Re: Some ideas for enhancements...

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Re: Some ideas for enhancements...

David H. Lynch Jr.
Neil Cherry wrote:
> David H. Lynch Jr. wrote:

>
>>     I have seriously considered either writing a standalone C X10 daemon
>> for something like the cm11, or a perl module to communicate one that
>> already exists.
>>
>>     mh proxies are interesting but they require mh on several
>> machines. and
>> X10 daemon that basically took the mh serial x10 protocol (received via
>> tcp/ip sockets) and sent it to an X10 controller, would make it really
>> easy to have multiple controllers as another way of circumventing X10
>> reliability problems, or dealling with large facilites.
>
>
> Oh, there is x10d for the CM11A which should compile under *nix
> and Windows (with Cygwin).

        Just after I hit SEND I remebered I had seen several X10 linux daemons
at one time or another. I fairly quickly tripped over your x10d page.

        I have not looked seriously at x10d, but the concept of attaching a
daemon to the interface hardware and letting mh (or whatever) talk over
the net with one or multiple daemons - regardless of what machine they
may physically reside is appealing.




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Re: Some ideas for enhancements...

Neil Cherry
David H. Lynch Jr. wrote:

> Neil Cherry wrote:
>> David H. Lynch Jr. wrote:
>
>>>     I have seriously considered either writing a standalone C X10 daemon
>>> for something like the cm11, or a perl module to communicate one that
>>> already exists.
>>>
>>>     mh proxies are interesting but they require mh on several
>>> machines. and
>>> X10 daemon that basically took the mh serial x10 protocol (received via
>>> tcp/ip sockets) and sent it to an X10 controller, would make it really
>>> easy to have multiple controllers as another way of circumventing X10
>>> reliability problems, or dealling with large facilites.
>>
>> Oh, there is x10d for the CM11A which should compile under *nix
>> and Windows (with Cygwin).
>
> Just after I hit SEND I remebered I had seen several X10 linux daemons
> at one time or another. I fairly quickly tripped over your x10d page.

> I have not looked seriously at x10d, but the concept of attaching a
> daemon to the interface hardware and letting mh (or whatever) talk over
> the net with one or multiple daemons - regardless of what machine they
> may physically reside is appealing.

Just one note, I'm not the original author, Dan Lanciani is. I just
made a few changes so that it would compile properly under Linux.

One of the nice features of x10d is that many things can interface
to the x10d at the same time. MH can be sending commands and other
programs can monitor and send commands too. There is no way to
avoid things like MH sending A1AOFF and something else sending
A1AON or even worse MH sends A1, other sends B1, MH sends AOFF,
other sends BON. Those kinds of collisions are not easily
avoidable.

--
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http://www.linuxha.com/                         Main site
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Re: Some ideas for enhancements...

David Lynch Jr.


Neil Cherry wrote:

>
> Just one note, I'm not the original author, Dan Lanciani is. I just
> made a few changes so that it would compile properly under Linux.
>
> One of the nice features of x10d is that many things can interface
> to the x10d at the same time. MH can be sending commands and other
> programs can monitor and send commands too. There is no way to
> avoid things like MH sending A1AOFF and something else sending
> A1AON or even worse MH sends A1, other sends B1, MH sends AOFF,
> other sends BON. Those kinds of collisions are not easily
> avoidable.
>
    Admitted I was not looking at concurrent use issues with TI103.pm
but I eventually decided that any string sent to it had to convert in
its entirety and be forwarded to the controller - or not forwarded at all.

    I know that there can be a value to sending the pieces of an X10
command separately, there are instances where it enables conserving
powerline bandwidth. But in the end I thing the problems outweigh the
advantages.

    I do things to various machines via telnet all the time.

    Separately one of my areas of expertise is network rpc protocols.
Despite having actually written embedded CORBA orbs, I am a real
proponent of text based telnetable rpc services.

    One of my associates actually prefers udp - in most languages you
can lob a command off via udp in 2 or 3 lines of code.

