X10 / RF analyzer

Hullo alt.home.automation

(Feels a bit quiet in here, but hopefully someone will read this.)

I've been using X10 for about 6 months. It's, er, obtuse sometimes, but pretty flexible - which I like. I tried and binned several control programs and ended up writing my own. Which works well enough.

My post is about a problem I encountered today, which I'm very puzzled about.

An MS13 (a PIR) on detecting motion will send an RF signal (at

433.92Mhz) to a TM13 (a transceiver which plugs into a regular power socket). When the TM13 'hears' the RF broadcast, it broadcasts an X10 command over the power line. I have a CM12 (which plugs into a computer) which can send and receive messages from the TM13 (and other X10 devices plugged into the power).

This all works fine... except.

When I take this configuration to an outbuilding, something odd is happening. The TM13 and the CM12 still communicate - so the X10 commands are being sent over the power line. However, the RF signals from the MS13 are being ignored.

I've tried the configuration with several units. It's not a single broken part. It's something to do with the outbuilding, and doesn't appear to be the power connection, so it must be the RF connection, musn't it?

How can I test this? Do I need an RF analyzer? Any cheap options?

The configuration works fine in the main building.

Or it could be that the signal being sent from the outbuilding is being lost. Could this be the case? Signal passes one way only? When I say they can communicate, the CM12 can send on/off messages to the TM13, but this doesn't prove the connection the other way. Hm.

Any advice appreciated, thanks & regards;


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