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Author Topic: Timer limitation  (Read 13021 times)

tomh

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Timer limitation
« on: July 13, 2007, 09:54:10 AM »

Is there a workaround to the timer limitation?  I am looking to set up a macro or something (phantom modules?) to increase the length of time the macro/timers will run.  I want to start the timer/macro with a one step operation, say push C1 to execute.  The timer/macro would run X number of hours based on what I need (14, 24, 48, etc.).  It would be phenomenal if the software could be used as a countdown timer where you could set up a macro/timer to run X hours and then either turn something on or off.  I'll settle for something simple.  The 4 1/2 hour limitation per macro just doesn't help me.  I still haven't figured out how to start one macro then maybe call up another one to follow which should theoretically give me another 4 1/2 hours.  Back in the days of my Commodore 64 I believe they referred to this as daisy-chaining (very popular with this machine due to memory limitations).  There were some pretty impressive folks with all kinds of workarounds for this machine.  I did the search on the forum for the best explanation of phantom modules, but didn't find much and I know there has to be more.  Any ideas?

tomh 
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Boiler

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Re: Timer limitation
« Reply #1 on: July 13, 2007, 11:15:17 AM »

...I still haven't figured out how to start one macro then maybe call up another one to follow which should theoretically give me another 4 1/2 hours. 
tomh 

In order to do this you (probably) need smart macros to prevent the timer from re-triggering.  You can call a macro from within a macro by creating a "dummy" switch and a macro at the same address.  The macro will be callable via the dummy switch on/off commands.

Main Macro
If trigger and flag1 off {is the macro already running}
Set Flag1 {prevent re-entrance}
Delay 4.5 hours
Turn dummy1 on

Dummy1 macro
Delay 4.5 hours
trigger your hardware events
Clear Flag1 {re-enable main macro}

I'm not hot the above will act without the flag to prevent re-entrance.  I could come up with about 5 different scenarios (and they'd probably all be wrong).  Probably best to actually test and observe activity monitor rather than second guessing the AHP operation.




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steven r

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Re: Timer limitation
« Reply #2 on: July 13, 2007, 11:21:41 AM »

Boiler sneaked his post in before I could finish editing my post but here's mine anyway.  :)

Chaining macros is the easiest only way to break the time barrier. (I believe you could build a macro with elses and flags to do it but the chaining is easier to program and follow. Also an extended code RF solution might  work instead of dummy modules but it wouldn't be as reliable as using dummy modules for chaining.)

Here's the trick for a 12/8/4 hour delay using HC "M" used for example (different or multiple HCs could be used)...

  • Create 2 dummy modules, M2 & M3 (I like using chime or appliance modules for clarity but it doesn't really matter.)
  • Create macro M1
    • Delay 4 hours
    • M2 On
  • Create macro M2
    • Delay 4 hours
    • M3 On
  • Create macro M3
    • Delay 4 hours
    • Execute operation

Macros can't directly call another macro. The dummy modules are required for one macro to call another. X10 didn't even plan for it to be possible but the "unpaid research team" here on the forum figured that one out.

Executing M3 gives you 4 hours, M2 gives you 8 hours and M1 gives you 12 hours.
« Last Edit: July 13, 2007, 11:28:16 AM by steven r »
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Boiler

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Re: Timer limitation
« Reply #3 on: July 13, 2007, 11:47:12 AM »

Boiler sneaked his post in before I could finish editing my post but here's mine anyway.  :)

Sorry, you spent a lot more time with formatting (TTA would be proud).

...Also an extended code RF solution might  work instead of dummy modules but it wouldn't be as reliable as using dummy modules for chaining.)

I haven't messed with this for quite a while.  Will the CM15a echo it's own RF transmit?  If so, you could use a RF transmit to another house code to activate a macro.  This would be quite a bit quicker and wouldn't clog up the power line with calls to dummy modules.
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steven r

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Re: Timer limitation
« Reply #4 on: July 13, 2007, 12:11:00 PM »

I haven't messed with this for quite a while.  Will the CM15a echo it's own RF transmit?  If so, you could use a RF transmit to another house code to activate a macro.  This would be quite a bit quicker and wouldn't clog up the power line with calls to dummy modules.
I haven't either. That's why italiced the word "might ". While I think it's possible, I suspect it could have problems. I've decided to take the "If it works don't fix it." approach on this issue. If someone else proves it's possible and reliable, I might consider it.
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tomh

