Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
Pages: 1 [2]

Author Topic: device polluting my power lines  (Read 2598 times)

JeffVolp

  • Community Organizer
  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Helpful Post Rating: 118
  • Posts: 2211
    • XTB Home Page
Re: Re: Registering AHP on a new PC
« Reply #15 on: September 23, 2021, 12:28:13 AM »

But I can see a clue: I have an XRB-ANR noise blanker;  I think it is detecting what the issue is:  very repeatably, on about 1 second cycle, there are 2-4 blips of the LED.  Very consistent.  I am convinced these are the things causing the XRTB to repeat and blanket my power line so NOTHING works.

Sorry I'm late to this party.  The Forum has been pretty quiet recently, and I no longer check in every day.  If anyone has a problem with any of the XTB equipment, certainly email me.  I normally respond to an email within hours if I'm available.

The P house code is only used for programming the XTBR mode options, and it takes a special sequence to access them.  Ordinary P ON and OFF commands are ignored.  So there is no problem using the P house code for an installation.

The XTB-ANR does not transmit anything, and cannot cause the XTBR to do anything.  The "2-4 blips" indicate you have powerline noise.  That is the background noise monitor included for free in the latest XTB-ANR firmware so you have an indication of what the noise level is.  A low noise environment would be just one brief flash every cycle.  Three very brief flashes indicate the noise is at the threshold where it can begin to effect X10 operation for devices that do not include AGC to raise their detection threshold above the background noise level.

Above 3 brief flashes the XTB-ANR will begin to attenuate the background noise.  In that case the flashes become much more obvious to indicate it is turning on the attenuator.  I have a Lumoform LED light that pumps out a horrendous amount of noise, and causes the XTB-ANR to flash almost constantly as it is trying to attenuate that noise.

80mV of noise is a serious problem!

The CM15A is a polite transmitter, and will abort a transmission if it recognizes a collision with an existing X10 command.  Noise near the X10 carrier frequency can be perceived as an X10 signal.  So what I believe is happening is that the CM15A keeps trying to issue a command, but aborts them due to background noise.  The XTBR transmitter has a turned circuit that can increase the level of in-band noise just like the tuning circuit in an old time radio allowed it select radio stations.  Its LED is flashing in response to the corrupted commands from the CM15A.

In any case, you have a very serious noise problem.  You will have to track down the source and either replace it or isolate it with an appropriate filter.  Prime candidates are small plug-in power modules and CFL or LED lights.  Large appliances with variable speed motors, such as newer HVAC blowers can also be serious noise sources.

Since you already have a Monterey, use it to track down the noise source.  Once you remove that your system should behave much better.

As a further thought, if there is another repeater in the installation, you may be experiencing command ping-pong.  In that case mode option 16 must be turned off if you just want to use the XTBR for direct boost (no repeat).  If you do not have another repeater, the XTBR should be located adjacent to the main distribution panel to be most effective.

Jeff
« Last Edit: September 23, 2021, 12:35:53 AM by JeffVolp »
Logged
X-10 automation since the BSR days

mike

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Helpful Post Rating: 14
  • Posts: 1058
Re: Re: Registering AHP on a new PC
« Reply #16 on: September 23, 2021, 12:08:52 PM »

Thanks Jeff.  So as I get time to poke around more, I find that the side of my 220 where I can plug in cm15a and have about 90% response, has about 10mv noise;  turns out same side of pwrline is where I had my XTB-ANR plugged in.  Thanks for the reminder of what the blinks mean!  I thought it was seeing 2 blips of noise!  Haha.

So using the noise monitor & ANR unit, I plugged them into the 120v socket on my XTRBII+ and found the >100mv noise!  Turns out it is all over this side of the power line - can see it in the other workshop room too.  So I am onto it! 

It looked nice to plug the ANR unit into the XTBR socket along with the cm15 & noise meter and see only 1 blink on ANR and noise as you see in the picture - only 6mv!  But unfortunately it also totally kills the cm15a plugged into same socket.

