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Author Topic: Command from XPT not received by XPS3 on same circuit  (Read 6219 times)

toasterking

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Command from XPT not received by XPS3 on same circuit
« on: October 25, 2014, 04:30:32 PM »

Diagnosing this one should be a fun challenge...

I have a fluorescent lighted sign switched by an XPS3.  I have an XPT Version A transmitter with a four-device keypad.  The XPT no longer turns the XPS3 on and off, though it did about a week ago.  As far as I know, nothing has changed electrically.

  • The other 3 devices controlled by the XPT respond just fine.
  • If I send a command from the same XPT to a different XPS3, it responds.
  • If I send the same command from a different XPT to the problem XPS3, it does not respond to that XPT either.
  • The commands sent by both XPTs are valid because my XTB-IIR repeats them and my CM11A receives and decodes them.
  • If I send the same command from my CM11A or my IR543AH, the problem XPS3 responds, so it IS working!
  • Both XPS3s and both XPTs are on the same branch circuit.
  • This is physically the longest circuit from the panel.  I plugged my XTBM-Pro into a outlet right next to the problem XPS3 (next physical device on the line) and it shows very low noise, less than 0.03Vpp, and shows the received X10 signals averaging 6.20Vpp with the XTB-IIR repeater and 3.68Vpp without it.
  • I tried unplugging the XTB-IIR and CM11A and repeated all tests.  No change.
  • To rule out noise or signal absorption, I disconnected all other devices from this circuit and switched off the breakers for all other circuits at the panel and repeated all tests.  No change.
  • Flipped off the main breaker, waited 1 minute, and flipped it back on.  Repeated all tests.  No change.
  • Lastly, I switched power back on to all other circuits and tried transmitting to the XPS3 from a third XPT on a different circuit.  The XPS3 DOES respond to the XPT on that circuit, but not to either XPT on its own circuit.

What annoys me far more than the problem itself is that I cannot make sense of it.  I thought I knew X10 pretty well, but I can't figure this one out!  Thank you in advance for any advice!
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JeffVolp

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Re: Command from XPT not received by XPS3 on same circuit
« Reply #1 on: October 26, 2014, 10:09:35 AM »

Jeepers, I'm puzzled as much by your description as you are.  It just doesn't make sense.

The only idea I have is to swap out the offending XPS3.

Jeff
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toasterking

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Re: Command from XPT not received by XPS3 on same circuit
« Reply #2 on: October 26, 2014, 01:29:15 PM »

The only idea I have is to swap out the offending XPS3.

Jeff, that's probably what I'll do, but doing so would be admitting defeat!  I was hoping to at least see some wild theory about the AGC not working properly in that XPS3 and it seeing transmissions with no attenuation from its own circuit as distorted from an overly compensatory signal gain, even causing it to reject the entire command despite receiving half of it more cleanly from the XTB-IIR.  Okay, that's really a reach!

If I replace it, I will probably use one of these this time:
One Load Appliance Micro Module [X10-2267]
http://x10-hk.com/store/product_info.php?cPath=21_29&products_id=45

I actually installed the XPS3 inside the lighted sign enclosure and wired its local switch to one on the outside of the enclosure because I wanted local and remote control of it and didn't want to install a wall box just for that purpose.  At the time, I couldn't find any better options, and it's been working fine for 5 years.  The micro module would work perfectly here, they take up a lot less space, and I've had better reliability out of these so far than my XPS3s.  They are designed for 220V but seem to work just fine with 110V.  The only problem I've noticed is that they are supposed to switch back on after a power loss if they were on before, and instead, mine need an OFF then an ON command after a power loss.  They may not do this on 220V, but I haven't tested that.

