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What whole house X10 filtering works for you?


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#1 Mr Spock

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Posted 08 January 2011 - 06:08 PM

So I've had a moderately large X10 system in my house for years. Thanks to my ACT CR234 I'm able to get a stable system with good signal quality throughout. The DIP switches allowed me to set the sensitivity level to low to avoid most false repeats. This has worked quite well for a long time.

However...

Over the last 6 months or so the amount of garbage coming onto my AC line has increased to unacceptable levels. At first it was occasional and on codes I did not use. Now I get more than a dozen stray commands a day, especially in the morning. 80% of the time it was A1 ON, but lately it's broadened out into status requests, hail ack, and other weird stuff. Occasionally it hits something important.

I use smarthome AC line filters on all my PCs, TVs & cable boxes, and compact fluorescent lights. Anything with a switching power supply. I don't think it's coming from inside my house. I need to filter my entire house at the breaker box from the external world. I need something that works well and will play well with my existing CR234 coupler repeater.

The only product I see on the market these days is the Leviton 6284 (and cheaper X10 brand PZZ01). It has it's own coupling feature, and on the X10 product it says don't use another coupler with it.

Has anyone used the 6284 and CR234 or another amplified coupler-repeater together?

What are you using for a whole house X10 filter?

#2 linuxha

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Posted 08 January 2011 - 10:45 PM

I get these too (a lot of status requests and all on) and I wonder is it's just the PLM interpreting the weak signals incorrectly. I have no whole house filter.

#3 dem5867

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Posted 08 January 2011 - 11:04 PM

1st. I believe that the Leviton 6284 (and cheaper X10 brand PZZ01) are exactly the same.. I am not quite should witch one I have in my box I think the leviton but it could be the x10 doesn't matter. It's kinda a weird device you run your neutral feedder line thur what must be a ferrite core ,, then it has other coils or transformer that nornmally would have 3 hots (The device is made to be used with 3 phase power in split phase you just use two of the blacks,) and one neutral wire to.. Altought I presently have a neutral tried to the coil / transformer I do not believe it does anything yet I do have my neutral feedder thur the core which I believe keeps x10 from coming in to the house.. I did at one time have the blacks connected and did not seem to notice a differance. Couple of notes I started with a phase coupler that worked good but as my system grew with newdevices I did not have enough signal so I got a leviton HC10e amp that worked good for a time then died.. I got the ACT coupler / repeater for a good price and installled and  altough some controllers did weird dimming with the act  all has been working fine.. Now if I was only using the computer to control my x10 I would use my x10 booster (XTB) only and connect the phase coupler up the way it should be and I am pretty sure it would great.. I presently still use the booster on the computer. Lastly I believe in one for the older leviton manuals there is a info. on how the 6284 works and on one of the HA boards there was some talk about using a amp and the coupler together , that's how I wired mine the way I did.. basicly if I remember it was tought that if wired in the proper phase it would not hurt yet if it was wired reverse phase it should cancel the amp'ed signal out.. Hope this helps some how.. I looked at it this way it was a inexpensive , passive device that can hurt..

  :rolleyes:  

Edited by dem5867, 08 January 2011 - 11:06 PM.


#4 IndyMike

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Posted 09 January 2011 - 02:59 PM

Hello Mr Spock,

To answer your direct question, the CR234 should work nicely alongside the Leviton (or X10) blocking filter. The Leviton 6283 does include a passive coupler that can cause "issues" with some repeaters. Fortunately, the CR234 is/was the Cadillac of repeaters. As you've noted, it incorporates many features to prevent signal looping that could be caused by a parallel passive coupler.

That said, external X10 powerline interference really is not common. Utility transformers are normally pretty poor couplers of X10 signals (the reason you need the CR234 to begin with). As mentioned earlier in this thread, I have seen internally generated X10 transmissions "morph" into something else due to the presence of noise and signal absorption.

Another possibility may be RF reception (you didn't mention if you had RF transceivers). The A1 On transmission is typical of a battery device that it on it's last legs (motion sensors, palm pads). Along these lines, the WGL whole house transceiver is a marvelous X10 RF device - unfortunately, it can also receive your neighbors RF. Do you have on of these?

The status requests and Ack's are a bit abnormal. Do you have any transmitters (Outdoor floods, etc.) capable of generating/responding to these commands?

Lastly, what type of controller are your using?

IM

#5 Mr Spock

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Posted 09 January 2011 - 05:10 PM

Hi guys, thanks for the replies. A few extra details...

I have the RFXComm dual band (310/433 MHz) receiver with the ACRF2 plug-in on Homeseer. Based on the HS log file entries it's not coming from the RF side of X10, it's on the AC side (my ACT TI103). The message format is different enough between AC and RF sources to easily tell, even though it does not explicitly state it.

I do have one Oregon Scientific temp/humidity sensor (THGR122NX) reporting a weak battery, I will check it out. No neighbors I'm aware of.

Regarding the errors I get, here are a few samples from the Homeseer log spread out over a couple days:

9 (?) Preset Dim 3
J Status Request
K Status Request
J All Lights Off
B Status Request
B Status Off
B5 (1st Floor Dinning Room Cat Feeder Switch) B On <= bad hit, fed the cats for me
J10 (?) J Status Off
J10 (?) J Preset Dim2 29
N13 (?) N Preset Dim2 31
E Hail Ack
and the list goes on... I used to get a lot of A1 commands, but now it's this stuff.

Regarding the Leviton 6284. My theorized (best guess) theory of operation...

I believe it works passively by coupling the energy around 120kHz on the pass-through neutral wire out-of-phase to the neutral L1 and L2 conductors. It's neutral wire sensing is directional, so that might (does?) work to your advantage to allow active coupler repeaters on the house side of the 6284. If I understand their passive cancellation scheme correctly, it should filter valid X10 codes as well as random noise spikes around 120kHz that might cause general X10 interference. The X10 branded PZZ01 claims 30 to 1 voltage cancellation, which is about 30dB. It's about half the price of the identical Leviton 6284.

If anyone has taken one apart or knows for sure please inform us all.

I'm open to suggestions and recommendations on dealing with this.

#6 IndyMike

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Posted 09 January 2011 - 06:09 PM

Hello again Mr. Spock,

The transmissions that you are receiving appear to be from different families of HA devices:

1) The status request/ACK receptions are from 2-way X10 devices (or a result of noise as previously mentioned).
2) The preset Dim1 and Dim2 receptions are from a "old" version of the X10 specification. To my knowledge, only PCS and SmartHome devices utilize the Presetdim protocol (X10 and Leviton do not).
3) I have never seen a presetdim 3 command.

I have never seen a schematic on the Leviton 6284 or PZZ01. I had envisioned a current transformer on the neutral with amplifiers for driving the opposing phases (not passive).

You may be interested in a post over from Jeff Volp at the X10 forum. It deals with eternally generated noise and a "designed" signal sink intended to eliminate this noise: Jeff Volp "Tuned Signal Absorber"

I've worked with Jeff in the past on one of his XTB projects. I previously referred to your ACT CR234 as a Cadillac - with that bar set, Jeff's devices would be Lamborghini's.




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