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Author Topic: Strange Lamp Module Failure  (Read 373 times)

JeffVolp

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Strange Lamp Module Failure
« on: December 11, 2018, 09:48:11 AM »

Many of us have had lamp modules fail.  Years ago the common cause was the current surge from a failing incandescent light taking out the triac or tiny fuse wire.  And some of us have dealt with oxidized code wheel contacts.  This was a new one for me.

Setting up the holiday decorations, we used the same RCA labeled lamp module we had used for years.  Initially it worked as it had in the past, but yesterday it did not respond to X10 commands like the others did.  It didn't even respond to a Maxi Controller plugged into the same outlet, but it did respond to the local sense.  A replacement module swapped into the same outlet worked fine.

This time it wasn't the code switches because spinning them and even burnishing the contacts inside the module didn't make a difference.  So something in the receiver itself has failed.  Of course, the module is at least 20 years old, and probably cost less than $5 on an old promo sale.  So I guess I got my money's worth.

Jeff
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Noam

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Re: Strange Lamp Module Failure
« Reply #1 on: December 11, 2018, 10:39:29 AM »

Are you going to do a more thorough autopsy of it, to find out what really went wrong? I don't see you as the type to be content with "some unknown thing went wrong with it," without wanting to know more.

I successfully fixed a few Smarthome Togglelinc switches - an internal capacitor would fail, and the whole switch would just die. Good thing it was a through-hole mount part, in an easy-to-access location on the board. I fixed at least two s far, and I have a third that might be on it's way out (it randomly dies - but I've so far been able to rescue it by just pulling the air-gap switch, and pushing it back in. I don't even need to do a true reset - and re-set the address.
The next time it happens, I'll probably pull it, and swap it for one of the repaired units I have (that are in my "spares" box now). Then I can fix this one when I get a chance.
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brobin

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Re: Strange Lamp Module Failure
« Reply #2 on: December 11, 2018, 11:00:15 AM »

I had the same thought. Even if I know I'm going to throw it away oftentimes I'll open something up just to see what went bad.
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JeffVolp

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Re: Strange Lamp Module Failure
« Reply #3 on: December 11, 2018, 11:14:41 AM »

Are you going to do a more thorough autopsy of it, to find out what really went wrong? I don't see you as the type to be content with "some unknown thing went wrong with it," without wanting to know more.

Maybe some time in the future.  Right now it has a big "BAD" label on it.

This is the time of year I'm putting in long days trying to keep up, but stuff is still shipping twice as fast as I can put it on the shelf.

Jeff
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dave w

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Re: Strange Lamp Module Failure
« Reply #4 on: December 12, 2018, 08:08:20 PM »

Even if I know I'm going to throw it away oftentimes I'll open something up just to see what went bad.
Yeah, I have a plastic milk crate setting in my workbench full of X10 "I wanna take a look at that" stuff. I have a Smarthome Maxi controller and a X10 2-way appliance module that I have been actually hoping to fix for the last three years.....sigh.
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dave w

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Re: Strange Lamp Module Failure
« Reply #5 on: December 12, 2018, 08:11:55 PM »

but stuff is still shipping twice as fast as I can put it on the shelf.
>!
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Noam

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Re: Strange Lamp Module Failure
« Reply #6 on: December 13, 2018, 10:59:44 AM »

Even if I know I'm going to throw it away oftentimes I'll open something up just to see what went bad.
Yeah, I have a plastic milk crate setting in my workbench full of X10 "I wanna take a look at that" stuff. I have a Smarthome Maxi controller and a X10 2-way appliance module that I have been actually hoping to fix for the last three years.....sigh.
I finally got around to fixing two of my Smarthome ToggleLinc switches (blown capacitor, pretty easy to change), and they're back in my "spares" box - waiting for the next one to fail. I also have a Smarthome Filterlinc that's been waiting for repair for a few years. Someone blew it out by plugging a vacuum cleaner into it. I'm pretty sure that I determined the fuse had blown, but since I had a few others, I didn't bother fixing that one at the time. Perhaps one day ...
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bkenobi

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Re: Strange Lamp Module Failure
« Reply #7 on: December 13, 2018, 11:23:59 AM »

I pull apart anything that breaks with an off chance I could fix it.  I just had a desk fan fail last night that could have easily been repaired with a new start capacitor which would be 2 simple solder connections on wire leads.  I decided the mechanics were terrible (wobbly, loud, etc), so I scrapped it.  I like seeing the insides as an engineer.  I don't necessarily fix things cause I'm not a mechanic.   rofl

Noam

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Re: Strange Lamp Module Failure
« Reply #8 on: December 14, 2018, 10:12:49 AM »

I pull apart anything that breaks with an off chance I could fix it.  I just had a desk fan fail last night that could have easily been repaired with a new start capacitor which would be 2 simple solder connections on wire leads.  I decided the mechanics were terrible (wobbly, loud, etc), so I scrapped it.  I like seeing the insides as an engineer.  I don't necessarily fix things cause I'm not a mechanic.   rofl
I do the same thing, much of the time. In the case of the Smarthome parts, I kept them because I figured there was a good chance I'd fix them when I got the time (and the parts). Other things get taken apart and scavenged for parts that might be useful later on.
For example, at the beginning of the summer, my standalone dehumidifier (which I'd gotten free from a friend who decided it was too loud for his home office) failed in an odd way. The compressor continued to run after the unit cycled off. And it continued to run when you turned the whole unit off, too. Unplugging it was the only way to shut it off (had I not caught it when I did, it likely would have overheated and burned out the compressor). After fighting with the cover (and then finding a YouTube video that showed the trick to remove it), I opened up the internal cover over the electronics, and tapped on each of the relays with a mallet. When I plugged it back in, the compressor was off, and turned on and off as it should when I ran it through it's paces. So the covers went back on, and it went back into service. A week or two later, and the problem was back. That time, I decided that I'd need to replace whichever relay was getting jammed. A probe of the circuit board (thankfully, it was easy to figure out without a schematic), and I figured out which relay it was. I ordered a few replacements, and I changed out that one relay. I had no issues the rest of the summer with it.
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bkenobi

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Re: Strange Lamp Module Failure
« Reply #9 on: December 14, 2018, 05:17:23 PM »

Nice!  There is certainly a reason to fix a ~$200 dehumidifier that works well overall.  I wasn't going to fix a 20+ year old Walmart fan that never worked right.  Truthfully, I'd been waiting for it to die so I could eviscerate it!   >*<
 

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