XTB Customer Reports
While only a small percentage of my customers send feedback, I have been saving it in a separate folder to eventually update this web page. As I started doing the update, it began to look more like a novel than a web ďpageĒ. So not all feedback has been included, and many comments have been edited down to save space. I do appreciate all customer feedback even if yours has not been included here. (Names are not included in the interest of privacy.)
Current family of XTB Products
Here are several independent reviews available on the web or archived on this website:
Link to Dr. Edward Cheung's review of the XTB-IIR kit
XTB Prototype Test Report by Keith White
XTB Prototype Test Report by Robert Green
XTB User Report by Brad Snedeker, who assembled the XTB Kit
XTB-II User Report by Bruce Robin, who assembled the first XTB-II Kit
XTB-II User Report by Thierry Parent, who assembled a 240V 50Hz XTB-II Kit
Received the XTBR - thanks for the fast shipping! It works wonderfully. Tried a few different outlets, and ended up plugging VT572 into the socket in the XTBR. All my problem/flaky circuits work now.
Your XTBR unit is terrific -- it fixed all of my X10 transmission problems from the moment I plugged it in!
Nothing but fine! Got the XTBM and XTBR. Located my problem. Swapped a couple of breakers around so I don't need a phase coupler at all and reduced my noise from N.28 to N.01. No surprise it's working like it is supposed to now. Minimum signal at the end of the line went from not measurable to .68. I think my problems are solved. Thanks for your great products.
I received the XTBR and (finally) had a chance to try it out. Works great! It seems that it cleaned up some minor issues I had with older modules as well. Nice job!
The XTBR arrived in AZ yesterday in excellent condition. It appears to work just fine. The X10 installation in this house was always intermittent to the point of being useless most of the time. The XTBR cleaned all of that up.
I can't believe I waited this long to get one of these. 100% improvement. Thanks for developing this unit.
Your XTBR unit is terrific -- it fixed all of my X10 transmission problems from the moment I plugged it in!
Iíve had an on-going problem trying to dim basic X-10 lamp modules from my HCA software. Well, with the XTBR running the dimming problem is history. Iím not sure what is peculiar about the dim commands but I suspect it is something to do with my 1132U power line interface. I had a really good time assembling your product and will recommend it to others.
I received, built, and installed the XTBR kit, and it works great! I now have whole house coverage for my X10 stuff. Thanks for a great product!
The kit was an enjoyable build; very clear instructions. The combination of the filters and the XTBR solved all of lifeís problems!
I built your XTBR this morning (about 2 Ĺ hours) and it worked like a charm. The XTBR and XTBM make a great combination and now my X10 devices are working great. I had to add 3 filters and I will make another trip around the house this evening to see if anything changed with the things that are used only at night. Thanks for great products.
The kit came in Monday! I've just finished wiring it up. That is an excellent piece of work. It was easy to assemble and the PC board is really nicely designed. I've got my CM15A and the XTBR in the basement office. All my modules now work instantly.
I just finished with building the XTBR kit. Not for the faint of heart. Your directions were good - all of the parts were there - none left over - always a good sign. Some of the diodes and caps were not real obvious - but going by the process of elimination in some cases, I figured it out. Worked the first time so guess I was correct....
Just wanted to let you know that I received the kit. It has been assembled and works wonderfully. It is a great piece of engineering.
I assembled the first one and tried it. Fantastic! I was able to get rid of three XPPF filters, and you solved all my noise problems without the filter. You are a genius. I'm saving money not buying more XPPF filters that didn't always work.
Got the XTBR kit and assembled it. It went together very nicely. I commend you on the quality of everything, the compact multilayer PCB, the documentation and especially the labeled parts complete with Mouser numbers. You have obviously gone to great pains in selection and packaging.
Thanks for the great kits. Wonderful docs and well made. Both up and running without a problem.
The XTBR kit I ordered recently has been completed and is in use with my system. Building it was easy, all through-hole components do make things a lot less 'fussy'. The unit had no problems or misplaced components, it worked properly from the first test. Your PCB is well made, good quality manufacturing. Ö Thanks for producing a great product at a reasonable price.
Installed the XTB-IIR last night. All I can say is: WOW what a difference. I removed my Signalinc Coupler Repeater & 3 BoosterLincs in my 2200 SF house. Ö On some circuits signal strength on ESM1 is showing 5V plus, the furthest point from the panel is showing 1.5V.
I want to give you TWO THUMBS UP for providing me with the XTB-IIR, I am not knowledgeable in what goes on in the powerline, but obviously you are!! I'm just glad I found your product. It has giving my system the core piece of the puzzle and is performing flawlessly. I know there are other factors in making a reliable system but anyone attempting to automate their home should start with the heart of the system the XTB-IIR.
