Author Topic: XTB-IIR booster port + CM15A  (Read 3248 times)

bkenobi

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XTB-IIR booster port + CM15A
« on: July 10, 2014, 10:09:58 PM »
I have modified my setup recently to move my CM15A to the basement right next to the power panels and the XTB-IIR.  In doing this, I'm assuming that I should DRAMATICALLY improve my signal strength to/from the repeater.  I plugged the CM15A directly into the power port on the XTB-IIR and figured I would never miss a signal again.

Long version:
My setup involves a Raspberry Pi controlling the CM15A via HomeGenie running on a Debian distro.  I have some macros within HG as well as some timers set up through HG which are basically Cron jobs.  The other day very early in the morning the back yard lights all turned on which should not have happened.  Also, the lights on my pigeon loft did not turn on, which they should.  Turns out, the last thing that I manually did was to turn off the back yard lights (A2, A3, A4) and they turned on instead of the pigeon loft lights (A9).  The reason was that, for some reason, instead of sending A9 ON, only the second half was received (A ON).  I'm not sure if the issue is that HG didn't send the right command or if the way I have things hooked up is not as reliable or even incorrect.

Short version:
Is it ok to plug the CM15A into the booster port or should I plug it in near the XTB-IIR on a normal outlet?  I don't have one available, so I'd have to add one which would be less clean and not as desirable.

Jeff

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Re: XTB-IIR booster port + CM15A
« Reply #1 on: July 11, 2014, 07:00:01 AM »
Your diagnosis of the backyard problem sounds correct.  The A2, A3, A4, A_OFF would have left those lights "armed" to receive another command, and they would have responded to the A_ON if the A9 was not received to cancel that prior sequence.

Since A9 was not received by any of the yard lights, it does seem like that command was not transmitted at all.  Or possibly there was a collision or some other burst of interference that corrupted it.  Maybe a few times a year I notice something that is not in the correct state, so we have occasional missed commands too.  But with hundreds of commands issued every day, a missed command every few months is certainly acceptable reliability.

Regarding your question on the CM15A, my intent was to have the X10 Boost input directly boost the output of devices such as the TM751 or CM15A.  So you can certainly try that configuration.

The one caveat is that there have been some installations where powerline noise passing through the return signal bandpass filter looks enough like X10 traffic to cause the CM15A to delay or inhibit transmissions.  In those cases the simple solution is to just plug the CM15A into a nearby outlet, and use the XTB-IIR strictly as a high-power repeater.  The latest firmware version also includes a mode option to reduce the gain of the return signal bandpass filter as an alternate way to deal with powerline noise.

Jeff
X10 automation since the BSR days...

bkenobi

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Re: XTB-IIR booster port + CM15A
« Reply #2 on: July 11, 2014, 07:33:19 AM »
That's good information.  I accept that reliability won't be 100%.  The issue happens to be that I switched the hardware setup around 1 week ago and this happened once within a few days.  Being that it's summer, we leave the curtains open and with the lights on, it seems to have affected my wife's sleep which didn't help her perception of my "improved" system.  Since those happened the same night that we had some dimming issues, the WAF was quite low.

I haven't quite determined the cause of the dimming issues, but I believe it may be due to the way HomeGenie sent the commands and not the commands themselves.  Either that, or there was/is some nose that I need to isolate that corrupted those commands too.

Jeff

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Re: XTB-IIR booster port + CM15A
« Reply #3 on: July 11, 2014, 08:26:29 AM »
A simple fix is to send an unused unit code after the yard lights are turned off to disarm them so they will not respond to another command until armed again.

Jeff
X10 automation since the BSR days...

bkenobi

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Re: XTB-IIR booster port + CM15A
« Reply #4 on: July 11, 2014, 08:52:49 AM »
That's a better solution than what I was considering.  I was going to switch the pigeon lights to a different HC so when that timer switched it would reset things.  But, there's no guarantee which code would fail.  I'll try your method since it should be easy to set up.  Thanks!

bkenobi

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Re: XTB-IIR booster port + CM15A
« Reply #5 on: July 21, 2014, 08:11:44 AM »
I learned something about X10 from this operation.  I thought that sending a command from a different HC would "reset" all modules as far as whether they thought they should be listening for a command.  That is not the case.  Using my SC503 Maxi-controller I sent the following command sequence:

Code: [Select]
A2
A3
A4
A ON
B1
B ON
A OFF
My expectation was that sending B1 would make the A2-A4 devices stop listening such that when A OFF was sent, nothing would happen.  In reality, sending the B HC commands did nothing for the A HC modules.

My first cut at trying to solve this was to create a dummy module (H1) that had a timer that would fire every 10 minutes.  This heartbeat was intended to reset all devices, but it wasn't really working.  After seeing the results of my test, I can see why.

Anyway, I'm now wondering if this is a software or hardware issue again since the simple fix is not quite as simple (requires sending a HC/UC for every in use HC in my setup).  This is still doable, but MUCH less elegant.  So, I have now figured out how to monitor what HomeGenie is sending out on PLC.  I have also set up my old CM15A and AHP to act as a logger.  I'll watch to see if I can trap any issue with the software. 

In the mean time, I was thinking I could devise a work around test.  If I add an extension cord to the CM15A and plug it into the booster port, that would effectively move the module away from the XTB-IIR.  Would that benefit things?  I could plug the extension cord into a different outlet on either phase if that were likely to help.  Any thoughts on that?

Jeff

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Re: XTB-IIR booster port + CM15A
« Reply #6 on: July 21, 2014, 07:44:01 PM »
My understanding is that the B_ON command should cancel the A module "arming".

Moving the CM15A to an adjacent outlet should solve the problem with the CM15A thinking noise passing through the return signal bandpass amplifier is X10 powerline traffic.

Jeff
X10 automation since the BSR days...

bkenobi

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Re: XTB-IIR booster port + CM15A
« Reply #7 on: July 21, 2014, 08:29:25 PM »
That's what I thought too, but it doesn't appear to be implemented that way.  Unless my automation server is performing commands it shouldn't, it appears B ON doesn't reset A HC modules.  I'm thinking I should disable the HomeGenie HA server to test just to be sure.

Brian H

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Re: XTB-IIR booster port + CM15A
« Reply #8 on: July 22, 2014, 04:25:37 AM »
If memory serves me. You have some Smarthome 2000 series X10 only and Insteon Modules, with x10 addresses in them.
By chance are the trouble modules one of them or real X10 modules?
I was playing around with my early Insteon modules with X10 addresses in them and they don't act exactly like real X10 modules do.

bkenobi

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Re: XTB-IIR booster port + CM15A
« Reply #9 on: July 22, 2014, 06:01:00 AM »
I have one x10 only SmartHome ToggleLinc installed and 2 Insteon ToggleLincs in their boxes for the future.  I also have 2 installed OutletLinc modules.  The majority of my system is WS467, SR227, and one each WS4777, XPS3, XPT, PSC01, XPDF.  I interface with this via an antenna moded CM15A that's currently plugged into the booster port of my XTB-IIR.  There's RF stuff too, but that's unrelated to PLC conversations.

The modules that are used in the back yard that turn on due to a malformed A?, A ON statement are WS467 and WS4777, and XPDF.  I don't think the. Modules are the issue as the commands are definitely wrong (AHP sees them and the lights respond as such).