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Author Topic: Receptacle modules and AHP  (Read 4301 times)

ShagsDad

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Receptacle modules and AHP
« on: May 26, 2011, 02:40:35 PM »

We've been successfully using X10 for years both in a condo and now in a single family home. We have an XPCP installed at the breaker panel and have had few issues in 5 years controlling most devices throughout the house and outdoors. Most of those issues were either user error or software glitches.

Recently we have been unable to "talk" using AHP to three receptacle modules that formerly worked flawlessly. We are able to control the receptacles using wired controllers such as the MC10A, but nothing happens when using the software.

To troubleshoot, we replaced the receptacle modules in question, we changed addresses to others that currently work, we verified both phases remain coupled, etc. We even switched to an appliance module on one incandescent fixture - but can not communicate with any of the devices either manually or automatically (programmed).

Nothing has changed as far as wiring, etc. in the house.  FYI *most* not all of the receptacles are on a GFCI protected circuit - which has always passed the signals without issue.

Any ideas of suggestions will be most helpful. The trouble items control outdoor lighting including incandescent lights and 600w low voltage transformers.

Thanks.
« Last Edit: June 01, 2011, 01:57:00 PM by ShagsDad »
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Noam

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Re: Receptacle modules and AHP
« Reply #1 on: May 26, 2011, 03:20:32 PM »

... We are able to control the receptacles using wired controllers such as the MC10A, but nothing happens when using the software...

At first glance, it sounds like it may be a signal/noise issue.
Are you plugging the wired controller into the SAME outlet where you use the CM15A? If not, then I suggest you try that first. There may be signal interference between that outlet and the devices you are trying to control.

Has anything else changed in your home? Have you gotten ANY new electronics, or replaced any light fixtures with Florescent or CFL bulbs or fixtures recently?
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dave w

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Re: Receptacle modules and AHP
« Reply #2 on: May 26, 2011, 03:50:21 PM »

Yep, I agree with Noam, it sounds like you have a new noise source that is creating electrical noise preventing the X10 signal getting to the three receptacles. Are the receptacles on the same breaker? If so, look for the noise source on that circuit.

GFCIs have been problematic for X10 in the past, but since yours has not been a problem, I would pass on it being a problem now.

Also, depending upon size of system, you may want to look at the XTBM "X10 signal strength/noise meter". It is a great trouble shooting aid.

http://jvde.us/xtb_index.htm
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ShagsDad

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Re: Receptacle modules and AHP
« Reply #3 on: May 28, 2011, 02:45:22 PM »

Thanks for the suggestions. The only thing that has changed electrically is a replacement 24v irrigation valve - its controller shares the circuit with modules in question. I have a spare CM15A so I switched it out and still the same issue. Just for grins, I replaced the GFI receptacle with a spare - same results. I can "talk" to the devices using wired controllers like the MC10A but nothing happens when using AHP - either manually or through programming.

One other thing we noticed last night is that the pergola incandescent lights come on as programmed but do not dim or go off as programmed. They're on the same circuit using a WS467.

Nothing else has changed or been replaced - no new wiring, no CFL's, no computer gear, nothing new as far as electronics, etc.

I appreciate the noise suggestion but I'm not so sure the best way to detect or isolate. Do you think moving the CM15A away from the office (where there has always been computers, routers, cell phones, etc.) may help? It is possible the XPCP is an issue?

Thanks again.
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dave w

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Re: Receptacle modules and AHP
« Reply #4 on: May 28, 2011, 03:11:14 PM »

I appreciate the noise suggestion but I'm not so sure the best way to detect or isolate. Do you think moving the CM15A away from the office (where there has always been computers, routers, cell phones, etc.) may help? It is possible the XPCP is an issue?
When you have had a stable system and suddenly it no longer works, is a good indication of noise. Alas, there are always exceptions, but are you sure nothing new has been plugged in, or moved to a different outlet? You could try moving the CM15A to the same circuit the the receptacles are on and test with a RF remote within a few feet of the CM15A. It could be a problem with the CM15A.