I'm running an Ocelot (plugged into XTB-IIR TW523 port) with HomeSeer and I have never have had a missed X10 command. X10 system at this point is 100% reliable (until the XTB-IIR though, this was impossible). A lot of people have a hard time believing me when I say my X10 system is reliable as UPB. I think if others would take the plunge and install the XTB-IIR they would be just as amazed as I am. I am extremely happy and do not have any plans to change to a different technology (Insteon, Z-Wave, UPB etc. etc.). Thank you for creating and providing such an extremely well performing and extremely reliable product. Truly the key to a sound X10 network.
Received the unit today and couldn't wait to plug it in. I have it wired into both phases via a dryer plug that I installed next to my breaker panel. I know you know what's coming next.... all of my X10 devices now work! Flawlessly! No matter where I plug-in my transmitters, the devices all turn on, off and dim. That's amazing!!
Just one did tell you how pleased Iíve been with the operation of the XTB-IIR! I had been debating about changing to one of the newer Home Automation formats such as UPB but now that I have this in operation those thoughts are long gone! Thank for developing and selling such a wonderful piece of equipment.
(JDS Forum): Invest in a XTB-IIR from Jeff Volp. It is a superior powerline interface/repeater/booster that replaces your current TW523/PSC05. It improves X-10 signaling tremendously and often eliminates the need to switch to a newer (more costly) technology. I highly recommend it.
The unit works great - initially worked for 75% of the lights (prior to this it was a complete hit or miss with about 30-40% coverage) with my CM15a connected to my computer which was quite a distance away from the panel box. Subsequently moved the CM15 unit to the plug on the XTB-IIR by using a closer computer and running a USB 30ft cable thru the wall. Voila! I now get 100% coverage. I can even turn my lights on and off remotely on 3G when I am traveling overseas (thru an iphone app). Great product.
Thank you again for a GREAT product Ė it has been working flawlessly. We live in a funky house that never had any light switches so X10 was a blessing since we could paste up wireless switches in every room. It was also a curse since X10 never quite worked until our first coupler repeater, which cured many ailments. However, even after that, operation was very erratic. With yours, itís perfect!
I have the XTB -IIR up and running, immediate increase to over 9Vpp on the main power circuits and 2.5-3Vpp on the circuit described above as being less than 0.3Vpp!
The unit works great - initially worked for 75% of the lights (prior to this it was a complete hit or miss with about 30-40% coverage) with my CM15a connected to my computer, which was quite a distance away from the panel box. Subsequently moved the CM15 unit to the plug on the XTB-IIR by using a closer computer and running a USB 30ft cable thru the wall. Voila! I now get 100% coverage.
The XTB-IIR is a great device - well conceived, well designed, well built, versatile. It could spark a resurgence in the use of X10! Too bad the market is so geared to the NEXT BIG THING. People jump to stuff like Insteon or Z-wave, then find out they've exchanged one set of problems for another. It's refreshing to see someone like you solve a core problem, and to do it in a way that allows someone like me - at minimal cost and effort - to update an otherwise adequate technology to make it truly functional.
The XTB-IIR arrived this morning via USPS. I hooked it up right away; initial testing with a TW-523 plugged in. Very impressive. I checked the signals on the three floors of the house and itís pegging the signal meter.
I installed my new XTB-IIR unit at my out of town lake home over the weekend and am happy to report that it works perfectly and solved the problem of few lights not getting the signal. I think I had a phase issue. Thanks again for designing such a useful product.
Your parcel arrived today and I now have it installed and running. FANTASTIC.:-) The problem was low signal levels and 10v certainly seems to do the trick. Ö The other best part is the XTBM because I can actually see what is happening. I'm thrilled - thank you so much for making this available for sale.
Just installed the XTB-IIR. The improvements to the x10 environment became apparent immediately (using default settings). This device seems to have solved virtually all of my x10 weaknesses. I will be sure to recommend your product to my colleagues and friends.
Installed the XTB-IIR Monday without a hitch. Solved my X-10 Problems immediately! I don't understand everything that's going on inside that box, but whatever it is, itís doing the job. What an incredible piece of engineering.
Just installed an X10 device today in a far away place that was not working prior (I wasted so much time debugging at that time). I am happy to say the XTB-IIR had no trouble. Great piece of equipment and I wish I had it from the word go. There are often things I buy and think, that was a waste of money but I can truly say the XTB-IIR is something I will probably find it hard to live without.
Got the equipment yesterday and installed. Works great! It's unbelievable the amount of time I have spent reconfiguring and rewiring to overcome what this unit fixed in one hour.
Thank you for all your assistance in the process of buying the XTB-IIR. First, it's working very well. It appears that virtually all of my X-10 issues are gone. Further, the quality of your gear is top-notch. Ö Unfortunately, it's not uncommon to find products that don't live up to their claims. So, it's especially gratifying to receive a product that actually exceeds one's expectations.
