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new ON/OFF module - RF transmitter stuck on - "We be jammin"


ELA

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I thought I would relate an issue I just troubleshot in case it might help someone else in the future to understand a possible failure mode of these Insteon DB devices.

 

I installed the newest ON/OFF (APL replacement) DB module a couple of months ago. I noticed the beeper come on a few times by itself. After a factory reset it seemed to be ok.

Otherwise the module worked fine.

Then a couple of days ago the light connected to it came on by itself ( at a time when no programs or scenes were activated).

I reviewed the log and there was a single status entry showing it come on but there were no log entries for a controller commanding it on.

 

Now this morning I noticed a pantry light failing to operate, not associated with the ON/OFF module. The pantry is activated by a triggerlinc linked to an old style APL .

I spent some time replacing the battery in the triggerlinc and watching the log and nothing was making sense. I would sometimes see on commands but then no off commands. Sometimes I would see no commands at all.

 

At this point the natural assumption would be that the triggerlinc had gone bad, wouldn't it?

 

I then decided to be definitive by using one of my ELAM testers. I put it in RF monitor mode to test the triggerlinc's RF levels. I was surprised to see a very high background level of RF in the Insteon band. It appeared that the Insteon RF band was being jammed. I then moved the ELAM around the house looking for the strongest RF level.

Guess where I found the strongest level ..... it was near by the new ON/OFF module.

 

I unplugged that module and the RF levels went down to normal background levels. The pantry light now operated fine once again.

 

I monitored the ON/OFF module on a work bench and once again it was transmitting a full level after plugging it back in again. The transmitter is not sending Insteon commands but instead a constant RF carrier, thus "jamming my Insteon network".

A factory reset cleared this condition.

 

I will be returning this module on Monday.

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Well isn't that a large BUMMER. :roll:

Thanks for the heads up and I would be interested in what the Smarthome Support Gurus say about this one.

 

Not as accurate as your ELAM, but I have listened to Insteon RF bursts with a hand held scanner. Tuned to the closest FCC alloted commercial frequency to 915MHz.

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I have been having issues with random on/off modules turning on for a few months now. Obviously I am of the thought that this is the issue given that I have rebuilt my system from scratch twice and troubleshot every possible angle. I have done a couple of factory resets and eventually the issue returns. I have also replaced all on/off modules via RMA back in January or early February. Did SH provide any thoughts on this and/or release a new firmware? If not, I doubt replacing them will have any benefit long term since I have seen the issue come back in my setup more than once.

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Hello wdconners,

I am having a new module sent to me and I had fully expected the replacement to fix my issue. I will be very disappointed if the symptoms I experienced repeat themselves in the next module. Tech support did not offer any explanation, they never have in my experience.

 

Other than (1) ALL ON issue that was due to an ESD discharge, and this new ON/OFF module I have not experienced any other modules coming on when they should not have.

 

Sorry to hear that you have( how many?) modules that randomly come on by themselves. Are they all the new DB ON/OFF module (#2635-222) or other relay types?

 

The newest ON/OFF mod. # 2635-222 was my first and only module of that type in my installation. I have many other Relay modules that do not present this symptom ever.

That would be very frustrating indeed to find this is going to become a common problem?

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I have never had this issue with any modules other than the new dual-band on/off modules. I have two of them and they both have the random on issue. They have both been factory reset many times and have both been replaced. Again, unless SH has fixed this issue in the device itself or new firmware on the device, I would not expect your replacement to fix the issue.

 

I have sent a note to SH to find out if they are 1) aware of this issue and 2) plan to fix said device/firmware.

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Thanks for the clarification wdconners,

I will keep a most watchful eye on the new replacement. I will also update what the new rev. levels are once received.

Will you please post what your most recent levels are for my future reference?

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I saw the post at Smarthome and wonder if it is the same module/issue since they used the Appliance module reference?

I very much dislike the new naming convention Smarthome has begun using with the numbers as the best reference. I was used to referring to Single band Appliance module or APL.

With this new Dual band ON/OFF module it appears to be best to include the number # 2635-222.

 

I surely hope this not becoming a common issue as it is very intrusive. Guess I may have to do a Periodic scan to be proactive?

 

Here is a link to what the ELAM displays for a normal RF monitor when another device is transmitting a true message:

http://www.elavenue.com/images/auto/comp/screen_6.jpg

 

Unfortunately I did not capture the failed device for reference. I hope I do not get another opportunity to capture it :shock:

 

It looked like what is in the picture except a continuous stream with no interruptions, at full amplitude, - no spaces in between.

 

If you were monitoring with no devices transmitting you would see a continuous line (stream) at the yellow level (lighter color in poor pic) , a much lower level, or background RF level.

 

Another interesting observation was that this screen also captures a weather temperature transmitter we have on our deck at 915Mhz. It transmits every 5 seconds or so. It appears as just one vertical column, above the background level ( very short duration) on this screen.

 

The amplitude varies depending upon how close you are to the sender.

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Sounds like the RF Transmitter was keyed On with no data modulating the transmitter.

Like in the old days when I fixed two way radios and someone sat on the microphones transmit button. :roll:

 

I also hope this isn't a trend starting to appear.

 

The user in the Smarthome forums. Posted it was a 2635-222

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  • 2 weeks later...
I can say with 100% certainty that this will come back after factory resetting and replacing all of my on/off dual-band modules. SH continues to say that they are not aware of the issue.

 

No offense to anyone in this thread. But, this is exactly why I wait for at least four months before I purchase any new Insteon devices. History has proven that the first iterations of these devices are prone to have some unknown behaviors / or reliability problems.

 

Teken . . .

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I can say with 100% certainty that this will come back after factory resetting and replacing all of my on/off dual-band modules. SH continues to say that they are not aware of the issue.

 

No offense to anyone in this thread. But, this is exactly why I wait for at least four months before I purchase any new Insteon devices. History has proven that the first iterations of these devices are prone to have some unknown behaviors / or reliability problems.

 

Teken . . .

 

 

This tends to be a general rule to live by. Never switch OS until the first service pack is out, never buy the first version of a phone, never be the first to have some medical procedure (unless it is your last hope), etc. There is nothing like real-world testing to find real-world problems.

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I suspect eventually they will get enough feedback to determine there is a problem.

Sometimes I think the Customer Service Reps. don't have a list of recently reported problems or the company line is we never heard of that before.

 

I also have learned not to buy the first version of a Insteon or any other product. From personal experiences. :roll:

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Had a mounting requirement. Vertical, bulb above the module not an enclosed fixture. I believe for air flow.

Was kind of large in physical size.

 

The biggest problem is it did not remember its state from a power loss and restoration. It always turned ON when power was applied, even if it was Off. So if you had a power failure at night. They all turned On at power restoration. Some folks on vacation came home to a house where the lights could have been On for Days.

 

Some users where very happy with them and where looking for users that where selling theirs. When they where discontinued.

 

Smartlabs came up with a work around. I believe setting it to an On of 0% some some crazy thing like that. I don't believe the firmware was ever changed and it kind of disappeared from the sales site.

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