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Author Topic: Project To Increase Range Of CM15A  (Read 242787 times)

teez67f

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Re: Project To Increase Range Of CM15A
« Reply #45 on: January 11, 2007, 10:59:30 PM »

I've been reading all your posts since sept2006 when i purchased X-10 for the first time and having crappy range till now.Here is a mod i read on access ha forums which i tried and it works ... damn it works. :

In the last few weeks I bought the CM15A Active home pro kit with all the software modules. I did this finally after years of X10 with a pair of CP290's and one CM11A. I have been having a lot of fun learning the new Pro software but I too had some range trouble with my DS10A's. I have a 2600 sq/ft house and a mailbox DS10A that weren't making the distance.

Of course I found the F connector mod at this site but didn't feel like fiddling around that much so I dusted off my radio engineering days. Via this forum I grew to understand the unit has a quarter wave antenna. So I figured I could make a half wave by adding onto the existing antenna. Again via this forum I found it was a 310MHz transmitter. Using an on line wavelength calculator,I soldered 9.5 inches of copper wire on the end of the existing antenna after very carefully clipping off bit by bit,the hollow tube the wire antenna is in until I had about half inch of the inside antenna wire exposed.

Then I used another small plastic tube to slide the existing and newly soldered on antenna wire inside to keep it rigid and vertical.

I went to the about 100 feet away mailbox and it worked perfectly. All my DA10A transducer were now working perfectly. Although its only been a few hours its been working 100% I'm expecting it should work just fine and there will be no attenuation of the signal associated with coax and F connections. Plus it took me about an hour including the time to dig out my old soldering iron. And I never had to split the case.

I thought I would share this....

RA

Did not get to thank this person but it restored my faith in X-10(was thinking of scrapping and going insteon) but it works.
 Also Eric Boyd (X-10 Tech support) helped me fix my coupling and noise problems with his tips and tricks.Also told me SR731 discontinued which is good news.


Any how this is the email i sent him and let me tell you the range i am stating is that!!

Got so excited i went out in my pyjamas in the back yard with an eagle eye and its -15c here.the kids think I've lost it lol but after all the crap X-10 is working almost 100%.

Anyhow you should try it because it definitely works!!

Have a good one!

p.s. By the way thanks to bill and puck and all the others who help us by posting tricks and tips for the newbies like me.By the way Tuiceman I've tried some of your software and so far so good.Got it almost figured out.great job.
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teez67f

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Re: Project To Increase Range Of CM15A
« Reply #46 on: January 11, 2007, 11:09:38 PM »

OOps sorry about that still frozen here is the mail forgot to put it.The range is true give or take a few feet.

Really incredible range now but also with my coupling and noise issues gone the response time on commands is quick and reliable.Except as someone posted if too many coming in at same time it gets lost sometimes but it still is good.

By the way forgot to thank bill as well if i'm not mistaken created the phone program for ahp amongst others.Like i said im newbie to this but if you guys were not there X-10 would of flew out the door in september.Going to have hot cocoa to defrost and sit with kids.Good luck with the mod.


a/s eric boyd x-10 tech
You're responses kind of got my curiousity going and now the X-10 is finally working the way it should for the first time since September!!!
 
Also solved my range problem Big time!!
 
I clipped the plastic cover off CM15A antenna about 1/2 inch and soldered a piece of bare 14 gauge copper wire 9.5 inches long (as per forum senior member) onto CM15A antenna and voila!!!
 
My range has increased three fold and now reaches the entire house and then some.
 
Credit card remote went from a measly 15 ft. range to well over 50 ft. and the once useless sticky switches with a range of 5ft. now work at 30ft. from downstairs to top it all off.
 
All security sensors now register including the worst one which never worked 9 out of 10 times to working constantly.
 
Will try re-installing PZZ-01 even though all is working now to see if it makes things even better.
 
You guys should modify the CM15A antenna to improve the range.Win Win for X-10 if you do.
 
