X10 Community Forum

🔌General Home Automation => Automating Your House => User Modified Devices => Topic started by: pseeker on February 29, 2012, 08:23:49 PM

Title: sc1200 attenna mod
Post by: pseeker on February 29, 2012, 08:23:49 PM
I modified my SC1200 console's antenna and took the time to photograph the inside.  Hopefully these pics  will be useful for someone else.  I certainly was not the first person to do this and the links below have some good discussions on the subject matter.  It is worth the time to review them.  In my particular case, I added the extra wire to extend the internal white antenna wire to 39 inches.   Also I added a additional ground connection wire in order to bring it out externally as suggested by one of the discussions to act as a "dipole"    Prior to the mod  one or two DS10A started dropping out once a week.   After the mod it has been stable.  I originally installed my door sensors with the SC1200 positioned horizontally,  so I had to run  some of antenna wire length horizontally in order to reach the door sensors.   The mod did boost the range, but not as much as I would have liked so the last remaining four ds10a I was hoping to install will remain unused for a little while longer.     The key to opening the case is to use good prying case tool that you see in the picture, taking your time lifting slowly and moving around the case. The plastic tabs will snap apart (circled in red in the pics).  It took me about 5 to 10 minutes to complete.  Don't forget to  remove the 5 screws from bottom of case first before prying!

http://forums.x10.com/index.php?topic=22818.15 (http://forums.x10.com/index.php?topic=22818.15)
http://forums.x10.com/index.php?topic=25370.0 (http://forums.x10.com/index.php?topic=25370.0)
http://forums.x10.com/index.php?topic=25721.0 (http://forums.x10.com/index.php?topic=25721.0)
http://forums.x10.com/index.php?topic=22831.0 (http://forums.x10.com/index.php?topic=22831.0)

Search ebay with terms "ipod case tool"

(https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-eV3UtM9OOFE/T06hSV_oX3I/AAAAAAAAAAw/z_Imn4_kiYo/s800/2.JPG)The RED circles are tabs to watchout for
Title: Re: sc1200 attenna mod
Post by: Brian H on March 01, 2012, 06:04:05 AM
Great writeup.  >!
Helpful from me.
Title: Re: sc1200 attenna mod
Post by: JMac on March 01, 2012, 07:47:25 AM
One question:  Are the two wires (antenna+ground) soldered together at the end?  Pretty sure they would be, but that's not in the final picture......thanks for the great pictures and write-up.
Title: Re: sc1200 attenna mod
Post by: pseeker on March 01, 2012, 10:05:22 AM
The two ends are not soldered together. The ground wire points down and the antenna wire points up.   In my particular case I had my external antenna in "L" shape with 1/3 the length running horizontally and then 2/3 vertically. Some of my sensors are out range with a vertically only direction. I'll see if I can take picture of the final setup.  I have the sc1200 console sitting on narrow width bookcase near the upper shelf... and the antenna and ground wires taped on the back of book case.   With the external mod, I might be able to mount the console on the wall where it was meant to be in the first place.
Title: Re: sc1200 attenna mod
Post by: Tuicemen on March 01, 2012, 10:11:35 AM
A helpful from me as well.
Pictures always help, and they are great!
Title: Re: sc1200 attenna mod
Post by: HA Dave on March 01, 2012, 10:37:01 AM
+1 from me. This thread reminds me of the old days.... mods with pictures. Thank You for sharing pseeker!
Title: Re: sc1200 attenna mod
Post by: sazzam on March 01, 2012, 01:02:20 PM
Thanks pseeker for the pics. How much will this extend the SC1200 range? Will this possibly end the "problem zone" nightmare.
Title: Re: sc1200 attenna mod
Post by: pseeker on March 01, 2012, 01:59:08 PM
sazzam, unfortunately your mileage will vary but one of the links on first post had a user taking measurements.  So if your problem zones are caused by range issues, then it might help.  I would try the passive antenna approach before opening your case. 

Just realize that every home is different and I suspect that 2x4 steel studs in my inner walls are reducing signal levels plus a fudge factor on how sensors are positioned (for example, pulling white antenna wire out the case was not enough of a mod for my setup)
Title: Re: sc1200 attenna mod
Post by: JGM on January 22, 2013, 06:52:50 PM
It has been awhile since I've been on the forum when integrating a DS7000 based system.  I've recently purchased a SC1200 (SC12A) package and am also finding symptoms of RF issues.  I did the antenna modifications on the CM15A a couple of years ago and looks like I get to experience the effort again on the SC1200.  Thanks for the info.  Greg Miller
Title: Re: SC1200 attenna mod
Post by: javiert30 on January 22, 2013, 11:13:07 PM
Before I tried this modification, I had all kind of intermittent problems with my DS12As, due to the short RF range of the SC1200. Once I did this modification my SC1200 have been working very stable with no false DS12As states. My farther DS12A from the SC1200 is aprox 50ft. Before, the farther DS12A that the SC1200 was picking up was almost 20ft, no more than that. I never tested one more than 50ft but I will post the results once I do it. This mod works.  #:)

