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Author Topic: um506 lifetimes?  (Read 5843 times)

jojo666

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um506 lifetimes?
« on: January 02, 2012, 07:45:42 PM »

Hi,
I use x10 um506 modules in a variety of applications as a general x10 controlled relay/switch. They don't seem to last that long for me. Sometimes failing after as little as 10,000 closures (for example about 30 closures a day for 1 year). I haven't been able to find anything like a specification for the number of lifetime closures to expect. Any idea?
Regards,
Joe
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Dan Lawrence

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Re: um506 lifetimes?
« Reply #1 on: January 02, 2012, 07:57:20 PM »

Here's the specs on the UM506 ": Universal Module (UM506)

Description: This module uses isolated contacts to control such low voltage devices as sprinkler systems, drapery controls, garage door openers, and yard lighting. It can be set for momentary or sustained contact closure, and has a built in chime.

Features: Rated a 5 amps at 24v DC
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Noam

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Re: um506 lifetimes?
« Reply #2 on: January 02, 2012, 08:28:44 PM »

...I haven't been able to find anything like a specification for the number of lifetime closures to expect...
Here's the specs on the UM506 ": Universal Module (UM506)

Description: This module uses isolated contacts to control such low voltage devices as sprinkler systems, drapery controls, garage door openers, and yard lighting. It can be set for momentary or sustained contact closure, and has a built in chime.

Features: Rated a 5 amps at 24v DC
Dan, I don't think that's quite the information he was looking for.
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dave w

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Re: um506 lifetimes?
« Reply #3 on: January 02, 2012, 10:22:04 PM »

I use x10 um506 modules in a variety of applications as a general x10 controlled relay/switch. They don't seem to last that long for me. Sometimes failing after as little as 10,000 closures (for example about 30 closures a day for 1 year). I haven't been able to find anything like a specification for the number of lifetime closures to expect. Any idea?

$0.02
I think your guess is as good as anyone elses. I honestly doubt X10 does life testing on any of it's products. Even if they did, it isn't something they would publish, since the modules are consumer grade, not meant for industry where such estimates are required.
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Knightrider

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Re: um506 lifetimes?
« Reply #4 on: January 02, 2012, 10:31:31 PM »

I'll bet the one on my phone line is about 15 to 20 years old, on and off once a day.  has the powerhouse name on it and was special order through radio shack.
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Brian H

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Re: um506 lifetimes?
« Reply #5 on: January 03, 2012, 06:16:07 AM »

Knightrider, Yours was probably made when they had not done any cost reductions.  ;)

Depending on the current requirements. There are other modules that can have an X10 address in them and use a relay not the big mechanical slide switch. That clunks in the UM506.
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jojo666

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Re: um506 lifetimes?
« Reply #6 on: January 03, 2012, 07:14:29 PM »

Thanks for the various responses. Are there such things as industrial grade x10 Modules? (With number of closures as part of their specifications?)
Joe
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dave w

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Re: um506 lifetimes?
« Reply #7 on: January 03, 2012, 08:13:21 PM »

No, not x10 Inc modules.
But ACT still makes industrial / hospital grade modules. You will probably have to email or call for specs. Also, don't expect X10 prices.
http://www.act-solutions.com/Products-Power.html
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Brian H

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Re: um506 lifetimes?
« Reply #8 on: January 04, 2012, 06:02:15 AM »

jojo666, You still have not told us what the load you are controlling is.
You could be overloading it or it maybe in a harsh environment.
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Walt2

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Re: um506 lifetimes?
« Reply #9 on: January 04, 2012, 07:02:59 PM »

I'll bet the one on my phone line is about 15 to 20 years old, on and off once a day. 

I've had a few running my lv outside lights for about 15 to 20 years now too.   As you, its one on/off cycle every 24 hours.

