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The most commonly encountered problem with systems which use the
existing house wiring to transmit signals is the signals are received
by some Receiver modules, but not by others. For example, the
Controller controls some lights but not others or controls some lights
intermittently. This can happen sometimes when the Module to be
controlled is on the opposite phase of the house wiring to the phase
which the Controller is connected to. .
Phases in household wiring is caused by two different power currents
running from the electrical breaker box. (see figure 1). It is,
therefore, suggested that the Controller and all Modules to be
controlled by that Controller be on the same phase. This can be
accomplished by reviewing your breaker panel (see figure 1 - "N" is X10
units on "B" phase) Where it is not possible, the problem can be solved
by fitting a coupling capacitor (also known as a phase
coupler or signal
bridge) across the two phases of
the house wiring to couple the signal from one phase to the other. .
In most cases the signals transmitted by the Controller will control
any Module plugged in anywhere in the house. The signal level
transmitted is usually in the order or 4 to 5 volts but varies with
line impedance and loading (Controller plugged in next to a TV set, for
example.) However, the amplitude of signal required to operate a module
is only 50 millivolts (0.05 volts) so there is enough tolerance in the
transmit/receive ratio to allow for considerable signal attenuation.
Most signal attenuation occurs when the signal has to "jump the
houses are wired such that 220v (240V) is brought into the breaker
panel and then split into 2 phases of 110v ( 120V) each. The signals
from the Controller are transmitted onto one
phase and have to travel all the way out to the pole transformer to
couple across to the other phase. The amplitude of signal on the
"other" phase can, therefore, be greatly reduced.
Signals can be
"coupled" to the other phase by installing a 0.1
microfarad (0.1µF), 600VDC capacitor
across the two phases in the panel, i.e. by connecting the capacitor
across any 220V breaker (see Figure 2) .
To solve phase coupling
issues use a XPCR or a PZZ01
Modules turn on by themselves when they shouldn't:
If it is suspected that Modules have turned on by themselves, the first
step should be to change the Housecode on the Controller and all of the
Modules. It is possible that a neighbor has the same system or another
compatible system. If both houses are on the same pole transformer, it
is possible for signals to couple from one house to another. .
If Modules turn on
unpredictably, it is also possible that the modules may have been
triggered by a 120V AC power "dip" or "brown out". Lamp Modules and
Appliance Modules have a feature called "local control". This feature
lets you turn the Module on by turning the power switch on the light or
appliance off and then on again. There is a circuit in the Module which
detects this change in load and interprets it as a request to turn on.
This "local control" circuit by design is very sensitive. Therefore it
can sometimes change in the load, and "think" it has been told to turn
on. If this problem is suspected, it is recommended that the local
control feature be disabled..
Certain brands of TVs can generate noise and superimpose it on the
power line. In most cases, this kind of noise will not cause a problem.
If, however, it is determined that the TV is causing a problem (which
can be determined by unplugging the TV to see if the problem goes away)
it is suggested that the TV be plugged into a filter to isolate it from
the AC line. The kind of filter used to protect a TV from interference
from heavy applications like power drills is a XPPF. This filter may
help to isolate the load (or internal capacitance) of the TV from the
AC line if it is found that the TV is attenuating the signals from your
Use a Wall Switch Module
to control a Fluorescent light, a fan, or any kind of appliance. This
could cause damage to the Module and/or the light/appliance. (Do - get
Appliance modules for appliances.)
Use a Wall Switch Module
to control an outlet unless you are sure no one will plug an appliance
( a vacuum cleaner for example) into the outlet. See above.
Use a Lamp Module
to control a fluorescent light, a fan, or any kind of appliance.
Use a Lamp Module
or a Wall Switch Module
to control a lamp or fixture which already has a dimmer on it. (3-way
OK if not over 300 watts)
Use a module to control something which would be dangerous if it were
turned on turned on remotely while unattended (e.g. an empty coffee
pot, an electric fan with poorly protected blades, or a space heater.)
use a Wall Switch Module
for lamps less than 60 watts.
leave a wireless intercom or baby monitor in the permanent transmit (or
talk) mode. Its transmissions could "block out" X10 transmissions.
exceed the rating of the modules, these are:
- Lamp Module -
300 watts incandescent only.
- Wall Switch
Module - 500 watts incandescent
- Appliance Module
- appliances rated 15 amp. resistive (such as coffee pots and heaters)
or 1/3 H.P. motor load, or 400 watts for TV sets or 500 watts for
lamps, because of the "inrush current" from a cold lamp.