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Author Topic: How to Test X10 Powerflash PF284?  (Read 607 times)

wickvegs

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How to Test X10 Powerflash PF284?
« on: May 11, 2021, 12:13:36 PM »

Have had the X10 PF284 running our outside lights for 20 years.  It works in conjunction with our drive alert.  When someone drives by the sensor, chimes go off in the house and the outside spot lights come on.

Through the years I have had to replace the PF284 a couple of times.  Just stopped working so ordered a replacement online and back in business. Not this latest time.  Drive alert chimes work just fine but the lights no longer trigger on automatically.   They have a separate switch so I know they work fine.

I tried a couple of units I purchased on ebay.  Of course given the age, etc it is very possible that both of the units are dead.

For someone like me - is there anyway I can test the X10 to even see if it is transmitting / triggering or if it is dead?   As those of you who know this device - it has no lights on it at all.

Thanks in advance!

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Brian H

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Re: How to Test X10 Powerflash PF284?
« Reply #1 on: May 11, 2021, 03:47:05 PM »

The sensors interface in the house has the chime in it and it does sound?
The outside light is an X10 switch turned On and Off by the PF284?

It is probably set to Input B dry contact input and Mode 3 sends an On and Off following the Input. If it is on Input A then the interface maybe sending a voltage on detection of a vehicle.

You may want to turn the wall switches dials around a few times. Sometimes with age they make poor contact and are actually on a different address than set too.

If you have a X10 module you can plug in on the same circuit as the PF284. You can try it on the same circuit.

Does the Test button on the front of the PF284 turn the lights on and off?

If it is Input B. If you disconnect the sensors console and connect a wire between the two input terminals. The lights should go On and Off as you connect and disconnect the temporary connection.

If you have a meter. In B there should be a low DC voltage on the Input terminals.
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bkenobi

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Re: How to Test X10 Powerflash PF284?
« Reply #2 on: May 12, 2021, 10:55:50 AM »

I originally used a PF module to see the trigger of a motion sensor which would control the lights in front of my house.  I found early on that was a bad idea because on one particularly windy day the PF tripped on/off thousands of times in a few hours.  As a result, I burned it up.  I replaced it and was back up and running but took apart the original to see what failed.  I do not recall what the issue was, but I do still have it in a box so I know I replaced the failed component and was back up with a backup.  I replaced the setup with a RPi GPIO trigger which allowed me to enter a whole different world of automation possibilities.

In the end, my recommendation would be to locate the thread where I posted my diagnostic of the PF which should have pictures and the part I replaced called out.  It may be a common failure mode which would make it possible for you to fix the box of them it sounds like you have.  I would go through Brian's suggestions first of course, but if the PF is actually faulty, it may be repairable.

wickvegs

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Re: How to Test X10 Powerflash PF284?
« Reply #3 on: May 12, 2021, 10:58:56 AM »

YES - "The sensors interface in the house has the chime in it and it does sound?"
USED to Work.  Does not anymore. "The outside light is an X10 switch turned On and Off by the PF284?"

It is currently set on B / 1.  I was careful to match the settings from the previous units.

When I a manually turn the lights on, the All Off Button

When I press Test, the lights do nothing.
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Brian H

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Re: How to Test X10 Powerflash PF284?
« Reply #4 on: May 12, 2021, 03:57:41 PM »

You have the PF284 set to B Input and Mode 1 or X10 Address B1?

Mode 1. It is sending an X10 All Lights On to the House Code set on the House Code Dial and an On to the set address when triggered. An X10 Off when the trigger is removed. All other lights on the same House Code stay On.
Mode 3. X10 On and Off sent to the X10 address set on the PF284 House and Unit Code dials.

You would not happen to have an X10 plug in module you could connect on the same circuit as the PF284? That may help seeing if it is sending a signal and something has changed you power lines conditions. Like a new noise maker or signal sucker.

If you temporarily disconnect the alert console from the PF284. You may want to try a few different locations for the PF284 and see if the Test Button can control the switches from a different location.

Can you control the switches with another X10 controller. If not the switches may have the issue.

Jeffs Troubleshooting Tutorials. https://jvde.us/x10-troubleshooting/

Manual for the PSC01 that is the X10Pro version of a PF284
« Last Edit: May 12, 2021, 04:06:42 PM by Brian H »
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wickvegs

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Re: How to Test X10 Powerflash PF284?
« Reply #5 on: May 23, 2021, 08:54:22 PM »

I purchased a Universal Module new from X10 to make sure I had at least 1 good starting point.

