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Author Topic: CommStar CS30 ignonring Controller input  (Read 1272 times)

edungar

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CommStar CS30 ignonring Controller input
« on: May 26, 2020, 12:38:53 PM »

I have a CommStar CS30 which has worked faithfully for over 15 years. Recently I've discovered that it is not seeing inputs from the various controller switches I have around our house.  When I use the Mega Controller in WinEVM to trigger the controller input everything works fine.  When I press the corresponding button on the switch unit nothing happens and there's no entry in the Mega Controller log. 
Any thoughts as to where I should look for an answer or some kind of tech support?
Thanks!
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Brian H

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Re: CommStar CS30 ignonring Controller input
« Reply #1 on: May 26, 2020, 01:56:09 PM »

You may want to look at the manual.
https://www.smarthome-products.com/productspecs/RCS%20CommStar%20CS30-CS308.pdf

From what I saw. It uses an X10 TW523 or X10Pro PSC02. Two way interface. That passes X10 received messages and transmits X10 message. To and from the CS30.

It is connected to the PLI connector on the board.

See if the LED on it is on and if it flashes when you receive or try and send an X10 power line command. Let us know the LED status on the TW523/PSC05

The TW523 and PSC05 are discontinued. I know if your is bad. JV Digital Engineering makes a good replacement. With better specifications over the TW523 or PSC05.
http://jvde.us/xtb-523.htm

If you are not using X10. The manuals show some troubleshooting information. That may give you an indication of what is wrong. Like what the LEDs on the main board indicate is happening.
« Last Edit: May 28, 2020, 07:16:43 AM by Brian H »
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Tuicemen

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Re: CommStar CS30 ignonring Controller input
« Reply #2 on: May 26, 2020, 01:58:02 PM »

What controler switches? Model #, model name?  Wired or remotes?
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brobin

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Re: CommStar CS30 ignonring Controller input
« Reply #3 on: May 26, 2020, 08:42:31 PM »

I have a CommStar CS30 which has worked faithfully for over 15 years. Recently I've discovered that it is not seeing inputs from the various controller switches I have around our house.  When I use the Mega Controller in WinEVM to trigger the controller input everything works fine.  When I press the corresponding button on the switch unit nothing happens and there's no entry in the Mega Controller log. 
Any thoughts as to where I should look for an answer or some kind of tech support?
Thanks!

Hi Ed,  You've come to the right place.  I'm a 20 year Stargate user myself (essentially the same as the CS30) so I know my way around WinEVM and the hardware and have done some board repairs over the years.  When you say "controller switches" can you be more specific as to model #'s?  Are we talking RCS LED/LCD keypads wired to the RS485 port or X10 keypads sending X10 commands?  With that info I can be more helpful.  There's also a JDS Users Group on Yahoo which isn't really active anymore but others will see any posts.  https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/JDSUsers/info
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brobin

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Re: CommStar CS30 ignonring Controller input
« Reply #4 on: May 27, 2020, 02:11:13 AM »

Since I'll be out most of the day and I have time now, here's some things to look at if the controller switches you mentioned are the RCS LED or LCD keypads connected to the RS485 port. They could either be daisy chained directly to the C30 or connected to an RCS 8 channel RS485 Hub which is connected to the RS485 screw terminals on the CS30 main board (the CS308 has the hub onboard).

  Since (I assume) none of the keypads are working, I'd first check power to the hub if you use one - could be as simple (hopefully!) as a burnt out wall wart. For each device connected to the hub an LED on the board should be lit.  Check all the wiring to see if any leads are broken.  The next test would be to connect one keypad directly to the RS485 screw terminals on the C30 main board.  If it works then the hub would be suspect. 

If it doesn't, then the Maxim RS485 chip on the C30 has likely failed.  I've had both Maxim RS232 chips fail over the years and replaced them.  Fortunately, the RS232 chips are socketed making replacement easy.  UNfortunately, the RS485 chip is soldered to the board (on mine anyway) located almost adjacent to the RS485 terminals.  It's an 8 pin through-hole chip which means that it's not difficult to remove if you're comfortable with a soldering iron and desoldering braid.  You'd then solder in a chip socket and plug the chip into it for easy future replacement. The worst part of the job is disconnecting everything from the CS30 to remove the board from the case.  I had to do exactly the same thing with the opto-isolator chip on the IVR board years ago.

 If the chip needs to be replaced, Jameco.com has them and the socket for about 3 bucks plus shipping plus a $10 fee if your order is under $20 but it's easy to find a few more things you "need" to meet the minimum.  If you're not in a hurry you can buy 10 chips for about 3 bucks from China on eBay and wait a few weeks.

Of course, if I guessed wrong about you referring to RCS keypads this is all moot and we can start from the top.
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edungar

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Re: CommStar CS30 ignonring Controller input
« Reply #5 on: May 28, 2020, 09:27:25 AM »

Thanks for all the replies so far.  I'm more of a software guy so it'll take me some time to process all the information.
The controller switches I use are the ones that fit in a standard switch and have 4 rocker switches with LEDs. Leviton 6451-4W.
Also, I reloaded my program into the RCS controller and now things seem to be working a little better.  Still some erratic switching of lights on and off that doesn't seem to match the program but much better. 
It's very confusing. In my software days things always worked the same - not necessarily correctly (if the program was bad) but the same.  This is the same program I've used for years so it's hard to figure out why it's acting differently each time I load it.
Will post more when I've had a chance to look further into the ideas you have provided.
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brobin

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Re: CommStar CS30 ignonring Controller input
« Reply #6 on: May 28, 2020, 10:12:39 AM »

Ok, so all that info about the RS485 chip doesn't apply - fuhgettaboutit. The Leviton keypads you have transmit X10 signals which turn on X10 devices directly or can be used to trigger events in WinEVM.  The fact that you can control the devices from the MegaController screen means that the CS30 is transmitting fine.  If I understand correctly, the keypad buttons aren't controlling your lights directly or showing status in the MegaController.  This would indicate either a problem with a keypad itself or, more likely, X10 signal issues. 

 Have you recently added any new electronics, wall warts or LED bulbs anywhere in the house?  Rather than explaining what to look at here, have a look at the troubleshooting tips at http://jvde.us/x10_troubleshooting.htm

One thing to look at that can cause strange behavior: Open MegaController, click 'Options' then 'X10 Options' and ensure that 'Single Phase' is checked rather than 'Three Phase.'  Also in the Utilities drop down check the settings in 'TimeDate Set' to make sure it's all correct. 
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JeffVolp

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Re: CommStar CS30 ignonring Controller input
« Reply #7 on: May 28, 2020, 09:26:51 PM »

If I understand correctly, the keypad buttons aren't controlling your lights directly or showing status in the MegaController.  This would indicate either a problem with a keypad itself or, more likely, X10 signal issues.

I had a Leviton keypad transmitter fail a couple of years ago.  I traced the problem to the capacitor that couples the transmitter to the powerline.  It worked again after I replaced the capacitor.

Also note that the keypad transmitter has a relatively low output even when it is working correctly.

Jeff
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