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Author Topic: PLC01 Repeater - problems, solutions?  (Read 540 times)

smatofu

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PLC01 Repeater - problems, solutions?
« on: June 24, 2021, 04:26:52 PM »

Hi,

I received my Powerline Command Repeater PLC01 a few days ago. I quickly found problems that other people had:
1) incompatibility with some ActiveHome commands (dimming codes) and
2) unreliability (tendency to get into infinite loops of repeating codes).

But when PLC01 works, it indeed amplifies powerline signal.

I am wondering if anybody found a solution for those problems?

How about connecting PLC01 to the home grid through an appliance module and power cycling PLC01 every few minutes, and/or turning off PLC01 in macros that dim lights. Powering off would be done by the intermediate appliance module.

What do you think Guys?

S.




 
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Tuicemen

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Re: PLC01 Repeater - problems, solutions?
« Reply #1 on: June 25, 2021, 08:34:35 AM »

If I remember correctly (in my tests) it was the CM15A & AHP  that was looping not the repeater. Unplugging the repeater did not stop the looping, unplugging  the CM15A was required. I don't remember if  I tested with other software.
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smatofu

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Re: PLC01 Repeater - problems, solutions?
« Reply #2 on: June 25, 2021, 02:50:11 PM »

If I remember correctly (in my tests) it was the CM15A & AHP  that was looping not the repeater. Unplugging the repeater did not stop the looping, unplugging  the CM15A was required. I don't remember if  I tested with other software.

Thank you Tuicemen! 

[AHP  that was looping not the repeater] That is even better! I could turn off PLC01 at the beginning of any macro using dimming command.

Let me do some testing and I will get back here.

PLC01 does a good amplification on a cheap. 
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smatofu

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Re: PLC01 Repeater - problems, solutions?
« Reply #3 on: June 25, 2021, 03:27:14 PM »


Thank you Tuicemen! 

[AHP  that was looping not the repeater] That is even better! I could turn off PLC01 at the beginning of any macro using dimming command.

Let me do some testing and I will get back here.

PLC01 does a good amplification on a cheap.

It works! I turn off PLC01 at the beginning of macros with dimming, and on at the end. It works on non-dimming macros w/o any changes.

I checked connecting PLC01 to different outlets around the house and found an outlet that amplifies the signal to reach the farthest room in the house.

« Last Edit: June 25, 2021, 04:19:00 PM by smatofu »
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Tuicemen

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Re: PLC01 Repeater - problems, solutions?
« Reply #4 on: June 26, 2021, 08:59:33 AM »

Glad to see you have a work arround that works for you. Since I never had a PLC issue I never looked at work arrounds.
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smatofu

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Re: PLC01 Repeater - problems, solutions?
« Reply #5 on: June 26, 2021, 09:08:46 AM »

Glad to see you have a work arround that works for you. Since I never had a PLC issue I never looked at work arrounds.

 B:( I did more testing and ultimately it failed! There is a lot of X10 activity in my house and some of this creates infinite loop: CM15A<->PLC01. When that happens, the only solution is to manually power cycle those modules.

It is a pity because PLC01 amplifies the signal pretty well.  B:(  >*<
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Tuicemen

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Re: PLC01 Repeater - problems, solutions?
« Reply #6 on: June 26, 2021, 09:27:29 AM »

You may wish to try a different software like HomeGenie which uses different x10 drivers.
This is what I now use, however I don't  have the PLC 01 with me to test at my off grid place.
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smatofu

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Re: PLC01 Repeater - problems, solutions?
« Reply #7 on: June 26, 2021, 07:37:33 PM »

You may wish to try a different software like HomeGenie which uses different x10 drivers.
This is what I now use, however I don't  have the PLC 01 with me to test at my off grid place.

Thank you Sir!  I will try HomeGenie or I will use RF to send signal to distant rooms.
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smatofu

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Re: PLC01 Repeater - problems, solutions?
« Reply #8 on: June 29, 2021, 04:06:57 PM »

I found a SOLUTION:

I am using mostly CM15A macros that are triggered by a remote or by schedule.

 -:) I connected PLC01 through an appliance module. I keep PLC01 powered off. Macros are turning PLC01 on at the beginning, then commands are executed, then, at the end, PLC01 is turned back off.  -:)

 Not a perfect solution, but I like how PLC01 amplifies the signal. Now my macros are more reliable and reaching the farthest outlets/lights in my house.

