X10 signal problems...

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I have a leviton 6308 X10 photocell controlling 2 landscape lighting
transformers in my garage. Ever since this was installed, it has never
had a problem receiving the "on" command at dusk. About 2 days a week,
the lights won't turn off at dawn. At first, I thout it was the
photocell at fault, and replaced it, only to have the same problem with
the replacement. Then I figured that since the transformers always turn
on but have trouble turning off, that the transformers may be causing
line noise. They aren't suppose to since they are the coil type but I
plugged them into filterlincs anyway to check, and a few days later,
same problem. Then I attached filterlincs to the 2 computer strips in
the house, which actually improved the signal to some other modules,
but again, the transformers didn't turn off this morning. The only
other electrical devices that are on overnight into morning are 3
portable heaters, 2 oil filled radiators and an older electric element
type. Do these cause line noise? What else can I try? I've thought
about just getting a Powerlinc (1132CU) and just configure it to send a
repeated off command multiple times at dawn to increase reliability.
What do you guys think?


Re: X10 signal problems...


I installed a phase coupler/repeater and haven't had any X-10 problems
since.


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Re: X10 signal problems...


OK, last night I tried a few things. I turned on the fluorescent light
in the master bedroom, I was able to turn off the transformers. I then
turned on the 3 portable heaters 1 by 1 and the transformers turned off
every time! I don't think the Signalinc bridge will work because the
controller and modules are all on one phase, in fact they are all on
one circuit. I can't imagine the signal not being strong enough because
the controller (photocell) on the outside is about 2 feet from one of
the modules! Is it possible that the Leviton 6308 just simply isn't
sending the "off" command every morning? I called Leviton and spoke
with a tech guy and he said he uses the same photocell for his
landscape transformers. He had the same problem and bought a
Boosterlinc which resolved the issue, BUT Boosterlincs are about $100
and that's an expensive gamble! Is it possible the Leviton doesn't
output a strong enough signal? When it does send the "off" command it
does control a module upstairs on the other side of the house though,
so how could it be a weak signal? Any ideas?


Re: X10 signal problems...


Install a coupler/repeater. The repeater portion will amplify and
re-broadcast the signal.



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Re: X10 signal problems...


Just checked and the controller is not sending the signal through a
GFCI outlet....


Re: X10 signal problems...


What I meant to say is that it's not hooked up to a GFCI....the problem
still exists!


Re: X10 signal problems...


Install a coupler/repeater. The repeater portion will amplify and
re-broadcast the signal.



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Re: X10 signal problems...


Do you guys think the Leviton is just simply not sending the "off"
signal in the morning?


Re: X10 signal problems...


It's probably sending it, it's probably weak, and it is probably
encountering some line noise.

Amplify the signal.



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Re: X10 signal problems...


This morning the transformers failed to turn off. I took a module which
was in the "off" position and plugged one of the transformers in, using
the same house code, in a powered outlet. So at this point I had one
transformer on and one transformer off. If the Leviton sent the "off"
command at dawn, once I trick the photocell to think it was dark it
should have sent the "on" command to the module. It didn't. Once I
uncovered the photocell, it sent the "off" command. So.....the Leviton
6308 photocell doesn't reliably send the "off" command every morning!
I've wasted some money on filters, etc. I guess my alternative is just
to use an X10 timer (not very practical) or a Powerlinc 1132CU (more
practical). Are these reliable? I have read where they don't keep
accurate time, etc. I had bad experiences with the CM11 in the past...


Re: X10 signal problems...



You're asking for advice, and then discounting what people are telling you.

Amplify the signal with a coupler-repeater. Of you're uncomfortable using
the hardwired version, use the plug-in type at a 220v dryer outlet. This
will fix your problems now, instead of blindly troubleshooting the
intermittent failures and quirky nuances inherent to X-10 for the next 10
years or so. Most X-10 controllers, as designed, put out a piss poor signal,
and you will never completely remove all sources of interference. Think of
X-10 as whispering to someone across a table at a noisy restaurant; they
won't always hear you- But, if you whisper into an amplified bullhorn, they
WILL always hear you.

AMPLIFY IT AND COUPLE THE PHASES.


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Re: X10 signal problems...


