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Author Topic: Trivial mistake when troubleshooting X10  (Read 1863 times)

smatofu

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Trivial mistake when troubleshooting X10
« on: October 02, 2021, 08:31:35 AM »

Hi,

It is a trivial mistake, but easy to make when troubleshooting X10.

You know this basic troubleshooting method: switch off all breakers, and then switch on one by one to isolate the circuit that interferes with X10 signal.

Important when doing it:  -:) TURN ON ALL LIGHTS IN THE HOUSE!!! 

I have done this troubleshooting multiple times over the last few years but I just found that one light that was always off is interfering with X10. Silly mistake! Clark Griswold would have been smarter...  rofl

S.
« Last Edit: October 02, 2021, 08:37:26 AM by smatofu »
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Brian H

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Re: Trivial mistake when troubleshooting X10
« Reply #1 on: October 02, 2021, 01:08:42 PM »

Thank you for the information.
I have done similar things myself.
I have two Deformable over head lights in the garage. One has a capacitor directly across the AC input. So it is a signal sucker when powered On. The other one generates so much RF noise. It kills my FM radio reception. I have read some have seen their garage door openers RF remotes not working or range severely limited when on.

I have not checked mine with my low end RF Spectrum Analyzer around 310MHz used by X10 or 915MHz used by Insteon.
« Last Edit: October 02, 2021, 01:38:18 PM by Brian H »
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Noam

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Re: Trivial mistake when troubleshooting X10
« Reply #2 on: October 04, 2021, 09:53:27 AM »

I had an intermittent issue many years ago, that I had a hard time tracking down. Certain switches refused to respond to commands at night - but were fine again by the morning. Hours and hours of troubleshooting within my home was able to identify the source of the problem. My dad suggested that I should look for things that were on at night, and off during the day (like outside lights), but I'd already ruled mine out as a possible source of the problem. Well, it turns out it was one of my *neighbor's* front porch lights that were the problem. Despite being across the street and one house over, we were still on the same pole transformer, and his one bad bulb was enough to knock out half my system. He's a good friend, and was more than happy to help me troubleshoot. First he turned off his porch lights, and I confirmed that the problem was gone. Then he turned them back on, and I confirmed the problem came back. Next, he left the lights on, and removed one bulb at a time, and found that one of the two on his porch was the culprit. He also noticed that when it was on, it made a buzzing noise that the other (identical) bulb did not. He was more than happy to leave that one bulb unscrewed overnight, and I purchased a pair of replacements for him the next day. I had similar experiences with other CFL blubs (I have 6 outdoor fixtures, all had CFL bulbs until they were slowly replaced with LEDs), where a bulb would start to fail and make noise over time. Each time, the noise got to a point that it crippled my system completely. Whenever I had system problems, those bulbs were the first ones I'd check (easy to do - just shut those lights off and test).
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smatofu

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Re: Trivial mistake when troubleshooting X10
« Reply #3 on: October 04, 2021, 10:44:56 AM »

... my *neighbor's* front porch lights that were the problem.... I had similar experiences with other CFL blubs (I have 6 outdoor fixtures, all had CFL bulbs until they were slowly replaced with LEDs), where a bulb would start to fail and make noise over time. Each time, the noise got to a point that it crippled my system completely...

I have similar experiences: neighbors could be a factor because how dense the houses are in my area; also bulbs and devices can go wrong with time. My guess is capacitors deteriorate with age.

The bottom line: the whole X10 setup is dynamic even when no new devices are added. I found old LED bulbs that suddenly started to interfere. Also my microwave that was good for a few years, now seems to reduce the X10 signal.  B:(

To my consolation, most likely every automation system suffers from some problems. At least, X10 problems can be resolved.

 
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toasterking

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Re: Trivial mistake when troubleshooting X10
« Reply #4 on: October 05, 2021, 02:19:30 AM »

Well, it turns out it was one of my *neighbor's* front porch lights that were the problem.
I enjoy that story every time you tell it, despite its dismal implications for the (lack of) control we have over the reliability of our systems.  I wonder if there is any empirical evidence of scenarios like this actually being solved by a whole-house attenuating filter such as the PZZ01.
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Noam

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Re: Trivial mistake when troubleshooting X10
« Reply #5 on: October 05, 2021, 10:32:33 AM »

Well, it turns out it was one of my *neighbor's* front porch lights that were the problem.
I enjoy that story every time you tell it, despite its dismal implications for the (lack of) control we have over the reliability of our systems.  I wonder if there is any empirical evidence of scenarios like this actually being solved by a whole-house attenuating filter such as the PZZ01.
I didn't have one to test - but I'd guess that two new bulbs are still a cheaper solution (and much easier to install)
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brobin

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Re: Trivial mistake when troubleshooting X10
« Reply #6 on: October 05, 2021, 12:38:26 PM »

I had success filtering a neighbor's PLC baby monitor many years ago using an XPNR (Leviton #6289 when I bought it in 1986) across L1 & L2 in the panel.


