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Author Topic: XPFM modules and LED Lights  (Read 3621 times)

AKMike

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XPFM modules and LED Lights
« on: December 19, 2023, 06:14:50 PM »

I have replaced my outdoor landscape lighting with LED lights controlled by XPFM modules.  Now one module will not turn off and another with not turn on.  The third one is working fine.  I have been replacing all my indoor lights with LED BR30 and BR40 bulbs and just replaced two table lamp CFL bulbs with 100w equiv LED bulbs.  Now the x10 lamp and appliance modules will not function.  I've tried four different lamp modules and appliance modules with no success.  One lamp module will work in the on mode and the other three will not turn on.  Is there some noise from the LED bulbs affecting the x10 signals?  My system was working fine until I started all the CFL change outs.

I'm running a Universal Devices isy 994 system.
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bkenobi

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Re: XPFM modules and LED Lights
« Reply #1 on: December 20, 2023, 12:06:13 AM »

I tried some LED when they were just dropping in price and found that LED did cause noise (at least for the ones I tested).  I waited a few years and tried again with the cheap package from Costco (Feit bulbs I think) and everything worked fine.  I've since replaced my garage and shop lights with LED shop light strips, most of my indoor PAR30 with similar LED, and most of my outdoor lights with LED (some bulbs, some motion sensor fixtures).  I still have a couple twisty CFL in the basement and they don't seem to cause issues with modules (none are controlled by a X10 module).

So, I'd say it's possible that LED could cause issues, but so can CFL.  You would have to test and see if it adds noise (ideally with a tester like one of Jeff's XTBM or similar).

Brian H

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Re: XPFM modules and LED Lights
« Reply #2 on: December 20, 2023, 06:07:41 AM »

Are the landscape lights using a transformer or power supply to run low voltage bulbs?
On but not off. Can be the load is making noise when on and the off commend doesn't get to the X10 module.
Do you have any phase coupling (active repeater or passive) between the two incoming line to couple the X10 signals between the two phases?
It does sound like you now have some power line noise makers or signal sucking electronic devices and low signal strength X10 commands.
You maybe able to get some helpful information from the ISY994i
In the Administrative Console. There is a function to look at the Log.
It may show lots of bogus X10 signals or receiving noise.
Also if you have a 2413S PLM I believe the set LED does flash on receiving a signal.
If you have any Insteon modules with an X10 address added to it. Their LED may also flash on noise or seeing a power line signal.
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JeffVolp

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Re: XPFM modules and LED Lights
« Reply #3 on: December 20, 2023, 11:22:39 AM »

There are several issues here.

1)  Powerline noise:  Since LEDs are low voltage DC devices, early LED bulbs used electronic step-down power conversion that often generated powerline noise that interfered with X10 communication.  This is usually the cause when an X10 command will turn a light on, but not off.  Newer bulbs are either using higher frequency power conversion (smaller lighter cheaper) or have eliminated it entirely by using series strings of LEDs that look like incandescent filaments.  We have converted almost all incandescent and CFL bulbs to newer LEDs, most with those string filaments.

2)  Signal propagation:  Until recently, X10 dimmer wall switches had no neutral connection, and both signal and power had to flow through the incandescent bulb load.  That worked fine because the tungsten filament provided a relatively low resistance to the X10 signal.  Most LED bulbs - whether they use power conversion or just series strings of LEDs - do not provide that low resistance near the AC waveform zero crossing, where X10 signals are transmitted.  Hence, the X10 signal does not have a return path, and the signal never reaches the switch.  The fix is to swap in a wall switch with a neutral connection to provide the return path for the X10 signal.  Newer X10 dimmer switches intended for CFL or LED bulbs include neutral connections.  So do X10 ON/OFF switches intended for fluorescent or inductive loads.

3)  Signal attenuation:  Some LED bulbs with power conversion circuitry include line filters to block switching noise from reaching the powerline.  That line filter can also attenuate X10 signals.  The solution is to boost X10 signal levels.

4)  Back when we installed landscape lights almost 2 decades ago, I used a XPFM to control the step-down transformer.  That is a real "transformer", not a step-down power supply that could be a noise generator.  If you are using switching power supplies, you could try installing the X10 XPPF line filter between the XPFM and the power supply to block any noise from reaching the XPFM.

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AKMike

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Re: XPFM modules and LED Lights
« Reply #4 on: December 21, 2023, 10:56:00 PM »

Thanks for all the ideas, I'll check them out. 

I've gone back to the circuit breakers and traced out the circuits for the offending modules.  I have x10 filters wired into phase A and phase B on one of the three circuit panels.  I may have found a fix for the lamp module.  The lamp circuit is on Phase A in the panel so I put a transceiver onto the same circuit and the lamp models work now on both CFL and LED bulbs.  I don't know why they worked before and then stopped unless I'm getting an external noise from the incoming power line.

The outside LED lighting is all 120v with no transformers.  The B1 code works the front lights and the B2 code works the back lights. The circuit with the problem is on Phase B on the panel.  I have two wired XPFMs on this circuit that go to two different sets of outdoor LED lights.  One is set for code B1 and the other is set of B2 and have always been configured this way.  The B1 module with not turn off and the B2 module with not turn on. 

I have two other circuits on two different breakers but both on Phase B.  There is one wired XPFM set for B1 on one of the circuits and one XPS3 set at B2 on the other circuit.  Both of these modules work as intended so I know that the codes are being transmitted into the wiring.  Both of the XPFMs are recently installed so the odds are good that they are OK.