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Re: Timer limitation
« Reply #5 on: July 13, 2007, 12:52:57 PM »

O.K.,

     Stephen R., I attempted your method first.  I performed the steps, but decreased the delay for testing purposes.  My last step was to turn a radio on nearby.  The macros execute (the blue buttons flash), but the radio doesn't turn on if I start at M1.  If I just execute the M3 macro it comes on.  Should my monitored housecode be the M due to the macros or the radio (which I have at C2).  I figure once I iron this part out I can tweak this methodology to start a macro which turns a charger on and charges something for say 14 hours then turns itself off.  It's a charging cycle with variability I want so badly.  I could set up the macro for a Fisher Price toy, another for my Black & Decker portable car jump starter, etc.  I would like to set one up for a monthly cycle too.  I hate trying to remember to charge all my electrical things If I haven't used them in a while. 

tomh
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steven r

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Re: Timer limitation
« Reply #6 on: July 13, 2007, 01:20:42 PM »

...Steven R., I attempted your method first.... ...The macros execute (the blue buttons flash), but the radio doesn't turn on if I start at M1.  If I just execute the M3 macro it comes on.  Should my monitored housecode be the M due to the macros or the radio (which I have at C2).... ...It's a charging cycle with variability I want so badly....
I have several applications where I use a dummy module to allow a macro to call a macro so I know it will work.

While most chargers these days won't over charge, I like you application to make sure. You could even have X10 let you know when charging was done but let's get things working first. You don't need to change your monitored housecode for this to work.

For test purposes, recheck all your programming, set all your delays to say 10 sec, bring up you Activity Monitor on top of the room you have the macros, dummy modules, and test activity (the radio in your case). If necessary to see them all, move them all to the same room for this test. Then trigger them from outside AHP.

Watch the macros and modules and let me know what the Activity Monitor records. Also you may want to turn off you dummy modules first so you can see if they're triggered.
« Last Edit: July 13, 2007, 01:23:59 PM by steven r »
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tomh

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Re: Timer limitation
« Reply #7 on: July 13, 2007, 03:02:32 PM »

Stephen,

     Strange things are happening.  I shortened it to two macros and two dummy modules.  Dummy modules are M2 & M3.  Macros are Macro 1 & Macro 2.  My radio is C2.  M3 module not being used since I'm only using the M2 module for now.  I figure the simpler the easier it is to figure out what I'm doing.  In AHP, the C2 module does turn on (on the screen), but does not physically turn on the radio.  The Activity Monitor shows this--the C2 command is sent.  Still, no sound.  Outside AHP, it does not show the radio (C2) command even being sent. 

tomh
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steven r

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Re: Timer limitation
« Reply #8 on: July 13, 2007, 03:23:44 PM »

...In AHP, the C2 module does turn on (on the screen), but does not physically turn on the radio.  The Activity Monitor shows this--the C2 command is sent....
This appears to indicate the macro is working but the signal isn't getting to the radio. Can you turn the radio On & Off directly from AHP?
If not, move the radio to same outlet that you have the CM15A plugged or as close as you can. Make sure it's on the same circuit as the CM15A and re-test.

....Outside AHP, it does not show the radio (C2) command even being sent....
How are you determining that "Outside AHP, it does not show"? Do you have any tools to test the X10 signal or do you just mean the radio isn't coming on?

If it still isn't working, post the macros so we can figure out if there is something that needs tweaking.
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Boiler

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Re: Timer limitation
« Reply #9 on: July 13, 2007, 03:31:29 PM »

Steven,
We're even - you beat me to the punch.
   
Tom,
Steven is correct that, you may have a phase or noise issue.  Are you running your macro from the interface (downloading) or the PC.  I tend to download everything.


What you are describing should work.  I programmed the attached macro (AHP .ahx file) from your description.  Try it out This may not help at all if you're having phase or noise issues.

  • Download the file to your ActiveHomePro directory (c:\program files\ActivehomePro)
  • Change the file extension from .txt to .ahx
  • Open the file with AHP (save you current home file first).

Macro's
  • Activating module M2 will trigger macro1
  • Macro1 will turn on your charger (C2), delay 10 seconds, then call M3
  • M3 on will trigger Macro2
  • Macro 2 will delay 10 seconds and then turn off your charger.[/li]

The above shows up correctly in my activity monitor and I've verified the power line commands with a testerlinc.

