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Author Topic: Help me unfustrate with my MT14. I think. Please  (Read 5218 times)

JeffVolp

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Re: Help me unfustrate with my MT14. I think. Please
« Reply #15 on: November 30, 2020, 10:41:27 AM »

2. Using the mt014 plugged into the same outlet as the xtbr, makes it blink red 5 times.

5 equally spaced flashes means a time-out when programming mode options.  I believe what really happened is one flash indicating a transmission, followed by a 4-flash sequence indicating the transmission was aborted due to a collision.  That either means powerline noise or overlapping X10 commands.

If everything worked fine until 2 days ago, something happened to cause the problems.  It may be something as simple as a holiday decoration with LED bulbs.  Maybe a neighbor sharing the same utility transformer added a noise generator.  Or perhaps an existing electronic device in your home is acting up.

Since you are having trouble with devices 5 and 8, are they on the same phase that the XTBR is plugged into?  Since you don't have a coupler, even a minor signal sucker on that phase could prevent an adequate signal from reaching them.  Or there may be a noise source on that circuit or phase.

Jeff
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X-10 automation since the BSR days

nabril15

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Re: Help me unfustrate with my MT14. I think. Please
« Reply #16 on: November 30, 2020, 12:52:48 PM »

Since you are having trouble with devices 5 and 8, are they on the same phase that the XTBR is plugged into?  Since you don't have a coupler, even a minor signal sucker on that phase could prevent an adequate signal from reaching them.  Or there may be a noise source on that circuit or phase.
Jeff
thanks Jeff, and those are all valid points. The XTBR is plugged in to the outlet right below the garage's main panel that feeds neither 5 or 8.

The misbehavior started before the Christmas lights went up, so I cant blame that.
Code 5 runs off the main panel outside, code 8 runs off an outside subpanel unique to gazebo, and all the other x10 stuff (mt14 and transceivers) runs off the garage's subpanel.

I've been hesitant to shut off circuits 1 by 1 because I have 3 panels, so that will add a lot more possibilities. The majority of the household crap that is plugged in goes to the garage's subpanel. The gazebo panel has a small refrigerator plugged in that has been there since day 1, and the main panel has the pool pump, the pool light, and 2 regular outlets.
I guess I could try this approach to hopefully find a culprit circuit. This testing will be more complicated because a visiting family-in-law owns 3 ipads that are constantly charging. Of course, I will unplug them to test.
1) Turn off circuits in the gazebo and test
2) Turn off circuits in the main panel and test
3) Turn off circuits in the garage panel and test
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nabril15

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Re: Help me unfustrate with my MT14. I think. Please
« Reply #17 on: December 02, 2020, 11:03:50 AM »

another frustrating update.

I took the MT14 and plugged it into the gazebo outlets since they share the same panel as the faulty xps3 with code 8.
I was able to control other codes that are wired to the garage subpanel, but code 8 did not respond. Other codes responded but they took multiple button presses.
I returned the mt14 to its usual outlet inside the house, and tried to test the normal codes. No code responded at all, and in pressing the buttons, I don't see the screen status switch from off to on. I even tried to change the clock, but the + and - buttons didnt respond.

Can we conclude that my mt14 died TODAY since it worked 12 minutes ago? I can't even change the clock on it!!. Even though it remains plugged in, would switching the batteries perhaps fix its issues??

Assuming that it's dead, what I'm leaning towards, do I have another option besides getting another mt14 for automating on/off times? I recall reading some sort of x10 device that can be programmed/controlled by a cellphone app?

EDIT - apparently the MT14 froze since the time remained the same for an hour. I removed all power, and it's working again. Pheww.
Now, onto more testing with that code 8.
« Last Edit: December 02, 2020, 12:09:39 PM by nabril15 »
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brobin

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Re: Help me unfustrate with my MT14. I think. Please
« Reply #18 on: December 02, 2020, 03:20:16 PM »

Correct me if I'm wrong but I think you might be confusing "panels" and "phases."  As I understand, you have 3 circuit breaker panels throughout your home.  Your home is fed with two "phases" (actually 1 split phase, but that's for another time) that are called L1 & L2 each carrying 110 volts.  Without a coupler between L1 & L2 the X10 signal has to go all the way back to the street transformer to travel between the two.  Each of your 3 panels contains circuits fed by L1 & L2.  So, even if the MT14 is plugged into an outlet fed by the same panel as the light fixture, they could be on different phases.  As you look at the panel, every other breaker going down is L1 and the others in between are L2.  The photo below designates them as A & B phases, same thing.  So if the top breaker serves the outlet and the next one down serves the light fixture, the X10 signal has to go all the way back to the street to get there.  A coupler in one of the panels provides a shortcut so a stronger signal gets to the fixture.  If you already knew all this I apologize but it seemed like there might be some confusion.

