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Problems accessing various devices - New Installation


GDavis01

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I have a new ISY994i installation and I seem to be having problems accessing certain devices at times! I have 6 dual band Switchlinc Dimmers (2477D), 2 LampLincs (B2457D2), 1 Leak Sensor (2852-222) and 1 Outdoor module (2634-222).

 

In terms of electrical set up within the house there are 3 sub-panels off the main panel. I used one of the Lamplincs to bridge the 2 phases. Am I correct in understanding that bridging the 2 phases only has to be done once despite the number of panels?

 

Here is an example of a problem I am having... I linked the ISY and Outdoor Module using a plug within the house and it worked as expected. I then went outside and plugged my landscape lights into the module. Then sitting outside, using Mobilinc on my iPhone, I did a Sync with the ISY. Once again all went well and I could now see the Outdoor Module on Mobilinc. I then was able to successfully turn on the landscape lights with Mobilinc. Happy with this set up, I went to my indoor computer, linked to the Admin Console, to start programming the Module... however the ISY could no longer see the module and shows with a red exclamation point on the console!

 

Any suggestions on how to debug this?

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I believe you have the correct understanding regarding bridging the two phases.

 

There is no magical troubleshooting that I am aware of, but certainly you should also be sure to avoid plugging in the PLM to an outlet or circuit with other electronic gadgets, such as computer, surge suppressor, ups, network stuff, etc...

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In terms of electrical set up within the house there are 3 sub-panels off the main panel. I used one of the Lamplincs to bridge the 2 phases. Am I correct in understanding that bridging the 2 phases only has to be done once despite the number of panels?

 

It's not possible to use one device to bridge the opposite legs of the center-tapped, single-phase electric supply. At least two devices are required. What steps did you take to ensure that coupling has occurred? in both directions?

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It's not possible to use one device to bridge the opposite legs of the center-tapped, single-phase electric supply. At least two devices are required. What steps did you take to ensure that coupling has occurred? in both directions?

 

I used the 4 tap test on the PLM to verify that a dual band device was on the other leg (i.e. the Lamplinc). So when I do the tap test I see the Lamplinc blinking green. 

 

Despite this the ISY cannot communicate with the Outdoor Module.

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Communication difficulties can be the result of signal suckers that clean the powerline such as surge suppressors, line conditioners and UPSs and signal stompers that overcome the signal such as some computer power supplies, TVs and wall warts. In either case, the cure is a filter. The problem is finding the offending device.

 

There are two circuits of concern, the one that powers the PLM and Outdoor Module circuit.

 

Start by unplugging everything on the same circuit as the Outdoor Module. Just turning things off is inadequate, they must be unplugged. Also, unplug the module's load. Any success?

 

If not, then use an extension cord or two to power the PLM from the same circuit as the Outdoor Module. If that works, then the culprit is something on the same circuit as where the PLM was originally plugged in.

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Thanks for the replies. My PLM is currently on the same circuit as my router, a distributed sound system, a plugged in laptop, a battery charger for my drill, a powered switch and the ISY... so based on the comments it appears that this may be my issue!

 

I now have to find a new place to locate the PLM where I can connect it to the ISY, and the ISY to the home network! This might prove to be a temporary challenge.  When I do I will post the outcome.

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Thanks for the replies. My PLM is currently on the same circuit as my router, a distributed sound system, a plugged in laptop, a battery charger for my drill, a powered switch and the ISY... so based on the comments it appears that this may be my issue!

 

I now have to find a new place to locate the PLM where I can connect it to the ISY, and the ISY to the home network! This might prove to be a temporary challenge.  When I do I will post the outcome.

 

I would suggest you purchase a few filterlincs so they are on hand. Because as you noted it may be a challenge to find a outlet that is not on the same circuit as the offending noise makers / signal suckers. Very few people have dedicated outlets unless they had the for thought like I did during the construction phase to include them.

 

I designed and built my home with the intent and knowledge that power line communications would be in use such as Insteon. Even with that sort of extreme set up the use of filters are required in some areas because there simply are too many devices, appliances, and related hardware that make noise. 

