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Omni LT, X10 and ToggleLinc switches


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#1 TristateUser

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Posted 05 December 2018 - 03:41 AM

I need some help with debugging X10 control functions of a 2001-era Omni LT system. (This is somewhat a continuation of a request I made here some time ago. I could download the config files from the Omni LT controller board using Dealer version of PC Access as suggested by pete_c and ComponY).

 

Even though I could monitor and set temperature of the 2 Omnistats using PC Access and the 3 Omni Automation wall consoles, I could never control any of the ToggleLinc PLC dimmer switches (model 23894I) in the house from PC Access or wall consoles. Since we purchased the house a few months ago, I had to replace 6 ToggleLinc switches (thanks to the spares left by the previous owner of the house).   All of the switches failed in the same way -- they suddenly start flashing like a strobe light and the only way to make then stop is by cutting-off power to the switch by pulling the small Status LED/Set Button out.  The previous owner says that he replaced only 2 or 3 switches since the house was built 17 years ago.

 

To fix the problems, I first reset all the ToggleLinc switches in the house to factory reset state, and then tried to set primary address to them following the instructions in the switch's manual (and as BLH correctly pointed out in here).  Even though the switches went into the "programming mode" as indicated by the blinking Status LED/Set Button, I could never assign an address to them.  I suspect this is because the Omni LT controller couldn't send out the X10 codes even though I tried several times from PC Access and wall consoles.

 

I am now suspecting that the 2-way powerline interface (X-10 Powerhouse model TW523) connected to the Omni LT controller is dead.  How do I verify that TW523 is functioning correctly?  (I wish I have an oscilloscope at home... :().  According to this technote about TW523, one should see the red LED blinking whenever an X-10 code is sent/received.  But I always see a steady red LED even when I send out "all units ON" or "all units OFF" from PC Access -- is this normal?

 

Another possibility is that the X-10 control functions of the Omni LT controller is dead or stuck in some odd state.  Is there any way to reset the Omni LT controller board which has a backup battery (and is it advisable to reset it)?  (I hope HAI/Leviton guys are smart enough to add some watchdog timer based reset functionality in the embedded software on board...). 

 

BTW, the PC Access says that the Omni LT board has a new firmware available. How do I update the firmware on an Omni LT board?

 

The previous owner of the house says both the X-10 system and the security system was working until the house was sold to us.  We didn't do any major electrical work other than installing a couple of bath exhaust fans and motion sensor wifi cameras.

 

So sorry to write a such a long post.  I am completely stuck here.  Any help/advice is much appreciated.  I am also thinking of upgrading the controller board to Omni LTe (or something ever better) before I run out of the remaining spare ToggleLinc switches.



#2 neillt

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Posted 05 December 2018 - 10:48 AM

I am the wrong guy to advise you on the X-10 stuff, but I can address your two questions about the panel...

 

You can absolutely reset the OmniLT.  Unplug the battery backup first, then the main power transformer.  Wait about 10 seconds, then plug the battery back in first, then the mains.  That does a quick power cycle of the board.  The programming should be just fine.

 

For firmware upgrades, if you have a 2001 era board, it's not flashable with new firmware.  Instead, you order the actual ROM chips from a vendor like Home Controls.  There is a chip right in the middle of the board that will usually have the HAI logo on a sticker.  That's the ROM chip.  When you get the new one, you power down the board and replace the chip.  Power it back on, and re-upload the programming from PC Access so that any changes that might have occurred version to version are addressed.



#3 BLH

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Posted 06 December 2018 - 07:38 AM

Yes the Red LED should blink with receiving or sending an X10 power line command. For both the X10 TW523 or X10Pro PSC05.

If you have any other X10 controller to send an X10 command. The TW523's LED should blink when it  sends a command. Even if you have the RJ11 cable disconnected from the console.

I would suggest you try the other information provided to get the console to presently used firmware.

 

Both the TW523 and PSC05 have been discontinued awhile ago. I have not seen many on the Auction sites either.

JV Digital Engineering makes a XTB-523 module that is actually an update to the real X10 ones. Stronger power line transmitter and better power line receiver.

 

http://jvde.us/xtb-523.htm



#4 pete_c

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Posted 06 December 2018 - 09:26 AM

Here utilize Jeff's XTB dual phased TW523 emulator.  Well years now and it is working great.

 

For software X10 continue to utilize the old CM11A's and TW-523's and those work fine.

 

Wall switches here have changed from the original X10 to Insteon to UPB today.  UPB changes have been the add of a UPB repeater.  I am a happy camper today with UPB in wall switches.

 

The OmniPro 2 panel continues to talk X10, UPB, ZWave and Zigbee today. 



#5 TristateUser

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Posted 06 December 2018 - 01:25 PM

Thank you neillt, BLH and pete_c for taking time to respond.
 

You can absolutely reset the OmniLT.  Unplug the battery backup first, then the main power transformer.  Wait about 10 seconds, then plug the battery back in first, then the mains.  That does a quick power cycle of the board.  The programming should be just fine.

I tried to reset OmniLT controller board as you suggested.  It didn't help.
 
 

For firmware upgrades, if you have a 2001 era board, it's not flashable with new firmware.  Instead, you order the actual ROM chips from a vendor like Home Controls.  There is a chip right in the middle of the board that will usually have the HAI logo on a sticker.  That's the ROM chip.  When you get the new one, you power down the board and replace the chip.  Power it back on, and re-upload the programming from PC Access so that any changes that might have occurred version to version are addressed.

You are right; Home Controls send me the instructions, but they currently don't have the upgrade chip for OmniLT though.
 
