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Thread: X10 signals not reaching all of the house?

  1. #1
    Automated Home Jr Member
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    Default X10 signals not reaching all of the house?

    Hi,
    Just invested in some Appliance and Lamp modules, as well as a TM13 and a CM12 PC Controller - my house has an interesting feature, in that it appears that signals to modules do not travel from one side to the other.

    If I put a load of modules around the house, only the ones on the same side of the house as the CM12 or TM13 (whatever I use to drive them) respond, the others do not.

    I've put the TM13 either side and can then reach the 'other' modules

    How can I determine what is causing this - all the sockets are on one 'side' of an RCD but they are 3 separate rings (downstairs, upstairs and an extension)

    I figure that with a 2nd TM13 on the 'other side' remote switches will work manually, but PC control (misterhouse or whatever when I Get round to it via the CM12U will be an empty one-sided experience due to this?

    -- Do I just live with it,and put 2 CM12's in? - and hack the control logic to drive the two of them on perhaps separate (or the same house codes)

    -- shall I (get an electrician of course to) fit a 13A socket 'right next' to the consumer unit and site the CM12 there in the hope that it might 'reach' every module?

    **unexpected X10 hassle!**

    Any advice appreciated!

    Mart.

  2. #2
    Automated Home Guru FrankMcAlinden's Avatar
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    Hi Marty

    I dont know much about x10 ....but i would consider purchasing one of these devices............(just ordered oner myself)

    http://jeffvolp.home.att.net/xtb_files.htm

    HTH
    Frank
    Home of FirM - the Multi Zone IR Transport System
    http://www.armaghelectrical.com.au/index.html

  3. #3
    Moderator toscal's Avatar
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    The XTB or XTB2 looks to be quite impresive.
    Some things to consider when using X10.
    1. Do you have a whole house X10 filter. This does help with certain communication issues.
    2. Do you have anything that could be causing a lot of noise. I'm assuming that the problem is not intermitent. This could be caused by flourescent lights, energy saver lights, low voltage lighting transformers, fridges/ freezers. Even PCs have been known to cause noise.
    3. Do any of the affected circuits have additional RCDs on them may be a plugin one like you get for lawn mowers etc.
    4. It is possible to rent an X10 signal strength meter from lets automate. The page is http://www.letsautomate.com/10948.cf...4-7e057a08438b
    Its about 7.50 pounds per week plus VAT. Which is quite good.
    The meter consists of a transmitter and a reciever. The receiver will indicate signal strength. So you could place the transmitter where your CM12 is then place the receiver at the known bad spots and see if any signal is getting through.
    Good luck and lets us know how you get on.

  4. #4
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    Default Simular problems (please help)

    I received my X10 starterkit yesterday and tested the modules.
    I found out that all modules are working, as long as I connect both TM13 and module to the same double power outlet. At the moment that I use seperate "double poweroutlets" for TM13 and module, the X10 signal is not received by the module.
    I do have a 1 phase system, but it is divided in group 1-4 and 5-8 with both their own earthingswitch.

    Do I need a phaseconnector module or does somebody know another solution ?
    (I will check again this evening for all groups if the system works when I connect the TM13 and modules within 1 group)

  5. #5
    Moderator toscal's Avatar
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    If you have single phase electricity entering the house then a phase coupler is not needed. This is only required when you have 3 phase and need to send the X10 signals on all three phases.
    X10 signals will work through your diferentials but the signal can get attenuated.
    Have a look here,
    http://kbase.x10.com/wiki/Troublesho...ome_Automation

    Just for some background info the TM13 sends out an X10 signal of about 1.5Volts. While many modules can transmit X10 signals at about 2.5 to 3Volts. You may need a whole house X10 filter to filter out incomming noise or a signal booster or a few local X10 plug in filters or quite possibly a combination of these. With out knowing your actual powerline noise levels its dificult to say. The link above should give you a few starting points.

  6. #6
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    Default Halo problems

    I went on last night witch checking and found the source of "noise".
    First I checked which outlets/switches belonged to an electrical group.
    Now I was able to find out that the system is working for all groups, except for group 2, being the livingroom and kitchen.
    Having read something about halo lighting and transformers I turned off all halo lighting and guess......the X10 system is working !

