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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi Gang


I recently installed a Leviton bridge/amplifier to my fuse panel from the advice I received here. It seems to work well and I get the impression it is really blasting a signal throughout my house. I installed it because some lights didn`t seem to respond well to commands so it has cured that particular problem for the most part.


The problem I am still having though is that a couple of lights in particular keep coming on by themselves. I have tried changing the code and I installed a blocking device on one circuit where I have a couple of computers, but to no avail. Any suggestions on how I might trouble shoot this?


The other problem I have is that a couple of lights still don`t respond to the X-10 commands sent out by X-10 unit programmed from my computer port that comes with the X-10 kit ( the little white box that plugs into an outlet that accepts the telephone jack for programming from one`s computer). I don`t remember the name of it.

All routines seem to work except on a couple of lights. These lights will work if I use a seperate hand held remote to turn them on or off, but thats`s it.


From what I describe it almost sounds like this unit is defective and yet most of the other lights/routines work from it.


Are the rest of you folks using this device with the X-10 software to program routines? Is there something better out there?


I am also using the X-10 brand of stuff and their Home Control software. The Leviton brige/amplifier I recently puchased is the only exception


Any help would be very much appreciated.


Thank you, Glenn
 

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Good ol' X-10. Could you give us a breif descrip. of the type of equipment you are using with your lights... (lamp Module, transceiver Module, type of light switch, type of remote, and if you are using motion sensors to trigger events)

This could help in diagnosing the problem.
Quote:
a couple of lights in particular keep coming on by themselves
I had a similar problem but mine was a motion sensor that had a defective dusk/dawn sensor.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Well, currently it is a plug-in lamp module that is going on, but I was using a wall switch as well that

was affected too. The problem got so bad that I removed the switch and replaced it with a regular

switch. It seems to be happening in my basement only. Does noise cause this? How do I trouble-shoot this?



The other switches that do not respond are a wall switch and a plug-in module.


Thanks, Glenn
 

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Glenn,


Yes, the switches turning on by themselves are cause by noise. The switches not responding could be cause by noise or other reasons.


You first problem is probably the quality of the components you are using. I assume from your first post that you are using "X-10" brand of Powerline Carrier devices. These low cost devices are prone to noise problems. I have a number of these in my house and they too respond with the symptoms you are describing.


You mentioned that you purchased a Leviton phase coupler/filter. That was a great idea. The Leviton switches would probably clear up all of the rest of your problems. They have what they call Intellisense technology. Basically it is a way of dealing with the noise issues. If you do not care about "True Rocker Action" switch then the Leviton are affordable. I have two of these and four of the High-End Levitons and have had NO problems with any of them.


If you still want to try to debug the problems with the X-10 switches, I will tell you the process I used when I had a similar situation.


First, try plugging in the computer module to different outlets and have it trigger the light. If you can get it to work them you know that the computer module is NOT defective.


Next, plug the computer module back into the original outlet. No turn off every breaker in the house except for the one suppling power to the computer module and the one suppling power to the light. Does the light now work? If it does, begin turning on one breaker at a time then test the light. When you find the breaker that causes the problem, you need to determine what is on that breaker and begin to shutdown individual devices.


I did these process and it lead me to my computer. If the computer was off everything was fine, turn it on and similar symtoms to you. Turns out it was a back connector on the power supply. A couple pins pulled out of it when I tried to remove the power supply. New power supply and no more problems.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Vette95


Thank you for the post. I'll have to pick a suitable day when I can begin the shutdown process! Being in Canada, can you suggest

any sources for the Leviton switches? When you speak of 'rocker style' vs 'non-rocker' is there a model number or style I should look for? I don't think I'd want to spend the extra on the rocker style.


Thanks again, Glenn
 

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Glenn,


Sorry, I do not know of a Canadian source for Leviton. You could call around to local electrical distributors in your area and find one that carries Leviton and give him specific part numbers.


Personally, I order from Worthingtons ( www.worthdist.com ). I have a mailbox in the Detroit area and ship to there then go and pick it up. They have the best prices that I can find.


Check on the site to confirm the part numbers depending on colour, etc.


The true rocker action switch is HCM06-1SW and cost $39.95USD


The non rocker action (like the X-10) switch is 6381-WI and cost $26.25USD


They also have a cost saving compatible which I ordered once and recieved a Leviton switch in a Leviton box?? Part number on that switch is

WD0381-WI and costs $25.95USD.


Note: The price of $39.95 on the true rocker switch is the latest price the catalog shows $59.95, but price recently went down. I just ordered them a couple weeks ago.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Vette95


Thank you very much for the information. I actually bought the Leviton from Worthingtom, I just wondered if there was anyone locally.


I'll keep 'plugging' away.


Glenn
 

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Glen,


FYI a lot of folks seem to have had problems with the Leviton repeater/couplers. Myself included.


I was using a leviton repeater with PCS smart switches (and some leviton switches) throughout my house. No end of flakey problems, after getting a X10 signal analyzer and futzing around for days I found that:


a) my SmartUPS's seemed to attenuate X10 on the entire circuit.

b) In general stuff worked better (but not great) without the Leviton repeater turned on.