Everything arrived yesterday in perfect condition. I am very impressed with the professional quality of both items.
Got it today, set up using old smarthome repeater module shell as 4 prong dryer pass-through plug. Ö I have already noticed much improved reliability in operation of several devices that were on the edge, and lack of several unwanted quirks. Also dimming control is much more responsive and controllable. Thanks much for a great product, well designed, well built, and very quick service.
After a week of thorough checking, looks like every device is rock solid and perfectly responsive including "power flash", "big red buttons", sirens, many many wall switches, lamp and appliance modules and so on. Ö My conclusion is that this is the PERFECT solution for me. Large house, two 200 amp main panels--each with whole house surge protection, lots of circuits with plenty of CFLs, electronic and appliance noise generators and loads.
I just wanted to let you know that, so far, simply replacing my old passive couple with the XTB-IIR has made my X-10 network 100% reliable. Iíve had no issues at all with the unit in place.
Pretty much says it all - your XTB-IIR is working GREAT!!!
I have the XTB-IIR installed and it works very well. X10 devices that could not 'hear' the signals before are now responding every time!
Everything has been installed and working for several days. The XTB-IIR and XTB-ANR's are working perfectly! My wife is especially happy since she can now turn on/off all her holiday decorations with a remote! I have to admit I was a bit skeptical when I ordered them that it would fix my problems. I work for a software company from my home and have many computers in various locations in my house. Not to mention at least 7 UPS's and many power bricks for laptops and other devices. Once the XTB devices were installed, all my X10 modules worked, no problems! All I can say is fantastic! Ö I would recommend your products to anyone having problems with X10.
I got the XTB-IIR today as I was at the post office mailing my signed waiver! I was impressed by the workmanship of the unit. It is definitely a quality unit, and it shows both inside and out. I went ahead and installed it this evening. I had originally planned on feeding it directly with my X-10 transformer that is wired to my Honeywell alarm panel. However I decided to go ahead and install the unit near my distribution panel instead in hopes that the Ďrepeaterí functionality would be sufficient without having to feed the XTB directly. After installing the unit, I ran some tests with some X-10 outlets and I am happy to report that they are working flawlessly! I had trouble with them prior to installing the XTB. Fantastic!
The unit works fantastic. Even when the old Leviton repeater was working some of the X10 devices would miss the signal now and then. This works every time. I am very pleased thank you.
I purchased a XTB-IIR a few years ago and itís working perfectly. What a great product.
"I wanted to let you know that I received the XTB-IIR yesterday and it works VERY well. Driving to both phases with the high power output of the XTB-IIR was what I needed all along. Why did I waste all that time and money on the other crappy X10 couplers, repeaters, etc.??? As far as I'm concerned this is the ONLY way to set up a RELIABLE X10 network. Also, the kit is very good quality. I found the initial documentation and number of parts daunting, but your assembly tips and presorting of parts made the assembly sequence easy and the unit worked flawlessly on the first power up. Great job!"
"OK, I finished the kit, and I am thrilled. You've given me back my X10 system! I had grown dismayed over all the missed commands that were leaving night lights on all day, and the phantom commands that would turn things on/off at whim. I have yet to permanently install my XTB-IIR, but connected across a single phase of the power line, via a line cord, I've been able to remove my Leviton repeater module, and everything still works flawlessly (I do have a passive coupler installed, which will come out when I do my final installation). My system includes two separate buildings, some 130 ft apart (electrically), a main distribution panel on the exterior of the house, and two separate sub-panels, one in the house, and the other in the out-building. I have always experienced problems transmitting commands to the far corners of the out-building, and even the repeater I had installed didn't correct the problem reliably. With your booster, I've been able to transmit commands to every corner of the two buildings, and I have yet to see any spurious commands come through. (My controller is the JDS Time Commander Plus.) Thanks again for designing a really great product, and making it available at a reasonable price!"
"Just built it. Worked right away and my Insteon problems are history! Great kit. Every bit as well done as a Heathkit. Better in some ways."
Many thanks for the XTB-IIR parts kit, is very well done with excellent instruction making it very easy to build. A couple of hours and it's all assembled and working. I've had a working X10 system for 3 years but recently I've had intermittent problems, which I believe to be noise from somewhere which I've been unable to track down. The XTB-IIR is great, everything is working again.
I just wanted to let you know that the kit was a delight Ė and it works! Thanks!!
Just wanted to say THANKS for creating such a useful and quality product. Assembly was easier than I thought. I had been dreading this build, but was looking to get back into hobbyist electronics. Ö The amount of clear documentation, the quality soldering station and quality solder made this install easy and straight forward.