    Nevertheless someting strange is going on. To explain I give you some detail. I do have the following number of switches and halo-fixtures. All halo fixtures have their own trafo.
    switch 1: 5 halo at the rear of the house
    switch 2: 6 halo at ceiling of kitchen
    switch 3: 3 halo for kitchen countertop
    switch 4: 4 halo in wallcabinet
    Switch 1 I always need to turn off to make the X10 system work.
    Switch 4 I also need to turn off to make the X10 system work.
    Switch 2 and 3 can stay on without disrupting the X10 system.
    Any other combination does not work. (for example turn off switch 2 and leave on 3 and 4). Strange, since switch 2 has the biggest load with 6 fixtures.

    Can anybody explain and or give a solution which enables me to have a working X10 system incl above halo lighting ?
    And on top of that: In the future I want to build in X10 modules for the halo lighting.
    Can I / How should I make that work, considering above problems ?

    Thanks for all your help sofar !

  7. #7
    Moderator toscal's Avatar
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    Check your transformers are the ones connected to Switches 1 and 4 the same make and type as the others. If not it might be worth changing them. Another option is to fit an inline filter to these circuits.
    Good luck

  8. #8
    Automated Home Jr Member
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    Red face hmm. Will have to check my Halo lighting too.

    Update on my original post.

    With a combination of swearing and trial and error, I've found a power outlet upstairs on the upstairs ring that the TM13 is able to reach all the sockets via, except for one in the dining room.

    To clarify, with 'switching off' HALO units, are we talking total disconnection?, as in the UK we only switch the live, so the netural is always on on the transformers when they're attached to a lighting circut?

    Might also have to try hiring the signal-strength meter set from letsautomate to see if we're talking a weak signal - does anyone know if the tester set can show ambient 'noise' on the circuit as well - when the X10 is not transmitting to allow isolation of noisy devices?

    After this one, all I need to do is build a soundproof enclosure for all the appliance modules! - I can hear a module relay from upstairs all over the house, they must have sourced the most noisy Relay's they could find *BANG* *BANG* - it's not like they are that monster either, as the AM12 is rated at 500W isnt it? -- btw, are the 3rd party X10 appliance mods any quieter?.. the TM13 relay is passable, it's not too noisy.

    Mart.

  9. #9
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    Default Halo switch off

    Mart,

    To answer your question; switching off for me also meant switching off the "live" only and still having neutral connected.

    In addition, just to show how unpredictable this system can be:
    After switching on the halo in the kitchen wall cabinet and turning the dim to full load, these particular halo fixtures never interrupted anymore with the X10system, even when I dim these lamps completely !
    Unfortunately this trick didn't work on the halo's at the backwall so there I have to place a filter or replace the trafo's with X10 compatible trafo's, which you can find on the internet.

    Good luck.
    Hopper

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by martynah View Post
    Update on my original post.

    After this one, all I need to do is build a soundproof enclosure for all the appliance modules! - I can hear a module relay from upstairs all over the house, they must have sourced the most noisy Relay's they could find *BANG* *BANG* - it's not like they are that monster either, as the AM12 is rated at 500W isnt it? -- btw, are the 3rd party X10 appliance mods any quieter?.. the TM13 relay is passable, it's not too noisy.

    Mart.
    I used to see the problems you were getting, but they've more or less dissappeared since the house was rewired (with the exception of one room), this was going from one single socket ring to about 8 socket rings - the weird thing is most of the new rings are the same length or longer than the original, and contain vastly more sockets.

    The new third party X10 modules are a lot quieter, and more reliable on my pre-rewired house, the switch on the unit is useful too, but unfortunately doesn't trigger an X10 signal so you can't easily detect a manual on event.

    The one problem I was seeing, was if I sent an on signal to my lounge (the furthest room from my computer) and I used 2 old style x10 appliance modules, only one would switch on reliably, even though they could be no further apart than 2m of wire, turning off either socket, meant the remaining x10 appliance module would suddenly respond. It was almost as though the appliance module sucked the signal of the wire. Incidentally none of the controllers could report status. Replacing either with the new style am immediately solved the problem and introduced a much quieter switching.

    mike

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