Author Topic: Problems with Chime Module  (Read 10411 times)

woodyl

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Problems with Chime Module
« on: August 06, 2013, 09:08:46 AM »
I have cooked up a home-grown security system that is coded in Python and runs on a small plug computer under a Linux operating system.  I use an SC546A chime module as one of the alerts for this system.  I have purchased 2 different chime modules and both have failed.  The first one ran ok for several months before failing and the 2nd one failed after a few days.  In both cases, the alarms will sound  one time when you plug them in (this is normal), but will not respond to any commands.  I have tried different house codes, used wireline and RF commands, and I cannot get them to work.

I posted about this on the old forum after the first one quit working and the consensus I got was that most people had not seen problems with these modules.  I'm wondering if the problems are occurring only with newly manufactured ones.  Does anybody have any experience with these things failing?  Or is there possibly something that makes them fail?

Brian H

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Re: Problems with Chime Module
« Reply #1 on: August 06, 2013, 09:54:00 AM »
I do remember your post.
Since I had all old date code modules. I was not sure if X10 had updated that model with more modern components as they did with other X10 modules and possibly introduced problems.


Jeff

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Re: Problems with Chime Module
« Reply #2 on: August 06, 2013, 10:33:12 AM »
Are you sure it is the chime module failing, or is it possibly something that is preventing the chime module from receiving incoming X10 commands?

I don't think the chime module incorporates AGC, and powerline noise could prevent it from decoding X10 commands.

You could check that by moving the chime module close to the transmitter to see if it works there.  Or you could try an appliance module in the spot where the chime module doesn't work.

Jeff
X10 automation since the BSR days...

woodyl

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Re: Problems with Chime Module
« Reply #3 on: August 06, 2013, 11:23:03 AM »
Jeff, yes I've moved the modules to different locations, including the same branch circuit that the controller is on.  I can't get it work under any condition I've tried.  I could understand if 1 module went bad, but to have 2 of them fail makes it seem like the modules have some manufacturing defect.

Jeff

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Re: Problems with Chime Module
« Reply #4 on: August 06, 2013, 12:05:31 PM »
I'm curious what might have failed.  I'd be willing to take a look at one if you want to send it to me, but there is no guarantee that it could be repaired.

Jeff
X10 automation since the BSR days...

Brian H

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Re: Problems with Chime Module
« Reply #5 on: August 06, 2013, 03:00:19 PM »
It would be interesting if the newer ones where made with surface mounted devices. Like they went to in the Lamp and Appliance Modules.

woodyl

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Re: Problems with Chime Module
« Reply #6 on: August 07, 2013, 11:48:42 AM »
I'm curious what might have failed.  I'd be willing to take a look at one if you want to send it to me, but there is no guarantee that it could be repaired.

Jeff

Jeff,  Send me your address and I'll mail one to you. 

BTW, I looked inside and it's made with discrete components, not surface mount.

Brian H

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Re: Problems with Chime Module
« Reply #7 on: August 07, 2013, 03:44:31 PM »
My post was too vague on surface mounted parts. The later lamp and appliance modules where a surface mounted controller IC and discrete parts.
Was the controller IC a surface mounted part?

woodyl

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Re: Problems with Chime Module
« Reply #8 on: August 08, 2013, 06:36:55 AM »
My post was too vague on surface mounted parts. The later lamp and appliance modules where a surface mounted controller IC and discrete parts.
Was the controller IC a surface mounted part?

I don't think so.  Looks to me like it's a standard chip which has leads that are soldered to the board.

Also, a new development:  I had one of the bad chime modules plugged in next near a lamp module.  Just for testing purposes, I had the chime module on the same code as the lamp.  It wasn't working, so I just left it there.  Hours later, my wife came in the room and used a PalmPad to turn on the lamp and suddenly the chime went off and made her jump out of her skin.

So, the chime module started working again and was working last night and this morning.  When I unplugged it and moved it to another spot, it stopped working again.  Seems as thought there might be a loose connection somewhere.  I'm going to experiment with it some more to see if I can find out where the problem is.

Walt

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Re: Problems with Chime Module
« Reply #9 on: August 08, 2013, 06:57:37 AM »
... and the consensus I got was that most people had not seen problems with these modules.
 
My experience has been different.   I would say that over the decades, my #2 most often failing module would be my chime modules.

BTW, do you have the old type, that looks like an appliance module with the case slots cut out?   Or the newer type, that looks like an alarm "horn" module?

Knightrider

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Re: Problems with Chime Module
« Reply #10 on: August 08, 2013, 12:33:34 PM »
What a great place to post such a problem. I have also seen modules next to each other work and not work on identical house codes. Check for a clean powerline before jumping to conclusions about the internal parts malfunctioning. I even have an older CM15A that the frequency drifted on. I got an X10signal meter from Jeff to figure out the problem. i.e. that cm15 would only work some modules

Brian H

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Re: Problems with Chime Module
« Reply #11 on: August 08, 2013, 03:30:53 PM »
I used my XTBM to find my SC1200 Security Console was way off frequency and retune it.

woodyl

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Re: Problems with Chime Module
« Reply #12 on: August 10, 2013, 06:54:51 AM »
... and the consensus I got was that most people had not seen problems with these modules.
 
My experience has been different.   I would say that over the decades, my #2 most often failing module would be my chime modules.

BTW, do you have the old type, that looks like an appliance module with the case slots cut out?   Or the newer type, that looks like an alarm "horn" module?

I have the newer type modules.

woodyl

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Re: Problems with Chime Module
« Reply #13 on: August 10, 2013, 07:00:42 AM »
What a great place to post such a problem. I have also seen modules next to each other work and not work on identical house codes. Check for a clean powerline before jumping to conclusions about the internal parts malfunctioning. I even have an older CM15A that the frequency drifted on. I got an X10signal meter from Jeff to figure out the problem. i.e. that cm15 would only work some modules

Of course the problem could be interference, but I don't think it's a frequency problem because I'm activating them using 2 different sources, a CM15A directly over the powerline and also via a transceiver over the powerline.  So, if it was a frequency problem, it probably would not be the case that both the CM15A and the transceiver would both have the problem.  Also, the problem is very intermittent on one of the controllers.  It will work a few times in a row then stop completely for days.

I'm inclined to think that it might be a bad capacitor on the board, because they seem more likely to fire off if I unplug them for a while, then plug them in again.  But even that doesn't work most of the time.

Jeff

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Re: Problems with Chime Module
« Reply #14 on: August 21, 2013, 04:42:46 PM »
The chime module arrived for evaluation today.

The power supply was fine.  When open it responded to M13 (the default when the code switches are removed).  It worked fine with very strong and very weak signals.  Then I used a heat gun to raise its temperature, and it still worked fine.

The only idea I have is that maybe one of the code switch wipers was not making a good contact, so I bent the wiper arms slightly to provide more contact force.  Then when being closed back up I noticed the top screw was stripped.  Perhaps the case was not closed tight enough to provide sufficient force on the switch wipers for a reliable contact.

I'll check it again tomorrow after being powered overnight.

Jeff
X10 automation since the BSR days...

 

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