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Author Topic: Timer circuit activating X10 - Help!  (Read 2946 times)

mattress67

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Timer circuit activating X10 - Help!
« on: July 10, 2013, 09:18:16 PM »

I'm trying to create a simple circuit that activates a button on a spare X10 remote, starts a three minute timer and depending on the status of a float switch, either sends the X10 an OFF command or resets the timer. Eventually the float switch will open, and the OFF command will be sent.

I'm using this circuit to fill a water feature on my pool, once triggered, the pump will operate for approximately 3 minutes. I'm incorporating the timer because I don't want the pump to deactivate the moment the float switch is open. The pump is operated via an X10 appliance module.

Float switch activated (closed) --- simple float switch

X10 ON command sent --- via wires tapped into spare remote, if I touch remote wires with a 1uF charged capacitor, the ON command is sent. A transistor might also work.

   Start timer (3 minutes adjustable) --- 555 timer circuit?

   Timer elapses

      Is float switch still closed?

   If Yes then
            
      reset timer

   If not then

      X10 OFF command sent  --- this is done via the same 1uF capacitor, with polarity reversed an OFF command is sent.

Float switch deactivated (open)

I've read the "True X10 Compatible Toggle Switch," which gave me the idea of the capacitor simulating a button push on the X10 remote. I've tested this functionality with a 1uF capacitor (provides a one second pulse). The nice thing about using the capacitor is that when the ON command is sent, the capacitor is set up for the OFF command if the polarity of the capacitor is reversed. To clarify further, I discharge the capacitor with the POSITIVE side of the capacitor wired to the ON command, and the NEGATIVE to COMMON - X10 on command is sent. I then take the same capacitor and attach the NEGATIVE side to the OFF command and the POSITIVE to common, and presto, the X10 Off command is sent. And this is where I am racking my brain. I don't have the mind for such puzzles and was hoping someone could assist with the circuit. I think this would be helpful to many as the circuit has a lot of applications.

Any help would be appreciated!
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dave w

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Re: Timer circuit activating X10 - Help!
« Reply #1 on: July 11, 2013, 09:47:55 AM »

Well, my two cents is: trying to do this with a hacked X10 controller and discrete components is going to be a Rube Goldberg affair taking lots of time to design and build. I think X10 has the CM15A interface and AHP software back in stock and you could perform all your logic and timing in the AHP software.

http://www.x10.com/promotions/cm15a_complete_new_2012.html

That said, I think trying to use the X10 remote with a cap and trying to reverse polarity will be a boondoggle. Use a couple of transisters for ON and OFF. Time it with 555's.

Also, there are some expert Arduino  users ( http://www.arduino.cc ) on this forum and Arduino would do everything you want for the pool, but I think total cost and time would be much less if you just went with the X10 AHP solution. Don't misunderstand, the CM15A and AHP has some pitfalls also. The main being the CM15A can be used as a transceiver for X10 remotes but it's RF range is short unless it is hacked with a better antenna. Also you may have phase coupling and noise issues to contend with. There is lots of comments on the forum about the problems and fixes. Check the ActiveHome Pro board.
« Last Edit: July 11, 2013, 09:50:22 AM by dave w »
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mattress67

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Re: Timer circuit activating X10 - Help!
« Reply #2 on: July 11, 2013, 01:32:19 PM »

Appreciate the reply, and as I got to thinking after a day of head scratching, the Arduino may be my answer. I think your suggestion of the CM15A is a viable option, but the switch for my creation will be outdoors by the pool.

I actually was able to achieve my goal, incorporating relays along with the 555 timer. Overly complex, it looks like a Rube Goldberg creation. That's when I thought about the Arduino option. Arduino, along with some optocouplers will perform the same operation and be much simpler. The only problem, I know have to learn about Arduino! 
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dave w

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Re: Timer circuit activating X10 - Help!
« Reply #3 on: July 11, 2013, 04:55:33 PM »

Appreciate the reply, and as I got to thinking after a day of head scratching, the Arduino may be my answer. I think your suggestion of the CM15A is a viable option, but the switch for my creation will be outdoors by the pool.
FWIW the CM15A would remain indoors and send control signals to your pump Appliance Module over the power lines just like your X10 transceiver (TM761, RR501) picking up the signal from your remote does now.

Then you would get hooked on home automation and before long you would be automating everything.  :'
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mattress67

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Re: Timer circuit activating X10 - Help!
« Reply #4 on: July 11, 2013, 08:53:06 PM »

Oh, I got hooked long ago and have almost everything automated now! The pool pump for example, is automated and connected to a XPS2 Heavy Duty switch. However, the float switch that I am installing in my pool is outside. My goal is to connect the float switch to a device that will activate the button on the remote when the float switch opens. And then of course, it needs to activate the button on the remote to shut off the pump once the float switch is closed.
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