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nabril15

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Re: Help me unfustrate with my MT14. I think. Please
« Reply #19 on: December 02, 2020, 03:28:41 PM »

Correct me if I'm wrong but I think you might be confusing "panels" and "phases."  As I understand, you have 3 circuit breaker panels throughout your home.  Your home is fed with two "phases" (actually 1 split phase, but that's for another time) that are called L1 & L2 each carrying 110 volts.  Without a coupler between L1 & L2 the X10 signal has to go all the way back to the street transformer to travel between the two.  Each of your 3 panels contains circuits fed by L1 & L2.  So, even if the MT14 is plugged into an outlet fed by the same panel as the light fixture, they could be on different phases.  As you look at the panel, every other breaker going down is L1 and the others in between are L2.  The photo below designates them as A & B phases, same thing.  So if the top breaker serves the outlet and the next one down serves the light fixture, the X10 signal has to go all the way back to the street to get there.  A coupler in one of the panels provides a shortcut so a stronger signal gets to the fixture.  If you already knew all this I apologize but it seemed like there might be some confusion.

Brobin. I did know this, and there's no need to apologize; i appreciate your collaboration.
I am aware of the different phases, and I completely understand your explanation.
However, all of my x10 devices worked fine until X days ago WITHOUT a coupler. What changed? Some visiting relatives have 3 ipads and laptops charging most of the time, and perhaps that's the culprit. If I remember correctly, the code 8 failure started prior to their arrival.

Moving on: I'm looking at a plug-in type of coupler such as the Signalinc model that plugs in to the dryer's outlet. Would that be a good start in strengthening my x-10 network?
Or, if I buy the passive phase device that requires wiring it directly to the panel, could I install it near any of my 3 panels? The 2 outside are easier to get to since they're not embedded into the wall, so I could add an exterior junction box to house the coupler.
« Last Edit: December 02, 2020, 03:36:18 PM by nabril15 »
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Brian H

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Re: Help me unfustrate with my MT14. I think. Please
« Reply #20 on: December 02, 2020, 03:58:46 PM »

Chargers and computer power supplies are just some of the signal suckers and noise makers. You may want to see if temporarily disconnecting the ipads change anything.

An electronic device may also be deteriorating and now is causing problems.

The JV Didital XTB-IIR is of course the gold standard for X10 signals.

The Dryer signal adapters where made in two types. Passive between the two lines and a repeater between the two lines. Along with 3 or 4 pin versions of each. Discontinued a long time ago. Maybe an auction site would have one. The repeater model was seen occasionally causing issues if you had a AHP CM15A.

On the chance you have not read Jeff's tutorials. http://jvde.us/x10_troubleshooting.htm
« Last Edit: December 02, 2020, 04:01:09 PM by Brian H »
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nabril15

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Re: Help me unfustrate with my MT14. I think. Please
« Reply #21 on: December 02, 2020, 04:02:37 PM »

An electronic device may also be deteriorating and now is causing problems.

The JV Didital XTB-IIR is of course the gold standard for X10 signals.

The Dryer signal adapters where made in two types. Passive between the two lines and a repeater between the two lines. Along with 3 or 4 pin versions of each. Discontinued a long time ago. Maybe an auction site would have one. The repeater model was seen occasionally causing issues if you had a AHP CM15A.
THanks Brian
I have an XTBR plugged in to the outlet nearest the garage panel, and I did find the 3 and 4 pin plug-in type of coupler on ebay. I think that I will give it a try to see if I can return to my normal and running state of 2 months ago.
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brobin

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Re: Help me unfustrate with my MT14. I think. Please
« Reply #22 on: December 02, 2020, 04:53:05 PM »

The plug-in XTBR you have is a great amplifier but doesn't couple the phases.  The XTB-IIR, a different unit entirely, is your best bet as both a coupler and an amplifier.  I've built 3 or 4 of them and if you're handy with a soldering iron and have built kits before it's a fun project.  Otherwise just order the assembled version.  To answer your question, yes, you can install it near any of the panels and it'll work for the whole house.  Jeff only has a limited number left so get one while you still can!  It's worth it's weight in gold for solving X10 problems.
http://jvde.us/xtb/xtb-iir.pdf
« Last Edit: December 02, 2020, 05:03:49 PM by brobin »
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bkenobi

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Re: Help me unfustrate with my MT14. I think. Please
« Reply #23 on: December 02, 2020, 06:43:18 PM »

My home has 2 main panels next to a CVT and 1 sub panel located in my shop.  I installed a XTB-IIR after much testing of what was causing my issues via XTBR and switching circuits on/off.  I found that after adding the XTB-IIR I was much better off, but I then had to also add a few filters (I opted for SmartHome 10Amp units) around the house.  The XTB-IIR does a very good job of coupling phases and amplifying signals.

