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Author Topic: SC1200 RF Range  (Read 16285 times)

Jeff M

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SC1200 RF Range
« on: March 05, 2011, 06:58:46 PM »

I moved my SC1200 console, and now a couple of my door/window sensors no longer work.  I house is only about 1600 sq ft and I never expected rf range to be a problem.  Is there a way to attach an antenna to the SC1200 console?  I've read about repeaters, but only for the x10 signal over the electrical lines, not rf between the console and sensors.  Are there any rf repeaters available through X10 or third parties?
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Brian H

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Re: SC1200 RF Range
« Reply #1 on: March 05, 2011, 07:07:49 PM »

I have not seen any antenna mods for the new SC1200 or the almost identical twin Radio Shack 49-1000MC consoles.
One thing the older DS7000 kit's PS561 console had was an external metal antenna.

The X10 and X10Pro RF repeaters where discontinued.
I don't remember seeing any third party one but if one is available. I am sure someone will post the information.

RFG has also found the SC1200 is not as RF sensitive as the older PS561.
http://forums.x10.com/index.php?PHPSESSID=d9pih1amgkpb157lqbrc2dcfm3&topic=22700.0
« Last Edit: March 05, 2011, 07:09:54 PM by Brian H »
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no57

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Re: SC1200 RF Range
« Reply #2 on: March 09, 2011, 11:36:58 PM »

I moved my SC1200 console, and now a couple of my door/window sensors no longer work.  I house is only about 1600 sq ft and I never expected rf range to be a problem.  Is there a way to attach an antenna to the SC1200 console?  I've read about repeaters, but only for the x10 signal over the electrical lines, not rf between the console and sensors.  Are there any rf repeaters available through X10 or third parties?

  I noticed the same thing with my existing DS10As. Since I had received the new DS12As in the kit, as an experiment I registred one of them and placed it at a farther distance than the existing DS10As, and it never faded. Maybe the DS12As sends a stronger signal?

  JC
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Brian H

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Re: SC1200 RF Range
« Reply #3 on: March 10, 2011, 06:03:15 AM »

Could be stronger or closer to the normal X10 RF frequency. As it uses a saw device and not the older LC tuning.
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sfcubster

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Re: SC1200 RF Range
« Reply #4 on: March 23, 2011, 11:31:00 PM »

I am replacing a 1 Voice Dialer Console (PS561) with a SC1200.  I had no problems getting all of my sensors to register on the PS561.  However, four of my sensors will not register with the SC1200 in the old location.  Even moving it to a more central location, they do not work.  I have tried straightening out the power cord as per

The manual tells you how to remove single sensors and remotes.
I would think a total reset and start from scratch should not be needed. Unlike the PS561 needed.

Is your power supply cable extended fully or is any extra bunched up?
We have had a report that reception is better with any extra cable not tied neatly.

Since you have DS10As. Was the SC1200A replacing a working PS561 console from the older D7000 kit?

Side note. Do you by chance have any PowerHorns and do they work correctly?
Any data on Powerhorns would be appreciated. If you have any.

That did not help.
« Last Edit: March 23, 2011, 11:34:12 PM by sfcubster »
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Brian H

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Re: SC1200 RF Range
« Reply #5 on: March 24, 2011, 06:01:55 AM »

Thank you for your comparison of a PS561 to the new SC1200A.
I am beginning to think the antenna wrapped around the SC1200As cabinet is not a efficient as the old one or is directional depending on horizontal or vertical mounting.
Was yours on a table or shelf? 
Hanging on a wall?
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Jeff M

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Re: SC1200 RF Range
« Reply #6 on: March 24, 2011, 12:32:48 PM »

I recently read an article about passive RF repeaters for the sensors.  Basically, you attach an 8 to 9 inch piece of wire to the outside of the sensor.  The wire forms a 1/2 wave antenna that retransmits the RF signal from the sensor.  Has anyone tried this?  Does it work? 
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dave w

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Re: SC1200 RF Range
« Reply #7 on: March 24, 2011, 01:05:58 PM »

I recently read an article about passive RF repeaters for the sensors.  Basically, you attach an 8 to 9 inch piece of wire to the outside of the sensor.  The wire forms a 1/2 wave antenna that retransmits the RF signal from the sensor.  Has anyone tried this?  Does it work? 
I use passive radiators for several Eagle Eye motion detectors. They help. However I use 18 inches for 1/2 wave.
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Brian H