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Brian H

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Re: PLC01 Repeater - problems, solutions?
« Reply #9 on: June 29, 2021, 04:16:33 PM »

If the solution does not suite your needed.
You may want to read about the JV Digital Engineering XTBR.
It has many users settable options and over a 10Volt X10 signal back on to the power lines.
https://jvde.us/xtbr/
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smatofu

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Re: PLC01 Repeater - problems, solutions?
« Reply #10 on: June 29, 2021, 10:32:01 PM »

If the solution does not suite your needed.
You may want to read about the JV Digital Engineering XTBR.
It has many users settable options and over a 10Volt X10 signal back on to the power lines.
https://jvde.us/xtbr/

Thank you Brian!

I know how good the XTBR is from fantastic reviews.

I should have bought it 10 years ago. Now it is too late, especially that X10 is becoming outdated. The fight with home grid noises is becoming ridiculous for me with children and grandchildren plugging in phone or laptop power adapters in 20 or so outlets.
 
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JeffVolp

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Re: PLC01 Repeater - problems, solutions?
« Reply #11 on: June 30, 2021, 12:23:34 AM »

The fight with home grid noises is becoming ridiculous for me with children and grandchildren plugging in phone or laptop power adapters in 20 or so outlets.

Agreed that powerline noise is a serious problem for older X10 devices that do not incorporate AGC to raise their detection threshold above the background noise level.

I used to offer the XTBM/Pro X10 signal meters that measured both signal and noise levels, but they were discontinued a couple years ago.  Recently it occurred to me that the XTB-ANR with the more recent firmware could also be used as a crude noise level monitor to identify those devices that inject noise onto the powerline.  With that knowledge, you can either replace those devices or isolate them with appropriate filters, such as the X10 XPPF.

Jeff
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smatofu

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Re: PLC01 Repeater - problems, solutions?
« Reply #12 on: June 30, 2021, 07:31:01 AM »

Agreed that powerline noise is a serious problem for older X10 devices that do not incorporate AGC to raise their detection threshold above the background noise level.
I used to offer the XTBM/Pro X10 signal meters that measured both signal and noise levels, but they were discontinued a couple years ago.  Recently it occurred to me that the XTB-ANR with the more recent firmware could also be used as a crude noise level monitor to identify those devices that inject noise onto the powerline.  With that knowledge, you can either replace those devices or isolate them with appropriate filters, such as the X10 XPPF.
Jeff

Thank you Jeff!

I have a simple signal/noise meter and more than 10 filters around the house. My house is just busy, full of kids... I would have to inspect every room daily to verify laptop and phone chargers are plugged through the filters.

In addition, I think the high number of filters weakens the signal as well.

Stan
« Last Edit: June 30, 2021, 08:22:06 AM by smatofu »
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JeffVolp

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Re: PLC01 Repeater - problems, solutions?
« Reply #13 on: June 30, 2021, 01:37:17 PM »

I have a simple signal/noise meter and more than 10 filters around the house. My house is just busy, full of kids... I would have to inspect every room daily to verify laptop and phone chargers are plugged through the filters.

In addition, I think the high number of filters weakens the signal as well.

Yes, each filter does attenuate the X10 signal slightly.

None of our laptop power modules emit noise near the X10 carrier frequency.  Nor do our "wall-wart" power modules.

We are using five filters.  One is a 20A XPF on the big UPS circuit shared with a solar inverter.  The solar inverter on the other phase runs through a XTB-F10.  There is a XPPF on the battery charger for my drill.  And there are two XPPFs isolating signal sucking test equipment in my lab/workshop.  There is nothing on any power modules, CFL or LED lights, although the three CFLs in my lab ceiling fixture are a serious noise source that I use for testing.

You may be over filtering.  It may be worth identifying which devices actually impact X10 signals and only filter those.

Jeff
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smatofu

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Re: PLC01 Repeater - problems, solutions?
« Reply #14 on: June 30, 2021, 02:55:22 PM »

You may be over filtering.  It may be worth identifying which devices actually impact X10 signals and only filter those.

My filters:
3 x UPS
Refrigerator
Garage chargers
Fish tank LED
Family charging station
Family entertainment equipment
Office laptops
Office other devices
Game room entertainment center
Game room charging station
2 x bedroom kids laptops

Total about 14.

I may be overfiltering but I was frustrated by X10 randomness. My X10 works 95%-99% now, except distant rooms where GFCI may be the issue.

In general, in today's environment, X10 cannot be made reliable in a large house unless the owner is an engineer. The volume of needed troubleshooting is beyond mere mortals.

 
BUT, other home automation system may be even less reliable and lacking functionality. With X10, at least, I can resolve most/all problems after spending some time...
« Last Edit: June 30, 2021, 03:05:20 PM by smatofu »
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