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#4260 - 11/05/03 10:51 AM X10 Transmit Problem
JeffVolp Offline
active contributor
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Registered: 01/26/03
Posts: 185
Loc: St. George, Utah
I'm troubleshooting a transmission problem. We moved to a new house, and I've installed a couple dozen Leviton switches. X10 via maxi-controllers or an X10 RF link work fine, but nothing from the Ocelot.

The cable is fine - the Ocelot can monitor X10 traffic, but the PCS05 would not transmit. Its LED remained on while the Ocelot blinked and the monitor said it sent the X10 command. X10 transmission from a RF link plugged into the same circuit works fine.

While troubleshooting, I moved the PCS05 to the computer powerstrip. Since this was now on the computer side of a UPS, X10 traffic couldn't get to the house, but the PCS05 light then blinked.

My thought is there is some noise on the new house lines that causes the PCS05 not to transmit. Just to confirm this, I plugged one of the 120KHz tank filters into the original PCS05 socket to attenuate any noise not in the 120KHz band. It transmits fine in this configuration.

Since all the electronic equipment is the same, it must be something with the new house causing the noise problem. It occurs during the daytime, so it's not the compact fluorescents (which are isolated by Leviton inline filters anyway).

Anyone else run into a similar problem in a new house?

Jeff
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X-10 automation since the BSR days

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#4261 - 11/05/03 12:08 PM Re: X10 Transmit Problem
Guy Lavoie Administrator Offline
Beyond All Hope
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Registered: 12/21/02
Posts: 6548
Loc: Montreal, QC, Canada
[QUOTE]Originally posted by JeffVolp:
[qb]

The cable is fine - the Ocelot can monitor X10 traffic, but the PCS05 would not transmit. Its LED remained on while the Ocelot blinked and the monitor said it sent the X10 command. X10 transmission from a RF link plugged into the same circuit works fine.

While troubleshooting, I moved the PCS05 to the computer powerstrip. Since this was now on the computer side of a UPS, X10 traffic couldn't get to the house, but the PCS05 light then blinked.

[/qb][/QUOTE]So you're saying that when the Ocelot transmits X10, the PSC05 LED blinks when plugged into the power strip but not when plugged into a regular electrical outlet? It sounds like you might be having some kind of signal sucking problem with that electrical branch circuit. You should try the usual diagnostic routine of unplugging things from that circuit to see if anything particular is causing that. Be especially wary of laptop power supplies, TVs, halogen lamps, etc.
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#4262 - 11/05/03 02:52 PM Re: X10 Transmit Problem
Deane Johnson Offline
enthusiast


Registered: 01/09/03
Posts: 204
Loc: Omaha, Nebraska
If the power strip is a surge protector it is probably a major X-10 sucker. I even had one that wasn't visibly a surge protector but had some sort of filter on it that sucked X-10.

As Guy stated above, the only way to find out is to start the process of elimination. An X-10 meter from HomeAutomationNet.com helps a lot. Around $50 as I remember. I couldn't live without it.

Deane

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#4263 - 11/05/03 03:21 PM Re: X10 Transmit Problem
JeffVolp Offline
active contributor
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Registered: 01/26/03
Posts: 185
Loc: St. George, Utah
Thanks for the replies. I've used X10 for many years - since the early brown BSR days, and am very familiar with signal suckers. I've even written a few posts to USNET helping people with those problems. I also have a X10 level monitor, and know what my suckers are. I had one special circuit put in this house with all suckers on it: Sony TV, computer, VCRs, stereo, etc. And that circuit runs through the 20 amp ACT filter. There is NO problem with normal X10 transmission - only the PCS05 on the Ocelot.

This problem seems to be related to noise. I remember reading somewhere that the PCS05 is smart enough to avoid collisions. I think something in this new house is generating enough crap on the line that the PCS05 thinks there is X10 traffic, and is not transmitting. When I moved it to the power strip on the computer side of the UPS, it DID transmit. And when I added a 120 KHz tank filter to the AC line (not through the UPS) it DID transmit. That filter removes all noise except in the 120 KHz X10 band.

We have several new appliances in this house, and one of them may be generating the noise. Or it could be coming in through the line. I'll try to track it down and report back to the group. I had just wondered whether someone else had a similar problem with the PCS05.

Jeff
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X-10 automation since the BSR days

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#4264 - 11/05/03 05:51 PM Re: X10 Transmit Problem
Guy Lavoie Administrator Offline
Beyond All Hope
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Registered: 12/21/02
Posts: 6548
Loc: Montreal, QC, Canada
The PSC05 doesn't do anything by itself to avoid or detect collisions, it is up to the software driving it to attempt to do this. One thing that the Ocelot does is listen for a reception of any X10 transmission it does and will repeat it several times (up to 5, I think) if it doesn't see the command coming back. It doesn't do this for dims or extended code however, since the PSC05 cannot receive those in the same manner it transmits them. The driving software can also make a "best effort" collision avoidance by listening for any incoming X10 command before transmitting, but the PSC05 could be receiving the first of the two X10 command copies (the PSC05 only transmits the second one to the Ocelot) so the controller software cannot be sure that nothing is happening on the power line.
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#4265 - 11/06/03 07:22 AM Re: X10 Transmit Problem
JeffVolp Offline
active contributor
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Registered: 01/26/03
Posts: 185
Loc: St. George, Utah
I'm kind of stumped at this point. I went through switching off every circuit feeding a new appliance - even the HVAC system. I also switched off the "special" circuit, running the computer off the UPS. In every case, the PSC05 would only transmit (LED flash) when the X10 tank filter (Leviton 6289) was plugged into the same circuit. I tried this with two different PSC05s. One has the power supply mod I described months ago, and worked fine in our old house. The second is an unmodified new unit. Neither would transmit (LED flash) unless the X10 filter was plugged into the same circuit.

