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Author Topic: Well now, a failure? But doesn't seem like one.  (Read 7336 times)

Steevo

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Well now, a failure? But doesn't seem like one.
« on: December 18, 2014, 04:37:07 PM »

You guys who have been around will remember the macro help I got some time ago.

http://forums.x10.com/index.php?topic=28675.0
and
http://forums.x10.com/index.php?topic=28764.0

That has all been working OK for a long time, well, since about Jan or Feb 2014.

I have it all running with a macro loaded into a CM-11A and with an alarm console to receive the RF signals from a HR12a.
I actually uploaded the macro to the module, and until now that has been working fine. It's still working fine, but something is amiss.
Lots of old stuff here!  

So anyway, what I noticed is the RF commands were not working with the macro in the CM11A.
I can used an adjacent miniconsole to send a unit 1 on, and the macro turns the unit 2 on in a few seconds, like before.
But the wireless 1 on or 1 off has no effect.  
The wireless 2 on and 2 off through the wireless HR12A works, the module in the garage goes on/off as expected.
Just not with the delay, even though that works wired.

However the HR12A can no longer trigger the macro.  

I took the HR12A right next to the alarm console and the CM11A and the green light flickers when I push any button, so that all works.

So the macro is working since the wired works and the macro runs.  
The alarm console works since the HR12A can send a 2 on /off.
The CM11A works since it's macro is clearly running.  
But only wired.

Also with the miniconsole a 2 on or 2 off have the correct effect. So that all works.

The macro works without the wireless and the alarm console and the HR12A, but not with.
I have unplugged the alarm console (it has no battery installed, and I have no alarm) and the CM11A. No difference.

I just have no idea what could be wrong since all the parts are working OK.
A communication problem between the alarm console and the CM11A. That is the only failure.  Everything else works!

Anyone have any bright ideas?  I am stopped since each part in the system tests OK, but that one wireless function doesn't work.
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bkenobi

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Re: Well now, a failure? But doesn't seem like one.
« Reply #1 on: December 18, 2014, 05:07:48 PM »

When things stop working unexpectedly after working correctly for a long time, my first thought would be...what has changed.  The typical things that cause strange behavior are additional or malfunctioning electronics in the area.  For example, if you added or upgraded a mobile phone in your home, there is likely a new charger that could be the culprit.  Maybe you have an older CFL somewhere that is starting to buzz or look dimmer.  Perhaps there is some source of RF interference that you didn't have before (either a failing computer component or a different microwave or ??).

If you can think back and temporarily disable any new things in your home that weren't there in January/February that would be my first thought.  You could always run through every circuit to see what may be causing issues (turn breakers off one-by-one until things work correctly again).

Steevo

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Re: Well now, a failure? But doesn't seem like one.
« Reply #2 on: December 19, 2014, 12:58:52 AM »

Well, I just noted the failure last night, so it's more recent than that. I will be looking around.

It seems to be working better at the moment than it was.  Odd.
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bkenobi

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Re: Well now, a failure? But doesn't seem like one.
« Reply #3 on: December 19, 2014, 11:12:31 AM »

There have been a couple reports that, depending on how your house is wired into your neighborhood's distribution system, a neighbor could affect your X10 system.  I remember at least one report that a neighbor's failing porch CFL caused havoc on their system, so it doesn't even have to be something you have done to cause an issue potentially.  But, I would suspect something within your 4 walls as the most likely cause.

Noam

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Re: Well now, a failure? But doesn't seem like one.
« Reply #4 on: January 14, 2015, 01:38:31 PM »

... I remember at least one report that a neighbor's failing porch CFL caused havoc on their system...
Yup, that was me.  :)
The same thing happened to me (with my own noisy CFL) at least one time.

--Noam
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Steevo

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Re: Well now, a failure? But doesn't seem like one.
« Reply #5 on: February 22, 2016, 08:47:26 PM »

As I resurrect this zombie thread.

Well, this stopped working, then the wireless started working again, and it worked a long time.
Now, nothing X10 is working for me.
First my macro module with the wireless stopped working, the x10 commands stopped working. I think the RF is working. The light on the burglar alarm console blinks slightly when I send on the line. Or when I send with the wireless keypad.

Now, as far as I can tell nothing X10 is working. I have four appliance modules, I tried them all and an adjacent miniconsole cannot make them go on or off.  I thought, how odd, that many failures? Unlikely.

So I dug up a couple lamp modules, I can't control those either. Same house code.

What changed indeed? The only thing I can think of is the power company changed a pole at the end of the block.
I am going to have to take these modules to another location to test.
I was looking at wemo. Man is that stuff pricy.

« Last Edit: February 23, 2016, 07:34:48 AM by Steevo »
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bkenobi

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Re: Well now, a failure? But doesn't seem like one.
« Reply #6 on: February 23, 2016, 10:29:55 AM »

X10 got more expensive right before they went bankrupt (factory issues which most likely caused financial issues) but they are still significantly cheaper than all other systems I've considered.  The only thing that might be cheaper is going with the new ESP based modules, though they are brand new and no reviews have been posted.

