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UPB First Experience

wz2p7j

Member
I hit the top button on the 6 button upb controller, which controls the one 600W upb switch I have installed so far. Nothing happens for a minute or two, then the light controlled by the 600w switch kicks on. BUT, while I'm waiting, if I turn the garbage disposal on, the light will turn. Or if I hit an X-10 switch, the light might kick on, or if my hot tub kicks on, the light might turn on. This is very strange and fairly reproducable.

Chris
 

jlehnert

Active Member
Ouch! My eyes started to cross and my head hurt even thinking about debuggin this one.

I'm still not sold on any of the new systems. UPB still appears to get zapped by interference (admittedly much less than X10), Z-wave has QC problems with some manufactureres and the remotes are still in design flux, and Insteon does not have a solid programming interface yet. :angry:
 

Steve

Senior Member
Chris,

I would do as bfisher suggests. Pull out the 6 button and just control the dimmer from the PIM and PC from with UPStart on the test tab. In the signal and noise meter you will only get signal when there is a signal on the line, like something transmitting. Noise however will show at any time. Not having any noise is a good sign. Try your laptop and PIM in different locations around the house controlling the dimmer and take note of the signal and any noise. If the meter did not show any noise and the system is still not working then something very very strange is going on. The 6 button unit sounds suspect to me. Let us know what you find. Also, if you do a network discovery or verification does it find and vrify the switches or so you get all kinds of flashing colored blocks instead of blue?
 

wz2p7j

Member
Colored blocks? Blue? I get all black -"unit not found." I suspected the 6 button switch as well. But I have another 6 button switch that gives me the same results.
An I can't communicate with the 600W switch either

I am giving up on UPB. It is a dismal failure, at least in my home. I am filling out an RMA today to send all of my stuff back. X10 is looking pretty good by comparison now, and a lot cheaper. I'm thinking about just firewalling my current install.

Thanks to everyone who posted here to try and help me out.

Chris
 

bfisher

Active Member
Don't blame you - sounds like nothing but frustration.

Something is seriously wrong - and I don't think it's UPB.
- Is your serial port on your PC working properly (that the PIM is connected to)?
- Is the PIM in the right mode? (I have to change mine into message mode for it to work with my HVPro - Upstart likes Pulse mode if I remember right).
- Can Upstart talk to the PIM?
- Did you put the switch into setup mode so Upstart could find it?

These are just a few quick thoughts. I'd start over like it's a virgin system - go through the instructions and verify everything.
 

Steve

Senior Member
Yeah, something is terribly wrong there. My house is tough, it puked really bad with X10 but UPB works great. I spent a week troubleshooting x10 and wasn't even close. I just can't imagine a home where x10 would work and UPB wouldn't. It definitely sounds like some bad equipment or something. If there is no noise on the line there is no reason why UPStart can not see a switch unless as bfisher pointed out the PIM is in the wrong mode or something.

You may want to take a deep breath and get a Simply Automated PIM and switch from Martin and give it a fresh go and see what happens. Maybe these switches were previously used and had a network code already in them or something?
 

wz2p7j

Member
"Don't blame you - sounds like nothing but frustration."

Well, maybe I'll try a couple things before I give up. You can't be a good home automation hobbyist and not go down without a fight

Something is seriously wrong - and I don't think it's UPB.
- Is your serial port on your PC working properly (that the PIM is connected to)?
Yes - tried two ports one one computer (that both work with other serial devices) and a port on another computer.

- Is the PIM in the right mode? (I have to change mine into message mode for it to work with my HVPro - Upstart likes Pulse mode if I remember right).
Don't know - I'll have to check this

- Can Upstart talk to the PIM?
Yes
- Did you put the switch into setup mode so Upstart could find it?
Yes

"These are just a few quick thoughts. I'd start over like it's a virgin system - go through the instructions and verify everything."
I think the six button switch might be suspect. The one time PCS talked to me they said they thought it was acting strange and to send it back to the seller. The person did not seem too knowledgable and then I received my second 6 button unit and it acted the same way. So I concluded the switches were OK and I just didn't know to make them work.

