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Author Topic: Unautomating my House  (Read 465 times)

SilSanders

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Unautomating my House
« on: December 16, 2019, 11:56:03 PM »

30 years ago when I built my house, I had many X10 wall switches installed to allow me to automate various functions.  I have made very limited use of this ability.
In last year+, several circuits have frequently chattered, turning their lights on/off/on/ several times.  Some circuits tend to end up in the on state and some end up in the off state.  Most are 3-way circuits and some are 4-way.
So while I have rented a XTBM X10 Signal Meter, and plan to try to find and isolate the noise sources, I am also considering the following alternatives: replace current X10 switches with new Pro X10 with AGC, or replace current X10 switches, slaves, with conventional non-X10 switches.  I am sure the later is cheaper.
But I am trying to figure out if the existing wiring for the X10 can support conventional non-X10 3-way switches.
Any general or specific advice will be appreciated.
I believe my X10 3-way circuits have a hot wire coming from the source to the slave, two wires connecting the slave and the master, and two wires going to the slave.  This is not counting the ground wires.  The X10 3-way diagrams I received with an X10 Pro XPS4 implies it only needs two wires between the slave and master.  Makes me concerned whether converting to non-X10 may be problematic which typically has 3-wires plus ground going between the master and the slave.
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brobin

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Re: Unautomating my House
« Reply #1 on: December 17, 2019, 02:03:57 AM »

The old switches that are chattering are most likely doing so because a plastic tab inside the switch has broken. Replacement is the best way to solve that. The fact that the switches chatter indicates that they are receiving the X10 signals OK so I wouldn't expect you to find any major signal issues.

As for the wiring, I'd assume that the X10 3 ways and slaves were installed to replace the standard switches that were installed when the house was built so you already have the original wiring in place.  Reinstalling the original switches should be no problem.

However, if you want to replace them with new X10 switches you can do so by either ordering them from X10 or, if you are trying to minimize the expense, you can find used X10 switches on eBay.  The used switches are a bit of a crapshoot and probably won't have the AGC feature.

BTW, you'll only have to replace the chattering switches with new X10 switches as the slaves should still be good.
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SilSanders

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Re: Unautomating my House
« Reply #2 on: December 17, 2019, 09:56:47 PM »

Thanks for the quick response brobin.

The switches chatter when there is no controller sending a signal - all controllers have been disconnected.  So I think it is some sort of noise problem or else some electrical storm in the past few years has zapped the receiver electronics in the switches. 

We had the house built and had the original electrical contractor put in X10.  But I'll be looking to see if there is an extra wire when I try changing a couple of switches to new X10Pro switches.

Thanks in advance for any updates or other perspectives on this.
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brobin

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Re: Unautomating my House
« Reply #3 on: December 18, 2019, 10:09:36 AM »

What kind of lighting/load are you controlling with the chattering switches? Incandescent, fluorescent, LED or something else?
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SilSanders

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Re: Unautomating my House
« Reply #4 on: December 18, 2019, 05:30:53 PM »

<<What kinds of loads??>
One circuit has 3 ceiling can lights, one with a CFL and the other two with FEIT LED (9.5W each). 
The other has a single 9.5 w FEIT LED.
Both circuits use Leviton wall switches (Master & Slave) 30-years old so I assume they don't have AGC.
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brobin

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Re: Unautomating my House
« Reply #5 on: December 18, 2019, 05:44:26 PM »

The older switches not play well with some LED bulbs.  You can test that by trying all incandescents and see what happens.  Also it'd be interesting to try all CFL's too.
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SilSanders

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Re: Unautomating my House
« Reply #6 on: December 20, 2019, 02:11:41 PM »

Thanks for you excellent suggestions.

I replaced the master switches on the two circuits with X10 Pro XPS4 and there has been no more random chatter and off/on cycles.
 
I am comfortable enough replacing them that I think that is the best solution for me.  So I have ordered some more XPS4.

I did get a few LED replacement bulbs to try replacing the "bad" LED's with recommended ones for another thread in this forum (Cree).  But many of the circuits have a mix of regular bulbs in wall fixtures and ceiling cans and I did not find recommended bulbs for them in my forum explorations.

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brobin

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Re: Unautomating my House
« Reply #7 on: December 20, 2019, 02:22:19 PM »

Glad to hear the new switches solved the problem. :)%
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