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Author Topic: Muffle that loud relay click?  (Read 8196 times)

Razorback

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Muffle that loud relay click?
« on: April 10, 2010, 11:34:30 AM »

Surely this has come up often, but I really couldn't find it in a search. I've installed about 15 appliance modules at our local museum to turn on the fluorescent lights in the museum display cases. They're all controlled by motion sensors so the lights come on when someone approaches a display case, then they go off a few minutes after the person leaves the area.

The problem is all these loud appliance module relay clicks popping all over the museum all day. It startles the visitors who are touring the museum, and drives the staff crazy.

Has anybody come up with a good way to muffle those things so the clicks aren't so loud?
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Brian H

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Re: Muffle that loud relay click?
« Reply #1 on: April 10, 2010, 12:28:58 PM »

Unfortunately the Appliance Modules use a mechanical ratchet switch that clunks.
I have not seen any modifications to make them quiet.

There are other brand modules that are quiet but much more expensive.

I was using the X10 compatible Smarthome Appliance Modules for that reason. Quiet relays. Now discontinued replaced by their Insteon ApplianceLinc module. It can have an X10 address programmed into it. The slightly lower cost Icon relay can also have an X10 address added to it.

At present I am running a mixed system. Insteon with X10. Some X10 modules don't have an Insteon equivalent.
« Last Edit: April 10, 2010, 01:01:31 PM by Brian H »
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Razorback

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Re: Muffle that loud relay click?
« Reply #2 on: April 10, 2010, 01:07:09 PM »

There are other brand modules that are quiet but much more expensive.

Wow! $35 each. :o

That wouldn't be too bad for getting 2 or 3, but I'd need 15.

Maybe I'll just throw a pillow over the X10 modules to smother the sound  ;)
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Brian H

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Re: Muffle that loud relay click?
« Reply #3 on: April 10, 2010, 01:13:09 PM »

If anyone has done it. I am sure they will share.

Isolating them maybe an answer. Just check them for heating if buried in a pillow. Most likely fine just a check when first done maybe a good thing to do.

Good thing I didn't mention ZWave or UPB they are even more expensive.  ;D

With the Mega Module Sale. 8 for $49.99 is hard to beat. That would not even get you two of the Icon On Off modules.
« Last Edit: April 10, 2010, 04:11:49 PM by Brian H »
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hawk1

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Re: Muffle that loud relay click?
« Reply #4 on: April 10, 2010, 03:57:24 PM »

I don't know if this will be any help or not, but you can look around at this site.  It has a lot of mods that you can do..   Maybe you can get some ideas.
http://www.idobartana.com/hakb/index.htm    >!
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koopr@sstelco.com, I don't know what I'm doin but I'm havin fun doin it!

Razorback

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Re: Muffle that loud relay click?
« Reply #5 on: April 10, 2010, 05:59:46 PM »

The idobartana website does have a modification to silence the snapping appliance module relay and I think I'll give it a try (unless someone else offers an easier solution). It's no snap to do, but after I've done one, if it works, I'm sure doing additional ones will go pretty fast.

Though I realize it MUST be mentioned, I always laugh at the disclaimer that the modification will void the warranty on the $8 item! I believe I'll risk it!
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Brian H

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Re: Muffle that loud relay click?
« Reply #6 on: April 10, 2010, 06:48:34 PM »

Read the modification real close. I believe it says it closes the relay for about two seconds and the contacts are not switching the AC to the Controlled Outlet. Also the relay called out is no longer on the All Electronics Site. You may have to substitute and the original had a higher than normal coil resistance found in many 12 volt relays. Larger resistor would be needed as the place where the two white wires are. Is a pulse of 120 Volts AC used to pull the mechanical relays ratchet. The resistor; capacitor and Zener Diode limit the current and hold the voltage at 12 volts for the coil actuation.

The PC Board in yours may also look different. The latest ones where modified for better CFL use and the controller chip is now a surface mount.

Though trying to do one isn't going to loose much if it doesn't pan out.  ;D

I did one of the older, before soft start,  Lamp Module modifications from the site. To uses a Sharp SSR in place of the triac. It controlled CFLs quite nicely also. By Thierry Parent "Modifying for Silent Appliance Module +220 (Best Description)". I also removed the Local Control Sensing components that he didn't remove. I have some data on PC Board Silk Screening of what I removed and changed.
I have a few extra Sharp SSRs and maybe can try a new Soft Start type Lamp Module.

