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Author Topic: Need help troubleshooting an old install  (Read 736 times)

Kaadk

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Need help troubleshooting an old install
« on: December 10, 2020, 09:46:29 AM »

Hi all, new to x10.  And since I don't know much about the technology, I'm not sure where on the forums to put this.

My father in law has an x10 install is his garage to operate the dust collector for his workshop that was put in like 15-20 years ago.  He contacted me a week or so ago to see if we could 'order him a new remote control unit' for his dust collector.  When I stopped by to see what what model dust collector he had to determine what he needed, he showed me a unit with an x10 logo labelled PAM04.  Having at least heard of x10 before, I recognized it wasn't a dust collector thing, but a home automation thing.  So, off to search the web for x10 devices, found a PAM04 for sale on amazon, got it for him and stopped by to drop it off.  The other day, he called up to say the new unit didn't work either and to return it and order a new one.  That didn't sound right to me, so I stopped by again to check out the full system.  DIgging around, I was able to locate these x10 devices plugged in around his workshop/garage:

1) The PAM04 (with his dust collector plugged in).  I also confirmed the new PAM04 was set to the same code as the old PAM04.  A-1
2) The remotes he used with it (RKR24). He had 2 of these.
3) A transceiver module labelled RTM75
4) A transceiver module labelled TM751

With a little bit of troubleshooting, I was able to determine both of the RKR24 remotes top buttons were capable of controlling the outlet on the TM751 (by plugging in a lamp).  And according to some online instructions I came across for programming the remote, they were both programmed to the code on the PAM04, A-1, because both the house code and unit code only flashed once.  Nothing seemed to work the PAM04, or the RTM75.  Bottom buttons didn't seem to do anything either.  He wants me to "just order a new unit that works".  However, I'm not sure what the failure is, and I don't want to keep throwing money into new pieces trying to figure out what's not working.

What else should I be looking at?  Is there some other component that exists that I missed that handles communication between the transceivers and the PAM04?  If not, then since it sends the signals over the powerline, how does the transceiver, plugged into a 110/15A outlet, talk to the PAM04, plugged into a 220/20A outlet?  Could there be an issue there? Or any other ideas of what could be going on?

Thanks for all the help for this helpless newbie.

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Brian H

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Re: Need help troubleshooting an old install
« Reply #1 on: December 10, 2020, 10:07:41 AM »

Both the RTM75 and TM751 receive the X10 RF commands and sent them onto the power lines. They also have a internal relay set to Unit Code 1 and the House Code set on the dial on the front of the case.

Try rotating the House Code Dial the RTM75 a few times and set it back to A. Occasionally the dial switches can get dirty and be on the wrong code.

Do the TM751 and RTM75 go on and off with the small push button on its front?

The PAM04 is a 220V switch as you found out. That requires an X10 command on both power lines. Getting the X10 command from one line to the other line is not 100%.

If there is no phase coupler between the power lines.

I wounder if the TM751 and RTM75 are each on one of the incoming power lines to get the X10 commands to both power lines.

If the RTM75 does not respond to an A1 On and Off. Even after trying the House Code rotation. I would suspect it has failed and you may want to get another TM751 or X10Pro PAT02 to replace it. The RTM75 part number is the retail version of the TM751 so you don't have to replace it with another RTM75.
« Last Edit: December 10, 2020, 10:40:53 AM by Brian H »
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Kaadk

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Re: Need help troubleshooting an old install
« Reply #2 on: December 10, 2020, 10:43:11 AM »

Ok, thanks for the info.  So, it looks like there was possibly 2 issues then with his setup.  First being the one transceiver not accepting the signal.  I'll try rotating the dial next time I'm over there first, and if that doesn't work, replace it.  The other is that I suspect they weren't on opposite legs of the power.  They were both plugged into outlets just above his workbench, at opposite ends, and both on the lower plug of the outlet.  More likely than not they were on the same circuit.  So, if I can either get the one working, or replaced, just need to make sure they're on different circuits on opposing legs for the PAM04 to work right?

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JeffVolp

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Re: Need help troubleshooting an old install
« Reply #3 on: December 10, 2020, 10:46:34 AM »

The PAM04 is a 220V switch as you found out. That requires an X10 command on both power lines. Getting the X10 command from one line to the other line is not 100%.

Actually, a 240V device receives the X10 signal differentially across both legs.  A simple phase coupler such as a capacitor or the SignaLinc couples the same signal across the legs.  So differentially, the signal will be weak.

The early metal version of the X10 XPCP inverted the signal when installed per the instructions.  That doubled the differential signal to provide a stronger signal for 240V devices.  But any 240V load such as an electric range could seriously attenuate the signal.  The "Decora" version of the XPCP that I tested coupled the signal "in-phase" when installed per the instructions.  While that works fine for normal 120V X10 devices, and is not effected by 240V loads, it also reduces the differential signal for 240V X10 devices.

Bottom line, you don't need a coupler.  A signal on just one leg is fine.  And since the 240V X10 device receives signals across both legs, it doesn't matter which your transmitter is on.

Jeff
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X-10 automation since the BSR days

Brian H

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Re: Need help troubleshooting an old install
« Reply #4 on: December 10, 2020, 06:47:44 PM »

Thank you Jeff for the information on a 220V X10 module.
This is one of the rare times I have seen a 220V modules power line signaling information.
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Kaadk

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Re: Need help troubleshooting an old install
« Reply #5 on: December 11, 2020, 09:11:05 AM »

Thanks for the help all, eliminating the RTM75 from the system seemed to solve the issues, suprisingly.  It must have been receiving the signals afterall and then doing something funky with it causing interference.  With just the TM751 and the PAM04 in the system, both remotes were capable of turning the system on.  Even with the old PAM04, everything was working so the PAM04 never needed replacing.  Father in law decided to keep it as a backup, just in case, though.

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Brian H

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Re: Need help troubleshooting an old install
« Reply #6 on: December 11, 2020, 09:19:19 AM »

Glad you got it working again.

You provided added data and they where on the same phase.

Both the TM751 and RTM75 are not polite and will step on each others power line commands.
You probably had corrupt power line commands.
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