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Author Topic: XTBM Kit Review.  (Read 10650 times)

Brian H

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XTBM Kit Review.
« on: January 11, 2010, 10:04:36 AM »

I recently received my XTBM Kit and would like to share my findings.

The parts in the kit; all look like quality parts and the PCB is well laid out.

If you have general electronic assembly experience. The kit should be no problems.
You will need a good soldering iron with a small tip and knowledge of resistor color codes. I used a multimeter to verify my decoding was correct.
A magnifier to read the small numbers on the components is also a big help.
I found that taking a copy of the board layout and marking each part when installed. Along with the unused positions worked well.
Crossing off the part number on the parts list, as used, also worked well.
As the instructions said. One of the hardest things to do. Is get the display socket and the main boards header to mate when putting on the cover.

It powered up with no problems on the first try.

Using its repeater finding tests on power up. I was able to quickly look at the signal levels in my homes wiring. That is using an XTB-IIR Repeater Coupler.

Using a TM751 in the XTB-IIRs X10 interface outlet on its cover. I am now easily finding signal suckers and noise makers using the XTBM.
I have found a few I didn't expect. Any Smarthome Controller using the PowerLinc II base board [Access Point; SignalLincRF;2414 PLC; 2412 PLM Simplehomenet modules] suck the signals down around 2 volts. So do their older X10 only controllers. I also found a rechargeable flashlight that plugs directly into the wall sucks the voltage down about 1 volt. A CCFL that triggers the 'Noise' detection.

I have one branch circuit that has a 1.45 volt reading from the XTB-IIR. Using the XTBM I found the problem and proved one of the known signal problems. Too many two way modules absorb signals. This circuit has five two way devices and the flashlight mentioned above. One X10 RR501 and four Insteon ApplianceLinc Relay modules. With the XTBM I could watch the voltages change as modules where added or removed. Since 1.45 volts is still very good. I will not do much to improve it.

The XTBM is a great addition to my X10/Insteon setup.
It would make a great addition to any X10 enthusiast  installation.


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Re: XTBM Kit Review.
« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2010, 08:11:20 PM »

As the instructions said. One of the hardest things to do. Is get the display socket and the main boards header to mate when putting on the cover.

Thank you very much for the review!

Yes, I had some difficulty with the connector alignment on the prototype.  Since then I learned that if I get the connectors exactly vertical, just slipping the cover down using the rear panel as a guide mates them perfectly.  One fellow reported it was easier to mate the connectors first, and then install the bottom.

X-10 automation since the BSR days


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Re: XTBM Kit Review.
« Reply #2 on: January 12, 2010, 02:40:09 PM »

 :)% Brian H, Good review. Very helpful information.  >!

I will be buying the "Assembled" XTB-IIR as soon as I save up enough cash.

Update. Ordered one today.

My hands shake at times so, I wouldn't want to attempt any "spot on" soldering.
« Last Edit: January 14, 2010, 06:28:40 PM by Duck69 »
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Brian H

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Re: XTBM Kit Review.
« Reply #3 on: January 14, 2010, 12:56:36 PM »

Well the XTBM has been used in many tests the last few days.
I was curious what the output voltage and signal frequency of both X10 and Insteon in X10 mode was sending.
My Insteon tends to be lower in output voltage and higher in signal frequency. Insteon is 131.65KHz X10 is 120KHz. The X10 mode of Insteon is between 123KHz and 124KHz.

The XTBM did find a BAD 2414U Insteon Controller. While testing it.
The XTBM said High Noise and showed no X10 data.
X10 monitors and modules also did not respond to the signals.
ELK ESM1 showed maybe five bars of signal but again no Green LED X10 Good Signal response.
I got a scope out and comparing a good one to the defective one. There are extra signal bursts at the incorrect timing. Guess it looks like high noise to the XTBM.
I have called it failed and out of warranty. Paperweight.  B:(

I also noticed a drop from 9.99 Volts [could be higher as 9.99 is max] to 3.67 volts on one tested outlet.  -:) I had connected an IBM Laptop charger and it was the culprit.
« Last Edit: January 14, 2010, 06:48:58 PM by Brian H »
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