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Author Topic: Setup w/ assortment of problems.  (Read 7698 times)

Billaban

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Setup w/ assortment of problems.
« on: February 20, 2011, 12:26:15 PM »

So my X10 setup has been sitting idle for most of a year.  For various reasons which are not worth explaining my AHP host PC hasn't even been running for most of that time. 

Today I moved things around, found a spot for the host system (XP home edition) and tried to rejuvenate AHP etc.  I keep this PC based on the lack of Win7 x10 support.

I have a CM15A which I modified (coax cable and a significant Radio Shack antenna in the attic) so the RF reception is good way down my street.  I hooked into the web and verified that I am running the current version of AHP.  v3.228?  I have a phase coupler on the installed. 

My setup contains (3) PR511's, (4) WS467, (1) WS477, a collection of MS16A's and LM15a's.  Once upon a time everything was working, i.e., a healthy assortment of automation macros for everyday and security macros that I would run in various combinations when away from home. 

Today working with the AHP activity monitor, the AHP pro s/w, and a HR12A remote I have determined that an assortment of things are not working.  At present 2 of the 3 PR511's cannot be commanded off and don't effectively respond to polling and at least two WS467's cannot be commanded off.  My conclusions are mostly based on the watching the command traffic on the activity monitor.  I seem to recall that some didn't have much faith in the integrity of the Activity Monitor.  Comments?

I find it hard to believe that I have that much failed HW.  I know all about Murphy's Law.  Yes, I am a SW and systems engineer and presumably I know how to do troubleshooting and fault isolation.  Obviously I could start replacing HW and see what happens but my suspicion is that perhaps something else is the evil but I'm not sure where to start or am I being foolish presuming that this bargain (dare I say cheap) HW from X10 just fails.

Looking for suggestions.
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Brian H

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Re: Setup w/ assortment of problems.
« Reply #1 on: February 20, 2011, 12:37:45 PM »

You may want to cycle the power to the modules not working.
Maybe possible they are locked up from some power line glitches.

You may already have looked at these but some troubleshooting tips.
http://jvde.us/x10_troubleshooting.htm
http://www.act-remote.com/PCC/uncle.htm
http://forums.x10.com/index.php?topic=9899.msg57946
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Tuicemen

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Re: Setup w/ assortment of problems.
« Reply #2 on: February 20, 2011, 01:23:38 PM »



I have a CM15A which I modified (coax cable and a significant Radio Shack antenna in the attic) so the RF reception is good way down my street.  I hooked into the web and verified that I am running the current version of AHP.  v3.228?  I have a phase coupler on the installed. 
That's not the latest version
AHP hasn't been able to see the latest version since before 3.228
3.306 is the latest and can be found here:
http://www.x10.com/support/support_soft1.htm
Quote
Today working with the AHP activity monitor, the AHP pro s/w, and a HR12A remote I have determined that an assortment of things are not working.  At present 2 of the 3 PR511's cannot be commanded off and don't effectively respond to polling and at least two WS467's cannot be commanded off.  My conclusions are mostly based on the watching the command traffic on the activity monitor.  I seem to recall that some didn't have much faith in the integrity of the Activity Monitor.  Comments?
This is still true even with the latest version your better of using monitoring or logging from a third party software build with the SDK as the SDK shows more accurate info!
Quote
I find it hard to believe that I have that much failed HW.  I know all about Murphy's Law.  Yes, I am a SW and systems engineer and presumably I know how to do troubleshooting and fault isolation.  Obviously I could start replacing HW and see what happens but my suspicion is that perhaps something else is the evil but I'm not sure where to start or am I being foolish presuming that this bargain (dare I say cheap) HW from X10 just fails.

Looking for suggestions.
First update to the newest version.
You'll then need to reconfigure any old non softstart lamp modules as "old (non softstart) lamps" not lamps as the new softstart modules get that category.
clear your recycle bin and update the interface.
Also do what Brian suggested!
 >!
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Noam

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Re: Setup w/ assortment of problems.
« Reply #3 on: February 20, 2011, 01:29:15 PM »

Wow! I had a really long post prepared, and Tuicemen beat me to the punch ;-) (that's a GOOD thing, though).

The one thing I'd add is that after upgrading to version 3.306, you may have problems with older (non-softstart) lamp modules and wall switches.
If they don't respond properly to dim commands, then use the corresponding module definition from the "old lamps - no softstart" category.

