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Erratic Behaviour - Micro On/Off Switches


shergenr

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I am new to the ISY994i and insteon products.  Currently I have a simple set-up:  3 micro on/off switches each controlling a set of outdoor lights. I have created programs to turn the lights on and off each night.  I would say 4 of 7 days my program runs, at least one light fails to switch on/off.   2 of the switches are likely on the same power branch and the switches are located approximately 20 feet, direct line of sight from the PLM.  The third swtich is at my front door.  This was the first one that I installed and I had trouble linking it until I installed the other 2 (closer to the PLM).  I have bought a phase bridge and plan to install it.  

 

I have looked at the logs and have discovered a few issues:

1)  The ISY has a query all program that runs at 3am - for some reason I see the log entries consistently for 2 of my switches, but not the third...  What is this symptomatic of?, The one that fails is Driveway, it is on the same phase as Carport - notice the log time of Carport - it took 38 minutes to respond to the query?  Should I get a status item on all devices every time query runs?  Front Porch is often in error - this is the one that first installed and couldn't communicate with until installing the other switches.....

 

Scene:ISY Status Query Sun 2017/09/24 03:00:00 AM Program Log Front Porch Error 0 Sun 2017/09/24 03:00:03 AM System Log Front Porch Status 0% Sun 2017/09/24 03:00:03 AM System Log Carport Status 0% Sun 2017/09/24 03:38:00 AM System Log

 

 

I suspect that I have a phase issue as the front porch light is on a different phase from the ISY and the other two switches.  Will the phase bridge help strengthen these signals are do you think i need more devices on the weak phase?  

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First a clarification: The electric delivered to homes is a split, single-phase supply. What are commonly referred to as phases are actually opposite legs of the 220/240 volt distribution transformer secondary winding. The neutral wire is a center tap providing 110/120VAC for the home.

 

Back to your concern: The most likely cause of a light turning on, but not off is the light itself. What is the load, incandescent, CFL, LED, something else. And what is "carport?" Front porch and driveway seem to be lighting. Describe all loads.

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Front Porch - regular incandescent, single pole switch...

 

Driveway - 3 fixtures, 1 fixture is an LED old safety light with a motion sensor attached to it... + , 2 regular fixtures using LED Flood lights, converted 3 way switch to single pole....

 

CarPort - 2 fixtures each using LED bulbs, single pole switch

 

True, I have single phase.  I know the micro's are on different legs by the where the breakers are on the panel.

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Front Porch - regular incandescent, single pole switch...

 

Driveway - 3 fixtures, 1 fixture is an LED old safety light with a motion sensor attached to it... + , 2 regular fixtures using LED Flood lights, converted 3 way switch to single pole....

 

CarPort - 2 fixtures each using LED bulbs, single pole switch

 

True, I have single phase. I know the micro's are on different legs by the where the breakers are on the panel.

Stu and others are much more knowledgeable than me. So I'll ask the obvious. You are *sure* the modules are always getting power? They aren't being turned off by the other switches you describe and they don't need motion activated to get power?

 

Edit: I forgot the micro modules have sensing wires. I haven't used those... but I think it's still worth clarifying the power question. Also, are these in metal boxes?

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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After checking what TrojanHorse suggested, replace the LED bulbs (temporarily) with incandescent bulb. Does the problem still exist?

 

True, I have single phase.  I know the micro's are on different legs by the where the breakers are on the panel.

 

Can you be more specific? What precisely indicates that they're on opposite legs?

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Specifics on legs,  I have a GE Panel (150amp), FrontPorch is on breaker 19, Carport and Driveway are on breaker 21.  As I understand the layout of the legs in that section of my panel, the legs alternate by row.  I don't know which leg my PLM is on as I haven't thrown the breakers to find out (panel is not labeled in detail).  

 

To clarify on loads:

FrontPorch - has 6 30-40 watt incandescents., small flametip bulbs

Carport has LED 60w equivalent probably 13W, + 3 30w equivalent, small  led flametip bulbs (probably 10w ea)

Driveway has 3 fixtures:  2 double (Par30?) bulb floods with 90w equivalents = 4X 18w......  other fixture is that old LED style  bulb 3 inches long, 1/2 inch diameter, clips in to fixture.  Fixture has the motion sensor - so it only controls that fixture not any of the other fixtures on that circuit.  

 

All micro modules are in metal boxes.  No module is dependent upon another insteon device for power.  

 

Also, just checking, but the physical toggle status (on/off position) shouldn't matter as I understand these are basically 3 way switches as deployed.

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You understanding of panels is correct. Full height (1") vertically adjacent breakers are on opposite legs.