I tried one of the new CFL friendly appliance modules with the momentary pulse modification and did get it to work.  ;D
« Last Edit: April 16, 2010, 06:54:18 AM by Brian H »
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Razorback

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Re: Muffle that loud relay click?
« Reply #7 on: April 15, 2010, 08:56:35 PM »

OK, I've purchased a few Icon appliance modules to try them out. Smarthome's sales page says they work fine with
X10, which I'm sure they do. But I can't for the life of me figure out how to program them to the X10 addresses I want to control.

The "Quick-Start Guide" that comes with the module doesn't really tell me. It only tells how to link the appliance module to an Insteon controller.

Can anybody give me a step-by-step?
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Brian H

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Re: Muffle that loud relay click?
« Reply #8 on: April 16, 2010, 06:28:16 AM »

Usefull Link:
http://wiki.smarthome.com/index.php?title=2856S3B_Manual

Basically hold the set button until the LED flashes. Release the set button. Send the X10 Address and Command three times on the power line from any X10 controller. The LED should stop flashing and the X10 address is set. The older version Icon used an X10 Off turned off Local Control and an X10 On turned Local Control On.
I believe the later revision versions are different and a sequence of button taps turns local control on and off.

The Icon has a nonvolatile memory in it so you can program it in a convenient location and move it.

Also a tip. Do a factory reset on it before using. There are reports of modules shipping from the factory with test links and X10 addresses in them.  ::)
« Last Edit: April 16, 2010, 06:55:16 AM by Brian H »
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Razorback

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Re: Muffle that loud relay click?
« Reply #9 on: April 16, 2010, 02:35:04 PM »

Send the X10 Address and Command three times on the power line from any X10 controller.

I sure can't get it to work with my PalmPad controller. We have a CM15A at the museum where I'll be using the modules, so I'll try setting it with that.

Of course the CM15A software is a toggle controller. First click on a module icon sends ON, second click sends OFF, third click sends an ON. Hope that won't be a problem.
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Brian H

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Re: Muffle that loud relay click?
« Reply #10 on: April 16, 2010, 03:45:37 PM »

You should be able to use the Palm Pad to program them.
You can use the CM15A AHP interface to receive the RF signals from the Palm Pad.
Just make sure the CM15A in the Hardware Configuration Tab is set to transceiver the House Code you are using.
Plug the Icon into the same wall outlet and program them through the CM15A.

Guess you could also make a temporary chime module on the address you want them on then just click the chime a few times as it only does on signals.

I tried an older Version 1.2 Icon On Off module and it did not program correctly with an on off combination. They also use the on or the off to determine if local control sensing was on or off. I tried a newer revision 4.1 ApplianceLinc that is close to present shipping version and one that does not use the X10 On or Off to set the local control. It also choked on an alternating on and off sequence. On is needed in all three of the X10 signals sent to program them.
If it gets messed up. Just Factory reset it. Unplug for at least 30 seconds. Plug back in while holding the set button. Keep holding the set button for three second then release. When the LED goes back on it is factory reset.
« Last Edit: April 16, 2010, 04:46:07 PM by Brian H »
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Razorback

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Re: Muffle that loud relay click?
« Reply #11 on: April 16, 2010, 05:56:17 PM »

Here's my report.

I tried and tried, but cannot program the Icon modules with the PalmPad.

They programmed fine with the CM15A, though. After putting the Icon in program mode, I'd click with the mouse to turn A1 on, then off, then back on. After the third one, the Icon light would stop blinking, burn steadily, and the module now works fine to turn the display cases on and off when A1 signals are sent from the motion detectors.

The Icon modules are indeed almost completely silent. Just perfect for our needs.

I did a little looking around the net and ran across one post on the Smarthome site that said the PalmPad will not program the Icons because it sends both House Code and Unit Code at the same time, and the Smarthome stuff can't handle that. On the other hand, controllers like CM15A and PHC02 Maxi Controller send House Code first, then Unit Code, and that's what Smarthome modules expect.

So anyway, I'm in business now and things are going great. Thanks!
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Brian H

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Re: Muffle that loud relay click?
« Reply #12 on: April 16, 2010, 06:29:54 PM »

Glad you got them programed.
Strange. I used a Palm Pad and a spare CM15A as a transceiver and programmed both an Icon On Off and an ApplianceLinc with it.
X10 has been changing things lately and all of mine are old Palm Pads. So they may have changed.
It could also be that Smartlabs changed something in the latest firmware in the Icons with the way X10 Addresses are added.
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