I need to find this 100+mv noise maker...
Logged

Noam

  • Community Organizer
  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Helpful Post Rating: 51
  • Posts: 2816
Re: Re: Registering AHP on a new PC
« Reply #17 on: September 24, 2021, 10:15:02 AM »

Yae, received my $12  50ft active USB extension cable.  So ran it from the cm15a to my workshop computer with working copy of ahp & XTRB programmer.  Replugged cm15 into the XXRTB outplet and immediately began the LED blinks showing random something going on, and lost all communications to the cm15.  Nothing worked due to the 'noise.'

Many years ago (when I first got my XTBR, so probably about 12 years ago), I had tried to use a few different USB extenders to connect my CM15A to my PC while it was plugged into the XTBR. I was never able to get any of those extensions to work reliably. *Any* noise in the house caused the USB connection to reset (my furnace was one of the regular culprits - but there were plenty of others). After speaking to Jeff about the problem, he suggested plugging the CM15A into the computer with a *short* USB cable, and use an extension cord between the CM15A and the XTBR. Well, that worked perfectly! I have about 75 feet of extension cord between the two, and I've had no issues with it. I cut the excess off the plug end of a 100-ft grounded extension cord, added a new two-prong plug (no ground), and stapled it to the joists running across my basement. I added "For X10 Only" labels every 6 feet or so, and at both ends, and my CM15A plugs right into it. It may not solve all your problems, but it may be worth trying (if you haven't done so already).
Logged

mike

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Helpful Post Rating: 14
  • Posts: 1058
Re: Re: Registering AHP on a new PC
« Reply #18 on: September 24, 2021, 10:26:57 AM »

Noam,  now why didn't I think of that!!??   GREAT idea!!  I should have done that.

I guess in 12 years the active USB extension cables may have come a long way.  My 50' one had an amplifier module in center of it and it works flawlessly when I want to connect my computer to use activity monitor (F2) in AHP.  It is now strung in the rafters between the two workshop rooms too. It is only used for testing with AHP tho, normally the cm15a USB is plugged into my Pi running HomeGenie right next to it. 

I am getting close to putting a scope on the powerline to see the noise.  I have about 10 powerline mouse eliminators plugged in all around the area - and no mice - that have never caused interference with my x10 stuff.  I just need to find the source of my 180mv noise!
Logged

JeffVolp

  • Community Organizer
  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Helpful Post Rating: 118
  • Posts: 2211
    • XTB Home Page
Re: Re: Registering AHP on a new PC
« Reply #19 on: September 24, 2021, 12:31:02 PM »

The X10 Boost inputs on both the XTB-IIR and the original XTBR are isolated from the powerline by a low-pass filter so they can discriminate between the two sources.  Boost input commands turn on the high power transmitter as each bit is received.  The first half of a powerline command X10 doublet is error checked before being repeated at high power in bit sync with the second half of the doublet.  That prevents The XTBR and XTB-IIR from repeating any random noise received over the powerline.

A return signal bandpass amplifier passes powerline signals to the Boost input so two-way devices can still receive incoming powerline commands.  That bandpass amplifier not only amplifies incoming X10 signals, but it will also amplify any powerline noise with content near 120KHz.  So if a system has any noise, the noise at the Boost input can be much higher due the amplification.  In that case the two-way device should be plugged into any AC outlet, and the XTBR or XTB-IIR used strictly as a repeater.

Jeff
Logged
X-10 automation since the BSR days

mike

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Helpful Post Rating: 14
  • Posts: 1058
Re: Re: Registering AHP on a new PC
« Reply #20 on: September 24, 2021, 04:08:57 PM »

Well, I tackled it hard today.  Spent an 1.5 hours tracking with Monterey noise meter, looking for the highest noise spot.  I have been fighting .10/.14 volts noise at XTRB/cm15.

