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Author Topic: One more X10 leakage thread (LEDs, local control, etc)  (Read 688 times)

dspiffy

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One more X10 leakage thread (LEDs, local control, etc)
« on: April 13, 2018, 05:26:36 AM »

I can think of two methods for eliminating ALL leakage current in X10 modules when even disabling local control isnt enough:

1.  Disable local control (snip both diode and jumper), put a 100k 1/2w resistor across the output
2.  Use the module to control a mechanical 120v relay.

Which do you think is better and why?

Backstory:

Those who have been following my threads know I use X10 to control lighting in my home, most of which is LED.  I had issue with LED bulbs flickering and glowing faintly with the module off.  Switching to dimmable LEDs solved the issue in most cases, for those that didnt, I disabled local control for the module.

I have a room filled with decorative LED fountains, vintage lighting, LED color change bulbs, rain lamps, other quirky stuff.  I had all of this on RF remotes like this:

https://www.menards.com/main/electrical/light-switches-dimmers-outlets/electrical-outlets/indoor-remote-outlets-3-pack/3635419/p-1444425969250-c-9526.htm?tid=5148704366813521074&ipos=19

No leakage issues, however at some point I started to get RF interference.  I would come home after being gone all day and the fountains had turned on, ran dry, and the pumps burned out.  I decided I would switch all of the mechanical devices to X10.

I figured there wouldnt be leakage issues since all the fountains, rain lamps, etc had motors, even though all had LED lights.  I was right about the rain lamps and the larger fountains with larger power supplies, but the smaller 3v fountains with DC switching power supplies, the LEDs blinked with the module off.  I disabled local control (snip diode and jumper) and now they blinked dimmer and less frequently.  I figured I could live with that.

Woke up the next morning to find three pumps had burned out.  Coincidence?  Maybe, but I didnt want to take any chances.  I added the 100k resistor and now there is no blinking. 

Debating whether to leave it like that or use a relay.
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Brian H

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Re: One more X10 leakage thread (LEDs, local control, etc)
« Reply #1 on: April 13, 2018, 01:45:20 PM »

Those small 3v supplies must be very sensitive to even small currents.
The 100K should swamp the small On Off sensor.
Using a relay would definitely kill the small currents.
Can't say about your exact setup. Others may have more data for you.

1. Newer CFL friendly Appliance Modules don't have Local Control Sensing. So there is no diode and jumper to cut. A 100K resistor maybe all that is needed to swamp the small On Off Sensor.

2. Relay should work fine. Depending on the relay coil current to activate. The small sensing currents may cause the relay to softly buzz.

The older before Soft Start LM465s could be modified to remove the dimmer parts and drive a internal mounted small AC solid state relay. To turn On and Off like a appliance module and no sensing currents as those parts where removed. Down side as they also would respond to a All Lights On and turn On the load.
« Last Edit: April 13, 2018, 01:49:46 PM by Brian H »
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dave w

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Re: One more X10 leakage thread (LEDs, local control, etc)
« Reply #2 on: April 13, 2018, 06:01:30 PM »


1.  Disable local control (snip both diode and jumper), put a 100k 1/2w resistor across the output
2.  Use the module to control a mechanical 120v relay.

Which do you think is better and why?
FWIW
Six for one,  half dozen for the other.

If you decide on the relay route, it will eliminate any possibility of leakage. Using a large coil relay such as this
http://www.goldmine-elec-products.com/prodinfo.asp?number=G20836
should not require modding the appliance module, but does require additional box and wiring.
 
I use several 120V coil relays driven by un-modded Appliance Modules and they release properly (open) when the module turns off. I don't think I have any that buzz but that is a factor of coil size, so some may, especially the smaller ones (physical size and current capacity...higher current capacity means larger contacts, larger springs, and larger coils).

I want to note I have not used THIS particular relay. I think mine are CP Clare however. I could not find the relays I have on the current Electronic Goldmine catalog, but as a surplus house they may get more back in.
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dspiffy

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Re: One more X10 leakage thread (LEDs, local control, etc)
« Reply #3 on: April 13, 2018, 10:55:02 PM »

I never even considered relay buzz.  I bought a couple from eBay for around $1 a piece, but they are being shipped from China and wont be here for some weeks.

So far no issues with the 100k resistor.