--
Dave Lynch DLA Systems
Software Development:       Embedded Linux
717.627.3770 [hidden email]      http://www.dlasys.net



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Re: Some ideas for enhancements...

Tim Sailer-2
On Fri, January 20, 2006 19:22, David H. Lynch Jr. said:
>     One of my associates actually prefers udp - in most languages you
> can lob a command off via udp in 2 or 3 lines of code.

Which is perfect pairing for X10 generic stuff, as you won't know if your
packet ever got there, or if your X10 device ever got the command. :)

Tim



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Re: Some ideas for enhancements...

Neil Cherry
In reply to this post by David Lynch Jr.
David H. Lynch Jr. wrote:

>
> Neil Cherry wrote:
>
>> Just one note, I'm not the original author, Dan Lanciani is. I just
>> made a few changes so that it would compile properly under Linux.
>>
>> One of the nice features of x10d is that many things can interface
>> to the x10d at the same time. MH can be sending commands and other
>> programs can monitor and send commands too. There is no way to
>> avoid things like MH sending A1AOFF and something else sending
>> A1AON or even worse MH sends A1, other sends B1, MH sends AOFF,
>> other sends BON. Those kinds of collisions are not easily
>> avoidable.
>>
>     Admitted I was not looking at concurrent use issues with TI103.pm
> but I eventually decided that any string sent to it had to convert in
> its entirety and be forwarded to the controller - or not forwarded at all.
>
>     I know that there can be a value to sending the pieces of an X10
> command separately, there are instances where it enables conserving
> powerline bandwidth. But in the end I thing the problems outweigh the
> advantages.
>
>     I do things to various machines via telnet all the time.

My expertise is in router networks. I started with Cisco 7.0. I'm
now supporting things Like DECNet (hey that's where all those
Cisco commands come from!) telnet (and SSH) is my life. I'm still
trying to recover from WellFleet/Bay Networks/Nortel's idea that
I should be typing in snmp commands (argh, is it an octet or
string?).

Don't get me wrong, GUI and web interfaces have their place but
for the really complex stuff that you need to replicate over
hundreds of sites, telnet & plain text. Also it's great when
you need to test out ideas or find out what happens if you do
it this way (!c 02 ....). Much easier when testing out ideas
or extensions.

--
Linux Home Automation         Neil Cherry       [hidden email]
http://www.linuxha.com/                         Main site
http://linuxha.blogspot.com/                    My HA Blog
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Re: OT Protocols

David H. Lynch Jr.


Neil Cherry wrote:

>
> My expertise is in router networks. I started with Cisco 7.0. I'm
> now supporting things Like DECNet (hey that's where all those
> Cisco commands come from!) telnet (and SSH) is my life. I'm still
> trying to recover from WellFleet/Bay Networks/Nortel's idea that
> I should be typing in snmp commands (argh, is it an octet or
> string?).
>
> Don't get me wrong, GUI and web interfaces have their place but
> for the really complex stuff that you need to replicate over
> hundreds of sites, telnet & plain text. Also it's great when
> you need to test out ideas or find out what happens if you do
> it this way (!c 02 ....). Much easier when testing out ideas
> or extensions.
>
    For one project I worked on (a realtime embedded pseudo SQL server
that did routing, forwarding and querying of tracking data from numerous
radically disparate military datalinks). We actually did some testing.
Plain ASCII telnetable protocols proved to use significantly less
bandwidth than binary formatted protocols - either military ones or rpc
protocols like CORBA and DCOM.  The result was somewhat application
dependent - enormous efficiencies were acheive because frequent and
small floating point values like 1 and 0 were represented as two bytes.
The primary downside was that float to ASCII conversion was
computationally expensive (ASCII-float occured at the client were we did
not care)

    One of my first systems was a HeathKit H-8 programmed in octal from
a 12 key keypad. Heath was heavily DEC influenced - and therefore Octal.