Found it! .60/.77 VOLTS noise at one outlet!  .68/.84 VOLTSD if I unplug the Sharp robot vacuum from that outlet!  So the sharp was a bigtime signal sucker too!  Put a filter on it and it stopped sucking everything. But the culprit was indeed another Chinese LEDat the next outlet!  And I had tested by turning off a breaker at a time and did not catch it.  I must not have waited long enough with breaker off to see. 

I thank everyone who provided ideas!  I learned a lot.  This was a hard one for me, although in hindsight it should have been very easy!
Logged

Brian H

  • Community Organizer
  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Helpful Post Rating: 301
  • Posts: 13080
Re: Re: Registering AHP on a new PC
« Reply #21 on: September 25, 2021, 06:10:42 AM »

Glad you found the noise source was found.
Logged

JeffVolp

  • Community Organizer
  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Helpful Post Rating: 118
  • Posts: 2211
    • XTB Home Page
Re: Re: Registering AHP on a new PC
« Reply #22 on: September 25, 2021, 10:09:14 AM »

Found it! .60/.77 VOLTS noise at one outlet!  .68/.84 VOLTSD if I unplug the Sharp robot vacuum from that outlet!  So the sharp was a bigtime signal sucker too!

Actually, a 10% reduction is not that significant.  As I recall, even the X10 XPPF filter causes a similar reduction in signal level when plugged into an outlet.

Glad you found the problem - another Chinese LED.

Jeff
« Last Edit: September 25, 2021, 09:12:45 PM by JeffVolp »
Logged
X-10 automation since the BSR days

mike

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Helpful Post Rating: 14
  • Posts: 1058
Re: Re: Registering AHP on a new PC
« Reply #23 on: September 25, 2021, 04:43:09 PM »

I am a sucker for Chinese $1.00 LED lights...   OK, OK, I am about over it now!  But...

This is my culprit.  Like $1 and free shipping.  Worked fine for almost a year!  Then BAM!  this hi noise...

Neat how the phone camera shows it cycling thru the LEDs!
Logged

brobin

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Helpful Post Rating: 148
  • Posts: 1184
Re: Re: Registering AHP on a new PC
« Reply #24 on: September 25, 2021, 08:34:39 PM »

Glad you found it!  :)%
Logged

Noam

  • Community Organizer
  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Helpful Post Rating: 51
  • Posts: 2816
Re: Re: Registering AHP on a new PC
« Reply #25 on: September 27, 2021, 09:13:35 AM »

Noam,  now why didn't I think of that!!??   GREAT idea!!  I should have done that.

I guess in 12 years the active USB extension cables may have come a long way.  My 50' one had an amplifier module in center of it and it works flawlessly when I want to connect my computer to use activity monitor (F2) in AHP.  It is now strung in the rafters between the two workshop rooms too. It is only used for testing with AHP tho, normally the cm15a USB is plugged into my Pi running HomeGenie right next to it. 

I am getting close to putting a scope on the powerline to see the noise.  I have about 10 powerline mouse eliminators plugged in all around the area - and no mice - that have never caused interference with my x10 stuff.  I just need to find the source of my 180mv noise!
Mike -
When I installed my XTB-IIR, I added a new tandem breaker to my panel, and I installed an two-gang outlet box on the wall right next to the panel - specifically for the XTB-IIR. One side has a 220V plug for the XTB-IIR, and the other side is a split-wired duplex outlet, with one outlet wired to each of the two phases in the panel. That allowed me to troubleshoot and isolate noise on each phase separately (tracking down which circuit has the noise is easier if you can eliminate half the breakers from the start). It also allowed me to unplug the XTB-IIR if I wanted to. The dedicated circuit allowed me to shut *everything* else down, and leave only that one circuit on if I had to start somewhere. Since there is nothing on it except a few feet of wire and an outlet, it was highly unlikely to be the source of any noise. I never bought an XTBM (I really should have when I first found Jeff's page years ago), but my dad (a Ham Radio junkie and an EE) did help me build a noise meter based on plans I found online (possibly from Ido Bartana), that hooked  to one of his small receivers. We used that years ago to find a noisy CFL bulb that was blocking my signals (and turned out to be on the front porch fixture *across the street* - I bought that neighbor some new bulbs). Since then, I don't think I've needed his receiver for troubleshooting. When I've had problems, they usually kill most of my units (each time it was a failing CFL bulb - go figure), and I had a setup with just a power strip, an appliance module (with a small light plugged in), and a remote. I could turn one circuit off at a time, and use the remote to try and trigger the appliance module at my test outlets. If it worked, I found the culprit.
Logged

