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#15206 - 02/27/06 08:46 AM To mod or not to mod?
Max Offline
junior


Registered: 02/04/04
Posts: 26
Loc: Toronto
I'm just wondering how people feel about any performance enhancements post-mod of the tw523/psc05. I'd like to squeeze out any more transmit power from this little sucker to see if it will finally hit all of house's devides.

I have read about the cap. mods (something I'm not sure my electronics acumen (or lack thereof) is up to), but I can certainly snip a few leads to the LED ... or maybe just solder in the increased resistor to lessen the LED's power drain.

So...

LED mod alone...worth it?

CAP mod ... worth it?

Both .. even more worth it?

Any others ?

-Max

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#15207 - 02/27/06 09:06 AM Re: To mod or not to mod? [Re: Max]
Guy Lavoie Administrator Offline
Beyond All Hope
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Registered: 12/21/02
Posts: 6548
Loc: Montreal, QC, Canada
The PSC-05/TW-523 mods came about in situations where it otherwise appeared to not transmit at all. I have not really heard of cases where people would do them to "boost" the signal slightly. In other words: if your module appears to be transmitting X10 ok, then there should be no need for the modifications at all.
_________________________
"If you don't know what you're doing, do it neatly..."

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#15208 - 02/27/06 09:16 AM Re: To mod or not to mod? [Re: Guy Lavoie]
Max Offline
junior


Registered: 02/04/04
Posts: 26
Loc: Toronto
Guy,

Thanks for the quick response.

Well, that saves me wasting brain-power on this one.

Too bad though, a little bit more transmitting power would be ideal. Also too bad is that I was trying to divert my attention from my stymied phone-wiring issues for a bit...it has really kicked in the ol' OCD and I wanted a break from it.

Oh well, I'll just ferret-out some other project.

Max

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#15209 - 03/17/06 08:35 AM Re: To mod or not to mod? [Re: Max]
JeffVolp Offline
active contributor
*****

Registered: 01/26/03
Posts: 185
Loc: St. George, Utah
I'm working on a plug-in buffer amplifier for the TW523 to boost its power output significantly. The prototype PC board should be back in another week. If it works well, I should have it available to others within a couple of months.
_________________________
X-10 automation since the BSR days

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#15210 - 03/17/06 09:39 AM Re: To mod or not to mod? [Re: JeffVolp]
Max Offline
junior


Registered: 02/04/04
Posts: 26
Loc: Toronto
Sounds great ... I'll take one of each colour please!

Jeff, please keep us informed of your progress...I have a feeling that this would be an extremely popular add-on for many of us that have a few x10 issues that might be solved if the TW523 could just shout a little louder down the wires.

*crosses fingers*

-Max

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#15211 - 03/17/06 09:50 AM Re: To mod or not to mod? [Re: Max]
Guy Lavoie Administrator Offline
Beyond All Hope
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Registered: 12/21/02
Posts: 6548
Loc: Montreal, QC, Canada
Jeff, that sounds interesting. When you say "plug in" buffer amplifier, what exactly are you referring to connection-wise?
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"If you don't know what you're doing, do it neatly..."

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#15212 - 03/17/06 10:59 AM Re: To mod or not to mod? [Re: Guy Lavoie]
JeffVolp Offline
active contributor
*****

Registered: 01/26/03
Posts: 185
Loc: St. George, Utah
It is basically a high-power amplifier for the TW523. It will be packaged as a plug-in module with a socket on the front for the TW523. The two will plug together, and then into the wall.

The downside with this easy plug-together configuration is that incomming signals passed on to the TW523 are attenuated by about 50%. But, it can output the 120KHz burst with over 1 amp of current.

Another version could drive both phases directly, but that is a way off.
_________________________
X-10 automation since the BSR days

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#15213 - 03/18/06 06:42 AM Re: To mod or not to mod? [Re: JeffVolp]
John Warner Offline
old hand
*****

Registered: 01/09/03
Posts: 834
Loc: Port Perry, Ontario, Canada
Quote:

The downside with this easy plug-together configuration is that incomming signals passed on to the TW523 are attenuated by about 50%.




I assume that problem could be resolved by using two TW523's, one for receive and another through the amplifier for Xmit?

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#15214 - 03/18/06 08:32 AM Re: To mod or not to mod? [Re: John Warner]
JeffVolp Offline
active contributor
*****

Registered: 01/26/03
Posts: 185
Loc: St. George, Utah
Sure, but that would require a Y cable from your controller.