Lights still not turning on either from the drive alert or when I press Test All.

I opened the big box on the wall today. It says it is a Cartell CF-2C.   

I don't have any idea what I am looking at BUT I think I may have spotted the problem.  See the photo attached.

The green / black are attached to #17.  But look to the left.  The red / white are not attached to anything.  See how the ends have been twisted together and see how the wire has been spread apart?  It "appears" to me that the red / white have came out of where they should be.



« Last Edit: May 26, 2021, 08:22:55 PM by wickvegs »
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brobin

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Brian H

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Re: How to Test X10 Powerflash PF284?
« Reply #7 on: May 24, 2021, 06:17:28 AM »

What are you trying to do with the driveway sensor console? That should help in getting you an answer.

Did you buy a UM506 Universal Module or a PF284 Powerflash module?
The UM506 has a low voltage relay output controlled by an X10 command.
The PF284 has a input on it that a signal can trigger an X10 command sent on to the power lines.
From the linked manual. Pin 17 is one of the consoles sensor connections. Probably should not be used for an externally triggered device.

If you want to send an X10 command when a vehicle is detected. You need a PF284 not a UM506.
Connect the PF284 input terminals to the consoles 13 NO and 12 COM dry contact relay output.
PF284 Input B dry contact. Mode 3 X10 On when closed X10 Off when open.

Manuals attached. PSC01 is the X10pro labeled PowerFlash.
« Last Edit: May 24, 2021, 06:52:18 AM by Brian H »
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wickvegs

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Re: How to Test X10 Powerflash PF284?
« Reply #8 on: May 24, 2021, 02:36:33 PM »

After further investigation I found that the unconnected pair was going to the photocell.  It was removed a few years back by a technician since the photocell was not working and he did not have a replacement.

I also seem to be missing something. 

I have a PF284 (and the UM506 but based on Brians message I will not try that until the system is back working).  The is the Receiver.
I have 2 X10 light switches that are used to turn off / on the lights manually.
I have the Cargill auto detector.

Where is the transmitter?  Is it the Cargill that sends the signal to the X10 when it detects a vehicle?  As stated before - the sound notification is working fine. 
One of the several things that confuse me on this is on the X10 is a house code.  In the X10 documentation it says "each X10 controller must be operating on the same house code".

Is there a controller / transmitter that is somewhere that I have not located?


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Brian H

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Re: How to Test X10 Powerflash PF284?
« Reply #9 on: May 24, 2021, 03:18:15 PM »

If you want the X10 light switches to go On when a vehicle is detected.
The PF284 is the X10 power line transmitter.
That will turn On the X10 switches. That receive the power line commands from the PF284.
The House Code and Unit Code on the PF284 should match the address set on the wall switches.
If the address is the same on both the switches and the PF284. They will go on as the console detects the the vehicle and off after it times out.
If you want the light switches to stay On. You can use Mode 1 on the PF284 and have the House Code match the wall switches setting but on a different unit code. The wall switches respond to an All Lights On command and an Off on the House Code and Unit code.
The dry contact input on a PF284 can be triggered by the Cargill  consoles dry contact relay.
You do not need a UM506 to control the lights. As the PF284 is an X10 controller and the wall switches are X10 receivers. You can have more than one X10 controller and X10 receiver on the same address. Any of the controller will control all the modules on the same X10 address.
If you want to test the PF284 and the wall switches to see if they are set correctly. You can leave the Cargill disconnected and the Test Button on the PF284 should control the light switches and depending on Mode 1 or Mode 3. The light will either Go On and Off Mode 3 or go On and stay On Mode 1.

If you wanted an extra low voltage dry relay On Off. The PF284 when it sends the On and Off detected by the Cargill. Can turn the UM506 On and Off with power line commands. That are also controlling the light switches. Just not needed to get the lights to go On and Off.
« Last Edit: May 24, 2021, 04:01:41 PM by Brian H »
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wickvegs

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Re: How to Test X10 Powerflash PF284?
« Reply #10 on: May 25, 2021, 12:00:39 PM »

"The PF284 is the X10 power line transmitter."

I found the pair from the Cargill that run to the X10.  I believe that the X10 I purchased is working. 

