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Author Topic: Wall Switches coming on at Random  (Read 4904 times)

dhouston

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Re: Wall Switches coming on at Random
« Reply #15 on: December 29, 2015, 09:09:31 PM »

I'll check out your link Dave.  Thanks!

A key link is broken in the archive of my old webpage. Here it is...
https://groups.google.com/forum/#!msg/comp.home.automation/HJOVTh8Y_Ps/6vX-Nood1GIJ
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kevinv

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Re: Wall Switches coming on at Random
« Reply #16 on: December 29, 2015, 09:58:38 PM »

I actually was going to bug you about that link but thought maybe I wouldn't be a pain... but THANKS for posting... that is some pretty critical information!!!   I'll have to take a look at that.  Right now I am doing a test with a nearby LED fixture being disabled... we'll see what happens.

Thanks again VERY much!!!
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bkenobi

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Re: Wall Switches coming on at Random
« Reply #17 on: December 30, 2015, 03:31:50 PM »

That thread has a post that suggests it could be the local turn on feature (toggling a light on a lamp module will turn it on without a PLC signal or locally turning on the switch).  If you change the house code and the same module still does this, then I'd lean towards some kind of power surge triggering that feature.

kevinv

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Re: Wall Switches coming on at Random
« Reply #18 on: December 30, 2015, 04:14:52 PM »

thanks!  And I think you just answered a question for me over on the HG forum too.  Thanks for your support!
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dhouston

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Re: Wall Switches coming on at Random
« Reply #19 on: December 30, 2015, 04:34:09 PM »

...I'd lean towards some kind of power surge triggering that feature.

I believe it's just the opposite - a dip in power may trigger the brownout feature in the PIC MCU used by X10, effectively turning it off. A return to normal levels then turns the PIC and switch/module ON causing the associated light to come on. This is how X10 things behave after a power cycle. X10's aversion to decoupling caps might also be a factor - at the 5VDC level there may be significant dips after spikes which trigger the brownout feature.
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toasterking

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Re: Wall Switches coming on at Random
« Reply #20 on: December 30, 2015, 04:41:30 PM »

https://groups.google.com/forum/#!msg/comp.home.automation/HJOVTh8Y_Ps/6vX-Nood1GIJ
Just a word of caution...  I had the same problem with a WS12A turning its (incandescent) load on at random when no X10 signals were present on the line.  I followed the suggestion in the linked post and installed a 10K 1/4W resistor between pins 9 and 18 and it solved that problem!  Unfortunately, it also made the WS12A completely unresponsive to X10 signals.  Even a mini controller wired directly in parallel adjacent to it would not control it.

I never revisited that one to see if I could solve it.  The WS12A in question only misbehaved on one circuit in my house.  If I switched it with a known working WS12A without the problem from another circuit, it would exhibit the problem also.  Changing the load wattage also made no difference.
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kevinv

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Re: Wall Switches coming on at Random
« Reply #21 on: December 31, 2015, 09:16:37 AM »

an off topic question if I may.   

It was stated that X10 used the PIC in the wall switches?  Just curious as far as history goes....   what did they use back in the 70's before the PIC was around?   
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JeffVolp

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Re: Wall Switches coming on at Random
« Reply #22 on: December 31, 2015, 11:19:07 AM »

It was stated that X10 used the PIC in the wall switches?  Just curious as far as history goes....   what did they use back in the 70's before the PIC was around? 

Dave Rye wrote about the history of X10 back in 1999.  Pico Electronics developed custom integrated circuits.  They were used in calculators before microprocessors were introduced by Intel, Motorola, and TI.  The X10 product line used custom ICs developed by Pico.

http://www.hometoys.com/content.php?url=/htinews/oct99/articles/rye/rye.htm

You may notice the similarity between the name "Pico Electronics" and the "PIC micorcontroller".  Pico developed the PIC, and spun off the PIC business to Microchip in 1989.

http://www.spingal.plus.com/micro/

So, since Pico Electronics developed the PIC microcontroller, I guess it is fair to say their X10 products were run by PICs.

Jeff
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dhouston

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Re: Wall Switches coming on at Random
« Reply #23 on: December 31, 2015, 12:04:43 PM »

So, since Pico Electronics developed the PIC microcontroller, I guess it is fair to say their X10 products were run by PICs.

Which, I believe, they continued to source under their own model numbers so it was much later before the chips they used had Microchip logos and model numbers. The pinouts were nearly the same so it was relatively easy for Dan Lanciani to replace the MCU of the CM11A With a PIC he had programmed himself.