Again, I believe the XPCP to be fairly bullet proof since it is stictly passive caps and coils. But something could have failed so this might be a good excuse to upgrade to a repeater...even if only the XPCR. 

As far as diagnosing noise, signal suckers, or phase coupling, the only sure way to do it is with a X10/noise meter like JV Digital Engineering's XTBM. JVDE also makes a real "flame thrower" of a repeater, the XTBIIR.
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Noam

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Re: Receptacle modules and AHP
« Reply #5 on: May 28, 2011, 09:28:49 PM »

Have you tried using the CM15A in the SAME outlet where the MC10A worked?
Have you tried the MC10A in the same outlet where the CM15A wasn't working?
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Knightrider

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Re: Receptacle modules and AHP
« Reply #6 on: May 28, 2011, 09:52:52 PM »

The only thing that has changed electrically is a replacement 24v irrigation valve - its controller shares the circuit with modules in question.

Have you tried disconnecting the power supply to the valve?
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ShagsDad

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Re: Receptacle modules and AHP
« Reply #7 on: May 30, 2011, 07:48:32 AM »

You guys have been a great help and it's much appreciated. The CM15A and MC10A are on two outlets 6' away from each other and on the same circuit.

My wife thought of something that I had not noticed ( -:) duh). Our next door neighbor installed a whole house backup generator. The issues started about the same time they completed the installation. We share the underground transformer which is located about 60' from both our homes. The generator runs about 10 minutes every Saturday morning.

Do you think the generator's standby circuitry could be causing the problem? The timing of this thing being put into service and the X10 issues at our house seems to be more than coincidence. I believe the XPCP does not filter, correct? If you think this could be the root of the issue, what do you recommend? Is the PZZ01 a possibility? If so, does the XPCP need to come out? Questions, questions, questions...!

Thanks again!
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Noam

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Re: Receptacle modules and AHP
« Reply #8 on: May 30, 2011, 08:13:19 AM »

Do you think the generator's standby circuitry could be causing the problem?

Anything's possible, I suppose.
Last year I had problems caused by a failing CFL across the street at my neighbor's house.
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dave w

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Re: Receptacle modules and AHP
« Reply #9 on: May 30, 2011, 11:06:45 AM »

Do you think the generator's standby circuitry could be causing the problem?  If you think this could be the root of the issue, what do you recommend? Is the PZZ01 a possibility? If so, does the XPCP need to come out?
Interesting. The generator transfer switch should isolate the generator from the transformer, but line monitoring circuits for automatic transfer could be causing a problem. The PZZ01 is effective at attenuating any outside X10 signals or in band noise, but if the generator monitoring circuitry is acting as a signal sucker I don't think it will help.

The CM15A has a lower PLC output than other X10 PLC transmitters like the "Mini" and Maxi" Controllers. That might explain why the MC10 works on the same circuit as the CM15A.

My $0.02 would be to try a relatively inexpensive test. Swap the XPCP for an XPCR repeater which is available on Ebay for $20. If that helps,  then you might look at a higher quality, higher output repeater like XTBIIR as an upgrade.
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ShagsDad

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Re: Receptacle modules and AHP
« Reply #10 on: June 01, 2011, 01:56:41 PM »

Problem resolved. After having some other modules start acting up, I switched a couple of circuit breakers to change which phase they were on. Everthing that wasn't working is now working - and vice versa. I'm guessing the XPCP has an issue - and have another coming as well as an XPCR suggested above. Found them for $6 and $13...

Thanks everyone for your input and advice.  :)
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Brian H

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Re: Receptacle modules and AHP
« Reply #11 on: June 01, 2011, 03:21:36 PM »

You may have a noise source or signal sucker developing. Maybe someting deteriorating if you have not changed anything.
Something as innocent as moving your cell phone charger to a different location could be enough to change things.
The XCPR may add some added signal to a marginal setup.
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