So normally I would think then that there is an issue with the Cargill but when I manually turn on the lights and press "Lights off" on the X10, the lights do not go off.  Are you saying that I need to unhook the Cargill pairs to test the "lights off" button?
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Brian H

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Re: How to Test X10 Powerflash PF284?
« Reply #11 on: May 25, 2021, 12:58:32 PM »

NO you do not have to disconnect the Cargill but it may help. With it disconnected it eliminates it being a possible problem.
What is the House Code and Unit Code set on the PF284 and are the X10 switches set to the same House Code and Unit Code?

Is the PF284 set to Mode 3 or Mode 1 and Input B?

X10 power line signals can have a problem getting from one incoming power line to the other power line. Frequently you may find half the house works and the other side does not.
You can run a few tests that may help. Take the PF284 and try different locations in the house. Using the test button. See if the switches work from some locations. If they do in some locations. You may have a phase coupling issue, power line noise maker or signal sucker.
 
Is this a system that worked and then stopped?

https://jvde.us/x10-troubleshooting/
http://kbase.x10.com/wiki/Home_Automation
« Last Edit: May 25, 2021, 01:28:30 PM by Brian H »
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wickvegs

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Re: How to Test X10 Powerflash PF284?
« Reply #12 on: May 26, 2021, 08:22:34 PM »

First of all - thanks for the help so far. Would have never made it this far without you.

I have a copy of the PF284's to test with.

The drive alert controller is in our basement in a room directly below one of the rooms with a X10 light switch installed.  What is odd is that nothing has changed recently or the last 20 years we have had it in place.

I took the PF284 in the first room with the X10 light switch and tried to test.  Nothing.  Does not turn the lights on, does not turn the lights off.  They are literally 4 feet apart.

I then took it in the second room and it works - kind off.  When I press Test, I hear the light switch click. The lights come on.  Then in about 2 seconds they then switch off.  Almost acting as if I had a short somewhere??  All of the PF284's give the exact same response.   

If the switch in the first room went "bad" would you expect this kind of behavior?

BTW - PF284's are set as Input = B and Mode = 1.



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Brian H

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Re: How to Test X10 Powerflash PF284?
« Reply #13 on: May 27, 2021, 06:45:40 AM »

The Test Switch when pushed sends an All Lights On to the House Code and a On to the address (House and Unit Code) set on its dials.
When you release the test button it sends an Off to the address (House Code and Unit Code) the dials are set to. Any other light switch turned On by the PF284 will stay On. Anything like a appliance module on the same address will go off.

Are your lights using an X10 wall switch or a appliance module controlling the lights? As appliance modules and relay wall switches use the typically sounding Clunk of a relay. The relay wall switch should still follow an All Lights On command to its house code. Appliance modules do not respond to an All Lights On command.

It sounds like room 2 is working OK. Depending on the PF248 dial settings and switches address dial settings. Room 1 may have a different circuit feeding the switch and the outlet you used in the test. You may want to rotate the House and Unit Code dials around a few times. They sometimes get poor connections and may actually be on a different address than the dials are set to.

You could try the tests with the mode set to three and the switches set to the same address as the PF284. In that mode pushing the Test Button will turn the switch on and when released should turn the switches off.

It sounds like you may have a phase coupling problem or power line signal issue. Do you have a phase coupler between the incoming power lines. It may have failed.

Anything new could be anything. A new phone charger, automated sweeper,Video and Audio gear. Can cause issues sometimes.
« Last Edit: May 27, 2021, 09:06:12 AM by Brian H »
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Brian H

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Re: How to Test X10 Powerflash PF284?
« Reply #14 on: May 27, 2021, 09:14:54 AM »

Example:
Wall Switches on House Code B and Unit Code 1.
PF284 on House Code B, Unit Code 1, Mode 1.

When the Test button is held in or the Cargill detects a vehicle. The switches will go on.
When the Test button is released or the Cargill times out. The switches will go off.

If the PF284 is set to House Code B and Unit code 2. So the Unit Code does not match the switches Unit Code.
When the Test Button is held in or the Cargill detects a vehicle. The switches will go on.
When the Test Button is released or the Cargill times out. The switches will stay on. So an X10  controller or remote would be used to turn them back off.
« Last Edit: May 27, 2021, 09:24:38 AM by Brian H »
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