Here's a thread from comp.home.automation on the topic.
http://compgroups.net/comp.home.automation/replacement-cm11a-firmware-available/108755

This was all back in the days when the only tablets used for communication were still made of clay.
« Last Edit: December 31, 2015, 12:29:57 PM by dhouston »
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Brian H

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Re: Wall Switches coming on at Random
« Reply #24 on: December 31, 2015, 03:16:59 PM »

The new CFL Friendly Appliance Module and Soft Start Lamp Module. No longer used a Microchip PIC IC.
They have a Sonix SN8P2501BS IC in them and their logic supply voltage is around 3.3 volts.
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dhouston

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Re: Wall Switches coming on at Random
« Reply #25 on: December 31, 2015, 03:53:06 PM »

The new CFL Friendly Appliance Module and Soft Start Lamp Module. No longer used a Microchip PIC IC.
They have a Sonix SN8P2501BS IC in them and their logic supply voltage is around 3.3 volts.

Interesting - it looks simpler to program than a PIC. Here's a datasheet...
bbs.21ic.com/upfiles/img/20092/20092251788629.pdf
but it also has a brownout detector - see Section 3.4.1.

Everything is moving to 3.3V which will likely be an issue for Arduinos which were designed when 5V was almost universal.

Since there are no old timer X10 employees left, there's no loyalty to the old designs.  :(
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bkenobi

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Re: Wall Switches coming on at Random
« Reply #26 on: December 31, 2015, 04:59:45 PM »

Older Arduino's used 5v but newer units are using 3.3v more often.  I have some Pro Mini modules that have a toggle switch to pick3.3v or 5v.  But when used in 5v mode they are non-standard and harder to use without customizing some things in software.  Basically, 3.3v is becoming standard with the AT micro controllers too.

Then there's the another option... EPS8266.  It incorporates a decent processor with WiFi capabilities in a package the size of a smaller Arduino, inexpensive, and works with Arduino code/IDE, too.  If we could use one of these instead of a PIC, we could have WiFi capable X10 modules (though I'm not sure the benefit of that since X10 communicates over PLC).

dhouston

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Re: Wall Switches coming on at Random
« Reply #27 on: December 31, 2015, 06:09:18 PM »

Then there's the another option... EPS8266.  It incorporates a decent processor with WiFi capabilities in a package the size of a smaller Arduino, inexpensive, and works with Arduino code/IDE, too.  If we could use one of these instead of a PIC, we could have WiFi capable X10 modules (though I'm not sure the benefit of that since X10 communicates over PLC).

I had already looked into that. A friend in India alerted me to the ESP8266 shortly after it appeared. I, in turn, alerted Don Kinzer who created a ZBasic compiler for it. Unfortunately, the ESP8266 cannot do the kind of tight timing needed for X10. So, I am currently finalizing a daughterboard that will replace the Cypress MCU in the (older, through-hole) CM15A with an Arduino Pro Mini ATmega328P 5V 16MHz and CH340G USB-SER IC and a better RF RCVR and an RTC chip that records PwrDn time/date and alerts when its battery is low. I call it CM15A2Z. Because I doubt the CM15A power supply can handle the 300mA needs of the ESP8266, I'm adding a 3.5mm stereo jack that can connect to one of these cute little things (or any TTL serial device) located externally and powered separately...
http://www.wemos.cc/wiki/doku.php?id=en:d1_mini

The spare pins of the WeMos D1 mini can do things like 1-wire and other DIO. My plans are to use it for NTP time and for a WiFi link to/from the CM15A2Z. Since both the 328P and ESP8266 can be programmed with ZBasic, it should be fun.
« Last Edit: December 31, 2015, 10:32:35 PM by dhouston »
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dhouston

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Re: Wall Switches coming on at Random
« Reply #28 on: December 31, 2015, 07:37:41 PM »

Older Arduino's used 5v but newer units are using 3.3v more often.

Most existing shields expect 5V.
« Last Edit: December 31, 2015, 07:59:51 PM by dhouston »
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dhouston

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Re: Wall Switches coming on at Random
« Reply #29 on: January 01, 2016, 01:45:37 PM »

With a better power supply, one could probably use a small PIC with the ESP8266 to create an inexpensive WiFi-enabled dimmer module that also listens to PLC. A couple of Microchip appnotes might help...
ww1.microchip.com/downloads/en/AppNotes/00236a.pdf
ww1.microchip.com/downloads/en/AppNotes/40171a.pdf

Jeff Volp has expertise in both power supplies and PICs so he can probably judge whether it's practical. I suspect WiFi switches will be problematic with metal switchboxes.

ExpressIf (they make the ESP8266) has some power requirements here...
http://bbs.espressif.com/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=133&p=485&hilit=sleep+modem
but I've seen other reports of nearly twice that.
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