There is also a dual load version:
Two Load Appliance Micro Module [X10-2268H]
http://x10-hk.com/store/product_info.php?cPath=21_29&products_id=71

I should also point out that, compared to two XPFM modules, the dual load micro module is much smaller, cheaper, quieter, and in my experience, more reliable.  This is the kind of thing I would like to see Authinx produce.  I would even pay more for it if it were a US-made product.  Do you hear that, Authinx?  For the interim, hopefully these will be useful to someone else also.
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Brian H

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Re: Command from XPT not received by XPS3 on same circuit
« Reply #3 on: October 26, 2014, 01:59:52 PM »

Your links are to a UK vendor.
Are you in the UK?
Is the XPS3 you have. Designed for the UK power standards of 220 Volts 50 cycles?
« Last Edit: October 26, 2014, 02:01:48 PM by Brian H »
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dhouston

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Re: Command from XPT not received by XPS3 on same circuit
« Reply #4 on: October 26, 2014, 03:36:12 PM »

Your links are to a UK vendor.
Actually, it's a Hong Kong vendor who sells to the European X10 market.
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toasterking

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Re: Command from XPT not received by XPS3 on same circuit
« Reply #5 on: October 26, 2014, 04:04:27 PM »

Dave is correct. Brian, no, I live in the US and my XPS3 and XPT are designed for the US market. I am using them at 110V, 60Hz.

The micro modules I linked to are indeed intended for use on 220V 50Hz systems. When I found them a while back, they were the only modules of their kind that I could find and this was the cheapest vendor that would ship to the US. My original intention was to modify them for 110V 60Hz, but I found that they work very well with no modification. I have been using a two load micro appliance module with success for about a year driving a set of relays with 110V coils, a single load one for about 6 months installed in an outdoor wall box behind a light fixture with a CFL and using an ordinary light switch as local control, and a single load one for about a month inside a flourescent light fixture. No problems yet!

One other thing that wasn't in the documentation is that when the module is switched ON via X10, the operation of the switch for local control is reversed, i.e. closed for off and open for on.
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dhouston

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Re: Command from XPT not received by XPS3 on same circuit
« Reply #6 on: October 26, 2014, 07:34:48 PM »

This is the kind of thing I would like to see Authinx produce.  I would even pay more for it if it were a US-made product.  Do you hear that, Authinx?
I doubt we'll see any US-made products from Authinx. They appear to be using the same Chinese factories that supplied X10-WTI.

I had hoped your Hong Kong source, X10(2nd), might enter the US market but they aren't interested - expecting that the new X10 will be just as cut-throat as X10-WTI.
« Last Edit: October 26, 2014, 07:46:23 PM by dhouston »
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toasterking

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Re: Command from XPT not received by XPS3 on same circuit
« Reply #7 on: October 26, 2014, 07:57:36 PM »

I doubt we'll see any US-made products from Authinx. They appear to be using the same Chinese factories that supplied X10-WTI.

It would be wishing too much to have them manufactured here economically, but what I meant to say is US-designed.  I am guessing that these micro modules from x10-hk.com are NOT US-designed since they are intended for the European market and the user instructions are in broken English.  :)

I had hoped your Hong Kong source, X10(2), might enter the US market but they aren't interested

Have you seen confirmation from them on this?  Not doubting you but I'm curious how you know.

I'm also curious who actually designs what they sell, since some of it seems more high-tech than what X10WTI has supplied all these years.  And by more high-tech, I generally mean smaller, programmed with a status LED and a series of button presses and/or PLC commands instead of code dials, and with flash memory or something similar which retains state and settings during a power outage.  Kind of like the difference between Leviton's red line and green line of their late DHC series.
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dhouston

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dave w

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Re: Command from XPT not received by XPS3 on same circuit
« Reply #9 on: October 26, 2014, 09:37:22 PM »

My suggestion would be to change the load on the XPS3 to incandescent and see if it works then.
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JeffVolp

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Re: Command from XPT not received by XPS3 on same circuit
« Reply #10 on: October 27, 2014, 08:43:33 AM »

My suggestion would be to change the load on the XPS3 to incandescent and see if it works then.

That would have been my suggestion except for this:

Quote
  • If I send the same command from my CM11A or my IR543AH, the problem XPS3 responds, so it IS working!