Tested eagle eye outside (damn it's cold) went end of backyard and ahp see's it.
 
That's an amazing 85ft. through one brick wall and one drywall.
 
Thanks again Eric for the help and tips.Have a good one!
 
 
P.S.Worst part is got RMA for CM15a because of problems and now it's flying.Yeah I know with mod done warranty is void but who cares with this range.Half wave antenna's rock!!
 
 
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-Bill- (of wgjohns.com)

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Re: Project To Increase Range Of CM15A
« Reply #47 on: January 12, 2007, 12:53:55 AM »

By the way forgot to thank bill as well if i'm not mistaken created the phone program for ahp amongst others.

If you mean me, I created BXVC.  If you mean the telephone control program, I think you need to thank Tuicemen for that!

Thanks either way though!  Glad you got it working and for those who can solder, your solution is easier than trying to track down connectors, correct coax cable, special antenna designs, etc.

So, thank you too!

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-Bill- (of wgjohns.com)
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Puck

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Re: Project To Increase Range Of CM15A
« Reply #48 on: January 12, 2007, 09:23:31 AM »

teez67f: Welcome to the forum. And thanks for sharing the success of your CM15A antenna mod. It gives others, who are not comfortable with opening the unit, another option to improve their reception range.

Based on the sorry excuse for an antenna (half of it folded & glued to the PCB inside) of the CM15A, adding the extra 1/4 wavelength may have theoretically made the antenna a 1/2 wavelength, but in practicality you added a real 1/4 wave antenna for signal reception with the original mostly just acting as an internal transmission line. They should have designed a fully exposed (and straight) 1/4 wave antenna in the first place.

I may do this mod with my 2nd CM15A I just picked up to use as a monitoring and for testing. Don't really feel like running another cable and installing a 2nd antenna in the attic.  :D  :)

Cheers
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netvalue

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Re: Project To Increase Range Of CM15A
« Reply #49 on: January 16, 2007, 01:51:39 PM »

I just received my CM15A and other X10 modules. A quick temporary set-up revealed that I was going to have some RF reception issues between my farthest MS16A motion sensors and the CM15.

Searching this forum, I came across this topic and decided to make the CM15 modifications suggested by teez67f.

I did change teez67f's mod slightly. Instead of adding 9.5 inches of wire to the existing CM15 antenna, I only added 5 inches. My reasoning was based on Puck’s antenna insight/comment of “half of it folded & glued to the PCB inside…mostly just acting as an internal transmission line”. Believing that only approx. 4.5 inches of the optimal 9.5 inches is present/usable in the non-modified CM15A, I added only enough wire to ensure that the total antenna length (existing straight section plus new extension) equals 9.5 inches.

The modification took less than (15) minutes and has DOUBLED the reception distance of my CM15. The range of the MS16A Motion Sensor increased from 55 feet to 110 feet. The range of PalmPad Remote (HR12A) increased  from 65 to 130 feet.

Of course, these measurements were made with fresh batteries in all remotes and a better than "real world" test environment. Additional details of the test set-up, results and modifications are captured in the attached PDF file.

THANKS to Puck, teez67f and the many others for your extremely helpful advice and insight...

Note: Couldn't get the attached PDF file (34KB) to upload, so I'll try to attach in a later post.
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Dan Lawrence

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Re: Project To Increase Range Of CM15A
« Reply #50 on: January 16, 2007, 02:50:55 PM »

You might think the suits at X10 would get the hint after four pages of posts on how to easily increase the range of a CM15A that the production models would have the antenna mods that don't require any major mods except extending the antenna, but NO!!!!!!!   >:(

As a user of AHP and the CM15A, in order to get decent RF reception X10 wants you buy a tranciever to get things like remotes and Stick-a-Switch units to work properly, which put a little money in the account of my local X10 dealer. :)

My unmodifed CM15A won't recieve the RF signal from my KR19A if I hold it one half inch from the 15's antenna.   BOO!!! HISS!!!  >:(
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I don't SELL this stuff... BUT I sure do ENJOY using it!!!