I think I may have a phase coupler installed but these is no information on it.

Any other ideas?
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JeffVolp

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Re: XPFM modules and LED Lights
« Reply #5 on: December 24, 2023, 11:15:06 AM »

With three panels, you must have a large home with a lot of electrical loads.  Unless you have a signal booster, you may have marginal signal levels on some circuits.  Signal strength drops off as wire run length increases, especially if there are any "signal suckers" on that run.

I am curious on those wired in filters.  Were they isolating known problem devices?

Jeff
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AKMike

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Re: XPFM modules and LED Lights
« Reply #6 on: December 24, 2023, 03:29:42 PM »

I checked my isy 994 logs and don't find any spurious signals.  All the commands to the B1 and B2 modules are sent at the correct times.  There are no odd off signals.

The x10 filters were present when we purchased the house.  I don't know if there was a reason they were installed.  They are only on one panel.  I have been thinking about signal strength but the system has been work pretty well for the past several years.  Perhaps there is enough noise now that the signals don't get through.   Both of the offending modules are on the outside corners of the house. I have been considering a coupler-repeater so that may be my next step.  Thanks for the suggestion.
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AKMike

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Re: XPFM modules and LED Lights
« Reply #7 on: January 01, 2024, 12:42:16 PM »

I've been using a XPTR/XPTT to try and find some signsl issues but I'm getting some varying test results.  I have some outlets that I test that show no signal at all on the XPTR and some with very low voltages 25 mv.  Some outlets show 250-500mv.  An outlet next to where the XPTT is plugged in shows 2v but one in the kitchen on the other side of the wall shows 0mv and another one shows 25mv.  I've unplugged devices and turned breakers off on refrigerators but haven't seen any changes in signal strength.  My system was working fine for years.  Can this be power line noise coming into the house?

Thanks for all the comments and ideas.
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brobin

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Re: XPFM modules and LED Lights
« Reply #8 on: January 01, 2024, 02:22:47 PM »

Wall warts can suddenly start generating line noise even though they are still working.  Had one of my TiVO Mini's wall wart do just that when it was about 8 years old. Unplugged it and all was well again.
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Brian H

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Re: XPFM modules and LED Lights
« Reply #9 on: January 01, 2024, 06:15:09 PM »

The manual seems to indicate that there is an error led on the XPTR.
Does that show anything?
Your description sounds like a possible phase coupling issue or something is now a signal sucker.
One thought is you have a coupler repeater and it has failed. So signals no longer are getting to both sides of the home.
You mentioned using an ISY994i for  your X10 signaling.
Off hand is the PLM a 2412S or 2413S?
The 2413S is noted for power supply failures.
I had an old 2412S and it developed a bad capacitor in the transmitter circuit. With a resulting poor transmit signal.
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AKMike

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Re: XPFM modules and LED Lights
« Reply #10 on: January 02, 2024, 11:53:43 AM »

My PLM is Levitron 24135.  Many of my x10 modules work ok on signals from the isy 994 and Palm Pads but the problem seems to be along one side of my house with two modules on the same circuit breaker.  The B1 and B2 codes are getting transmitted to two of my module on the same codes as some of the lights are going on and off per my program.

I had one GFCI breaker next to my breaker panels that initially tested with an "Error Condition" on the XPTR.  I reset the breaker in the panel and the condition went away.  This GFCI has always been problematic.  It seems like something has gone bad with a device somewhere on the electrical system.
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brobin

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Re: XPFM modules and LED Lights
« Reply #11 on: January 02, 2024, 12:58:30 PM »

I think what you're looking at is an Insteon 2413S rather than a 24135. As mentioned earlier, the 2413S is notorious for failing due to poor power supply capacitors. The good news is that, if your handy with a soldering iron, they are easily replaced.  If you're not, PM me if you want to send it to me to do it. I have the caps.  If you open the 2413S and post a pic it we can see how they look.
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Brian H

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Re: XPFM modules and LED Lights
« Reply #12 on: January 02, 2024, 01:13:50 PM »

It is not a Leviton PLM. The early labels from Smarthome where frequently read incorrectly and sometimes even fell off.  ::)
Only Smarthome made and sold the 2412S and 2413S PLM.
That does both Insteon and X10 power line signals.
The 2413S was dual band so it also does the Insteon 915MHz RF commands that X10's can't use at all.

I had one fail and the caps looked fine. Though they where bad. Smarthome used a capacitor not designed for a switching power supply.
I also had a pair of revision 2 Access Points also fail. They where built on the same base main board.
« Last Edit: January 02, 2024, 01:49:09 PM by Brian H »
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AKMike

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Re: XPFM modules and LED Lights
« Reply #13 on: March 04, 2024, 12:16:43 PM »

I believe that I finally found my problem with the lights not working.  I replaced the LED bulbs in the landscape lights and now they work as intended.  The LED bulbs were four years old and one must have been degraded.  The bulbs were Halco 16-watt LED BR40 5000K bulbs.  Thanks for all the input.
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brobin

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Re: XPFM modules and LED Lights
« Reply #14 on: March 04, 2024, 12:41:49 PM »

Glad to hear you found it. Adding a choke to the LED lights can prevent this from happening in the future.
https://jvde.us/x10/x10_cfl.pdf
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