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Author Topic: Problems with New X10 Install  (Read 1490 times)

gdmaclew

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Problems with New X10 Install
« on: April 18, 2019, 07:30:43 PM »

Hi all.
I have been using X-10 for about 30 years and I've been quite happy with it.
I have it hooked up to 4 pairs of dual Sylvania halogen flood flights (outside of course).
I've had the odd problem but nothing to really speak of.

We did some renovations last year and the electrical for the new outside flood lights was just completed.
1 of the new pairs (3 in all) was moved about 10 feet to one new structure and one was moved about 6 feet
to the front of the new garage.
The 3rd pair are new and are on a separate circuit above the side door of the new garage (AFCI).

The first 2 pair don't respond at all to my remote, although they do respond to the push button on the WS467 wall switch.
The 3rd pair turn on but won't turn off by remote.

I use a T751 transceiver and an HR-12A remote.

It is possible that the WS467 controlling the first 2 pair might be faulty. It is 30 years old and was moved from one side of the Mud Room to the other.

I tried the clothes dryer trick as a Bridge but that didn't help the first 2 pairs.

Any thoughts?

Thanks

« Last Edit: April 19, 2019, 07:36:53 AM by gdmaclew »
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brobin

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Re: Problems with New X10 Install
« Reply #1 on: April 19, 2019, 01:12:17 AM »

There are a number of possibilities but first a read of the Jeff's troubleshooting page would be a good start. See: http://jvde.us/x10_troubleshooting.htm
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Brian H

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Re: Problems with New X10 Install
« Reply #2 on: April 19, 2019, 06:15:24 AM »

Jeff's tutorials are great. They should give you some help finding X10 communications issues.

What bridge trick did you use? If it is just a capacitor across the two AC lines. Most times it is not very effective and sometimes dangerous. If the capacitor is not rated for across an AC power line use.

One of the tests you may want to try. Is moving the TM751 around to different locations and circuits in the home. Then try the HR12A to see if the two switches can be controlled. It is very possible the rewiring moved the switches to a the other Line or they are now on a circuit with signal suckers or power line noise makers.

The Cadillac of X10 signal repeaters is Jeff's  XTB-IIR. It  blasts an X10 signal to the system.
« Last Edit: April 19, 2019, 07:10:43 AM by Brian H »
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gdmaclew

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Re: Problems with New X10 Install
« Reply #3 on: April 19, 2019, 07:35:29 AM »


What bridge trick did you use? If it is just a capacitor across the two AC lines. Most times it is not very effective and sometimes dangerous. If the capacitor is not rated for across an AC power line use.

One of the tests you may want to try. Is moving the TM751 around to different locations and circuits in the home. Then try the HR12A to see if the two switches can be controlled. It is very possible the rewiring moved the switches to a the other Line or they are now on a circuit with signal suckers or power line noise makers.

The Cadillac of X10 signal repeaters is Jeff's  XTB-IIR. It  blasts an X10 signal to the system.

I read somewhere that if you just "turn on" the clothes dryer or oven, that you are effectively "bridging" the two phases.
Did I understand it wrong?

I will try to move the transceiver and see what results I get.
If that doesn't work I'll change out the switch over the weekend.

Where can I get Jeff's XTB-IIR? Update: OK. Found it.
« Last Edit: April 19, 2019, 09:56:50 AM by gdmaclew »
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gdmaclew

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Re: Problems with New X10 Install
« Reply #4 on: April 19, 2019, 07:36:16 AM »

There are a number of possibilities but first a read of the Jeff's troubleshooting page would be a good start. See: http://jvde.us/x10_troubleshooting.htm

I will definitely read Jeff's tips.
Thanks.
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brobin

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Re: Problems with New X10 Install
« Reply #5 on: April 19, 2019, 10:01:24 AM »


I read somewhere that if you just "turn on" the clothes dryer or oven, that you are effectively "bridging" the two phases.
Did I understand it wrong?

I will try to move the transceiver and see what results I get.
If that doesn't work I'll change out the switch over the weekend.

Where can I get Jeff's XTB-IIR?

The dryer/oven trick MAY work as it does bridge the two legs but doesn't solve any noise/signal sucker issues.  The XTB-IIR, available at jvde.us, blasts the X10 signal out on both legs at 20 volts which mitigates most signal issues. Filters may still be needed on devices like laser printers or certain LED bulbs but start with the XTB-IIR.

 NOTE: Jeff only has a limited supply of XTB-IIR's remaining and does not plan to build more so get one while you still can - you won't be sorry!
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gdmaclew

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Re: Problems with New X10 Install
« Reply #6 on: April 19, 2019, 07:10:59 PM »

Another couple of updates.

First off, just to clarify, 2 new AFCI circuits were added for the renovations.

The switch that used to control the first 2 pairs of flood lights mentioned above was moved to the other side of the mud room as mentioned but I just discovered that
it was also moved to one of the new AFCI circuits.

So the first new test I did was to plug the TM751 into the same circuit as the switch for those flood lights. No joy.
Then just for fun I plugged the TM751 into one of the outlets on the same side of the breaker panel (non-AFCI) as the new ACFI circuits and again no luck.

So I guess it's definite...the WS467 switch must be faulty - at least the part of it that responds to X10 signals. The manual push-button still works.

I still have to fully test the 3rd pair of flood lights outside the side door of the garage.

Will update when that is completed.

Opinions on my new first test and my conclusions about the WS467 are welcome.

Thanks.

