Test Results of the Prototype X10 Transmit Buffer by Keith White

 

Background:

 

Jeff Volp posted on the ADI website the desire to have someone test his new Transmit Buffer design. I have never communicated with Jeff before and have no interest in the Transmit Buffer other than giving it a fair evaluation.

 

I have a large house with many X-10 devices in many different configurations. My setup can be seen on my web site, (http://members.cox.net/davidwhite3/). I have been playing with X-10 for 7 years and have had two different houses and many issues. Up until recently I had many random false signals and failed operations. I have made many changes to my system and have tried just about every thing up to this point. I currently donít have any real issues and for the most part things work well from day to day other than when you turn off the sink light in the master bath all the lights in the master bedroom will come on.This only happens when the wife is asleep and its past 12:00 am.

 

Current Setup:

 

I have a long house, 100 feet long and 4,000 sq/ft. My study is located near one end with my system and computer, and my electrical panel is at the other end beside the kitchen. I currently have a passive phase coupler and two booster links, one upstairs and one in the kitchen. This setup seemed to work the best. I have tried to install active phase couplers, but they only send out false signals. The other major improvement I have made was to install filters on all my black holes (device which sucks up X-10 voltage). I purchased one of the simple ESM1 X10 signal meters and ran around the house unplugging things and measuring the voltage difference. Wow computers and flat screens can kill your house.

 

My TW523 is plugged in to an outlet on the outside wall of the study beside my computer and 10 feet away from my Ocelot. With the Booster Links and the filters all over the house eliminating signal loss things work ok.

 

Two weeks back my system locked up and I discovered that one of the Booster Links locked up freezing my house. I moved the unit in the hall to the kitchen and all started back to work, but in the middle of figuring this out my master bath light stopped working, confirming I needed the Booster Link in the kitchen. To this point, I never have taken any readings over my house to try to determine the best setup.

 

Testing the Transmit Buffer:

 

I received the Transmit Buffer from Jeff and plugged it in where my TW523 was located in the study. I tried to remove the Booster Links but the master bath light failed to work so I reinstalled the Booster Links. I kept the unit installed for several days and all seemed to work fine. Jeff sent me a note wanting to know how things were going and if I could send the unit back to another person for review. He also wanted to know if I had the TW523 connected at my panel, and suggested that this might improve my setup.

 

I bit the bullet and pulled the 100-foot cat 5 cable from my Ocelot to the breaker panel, and located the TW523 in a receptacle under the panel. This was not easy and took me most of a day.

 

Having done that, I decided to take the time and take a series of voltage readings in different locations in the house for various conditions.

 

Conditions:

 

1)      Original set up with TW523 located in Study and two Booster Links installed

2)      Original set up with TW523 located in Study with no Booster Links

3)      TW523 located at electrical panel

4)      TW523 located at electrical panel with Transmit Buffer installed

 

Results:

 

Location

Condition 1

Condition 2

Condition 3

Condition 4

Laundry room

1.2

.5

2.5

5.0

Kitchen

3.0

.8

2.7

4.5

Liven room

1.5

.5

2.7

5.0

Hall

.5

0

1.2

3.0

Upstairs Hall

2.5

.2

1

1.5

Upstairs Bath

2.5

2.5

2.0

5.0

Master Bedroom

.5

1.5

.25

1.0

Master Bath

.5

.2

1.0

2.5

Study

(5.0)

(5.0)

1.0

2.1

†† Total

17.2

11.2

14.4

29.6

†† Average

1.9

1.2

1.6

3.3

 

Notes:

 

Conclusions:

 

The Transmit Buffer that Jeff Volp has developed is a very useful device. It almost doubled my total output but had much more in various areas. I have now removed my Booster Links and all is working well.As the data states, the Booster Links had some limited impact to my system output but the relocation of my TW523 and installing the Transmit Buffer resulted in the best possible readings. The voltage readings between condition 3 and 4 doubled or quadrupled in most cases and have provide signal strengths far better than I ever had before.

 

I donít know what Jeff will charge for this device but based on my results this is a winner at any price.

 

 

Keith White

 

Jeff Volp can be contacted at the following address:

 

Jeff Volp

396 North Crestline Circle

St. George, UT 84790-1108