mike

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Helpful Post Rating: 14
  • Posts: 1058
Re: Re: Registering AHP on a new PC
« Reply #26 on: September 27, 2021, 01:57:05 PM »

A great idea to put the duplex outlet there too!  I had to scramble to find the other side of the 220 here and it was an outlet 40' away.  I did put the XTBR-IIR on my saw/EV car charger breaker and right next to the workshop ele box too.

I had never used the noise meter as a tracer of the noise before, just to see how much there and go around unplugging things.  But this time I was methodical and found that I could find the noise source by moving from outlet to outlet along the string seeing if noise is stronger or weaker, then once beyond it watch the noise drop again.  I traced it from .1V noise @ breakerbox, upto .3V around 30' away, then .5 then 40' away, then .6 and .8 another 10' along the one line from the breakerbox output.  I could not figure why an empty outlet was the noisiest spot!  Until I decided to go ONE more outlet along, 6' away and it had the errant driver.

I will have to remember this for next time!
Logged

JeffVolp

  • Community Organizer
  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Helpful Post Rating: 118
  • Posts: 2211
    • XTB Home Page
Re: Re: Registering AHP on a new PC
« Reply #27 on: September 29, 2021, 12:52:03 PM »

I had never used the noise meter as a tracer of the noise before, just to see how much there and go around unplugging things.  But this time I was methodical and found that I could find the noise source by moving from outlet to outlet along the string seeing if noise is stronger or weaker, then once beyond it watch the noise drop again.  I traced it from .1V noise @ breakerbox, upto .3V around 30' away, then .5 then 40' away, then .6 and .8 another 10' along the one line from the breakerbox output.  I could not figure why an empty outlet was the noisiest spot!  Until I decided to go ONE more outlet along, 6' away and it had the errant driver.

That is exactly the right procedure.  Track the noise level to find the source.

For those who don't have a Monterey or XTBM to measure the noise level, the current XTB-ANR firmware includes a crude noise level monitor.  Every two seconds the LED indicates the background noise level in approximately 10mV increments through a sequence of flashes.

1 to 3 very brief flashes indicate noise up to about 30mV.  Longer more obvious flashes indicate the XTBM-ANR is actively trying to reduce the noise, and indicate the remaining noise in approximately 10mV steps.  So 5 longer flashes indicate about 50mV of noise remaining with the XTB-ANR active, which could be up to 500mV without the XTB-ANR plugged in.  Anything over 3 flashes could block a nearby X10 device from decoding a command unless it incorporates AGC.

Jeff
Logged
X-10 automation since the BSR days

mike

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Helpful Post Rating: 14
  • Posts: 1058
Re: Re: Registering AHP on a new PC
« Reply #28 on: September 29, 2021, 03:01:40 PM »

What got me moving the  monterey meter along the 120v outlet string was indeed your XTB-ANR unit!  I first moved it all around the house, garage, and barn to see where the noise was highest!  It actually showed highest (4 blinks) in my barn!  So that confused me, thinking it was out that away...  But moving it around got me thinking of moving the monterey digital noise readout unit along the outlet strings starting at the cm15/breaker box.  When I did finally find the chinese LED, I plugged in your ANR and it did blink 7-8 times! 

Just a side note in case you do not look at Paypal often, I sent you an order for a couple more ANR units and 2 of your wire strippers.  Thanks.
Logged
Pages: 1 [2]
 

X10.com | About X10 | X10 Security Systems | Cameras| Package Deals
© Copyright 2014-2016 X10.com All rights reserved.