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I have started researching Filterlincs. Looking at the Aartech site (Canada) I see that they only sell the 10 amp model (1626-10). Is this the recommended model (Manual shows a 5 amp model)?

 

Here is an excerpt from the manual...

 

The best way to determine the offending device is to isolate the circuits one at a time. Start by turning off all the circuit breakers except one circuit for testing. Attach a transmitter and an appliance module (both known good units). 

 

I don't have an appliance module so I will be using my Dual Band Lamplinc... what do they mean by a transmitter? I would assume that I would need to use the ISY which means that I need a computer and my home network (router) also running... correct?

 

Another excerpt...

 

Another approach to find these noise emitters is to use a portable AM radio 

 

Do they still make those? lol I haven't seen one in many years!! Just looked it up and they do still sell them!! I think I will buy one $14 and try that route too.

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Interestingly, in my other installation (home) I have no Filterlincs and I haven't had any problems. My PLM is not on a dedicated circuit and I have a ton of electrical / sound equipment right next to it!! Lucky so far, I guess, with that installation!

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Yes the 10 amp model is the only filterlinc Smartlabs sells and works in 90% of the electrical loads present. For those loads that exceed the 10 amp limit you can also purchase 3rd party filters that are hardwired in place. The XPF 20 amp filter is used often but requires a vary large junction box.

 

There are also smaller wired 5 amp filters on the market for areas like ceiling fans etc. Lastly, sometimes devices called a snubber are placed in line to help filter the noise.

 

As you can see there are many solutions for various problems in your case the plugin filterlinc is a great start.

 

http://www.x10.com/xpnr-noise-reducer.html?___SID=U

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The 15 amp ACT filter will handle any load unless you have a dedicated 20 amp receptacle, one that has a T-shaped on the neutral side (wide blade). You can plug a power strip into the filtered side for all you gear.

 

As a test, unplug everything but the computer and router. Does communication improve?

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As a test, I unplugged everything except the router, PLM and the ISY. I have another computer on another circuit. Using the Admin Console I am still not able to query the outdoor module!

 

You will need to complete and confirm the proper coupling / bridging via the 4 tap (beacon) test which is outlined in the full users manual for the products in question. Also, you should unplug the landscape lighting and see if you can control the On-Off modes of the unit.

 

If you can at this point with out the landscape lighting more than likely the units transformer is sucking the signal. When you can turn something on but not off this points to the load being the culprit.

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As explained in an earlier post, I did verify the proper bridging using the 4 tap test.

 

I think that you are probably right and that it is the transformer that is sucking the signal!! I disconnected it from the transformer and it does communicate! I guess I will have to figure out another way to deal with the landscape lights!

 

I still think that I have noise issues because I am experiencing other communication issues from time to time. So the hopefully the Filterlincs will help.

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As explained in an earlier post, I did verify the proper bridging using the 4 tap test.

 

I think that you are probably right and that it is the transformer that is sucking the signal!! I disconnected it from the transformer and it does communicate! I guess I will have to figure out another way to deal with the landscape lights!

 

I still think that I have noise issues because I am experiencing other communication issues from time to time. So the hopefully the Filterlincs will help.

 

When the filterlinc arrives you can try it on the transformer and see if it resolves the issue. With respect to verifying coupling / bridging via the 4 tap (beacon) test.

 

Its important to note if you perform the same test from the PLM to the out door unit what are the results? Doing the same test but in the reverse what are the results?

 

You may be very surprised at what you see regardless of the noise related issue from the transformer. Ideally, the dual band outlet should couple with another dual band device. But this assumes line of sight RF connection for the longest range and if walls and other objects are in the way what ever distance Insteon states can drop off from 1 foot to the expected 150 feet.

 

Don't fall prey in the hype this whole dual band, mesh, multi hop actually works and solves all.

 

As you can see if it did you wouldn't need a filter or any coupling, right?

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Unfortunately I am back home and won't be back to the cottage for a week. Hopefully I will have the Filterlincs by then.

 

 

 

Its important to note if you perform the same test from the PLM to the out door unit what are the results? Doing the same test but in the reverse what are the results?

 

I didn't think to try looking at the outdoor module when I did the 4 tap test! I will try it next time.