What is an amplifier or a coupler going do for me if the Leviton isn't
sending the signal in the first place! If you read my previous post, I
stated that! I don't need to couple the phases because when the Leviton
DOES send the signal, it is reached throughout the house. I'm not
trying to start an argument, BUT don't accuse me of discounting advice
I receive here, because I value what everyone says!!


Re: X10 signal problems...


Mike, you asked for a solution, and I provided one. Your "rationale" might
seem sound to you, but you are not a professional who has dealt with many
X-10 installations and troubleshot hundreds of X-10's little bugaboos. I
understand the nuances of X-10, and have a good idea of what your problem
is, and how to fix it. Chances are that it IS sending the signal, Mike, but
it is "drowned out" by line noise of some sort. X-10 devices put out a
really crappy signal, Mike- it is very weak in most cases, and the line
noise present almost everywhere only compounds the problem. Amplifying and
repeating the signal solves the vast majority of issues like yours.





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Re: X10 signal problems...


And, by the way, it is NOT unusual for a controlled device to receive an ON
command reliably and not receive an OFF command. This doesnt mean it isn't
sending the command. This puzzles most folks, since it would seem to reason
that if one type of command is received, all will be. The reason this isn't
the case has to do with the type of line carrier signal sent by each
command. For more information on X-10 waveform protocol, and to get at least
a vague idea about what I'm talking about that will help you understand why
amplification is the solution to your problem, try
http://www.x10pro.com/pro/pdf/technote.pdf or Google "X-10 protocol" and
read up on the technology. Then you can buy an Amplifier/Coupler and solve
your problem.




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Re: X10 signal problems...


When you say amplifier/coupler...are you talking about Smarthome's
Boosterlinc? Which one do you use?


Re: X10 signal problems...



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            Leviton X10 System Amplifier/Coupler
            [Leviton HCA02-10E]


      Leviton's new DHC module performs a variety of functions to ensure
outstanding X10 / DHC system performance and reliability. It's recommended
that any home with X10 products have either a simple signal bridge or a
bridge/amplifier/repeater like this one.

      Leviton HCA02-10E




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Re: X10 signal problems...
replying to Stanley Barthfarkle, etrandy wrote:

I have a Leviton 6308 X10 photocell controlling module 4 codes. All 4 are on by
the photocell, 1 is off by the photocell, 3 by a timer. It's
been installed for 10-15 years, without any real problems. I get the occasional
interference problem when something new gets plugged in
somewhere, but once I find it and remove it, it's back to normal. Recently I
started having intermittent on and off problems with the
photocell. A regular controller works fine. I can't locate any new possible
interference sources. I moved the photocell to a different location
in the home with the same results. I have had a wired signal bridge the whole
time. My feeling is something has gone bad, either the
photocell or the signal bridge, I'm leaning toward the signal bridge. Any
thoughts or suggestions?



Re: X10 signal problems...


On Tue, 25 Oct 2005 10:12:25 GMT, "Stanley Barthfarkle"

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Your advice solved the problems I was having with my X-10 devices. I
have been living with inconsistence performace for several years. X-10
controlled lights and appliances would or wouldn't work from day to
day. I was frustrated, and ready to just give it up. I then read your
advice about adding the coupler-repeater.  I checked Smarthome, and
they had the dryer outlet plug-in, and for $20 off during the
holidays. I bought it, pluged it in, and for $69 and a few seconds of
my time, appeared to have solved all my X-10 problems. In the few
weeks I have been using it, I have had ZERO inconsistent performance
problems with my controlled devices.

Thank you for the advice, and gving me renewed confidence in my home
automation!

Re: X10 signal problems...


On Tue, 18 Oct 2005 10:47:11 -0700, mike2711 wrote:

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1. Are you aware of the phase problem with X10?  I.e., the transmitter
is on one side of the +120V - neutral - -120V feed and the receiver
is on the other.  You may get a reasonably good signal path between
the two when a 240 appliance, like an electric stove or hot water
heater, is operating and a poor (or no) signal path otherwise.
Check the phases - you may need a signal bridge.

2. You may have noise from appliances like TVs, VCRs, and stereos
even when they're "turned off".  (The power supply has to be operating
for an IR remote to "turn it on".)

3. Depending on what other loads you have on the power lines, you
may just have a marginal signal.  And having the transformers
operating is the final straw.


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