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Thread: Debugging X10 problems

  1. #1
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    Default Debugging X10 problems

    My X10 has started to behave strangely. A couple of days ago we noticed that some lights were not switching on or off while others were coming on at strange times. We then got woken up the other night by one light in the bedroom coming on at 3am...

    I spent some time trying to locate the problem yesterday and am even more confused now. One set of lamps will only turn on/off if I disconnect my Squeezebox receiver - although it's been all working fine together for 4 months now. My HomeVision unit is showing me that the X10 signals are being sent and received but some lights are not getting the signal. It seems to be lamps rather than ceiling lights. It's almost as if there is something causing noise on part of the mains.

    Anyone got any ideas or recommendations for things to try.

    Appreciated.

    Andy.

  2. #2
    Moderator toscal's Avatar
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    These sort of X10 problems can be hard to solve in one go.
    Some things to think about and try
    1: Has any new equipment been added, New TV, Fridge anything that wasn't there 4 months ago.
    2: The fact that some of it works when you unplug the squeeze box points to this being part of the problem.
    3. Are these modules plug in or another type.
    4. How many modules are effected.
    5. IF its plug in ones that are effected try unplugging all but one and see if that works. Then unplug this one and try another one. You may have a faulty module.
    6. Try unplugging as many appliance as possible, especially the fridge/freezer. Then get Homevision to send a few commands . Maybe set up a macro to send a couple of commands. IF this is OK plug the fridge back in and try again.
    7. Do you have a whole house filter installed. This really does help stopping unwanted noise coming from outside sources, and prevents your X10 signals from leaving the house.
    8. If its an appliance that is causing the noise, then you should fit a plug in filter.
    9. Do you have any CFL bulbs, and how old are they. The older they get the more noisy they are.IF you do and they are controlled by X10. The consider a special fluorescent X10 module. Really its an appliance module that also responds to all lights. My company can supply these, ours have built in noise filtering, so no need to buy an extra in line filter module.
    10. Try and hire an X10 level meter from http://www.letsautomate.com/10948.cfm? this would give you an indication of how much noise or signal is getting through. And possible location of X10 signal suckers.
    Good luck and if you need more help just ask.
    IF YOU CAN'T FIX IT WITH A HAMMER, YOU'VE GOT AN ELECTRICAL PROBLEM.
    www.casatech.eu Renovation Spain Blog

  3. #3
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    Thanks for the ideas. Nothing notable has been added in the last week that can be directly connected to the X10 issues. Things like fridges etc have been in and working alongside the X10 for 4+ years. TV, audio etc is all 2+ years old. The only new things were the Squeezebox receiver but the X10 has been working fine with that for most of the 4 months.

    I'm not currently using a whole house filter - where would I connect one of those?

    Only two CFL bulbs in the bathroom mirror - one old bulb and one new that was changed about 2 months ago.

    I agree, I think it's a matter of unplugging things until I find the fault. Didn't know you can get plug in filters - that makes it easier if it is a particular item causing the issues. Do these filters simply stop X10 or do they help clean up mains noise in general? I.e. is there any benefit to using them with all my AV stuff?

    I'll try the unplugging trick this weekend. If that fails, I'll rent the test unit.

    Cheers.

  4. #4
    Moderator toscal's Avatar
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    The whole house filter gets fitted in to consumer unit after the main breaker but before your circuit breakers for the individual circuits.
    I have most of my audio stuff on a large power filter that I built from a kit that I got from Maplin.
    The plug in filters just filter out X10 signals so anything that's around the 120Khz mark will get filtered out.
    IF YOU CAN'T FIX IT WITH A HAMMER, YOU'VE GOT AN ELECTRICAL PROBLEM.
    www.casatech.eu Renovation Spain Blog

  5. #5
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    Do standard mains filters (from Maplin etc) filter both general noise and also the X10 signals?

  6. #6
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    Most should but it all depends on the filter design. Most filter from about 100Khz to 150Mhz sometimes these are also called RFI filters.
    An off the wall method of fault finding though you may get funny looks.
    Is to use an AM radio tuned to an unused frequency near the low end of the dial (around 550 to 650kHz). A noise source near 120kHz will often generate 5th and 6th order harmonics near this AM band. 5th is actually 720 and 6th is 840. Carry the radio with you and move it near AC outlets while listening to the noise. The louder it is, the closer you are to the source. Use the noise to guide you, and you'll hopefully find the source.
    IF YOU CAN'T FIX IT WITH A HAMMER, YOU'VE GOT AN ELECTRICAL PROBLEM.
    www.casatech.eu Renovation Spain Blog

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