Have fun.
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tomh

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Re: Timer limitation
« Reply #10 on: July 13, 2007, 06:39:39 PM »

Steven and Boiler,

     I save everything to the interface.  I added a signal amplifier and phase coupler some years ago.  I added filters to devices which were "signal suckers".  Did this circuit by circuit.  My reliability has been really good over the years.  My log doesn't show that the radio module command is sent if I use my Stanley Lightmaker Home Control to initiate things-the C2 never appears.  If I click the Macro button on the screen, it seems to work.  I don't have anything to test noise with.  I can control the module directly by clicking on the switch on the AHP screen also.  I can turn the radio on and off with the Home Control from the other end of my house.  Boiler, I will try your file once I get back from vacation.  I will try to work a little more on this problem tonight.  Off to Busch Gardens tomorrow.

tomh
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Boiler

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Re: Timer limitation
« Reply #11 on: July 13, 2007, 07:21:01 PM »

Tom,

Phase couplers, repeaters and filters - sounds like you've been through the learning phase (you ain't no newbie).

My log doesn't show that the radio module command is sent if I use my Stanley Lightmaker Home Control to initiate things-the C2 never appears.  If I click the Macro button on the screen, it seems to work.  I don't have anything to test noise with.  I can control the module directly by clicking on the switch on the AHP screen also.  I can turn the radio on and off with the Home Control from the other end of my house.

I'm not familiar with the Stanley device.  Is this RF or power line communication?  Allow me to restate things for my own benefit:

  • If you use the Stanley device to activate the macro, the macro appears to start but you do not see a C2 on in activity monitor
  • If you click Macro 1 - things work (radio turns on, delays, then turns off)
  • You can activate the radio directly by clicking the hardware module within AHP
  • You can activate the radio directly with the Stanley transmitter

To be honest, I'm out of ideas.  Things may revolve around whether your Stanley transmitter is RF or power line and the date code of your CM15a..  The date code is on a small round label on the back of the unit.

I have a few CM15a's now.  My old unit (2004) responds very differently to RF than the other two.

Give us a yell when you get back in town (enjoy Florida).
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tomh

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Re: Timer limitation
« Reply #12 on: July 13, 2007, 10:48:02 PM »

Boiler,

     A little addition before I turn in.  The Stanley device is a plug in mini controller like X-10's except the All Lights On button has a small red LED.  This is a big asset to me once I take my glasses off and turn in for the night.  It's easily visible.  No fumbling around.  Hard to find these days.  To the point though....everything you said is correct except for point number 2.  I only have attempted to turn the radio on at this point.  My personal opinion is that it has something to do with the interface rather than the software since it works most of the time.  I've been tinkering with X-10 since the late 80's on my Commodore 64.  I've learned a lot by trial and error I guess.  You would think it would work consistently no matter where the signal comes from.  I can't figure why the Activity Monitor doesn't show show the execution module when clicking directly on the module or macro on the AHP screen does.  I've had a few interfaces replace over the years also.  I acutally have two--one upstairs and one downstairs.  The RF range isn't good between walls and I've never attempted to make an amplifier.  The upstairs unit controls a few items and it is tied in to my old Win 98 machine.  Oh, my round sticker on the back is 05D18.  I shall ponder this while riding roller coasters at Busch Gardens over the next few days.  Going to the Virginia one.  Wish I was in Tampa though. 

Thanks,

tomh 
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Dan Lawrence

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Re: Timer limitation
« Reply #13 on: July 13, 2007, 11:24:32 PM »

The Stanley Desktop Controller (Model # 360-3090) is identical to a X10 MC-460 except for that lighted All Lights Off button. You can use one to trigger a keypress macro (I have one that turns off all lights/units on housecodes A,C & F) and the Stanley Desktop Controller triggered the macro.  It was made in the same factory that X10 uses.
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tomh

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Re: Timer limitation
« Reply #14 on: July 18, 2007, 08:22:38 PM »

Well, I'm back from several days of rollercoastering and sweating.  Had a load of fun.  So, I called X10 just to see what they would say.  They felt it was software related.  I uninstalled and reinstalled.  It seems to be more unstable than before.  I even took the interface off and removed the batteries for half an hour.  Is this consistent inconsistencies or inconsistent consistencies?  I e-mailed them last night to let them know it didn't go as planned.  Even the two macro setup isn't working like planned. 

tomh
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