I suspect the added devices are more of a problem than you think.  I found that surge strips/battery backups were a huge problem as were phone chargers and set top boxes.  My washer/dryer, refrigerator, and furnace circuit boards caused issues.  Heck, I just bought a motorized reclining couch that even caused problems.  I eliminated all the easy ones and found my system was working well enough to be happy with it.  But, when someone comes over and plugs in a rogue phone charger it can break devices on the circuit they plugged into.

nabril15

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Re: Help me unfustrate with my MT14. I think. Please
« Reply #24 on: December 03, 2020, 10:20:49 AM »

good morning incredibly-helpful x10ers

I finally carved some time to test the garage panel circuits one by 1 without disturbing the household too much.
I powered off 3 or 4 breakers at a time, and press 8ON on the MT14 and the remote control. I repeated that until I went through the whole panel, and I was not able to conclude anything.
I left the MT14 plugged in the same outlet that's part of the test panel throughout all the testing for the sake of not introducing another variable.
I will re-conclude that the XPS3 behind code 8 is unable to receive the signal as of 2 weeks, and he has decided to stop working as an X10 device; I can and do manually go out to it to press it on and off every night since it controls the landscape lights. I wish that I had a spare XPS3 to test my conclusion, but in essence, I will just have to replace it.

In the name of thoroughness and since I'm working from home and have some time, I will repeat the same test. I will plug the MT14 into gazebo outlets that share the same panel as the xps3 code 8, but I will turn off the breakers in the garage's panel - the one with all the household electronics.
I will also be looking for a Signalinc plug-in coupler as my xmas gift.
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bkenobi

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Re: Help me unfustrate with my MT14. I think. Please
« Reply #25 on: December 03, 2020, 10:38:03 AM »

I'm not exactly sure of your configuration.  Turning off all breakers in the garage will help identify issues sourced from the garage panel. However, if there are issues of the 2 main panels this will not likely help. I recommend turning off all breakers in the system except those you are testing. The 2 main panels are on the same mains as the sub so leaving those main panels on will make it impossible to isolate circuits as you have found.

Brian H

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Re: Help me unfustrate with my MT14. I think. Please
« Reply #26 on: December 03, 2020, 11:12:11 AM »

If you have not tried it yet.
Rotate the House and Unit Code Dials on the XPS3.
We have see some reports of the dial switches getting dirty and a module is actually on a different address than the dials indicate.
« Last Edit: December 03, 2020, 11:13:50 AM by Brian H »
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nabril15

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Re: Help me unfustrate with my MT14. I think. Please
« Reply #27 on: December 03, 2020, 12:24:54 PM »

Rotate the House and Unit Code Dials on the XPS3.
We have see some reports of the dial switches getting dirty and a module is actually on a different address than the dials indicate.

thanks Brian and a great tip. I just tried that, and it still doesnt respond to code 8 or another number.

I'm not exactly sure of your configuration.  Turning off all breakers in the garage will help identify issues sourced from the garage panel. However, if there are issues of the 2 main panels this will not likely help. I recommend turning off all breakers in the system except those you are testing. The 2 main panels are on the same mains as the sub so leaving those main panels on will make it impossible to isolate circuits as you have found.

I shall try this approach this weekend.

Has anyone heard of or used this device, the X10 CP000? At $12 with shipping it sounds too cheap to be effective in comparison to the xpcp or the plug-in types that average $40 or so.

https://www.ebay.com/i/152467553790?chn=ps&norover=1&mkevt=1&mkrid=711-117182-37290-0&mkcid=2&itemid=152467553790&targetid=934793861976&device=c&mktype=pla&googleloc=9052971&poi=&campaignid=10897343926&mkgroupid=106040611134&rlsatarget=pla-934793861976&abcId=9300403&merchantid=116324592&gclid=Cj0KCQiAtqL-BRC0ARIsAF4K3WHf6VT0jSMuiw1Paki5ZzR7oYWJ4xR1--oUnFL6qwuUICvfZv_w7HUaAlhgEALw_wcB
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bkenobi

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Re: Help me unfustrate with my MT14. I think. Please
« Reply #28 on: December 03, 2020, 12:33:11 PM »

I tried a passive coupler at one point and found it worked just ok.  I removed it and installed the XTB-IIR and haven't looked back.  It is obviously more expensive but it does more than it claims IMO.  You can try that device but you are no better off than plugging in your 220V device to bridge things.  If you already have a 220V dryer or water heater or ... you should already have the two legs bridged when those devices are running.  If your system works when a 220V device is running but not when it's turned off, this device might help.  If that doesn't change anything, I'd skip it.

nabril15

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Re: Help me unfustrate with my MT14. I think. Please
« Reply #29 on: December 03, 2020, 12:35:15 PM »

I tried a passive coupler at one point and found it worked just ok.  I removed it and installed the XTB-IIR and haven't looked back.

where can I find this? I've searched to no avail, and I'm not a soderer.

EDIT - never mind, Jeff has them. Duh
The XTB-IIR has to be hardwired to the panel, no?
« Last Edit: December 03, 2020, 12:36:59 PM by nabril15 »
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