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Author Topic: various x10 control issues  (Read 16909 times)

nabril15

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various x10 control issues
« on: March 09, 2015, 08:47:38 PM »

Hello
I have 2 LED lights (A and B) controlled by 2 separate XPS3 switches, and I am using an MT13a controller to control all of our X10. I also use a TM51 remote receiver and a CR12a remote.
 
Both lights are supposed to come on at sunset, and one of them comes off at sunrise. What normally happens every day is:
 
Sunset - Light A comes on with the command, and I have to force light B on with the remote. AT 10:45 pm, B comes off from the command sent from the MT13a, which is fine.
Sunrise - An off command is sent from the controller to light A, but the light doesnt come off. I have to force it off with the remote.
I've been using X10 for some time, so I am aware of the inconsistencies that can be caused by the cabling. I have plugged my MT13 controller into different outlets throughout the house, but the behavior continues. Its obvious that my controller works fine since it sends out the signals, and it's obvious that my switches are fine because they receive the signals. I've noticed that other x10 switches throughout the house won't receive the signal from the MT13, but they do receive the signal from the remote and TM51. Why is that?
 
What else can I try? Do I need a coupler or a phaser or both?
 
THank you
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dhouston

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Re: various x10 control issues
« Reply #1 on: March 09, 2015, 08:57:46 PM »

I assume you mean TM751 which puts out a PLC signal approximately twice the amplitude of the PLC signal from the MT13A. That probably explains why some switches respond to the TM751 but not the MT13A. The original MT522 (and PHT02) MiniTimer output 10Vpp but everything introduced after the CM11A only output ~5Vpp. See http://davehouston.org/x10-sig.htm.

As for the LED lights, one possibility is that light A has developed a noisy power supply. The noise interferes with valid PLC signals. Can you control light B when light A is off?
« Last Edit: March 09, 2015, 09:17:03 PM by dhouston »
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nabril15

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Re: various x10 control issues
« Reply #2 on: March 09, 2015, 09:35:51 PM »

Thank you Dave.
You're right,  it's a tm751.

With light A off,  I can only control light B from the remote and not the mini controller.
I have verified that all of my x10 devices are on the same phase.

Should I look for an mt522 controller (probably impossible to find)?  Or will a signal amplifier help?
« Last Edit: March 09, 2015, 09:40:47 PM by nabril15 »
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dhouston

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Re: various x10 control issues
« Reply #3 on: March 09, 2015, 09:46:27 PM »

I believe the MT522 was discontinued several years ago when the MT13 was introduced.

The fact that you can turn light A on but not off with the MT13 is a strong indication that noise from light A's switching power supply is the culprit. With A off, there is no noise but with A on, there is noise, which the stronger TM751 signal can overcome. Try swapping A & B or, if that's not practical, temporarily replace A with an incandescent.
« Last Edit: March 09, 2015, 09:53:51 PM by dhouston »
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nabril15

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Re: various x10 control issues
« Reply #4 on: March 10, 2015, 07:45:54 AM »

I will replace bulb A with something else and continue to test. Can I do anything to strengthen the weak signal of the mt13? Or will eliminating the potential noise-maker bulb A,  solve my other issues where only the remote turns things on or off.
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Brian H

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Re: various x10 control issues
« Reply #5 on: March 10, 2015, 08:09:25 AM »

You may want to look at Jeff's Troubleshooting Tutorials. I mentioned in your post over at the UDI Forums.
http://jvde.us/x10_troubleshooting.htm

If you do have all the x10 devices on one phase. You may have signal suckers or noise makers.
If not all on the same phase. Then an X10 coupler or coupler/repeater maybe needed.
If you have any electronics also on the same phase. Like Computers,TVs, Surge Suppressors with noise filters, UPS Units, etc. Try unplugging them and see if anything changes.
« Last Edit: March 10, 2015, 08:12:09 AM by Brian H »
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dhouston

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Re: various x10 control issues
« Reply #6 on: March 10, 2015, 08:20:40 AM »

I will replace bulb A with something else and continue to test. Can I do anything to strengthen the weak signal of the mt13? Or will eliminating the potential noise-maker bulb A,  solve my other issues where only the remote turns things on or off.
Your post appears to indicate that your X10 problems are relatively recent. If so, it's likely a noisy LED power supply is causing your current problems. Replacing it with a noise-free bulb should fix things.
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nabril15

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Re: various x10 control issues
« Reply #7 on: March 11, 2015, 10:48:39 AM »

ok, so I continue with my quest, but I think I isolated my issues to bulb A. I replaced it with a CFL, and this morning all lights came off as they were supposed to. However, last night at 7pm, bulb A came on (as "normal'') but bulb B didn't. So, I will continue troubleshooting.