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Re: SC1200 RF Range
« Reply #8 on: March 24, 2011, 01:11:01 PM »

The antenna in the DS12A is in the top right area of the PC Board. Looks like a square board run as it is etched on the board.
So I would guess. Radiator maybe best over the top edge.
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Jeff M

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Re: SC1200 RF Range
« Reply #9 on: March 24, 2011, 01:14:24 PM »

Does it matter what part of the external antenna is mounted to the sensor?  For example, can the antenna be mounted at its midpoint, or does one end have to be attached?
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dave w

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Re: SC1200 RF Range
« Reply #10 on: March 24, 2011, 02:05:22 PM »

Does it matter what part of the external antenna is mounted to the sensor?  For example, can the antenna be mounted at its midpoint, or does one end have to be attached?
Following the Jeff Volp example, the 18 inch 1/2 wave. The midpoint of the rod was positioned next to the antenna side of a Slim Line switch.
http://jvde.us/x10/passive.pdf

Due to some space/mounting restrictions, I attach the bottom 2 1/2 inches of the 18" passive radiator to the left side of the Eagle Eyes for a "bottom feed" and I do not see any difference in range compared to the center feed.
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darkstarz

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Re: SC1200 RF Range
« Reply #11 on: June 01, 2011, 04:17:44 PM »

I recently read an article about passive RF repeaters for the sensors.  Basically, you attach an 8 to 9 inch piece of wire to the outside of the sensor.  The wire forms a 1/2 wave antenna that retransmits the RF signal from the sensor.  Has anyone tried this?  Does it work? 
I use passive radiators for several Eagle Eye motion detectors. They help. However I use 18 inches for 1/2 wave.

This sounds like it might help my problem and is well worth the try regardless, but you guys don't mention what size wire you are using 14, 16, 18 ??? or the opposite direction ???
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dave w

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Re: SC1200 RF Range
« Reply #12 on: June 01, 2011, 05:21:04 PM »

but you guys don't mention what size wire you are using 14, 16, 18 ??? or the opposite direction ???
It isn't critical. Some have used coat hangers. I have used as small as 24ga stranded up to 14ga solid, etc. The antennas are so poor (by design) that almost anything improves the range.

"or the opposite direction?"
Don't understand.
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rump

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Re: SC1200 RF Range
« Reply #13 on: June 23, 2011, 05:30:55 PM »

Hi all,

I recently replaced my old console with the new SC1200.  The range sucked - half of my door/window sensors would not make the trip to the new console - even with the console in the middle of the house.

So, I decided to investigate the guts of the SC1200.  The internal antenna is a joke.  It's just a piece of wire run along the case edge and ending up at the middle of the unit.  It's probably 6 to 8 inches long.

I was thinking that a whip antenna would be a great replacement, but placing one in the case is tough.  I decided on installing a 30" whip (which I purchased at Radio Shack) in the upper left corner of the case by carefully drilling a hole in the top cover.  The siren speaker is mounted inside in this location, and there is a piece of plastic that works well as a mounting point for the antenna base. 

Once the antenna was mounted, I ran a new wire from it to the RF module antenna point (the old antenna wire would not reach that far).  I moved the internal wire antenna connection to the "ground" point next to the antenna connection on the RF module - I figured it would help provide a bit of a ground plane for the whip to work off of.

To make a long story short, my SC1200 now has better range than my old PS561!  I can turn on my outside lights as I'm driving past my neighbor's house (I used to have to be parked next to my house to get the PS561 to hear my remote).

Making this modification made the SC1200 a much better console!  I'm working on taking some photos of my work to post here so others can give it a try.  It's not an easy mod, but if you're handy with a soldering iron, a drill and have some patience (and willing to give up your warranty), I highly recommend it!

Good luck,
- Greg
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Jeff M

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Re: SC1200 RF Range
« Reply #14 on: June 23, 2011, 05:53:10 PM »

I have one sensor that has to transmit through two exterior walls and works only once in a while.  This may be the answer I've been looking for.  Looking forward to seeing the pictures.  Did you have any problems reassembling the unit?  Sometimes displays and keyboards have to be in just the right position to put the case back together.
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