I just finished assembling the second of the two units that I ordered. Assembly was extremely straightforward and unambiguous; it was really a pleasant experience (both times). The first time around I followed exactly the recommended assembly steps and identification tables that you wrote out: I found the little hints and tips (such as making sure the 'raised bump' on the inductor is facing towards U6, and that the 5V regulator looks like a transistor) to be very relevant and helpful--you've obviously gotten a lot of feedback from people already. I was most impressed, though, by the quality of the parts you've chosen, as well as the overall layout/design. It has a VERY heavy-duty, 'Made-in-America' feel, which makes me confident that this unit will have quite the lifespan. And the transmission power compared to the PSC-05 that I was using before is just plain exciting
I finished the XTB-IIR, fired it up and it appears to be working fine. I haven't done a lot of testing with it, but my ELK meter shows a big signal boost over a noisy line. Ö Thanks very much for creating such a great device.
Package arrived yesterday, assembled, tested and working like a champ today, thanks! Great design and from what I can tell reasonably robust. My biggest complaint is I now realize it is time for new glasses, resistors and caps were hard to read. Seems like even a couple vintage 1983 modules I have now work reliably. Also, when I put out about 8 additional modules for the Christmas lights they all now work reliably across phases, which was never the case before.
I purchased an XTB-IIR kit a few months ago and found everything about the kit to be first class. I soon had the kit built and temporarily installed for testing purposes. It has performed flawlessly during the testing time period and I plan on doing a permanent install soon. It is so nice to finally be able to call the X-10 modules a reliable part of my home automation system. Ö I had almost given up on the X-10 modules due to the fact I never knew when one would decide to stop working reliably. A laptop plugged in near one or some other device moved from one plug to another would cause all kind of strange behavior. Thank you for creating such a wonderful product.
Finally had a chance today to sit down and put the XTB unit together. It took just a little over an hour to put together. I think the biggest time taker was looking up the resistor values and figuring out which small cap was which. I was thinking if possible in the parts list listing exactly the digits on the cap for identification it would make things a little easier. Aside from that, it went together very well, a very well set up board. I tried it out like you said with a normal cord connected to com and Phz1 and it worked great with the mini controller plugged into the front.
Everything is up and running! Very nice. My X-10 reliability is greatly improved. I even replaced all the light bulbs in the garage because now they turn off EVERY TIME!
Well the kit arrived promptly and it was fun, though it wasn't easy! Took me about 10-12 hours over 3 nights, partly because I was going slow and careful and partly because it's been a while since building a kit! Internet makes it easy to find a resistor color code calculator, but I didn't know that there is also a capacitor code calculator. (Back in the Heathkit days I think they were all marked directly!) Never too old to learn, clearly.
I am up and running. The XTB-IIR is sending P1 on/off to the XTBM at a 9.95 volt level. Best I saw from my X10 modules was 0.75 volts. Now I can work on my noise sources and signal suckers. Your products are great and the instructions clear, especially if you read to the end of the line and find the R19, L6, & L7 entries (;>).
Just like the XTBM, it looks very well done and I'm impressed by the level of detail. Whoever is doing the milling of your plastic cases for you is doing a beautiful job, too.
I wanted to let you know that I have finished the XTB-IIR and I am very happy with it. Ö The XTB-IIR works very well here. At a kitchen outlet, with the old repeater, I was reading about 1.2 V on the XTBM. After connecting the XTB-IIR, I am getting 9.99 V at that outlet.
My XTB-IIR has worked flawlessly since the day I assembled and installed it! Thanks for offering such great products to us X10 diehards. (82 devices in my system and counting!)
I am not yet 100% sure of the XTB-IIR... Before I can be confident that all is well, I have one or two serious signal suckers to track down. I do have at least 2.0 volts now in all distant outlets... an order of magnitude better than without the XTB-IIR, so I am very pleased.
I have the XTB-IIR installed right at the service entrance, and it performs very well at that location. Since getting rid of the signal suckers, I have a signal level of 9+ in most areas, and an 8+ out at the farthest branch circuits -- even on the opposite side of the line from the sender. Very impressive!! With the signal suckers on the line the signal level was .35 or less at some locations, and before the XTB-IIR the signal was 0 because my Leviton coupler had died. Ö I can't say enough about the quality of your boards, packaging and well thought out design. I'd say that it's head and shoulders above the equipment supplied by the big boys like Leviton and the like! In my earlier years I've assembled hundreds of boards and prototype systems and I've seldom experienced the quality that you have supplied. Ö Thanks for some great design work and great product.
I have built the XTB-IIR and I am very pleased with the results. You sold me the original XTB a few years ago, and it has worked very well. The only problem I had with my X10 setup was the phase coupling. The phase I had the XTB on always worked perfect, but the opposite phase was hit-miss depending on the load. If I turned on my microwave on the opposite phase then I had problems with insufficient signal for reliable operation of some X10 devices on that phase. I have tested all scenarios that gave me problems before, and everything works PERFECT now.