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brobin

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Re: Problems with New X10 Install
« Reply #7 on: April 19, 2019, 07:33:05 PM »

It's quite possible that the switch is bad. The WS467's, which I haven't used since 1992,  had a tendency to fail when a bulb burnt out but would be completely dead rather than just deaf to X10.  You could try swapping switches to confirm as it's unlikely both would die at the same time.  I haven't had any problems with X10 performance on AFCI circuits.  Do you have a plug in module you can test with?
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gdmaclew

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Re: Problems with New X10 Install
« Reply #8 on: April 20, 2019, 08:25:03 AM »

It's quite possible that the switch is bad. The WS467's, which I haven't used since 1992,  had a tendency to fail when a bulb burnt out but would be completely dead rather than just deaf to X10.  You could try swapping switches to confirm as it's unlikely both would die at the same time.  I haven't had any problems with X10 performance on AFCI circuits.  Do you have a plug in module you can test with?

You read my mind. I'm going to try putting a spare lamp module in the garage and then put the TM751 in there too and see what happens.
You haven't used WS467's since 1992. Can I ask what you use instead?

Doug
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brobin

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Re: Problems with New X10 Install
« Reply #9 on: April 20, 2019, 08:40:26 AM »


You read my mind. I'm going to try putting a spare lamp module in the garage and then put the TM751 in there too and see what happens.
You haven't used WS467's since 1992. Can I ask what you use instead?

Doug
Preferring the look of the Decora style switches I went with the Leviton DHC switches that performed much better.  They've been discontinued but X10 stills sells them under their own brand. I'd go with the new XPDi3 today.
 https://www.x10.com/x10-pro/switches/xpdi3-dimmer-120-vac-500w-inductive.html
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gdmaclew

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Re: Problems with New X10 Install
« Reply #10 on: April 20, 2019, 12:40:11 PM »

Thanks for the information.
Unfortunately my plate cover uses the small style slot that fits the WS467. It is a double switch plate.
Although I guess I could try to find a double switch plate that combines a smaller slot with a bigger one.
Does X10 sell a compatible switch with the new config?

Update: I just tested the 3rd pair of flood lights outside the side door of the garage in the following way...

I plugged a lamp module into an outlet close to the flood lights and then plugged the TM751 in an outlet on the opposite side of the garage.
The lamp module and flood lights all turned on but only the lamp module would turn off. I had to press the button on the switch for the flood lights to turn them off.
This is NOT the switch that  controls the  first 2 pairs of flood lights.

Strange. This is a brand new switch.

Another thing I am confused about - The WS467 has 2 wires, a Blue and a Black.
The Pro switches have a Blue, a Black and a White. Why?
« Last Edit: April 20, 2019, 01:03:33 PM by gdmaclew »
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Brian H

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Re: Problems with New X10 Install
« Reply #11 on: April 20, 2019, 01:29:31 PM »

It may need a real Neutral power connection besides the Line and Load or it may have a optional input to be used with a three way setup. The model number of the Pro switch would be a help to look up what the wires are used for.

The module that goes On but not off. Could be the load is making power line noise. When it is Off. The X10 signal is strong enough to turn it On but the noise stops the Off command from working.

It is also possible the two outlets on opposite sides you tested with. Are on different circuits.
« Last Edit: April 20, 2019, 01:37:05 PM by Brian H »
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brobin

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Re: Problems with New X10 Install
« Reply #12 on: April 20, 2019, 03:18:20 PM »

Are the floodlight bulbs LED's? If so they're probably creating line noise while they're on. Different brand bulb may help or install a hash choke. Go to X10.com and look at the switches offered. If you don't have a white wire in the box you're stuck with the older models. If those boxes are new there should be a neutral in them. Having a neutral makes for a more reliable switch.

Wallplates in the configuration you need are readily available for a few bucks at home centers or Amazon.
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gdmaclew

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Re: Problems with New X10 Install
« Reply #13 on: April 20, 2019, 04:42:50 PM »

Not LED's.
Halogen.
The older switch boxes have a white wire. I wired the house 30 years ago.

Update: I was able to find a "combination" dual switch plate at my local hardware store in case I have to go that route.

All of the wall outlets in the garage are on the same circuit.
All of the lights, both inside and out (including the 3 pairs of spotlights/floodlights) and a garage door opener (possible culprit  for my problems?) and a Heath/Zenith motion sensor dual floodlight above the main garage door, are on the other circuit.

This means that I couldn't run a wall module test because I have no way of plugging it into that circuit. Correction...I just checked and the Studio (the other new structure besides the garage) is on the  same  circuit as the 3 pairs of outside lights. So I just plugged the TM751 into one of the Studio outlets and voila - the dual flood lights outside the side door of the garage now turn on AND off!

So I'll change out that WS467 switch and see what happens to the 2 pairs of spotlights which don't respond at all to X10 commands.

Maybe for the other pair I'll switch the bulbs from halogen floods to just ordinary incandescent light bulbs to see if I can turn them on AND off, not just ON like with the halogens.

Onward and upward!
« Last Edit: April 21, 2019, 10:40:48 AM by gdmaclew »
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gdmaclew

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Re: Problems with New X10 Install
« Reply #14 on: April 21, 2019, 11:12:24 AM »

OK. I'm an idiot!

In all my running around yesterday testing outlets and modules and switches, I forgot to set the WS467 in the mudroom that controls the first 2 pairs of spotlights back to the normal code (E).
I had set it on A for the tests.

So now everything works - all 6 pairs of spot/flood lights, even the old ones that have been working for 30 years.

So it seems like the TM751 plugged into the new AFCI circuit can reach the non AFCI spotlights without problems (the old spot lights) but it can't do the reverse and properly reach the new AFCI spot/flood lights from the old non-AFCI circuit that I've been using for years.

Very interesting exercise.

Just relieved that I found the answer.

Thank you all.
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