--
Dave Lynch DLA Systems
Software Development:       Embedded Linux
717.627.3770 [hidden email]      http://www.dlasys.net



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Re: OT Protocols

Neil Cherry
David H. Lynch Jr. wrote:
>
> Neil Cherry wrote:
>
>> My expertise is in router networks. I started with Cisco 7.0. I'm

>> Don't get me wrong, GUI and web interfaces have their place but
>> for the really complex stuff that you need to replicate over
>> hundreds of sites, telnet & plain text.

>     One of my first systems was a HeathKit H-8 programmed in octal from
> a 12 key keypad. Heath was heavily DEC influenced - and therefore Octal.

I have an early Cisco ASM, it has o100 serial ports on it. ;-) I
actually have a harder time with octal, my preferences are binary
and hex. Hence the !c 02 40 0166 ... command like structure my
daemons support.

BTW, my first computer was an Atari 800 XL. I've still got it. I
now have more than my fair share of computers including several
Vaxen, a Z80 starter kit, a Rockwell AIM 65, Moto dev boards
(including the original 6808 CoCo) and too many more. They all
work but I'm busy with HA. :-)

One thing I find strange, shouldn't HA be ... well automatic?
Why do we still need GUIs and Voice commands (yeah I know the
answer)? My wife views it the same way. She doesn't want to see
the HA and she doesn't want to talk to the house she just wants
it to work.

--
Linux Home Automation         Neil Cherry       [hidden email]
http://www.linuxha.com/                         Main site
http://linuxha.blogspot.com/                    My HA Blog
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Re: Some ideas for enhancements...

David H. Lynch Jr.
In reply to this post by Tim Sailer-2


Tim Sailer wrote:

>On Fri, January 20, 2006 19:22, David H. Lynch Jr. said:
>  
>
>>    One of my associates actually prefers udp - in most languages you
>>can lob a command off via udp in 2 or 3 lines of code.
>>    
>>
>
>Which is perfect pairing for X10 generic stuff, as you won't know if your
>packet ever got there, or if your X10 device ever got the command. :)
>
>Tim
>
>
>  
>
    Actually UDP is substantially more reliable than X10. The
requirements of the local TCP/IP stack ensure that the UDP datagram was
successfully transmitted - without collisions, etc. The "unreliability"
of UDP is that it is unacknowledged. If you are transmitting across a
reliable medium - Ethernet is pretty solid, while power line isn't.
Further most higher level protocols include their own ackowedgement, in
essence making IP's "reliability" redundant - and actually fairly
expensive both in code and in traffic.

    Reliability is also more a matter of design. I am using cheap X10
appliance modules to drive a radiant  heating system.  But the system is
closed loop  - if after sufficient delay there is no increase in
temperature, the call for heat is repeated. After sufficient failures
the appropriate failure action is taken. If the failure is "permanent"
it does not matter whether the X10 module failed, the circulator failed,
the heat source failed, .... a human still needs to know about and
address the failure. If it is transient, it only matters to the extent
that there might be a pattern developing.

    In extremely low latency applications, IP has unacceptably high
latency. With UDP you can define your own latency  requirements, send a
datagram, await an acknowledgment and preform the appropriate corrective
action if one is not received in the required time. In low latency
applications with IP the failure may have become catastrophic before IP
tells you that it has occurred.

    I am not trying to argue that UDP is inherently superior to IP. Only
that it is much easier to use, and there are lots of applications where
it may be more suitable and depending on the specifics of the
application even more reliable.