I got some ACT AF120's to isolate the SmartUPS's (which helped quite a bit). But things were still flakey, also I found the Lev repeater would get into some sort of screaming match with my X10 RF tranceivers and flood the AC with X10 signals until I pulled the power on one of them.


Did some searching on the net and found lots of folks having problems the the leviton repeaters. I tossed the Lev repeater into the trash and switched to an ACT CR230 and everything has been flawless since.


I now have over 20 PCS switches, an Ocelot, a couple of RF tranceivers and the ACT running in my house. I only had to put X10 isolators on the SmartUPS's. I have not had a false on or off for 6 months. I kept a couple of leviton switches as well (they worked fine) but they were not as flexible as the PCS units which I standardized on in my house.


Good luck with the X10 gremlins. Try www.remotecentral.com for X10 information.


-J
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
kunzelman


Thank you for your post. Unfortunately I have already forked out for the Leviton repeater/coupler. You are right

I thought it was just me, but I do seem to be getting more problems with the Leviton repeater. Some lights don't

come on at all now and sometimes the thing just keeps flashing and flashing!


I just got two Leviton switches and after paying through the nose for them they don't seem to work as well as the

regular x-10 brand switches. One switch only responds to the off command only and the 3-way switch refuses

to go to my preset dim level programmed into my computer inferface unit. Just this morning I woke up and none

of my programmed lights were on. I have no idea why.


I have been struggling with the X-10 stuff for over 4 years now and I think it is time to cut my loses. FOR ME

the stuff is absolute crap. I refuse to spend any more money or effort on it. I am now looking for a dedicated

lighting system. All of it is going into the garbage.


Glenn
 

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I don't know if you are using the Activehome X-10 software or not, but I found that in order for preprogrammed sequences of lights to work properly, I had to space the on or off timing for each device by a minute. If I programmed all the units to come on or off at the same time, it seems to send the commands all at once and confuse every thing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
cgblack


Thank you for the response. Yes, I am using Activehome software. That's a good tip for programming, I will give it a try.


With the Ocelot. Is the software included with it similiar to Activehome? Anything else needed with the Ocelot?


I have pulled the Leviton out of the loop. More trouble than it is worth.


Glenn
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Deane


Thank you for the reply. I actually stumbled upon a software product called: HomeSeer. ( homeseer.com) Although more than I need, it has the ability to send out 'extended' codes for the Leviton switches and has been working very,very well. The Leviton switches seem un-affected by whatever had been causing the X-10 brand switches to come on by themselves and the macros (events) work flawlessly with HomeSeer. Still playing around, but looking very good so far. In fact, I just may pick-up more Leviton switches! I actually kind of like them now.


Glenn
 

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I'm also putting in an x-10 system in my house. What is the source for the ACT coupler/repeater? Who is the manufacturer. I'm planning to use switchlinc switches. Any comments?


Thanks in advance
 

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Well, I've been using X-10 successfully for 21 years in five different homes. The Leviton (or similar) repeater (and amplifier in larger homes) is absolutely essential. Also essential has been a whole house surge protector, which has cut down substantially on spike signals received from the local power company lines, which in turn has cut down substantially on false turn-ons. But during violent thunderstorms in the immediate area, I still have some false turn-ons, usually with the same two lamps (no, it does no good to swap out X-10 for Leviton or anything else on these lamps - the spikes almost always operate the few modules set to a particular house code and unit code).


I currently have a 5,400 square foot home, and do have weak signal transmission into a home theater from the distant computer operating the theater. The only X-10 signal amplifier I have is the Leviton. Since the weak X-10 line signals received in the theater room did not reliably operate theater lighting, I set the computer program to send multiple on or off signals, and since then I have had no problem. Many audio and video components (including a front projector) are operated flawlessly by a JDS TimeCommander and a JDS InfraRed Xpander, with infrared signals transmitted by the little X-10 pyramids. Incidentally, the JDS products are a lot more expensive than the computer tied unit you are using, but I have used their (and previous company) products to great advantage for the last nine years in running whole house and multiple home theater operations.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Hi Gang


I am happy to say that I now have a perfect working X-10 system. I have spent some time making a big effort to fix

the bugs that I had.


I installed noise filters on all of the computers in my house. I installed Leviton switches in some places where I was having lights go on when they shouldn't and I installed an ACT Cr230 repeater/amplifier which has worked flawlessly. There were definate problems with the Leviton repeater. the Leviton repeater would sometimes just flash and flash for no reason at all and it didn't seem to couple the wiring properly as lights still didn't respond to X-10 signals.


I also trashed my ActiveVision software for a product called HomeSeer ( HomeSeer supports the extended code used for the Leviton switches) , which is a great and again it too has worked flawlessly with all my gear.


I am now very happy with my X-10 system. It works as it is suppose to.


Links:


ACT
http://www.homeautomationnet.com/


HomeSeer
http://www.homeseer.com/


X-10 Help
http://www.remotecentral.com/


Hope it helps, Glenn
 

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X-10 is sometimes so frustrating that an exorcist seems to be called for, rather than an electrician. Yet the cost can't be beat. :)
 
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