It definitely sounds to me like you have a large noise source/signal sucker of some kind.  If they installed a smart meter on your home, those have been reported as causes of issues.  Otherwise, I'd look for any new equipment you've added since you set it up and it was working (cell phone chargers, computers, TV's, etc).  If you have a plug in filter, you can actually test the modules in house.  My method is to take a filter and plug a power strip (one without a noise filtering capacitor) into it.  Then install a transmitter (mini controller, TM751 transceiver, etc) and a module to test.  You should have great performance in that setup since the power strip is isolated from everything else in the home.  The better option is really to use a signal meter such as the XTBM.  I've used one to locate all issues in my home and fix the ones that were most significant.  I now have a 99%+ reliable system.

Steevo

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Re: Well now, a failure? But doesn't seem like one.
« Reply #7 on: February 23, 2016, 01:02:05 PM »

I unplugged about everything in the house with the exception of this computer, but this is next.
Nothing changed.

I do have a smartmeter, but I have had it for a year or more and this only started a couple weeks ago. Maybe it broke.

What I am going to do next is take several modules and a miniconsole to another location just to verify things work.
I'm pretty sure they do.
The other thing I am going to do is turn off one complete phase at my meter.
See if it works on a hot outlet then.
Try the other phase.
If this method does not find at least the broad phase that the noise source is on, that would be because there are two noise sources.
I have a plug in simple passive signal bridge behind my dryer. I unplugged that too.



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bkenobi

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Re: Well now, a failure? But doesn't seem like one.
« Reply #8 on: February 23, 2016, 04:51:48 PM »

If you turn off all breakers except for a single circuit and unplug everything from that circuit, you should have a clean line.  If you don't, there are only 2 causes I can think of.

1) Smart meter
2) Something outside your home is causing noise that is feeding into your wiring (close by neighbor's, something noisy at the pole, etc)

You said you have a smart meter, but perhaps the smart portion was not turned on until a couple weeks back.  If that were the case, you should be able to ask your utility.  I spoke to my utility recently and found that they are considering going to smart meters but have not yet decided on the technology to use.  Their choices are either RF (activated when a truck drives past) or Cellular (calls home automatically).  My utility is not considering PLC but there were some in the US that did opt for that approach and it messed up X10 for some users.

If it's not the meter, then it must be some component near your home on the utility side of the meter.  That could be a neighbor with some seriously noisy equipment or perhaps something on that utility pole you mentioned.  If that were the case, the utility would be the one who should be able to answer that question.  Clean power is something the utility should be providing as dirty power can cause issues with certain equipment (A/V equipment, analog TV signals, etc).

Steevo

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Re: Well now, a failure? But doesn't seem like one.
« Reply #9 on: February 23, 2016, 04:56:39 PM »

Should I be able to see it with a scope?
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dhouston

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Re: Well now, a failure? But doesn't seem like one.
« Reply #10 on: February 23, 2016, 05:02:59 PM »

It's not at all unusual for a switching power supply (phone charger, LED lamp, etc.) to suddenly become noisy or to suddenly start spewing noise onto the powerline when a component fails.
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Tuicemen

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Re: Well now, a failure? But doesn't seem like one.
« Reply #11 on: February 23, 2016, 06:30:07 PM »

It's not at all unusual for a switching power supply (phone charger, LED lamp, etc.) to suddenly become noisy or to suddenly start spewing noise onto the powerline when a component fails.
So true My wife has a laptop which just started to throw so much noise it killed my whole main floor PLC.
A simple filter fixed it.
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Steevo

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Re: Well now, a failure? But doesn't seem like one.
« Reply #12 on: February 23, 2016, 06:52:28 PM »

I unplugged about everything, and tested today.
The only exception is my router, cable modem and other stuff at that location, and one Laserjet printer.

Those are next.
It's completely dead here. I can't even get things to work plugged in the same outlet.

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dhouston

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Re: Well now, a failure? But doesn't seem like one.
« Reply #13 on: February 23, 2016, 06:56:16 PM »

Should I be able to see it with a scope?

It depends on how you interface to the powerline with your 'scope.

Microchip AN236 includes a schematic, part of which shows a fairly simple interface circuit designed to pass 120kHz. That should also pass any interfering noise.
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Steevo

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Re: Well now, a failure? But doesn't seem like one.
« Reply #14 on: February 23, 2016, 07:14:49 PM »

I found the culprit.
A 12V power supply, a generic one that was running my cable modem.
The power supply was working fine, but it had this one problem. Oh well.

I replaced it with an identical one and everything is working again.
« Last Edit: February 23, 2016, 11:33:32 PM by Steevo »
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