--
Dave Lynch DLA Systems
Software Development:       Embedded Linux
717.627.3770 [hidden email]      http://www.dlasys.net



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Re: OT Computers GUI

David H. Lynch Jr.
In reply to this post by Neil Cherry


Neil Cherry wrote:

>
> BTW, my first computer was an Atari 800 XL. I've still got it. I
> now have more than my fair share of computers including several
> Vaxen, a Z80 starter kit, a Rockwell AIM 65, Moto dev boards
> (including the original 6808 CoCo) and too many more. They all
> work but I'm busy with HA. :-)

    I loaned my H8 to a friend and somehow lost it in his divorce.
Actually my first computer was a Cosmac elf that I hand built from the
Popular electronics article.
    I too have my own collection of antique systems. Several S-100
systems. Most every computer Heath/Zenith ever made. A Kim-I, a Lombard
Powerbook (running Linux),

    I am trying to make a living doing software consulting. Mostly
embedded systems - primarily because it pays well and companies will
hire consultants to do Linux board bringup. But I will write any kind of
software to put bread on the table. I have done automated warehouses,
business software, web, and DOD work. My "motto" is "any OS, and
platform, and language".

>
> One thing I find strange, shouldn't HA be ... well automatic?
> Why do we still need GUIs and Voice commands (yeah I know the
> answer)? My wife views it the same way. She doesn't want to see
> the HA and she doesn't want to talk to the house she just wants
> it to work.

    You have problems with HA and your wife too ?

    There is a time and place for GUI's. Misterhouse - and the web in
general are a fairly good demonstration of why of those applications
that do require a GUI very few require a heavy weight GUI.  Most of the
business software I wrote was in a database language that require a
radical rewrite of everything to migrate to the newer windows GUI
version. I never got around to migrating working software just so that
it could take advantage of radio buttons and sliders. Then the web
happened and I found it was much easier to migrate the "obsolete" tty
interfaced software to web applications.






--
Dave Lynch DLA Systems
Software Development:       Embedded Linux
717.627.3770 [hidden email] http://www.dlasys.net:8888



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mh and CM15A / CM11

J D-2
Hey everyone,

I have a CM15A and a recently-acquired CM11 as well.  Does MisterHouse
work with the CM11 "out of the box," and if so, what do I have to do to
make sure MH knows the CM11 is sitting on my serial port?  I know the
CM15A has a few "issues" with MH but I don't know what the feature set
of each is on MH and what the draw backs and benefits are to each.

TIA for your help.

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Re: OT Computers GUI

Neil Cherry
In reply to this post by David H. Lynch Jr.
David H. Lynch Jr. wrote:
>
> Neil Cherry wrote:

>     I am trying to make a living doing software consulting. Mostly
> embedded systems - primarily because it pays well and companies will
> hire consultants to do Linux board bringup. But I will write any kind of
> software to put bread on the table. I have done automated warehouses,
> business software, web, and DOD work. My "motto" is "any OS, and
> platform, and language".

Excellent attitude, I'm basically of the attitude if the company I
work for hands me a broom and tells me to sweep then I sweep. Of
course, if I were a consultant I'd have to stick to the contract.

>> One thing I find strange, shouldn't HA be ... well automatic?
>> Why do we still need GUIs and Voice commands (yeah I know the
>> answer)? My wife views it the same way. She doesn't want to see
>> the HA and she doesn't want to talk to the house she just wants
>> it to work.
>
>     You have problems with HA and your wife too ?

I no longer view her opinion as a problem. I have a tendency to
'put up with things' that she and others won't. I view her opinion
as the final refinement that my work needs. In fact she has begun
asking if we can automate this or automate that. When she found
out about First Alert's Insteon OneLink she told me to go out and
get them, without hesitation. I told her they may be expensive
and would require electrical work. She still wants them and wants
the message sent to her cell phone. I'm trying to hunt them down
right now.

>     There is a time and place for GUI's. Misterhouse - and the web in
> general are a fairly good demonstration of why of those applications
> that do require a GUI very few require a heavy weight GUI.  Most of the
> business software I wrote was in a database language that require a
> radical rewrite of everything to migrate to the newer windows GUI
> version. I never got around to migrating working software just so that
> it could take advantage of radio buttons and sliders. Then the web
> happened and I found it was much easier to migrate the "obsolete" tty
> interfaced software to web applications.