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toasterking

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Re: Trivial mistake when troubleshooting X10
« Reply #7 on: October 05, 2021, 02:32:08 PM »

I had success filtering a neighbor's PLC baby monitor many years ago using an XPNR (Leviton #6289 when I bought it in 1986) across L1 & L2 in the panel.
Good to know!  It just occurred to me that the XPNR and PZZ01 do slightly different things.  The PZZ01 attenuates at around 120 kHz; the XPNR attenuates all frequencies except those around 120 kHz.  Which one to use probably depends on the characteristics of the interference.  So I would theorize that the noise from the baby monitor was close enough to 120 kHz to be accepted by your X10 modules (which I'm guessing do not have very sophisticated filtering of their own) but far enough from 120 kHz to be attenuated by the XPNR.

I don't know how much bandpass filtering, if any, is done within each X10 module receiver.  If they did a good job of it, then the XPNR wouldn't exist.  Maybe the best filter of the two to use at the panel is... both of them at the same time.
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toasterking

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Re: Trivial mistake when troubleshooting X10
« Reply #8 on: October 05, 2021, 02:34:46 PM »

I didn't have one to test - but I'd guess that two new bulbs are still a cheaper solution (and much easier to install)
Cheaper and easier once you have identified the source, definitely.  But my hope when installing the filter would be preventing such a configuration from ever causing a problem in the first place.
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dave w

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Re: Trivial mistake when troubleshooting X10
« Reply #9 on: October 30, 2021, 09:51:55 AM »

Well, it turns out it was one of my *neighbor's* front porch lights that were the problem.
One of the reasons I have never introduced X10 to my neighbors.

Instead I tell them about Z-Wave.  rofl
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Moose

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Re: Trivial mistake when troubleshooting X10
« Reply #10 on: November 09, 2021, 09:25:43 AM »

I have done this troubleshooting multiple times over the last few years but I just found that one light that was always off is interfering with X10.

What sort of bulb was generating interference while it was off?? ??? :)
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smatofu

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Re: Trivial mistake when troubleshooting X10
« Reply #11 on: December 18, 2021, 02:03:57 PM »

I have done this troubleshooting multiple times over the last few years but I just found that one light that was always off is interfering with X10.

What sort of bulb was generating interference while it was off?? ??? :)

Hi,
you misunderstood me. The bulb was not generating interference when it was off. The bulb was interfering when it was ON, but that particular light was ON very infrequently so I couldn't find it.
I spent a few hours testing the system, everything OK, and a few days later the system stopped responding for 15 minutes...


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Noam

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Re: Trivial mistake when troubleshooting X10
« Reply #12 on: December 20, 2021, 08:46:29 AM »

I have done this troubleshooting multiple times over the last few years but I just found that one light that was always off is interfering with X10.

What sort of bulb was generating interference while it was off?? ??? :)

Hi,
you misunderstood me. The bulb was not generating interference when it was off. The bulb was interfering when it was ON, but that particular light was ON very infrequently so I couldn't find it.
I spent a few hours testing the system, everything OK, and a few days later the system stopped responding for 15 minutes...
that was similar to the issue I had. My neighbor's porch lights were only on at night (they turned off sometime before I woke up in the morning), which made troubleshooting really tough (and honestly, I didn't think the interference could have been coming from that far away). It was only after I figured out the pattern (only ever a problem at night - never during the day, or in the early morning), that my dad suggested it was being caused by a neighbor's lights.
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Marauder2003

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Re: Trivial mistake when troubleshooting X10
« Reply #13 on: January 04, 2022, 11:13:06 AM »

Just saw this in YouTube. No answer yet but suspicions.

https://youtu.be/yMYglkGGZDY

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bkenobi

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Re: Trivial mistake when troubleshooting X10
« Reply #14 on: January 04, 2022, 03:09:31 PM »

They should just ask Siri to shut the door.  Why do they need local control anyway.
 

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