Jeff


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dhouston

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Re: Command from XPT not received by XPS3 on same circuit
« Reply #11 on: October 27, 2014, 08:52:47 AM »

I'm also curious who actually designs what they sell, since some of it seems more high-tech than what X10WTI has supplied all these years.  And by more high-tech, I generally mean smaller, programmed with a status LED and a series of button presses and/or PLC commands instead of code dials, and with flash memory or something similar which retains state and settings during a power outage.  Kind of like the difference between Leviton's red line and green line of their late DHC series.
There are several similar, in function, in appearance (and similarly named) micromodules from Marmitek/Haibrain and even Insteon.
And, while some X10 Pro devices have been recently redesigned (e.g. my recently purchased PAT02 with datecode 13E20) they are still years behind current state-of-the art. I think they were designed by X10's chief programmer who I identified earlier in this thread...
« Last Edit: October 27, 2014, 09:15:41 AM by dhouston »
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Knightrider

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Re: Command from XPT not received by XPS3 on same circuit
« Reply #12 on: October 27, 2014, 12:32:51 PM »

Did you check for frequency drift with the XTBM?
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toasterking

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Re: Command from XPT not received by XPS3 on same circuit
« Reply #13 on: October 27, 2014, 08:53:24 PM »

My suggestion would be to change the load on the XPS3 to incandescent and see if it works then.

Dave W, I tried that halfway:  I disconnected the fluorescent load and tried it again.  No change.  Thanks for the suggestion, though!

Did you check for frequency drift with the XTBM?

Now there's an interesting idea.  I had not checked this, so I checked it tonight.  I unplugged the XTB-IIR so it wouldn't obscure my results.  With the meter plugged into the outlet next to the XPS3, the signal from the two XPTs on the same circuit, neither of which can control the XPS3, has a frequency of 126 kHz, so it's certainly off a bit.  However, the XPT on a different circuit that CAN control the XPS3 also sends a signal with 126 kHz frequency.  Another XPT on that circuit has a 124 kHz frequency, but it doesn't control the XPS3 any differently than the 126 kHz one.  I also noticed that, with the XTB-IIR unplugged, the signal from the XPTs on the other circuit that CAN control it is coming in at only 0.05Vpp, so the AGC must be working on the XPS3!

From what I can tell, frequency drift does not seem to be the culprit, but it was a good thought.  Thank you!
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toasterking

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Re: Command from XPT not received by XPS3 on same circuit
« Reply #14 on: October 27, 2014, 09:26:26 PM »

There are several similar, in function, in appearance (and similarly named) micromodules from Marmitek/Haibrain and even Insteon.

Interesting!  I first found the modules at Intellihome.be when they emailed me a sales flyer for new products, but they cost twice as much there as they do at x10-hk.com, which I found whilst researching them.  I inquired of Intellihome.be regarding the price difference at the time (this was 3/25/2013), and the response is what I expected:

Quote
Sorry to hear that, but it can be right as the company you mention is the factory distributor in Hong Kong and it seems that he has better prices than we do (and of course he doesnít have to pay transport to Europe, no EU duty cost, no other local taxes,Ö) and we use UPS to ship our products. Then we are sure it arrives. UPS is good but expensive, we canít help that.
So itís a pity but we canít do it for that price, we would loose moneyÖ
 
Regards,
 
Intellihome

The price is not much better at the link you provided to homeautomation-direct.com, but that one actually has a brand name.  It's interesting to see what appears to be a very similar product with the Marmitek name and a slightly different case.  Missing from the photo are the setting key and the leads for a local control switch that the x10-hk.com version has.

I knew about the Insteon ones, but they were not yet available at the time when I was first researching these and bought my first ones.  It looks like they would work as a substitute, but of course they still cost more.  They also do Insteon and probably 2-way X10, so for me it would come down to whether it's worth paying more and having another signal sucker (which Insteon devices seem to be good at) to get the 2-way operation.  For the dimming Insteon micro modules, it probably is.  The 220V appliance micro modules work just fine, but I'm a little afraid to find out what would happen when using the 220V dimming ones since I could be pulling twice the current that TRIAC circuit was designed for with the same bulb wattage, besides other potential issues.

And, while some X10 Pro devices have been recently redesigned (e.g. my recently purchased PAT02 with datecode 13E20) they are still years behind current state-of-the art. I think they were designed by X10's chief programmer who I identified earlier in this thread...

I saw that before.  Nice one.   :)
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