X10 APPLIANCE MODULE

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The X10 lamp module uses a triac.

Does the appliance module use a mechanical relay to close the circuit?

Just bought some, and just wondering. Don't want to wait for a failure
to do the forensics!

Thanks--
Terry--WB4FXD
Edenton, NC

Re: X10 APPLIANCE MODULE




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Yes.

BUT the electronics that operate the relay can sometimes be messed about by
an electronic load or just plain flourescent fixtures.

There are "fixes" for this but in my experience they don't really work.

Oh, the relay is somekind of step or latching design.   "Next time" one
breaks, I will check it out.



Re: X10 APPLIANCE MODULE


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Not the old-fashioned fluorescent fixtures, but some of the new ones with
electronic ballasts. This is due to some leakage current slowly charging up the
ballast until it reaches the point where it can flash on for a fraction of a
second. This fools the load sensing circuit into thinking that the user has
closed
the switch.

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The fixes involve opening the modules, then cutting specific leads or
desoldering.
It worked for me in one case. The Smarthome Appliancelinc allows one to
programmatically turn off the load sensing, and has a quieter relay. I have one
that works reliably (more reliably than X10 pro modules) with a fluorescent load
having an electronic ballast. I couldn't say that it is immune to that problem
though.

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Yes, a simple latching relay. Noisy but effective. To save you the trouble of
taking one apart to check it out: http://www.geocities.com/ido_bartana /

Re: X10 APPLIANCE MODULE



says...
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by

    Well, "it depends!"

With relatively small fixtures (15/20 watts) with a conventional starter and
balast, I have had situations where I had a hard time turning them off and
KEEPING them off.

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a
has closed

That sounds about right except that it happens with CONVENTION flash tube
"starters" also.

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desoldering.
have one
fluorescent load
problem

Exactly!

One would like to think that "they" would market a "dumb" module that would
completely ignore the load and only respond to X10 commands.   Or, perhaps,
have an extra switch that does that.  But NOOOOOO.

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of

Perhaps YOU should check it out.   One of the pictures jogged my memory.
It's a STEP relay:  each time the coil is pulsed it opens if it was closed
and closes if it was open.   The electronics "senses" the voltage drop
across the contacts to get feedback so that the electronics "knows" whether
to pulse the coil if it decodes an "on" of "off" command.   If the module
"knows" that the contact is closed and receives an "on" command, it does
NOTHING.

Trouble is, of course, is that certain "light" loads may make the closure
detection circuitry not work reliably: the electronics may "think" that an
"open" contact is actually closed and give it an extra pulse.

A "dumb" module would actually require an additional contact on the relay to
determine it's position regardless of load.    Since most folks don't really
care about such stuff, a "dumb" module might well cost 4 to 5 times the cost
of the standard appliance module.



(A latching relay has TWO coils:  one operates the relay and the other
"unlatches" the relay.    These are MUCH more complicated that a simple
sequencing relay.   These "sequencing relays" used to be commonly used in
toy electric trains and let the operator reverse the direction of AC powered
toy trains.    DC operated trains reversed by just changing the polarity.)




Re: X10 APPLIANCE MODULE


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No kidding ? I don't have many of those around and never tried automating one so
I
missed the experience. My image was the magnetic rapid start or instant start
ballast.

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I remember those two coil relays but haven't seen one in years. For amusement I
checked the IEEE dictionary to see what they call the appliance module relays.
The
closest that I find is a "latch-in relay", defined as "a relay that maintains
its
contacts in the last position assumed without need of maintaining coil
energization".

Your point about the module needing to sense the contact state was helpful. I
never had thought about their need to do that and the extra ways it can misfire
as
a result. One has to give the original X10 people credit for figuring out how to
make these things so inexpensive. But it would be nice if someone like PCS made
a
higher-end appliance module that we could buy when something more reliable is
needed.

Geo.

Re: X10 APPLIANCE MODULE


On Sat, 30 Jul 2005 20:19:29 GMT, katamasouth@hotmail.com (Terry)
wrote:

=>
=>The X10 lamp module uses a triac.
=>
=>Does the appliance module use a mechanical relay to close the
circuit?

...snip...

Guys, thanks much for all the good info! That Geocities site is full
of great stuff. Will have to lookover carefully.

So far, all modules are working fine, even after a lightning hit to
the pole outside. The minicontroller showed a fixed colon and two
zeroes afterwards. Disconnected the keep-alive battery, reconnected.
Voila! Strangely believe it!

The appliance module was to control a small water-fountain pump at the
end of the pool.

Cheers--
Terry--WB4FXD
Edenton, NC

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