Brian H

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Re: Project To Increase Range Of CM15A
« Reply #51 on: January 16, 2007, 04:26:10 PM »

Well about 1/2 of the original antenna is inside the case and not stretched out. Old units in a random ball of tangles and newer ones hot glued around the case. Even the full one in the plastic antenna tube would help.
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Dan Lawrence

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Re: Project To Increase Range Of CM15A
« Reply #52 on: January 16, 2007, 04:45:16 PM »

The BIG problem is any mod voids the warrenty.

That's why I posted about the X10 suits not paying a bit of attention to this board (which they set up) for RF problems so easily fixed at X10's level. Since the CM15's RF recipt is so poor, why don't they fix it, once and for all????

Of course, a company that would sell an old product (Active Home and the CM11A) in a fancy new suit to unsuspecting people, what can you expect?
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I don't SELL this stuff... BUT I sure do ENJOY using it!!!

Brian H

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Re: Project To Increase Range Of CM15A
« Reply #53 on: January 16, 2007, 06:41:08 PM »

OH yes can't be stressed enough. Any mods and you own it lock; stock and barrel. No warranties.  ???
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tom j

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Re: Project To Increase Range Of CM15A
« Reply #54 on: January 22, 2007, 12:11:40 AM »

I've been reading all your posts since sept2006 when i purchased X-10 for the first time and having crappy range till now.Here is a mod i read on access ha forums which i tried and it works ... damn it works. :

In the last few weeks I bought the CM15A Active home pro kit with all the software modules. I did this finally after years of X10 with a pair of CP290's and one CM11A. I have been having a lot of fun learning the new Pro software but I too had some range trouble with my DS10A's. I have a 2600 sq/ft house and a mailbox DS10A that weren't making the distance.

Of course I found the F connector mod at this site but didn't feel like fiddling around that much so I dusted off my radio engineering days. Via this forum I grew to understand the unit has a quarter wave antenna. So I figured I could make a half wave by adding onto the existing antenna. Again via this forum I found it was a 310MHz transmitter. Using an on line wavelength calculator,I soldered 9.5 inches of copper wire on the end of the existing antenna after very carefully clipping off bit by bit,the hollow tube the wire antenna is in until I had about half inch of the inside antenna wire exposed.

Then I used another small plastic tube to slide the existing and newly soldered on antenna wire inside to keep it rigid and vertical.

I went to the about 100 feet away mailbox and it worked perfectly. All my DA10A transducer were now working perfectly. Although its only been a few hours its been working 100% I'm expecting it should work just fine and there will be no attenuation of the signal associated with coax and F connections. Plus it took me about an hour including the time to dig out my old soldering iron. And I never had to split the case.

I thought I would share this....

RA

Did not get to thank this person but it restored my faith in X-10(was thinking of scrapping and going insteon) but it works.
 Also Eric Boyd (X-10 Tech support) helped me fix my coupling and noise problems with his tips and tricks.Also told me SR731 discontinued which is good news.


Any how this is the email i sent him and let me tell you the range i am stating is that!!

Got so excited i went out in my pyjamas in the back yard with an eagle eye and its -15c here.the kids think I've lost it lol but after all the crap X-10 is working almost 100%.

Anyhow you should try it because it definitely works!!

Have a good one!

p.s. By the way thanks to bill and puck and all the others who help us by posting tricks and tips for the newbies like me.By the way Tuiceman I've tried some of your software and so far so good.Got it almost figured out.great job.


Now that's what I'm talking about! going to definitely try this approach I really didn't like a lot or the others because of aesthetics some of the previous modes were just plain ugly this one seems to really be the best approach and the range increase was excellent. One question where did you get that little plastic tube and did you cap it off with anything to maintain that OEM look.   Thanks

Tom j
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tom j

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Re: Project To Increased Range CM15A
« Reply #55 on: January 22, 2007, 12:28:08 AM »

Hobby shops have plastic tubes and you should be able to find a close match. Since X10 is made in China [metric] I believe I had to find a close fit tube. I was going to try it, but went off on the Add an 'F' connector thing. Though I still have the tubing and a few more CM15As.

