Things that Interfere with UPB


Hi everyone,

I've been reading a lot of posts on various forums about the problems people are having with UPB. So I though I would start a list we all could add to of things that might wreak havoc with UPB. And if folks have solutions we can post those too.
Here is what I have learned so far that others have reported causing problems with their UPB setup:

Fluorescent lights
X-10 filters
Microwave ovens (when cooking)
Electric dryers (when drying)
laptop power supplies (possible solution - try an x-10 filter)

Intersting that I have one report of an x-10 filter hindering UPB and another where an x-10 filter helped UPB.

wz2p7j said:
Here is what I have learned so far will cause trouble:
I suggest saying "might potentially cause problems" instead, as (from I have read here) there is a considerable share of UPB users not facing the same problems.
C'mon guys,

I appreciate the comments and agree my wording could have been better but I don't think there is a way to go back and edit it. Agreed UPB works great for a lot of people but NOT all. If you read around on various forums you come across a fair number of people that are having trouble with their UPB equipment. So I thought I would create a thread to help folks out that are having problems and create a repository for known problems/fixes for UPB. This thread is NOT intended for those that think UPB is a wonderful technology but, rather, those that are having trouble making it work or having problems and would like some help.

Best regards, Chris
I don't think you can shoehorn problems into generic categories like that. I think problems that come up are going to be very specific. For example, I personally do not have any trouble at all with any of those things in your list and use them all. The only problem I have is with my electronic cooktop. But that is specific to the certain model I have as there are many people with electronic cooktops that do not have any problems.

I understand what you are trying to do but I don't think it can be generalized like that. Perhaps you should have this central thread just link to the other threads or forums where trouble is reported so we can see the exact details behind the problem instead of a generic category.

And yes, you can always go back and edit your own post by clicking on the Edit button.
wz2p7j said:
C'mon guys,

I appreciate the comments and agree my wording could have been better but I don't think there is a way to go back and edit it.
All your posts have an "edit" button you can use to change a post, I've done it many times for the odd spelling error or incomprehensible sentence ;)


I'm really just trying to help other users. If your UPB stuff worked, I am happy for you. Unfortunately, this has not been the case with all.

I spent a $1000 bucks of hard earned money and horsed around for days trying to get my equipment to work. It was quite stressful and frustrating. I did not know if I could get my money back and my wife was mad as hell at me.

I have seen other users experiencing similar problems on other forums, so obviously UPB is not as foolproof as touted by PCS. My intention was simply to capture some problems as reported by other users so that other folks having problems would have some things to check. I think my intention was obviouis and am surprised about all the sensitivity this has evoked. However, if t will make everyone happy, I will go back and edit my post to say something to the effect of "these things have been reported to cause problems in some instances."

Jeesh, Chris

Can you tell us the issues you had and perhaps we can try to troubleshoot that. I would also be willing to set up your stuff here in our test boards to run them through the paces if you haven't yet returned it.
Just like X10, there are devices that cause problems for UPB. I feel that a checklist of potential culprits would be extremely useful for someone having problems with UPB.

Also Insteon, X10, ZWave and ZigBee.

I'm sorry if you think people are being sensitive. I understand what you are trying to do and it is admirable. But the fact remains that you can not generalize like your example. Take just your first two examples. It is crazy to say generically that flourescent lights and laptops cause problems for UPB. Sure there may be a certain brand or type of flourescent light that causes a problem, but UPB is installed in 1000's of homes (including mine) with flourescent lights without issue. Same for laptops. I had the same frustration you did with UPB with X10. I spent dozens of hours trying to make it work, mapping circuits, killing breakers, even went so far as to pull fan switches, etc out of the wall. No matter what I did I still had low signal and unexplainable problems. Others have perfect luck even with similar equipment.

The point is, none of the technologies are perfect and each is going to have their share of problems, some maybe more so than others. I do happen to think that UPB is one of the better products and least prone to issues, but no, certainly not perfect. I think it is valid to make points like anything that interferes with the UPB pulses can potentially cause a problem but you can not categorically say that flourescent lights do that. I have seen UPB problems as simple as user error and very complex being a mix of issues. Bottom line is all situations need to be looked at individually and troubleshot until the problem is found. It is also important to buy equipment from somebody that will take an active role in helping you solve the problem and never leaving you worried that your investment is at risk. Automated Outlet and Tech Home are such vendors. So is Simply Automated. They have been know to even send an engineer out to a large install to figure out the problems.

Like for example, if many people have issues with Lutron dimmers set below 50%, that is certainly a valid item to put on a checklist, but perhaps 'dimmers' is too generic. I have also seen since UPB can propogate a transformer, it is possible that a neighbors equipment is killing you. I have heard that before.

If you really want to try UPB, I would buy some SA equipment from Martin, take it step by step and rely on Martin, SA and others here to help you figure it out. If at the end of the day you are still stumped, you will have no worries getting a credit or refund. Then you can try Insteon or Z-Wave and see if you have better luck. I know its frustrating but your perseverance will pay off.
Thanks guys,

Yes, my wording was not good but again just trying to help people out. The intent was for people to keep adding to the discussion as we go, not cause a huge debate. So if I say "fluorescent lights", the next guy can come along and say I found "XYZ brand of fluoresent lights" is a problem.

My experience with UPB was discussed here:

I have an RMA from Worthington but still have the equipment, not boxed up yet. If someone has some ideas I would gladly try them just to contribute to the learning on this board.


I support your effort. Over the years I have learned a lot by reading your posts over on the Adicon board. I feel that you are really a very detailed person with a lot of home automation experience. I'm sorry that some others here might not realize that.

I was truly amazed and can understand your frustration with the UPB experience.
I have not tried UPB yet (maybe still waiting till the Ocelot supports it? ;) ), but I have read many posts that there appears to be differences with different brands of the UPB devices.

I have not purchased anything from Tech Home, but Martin at Automated Outlet has always gone the extra mile when I had an issue with something he supplied, I am a very happy customer.

Way back when, when I first started with X10, the general check lists of items that might cause a problem were very helpful to me with trouble shooting.

So before I start with UPB, I would love to see this kind of information, for ALL the newer technologies, just as rocco suggested.

I have read your other post at the ADI before, and can understand your frustration. The checklist is a good idea. I just worried at my the first sight when I read your post about what perception could get new people considering the technology.

I suggest that once you finish gathering input of other UPB users having problems, you (or the moderators) create a poll where UPB users (only UPB users - honor code), would vote something like this:

1. Never have problems with UPB
2 . Problems with fluorescent lights
3. Problems with microwave
4. Problem with Lutron dimmers.

The importance of the poll is that it would help visitors get an idea of the probability of getting the same problems. Obviously, people can post explanation/clarification of their problems as replies to the poll to help others decide if they are at risk of suffering the same problem. Specifying your brand of fluorescent lights of microwave oven model are a few examples.

On another topic, if you decide to try another powerline technology (insteon), please let us know how it goes. I'm curious about your powerline signal transmission problems. I wonder if they would happen with Insteon too.
All opinions are appreciated. I am building a new home and am considering several different technologies for lighting control. Due to the higher cost of hardwired systems, I have included the wireless and powerline control systems. I have spoken to several people with different technologies. They all work great and they all have their problems. However, nobody regretted their decision to implement lighting control into their homes. The consensus in my polling is that the UPB owners seemed the most satisfied and the legacy X-10 users were looking for an upgrade. Hope this helps.
Thank you everyone for the support. I hope my wording is OK now. I'm going to add "electric dryer" to the list today.

Thanks, Chris