X-10 Failed Sequentially for no apparent reason

I have a Powerhouse transceiver module TM751 and a handful of cheap
($11) lamp & light modules (mostly RadioShack) in my living room and
master bedroom. I also have one wall dimmer of the more advanced,
electronic type ($55 or so) in my dining room. I don't remember the
make, I bought it online about 5 years ago. It has green LEDs along the
side that ratchet up and down with the intensity of the dimmer setting.
Yesterday, the lights in the bedroom stopped responding to the remote,
but the lights in the living room and dining room still responded.
Today, the living room doesn't respond either. The only modules still
responding are the transceiver itself (coffeepot in kitchen) and the
dining room.
I have tested the system's modules in different rooms, with different
lamps plugged into them, and with different items in the house
unplugged (lots of little brick transformers for battery chargers,
cordless phones, etc.). No luck, except that one long-disused appliance
module I got out was briefly and intermittently effective with a lamp
in the living room last night.
No new neighbor babies within a five-six house radius. Our baby monitor
is 46-49mhz (we had a terrible time with interference on the 900mhz
model, but nobody uses the lower band anymore). One thing to note: from
the time the monitor was installed, I could here a very faint,
two-burst hum with static every few seconds on the baby monitor
receiver. I no longer heard that after the trouble started.
My surmise is that the transceiver unit is in the process of fading,
and that only the sophisticated unit in the dining room can still
receive its attenuated signals. But any other thoughts on what I could
be facing would be appreciated.
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Also, perhaps it is a phase issue that is just now surfacing due to changes outside of your house. You didn't mention whether or not you had a phase coupler installed, size of house, etc.
Also, you you need to do some testing, we have free loaner meters available. -
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. It will only cost you the shipping and you can use it as long as you like.
Martin Custer
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Pick up a mini-controller at Radio Shack if you don't already have one. Unplug the transceiver and test with the mini-controller. If all works well replace the TM-571. If you have the same problem then you need to keep searching for the troublemaker.
From:flacorps snipped-for-privacy@gate.net
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Thanks to both posters in this topic for the ideas and for the offer. I unplugged the TM751 for about a day, and I just plugged it back in and it's working fine, controlling every module. No real changes to the electrical picture in the house .... nothing added or subtracted. I *did* notice that on the day in question AM radio reception (always an issue in the exurb where I live) was poor. It's possible that they were using something electrically noisy on the construction site not too far away from me (they're laying infrastructure for 100 new homesites), but I would have expected it to damage over-the-air performance of the remote rather than affecting hardwired signals.
Perhaps performance degrades due to heat generated by the transformer? If so, this problem will probably reassert itself in a matter of hours or days.
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System performance hasn't degraded again yet. Hmm, color me confused.
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Most X10 devices incorporate a PIC processor. There is a known "read,/modify, write" scenario with the IO ports when a bit set or bit clear instruction is performed. The IO port can switch to the wrong state. There has been some discussion about this in the past with the CM11A. I don't think the X10 firmware authors take the proper steps to avoid this problem (such as using shadow registers for the IO ports). It's possible that the device locked-up. Cycling power essentially reset the TM751.
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Alan Vogel
Cycling power alone (repeated unplugging and replugging, sometimes for a few minutes) didn't do it. There was a cool down period of indeterminate length required (since I had it unplugged a couple of days, we'll call that the cool down period). Other than that I think you hit the nail on the head. The periodic staticky pair of humming tones can again be heard faintly on the baby monitor, which makes me think the TM751 is working OK again (aside from the fact that the lights go on and off from the remote as they should).
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