I finished building and installed the XTB-IIR in my cabin, and the XTBR in my home, both work great. Excellent kits, quality components. It was pleasure to work with.
The kit assembly went very well. I've literally built thousands of kits over the years and your layout and instructions are at top of the list. After assembly and inspection, all I did was to plug the unit into the wall and plugged the SmartLinc 2412N into the boost plug and now I'm reaching and controlling ALL of my X10 devices throughout the entire house, garage and outside cabana over 150 feet from the controller!
Thank you I received the kit yesterday and I was impressed with the completeness and quality of the kit, but most of all the improvement to my X10 setup, I can finally rely on its operation! The only comment I might have on the kit was the part numbering which was a bit tedious as it didn't follow a logical left right / up down pattern, but I guess this is related to many iterations of the layout.
I put together your booster this weekend. The quality of the PC board and parts was, as usual, excellent. Your instructions were equally clear. I liked the redundant information, you know the reminders like, all the 1/4 w resistors should be used up, and the photo with the board layout. The booster solved my problem with unreliable operations. The electronics in the house were putting out electrical noise, and I had to put lots of filters around. This loaded down my AC transmitter, and the receiving modules did not always see a strong S/N signal per your meter. All is well with the booster.
240V 50Hz XTB-II and XTB-IIR
"The parcel arrived this morning and I've connected it up. WOW - works perfectly! I haven't added any filters and I'm running all of my other equipment and everything is working as it should. Thanks so much. You have designed and built an outstanding product which has dug me out of a hole I thought I was stuck in. I can now continue with the rest of my X10 project! It saved me hours/days/weeks not having to find 'signal suckers' and other problems. I've taken the lazy route with your XTB which seemed too good to be true, but this afternoon I've been plugging in all sorts of appliances such as food mixers, vacuum cleaners, power adaptors and electric drills and everything still works fine. With the exchange rate as it is, £130 is a bargain. Absolutely delighted!"
"Just a quick e-mail just to let you know that everything is still working great, I really can say I've not had a single day when it has not worked, I'm just so pleased with the XTB-II and how it transformed my set up. Just incase you don't remember me, I'm the guy in the UK who's X10 just would not work. Once again Jeff, thanks for your great invention."
"The XTB-II has arrived and I have fitted it. It is running with a CM12U computer interface and an SC9000 telephone transponder for telephone control. Both of these units are now controlling devices that had previously been unreliable or completely unreachable, including a plug in appliance module at the far end of a long extension lead out in my garage. I did a direct comparison between original and XTB-II boosted and the difference was marked and immediate. Take the XTB-II out of line and the devices revert to previous behavior.
We already test XTB_IIR unit in different X10 systems and environments. Itís a great product comparing all boosters in EU market. System response became faster and reliable. We are measured the X10 peak and itís increased 2-3 times in remote points. Next time we will order you samples for three-phase system coupler/repeater (XTB-III on 240V). And we will start to integrate you units in our larger projects.
The unit arrived today, and is installed and working perfectly. My signal guzzling TV is at last defeated! Thank you very much, I was about to give up on X10.
Just powered it up to try. Brilliant, works first time and I even had a set of garden lights powered from an outbuilding that only work with a transmitter connected locally and other 'garage' devices unplugged. Worked first time too without making any allowances. My next step at some point will be to develop an interface to connect directly to the digital port rather than use the CM11U unit, which adds up to 2 seconds delay. Many thanks Jeff, a superb product very well developed and extremely well supported with the web site. Some larger manufacturers should take notice of your style.
(JDS Forum): I'm already a great fan of Jeff Volp's XTB and XTB-IIR X10 amplifier/repeater products so I was delighted to find that Jeff has released a new product - the XTBM Tester! I have just about every X10 tester ever made starting with the Leviton "pair" and over the years trying the ESM, which is still very useful when trying to view from across the room, the Monterey unit, which is handy but VERY error prone to the point of being of limited value, the Lynx unit which was interesting but also not very useful and finally, the ACT unit which is excellent but is a bit cumbersome to use - lot's of buttons to press. The only one I never tried was the one built by Smarthome. The XTBM is the only unit that can detect the presence of a repeater and can also transmit a test code.
Got the XTBM meter in yesterday. Fantastic tool. Wish I had one years ago. It already paid for itself. Iíve been doing X10 since the days of BSR and been mostly shooting in the dark. This is definitely a device worth having.