I have another light controlled by an xps3 that resides in my outside main panel. My house has 2 panels: the exterior main panel which houses the exterior stuff (pool, irrigation pump), and my interior panel which houses the interior circuits. I want to control a roof flood light which is attached to the exterior panel from my MT13a, however, it just won't happen; with the remote, it works fine.
Can I add some device or filter or amplifier or something that will help me get that weak signal from the MT13a to get across to the exterior panel? And at the same time, it would boost the signal through the interior circuits ??
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Brian H

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Re: various x10 control issues
« Reply #8 on: March 11, 2015, 11:10:58 AM »

Have you tried using the MT13A in the outlet the TM751 is normally in? To see if that location can address the problem switch.

There are coupler/repeaters.
Like the X10Pro XPCR, ACT CR234 and the Cadillac of devices JV Digital Engineering  XTB-IIR Coupler/Repeater or XTBR booster
http://jvde.us/xtb_index.htm
I have an XTB-IIR and the lowest X10 signal I have is 1.35 volts on the power line measured by their XTBM test meter.
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nabril15

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Re: various x10 control issues
« Reply #9 on: March 11, 2015, 11:15:53 AM »

Have you tried using the MT13A in the outlet the TM751 is normally in? To see if that location can address the problem switch.

BRIAN -Yes, I have done that, but not with the non-offending LED bulb I removed last night. I will experiment more today with other bulbs (CFL and incandescent). Thank you for the information on the repeaters.
« Last Edit: March 11, 2015, 11:25:58 AM by nabril15 »
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joe s.

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Re: various x10 control issues
« Reply #10 on: March 11, 2015, 01:01:30 PM »

nabril15,

If your seriously planning on expanding your use of X10 automation rather than abandoning it for something else; then, in my humble opinion, you might as well jump in with the JV Digital Engineering XTB-IIR Coupler/Repeater.  I personally consider the others on Brian's list as "half-measures".  They might work....but they might not.

Brian calls the XTB-IIR a Cadillac...but I'd venture to say its kinda more like a jet fighter.  You will pretty much eliminate the guess work with the real deal.  I'm not suggesting you couldn't find some ultra flaky electrical device that could interfere with the incredibly strong signal it generates on each command - but I personally haven't found one.

I bought mine a little over a year ago.  It made all my X10 devices solid and incredibly reliable (even a couple that I chucked in a box assuming they were faulty) - which has allowed me to use my X10 system for functions that are a bit more demanding, with no concern for reliability.  I guess it all depends on where you wanna go.
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nabril15

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Re: various x10 control issues
« Reply #11 on: March 11, 2015, 01:40:11 PM »

thank you Joe
Where can I see how the XTB-IIR is installed (not assembled)? Does it plug in? Or does it go in the electrical panel?
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JeffVolp

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Re: various x10 control issues
« Reply #12 on: March 11, 2015, 03:16:04 PM »

Where can I see how the XTB-IIR is installed (not assembled)? Does it plug in? Or does it go in the electrical panel?

The XTB-IIR has an internal terminal block for connections.  You can see that here:

http://jvde.us/xtb/XTB-IIR_case_800.jpg

You can wire a 240V plug to that terminal block, or connect it directly to a 240V breaker in the panel.

Jeff
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nabril15

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Re: various x10 control issues
« Reply #13 on: March 11, 2015, 03:26:50 PM »

thanks Jeff
Pardon the ignorance. So I (the electrician) would have to wire that box to my breaker panel, and I could plug something into it if I wanted to?

Does it matter which panel I connect it to? I have 2 - an exterior and interior (see previous posts).
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JeffVolp

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Re: various x10 control issues
« Reply #14 on: March 11, 2015, 05:06:20 PM »

thanks Jeff
Pardon the ignorance. So I (the electrician) would have to wire that box to my breaker panel, and I could plug something into it if I wanted to?

Does it matter which panel I connect it to? I have 2 - an exterior and interior (see previous posts).

You can only plug an X10 transmitter into the X10 Boost Input receptacle.  It is isolated from the powerline by a low-pass filter fused a 1/2A.

Whichever panel feeds most of your X10 devices is where any repeater (including the XTB-IIR) should be installed to keep signal loss to a minimum.

Jeff
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