 

Yes the Red LED should blink with receiving or sending an X10 power line command. For both the X10 TW523 or X10Pro PSC05.
If you have any other X10 controller to send an X10 command. The TW523's LED should blink when it  sends a command. Even if you have the RJ11 cable disconnected from the console.

The red LED of TW523 is not blinking at all.  I tried again from wall console and PC Access.  Interestingly, PC Access status reports the state (ON or OFF) of a unit based on the last command sent out to that unit.  Obviously it is wrong because I don't think the controller board can query the status of ToggleLinc switches (or any X10 device?).
 
Unfortunately I don't have any other devices here to send X10 codes other than the OmniLT controller board.  So I may have to assume that TW523 is dead...
 
Has anyone tried WM100, a wifi hub for X10 https://www.x10.com/wm100.html ? They claim that it can snoop the X10 activity and show last 30 codes it listened to on the power line.  So it can be used as an expensive debug tool.  It would allow one to control X10 devices remotely via their iOS/android app.
 
 

Both the TW523 and PSC05 have been discontinued awhile ago. I have not seen many on the Auction sites either.
JV Digital Engineering makes a XTB-523 module that is actually an update to the real X10 ones. Stronger power line transmitter and better power line receiver.
 
http://jvde.us/xtb-523.htm

Here utilize Jeff's XTB dual phased TW523 emulator.  Well years now and it is working great.


Thanks for the pointer to Jeff's TW523 emulator.
 
I am not so much interested or fascinated by the X10; we inherited them along with the house.  But I don't want to throw away those 16 X10-controlled ToggleLinc switches as well.  The thermostat (omnistat) and security features of OmniLT system works fine.  I came up with a neat solution to access the OmniLT controller remotely via TCP/IP from anywhere even though it supports only serial/RS-232 and phone link.  The ability to write primitive programs to control X10 units based on sensor input and clock is an interesting feature to me though.  This is something WM100 can't provide as it is just a wifi-enabled remote control for X10 devices.  I would appreciate if anyone has thoughts/suggestions or have experience with upgrading an OmniLT system.  Thanks again.

Edited by TristateUser, 06 December 2018 - 01:28 PM.


#6 pete_c

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Posted 06 December 2018 - 03:22 PM

Using Homeseer / CM11A X10 plug in in debug mode you can see the in and out of the TW-523.  
 
You can also see it working using an old Ocelot.
 
Also check the cable from the TW-523 to the Omni panel.  It is just a 4 wire flipped telephone cable with the smaller handset RJ style 4 pin cable on the TW-523 side.
 
Any combo network tester can check the cable.  Sounds like a bad TW523.  You can find these on Ebay cheap these days.
 
There are no TW-523 diagnostics that you can see with the PC Access. 
 
I tried to reset OmniLT controller board as you suggested.  It didn't help.
 
A cold reset might do better.  BUT you will need to upload a backup of the firmware afterwards.

#7 BLH

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Posted 06 December 2018 - 06:07 PM

Over on the X10 forums. There are a few threads on the WM100. Some from the early users that where given them to do tests on.  No one is happy with them. Serious issues and the Chinese manufacturer and App writer are not being cooperative at all.

 

Had one more thought. Have you checked the interface cable Benet the console and the TW523?



#8 TristateUser

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Posted 06 December 2018 - 10:57 PM

Using Homeseer / CM11A X10 plug in in debug mode you can see the in and out of the TW-523.  
 
You can also see it working using an old Ocelot.
 
Also check the cable from the TW-523 to the Omni panel.  It is just a 4 wire flipped telephone cable with the smaller handset RJ style 4 pin cable on the TW-523 side.

 

The interface cable between the panel and TW523 uses an RJ14 (6P4C) connector.  I tried swapping it with another RJ14 telephone cable.  No change -- the red LED on TW-523 is not blinking.

 

 

I tried to reset OmniLT controller board as you suggested.  It didn't help.
 
A cold reset might do better.  BUT you will need to upload a backup of the firmware afterwards.

 

I thought I did a cold (hard) reset by disconnecting the battery and transformer as suggested by neillt.  I didn't see any option to do a soft reset from PC Access.

 

I don't know if the main LT controller board has any reset buttons because it is partly covered by an LT extension board mounted on top of it.  To make things even less accessible there's a MPI-11 electronic siren driver module on the side of the box...



#9 pete_c

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Posted 07 December 2018 - 11:00 AM

There a couple of used TW-523's on Ebay.  Personally here have never had one of these go bad.


 
Here also utilize old Radio Shack plug in style X10 consoles and an Elk X10 for testing.  I keep the Elk online 24/7 as it indicates X10 noise.
 
There are keypad keypresses to do a warm and cold reset.  The disconnect of the battery and power is a warm reset as it doesn't wipe out the base stored variables in the panel.  The cold reset takes the panel to when you purchased it with no information on it.  Caution here as you will need a back up of the firmware in the panel otherwise you will need to reprogram it from scratch.

#10 TristateUser

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Posted 10 December 2018 - 06:50 PM

Thanks to everyone for the help and suggestions.  TW523 was indeed the culprit.  Swapping it with a used TW523 from ebay fixed the problem.  Now all my X10 units are working! :)

 

Another ToggleLinc PLC dimmer switch started flashing when I tried to assign a new address to it.  I have to replace it as well now.  Any idea what might be causing those ToggleLinc switches to fail exactly the same way?  What could be causing them to flash and the fail permanently?



#11 BLH

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Posted 11 December 2018 - 07:06 AM

Power supply portion of the switch. Can cause all kinds of issues. Most likely a dried out filter capacitor.

I have rebuilt a few of their plug in modules.

Had one 2456S Insteon ApplianceLinc start pulsing On and Off at a one second cycle. Filter capacitor fix it.






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