The XBTM was delivered well packed with instructions. It arrived in perfect condition. Ö As the XBTM is powered on, it instantly finds out that there is a repeater online. When using the XBTM, the readings on the display are fairly constant: The top line tells me "X0.74 F120k N.01" The frequency varies to 118k sometimes during the day and goes to 120k again in the evening. Noiselevel stays at N.01, which is very low I think. Ö So I'm happy with the XBTM. Now I can start some serious hunt to the last problems in my installation. Jeff you made a fine piece of equipment. It feels robust. No "horns and whistles" is what we say here. It does what is has to do without any hassle. Operating the XBTM couldn't be easier. If I might give you a hint for a future version; a small display illumination would be quite handy.
Finally got XTBM. It is a nice piece of work. I already have traced one circuit that has constant noise. Thanks for a good instrument.
I have to say this is yet another fantastic product. Top quality build and performs just perfectly. Ö I am more than happy with my system now thanks to you fantastic products.
Great product - immediately confirmed which sources were causing me trouble - Xbox 360 is a huge signal sucker. Have one outlet showing 1.50V, 0.00V with Xbox! Have already tested the X10 Pro 5A filters for fixing that, and they work like magic - though I will be getting the higher current units to isolate all the A/V equipment. Also confirmed that my TED5000 energy monitor was interfering horribly with X10 (it broadcasts on 130kHz every second - totally wrecks X10). Plan on isolating that as well with some wire-in filters.
Wish I would have had the XTMB years ago. Will be taking it to various friends and relatives to debug their X10 too. Thanks for developing and providing this great tool!
My X10 units were not all turning on properly. I thought it was a problem of too much noise. So I checked several outlets near my furnaces looking for noise. (I had new furnaces installed about a year ago, and that is when I started having problems with X10.) However, in some cases, the XTBM showed a repeater on-line and in other cases, it did not. I then became suspicious that I had not made a proper connection to the second power line at either the breaker box, the 240V outlet, the 240V plug or the cord at the XTB-IIR unit. Indeed the latter was the case. Ö I fixed that, and everything works fine now. Good power levels on both sides, and the X10 units seem to be working well now. My conclusion is that the XTBM meter is essential to debug X10 installations, so I am glad I bought it. Congratulations on a couple of great designs.
After plugging in the signal tester, I realized one circuit had 1v line noise, which thanks to your essay on noises and suckers, I narrowed down to a surge strip, that apparently not only sucked but also screamed, added a filter and bamm, it's working!
I just wanted to let you know how pleased I am with the XTBM. I quickly and easily discovered and fixed (with an XPPF) the signal sucker, which left X10 signals dead in 2 rooms. I also quickly discovered noise, which I was able to eliminate (by changing light bulbs, no less). The repeater detection feature was also a great touch! And backlighting is definitely the way to go. I now know I have well above 100mV signals all over the house and I am looking forward to a robust, reliable X10 system. I am sure I will use the XTBM regularly as I add to my X10 system and as I buy new electronics/appliances (that might need filtering).
I received the XTBM yesterday. Very nice meter! Much like the XTB-IIR it is a thing of beauty. I haven't had time to do any real troubleshooting, but I've been all around the house checking outlets. And as expected everyone one of my problem areas show high noise readings. I can't believe I waited this long to get a VolpMeter.
I like your meter very much. You might consider creating a "Pro" version of the XTBM that remembers the last 10 to 20 x10 commands. A two-button forward and back addition next to the display could allow you to carefully review a command sequence. I am using a macro and it would have been useful to step through the sequence to determine the exact problem.
I have to say this is yet another fantastic product. Top quality build and performs just perfectly. I have been all around my house and found 1 further noise generator. A small 12v power supply for one of my remote CCTV cameras. This was pushing so much noise out that at the far end of the circuit I was still getting N.06 on the noise meter. It was also so strong that it masked the fact that I had the repeater in the system (XTB 11R). At source it was pushing over N.23. I have removed this and replaced with a new one and I now have N.00 all around the house from every receptacle. Ö I am more than happy with my system now thanks to you fantastic products.
I *love* the backlit display ... and probably will just put this on my desk just cause I'm a guy that likes to periodically keep an eye on things.
I got the XTBM kit (very nicely designed, by the way) on Monday, and by Tuesday evening, it was revealing a fascinating account of the effects on X-10 signal propagation throughout my house of the various devices plugged into my house's circuits. It was startling to see how low the received X-10 signal levels were here and there, and yet how reliably they were being decoded by their various target devices, apparently due to the fairly noise-free environment I have here (surprisingly). So, I'm a happy kit-building camper. Ö Anyway, thanks for designing and kitting the XTBM. It sure beats buying the pricey Monterey Signal Analyzer or the Smarthome AT004 units. And, building it oneself is just more frosting on the cake.
Thanks, terrific kit. Went together without a hitch and worked perfectly. Nice job.
Thanks for the great kits. Wonderful docs and well made. Both up and running without a problem.
