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Author Topic: Sudden problem - lights not turning on, some will not turn off -  (Read 631 times)

Dollar Bill

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Sudden problem - lights not turning on, some will not turn off - I have had the same system for about 15 years. It always worked perfectly. Recently having problems. Lights won't turn on, others will not turn off. Some come on by their own and then won't turn off.

There seems to be anything new introduced into the system except some LED bulbs. I have several switches in the same house code and unit code. For instance I have a large living room about 50 x 30 feet. I have several ceiling lights and display shelves on the same house code/unit code. Until recently some of the same hc/uc respond as usual, but others with the same hc/uc will not turn on.

I have ten recessed lights in the bedroom, on several switches, same hc/uc. These will not turn off unless I flip the circuit breaker.

Would really like to figure this out. Need your help. Should I buy an X10 Tester.
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Brian H

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Re: Sudden problem - lights not turning on, some will not turn off -
« Reply #1 on: March 15, 2017, 06:14:04 AM »

The LED bulbs.
Are you using them on two wire X10 dimmer switches that steal power through the load and made for incandescent loads?

Are the LED bulbs rated to be on a dimmer? Not all of them are.

In some of my tests I found most X10 switches did not play nice with dimmable LED bulbs.
Some always glowed. Some went On but not off. Some not on or off.

If there are more than one dimmable LED bulb on an X10 switch. You may want to try replacing one in the set with an incandescent and see if things change.

Best test will be try replacing all the LED bulbs on an X10 switch and see if the problems go away. On that switch.
« Last Edit: March 15, 2017, 06:15:39 AM by Brian H »
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Dollar Bill

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Re: Sudden problem - lights not turning on, some will not turn off -
« Reply #2 on: March 15, 2017, 07:59:18 AM »

I will try replacing LED bulbs, but some of the flaky circuits do not have LED bulbs. Could the LED bulbs have somehow injecting interference into other circuits?

I am not sure if I have 2 wire or three wire. What is the difference? I have Romex wire with a black (hot)  and white (neutral) and a ground bare copper wire. Is that 3 wire.. I notice that some of my modules have a 3 wire plug-in, others have only 2 wire, w/o, the grounded outlet, but most of my problems are in the circuits using wall switches.
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Brian H

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Re: Sudden problem - lights not turning on, some will not turn off -
« Reply #3 on: March 15, 2017, 11:02:22 AM »

The LED bulbs could be making noise or absorbing the X10 signals.
Trying the incandescent bulbs may give you some clues.
See if the flaky circuits also get better. When incandescent are being tested.

Sorry for the confusion on the wall switches.
I was referring to the X10 switches themselves. If they are a dimmer and only two wires Line and Load but no Neutral for power return. They are made for incandescent type loads only. Most LED bulbs are not OK in a two wire X10 switch circuit.
Do you know their X10 part number of the switches?

Nothing new in the house at all. Not even a new appliance or cell phone charger or any other chargers?

Jeff has a great set of X10 Troubleshooting Tutorials. You may want to give them a look.
http://jvde.us/x10_troubleshooting.htm

He also has some XTBM signal meters he rents by the month. If you have to get a signal meter but don't think you would need it permanently.
http://jvde.us/xtb/xtb_ordering.htm#xtbm
« Last Edit: March 15, 2017, 11:25:16 AM by Brian H »
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dave w

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Re: Sudden problem - lights not turning on, some will not turn off -
« Reply #4 on: March 15, 2017, 12:14:23 PM »

I will try replacing LED bulbs, but some of the flaky circuits do not have LED bulbs. Could the LED bulbs have somehow injecting interference into other circuits?
I can't add anything to what Brian has commented, he has covered it all. But if you turn OFF all the LEDs in the living room, does the rest of the system start operating better?

FWIW I am seeing a new breed of LED bulbs at Menards, Meijers, Walmart, etc. They look like a conventional 60W incandescent and are very light weight. About the same weight as an incandescent bulb. Defiantly do not have complex electronics or heat sinking. Also less expensive: $8 for four at Walmart. $13 for eight at Meijers and (wait for it) $4 for four at Menards (it was a sale). I have bought some of these and I have not found one that makes any electrical noise. I wonder if they use a simple resistive power supply. Next Menards sale, I will get a box and sacrifice one to curiosity.
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Dollar Bill

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Re: Sudden problem - lights not turning on, some will not turn off -
« Reply #5 on: March 17, 2017, 04:33:12 AM »

in two wire switches. Do the two wire not have a ground plug? Should I go for these with a ground plug? I would like to go to the cheaper LED bulbs. I guess my best bet is to unscrew the LED bulbs I have installed and see if the problem clears up.