If you aren't sure if your modules are SoftStart or not, then there is a pretty simple way to test.
Using a hand-help remote, try to turn the light on.
If it dims up gradually, it is a SoftStart module. If it comes on immediately to full brightness, then it is the older (non-softStart) type.

Good luck!
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Billaban

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Re: Setup w/ assortment of problems.
« Reply #4 on: February 21, 2011, 07:36:27 PM »

OK, thanks.  I'll follow the advise.  Now that it was mentioned I think I have the SDK and will see about the alternatives to the activity monitor.  However from what I witnessed the msgs captured were consistent with the behavior of the "system".

I will however wait to update the AHP SW just to reduce the number of variables that I am working with.  Last resort would be to make the upgrade but it worked at one point w/ the configuration I have.  Unless something has failed or the configuration cannot be restored, it should work again.

Thanks for the input.  It may be the weekend before I get a chance to pursue this further.....
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Noam

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Re: Setup w/ assortment of problems.
« Reply #5 on: February 21, 2011, 07:44:43 PM »

Well, if it all worked at some point in the past, and nothing was changed with the X10 hardware, I would suspect powerline noise.
If the Activity Monitor is showing the correct commands at the correct time, that just cements that suspicion.

I would try troubleshooting noise and signal issues, because it might be something as simple as a bad CFL bulb causing too much line noise.

However, you might need to think outside the box on this one. My "phantom" problem was not in my house, but rather a failing CFL bulb across the street (on my neighbor's front porch) that was creating the noise and interfering with my system.
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Billaban

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Re: Setup w/ assortment of problems.
« Reply #6 on: February 26, 2011, 11:50:08 AM »

Greetings,

I did some forum searches and found assorted posts/links on signal noise, etc, by Jeff Volp.

I isolated what appears to be a "Signal Sucker", i.e., my newer (non AHP host system) PC.  I have dual 21" HD LED displays hanging on a HP Pavilion and a High Output Buffalo wireless hub all tied to a surge suppressor power strip.  I repeated the test a couple times and this suite of HW is definitely the problem.

My questions:

1.  It looks like the XPPF filters should do the job.  Do they work as advertised?

2.  XPPF Rated for 5A. I haven't researched yet but 5A seems marginal for a PC, two monitors, a printer, wireless hub, and a DSL box.  Does it make sense (for whatever reason) to put several filters in place?  I see on ebay that I can buy these for about $5/per + shipping in packs of 3 or 4.  I presume this is legit HW.  Maybe not?


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Brian H

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Re: Setup w/ assortment of problems.
« Reply #7 on: February 26, 2011, 01:19:27 PM »

#1 Yes they work.
#2 Rated at five amps but pushing them to five amps makes them get very warm.
Smarthome makes a ten amp FilterLinc #1626-10 and ACT makes a fifteen amp AF120.
Others may chime in on splitting the loads into a few of the XPPFs.

The electronics maybe making noise and the surge strip if it has some filtering in it. Maybe Absorbing the X10 signals. So filtering the whole strip and electronics would be best.
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stoney

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Re: Setup w/ assortment of problems.
« Reply #8 on: February 26, 2011, 01:45:01 PM »

@ Billaban,
Did you get the AHP update?

If you are in your own residence you might also look into getting / installing
an XPCR - X-10 Coupler / Repeater. Works to connect both phases of your
electric panel and boost signals to farther away devices. I found one (on
one of those aution sites ;) for $11.00!
(unless you posess electrical knowledge, do not attempt to install this
device without a licensed electrician).

This device should really help with reception issues! Good luck either way!
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Billaban

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Re: Setup w/ assortment of problems.
« Reply #9 on: February 26, 2011, 02:48:55 PM »


Stoney:  No I haven't gotten the update yet, but I will.  Re: XPCR.  I already have a phase coupler and my house is really not that big.  I think I'll be good once I get the new HW filtered properly. 

Seems wise to go with the 10Amp solution since all my house standard circuit breakers are 10Amp. 

BrianH: Thanks for the tip on the higher Amp options.

Cheers.
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Billaban

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Re: Setup w/ assortment of problems.
« Reply #10 on: February 26, 2011, 03:23:56 PM »

Well that was easy.  I just got the FilterLinc #1626-10 for $20 total on eBay.
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Billaban

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Re: Setup w/ assortment of problems.
« Reply #11 on: March 05, 2011, 07:57:53 AM »

Thanks for the help guys, the 10Amp filter did the trick.

Next rainy day (which unfortunately s/b tomorrow) I'll see about migrating the whole AHP setup to my Win7 box.
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