Author Topic: XTB-IIR Firmware  (Read 4839 times)

Jeff

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XTB-IIR Firmware
« on: August 22, 2013, 08:44:54 AM »
There are currently two different versions of the XTB-IIR firmware to support slightly different versions of the PCB.  I finally had time to work on the XTB-IIR firmware update that I had been planning to do for some time.  This version will determine which version PCB it is plugged into, and will configure itself accordingly.

This version will include several new features:

I receive a lot of question on why the LED is off when the unit is powered.  Presently the LED only flashes when it is either receiving or transmitting X10 commands.  The new version will have the LED glow dimly when powered, and flash brighter when processing commands.

Many of you know the XTB-IIR incorporates AGC.  In several installations the XTB-IIR did not repeat incoming commands from distant transmitters.  The XTB-IIR is capable of repeating weak signals in a low noise environment, but a nearby noise source will reduce the sensitivity because the detection threshold rises above the background noise level.  There is a new mode command that will query the detection threshold, which is output as a pre-set dim command.  Those of you who have a XTBM can see the threshold displayed as a percentage of the maximum input level.  Some logging programs can also display pre-set dim levels.

A number of customers have asked if it was possible to determine the mode status.  That is now possible by issuing a STATUS_REQUEST for individual mode options, but I am considering adding a command to sequence through all the mode options, and transmit STATUS_ON for any mode that is enabled.

While I'm working on this firmware, does anyone else have any suggestions that might be incorporated?

Jeff
X10 automation since the BSR days...

Jeff

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Re: XTB-IIR Firmware
« Reply #1 on: August 28, 2013, 02:31:26 PM »
The new XTB-IIR firmware has three AGC sample points.  Like the prior versions, there are optional sample points before and after the X10 transmission window.  This version adds a third sample point during the X10 reception window when it is receiving a logic “0”.  I found that improved the response to my “triple CFL” noise generator.

While testing this code, occasionally a command would not be repeated.  After spending hours trying to track down a bug in the code, I discovered it was my remote RR501 occasionally transmitting with 50Hz timing.  I had forgotten they sometimes do that, and it plops the third signal burst just before the zero crossing when that AGC sample is made.  That caused the detection threshold to rise, missing some of the following bits.  (I’m testing with very weak signals at this point.)  This could be a factor for some folks having trouble repeating transceiver commands.

The previous fix was to choose the alternate AGC sample point, but this version will ignore that sample when receiving a powerline X10 command.  This version also has individual mode options to enable the pre and post X10 window samples.  Both are enabled by default.

The detection threshold query (9 – 8 – 2 – DIM) is working well, and transmits the threshold (1-30) as a pre-set dim command.  The XTBM will display that as a percentage.

I chose not to transmit all the mode settings as a sequence because that would require some sort of logger.  One of my customers wrote a nifty utility using the AHP SDK to query and set the mode options, and I think that is a much better option.  However, I did add a manual query.  Just entering the mode select (9 – 8 – 2 – X) will cause the LED to either blank or become bright for first half of the 4-second ON/OFF mode command window.  So that allows one to easily check the current setting of an individual mode status.

One new feature that has been added is the ability to inhibit repeating certain house codes.  That could come in handy when two neighbors on the same utility transformer are using X10 systems.

Jeff
« Last Edit: August 30, 2013, 09:21:56 AM by Jeff »
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Jeff

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Re: XTB-IIR Firmware
« Reply #2 on: August 30, 2013, 09:19:01 AM »
This firmware upgrade is now complete.  I am looking for a few beta testers it to make sure nothing has slipped past me.  Please contact me directly if you would like the upgrade.  The major changes are:

    The LED glows at half brightness whenever the unit is powered and frequency locked.

    The LED will display the current mode status (on/off) when a mode sequence is entered.

    AGC response has been improved, and the detection threshold can be queried to check for powerline noise.

    Individual house codes can be masked from being repeated.
 
It should run in any PCB that accepts the 14-pin chip, including the XTB-III PCB.

UPDATE:  The Beta test is complete with no problem reports.  So this version is now shipping in new units.

Jeff
« Last Edit: September 23, 2013, 09:06:09 AM by Jeff »
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Jeff

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Re: XTB-IIR Firmware
« Reply #3 on: September 29, 2013, 08:38:07 AM »
A document describing the new features in the XTB-IIR firmware version 1.20 is available here:

    http://jvde.us/xtb/XTB-IIR_1.20.pdf

Jeff
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Jeff

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Re: XTB-IIR Firmware
« Reply #4 on: November 26, 2013, 09:59:34 AM »
A problem was identified running 1.20 in PCB versions shipped prior to 2009.  Those can be identified by having 3 transistors in a row and using firmware 1.00 through 1.06.  Version 1.21 will work with those earlier boards.  Version 1.20 will continue to be used for all other PCBs.

Jeff
X10 automation since the BSR days...

Jeff

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Re: XTB-IIR Firmware
« Reply #5 on: January 13, 2014, 10:16:49 AM »
Firmware version 1.20 added the ability to transmit 3-phase signals from a single-phase source.  That worked correctly if the command was being repeated or the source was the X10 Boost input, but it did not work correctly through the digital port.  Version 1.22 restores 3-phase transmission through the digital port.

While working on this upgrade I also discovered what may have been causing some dimmer problems for people using the CM11A or CM15A.  ActiveHome sets the brightness level of old style dimmers by first sending a series of bright commands for full-on, followed by a series of dim commands to set the desired brightness.

I discovered that when there was an odd number of bright or dim commands in the sequence, one additional command could be tacked onto the end of the sequence.  That would cause a collision if the next command closely followed the bright or dim sequence.

Version 1.22 terminates the bright or dim sequence coincident with the source transmission, preventing a possible collision corrupting the next command.

This is a free firmware update for those of you who already have version 1.20 or 1.21.  Please contact me directly for the update.

Jeff
« Last Edit: January 14, 2014, 02:25:34 PM by Jeff »
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dave w

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Re: XTB-IIR Firmware
« Reply #6 on: January 16, 2014, 11:42:23 AM »

While working on this upgrade I also discovered what may have been causing some dimmer problems for people using the CM11A or CM15A.  ActiveHome sets the brightness level of old style dimmers by first sending a series of bright commands for full-on, followed by a series of dim commands to set the desired brightness.

I discovered that when there was an odd number of bright or dim commands in the sequence, one additional command could be tacked onto the end of the sequence.  That would cause a collision if the next command closely followed the bright or dim sequence.

Jeff, I'm asking publicly since it might be helpful to others. I use Homeseer with a ACT TI103 interface, so this upgrade would not be any benefit to me, correct?

Thanks!
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Jeff

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Re: XTB-IIR Firmware
« Reply #7 on: January 16, 2014, 03:31:52 PM »
Jeff, I'm asking publicly since it might be helpful to others. I use Homeseer with a ACT TI103 interface, so this upgrade would not be any benefit to me, correct?

I can't say for sure.  I would recommend the update if you see something strange going on setting absolute dim levels.

Jeff
X10 automation since the BSR days...

 

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