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jojo666

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Re: um506 lifetimes?
« Reply #10 on: January 04, 2012, 11:43:57 PM »

Thanks for the replies, especially the ACT product line.
I used x10 universal modules as switches to construct a homebrew computer-controlled thermostat. Closing a module shorts, for example, the heater call wire to the HVAC return wire, exactly as does the circuitry inside a standard wall mounted setback thermostat. Similarly for the AC call and fan call wires. These wires (running inside the wall from the HVAC unit upstairs) carry 24 V AC. I measured the current through the switches but it's been a long time and I don't remember the exact values but I do remember it was something like 10mA.

On a related issue, has anyone tried using these modules to switch 110 V AC circuits? When I read the specification for the UM506 carefully it seems to be saying that you shouldn't use it above 24 V because of the exposed terminals (a safety issue). Well, obviously, one can safely connect and insulate to 110 V (house wiring) if it is not beyond the voltage the output contacts can handle. No?
Again, thanks for the replies.
Regards,
Joe
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dave w

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Re: um506 lifetimes?
« Reply #11 on: January 05, 2012, 11:51:02 AM »

These wires (running inside the wall from the HVAC unit upstairs) carry 24 V AC. I measured the current through the switches but it's been a long time and I don't remember the exact values but I do remember it was something like 10mA.

On a related issue, has anyone tried using these modules to switch 110 V AC circuits? When I read the specification for the UM506 carefully it seems to be saying that you shouldn't use it above 24 V because of the exposed terminals (a safety issue). Well, obviously, one can safely connect and insulate to 110 V (house wiring) if it is not beyond the voltage the output contacts can handle. No?

You might get quite an inductive kick from the contactors the 24V is controlling, although I would expect the UM to last as long a mechanical contact thermostat.
No 120 V on the UM won't work so very well.

In another life time I used Appliance Modules and 120V relays to control HVAC. Here is a blog reprint of the original article.

http://thisautomatedhouse.com/Thermostat1.html
« Last Edit: January 05, 2012, 11:52:40 AM by dave w »
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jojo666

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Re: um506 lifetimes?
« Reply #12 on: January 05, 2012, 06:50:40 PM »

Dave,
Nice project. One of these days I will get off my butt and write up mine and post it somewhere. I took a somewhat different approach, using the x10 universal modules to directly control the HVAC calls. (My controlling program reads the temperature from one of several selectable thermometers in various locations around the house.) So, although the commercial thermostat is not absolutely needed, I connect it in series with my homebrew circuitry as a safety mechanism: for example, if I intend to control the house temperature between, for example, 64F and 70F, I set the commercial thermostat to 73 degrees Fahrenheit. If my system is working correctly, the commercial thermostat is always trying to call heat. However, if the x10 unit that calls for heat fails closed, when the temperature reaches 73F the commercial thermostat heater-call will open.
I wanted to include an image file with this message but I couldn't figure out how to upload it!?
Regards,
Joe
« Last Edit: January 05, 2012, 07:01:03 PM by jojo666 »
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bkenobi

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Re: um506 lifetimes?
« Reply #13 on: January 10, 2012, 10:04:37 PM »

I've just realized that I may have worn out a UM506 in under a year myself.  I have been having an issue with my entry lights being on when I get home just after dark.  There shouldn't be any reason the lights should be on already, so I believe the cause is that the lights simply are not being switched off due to the UM506 not releasing.

Is there a way to fix this?  What about improving the relay somehow?  I can buy a new one, but if it's just going to break again, I'd rather do something different.

Brian H

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Re: um506 lifetimes?
« Reply #14 on: January 11, 2012, 06:14:22 AM »

Since X10 has redesigned things over the last few years. This is what my older UM506s have in them. New ones I have no data.

Has what looks like a large slide switch. Inside a semi clear plastic shell. A coil on each end the pulls the switch in its direction when pulsed. One coil pulls the switch to the On position, the other pulls it to the Off position. Could be a stuck slide switch or maybe a open coil for the On or Off direction.
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