Re: Returning to the fray?
« Reply #12 on: January 04, 2011, 11:25:13 AM »

... an XTB-IIR (which will require several hundred dollars in electrician fees, because I want to live to tell about it and I don't want to burn my house down)...

For people such as yourself, I am considering offering a "plug-in" version.  It will simply be wired to an ordinary dryer plug (not a passthrough), so it can't be used along with an electric dryer.

A molded dryer plug has 10 gauge wire, which is too thick to connect into the XTB-IIR, so this has to be done with a separate plug and 16 gauge power cord.  (The XTB-IIR is internally fused at 2A, so 16 gauge is more than adequate.)  The separate plug & cord are more expensive than a molded plug from China, but it would still be much cheaper than getting an electrician involved.

Jeff
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Noam

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Re: Returning to the fray?
« Reply #13 on: January 04, 2011, 12:52:04 PM »

For people such as yourself, I am considering offering a "plug-in" version.  It will simply be wired to an ordinary dryer plug (not a passthrough), so it can't be used along with an electric dryer.

Jeff -
When  I bought my XTB-IIR, you strongly recommended that I install a dedicated 240V outlet, and wire up a matching plug to the XTB-IIR (which is what I did).

I guess this would help for those people that have an extra, unused dryer socket, but otherwise they would still need to bring in an electrician to install one. I don't know too many people who have an electric dryer socket they aren't using, though.
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dave w

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Re: Returning to the fray?
« Reply #14 on: January 04, 2011, 05:34:51 PM »

I don't know too many people who have an electric dryer socket they aren't using, though.
Yeah, I agree. I think Jeff is seriously limiting his sales unless it is a pass through.
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