The incomming signal must be limited so it doesn't turn on the power amplifier and set up a feedback loop. I am trying to minimize the attenuation when the signal level is low. Hopefully, it won't be a problem.
_________________________
X-10 automation since the BSR days

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#15215 - 05/07/06 10:03 AM Re: To mod or not to mod? [Re: JeffVolp]
JeffVolp Offline
active contributor
*****

Registered: 01/26/03
Posts: 185
Loc: St. George, Utah
The X10 Transmit Buffer is nearing reality. The latest prototype includes an amplifier in the return path to boost low-level return signals. With the buffer installed near our distribution panel, my ESM1 indicates strong levels throughout the house. The lowest level read about 1V, and some were higher than the ESM1 can measure.

If interested in a simple way to significantly boost your X10 signal levels throughout your house, you can read more about this device at:

http://jeffvolp.home.att.net/x10xmtbuf/bufferdoc1.doc

I will order enough printed circuit boards for everyone who contacts me in the next couple of weeks.

Jeff
_________________________
X-10 automation since the BSR days

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#15216 - 05/07/06 11:46 AM Re: To mod or not to mod? [Re: JeffVolp]
John Vomastic Offline
active contributor


Registered: 01/26/03
Posts: 152
Loc: Manitou Springs, Colorado
Jeff,
How large (sqft) is your house that you are using to test your device? How do you think your device would work in a house with 6500 sqft with a main and a sub panel?

I am wondering why Leviton and ACT and others have not marketed such a device but rather limited the signal strength to only 5 volts?

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#15217 - 05/07/06 11:54 AM Re: To mod or not to mod? [Re: Max]
Chris Anderson Offline
addict


Registered: 01/08/04
Posts: 507
Loc: Michigan
Another solution I have employed with some luck is to plug the TW523 in right at the main panel on a dedicated circuit then run the phone wire all the way back to the Ocelot / Leo. I anjoy about 100% reliability with this setup. i can't recall it ever "missing" on send or receive.

Chris

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#15218 - 05/07/06 12:32 PM Re: To mod or not to mod? [Re: John Vomastic]
JeffVolp Offline
active contributor
*****

Registered: 01/26/03
Posts: 185
Loc: St. George, Utah
Our house is just over 5000 square feet on two floors. There are two breaker panels - one outside with the main breaker for big loads, and an interior distribution panel with almost 40 branch circuits. The interior panel has a X10 blocking filter on its main feed, and all circuits with X10 loads are arranged on the same phase.

This X10 Transmit Buffer should still provide good signal strengths in a larger house. The reason why most modules have limited output is probably due to the size of the power supply. With transformer-coupled output, more current is made available by reducing the maximum output voltage. As you can see in the photographs, most of the Transmit Buffer is power supply, and a step-down output transformer is not needed.

Depending on load characteristics, this buffer can output over 20Vpp. That is attenuated quickly as the signal propagates through the house wiring. Most of the outlets I checked read around 2.5Vpp.
_________________________
X-10 automation since the BSR days

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#15219 - 05/07/06 12:39 PM Re: To mod or not to mod? [Re: Chris Anderson]
JeffVolp Offline
active contributor
*****

Registered: 01/26/03
Posts: 185
Loc: St. George, Utah
I tested the prototype in two locations. First near the computer, which probably increased levels about 4X. But one circuit with a bunch of X10 loads was still on the low side. Then I plugged it into an outlet adjacent to the main distribution panel. That increased signal strengths throughout the house, bringing the "problem" circuit up to about 1Vpp. So that is the ideal position, accompanied with a passive coupler if X10 loads are on both both phases.
_________________________
X-10 automation since the BSR days

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#15220 - 05/07/06 03:43 PM Re: To mod or not to mod? [Re: JeffVolp]
jmjones Offline
journeyman


Registered: 01/08/03
Posts: 53
Loc: Billings, Missouri
I use an ACT CR234 coupler/repeater in my installation. Any idea how your device compare to the CR234?
_________________________
John, SW Missouri

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#15221 - 05/07/06 04:44 PM Re: To mod or not to mod? [Re: jmjones]
JeffVolp Offline
active contributor
*****

Registered: 01/26/03
Posts: 185
Loc: St. George, Utah
Sorry, I can't help you with the CR234. I used a Leviton 6201 repeater. Signals are significantly stronger with just the buffer located adjacent to the breaker panel. But, the 6201 was driving both phases. The buffer only has to drive the one phase I use for X10 devices. A passive coupler to the other phase would reduce the levels somewhat.

The 6201 has the same capacitor-coupled power supply that is common to other X10 transmitters. So it should have the same power limitation.
_________________________
X-10 automation since the BSR days

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