No new appliances or fixtures.

Excuse my dummy-ness, but I had a small electronic gizmo, brown, about the size of a dime with tiny wires that went from across a 220v circuit breaker that had to do with balancing the 120v sides or "legs" in my circuit. Could that have gone bad?

I live in a warehouse with no nearby neighbors. No exotic equipment except HID floodlights and low bay lights, but these have been in place for many years.
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Brian H

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Re: Sudden problem - lights not turning on, some will not turn off -
« Reply #6 on: March 17, 2017, 06:17:55 AM »

A few times you have referenced two wire and three wire plugs.
Are we talking about wall switches that are in an electrical box on the wall or X10 modules plugged into a wall outlet?

Wall switches don't have any plugs on them. They are hard wired into the electrical system.
The power for electronics in the wall switch have to go through the load and are designed for incandescent bulbs only.

AC Line Wire ----- X10 switch ----- Load wire ----- Lights ------  AC Neutral wire.
WS12A WS467 are examples of X10 two wire wall switches.

The plug in X10 modules come in both two and three pin versions.
The ground pin on a three pin one. Just runs from the ground  pin on the plug to the ground on the output outlet. It is not used by the X10 electronics. It is a safety ground for the load it controls.

Lamp Modules that dim are also made for incandescent loads but may work with dimmable LEDs as the X10 module does not have to steal power through the load like a two wire X10 wall switch does.

From your description of the brown component across the 220 volt lines. It sounds like a capacitor X10WTI use to say would work to couple the lines together. Yes they worked but frequently failed. They where a very poor choice for coupling. Many failed sometimes with a big BANG. Most where not designed for across AC power line use. I still see capacitors being sold by some independent X10 dealers. Many are not rated tor across AC power line use. We just don't recommend them

A much better choice is an X10Pro XPCP.
https://www.x10.com/x10-home-automation/specialty-devices/couplers-repeaters/xpcp-ratio-passive-coupler.html
You can find them on some independent automation sales sites as well as the X10 site.

The signal blasting JV Digital Engineering XTB-IIR. Is the gold standard coupler. I have one of them myself as do many other here.
http://jvde.us/xtb-iir.htm

Things can deteriorate after years of use. So it maybe possible your HID lights are starting to age and changed from when installed.
« Last Edit: March 17, 2017, 09:22:36 AM by Brian H »
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janbo

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Re: Sudden problem - lights not turning on, some will not turn off -
« Reply #7 on: May 15, 2017, 12:07:05 AM »

Had the same problem worked for over 2 years. Turn out to be the CM15, cleared the interface memory reload the file. Problem fixed.
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JeffVolp

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Re: Sudden problem - lights not turning on, some will not turn off -
« Reply #8 on: May 15, 2017, 08:01:51 PM »

From your description of the brown component across the 220 volt lines. It sounds like a capacitor X10WTI use to say would work to couple the lines together. Yes they worked but frequently failed. They where a very poor choice for coupling. Many failed sometimes with a big BANG. Most where not designed for across AC power line use. I still see capacitors being sold by some independent X10 dealers. Many are not rated tor across AC power line use. We just don't recommend them.

Like the one BigJohn sells on eBay for a buck + $3 shipping:

"PROVIDES OPTIMUM COUPLING OF X10 SIGNALS
RATED FOR UP TO 630 VDC (250 VAC) SERVICE MORE THAN ENOUGH CAPACITY TO SAFELY HANDLE 220 VAC"

It may be rated for 250VAC, but it is not X2 rated for an across-line application.  And if it is the typical .1uF capacitor, its 13 ohms of capacitive reactance is certainly not optimal.  If you want a good passive coupler, go for the X10 XPCP.

Jeff
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dave w

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Re: Sudden problem - lights not turning on, some will not turn off -
« Reply #9 on: May 15, 2017, 09:34:21 PM »

Like the one BigJohn sells on eBay for a buck + $3 shipping:

"PROVIDES OPTIMUM COUPLING OF X10 SIGNALS
RATED FOR UP TO 630 VDC (250 VAC) SERVICE MORE THAN ENOUGH CAPACITY TO SAFELY HANDLE 220 VAC"

It may be rated for 250VAC, but it is not X2 rated for an across-line application.  Jeff
Yes, but an unadvertised feature is the "flash-bang" notification it provides in the event of an electrical surge on your lines.  rofl
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