Maybe that was the wrong conclusion - maybe I do indeed have 2 bad 6 button switches. Someone suggested disconnecting the 6 button switch to see if that clears up communication with the remaining 600w switch in the house. Think I will try that next

After that, I'm not really sure what to do. I think the problem is not UPB either, I think it's something in the environment. As mentioned earlier, things work fine when all breakers are turned off except the one the UPS devices are on. But when I try turning breakers back on to isolate the problem, I can't get a good fix on where the problem is. I thought I had it down to one circuit. With the circuit on, UPB was not communicating. When off, things worked. So I just left it off and began playing around, programming the switches and trying different things and having a good 'ol time. After about 15 minutes, the PIM lost contact with the switches and I was back to square one.

So tonight I guess I play around some more and report back.

Thanks! Chris
 

electron

Administrator
Staff member
I know I definitely would appreciate it if you could try to figure this one out, since this is a rather big problem, but a rare one.
 

AutomatedOutlet

Senior Member
Chris,

Yeah, I would tend to agree with the comments some other people here made. If you would like, we would be happy to test them for you here on our test boards.
 

wz2p7j

Member
Played around a little more. Unhooked the 6 button controller as some suggested to see if the PIM would better communicate with the remaining switch. No help. Hooked 6 button controller back up, ran some comms tests:

(breaker #4 is the breaker I turned off the other night that SEEMED to help UPB transmissions)

condition:
laptop plugged in - breaker 4 on
comm test 1 - fail
comm test 2 - fail
comm test 3 - fail
comm test 4 - fail
comm test 5 - fail
response of wall switch to 6 button controller - slow, erratic
ability to program switches - not able

condition:
laptop plugged in - breaker 4 off
comm test 1 - 53-5-54-5 (as read across the bottom of the comm test screen)
comm test 2 - 54-5-54-5
comm test 3 - fail
comm test 4 - 52-5-54-5
comm test 5 - 54-5-53-5
response of wall switch to 6 button controller - very good
ability to program switches - not able

condition:
laptop NOT plugged in (battery power) - breaker 4 off
comm test 1 - fail
comm test 2 - fail
comm test 3 - fail
comm test 4 - fail
comm test 5 - fail
response of wall switch to 6 button controller - very good
ability to program switches - not able

condition:
laptop plugged in - breaker 4 off
comm test 1 - 53-5-54-5
comm test 2 - fail
comm test 3 - 61-5-57-5
comm test 4 - 60-5-58-5
comm test 5 - 60-5-58-5
response of wall switch to 6 button controller - very good
ability to program switches - not able

condition:
laptop plugged in - breaker 4 on
comm test 1 - 58-5-56-5
comm test 2 - 59-5-56-5
comm test 3 - 58-5-56-5
comm test 4 - 58-5-56-5
comm test 5 - 59-5-56-5
response of wall switch to 6 button controller - poor, slow and erratic
ability to program switches - not able

So by some combination of having breakers on or off, my laptop plugged in or not and the garbage disposal on or off (if you've read my previous posts). UPB may or may not work. I'm not making this up guys, craziest bleeping thing I've ever seen.

Bout the only conclusion you can draw is that the switches themselves like breaker #4 off. That's where I left off the other night. 'Cept after leaving breaker #4 off for a while, the switches started acting up again.

Chris
 

wz2p7j

Member
Test what, Martin, the switches? I actually think the switches are good. By coincidence, both of the switches I have installed are on one circuit. When all of my breakers are off and only that one circuit is on, life is good. Switches respond, Upstart works great (plugged into an outlet also on that same circuit). Makes me suspect an environmental problem, like my stupid house. I could never get a wieless network to work here either. Although nothing unusual about the house, mid sze, 7 year old, single panel, 150 amp house. What do you think?

Thanks! Chris
 

Steve

Senior Member
What do you think?
Well, if you want to continue with Home Automation I would probably move. Your test results make no logical sense at all - like things work better when the laptop is actually plugged in. The signal does seem very low especially considering all on same circuit. My house which is 15 yr old 200 AMP panel I always get 70's plus even across phases. Its weird that you do not see any noise on the line when you get these failures.
 

bfisher

Active Member
I don't even know where to start. Definitely weird. My upstart signal strength is usually mid-90s for same phase, and 80s for other phase.

I am clueless how to help... Maybe a pro could figure out what's killing your signal.
 
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