I received the XTBM X10 Signal Meter yesterday and couldnít wait to build it. When I opened the box it brought back memories of my youth, itís a Heathkit. The kit was well packaged and the documentation was more than adequate so the kit went together without a hitch. By 10:00 PM I was using it to track down problems with X10 system.
Well I received the kit, assembled it (real easy... just had the TV distracting me so it took a little longer) and it worked like a dream!!! The kit is very nicely put together, and I am glad to see that you used static packaging techniques to kit the parts!!! This is sometimes (by other kit makers that I have seen) bypassed, and really can compromise semiconductors! Ö I also thought of another use for it... to tune the 120kHz oscillator in transmitters! Ö What a great tool!!!
I tried the meter first to see just what my readings would be with no assistance from the repeater. Well, the readings were basically 0.0x. Thus I was not able to get very useful functionality from my x10 devices. I was glad that the meter confirmed what I was experiencing. I felt so validated. I then plugged in the XTBR and the reading went from basically 0 to 9 and change. And instantly ALL my devices instantly work flawlessly! Wow (to use a new word). This is how itís all supposed to work. My HAL system reads sensors and operates everything all over the house. Iím impressed. Thus, itís safe to say, that your devices work and Iím just another average satisfied customer.
All went well with the assembly and turn-on. Pretty nice job. Ö Overall, a pretty slick little unit. Put it to work right away, and as I'd hoped, flagged a couple of trouble spots. It did give me the answers I wanted.
Both kits worked first time, and how pleased I am with the results. The XTBM in particular has proved it's worth, identifying areas in my house with poor X10 coverage. I took my time and everything went together just fine.
Thursday night gave birth to the XTBM followed by the XTB-IIR on Friday night. What a fantastic job you do with these kits! Both went together quite quickly and trouble free.
Couldn't be happier with the equipment that you shipped! I was inspired enough to stay up until 2 AM this morning to assemble the XTBM and the XTB-IIR. Everything went smooth as silk, and they both worked as advertised. I still need to explore the performance envelopes of both items - but I expect nothing but a good outcome based on what I've seen so far. So far the XTBM helped me find the major signal sucker in my system (a little wall wart pwr supply), that I never would have suspected, and another minor set of players that was causing some lesser issues (stereo amp & carousel CD changer). I was amazed at the interaction that various appliances and even room lights have on the signal levels. Things that I thought might cause problems actually improved signal levels when they were switched on.
I'm very pleased with the XTBM. I'd been looking at other similar commercial offerings for years - but at $200-300 - I just couldn't bring myself to buy any of them. I had been using a scope adapter that was described in a web article that I found, but that's a pain to cart around when troubleshooting a problem just because of the bulk of the scope.
I finished assembling the meter yesterday. It worked perfectly. I'm impressed by the quality of your kit. Ö Thank you for your excellent design, and quality components.
I received my order earlier this week and successfully assembled the XTBM and one of the XTBRs. Both kits are functioning as designed. They are fairly straightforward to assemble and your notes do make it easier to do so.
I love the XTBM. What a fabulous tool. I still can't decide whether to assemble the XTB-IIR, but will hold onto it just in case I see some other DHC reliability issues crop up. For the moment everything is working reliably.
I spent a very happy Saturday evening and Sunday morning building the XTBM and XTBIIR. It was good to find the old assembly skills are still alive and well. Ö It was pleasing to find that I could still read a resistor colour code with little reference to the colour chart, and it was nice to use all my old assembly tools and soldering kit. I would like to congratulate you on a pair of such well put together and developed kits. Both were an absolute delight to build. All the parts and the PCB were of good quality, and fitted together without problem. Your assembly notes were clear and concise. I found that nothing was left to chance. Secondly, They work really well. The XTBM found some very strange noise. When I installed the XTBIIR Ė all the problems went away!
Thanks, terrific kit. Went together without a hitch and worked perfectly.
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(HomeSeer Forum): I can say the XTB stuff is fantastic and I would consider one of these. I have the XTB 11R and the XTB232 and they have both worked perfect from the day I got them. I got the 11R because I was having intermitent problem with some devices along away from the panel and this solved that problem. The 232 replaced a CM11 as this would just decide it was bored at being connected to the PC and shut the serial comunication down. Since replacing the CM11 I have had no problems at all and I am very happy with a reliable and stable system finally.
Both XTB-232 have been installed (replacing the CM11s) and every thing works perfectly.
The XTB-232 arrived safe and sound on Tuesday. Ö I have installed at my house to test. I literally unplugged my CM11a and plugged in the XTB-232 and it's been running since. I didn't even restart Homeseer. So far, so good.
My XTB-232 has been rock solid ever since this email over a month ago. It remains connected to HCA even if a power failure occurs so I'm very happy with it.
