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UPB First Experience


Thanks guys,

The primary reason I bought this stuff was to NOT go through these types of problems. My existing X10 system is starting to look pretty good by comparison. I'll probably call worthington and beg for my money back for this UPB stuff.

Good forum here, by the way. I did not get near as much constructive commentary on the Worthington forum.

Thanks again, Chris

Michael McSharry

Active Member
I got into UPB several months back with an IO module then a pair of wall switches. I had very reliable operation and was very happy with the signal and noise test capability that was built-in. A few months back my IO module stopped working most of the time. It was installed in an unheated damp building so I attributed it to the winter climate change. Simply Automated was responsive and gave me a another IO module.

In the following week I lost communication with my two switches. Upstart could not even see them when running comm tests. SA sent me another PIM and another switch. With some off and on testing I observed that sometimes I could see all three modules, sometimes I could see the two switches, and sometimes none. When they would respond the signal strength was always very good at both the PIM and device with typical vales of 80 to 100. Noise levels have always been 0. Note that during this entire evaluation period the IO module was plugged directly into the PIM.

Since the problem did not appear to be UPB hardware I went down the process of elimination route by cutting breakers and moving devices among circuits. Nothing I did would make all three devices respond but a fraction of the time duirng a comm test.

An observation that I did not expect was the use of a 5A X10 filter caused the IO module to be never seen. Nothing was connected to the X10 filter. Just its presence on the circuit would stiffle the IO. Another observation is that one of the switches (UB2-40) would be detected to be setup mode (when manually place in setup mode) and program without difficulty, but once programmed it would rarely be visible in the comm test.

Something has changed over the past few months and the change may be at a neighbor's house. It might be at mine, but I certainly dont know what it may be. I'm still working with SA to try to get to the bottom of it. Had I not had good operation for many months then I would be more suspect of my install, but this is something that was working great then quickly degraded.

It is frustrating, but the worst part is that the built-in diagnostics are of no help with the isolation of the problem.



Thanks for this post. When someone with your aptitude describes a problem like this that they can't figure out, then it is a pretty serious one! This scenario that you describe sounds like a scary nightmare for UPB (the fact that an X-10 filter killed the signal). Who knows what else might duplicate this condition.


Active Member
I've had issues with x10 filters, boosterlincs computer UPS systems and UPB. When I plugged a UPB coupler into the same box as my ACT x10 repeater it didn't work. I don't think the two systems co-exist well from this standpoint.


Staff member
It definitely would be useful to have a thread per technology, which mentions the known sources of problems, if possible, even mention the manufacture/model #, in case someone else can see a pattern.

Michael McSharry

Active Member
UPB Investigation update...

The rain took a breather after a month or two, had an overvoltage-precursed power outage, had an A/V Receiver turn into a foul smoke producer, replaced a US2-20 with US2-40 UPB switch, UPB resumed normal reliable operation. The events had no direct correlation and I don't recall the sequence, but did occur over a matter of a few days.

When I noticed the UPB lights resumed operation I ran a UPB communication test overnight and not a single failure. In a single case there was a 2nd retry during the test. Signal strength always in the 90's for in-house and 60's for remote building. Added X10 filters and it made no difference.

While I'm glad reliable opeations appear to have returned, I am disappointed that I was not able to isolate to any specific source. Of course I'll keep my eyes on it


Active Member
wz2p7j said:
Hi guys,

Thanks for responding. Methinks UPB still needs some refinement to live up to the hype. Here's yet another person with a problem:


1. He is installing in a 5000 sq ft house without a phase coupler.
2. He says the signal has to pass through a Compose Firewall. The Compose Firewall is designed to block signals.

He's basically doing everything possible to block signals, then complaining about the fact that the signals are getting blocked.


Active Member
Interestingly, I'm having an issue where two laptop powersupplies (the noisest devices on the planet) are plugged into a powerbar which in turn is plugged into the same circuit as a SAI UMI-32. The UPB device cannot communicate if that powerbar is switched on. I have not been able to fix this with an X10 filter either.

I'm still scratching my head hoping to dream up a fix here...


Active Member
bfisher said:
are you sure your 6 button unit is working properly? I don't have one... but this doesn't sound proper to me. Maybe it's causing the rest of your UPB issues? Something is definitely not right with the setup here... there are far too many UPB installs that work properly for this to be right.

I would take the 6 button out - and experiment with just the single switch and UPstart. Determine your noise and signal levels (move your PIM around to make sure you try both phases (Upstart will tell you if you are on the same or different phase)). Use Upstart to control the light switch for a while and see what happens. If everything works as expected - then maybe add the 6 button back and test everything again.
I have the HAI 6-button controller (UPB) and dimming a device via a link that is also set as a receive link for the 6-button controller causes the LED to go out.



Welcome to the twilight zone...

There are two things that can hurt UPB, noise or attenuation. Chris's problem could be that noise is keeping the UPB devices from communicating. UPB devices will see the noise and interpret it as another device communicating, so it waits. Turning on the garbage disposal could attenuate everything enough to get a better signal to noise ratio. It did appear from his tests that his noise is a bit high.

The X10 filter works sometimes... but not in each case. X10 runs at 120 kHz, UPB from 4-40 kHz, the X10 filter is not designed for UPB. We are working on a 5 A and a 15 A filter.

powerbar which in turn is plugged into the same circuit as a SAI UMI-32. The UPB device cannot communicate if that powerbar is switched on.

How much noise is measured in UPStart?



Active Member
Thanks for the insight Brad. I suspected as much and am glad to hear that you're working on filters. I was to the point of designing my own since my wife and I both use the laptops extensively (most people watch tv after the kids go to bed, we surf...) and so moving the powerbar to a different circuit wasn't feasable. Let me know if you need a real-world beta tester :)


Sorry, I didnt' see your question at first. I don't remember the exact levels, but I do remember that the noise indicator bar was one mark away from pegged and was red when the power bar was switched on :eek:

Thanks to UPStart, I was quickly able to isolate the problem btw; noise disappeared when I switched off the powerbar.


Staff member
What laptops do you have? I have 2 laptop chargers plugged into a surge protector which is shared with a PIM, so would be interesting to find out what specific models are causing these problems.


Senior Member
Yes, I'd be curious to know that as well. I haven't had that issue in my house either and I do all of my elk and upb programming from a laptop.


Active Member
I have a Dell L400 and a Dell D410. If I unplug either, the noise level drops to an acceptable level so its not a defective power supply... Somehow, the combination of both is what's generating the noise.