 

I assume you mean by doing the same test in reverse, that I should 4 tap the outdoor module and then check other modules... right? (see below for my at home test)

 

I decided to do some testing on my home installation and it has raised some questions in my mind!

 

When I set my system up a few years ago I used a Dual Band Lamplinc to bridge the phases with the PLM. I have been assuming all along that I had to keep that Lamplinc in place to ensure that bridging. However when I look at the PLM's Quick Guide is see the statement

 

 

 

  1. Check the LED behavior of the other dual-band devices to see if they are on the opposite phase

    If at least one of the dual-band device LEDs is blinking green or is bright solid white or blue, the device is on the opposite phase.

 

Does this mean that my dual band wall dimmers which are a solid white after I press the set button on the PLM 4 times are confirming that I have bridged the phases? The only problem I see with this is that they are also solid white before I do the 4 tap test!

 

Interestingly the Lamplinc now stays solid red when I do the 4 tap test from the PLM, which suggests to me that it is not on the opposite phase!! I'm almost certain that when I set it up I was getting a reaction from the Lamplinc that confirmed that it was on the opposite phase!!

 

So... to see if I was encountering any phase issues, I removed the Lamplinc and ran a query all from the Admin Console (35 devices and 18 sprinkler zones on 3 controllers). The only communication error I received was for the disconnected Lamplinc! So I am assuming that I have successfully bridged the phases with something other than the Lamplinc. Does this make sense?

 

Doing that same 4 tap test from the PLM I see that 4 dual band wall dimmers right next to the PLM are blinking white, whereas every other dual band device had no change (e.g. wall dimmers remained solid white).

 

I also tried to do the reverse 4 tap test using another outdoor module, which I plugged into an outlet in my kitchen. The results were mixed in terms of which Dual Band devices reacted to the test: (note the devices below are only dual band)

 

 - 3 wall dimmers were blinking white;

 - 1 wall dimmer was solid red

 - 1 Lamplinc did nothing (remained solid red)

 - 4 wall dimmers did nothing (remained solid white)

 - 4 wall dimmers remained solid white... but occasionally dimmed - about every 10 seconds

 - 1 wall dimmer was blinking green, but every 10 seconds it would turn white and then go back to blinking green

 - PLM remained solid green

 

How should I interpret these results?

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First I would direct you to this related thread I wrote about as it may give you some insight. http://forum.universal-devices.com/topic/16485-kpl-4-tap-bridging-coupling-beacon-test/

 

From what I gather (assuming) you don't have the latest units with dual LED's which offer no ambiguity as to the same phase / opposite phase.

 

Switch Lincs / Switch Linc Dimmers in my experience that flash the bottom LED when another device has initiated a 4 tap beacon tests indicates same electrical leg / phase. If the device does not blink at all its (assumed) to be on the opposite leg / phase.

 

Keep in mind this lack of flashing could also mean its not with in the RF range of the transmitter of the sender also.

 

1. Your first step is to move that Lamp Linc back and confirm bridging / coupling.

2. Any dual band device that has a green / red LED's that do not blink indicates its not in receiving range of  the RF signal.

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Edit... the pasting of a spreadsheet didn't work at all!! I have removed the table and will have to figure out how to put it in correctly!

 

No I do not have the latest units with dual LED's.

 

Until you raised the issue I didn't realize that the 4-tap test could be applied to any dual band module! Very interesting... below is a table of tests (hopefully the table copies in properly!) that I ran through doing the 4-tap test on different units and how I determined which devices were on which phase. I started with the premise that the PLM is on phase 1.  

 

Note that I was able to conclude on which phase each device was on only after going through the various tests and then determining that the results of specific modules from the earlier tests were in fact anomalies caused by the devices presumably not receiving the RF signal or hop. I put bold boxes around the devices that had anomalies.

 

As an example, the Family room (3) module stayed Solid White when I tapped the PLM and also when I tapped the Lamplinc, which I had already confirmed was on the opposite phase to the PLM... so my next test was to tap that particular module (test D) which caused the Lamplinc to blink green. This allowed me to conclude that it was actually on phase 1, despite the fact that it did not blink when I tapped the PLM! Similarly the two back stairs modules (6 and 7) initially appeared to be on phase 2 but were probably simply out of range. Test D,E and F confirmed that they are on phase 1.

