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Author Topic: Any simple /cheap means to check signal level and noise?  (Read 6887 times)

everydayflyer

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I have read the explanations about this technology is 40years old and was not designed to coexist with computers,UPS units, plasma TVs, satellite systems,techno Johnny;s house of the future ,aligns and such  but. Does one really need a $200 plus meter just to set up ,trouble shoot / maintain an X-10 system?   If so someone needs to consider renting them out by the week or something perhaps.

I had a DW sensor that kept giving me problems ever few day an I tried the antenna mode which seemed to help but in the end replaced the sensor .


I had a phase issue and did the $1 capacitor trick and it seems to be working just fine,

I have 3 under 500 watts UPS units and one 1300 watts one ,6 Door window sensors,2  PS501 Motion Sensors , 3 Eagle Eyes, a TM751 Transceiver, PS561 Console and a PR511 outdoor flood  and it all seems to work fine.
If I place another PR511 at the most extreme location it seems to want to cause the first one to hang on sometimes,especially if I cut it off and on a lot, It seems to get some commands and perhaps miss some.
This hanging requires the standard start up programming drill.

I have the computer USB to X-10 do it all interface on order. I have read the signals from it are weaker than from the other types of X-10 transmitters but I also realize that not everything you read on the NET is accurate.

So will the computer interface show both the signals being transmitteed and the signals being received ? My guess is yes as I understand it has a learning mode that can monitor 24 hours and the run the same pattern from memory.



 


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JeffVolp

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Re: Any simple /cheap means to check signal level and noise?
« Reply #1 on: May 02, 2010, 09:59:20 AM »

As I recall, there is a distributor that does rent out the discontinued ESM1.

I'm not sure what you mean by the first PR511 hanging on.  If that means that it is not responding to X10 commands sent over the powerline, you might have a problem with signal levels.

If your signal source is on the opposite phase from your PR511s, you might try improving your phase coupler.  If that is just a 0.1uF, it has a capacitive reactance of 13 ohms at 120KHz.  Adding a 18uH inductor in series to created a series resonant circuit tuned to 120KHz will improve its performance significantly.

You might also try disconnecting some of the known problem devices, like your several UPS, to see if they are attenuating the signal.  If that helps, you can isolate them with appropriate filters.

Jeff
« Last Edit: May 02, 2010, 10:03:51 AM by JeffVolp »
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Brian H

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Re: Any simple /cheap means to check signal level and noise?
« Reply #2 on: May 02, 2010, 09:59:46 AM »

I saw a test report on a now defunct automation site. Showing the CM15A actually had a stronger power line signal than some of the other X10 controllers.

Automated Outlet has ELK ESM1 X10 test meters that are loaners.

http://www.automatedoutlet.com/Home/Test-Equipment/ELK-ESM1-TEST
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everydayflyer

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Re: Any simple /cheap means to check signal level and noise?
« Reply #3 on: May 02, 2010, 11:42:31 AM »

Quote
I'm not sure what you mean by the first PR511 hanging on.  If that means that it is not responding to X10 commands sent over the powerline, you might have a problem with signal levels.

One PR511 flood at a time  will work fine and sometimes two work fine however from time to time with both operating one will hang . It stays on and can not be turned off without performing the inialization routine.

Thanks for the Adding a 18uH inductor in series to created a series resonant circuit tuned to 120KHz will improve its performance significantly.
Tip.  I found this DIY article

http://www.laureanno.com/Coupler-and-Blockers.html



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everydayflyer

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Re: Any simple /cheap means to check signal level and noise?
« Reply #4 on: May 02, 2010, 11:50:09 AM »

I saw a test report on a now defunct automation site. Showing the CM15A actually had a stronger power line signal than some of the other X10 controllers.

Automated Outlet has ELK ESM1 X10 test meters that are loaners.

http://www.automatedoutlet.com/Home/Test-Equipment/ELK-ESM1-TEST


Just goes to show you that if you want an answer read one and stop. ;D I know I have read the CM15A has a weaker signal than the TM751 but then I do not remember seeing any hard test numbers to back up the statement. All things considered  there are a bunch of possible issues to mis lead one while conducting such test. A 220 volt appliance being on during one test and off during another,computers being off or on along with their UPS units,etc.,etc..


Thanks for everyone's help.


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Brian H

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Re: Any simple /cheap means to check signal level and noise?
« Reply #5 on: May 02, 2010, 02:07:20 PM »

Yes the 18uH choke and series .1uf capacitor is what Smarthome has in their dryer outlet passive couplers.

I found the CM15A data from the net. The CM15A had a slightly higher output and more stable signal compared to a CM11A.
Didn't see any comparison to the TM751 and then it could depend on newer or older revision TM751. My new ones have the same RF receiver board as the CM15A.
« Last Edit: May 02, 2010, 02:17:15 PM by Brian H »
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JeffVolp

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Re: Any simple /cheap means to check signal level and noise?
« Reply #6 on: May 02, 2010, 08:16:56 PM »

Tip.  I found this DIY article

http://www.laureanno.com/Coupler-and-Blockers.html

I wanted to comment on the simulated response for the Leviton 6287 filter in that article.  It shows a very sharp notch centered around 130KHz, with less rejection at the X10 120KHz carrier frequency.  That would be what one would obtain with ideal components with the exact values shown in the schematic.

I have measured a Leviton 6287 using a function generator swept over the range of interest.  Its notch was centered at 123KHz, but the notch was broader than the simulation.  It was still very effective blocking signals at 120KHz.

Jeff
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everydayflyer

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Re: Any simple /cheap means to check signal level and noise?
« Reply #7 on: May 03, 2010, 10:44:18 AM »

Quote
If your signal source is on the opposite phase from your PR511s, you might try improving your phase coupler.  If that is just a 0.1uF, it has a capacitive reactance of 13 ohms at 120KHz.  Adding a 18uH inductor in series to created a series resonant circuit tuned to 120KHz will improve its performance significantly.

Ran some additional test and even with the capacitive reactance of 13 ohms at 120KH due to using a on the 0.1uF only everything seems to work well except for one out building which is on the cross coupled  Phase . No plans to X-10 it other than the Door /Window sensor which is RF and now works fine after replacing a Sensor which most likely somewhat marginal all along. 

I even tried an Appliance Module (AM466)  plugged into a 100 ft. extension cord in my shop which really puts it at the end of the line and it worked fine.

Just as a precaution I mapped my power panels and moved a few lines to the same phase as the console and TM751  so that the CM15A  should have an easier task when it arrives and I start the next learning phase. B:(.



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