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Knightrider

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Re: One more X10 leakage thread (LEDs, local control, etc)
« Reply #4 on: April 14, 2018, 01:12:06 AM »

Omron MY2N-J  also works. If you're in Southern Ohio, I have a couple spares.
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dspiffy

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Re: One more X10 leakage thread (LEDs, local control, etc)
« Reply #5 on: April 15, 2018, 12:23:30 AM »

3 more fountains are having issue-- 2 the LEDs are dim now, the other the pump is noisy.  Coincidence?  Maybe, but I'm going to switch to relays and see.
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dave w

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Re: One more X10 leakage thread (LEDs, local control, etc)
« Reply #6 on: April 15, 2018, 01:02:37 AM »

3 more fountains are having issue-- 2 the LEDs are dim now, the other the pump is noisy.  Coincidence?  Maybe, but I'm going to switch to relays and see.
I'm a little confused. The pumps that are burning out,
Are they powered by a "wall-wart" or are they the small pumps with three wire cord and plug?
Where does the 100k resistor go, directly across the module output?
Do you have a DMM? If so, can you check for a DC voltage on the output?
Just noodling, Multiple pumps burning out ain't co-inkydink.
Better yet...don't have an oscilloscope do you? The noisy pump makes me wonder how clean the Appliance Module output is.
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HA Dave

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Re: One more X10 leakage thread (LEDs, local control, etc)
« Reply #7 on: April 15, 2018, 04:03:16 AM »

3 more fountains are having issue-- 2 the LEDs are dim now, the other the pump is noisy.  Coincidence?  Maybe, but I'm going to switch to relays and see.

If it wasn't an X10 problem (and it very well may NOT be for all I know) I'd ask about the ground. A bad ground will cause bulbs, motors, and heating elements to prematurely fail. 
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Knightrider

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Re: One more X10 leakage thread (LEDs, local control, etc)
« Reply #8 on: April 15, 2018, 04:38:51 AM »

I'm confused. Why a DMM?
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dspiffy

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Re: One more X10 leakage thread (LEDs, local control, etc)
« Reply #9 on: April 15, 2018, 11:40:53 AM »

All the ones that are failing use either a 3v wall wart or a 12v wall wart.  The 3v fountains are cheap ($5-20) and I typically have a handful fail every month.  Normally not so many at the same time, but on the other hand, it had been several weeks without any failures, which is unusual.

I have a digital meter but no scope.  The wall warts are switching power supplies, not transformers.
« Last Edit: April 16, 2018, 08:05:54 AM by dspiffy »
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Brian H

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Re: One more X10 leakage thread (LEDs, local control, etc)
« Reply #10 on: April 15, 2018, 03:44:34 PM »

If the 3V wall warts have a history of failing.
I would suspect it is more a wall wart issue.
When you get your relays. If they still show about the same failure rate. I would suspect the wall warts.
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dspiffy

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Re: One more X10 leakage thread (LEDs, local control, etc)
« Reply #11 on: April 15, 2018, 09:53:36 PM »

The wall warts are not failing.  It is usually the pumps inside the fountains, and less frequently, the LEDs or their drivers inside the fountains.

What do you expect from electronics submerged in water?
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dspiffy

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Re: One more X10 leakage thread (LEDs, local control, etc)
« Reply #12 on: April 15, 2018, 09:54:29 PM »

BTW, since I only had 2 relays, for the third one, I daisy changed 3 appliance modules.  It's pretty cool.  It takes 3 ON commands to turn them on but only one OFF command to turn all 3 off.
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dave w

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Re: One more X10 leakage thread (LEDs, local control, etc)
« Reply #13 on: April 16, 2018, 12:14:30 AM »

I'm confused. Why a DMM?
Oh, I guess it is just a preference. If you (or dspiffy) have an old analog multi-meter, he could use that too. I just think the digital might be better at separating the DC and AC components. 
« Last Edit: April 16, 2018, 12:35:23 AM by dave w »
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dave w

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Re: One more X10 leakage thread (LEDs, local control, etc)
« Reply #14 on: April 16, 2018, 12:34:02 AM »

All the ones that are failing use either a 3v wall wart or a 12v wall wart.  The 3v ones are cheap ($5-20) and I typically have a handful fail every month. 
You said in later post that the wall warts are not failing, so in this quote,  you are referring to the pumps, right?
You say you have a number fail (hand full every month) so if it is the pumps failing and not the wall warts I am barking up the wrong tree thinking the X10 module is killing wall warts. Sorry.

My two cents is this. The little three volt pumps use small, cheap DC motors which probably do not have a long life span, especially when damp. The submersible 120V pumps where a sealed coil spins a magnet impeller should last much longer (although I have to clean my two every month or so).  Do you have any of the "foggers"? I can't get them to last very long either, even when I use distilled water. (?)
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