Before I had the antenna wire vertically up right and the ground wire vertically straight down some DS12A wont be picked, but when I repositioned the antenna, worked a lot better putting the antenna wire horizontally to the left and the ground wire vertically looking up straight. I think L shape make the difference. Big difference.
Title: Re: sc1200 attenna mod
Post by: bt4267 on January 24, 2013, 01:01:37 PM
Thanks a bunch pseeker. You helped me out a lot
Title: Re: sc1200 attenna mod
Post by: javiert30 on January 30, 2013, 03:55:50 AM
In my case I added one piece of coaxial cable (the center core) like 5 inches in each antenna cable at the end and it increased the signal even more.
Title: Re: sc1200 attenna mod
Post by: dhouston on January 30, 2013, 12:30:39 PM
Perhaps I'm being ultraconservative but, given that X10 did not design the SC1200 with an external antenna (as with the CM15A which uses the same RF receiver module) and has not published a schematic, I think it prudent to galvanically isolate any add-on external antenna. I've designed a small module with a bulkhead BNC connector that can be used for antenna isolation with the TM751 and RR501 which can also be used with any device where the isolation particulars are unclear like this case. These will be available shortly from a distributor I'm working with.

I have no need of a security system so do not want to spend the money to get an SC1200 just for testing and photos. I'm not profitting from this and the dealer will do little more than cover costs. Besides, my increasing disability from my deteriorating spinal cord limits the amount of testing I can do myself. I've put up a preliminary webpage but it has no SC1200 specific photos.

The BNC connector allows for use with standard telescoping antennas with a BNC base or with even more efficient antennas.
Title: Re: sc1200 attenna mod
Post by: ronski1 on February 16, 2013, 10:52:22 AM
New to this forum, am an electrician, not an electronics guy,...enough groans... My question to you guys is does it matter how long the length of wire that is added is?  Would the "longer the better" statement work here?
Title: Re: sc1200 attenna mod
Post by: dave w on February 16, 2013, 11:26:24 AM
My question to you guys is does it matter how long the length of wire that is added is?  Would the "longer the better" statement work here?
No, probably not. For giggles Google "Antenna wavelength", "frequency wavelength", etc.  The SC1200 receives and remote security sensors transmits on 310mHz. 1/4 wave length would be approximately 9.5",  1/2 wave 19", and so on to one wavelength of app 38". Receiver antenna length isn't as critical as transmit antenna length. But I would experiment with an 18" antenna hanging out the bottom of the SC1200 first and then maybe extend to 38" for comparison.
Title: Re: sc1200 attenna mod
Post by: Letterbox on May 18, 2013, 10:53:39 AM
Thanks pseeker.  I just completed this mod.  Seems to be working well. #:)
Title: Re: sc1200 attenna mod
Post by: AntneR on July 29, 2013, 01:35:20 PM

As far as the "type" or "gauge" of wire, what do you suggest? I have antenna wire from an unused loop(AM antenna) antenna from an old stereo reciever that I am not using. Will that suffice? Also, I plan on mounting the SC1200 in my hallway vertically on the wall. The wall backs up to a small closet where I will hook up the console for power and phone line. If I understand correctly, I am running the antenna wire up the wall and the ground wire down the wall to get the bast reception(while trying to form an "L" shape with each wire)? Let me know if that is correct? Thanks!
Title: Re: sc1200 attenna mod
Post by: temkhabana on January 05, 2014, 02:52:20 AM
I have been an x-10 fan and customer since the company began in 1978. The older security system worked well for me over the years. The only issue was a lightning strike which took out a base unit. NOW the 1200 model is a different story! It is limited in range to make it useless for almost any average home. To purchase this and spend countless hours modifying it is beyond me.  I have been moving things around for the past two weeks on my new system to try to get it to work, and now I will be sending it back. Shame on X-10 for changing the door window sensors to such an inferior product. I had to use my old sensors just to get my system to work, and since I did not have enough older sensors, I had to hard wire more contacts in to multiple windows. I will just keep using my old system. Hopefully X-10 will take back the return for a non-working system.
Title: Re: sc1200 attenna mod
Post by: Brian H on January 05, 2014, 09:54:27 AM
Did you purchase the SC1200 from X10 Wireless Technologies or the company that took over after X10WTI went out of business?