 

Tests A and B allowed me to conclude that there were other units on opposite phases and therefore the Lamplinc wasn't really needed to bridge the phases, since the results were exactly the same for all other devices.

 

Test F, where I tapped the Back Stairs bottom wall dimmer seems to suggest that this module is having the most problems with communications, judging by the 6 anomalies! That module is a 3-way switch controlling one set of lights with the Back Stairs Top switch, so I ran test G by tapping the other switch in the 3-way (Back Stairs Top) and the results are a bit different in that the communications seem to be much better with the exception of 1 module (Soffits Side # 12). The Back Stairs bottom wall dimmer is in a gang box with 2 other dual band dimmers (Bar Accent and Bar Main)! Shouldn't the other two devices strengthen the communications of that device?

 

 

 

Aside from now having a pretty good idea on which phase each of my dual band modules are on, I am also concluding that, if there are sufficient communications, then when the 4-tap test results in Solid White or Green Flashing devices then those modules are on the opposite phase; whereas a White Flashing or Red Flashing means that the modules are on the same phase.

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Is there a way to attach a spreadsheet table in this forum? If so can someone please direct me to the procedure...

 

The file will need to be less than 2 MB. Select the *More Reply Options* next to the (Post) button and select choose file, than select attach this file.

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Edit... the pasting of a spreadsheet didn't work at all!! I have removed the table and will have to figure out how to put it in correctly!

 

No I do not have the latest units with dual LED's.

 

Until you raised the issue I didn't realize that the 4-tap test could be applied to any dual band module! Very interesting... below is a table of tests (hopefully the table copies in properly!) that I ran through doing the 4-tap test on different units and how I determined which devices were on which phase. I started with the premise that the PLM is on phase 1.  

 

Note that I was able to conclude on which phase each device was on only after going through the various tests and then determining that the results of specific modules from the earlier tests were in fact anomalies caused by the devices presumably not receiving the RF signal or hop. I put bold boxes around the devices that had anomalies.

 

As an example, the Family room (3) module stayed Solid White when I tapped the PLM and also when I tapped the Lamplinc, which I had already confirmed was on the opposite phase to the PLM... so my next test was to tap that particular module (test D) which caused the Lamplinc to blink green. This allowed me to conclude that it was actually on phase 1, despite the fact that it did not blink when I tapped the PLM! Similarly the two back stairs modules (6 and 7) initially appeared to be on phase 2 but were probably simply out of range. Test D,E and F confirmed that they are on phase 1.

 

Tests A and B allowed me to conclude that there were other units on opposite phases and therefore the Lamplinc wasn't really needed to bridge the phases, since the results were exactly the same for all other devices.

 

Test F, where I tapped the Back Stairs bottom wall dimmer seems to suggest that this module is having the most problems with communications, judging by the 6 anomalies! That module is a 3-way switch controlling one set of lights with the Back Stairs Top switch, so I ran test G by tapping the other switch in the 3-way (Back Stairs Top) and the results are a bit different in that the communications seem to be much better with the exception of 1 module (Soffits Side # 12). The Back Stairs bottom wall dimmer is in a gang box with 2 other dual band dimmers (Bar Accent and Bar Main)! Shouldn't the other two devices strengthen the communications of that device?

 

 

 

Aside from now having a pretty good idea on which phase each of my dual band modules are on, I am also concluding that, if there are sufficient communications, then when the 4-tap test results in Solid White or Green Flashing devices then those modules are on the opposite phase; whereas a White Flashing or Red Flashing means that the modules are on the same phase.

 

It should be noted all the coupling / bridging in the world will NOT address noise related issues. Also, keep in mind any dual band device installed into a metal J Box will reduce its RF capabilities. This reduction can be as short as six inches to what ever distance.

 

This is why plugin devices such as the Range Extender (Access Points) Lamp Linc, On-Off Modules, are so great. You can simply move them until RF reception is better and also gives you the ability to find a outlet that allows you to bridge the two sides of the single split phase electrical system with in your home.

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