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Author Topic: AHP Works Sporadically, But Predictably  (Read 15483 times)

cawebdude

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AHP Works Sporadically, But Predictably
« on: October 08, 2012, 08:46:00 AM »

Hi,
I have AHP v3.318, Windows 7 64bit Home Premium, a CM19a controller and a TM751a Transceiver.   I have 11 devices consisting of 7 lamps all incandescent and 4 appliance modules.  I don't have any macros created, just some timers.  On a clean boot with no prior system activity everything works fine and stays working fine indefinitely.  If I then proceed to do any of a number of combination of things, running multiple programs, surfing the web, just about anything memory and/or processor intensive, the system gets into what I'd describe as some sort of locked state. 

The reason I say "some sort of locked state" is because I can flip a switch and I can see the light on the CM19a flash as if a command is being given, but nothing happens at the load.  It's like the command itself is corrupted or something.  Doesn't matter which load I select, none of them work any more.  I click slowly and deliberately waiting 15s in between attempts to change the state of something, but it doesn't matter.  SOMETIMES, shutting down a program brings it back.  SOMETIMES, letting processor usage subside brings it back (getting off of YouTube).  SOMETIMES, restarting AHP brings it back, but many times, nothing short of rebooting the computer solves the problem.  This happens on a daily basis and frankly, I'm sick of it.  So what's going on?  When is a new update coming out?  I see it's been over a year since the last one.

Thanks,
cawebdude
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Dan Lawrence

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Re: AHP Works Sporadically, But Predictably
« Reply #1 on: October 08, 2012, 10:04:00 AM »

Are your  lamp modules soft-start or "old style'?   That will decide what the modules do.   The CM19A/TM751 combine is totally different that the CM15A.  The CM19A has no transceiver. so it cannot send powerline signals, that's why the TM751 is included.  From what I understand the combine can do timers, but not macros.   Try putting the TM751 as close to the CM19A as you can and see if improves the system.
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dave w

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Re: AHP Works Sporadically, But Predictably
« Reply #2 on: October 08, 2012, 11:10:57 AM »

This happens on a daily basis and frankly, I'm sick of it.  So what's going on?  When is a new update coming out?  I see it's been over a year since the last one.

Thanks,
cawebdude
This is not a common problem. In fact it may be the first time on the forum, which means it likely is not a problem an update from X10 would fix. It is probably at your end. You say whether the load changes state or not, AHP shows load changing on screen and CM19A transmit light always blinks?? And a reboot, with out changing anything else (particularly the location of the TM751) makes everything work again? After you reboot, how long will the system work normally?
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cawebdude

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Re: AHP Works Sporadically, But Predictably
« Reply #3 on: October 08, 2012, 12:10:02 PM »

Thanks to both of you for the replies!  The Lamp Modules are LM465s by the way.  First of all, I moved the transceiver from being 15' away on a wall just outside the door from this room to 4' away inside the room.  So far that seems to have done the trick.  I ran about five programs and two HD Music videos on YouTube to where Norton popped up the message "High Memory Usage - FireFox.exe" (which is normally the kiss of death for AHP).  10 cycles of the light worked.  Normally, not even the 1st one would go.

So in answer to the other questions, when this happens, everything in the program appears normal.  Graphical switches flip, dimming meters go from 0 to 100%, the CM19a LED flashes, but none of the loads actually change state and none of the timers work any more.  Like I said, a variation of things would bring it back including just getting out of some programs and waiting for hard disk activity to subside or restarting AHP.  But sometimes NOT.  That's when I'd reboot and reload everything and AHP works normally until the next system resource overload.  Once it goes off into la-la land, it would generally stay that way.  By the way, I only have 2Gb of RAM.

With moving the transceiver making an improvement, that makes it sound like somehow the signal strength is being affected.  Like the voltage to the USB port is dipping or something.  Commands were obviously getting out, but for some reason something changes to make the Transmitter to Receiver link unreliable.
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Dan Lawrence

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Re: AHP Works Sporadically, But Predictably
« Reply #4 on: October 08, 2012, 02:07:05 PM »

I would presume your LM465's are Soft-Start.   As I posted before. try putting the TM751 as close to the CM19A as you can,  even the same outlet.
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dave w

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Re: AHP Works Sporadically, But Predictably
« Reply #5 on: October 08, 2012, 02:54:31 PM »

With moving the transceiver making an improvement, that makes it sound like somehow the signal strength is being affected.  Like the voltage to the USB port is dipping or something.  Commands were obviously getting out, but for some reason something changes to make the Transmitter to Receiver link unreliable.
First if timers are not working , as Dan has posted twice, you need to define all your Lamp Modules and wall switches, if applicable, as either "Soft Start" (new) or (older) "non soft start"  modules. All softstart modules are identified by a slow 1 to 2 second ramp up to full brightness after the ON command, and similarly ramp down at the OFF command. The old "non soft start" module would turn on and off instantly. Soft Start will also remember the dim setting when turned off, and come back on at that brightness. Search the forum for "Soft Start" for more.

Configure your modules properly first and see if that remidies. As far as "moving the TM751" and getting things to work, you have either a noise problem or a phase coupling problem stopping the PLC (powerline) signal from getting from the TM751 to the target light controllers.