My objections aren't really to GUIs (web or otherwise). My
objections are to the fact that people think we must have the
GUI. I'm working on DWIM (do what I mean) and of course it's
got a ways to go. I'm also working on the user menu for the
Nokia 770. My wife now has a hold of it and loves using it.

--
Linux Home Automation         Neil Cherry       [hidden email]
http://www.linuxha.com/                         Main site
http://linuxha.blogspot.com/                    My HA Blog
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Re: mh and CM15A / CM11

Neil Cherry
In reply to this post by J D-2
J D wrote:
> Hey everyone,
>
> I have a CM15A and a recently-acquired CM11 as well.  Does MisterHouse
> work with the CM11 "out of the box," and if so, what do I have to do to
> make sure MH knows the CM11 is sitting on my serial port?  I know the
> CM15A has a few "issues" with MH but I don't know what the feature set
> of each is on MH and what the draw backs and benefits are to each.

MH works with the CM11A (that's what you've got) and you need to
set the param:

cm11_port=/dev/ttyS0 # or whatever you have.

Put that in your mh.private.ini file. I have idea what OS you are
running. If it's Linux then you need my driver to have MH send
X10 commands to the CM15A.

See :

http://home.comcast.net/~ncherry/common/cm15d/cm15d.html

If your running anything but Linux then someone needs to write a
driver/interface for it. Sorry.

--
Linux Home Automation         Neil Cherry       [hidden email]
http://www.linuxha.com/                         Main site
http://linuxha.blogspot.com/                    My HA Blog
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X10 signal question

J D-2
Hi again,

I'm going to cross-post this here because the X10 forums seem to
largely be useless.

Every house I have tried my X10 gear in has had a problem wherein
getting signals to go across circuit breakers seems to be impossible.
I know that X10 gets choked off by noise filters, but what I don't
understand is this:

1) Why on Earth would you put noise filters between the breakers in a
MAIN BREAKER BOX??
2) I have tried using my gear in three different houses including my
own apartment, and in all of them the X10 gear has failed to work
between circuit breakers.  Am I doing something wrong?  It makes no
sense that three different houses built at completely different times
would all have noise filters between their breakers.

TIA,
Jarett

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Re: X10 signal question

Neil Cherry
J D wrote:
> Hi again,
>
> I'm going to cross-post this here because the X10 forums seem to
> largely be useless.

Just out of curiosity which which forum? Do you have a link?

> Every house I have tried my X10 gear in has had a problem wherein
> getting signals to go across circuit breakers seems to be impossible.

Simple explanation:
You are kind of correct. Getting a signals from 1 phase of the 120
to the other phase of the 120 is impossible unless something is
there to 'bridge' the 2 phases. The 2 phases are not connected
together.

More complicated explanation (but still simplified so you don't
need an EE or Electrician's License):

Normally you use 120 V AC in your appliances with the exception of
things like driers, electric stoves, furnaces, large A/C units and
some hot water heaters. For a small home the Electric Company gives
you a single 120 V AC feed (up to 100 Amps). In my home I have 2
120 V AC feeds. They are not connected to each other, they are
isolated by the transformer out at the street. Each 100 A feed
is what I've been referring to as a phase. See the ASCII drawing
below:
Wires and
transformer      Breaker
on the            Box
Pole
         100 A   +------+           Wall
----)   Feed    | |  | |          Outlet
     )-------------+  | |          +----+
     )           | |  +------------|(||)|
     )----------------+ |          |(||)|
   +-)   100 A   | |  | |          +----+
   |     Feed    +------+
   v Ground             v
                   A  B

If you plug in an X10 device into 2 wall outlets that are on the
same phase then they can talk to each other (skipping things like
X10 black holes). But if you plug in an X10 device in an outlet
on phase A and an X10 controller on phase B they won't be able
to communicate because there isn't a path to each other. To get
a path you need a signal bridge.



> I know that X10 gets choked off by noise filters, but what I don't
> understand is this:

> 1) Why on Earth would you put noise filters between the breakers in a
> MAIN BREAKER BOX??

