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Author Topic: Wall Switches Stopped working!  (Read 25454 times)

krisbee

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Re: Wall Switches Stopped working!
« Reply #15 on: June 01, 2006, 08:52:02 AM »

Quote
Dimmer + Regular switch? what are the model #'s of these switches?
Also what kind of light are you trying to turn on and off?

I am at work right now, so I don't have the model numbers... But, I am turning on a few track lights in a few locations.  All regular spotlight bulbs.

The switch is a simple on off, square button, with a slide under it.  The dimmer is a large switch the size of the plate, the rocks back and forth to dim.  If you hit the switch quickly, it shuts on/off.  Hold it, and it dims.

Well, for $15, I might as well give it a try!
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billy

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Re: Wall Switches Stopped working!
« Reply #16 on: June 01, 2006, 10:36:53 AM »

krisbee,
It's strange that you moved your plug-in controller around to different outlets and could not find one that works.
In a typical setting 1/2 of the light/outlets/appliances would be on the same phase, giving you a 50% chance of it working.
You may want to try it again, using more outlets.

May the Odds be with you!
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steven r

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Re: Wall Switches Stopped working!
« Reply #17 on: June 01, 2006, 11:13:25 AM »

Argh... Murphy seems to be getting the upper hand. However, even Murphy has to work within the laws of physics. (I think.)
I think its about time to get out the check list and go back to step one. One test I wasn't clear if you had done was to change the code of a nearby unit and see what happened. ie If this switch is set for "C5", change the code in the next room to "C5" also. Don't physically move any switches for this test. Maybe even test with a lamp module set to "C5". Better yet flip off the circuit breaker for the switch in question. That would insure we were testing on the same phase also. Then find an outlet or another switch on the same breaker and set it to "C5". I'd like to make sure the signal is getting to the switch.
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krisbee

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Re: Wall Switches Stopped working!
« Reply #18 on: June 01, 2006, 02:34:22 PM »

Well, I did actually do this test already.

I set the bad switch to a different house code, and that didn't help.

I set the bad switch to the same code as something that was working, and the bad switch didn't respond, but the one that always worked did.

I have moved the plug in controller to the ac outlet directly under the switch, figuring they would be on the same circuit (they aren't!), and that didn't help

I have changed the code of a working light to the code of the non-working item, and the code still made the working light work.

Here is where I think things might be getting weird... The switch that used to be there was a three-way.  I have tied the two wires that I need to make it a two-way switch.  Perhaps I have done this wrong, and somehow the signal used to work, but now something is causing enough interference to make it not work.

I do think making a lamp work on an ac outlet might be a great test.  I just have to find something on that circuit.  That will be my next test.

Thank you again for all of your help
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steven r

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Re: Wall Switches Stopped working!
« Reply #19 on: June 01, 2006, 06:03:32 PM »

....Here is where I think things might be getting weird... The switch that used to be there was a three-way.  I have tied the two wires that I need to make it a two-way switch.  Perhaps I have done this wrong, and somehow the signal used to work, but now something is causing enough interference to make it not work....
What happened to the other 3-way switch? Did you take it out or just leave it in place? Try switching it. If you have shorted the right pair of wires it shouldn't make a difference. If it does make a difference, then you may have the wrong two wires or a defective switch.

A conventional 3-way light is wired like this. The hot line goes to one switch and two wires connect the two switches.

                           A                                 B
                             __________________.             light
     Hot_________/  __________________.  .______?____
AC                                                                                 |
     Neutral________________________________________|

For the sake of this discussion, I've labeled the original standard switches A and B. While I prefer to replace 3-way switches with 3-way X10 switches, shorting the right pair of wires will allow you to install a standard 2-way X10 switch. For the sake of this discussion, switch B is being bypassed and A is being replaced with a standard X10 switch.

Let's look at why it might not work, however.

  • Red dots are shorted. If the "bypassed switch" B has a failure and does not make connection in one position. Rare but possible.
  • A red dot and the blue dot are shorted. This leaves you with only a 33% of guessing the right pair for the X10 switch. - Also let's say you shorted the bottom line to the blue dot and left switch B in the up position. Then you installed the X10 switch where switch A was using the top line. Guess what? It would work but only as long as switch B stayed in the up position. Murphy's laws say that at sometime switch B will be switched down causing the circuit to fail.

