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Author Topic: AM466 appliance modules failing  (Read 1119 times)

woodyl

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AM466 appliance modules failing
« on: July 08, 2021, 05:04:14 PM »

I have several AM466 appliance modules that work with an application I've written to control dehumidifiers in my house. So far, 2 out of 3 of the modules I'm using have failed after about 6 months of use. My application activates the modules pretty frequently, so that's probably causing them to fail. I took one apart and I can see that it uses a ratchet switch with flimsy plastic parts. I think the little plastic actuator just wears out after some many activations.

I see that there's an alternative PAM06 module, but I can't find out much about it. Does anybody know if it uses a similar ratchet switch? Is there a more robust alternative to the AM466? Has anybody ever tried to modify it by replacing the ratchet switch with a sturdier relay or something similar? Any ideas appreciated.
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brobin

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Re: AM466 appliance modules failing
« Reply #1 on: July 08, 2021, 05:56:10 PM »

I've found the AM466 modules to be incredibly robust with some in use here for over 30 years.  Along the way they've made several changes to the mechanism but all have been reliable.  They're rated at 15 amps so the dehumiderfiers would seem ok.  Is it the relay's that are failing or is it a signal issue? The PAM06 has AGC for better signal capture but I don't think the relay is substantilly different.  If the relays are failing then maybe the devices are running close to the 15 amps and generating heat.  If that's the case you might want to use them to operate relays or contactors that have a higher rating.
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woodyl

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Re: AM466 appliance modules failing
« Reply #2 on: July 08, 2021, 06:10:36 PM »

Seems like a mechanical failure of the AM466. When I try to turn it on, it makes a double clicking noise, but doesn't come on. When I looked inside the module, it looked like there's a little plastic arm that is supposed to push the ratchet and make it rotate. It looks like the little arm has broken off. I didn't examine the first one that failed, so I don't know for sure if it had the same problem. I bought them all from the same vendor on eBay, so I guess is could be a bad batch. The date code on the one I examined is 09K48. I don't know if there are different versions of the device or not. I doubt that my dehumidifier is pushing up to 15A.

I'll replace it and I'll see if I can modify my application so that it doesn't try to switch it on so frequently. What I'd really like is a 2-way module that I could query to see if it's turned on or not. With the AM466, you never know the true state of the device, i.e., whether it's really on or off.
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brobin

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Re: AM466 appliance modules failing
« Reply #3 on: July 08, 2021, 06:57:01 PM »

When I get home later I'll check my stock for two way x10 modules. I know I have at least a couple.
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woodyl

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Re: AM466 appliance modules failing
« Reply #4 on: July 08, 2021, 07:51:55 PM »

The only 2-way modules I've seen were 2-pin. I need a 3-pin module for my application. Do you know if there is such a thing?
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brobin

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Re: AM466 appliance modules failing
« Reply #5 on: July 08, 2021, 08:38:32 PM »

The x10 AM15 or PAM22 is the model. I'll see if I have any later tonight. Another option is an older X10 compatible Insteon module. I think some were 2 way as well.
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brobin

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Re: AM466 appliance modules failing
« Reply #6 on: July 08, 2021, 09:03:30 PM »

I have a couple of AM14A 2 prong ones but not the 3 prong ones.  You could put an adaptor on the dehume plug if you want to try it.
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woodyl

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Re: AM466 appliance modules failing
« Reply #7 on: July 08, 2021, 09:34:38 PM »

I might experiment with an am15 to see if it will work with my setup. I'm using a cm19a usb device with a software driver called mochad. The cm19a sends rf only. I'm not sure if it can work with the 2-way protocol. I've never had a 2-way device to try out.
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Brian H

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Re: AM466 appliance modules failing
« Reply #8 on: July 09, 2021, 06:11:07 AM »

09K48. Is week 48 of 2009. Unless X10 has changed its date code layout.

Two way modules would work fine for software that does not do a status request to the module. Unless it receives a status request from the software.

One point on an AM14A. That may cause an issue. It was originally used with CM11A with Active Home. When powered on it sends a message the CM11A.

As mentioned. The Insteon 2456S3 or Icon 2856S module. Can be programmed with an X10 primary address. It has a 15 Amp rating and a real relay to control the output. It is two way but only responds if sent a status request. They where discontinued awhile back so you probably will find used or old unused stock thees days.

I still have some of the old Smarthome X10 compatible modules in storage. They also have a real relay in them. Most are one way. As I had no need for the two way models.
« Last Edit: July 09, 2021, 01:38:13 PM by Brian H »
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Brian H

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Re: AM466 appliance modules failing
« Reply #9 on: July 09, 2021, 07:09:18 AM »

Modifying an X10  module with a relay may not be easy.
To turn it On and Off is sends a brief pulse to the ratchet switches coil to activate it.

It doesn't even remember if it is on or off. When sent a new command it has a sensing circuit to see if it is on or off and then follows the command if it was in the other state.

You may want to check your needs. A dehumidifier has a compressor in it and may draw large brief current spikes when starting up. Effecting the modules relay or ratchet switch life. Though yours sounds like a mechanical part wearing out.

The 2456S3 is 15 amps resistave  but has a lower rating for inductive loads. The X10 modules have similar ratings.
I did not see a motor rating on my 2456S3.
The two pin LM14A is 1/3Hp. The AM15A would be the same as the only difference is the added ground.

« Last Edit: July 09, 2021, 01:28:51 PM by Brian H »
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Brian H

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Re: AM466 appliance modules failing
« Reply #10 on: July 09, 2021, 01:40:46 PM »

After searching.
I have not found any reference to an AM15A two way 3 wire module.  :( B:(
Brain fade I suspect.
Sorry for misleading post.
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woodyl

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Re: AM466 appliance modules failing
« Reply #11 on: July 09, 2021, 03:49:13 PM »

From what I can tell, the only difference between the 2 pin and 3 pin module is that the ground pin on the 3 pin is wired straight though to the ground for the device that's being powered. The ground does not touch the electronics of the module. It would be pretty easy to wire a bypass ground wire to do the same thing.
« Last Edit: July 09, 2021, 04:41:22 PM by woodyl »
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brobin

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Brian H

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Re: AM466 appliance modules failing
« Reply #13 on: July 09, 2021, 06:08:39 PM »

I found the same thing.
Ground input pin to the outlet ground output. Was wired straight through and did not connect to the PCB.
The 2456S3 and 2856S3 from Smarthome is the same.
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dave w

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Re: AM466 appliance modules failing
« Reply #14 on: September 07, 2021, 09:40:57 PM »

Late to this race and not applicable if the relay ratchet is broken as described in the posts. . 

FWIW
Over the years I have had many Appliance Modules start the triple clicking and refuse to turn on. Many times sending more "ON" codes would finally get the module to latch.

One common fault I have found is the relay contacts are blackened and pitted. Usually these modules are the ones controlling a high current devices like humidifier, space heater, drape motor, etc. Anything that might have an inductive surge on startup.

I just use a Dremel tool with the wire wheel to resurface and burnish the blackened contacts. Repeat every couple of years.
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