I received the XTB-232 today and am very pleased. It indeed functions as a drop-in CM11A replacement, even with my self-written home automation software. And it's reliably reaching areas of my home that the CM11A would not. It's a wonderful, and increasingly rare experience, to buy a product that works exactly as advertised! So I have full faith that it will also be reliable, suffering neither the frequent lockups or almost yearly hardware failures of the CM11A. Definitely worth the money and I will recommend it to others.
Both XTBM and XTB-232 are working great. Using the XTBM shows a strong signal from the XTB-232, even on places where I could not install X10 modules up till now. You did a great job developing both units.
(HomeSeer Forum): I replaced my cm11a with the XTB-232 to get more reliability and power, and it was a night and day difference. It's far better. I had some problem devices that were too far from the controller and were very unreliable with the cm11a. They are now bulletproof. The XTB-232 is a great solution!
The kit went together beautifully. Another great piece of work from you!
I connected 3 loads to the XTB523 and everything works great! Another great USA DESIGN and BUILT product! Iíll be sharing this information with my friends. Thanks For keeping x-10 alive.
Thanks for developing this [highly] improved X-10 emulator. I hope there is enough profit to reward your substantial effort.
I was not surprised yesterday when I started testing your 523 module. It worked fine with our Rain8 and V572 products, but I expected it would so no big deal. The big deal was when I replaced a PSC05 for the V572 in my garage with your guy. This had always been a marginal location. Pushing the button on a wall mounted X10 RF remote sometimes worked, sometimes not. The V572 was getting the signal and driving the PSC05, but the garage lights were not turning on. Now with your module replacing the PSC05 it works every time. I guess it is the greater signal level that has resulted in this improvement, but it sure has made a believer out of me. Thanks for this great new product and rest assured I will tell everyone I can about it.
I received the module, connected it and the ELK M1 Gold works with it just fine.
Assembly completed last night, only two issues: first, reading tiny numbers on tiny components. I wouldn't want to be newby trying to figure out that 474 means 0.47 microfarads and that 1% resistors have an extra band!! Ö The other issue was getting the PIC into its socket, it really didn't want to be there! I had to very precisely bend pins to proper spacing before the IC would fully enter socket. Ö Thanks for developing this [highly] improved X-10 emulator.
I had a little time yesterday, so I put the kit together. It went fine, and works fine as a straight 523 [I haven't tried any of the advanced features yet]. In one limited test with an ELK ESM1, I measured about 1V signal with a normal 523 and about 2.5V at the same remote outlet with your kit. Nice.
The XTB-ANR works great. My girlfriend came by Friday night with her HTC EVO smart phone and charger. Plugged it in and immediately on the XTBM I got: "High Noise Level" then "JXX STR" then it alternated between "err bsc" and ^Noise^. My HR12A remote would NOT turn on a nearby light. Then I plugged in the XTB-ANR. That's when the "High Noise Level" changed to "Noise Decrease". The noise went from 11 down to 0. The X9.99 dropped to X9.37. The HR12A began to work. Another example: I have a porch light that has been intermittent in operation. Since plugging in the XTB-ANR, it has been solid.
I bought a bunch of the filters about a month ago worrying that I might not be able to find them in the future. I'm not using any now and may try and sell most of them on ebay if the XTB-ANR keeps performing the way it has.......;) Thanks for creating such a great product. I'm sure if X10 sold this along with the rest of their products, they would have a much happier customer base.
Just wanted to update you on the results of the xtbr-anr now that I have installed the xpcp passive coupler. I have been able to eliminate a few more filers but those on the far runs of the second phase still create unwanted line noise and interfere with x10 communications on those circuits. So I think that your original thought was correct that they would be most effective to install one on each phase unless the user still wanted to use plug in filters. After testing I put some of my filters back into use because I figure the less noise introduced into the system the less that the xtrb-anr has to worry about. But it is awesome that it gives me the freedom to allow the kids to use their games and laptops etc without chasing them around with a filter so that it doesnít interfere with the house system.
One of my circuits had a noise reading of .08. So I plugged in an XTB-ANR and the meter immediately displayed "noise decrease" and the noise dropped to zero. All the X-10 devices on that circuit started working properly. The XTR-ANRs really work like magic.
I have not installed the XTB-IIR yet, however I tried both the XTBM and XTB-ANR and they were immediately helpful. I was able to isolate a noise source that has been a problem in our upper hallway. My plan is to replace an Insteon switch (used in x10 mode only) this weekend. The ANR filtering appears to help as well. Ö Thank you for the help and your great engineering work. Your devices may have saved my investment. I was nearly ready to pull the entire system out and start over with a contemporary solution.
I assembled the first one and tried it. Fantastic! I was able to get rid of three XPPF filters, and you solved all my noise problems without the filter. You are a genius. I'm saving money not buying more XPPF filters that didn't always work. Ö I wish you had been the X10 module designer.
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