Just saw the answer to my question anyway to cap it off to give it that OEM look? Thanks

Tom j
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jdacal

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Re: Project To Increase Range Of CM15A
« Reply #56 on: January 22, 2007, 10:14:07 PM »

Hi everybody, I'm new to the forums and looking forward to participating often!

Here's my spin on this very neat idea that was originally proposed at the start of this topic.  Hats off to those who did the original research. :)

Please note that my fix here does not claim any huge gains in range since I have not really put any time into research.  I can tell you that I have eliminated 4 transceivers, basically had to have one at each  corner of the house because the CM15A was not picking up crap.

So on with my mod.  I found an old FM radio with a telescoping antenna in the garage.  Cut off the antenna at the base.  Trimmed about a 1/2" off the  antenna on the CM15A to expose the antenna wire and fold it back down the length of itself.

Slid the telescoping antenna over the CM15A antenna, and POOF!  Eliminated four (4) transceivers!  It is even picking up a slim switch that was only about 5 feet away (through a wall), but that I had been having to use one of the transceivers for.

Again... I am not sure if the range is as great as in the prior mods that were described, but only because I haven't taken the time to check it.  But I can say that its working great for me.

Here's some pictures:




Cut off antenna exposing about 1/2" of cable then folded cable back down over antenna.  (This picture was prior to cutting 1/2" actually shows less but it was too little)




View of unit with telescoping antenna slid over the original antenna (the bare wire inside makes contact with the new antenna)




Other view of telescoping antenna.

The ideal thing would be to find a supplier that actually carries a telescoping antenna that would be an exact replacement (at the base) for the one in the unit).

Well I'm a happy camper, I hope this version can help some of you as well. :)

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tom j

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Re: Project To Increase Range Of CM15A
« Reply #57 on: January 23, 2007, 01:55:34 PM »

Say jdacal You know I was thinking about the very same thing, just trotting on down to radio shack and finding a replacement antenna for a small TV or radio, I know everyone talks about the thing having to have the proper frequency 310 MHz or something but the antenna on my DS7000 as far I can tell is  just a regular radio shack style antenna that you find on most little radios and portable TV's and I can easily go 1/2 a block or more with perfect reception. I'm thinking a antenna just like the one on the DS7000 console would do the trick and I think I'll give it a try, but before I do could you check for us all and give us an approximation of the range you have now with the modification in feet, whats the furthest distance to can go with one of those  palm remotes. Who ever let this thing out the barn with this kind of reception in my case maybe 15 feet maybe should have be fired!!!!!!! this havs been nothing short of a disaster for all of use. Thanks!!

Tom j
« Last Edit: January 24, 2007, 11:00:03 PM by tom j »
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Brian H

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Re: Project To Increase Range Of CM15A
« Reply #58 on: January 24, 2007, 06:51:52 AM »

In the CO area this has been pointed out. Hope it gets fixed shortly.
Not clear if this folder full thing is for each user. Do you have other stuff uploaded?
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JMac

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Re: Project To Increase Range Of CM15A
« Reply #59 on: January 24, 2007, 11:00:58 AM »

It seems that many problems are antenna related.  From the CM15A to the motion and door/window sensors, every one seems to be making modifications.  Even the wireless cameras are now being modified.  From a real world perspective these designs just don't seem to cut it.  Does it look like some legal reason why the range was limited in these designs, or is it just that someone was putting together a system that would work from desk to desk?  A mystery! Don't get me wrong, I love fooling around with X-10 but I can see the frustration in some of the new comers.  Maybe it's time for an upgrade in the hardware.  Dream on, right?
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