Best bet, if you're guessing wires, is to short all 3 wires, both reds and the blue. This will give you a 67% chance of guessing the right pair for the X10 switch. $2 at WalMart will buy you a neon tester and increase your odds.  :)

Remember: Unlike a conventional switch connection, X10 must have a flow of current through the switch at all times. This is why X10 switches are made just for 3-way applications. Also remember to put a wire nut over any extra wires!
« Last Edit: June 01, 2006, 06:48:36 PM by steven r »
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krisbee

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Re: Wall Switches Stopped working!
« Reply #20 on: June 02, 2006, 08:56:59 AM »

I'm sorry for you to have to write all that out.  I should have noted that yes, I did short the other switch that is no longer used, removed the switch, and put a blank plate up in that location.  I did wire everything back to a two wire system.  And yes, the X10 is getting constant current.

It's a head scratcher... will investigate a bit more next week.

You have been great in helping, I was starting to dead-end in my troubleshooting thinking, but you have rejuvinated me!
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steven r

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Re: Wall Switches Stopped working!
« Reply #21 on: June 04, 2006, 10:29:35 PM »

I'm sorry for you to have to write all that out..... ...you have rejuvinated me!
No problem if it didn't help you, it will help someone else sometime.

Sometimes the oddest little thing can screw things up. I had one macro that all of a sudden stopped working. I tried all kinds of things to figure out what might be keeping it from working. Then I glanced over and noticed a battery operated air pump I had plugged in to charge. I thought what the H*** and unplugged it. Sure enough the macro started working. Then I remembered an old TripLite Isobar noise filter & surge suppressor I had laying around. I plugged the battery to be charged into the Isobar and wala the macro started working. While surge suppressors can sap X10 signals, the noise filter did the trick in this case.

I hope you figure out your problem soon.
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krisbee

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Re: Wall Switches Stopped working!
« Reply #22 on: October 16, 2006, 12:28:35 PM »

It's been awhile since I updated you on this problem.. mostly because it fixed itself.  Really.  Nothing was changed... It was in the same season (so it wasn't that the AC turned to heat, or some kind of different routine, etc.)

I just don't understand.  I should be glad that it works now, but I also know that out of nowhere, it may not work again.  Maybe there was interference from a neighbor, but the nearest neighbor is 1/4 mile away.

If anyone has any ideas, I would love to know them.  Thank you again to all that have replied in the past.
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roger1818

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Re: Wall Switches Stopped working!
« Reply #23 on: October 16, 2006, 12:42:38 PM »

It's been awhile since I updated you on this problem.. mostly because it fixed itself.  Really.  Nothing was changed... It was in the same season (so it wasn't that the AC turned to heat, or some kind of different routine, etc.)

I just don't understand.  I should be glad that it works now, but I also know that out of nowhere, it may not work again.  Maybe there was interference from a neighbor, but the nearest neighbor is 1/4 mile away.

If anyone has any ideas, I would love to know them.  Thank you again to all that have replied in the past.

That is strange.  This past summer I also had one wall switch that became intermittant and then all of a sudden corrected itself.  It would usually turn off, but would almost never turn on and would sometimes turn on all by itself in the middle of the night. 

I don't know what caused this but one guess I have is that Ottawa Hydro (my local utility) is trialling thermostats that they can remotely control to increase the indoor temperature by a couple degrees when they are running out of electricity.  I don't know how they are controlling them, but it might be a powerline signal that interferes with X10.  I don't have one of these thermostats, but the signal would probably be broadcast throughout the city.
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TakeTheActive

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Re: Wall Switches Stopped working!
« Reply #24 on: October 16, 2006, 02:29:04 PM »

It's been awhile since I updated you on this problem.. mostly because it fixed itself[/b].  Really.  Nothing was changed[/b]...

Nothing that *YOU* are aware of changed. But, believe me, SOMETHING changed. ;)

If anyone has any ideas, I would love to know them.