You have some homework assignments: Check for Soft Starts being properly configured in AHP and read this:  http://jvde.us/x10_troubleshooting.htm

There will be a follow-up pop quiz.
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cawebdude

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Re: AHP Works Sporadically, But Predictably
« Reply #6 on: October 09, 2012, 07:16:22 AM »

I thought moving the TM751a into this room fixed the problem, but it didn't.  It still goes unresponsive.  All my lamp modules and switches are Soft Start and are properly set up in AHP.  Also, I have a phase coupler.  I installed that last year when I discovered I couldn't control 1/2 the outlets in the house.

One other thing that is happening is that when it has gone unresponsive, if I close out AHP, I often get a message that says something to the affect of "There are changes that need to be downloaded to the interface.  Do you want to exit without downloading?".  I don't understand what that is.

I don't think this is a noise or signal degradation issue.  Why would it go from all devices working perfectly one minute to NONE of them working the next?  I have a 1100 sqft home and a shed with controllable flood lights 150' away from the house.  I can control those lights when it is working and yet when it is locked up, I can't control a light that is 5' behind me on the same circuit as the TM751a.  Again, the problem seems to be tied to computer use, not environmental issues.  The system either totally works or it totally doesn't.  That to me sounds like a software bug.
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dave w

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Re: AHP Works Sporadically, But Predictably
« Reply #7 on: October 09, 2012, 07:53:23 AM »

I don't think this is a noise or signal degradation issue.  Why would it go from all devices working perfectly one minute to NONE of them working the next?  I have a 1100 sqft home and a shed with controllable flood lights 150' away from the house.  I can control those lights when it is working and yet when it is locked up, I can't control a light that is 5' behind me on the same circuit as the TM751a.  Again, the problem seems to be tied to computer use, not environmental issues.  The system either totally works or it totally doesn't.  That to me sounds like a software bug.
Noises sources can turn on and off with out our knowledge. i.e. noisy cell phone charger that reduces to trickle charge mode, could go from huge noise to little noise. CFL bulbs and LED bulbs are major culprits also. Moving the TM751 and having it start working, then quit again, could be caused by noise levels that are right at the threshold of corrupting the X10 signal. That said, it is odd that your entire system is affected. Usually noise is hit-miss with the portions of the homes power distribution distant from the noise source, still working. You don't describe that, so your problems may not be related to power line noise. However look for something other than "a software bug". The current version of AHP has been out for over a year and I believe your problem is unique. It could be software conflicts or low memory on your computer, but since your problem seems to be unique, don't expect X10 to come to your rescue. 
1. phase couplers do go bad.
2. An active repeater is a hundred times better than a passive coupler. Look in to an XPCR (X10) or XTBIIR (JV Engineering).
3. X10 is reviving the CM15A. Dump the CM19. It, paired with the TM751, was an ill-conceived marketing "stop-gap" from X10 and is more trouble than it is worth IMHO.

Not much help...sorry.
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cawebdude

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Re: AHP Works Sporadically, But Predictably
« Reply #8 on: October 09, 2012, 08:19:50 AM »

Thanks.  Appreciate the suggestions.  I wish I had a different computer to try.
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cawebdude

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Re: AHP Works Sporadically, But Predictably
« Reply #9 on: October 09, 2012, 08:30:29 AM »

By the way, what exactly do you mean by "X10 is reviving the CM15a?"  What was wrong and / or outdated about it?
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Brian H

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Re: AHP Works Sporadically, But Predictably
« Reply #10 on: October 09, 2012, 09:32:32 AM »

X10 closed their factory in China and are starting to have some core items made by outside vendors.
The CM15A has been out of stock for a real long time and the CM19A with TM751 was being called the CM15K Kit.
They recently announced the CM15A would be back in stock. By the end of October if all goes as plan.

http://forums.x10.com/index.php?topic=27440.0
« Last Edit: October 09, 2012, 09:37:26 AM by Brian H »
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dave w

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Re: AHP Works Sporadically, But Predictably
« Reply #11 on: October 09, 2012, 10:17:41 AM »

FWIW (and looking for some input from the other "old timers) If this line from your original post is accurate:

"The reason I say "some sort of locked state" is because I can flip a switch and I can see the light on the CM19a flash as if a command is being given, but nothing happens at the load."

I think your problem is either:
1. RF signal from CM19A is not getting to the TM751 or
2. PLC signal from TM751 is not getting to the target module(s).

If AHP is graphically showing the change in state of the switch, and the transmit light on the CM19 flashes, I don't think you have a computer or software problem. BUT at same time I certainly can not explain rebooting the computer as being able to fix a RF or PLC problem. Maybe we are we are seeing multiple problems with their timing coincidental(?). This is a stumper.
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cawebdude

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Re: AHP Works Sporadically, But Predictably
« Reply #12 on: October 09, 2012, 06:31:20 PM »

When it happens again I'll try to make some more observations to maybe help isolate things for troubleshooting.  Restarting AHP often brings it back too.
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cawebdude

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Re: AHP Works Sporadically, But Predictably
« Reply #13 on: October 10, 2012, 10:38:51 AM »

Hey, question.  In researching the XPCR (X10) and the XTB-IIR i see there is a huge price difference.  Opinions?  I see the XTB claims compatibility with some high-end controllers (which I dont' have).  What are the other reasons why I'd want to pay so much more?  Thanks.
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beelocks

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Re: AHP Works Sporadically, But Predictably
« Reply #14 on: October 10, 2012, 11:19:51 AM »

It certainly sounds like a power line noise problem that is only apparent when your computer is multi-tasking heavily.

When the computer is being worked hard is the Power Supply or CPU fan running faster than normal and causing just enough additional noise to make a marginal system fail?
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