The next step was to get a scope on the AC line. The line looks clean. There is slight flattening of the 60Hz peaks, but no visible high-frequency noise. I could see the X10 transmissions coming from the RF interface. Thats on another circuit, and the amplitude on this circuit was a couple of volts peak-to-peak.

Now, the surprising thing: I tried X10 transmissions from the Ocelot using the immediate mode. The X10 output is there coming out of the PSC05 at about 8 Vpp. But the PSC05 LED does not flash. Nor do any X10 switches respond to the transmission. However, if I plug the Leviton 6289 filter into an outlet on that circuit, then the PSC05 LED flashes, and the X10 command does what it should. I can see no visible difference in the X10 transmission on the line with or without the filter.

I'm using the F and G housecodes, if that matters at all. And I'm not running an amplifier or repeater at this time. I have all X10 controlled devices on the same phase. Lighting circuits and regular outlets are on one phase, appliances like refrigerator, laundry, furnace, microwave, etc. on the other phase.

I don't understand why the PSC05 outputs a transmission from the Ocelot that is not recognized by itself (LED) or any other X10 device unless I put the X10 tank filter on that circuit.

Jeff
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X-10 automation since the BSR days

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#4266 - 11/06/03 07:29 AM Re: X10 Transmit Problem
Guy Lavoie Administrator Offline
Beyond All Hope
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Registered: 12/21/02
Posts: 6548
Loc: Montreal, QC, Canada
I remember hearing of a few people saying that plugging in another X10 module alongside their powerline interface would sometimes improve transmission. The only explanation I can find for this is that the line loading of the X10 signal transformer would create more favorable impedance characteristics on the power line, since they're looking for the same frequency that is being transmitted. Give that a try, adding an appliance module (or two) near the PSC05 and remove the filter.
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#4267 - 11/06/03 09:14 AM Re: X10 Transmit Problem
JeffVolp Offline
active contributor
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Registered: 01/26/03
Posts: 185
Loc: St. George, Utah
Plugging an X10 appliance module into the same duplex outlet as the PSC05 did help slightly. In this configuration about 1 in 4 X10 transmissions from the Ocelot cause the LED to flash, and that X10 command is recognized by switches. I have not seen a missed Ocelot transmission with the Leviton X10 tank filter in the same duplex socket.

Since I see a strong X10 signal both with and without the filter, I don't understand why the data is corrupted without the filter.
_________________________
X-10 automation since the BSR days

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#4268 - 11/06/03 09:40 AM Re: X10 Transmit Problem
Guy Lavoie Administrator Offline
Beyond All Hope
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Registered: 12/21/02
Posts: 6548
Loc: Montreal, QC, Canada
All I can say is that you appear to have a bad case of strange powerline impedance or characteristics. :eek: Looks like you'll have to experiment with various solutions until something workable is attained...
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#4269 - 11/06/03 09:54 AM Re: X10 Transmit Problem
JeffVolp Offline
active contributor
*****

Registered: 01/26/03
Posts: 185
Loc: St. George, Utah
As a experiment, I stretched out the cord and plugged the PSC05 into an outlet in another room (different AC circuit). It seems to transmit OK with no X10 filter on either AC circuit.

You must be right about the line characteristics, but I'd like to understand what is really going on. The next step is to build an "X10 detector" and capture the transmissions on a logic analyzer with and without a filter to see if there are any differences.

At least I have a couple of options to get me running again.

Thanks for the suggestions.

Jeff
_________________________
X-10 automation since the BSR days

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#4270 - 11/06/03 11:19 AM Re: X10 Transmit Problem
loranr Offline
newbie


Registered: 01/10/03
Posts: 11
Loc: Boulder Colorado
Jeff,

Not that this will help, but it may be of interest. After YEARS of flawless performance, my PLC based communication crapped out also. (Crapped out means that the Ocelot portion does not work.) Turns out that the signal suck or impedance irregularity or what ever it is only occurs when my hot tub is on. I've had the hot tub for a long time, but recently replaced the pump and heater. Wireles remotes work great, but the PSC05's connected to the Ocelot and Omni Pro won't communicate with the rest of the system.

Now that I have finished replacing windows and the trim is replaced,(my summer project) I can get back to some of the more interesting HA stuff again. I'll get a scope on my power signals this weekend.

loran

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#4271 - 11/06/03 11:36 AM Re: X10 Transmit Problem
Guy Lavoie Administrator Offline
Beyond All Hope
*****

Registered: 12/21/02
Posts: 6548
Loc: Montreal, QC, Canada
As Loran exemplifies, these problems often just seem to come out of nowhere and bite us by surprise, even when it seems we haven't really changed anything. Now imagine just moving into an entirely new house! I had a Toshiba Loptop power supply play the same kind of trick on me; it would kill X10 on the entire branch circuit.

So Loran, you say you just finished replacing Windows... Xp or .NET ?
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"If you don't know what you're doing, do it neatly..."

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#4272 - 11/07/03 09:43 AM Re: X10 Transmit Problem
loranr Offline
newbie


Registered: 01/10/03
Posts: 11
Loc: Boulder Colorado
Guy,

They were actually XTeriors but I added .NETS to them to help keep the bugs out.

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#4273 - 06/29/06 08:28 AM Re: X10 Transmit Problem [Re: loranr]
JeffVolp Offline
active contributor
*****

Registered: 01/26/03
Posts: 185
Loc: St. George, Utah
Just to update this, I removed that Leviton 6289 after installing the XTB, and all has been fine.
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X-10 automation since the BSR days

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