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#22280 - 01/04/11 07:15 PM Redo My System?
gstahl Offline
journeyman


Registered: 03/04/05
Posts: 50
Loc: Garner, NC
I am having reliability problems with my HA system and want advice on fixing what I have or starting over.

My current system is simple but important as I am a time of use customer of my power company and I switch my 3 water heaters and 3 heat strips off during peak times.

My system consists of:
Ocelot controller and standard TW523 interface
3 Elk 9100 heavy duty switches, one for each water heater
1 wired 110 switch wired to relays to each air handler to control the heat strips
C-Max program (one summer and one winter) that switches C-16 on/off twice a day during the winter and once a day during the summer except on Saturdays and Sundays
1 plug-in 10 amp noise filter at desktop computer
1 plug-in phase coupler 220v

Ocelot and TW523 are in the garage and are currently sending a 2.5 v signal. Plug-in phase coupler is also in the garage but on the 220v dryer circuit. Elk 9100s are under the house (two located side by side and third is at opposite end of house from Ocelot) and the 110 wired relay is in the attic two stories up from the garage. Ocelot is on opposite leg of the main panel from the 110 wired relay in the attic. There is a second electrical panel in the addition from which the 3rd water heater is wired.

Problems:
1. Weak or no signal to the 110 wired relay - strips not controlled.
2. Move the Ocelot to outlet on same leg of the panel as the 110 wired relay (2nd floor of the house) and the water heaters aren't controlled consistently.
3. Can't tell if the program is working until there is no hot water or strips are on when they should be off.
4. Wife has no clue how to manually override program - using laptop to load and monitor Ocelot.
5. House is nearly 5,000 square feet.

Wants:
1. Reliability
2. Visual indication of controlled items being off/on
3. Easy to use interface/controller that my wife could use and that I could leave with the house when I sell it.

So, do I abandon X10 and look at Control4 or can I salvage my system with adding other components?

Thanks for your thoughts and suggestions.

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#22281 - 01/05/11 12:03 PM Re: Redo My System? [Re: gstahl]
Guy Lavoie Administrator Offline
Beyond All Hope
*****

Registered: 12/21/02
Posts: 6548
Loc: Montreal, QC, Canada
Sounds like the X10 signalling and reliability problem is pretty much the one and only real problem that you have. Maybe something like Jeff Volp's "XTB" might be something to look into. You can contact him from his web site:

http://jvde.us/

As for the status monitoring, one way could be to have a low wattage light connected to an X10 module set to the same address as the heat strips. Or you could use a X10 UM506 Universal Module instead (also set to the same X10 address as the strips) and use its contacts to control low voltage lights or even LEDs. Similarly, your wife could override the system using a X10 minicontroller to send a X10 command to the Ocelot that would tell it to override the regular operation or whatever you like.

If you prefer to get away from X10, then you could get a SECU16 expansion module for the Ocelot. This would give you 8 inputs for things like override buttons, reading a temperature or other information, and 8 low current relay outputs that could then be used to alternately control your devices instead of X10
_________________________
"If you don't know what you're doing, do it neatly..."

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#22282 - 01/05/11 01:30 PM Re: Redo My System? [Re: Guy Lavoie]
ADI Tech Support Moderator Offline
old hand


Registered: 12/22/02
Posts: 720
Loc: Branson West, MO
I would recommend getting away from the Elk system all together and hard wiring the RLY8XA directly to high current relays if at all possible. This would remove any wireless links that might be unreliable.

Kevin Barrett
ADI Tech Support

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#22283 - 01/05/11 03:25 PM Re: Redo My System? [Re: ADI Tech Support]
gstahl Offline
journeyman


Registered: 03/04/05
Posts: 50
Loc: Garner, NC
Thanks Guy and Kevin.

I like the idea of the RLY8XA and the direct low voltage output devices. I understand I eliminate the TW523 interface, connect the RLY8XA to my Ocelot and hard wire the devices to be controlled from the relays in the RLY8XA.

The Elk 9100s can also be controlled by Dry Contact Closure Activation - does that mean the RLY8XA low voltage could be used to activate the Elks?

I also like Guys idea of some sort of indicator light and mini controller - but if I abandon the X10 - what sort of controller and indicator do I use?

Finally, after reading about the RLY8XA it seems I will have to replace the C16 off/on command in my C-Max program with module 1 points 0,1,2,3,4,5 and 6 to control each of the 3 water heaters, 3 stips and an indicator - correct? Can the program do all 7 on one command or must there be 7 individual commands?

Finally, is there a practice limit to the distance the 10V low voltage from the RLY8XA can run? Some of these wires may need to run 75 feet or so.

Thanks.

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#22285 - 01/05/11 06:18 PM Re: Redo My System? [Re: gstahl]
Guy Lavoie Administrator Offline
Beyond All Hope
*****

Registered: 12/21/02
Posts: 6548
Loc: Montreal, QC, Canada
For relay modules you actually send 7 individual commands, but this is common in applications like that.

You mention that the Elk 9100s can also be controlled by dry contacts. If this is just a low current input (like an optoisolator) then you could use a SECU16 relay for that too. For status indicator, spare output relays could be used to that too, depending on the number of statuses you need to display. If the Elk 9100 really uses a low current as mentioned, you might be able to get your signal there too, in parallel with the input, and drive a LED , if you're into building simple one transistor circuits.

There is no problem with the 75 foot distance from the relay module.
_________________________
"If you don't know what you're doing, do it neatly..."

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