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Author Topic: Search for Intelligent Life On the Power Line  (Read 3819 times)

Oldtimer

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Search for Intelligent Life On the Power Line
« on: March 30, 2011, 11:14:09 AM »

You've heard of SETI,  Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence, now let me tell you about SILOPL, Search for Intelligent Life On the Power Line.  It all began when we moved (see note below) and I hooked my CM15a up to the power line and then connected it to my PC so I could monitor it.  Much to my surprise I was picking up what looked like several hundred X10 control commands every day on the power line which could mean that all my neighbors had X10 control systems or burglar alarms installed, which was highly unlikely.  Since my CM15a is connected to an XTB amplifier I could walk all over my neighbor's systems if I wasn't careful.  
 
Because of this level of activity I decided to try to contact my X10 neighbors.  What better way to do it than over the power line itself.  After playing around with it for a while, using crossword puzzle like grammar, I was able to compose the following message using X10 addresses.
 
 

What it says on the first line is B for building and 8 for the building #. The next three lines are AAA for apartment and 168 for the apartment number.  The next seven lines are CALLFON for "call phone" and 4547928 for the last seven digits of our phone number. I had to assume anyone deciphering this would know to add the local area code.   It would have been nice to expand it to the full ten digits but AHP  edits out redundant commands in macros.
 
I implemented this in a macro, using the “Issue an X10 Address” command, that automatically sent the sequence whenever I clicked the icon to make it happen.  I ran it three times in succession, manually, everyday or so rather than trying to program around the address redundancy editing built into AHP.
 
I put this sequence on the power line during the whole time I was adding control modules to the apartment and eventually I realized two things had happened.  The first, of course, was that no one had contacted me. and the second was that when I got enough modules plugged into the power line the background X10 signals had virtually disappeared. This indicated to me that they were just random noise to begin with that was now being sucked up by the tuned input circuits of all the modules I had installed. .
 
NOTE: During the past year we moved from a stand alone house to a three floor town house with private entrance, and a large patio and porch.  As I’ve noted on my X10 home page I’ll be maintaining all the documentation based on our old house for Forum archive purposes, and, hopefully, as we get more settled in, add new  posts based on our X10 adventures here.

As additional background for the above post there are twelve townhouses of various sizes per building in the complex, and the maintenance department tells me that each building has its own step down transformer although I question that.  I would expect though that each building or building group would be on a different high voltage phase for load balancing purposes.  Perhaps someone can clarify that for us..
« Last Edit: July 05, 2011, 06:01:49 PM by Oldtimer »
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dave w

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Re: Search for Intelligent Life On the Power Line
« Reply #1 on: March 30, 2011, 02:10:42 PM »

As additional background for the above post there are twelve townhouses of various sizes per building in the complex, and the maintenance department tells me that each building has its own step down transformer although I question that.  I would expect there would be three buildings per transformer with each building on a different high voltage phase for load balancing purposes.  Perhaps someone can clarify that for us..
OT,
Clarify what? How many buildings are on a transformer? Not sure how anyone here could do that.

You should be able to figure it out yourself. Are the transformers located in the buildings or outside? How big are they? Your theory of three buildings per transformer would mean 36 townhouses per transformer. If you figure an individual townhouse panel capacity of 150 amps (or even 100 amps since you are 240V) times 36 townhomes in three buildings, that is a bunch of power per transformer with long runs of 240V lines to the other two buildings. So I'm betting on the maintenance guy's statement of one transformer per building. If you have access to areas of the buildings basement, I would just snoop around a little.
« Last Edit: March 30, 2011, 02:22:34 PM by dave w »
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Oldtimer

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Re: Search for Intelligent Life On the Power Line
« Reply #2 on: March 30, 2011, 03:32:43 PM »

As additional background for the above post there are twelve townhouses of various sizes per building in the complex, and the maintenance department tells me that each building has its own step down transformer although I question that.  I would expect there would be three buildings per transformer with each building on a different high voltage phase for load balancing purposes.  Perhaps someone can clarify that for us..
OT,
Clarify what? How many buildings are on a transformer? Not sure how anyone here could do that.

You should be able to figure it out yourself. Are the transformers located in the buildings or outside? How big are they? Your theory of three buildings per transformer would mean 36 townhouses per transformer. If you figure an individual townhouse panel capacity of 150 amps (or even 100 amps since you are 240V) times 36 townhomes in three buildings, that is a bunch of power per transformer with long runs of 240V lines to the other two buildings. So I'm betting on the maintenance guy's statement of one transformer per building. If you have access to areas of the buildings basement, I would just snoop around a little.

Dave:

Obviously I agree with you since, after re-reading it later,  I edited the last paragraph of my post while you were working on your comments.  Sorry about that.
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lodtrack

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Re: Search for Intelligent Life On the Power Line
« Reply #3 on: March 30, 2011, 07:52:29 PM »

IF the 36 townhouses are hooked up to one transformer (minimum 2 mva) it will be easy to find because it will be the green finned thing with porcelain and copper decorations as big as a townhouse? :D
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dave w

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Re: Search for Intelligent Life On the Power Line
« Reply #4 on: March 30, 2011, 08:31:46 PM »

I would expect though that each building or building group would be on a different high voltage phase for load balancing purposes.  Perhaps someone can clarify that for us..
Yeah, now I understand.
It only makes sense that all three phases would be used in a large housing complex.
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