Quote from: TakeTheActive Boilerplate Response
MAP / MEASURE / CORRECT
ACT X-10 Troubleshooting Flowchart (courtesy of 'Uncle' Phil Kingery)

Locating and Filtering SIGNAL SUCKERS Using the ELK ESM-1 (courtesy of Jeff Volp)

{WiKi} Phase Coupling  (courtesy of Roger H.)

I understand that most users don't want to hear this but
[/size]to have a reliable X10 System requires a substantial upfront investment in time and effort

  • Did you [/size]MAP out all of your circuits? Are the problems on DIFFERENT phases?
    .
  • What signal strength does the [/size]ELK ESM1 X-10® Signal Meter show / MEASURE[/b] on the "problem " circuits / switches / outlets?
    .
  • How many FILTERS do you have installed to [/size]CORRECT any of the "problems " that you uncovered?

Follow the recommendations in my FAQs / Sig Link and you should be able to reach a solution...
[/size]
;)
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WillyS

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Re: Wall Switches Stopped working!
« Reply #25 on: October 17, 2006, 12:49:48 PM »

Hello there,

I have two wall switches that worked for several years, and then all of a sudden, they wouldn't respond to lights on command, only lights off... then, after a few weeks, they won't respond to any remote commands.  What happened?
What can I do?  Getting pretty frustrated...
Thanks in advance,
Kris

Here we go again!
Dude, if I have to tell you this again, I think I'm going to puke. Here goes (again!)... LET ME SAY IT A LITTLE LOUDER THIS TIME!!...

YOUR WALL $WITCHE$ ARE DEAD - BUY NEW ONE$, OK? THE X10 EQUIPMENT ISN'T EXACTLY "QUALITY STUFF". Either move to INSTEON or STOP CRYING!

Regards.

Will



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krisbee

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Re: Wall Switches Stopped working!
« Reply #26 on: October 17, 2006, 02:02:03 PM »

Quote
Dude, if I have to tell you this again, I think I'm going to puke. Here goes (again!)... LET ME SAY IT A LITTLE LOUDER THIS TIME!!...

I am not sure you are really referring to me, because you never did actually tell me in this, or any post, your advice.

However, When I had the original problem, the first thing I did was go out and purchase new switches and install, to no avail.  It is a signal receiving problem, to be sure.

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Charles Sullivan

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Re: Wall Switches Stopped working!
« Reply #27 on: October 17, 2006, 04:40:33 PM »

Don't pay any attention to WillyS - he's only interested in bitching about X-10 for reasons he's yet to explain.

I've got 13 WS467 wall switches installed, 10 of which have been operated daily under X10 control for the last 9 years.  During that time I've had ONE unit fail (out of the thirteen), and that after about 8 years.

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Yesterday it worked.
Today it doesn't work.
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Puck

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Re: Wall Switches Stopped working!
« Reply #28 on: October 17, 2006, 06:23:36 PM »

I've got 13 WS467 wall switches installed, 10 of which have been operated daily under X10 control for the last 9 years.  During that time I've had ONE unit fail (out of the thirteen), and that after about 8 years.

Based on Charles' 10 switches that were running 24/7 for 8 years until his first failure occurred he's experiencing an empirical MTBF of 700,800 Hours.
No reliability concerns there  ;)  :)
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KDR

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Re: Wall Switches Stopped working!
« Reply #29 on: October 17, 2006, 08:28:22 PM »

Two things I'm wondering about. Just so I understand how your old 3-ways were wired... In each switch box how many sets of wires are in them. There is more then one way to power up a 3way setup and maybe knowing what wire sets you have might help explain that. The other thought I had is have you changed light bulbs in the fixtures prior to having problems? Increase wattage, decrease wattage? Anything like that. Depending on how power is introduced into the old 3way setup your switches may be getting power after the load. If the bulbs are old and a bit dimmer the resistance may have gone up blocking signal to the switches or attenuating it.  Its just a shot in the dark but nothing else has worked so far. Maybe if theres more then one bulb being switched, unscrew all but one and retest the system.

Below is a print showing 2 ways to power up a 3-way.  The top print is used generally when someone is trying to save money on wire. In my area it is no longer acceptable code to wire it this way for safety reasons.


StevenR's way as show above.
« Last Edit: October 17, 2006, 10:42:40 PM by KDR »
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