 

Metal boxes reduce the effectiveness of RF, but don't block them completely, most especially if there are other near-by dual-band devices. OTOH, lack of reliability is nearly always a communication or load problem.

 

What's the result if you (temporarily) swap out the LEDs for incandescent bulbs?

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I will have to go buy some incandescents and swap them out to test.......

 

I was hoping that the fix would be the phase coupler.  In addition, the placement of my PLM and ISY may be an issue.  I have placed them next to my router (on top of a bookshelf) and have a sonos playbar plugged in to the same unfiltered extension cord.  Am planning on moving the sonos when I can mount to my TV.....

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I will have to go buy some incandescents and swap them out to test.......

 

I was hoping that the fix would be the phase coupler. In addition, the placement of my PLM and ISY may be an issue. I have placed them next to my router (on top of a bookshelf) and have a sonos playbar plugged in to the same unfiltered extension cord. Am planning on moving the sonos when I can mount to my TV.....

So wiring is correct? For benefit of the forum, how are existing switches connected? Are you using the sensing wires?

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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It's likely that you have a computer and/or peripherals on the same circuit as the router. It's best, no, required that you place any possible interfering devices on a filter or plug the PLM into a known clean circuit. In the interim, place the incandescent bulb you already have as the only load on a problematic device. Does the light turn on and off as expected?

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driveway Status 0% Sun 2017/09/24 11:28:01 PM System Log Carport Status 0% Sun 2017/09/24 11:28:04 PM System Log Front Porch Error 1 Sun 2017/09/24 11:28:08 PM System Log Front Porch     Sun 2017/09/24 11:28:08 PM System -2

 

My system ran tonight.  All turned on okay, and all turned off okay, but when I logged in to admin console it said I had comm failure to front porch light:  Above is the log excerpted for the off event.  I haven't changed my programming yet.  Then I ran query from  the summary window and it cleared the error on the front porch.....

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  • 2 weeks later...

Resolution of My Issues....Well at least my insteon issues.......

 

First, thanks to all the suggestions and help from the members here.  I really appreciate it.  I thought I should report back the status of my interference issues.  So, i have a very simple network consisting of 3 micro switches (for now).  The switches are located on two different segments/poles of my single phase electrical.  The plm and micro switch 1 were located on pole "a" and the other 2 switches were on circuits on pole b.  I have experienced roving communication issues on all 3 switches - in fact the hardest switch to communicate with was switch 1 on the same pole as the plm.  My first thought before consulting the forum was (and understanding which pole my plm was on) was that I needed a phase linc which I bought a few weeks ago and finally got around to installing this weekend.  

 

Things came to a head before I installed the phase linc - nothing was communicating - the issues seemed to get worse everyday.  So, I installed the phase linc.  No difference.  Same comm issues.  I was advised this prior to installing and it was true.  So, I decided to reset everything back to factory (plm and isy).  No real help.  Next moved the PLM to its own outlet.  Shazam!  This outlet was on the same breaker circuit as originally, however it was directly plugged into the outlet and not an extension cord that also supplied power to my router and sonos playbar.  Furthermore, I suspect the outlet was on the wrong side of the former outlet (up or downstream)  that had all of my a/v peripherals plugged into it (pvr, sonos amp, bluray player).  I am still going to buy a filterlinc for the periperals just in case, but I am pretty confident that the comm issues are resolved.  

 

When I run queries on scenes or the isy I notice that I get the messages back very quickly and reliably.  Prior to this there was lots of latency in those tests and acknowlegements.    So, at least at this point in time I have been spared dragging around a ladder to my  exterior lights.  So, I don't know if electricity flows  a particular path, but it seems that the noise that was being generated on the path that I had originally placed my plm is no longer a factor in knocking down my signals anymore and I know the noise is still there, I just haven't filtered it yet.

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The power supplies in all your electronics. Could be making noise but I suspect they are acting like signal suckers. Reducing the power line command strength. Making most of the commands going through the Insteon RF with its range limits.

A Filterlinc on the equipment may help.

UPS Units, Computers and filtered surge strips. Can also absorb the Insteon power line signals.

I have my UPS on a FilterLinc and the PLM on the front pass through unfiltered outlet.

 

You may also want to use built in four set button tap/Beacon test see what is on each phase and how well the Insteon RF is going between them.

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Unless the device is known to be causing comm problems, filtering is is useless. An easy test is to unplug or disconnect the suspected device. Turning it off is inadequate, it must be unplugged or disconnected. If communication improves, then that device needs to be filtered.

 

Another relatively easy test is to use a long extension cord to power the PLM from a different circuit. If that helps, then something on the original circuit needs to be filtered. You may need to try a few outlets. Don't use a surge suppressor, only a plain extension cord.

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