Usually the breaker box is the best place for a filter. Shortest
distance between the 2 phases.

> 2) I have tried using my gear in three different houses including my
> own apartment, and in all of them the X10 gear has failed to work
> between circuit breakers.  Am I doing something wrong?  It makes no
> sense that three different houses built at completely different times
> would all have noise filters between their breakers.

See explanation above. One thing to note: apartments are more
complicated in that the electrical system coming into it may
be more complicated. Some use 3 phase power. The simplified
description still holds for what we need to explain.

--
Linux Home Automation         Neil Cherry       [hidden email]
http://www.linuxha.com/                         Main site
http://linuxha.blogspot.com/                    My HA Blog
http://home.comcast.net/~ncherry/               Backup site


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RE: X10 signal question

Jim Serack
In reply to this post by J D-2
Jarett,

You should search the misterhouse news archive and you will find lots of
helpful thoughts. I posted these two a while ago to help out some with
similar problems:
---------------------------------------
My opinion on the few questions posted:

Background - X10 works by injecting a nominal 120 KHz signal burst at the 3
phase zero crossing points of a single phase circuit for those 60 Hz cycles
it wants to mark as a digital "1" and nothing on those that are zeros. An
X10 receiver listens at its zero voltage crossing for the 120 KHz burst.

My opinion - when PC's power supplies interfere with the X-10 signal the
overall X-10 signal distribution is probably marginal at best anyhow - so I
would insure that that is fixed first.

My personal principles (written from a NA 117V perspective):

Attempt to create a star signal path for the X-10 signal. In particular the
computer running the main control program should be near the center of the
star. (This might be hard for some homes.)

I locate the X10 PC interface as close as possible to the 117V breaker /
distribution panel. In my case it plugs into the panel plug - located within
3 feet of the panel.

I have an X10 signal phase bridge between the two 117V circuits. I DO NOT
depend on the signal getting reliably coupled by the street transformer from
one phase to another. It may work sometimes - but after a heavy rain there
may be too much attenuation in the path to the street transformer and back.
I use a passive X10 phase coupler located in a dedicated 220V box on a
workbench circuit also within a few feet of the breaker panel.

This creates a star configuration with the X10 computer interface at the
center of the star.

Everyone that I have talked to has had an X-10 phase coupling problem or
very few devices that just happen to be on the same phase. If you live in NA
and don't have some kind of phase coupler solution you probably have a
marginal X10 signal on one phase of your AC distribution. Fix that first.

(Note do not be tempted to put anything within the breaker box - I once saw
an electrical fault (badly stripped cable) happen in an electrical panel
after a storm induced voltage surge and I was very glad there was nothing
combustible in the breaker panel because the arc just burnt out after about
3 minutes of smoke - it was not a large enough arc to trip the breaker.
Since by UL code there is nothing combustible in the breaker panel there was
no resulting fire).

Even though it is inviting I do not plug anything into socket on the X10
computer interface. Just leave it alone to send and receiver signals without
a local load on the signal. Plug your PC into another circuit - even if it
is just a few feet of splitter bar line cord away. (In my case the UPS is
plugged into the same socket, (not the X10 interface but the adjacent
socket), and the PC is into the UPS. The UPS has line noise filtering.

Now lets consider what can happen to that 120KHz signal burst marking a 60
Hz phase: it can be attenuated by some signal trap - like the inductors and
capacitors in the PC power supply, or some other noise filter before it gets
the chance to radiate out the star, or there is so much noise near the 120
KHz band pass filter that it can not be heard, or hear other 120 KHz signals
over the noise.

Now to the questions:

1) How would one determine if a PC power supply is going to interfere?
2) What does a ferrite choke do?

The original post implied that there was a noise source that was interfering
(rather than the signal was marginal and being trapped). So the solution was
to disconnect the offending device at the zero crossing points by the diode
drops.

1) PC power supplies don't seem to spec the noise they generate at their
switching speeds - likely because it is not usually a big RF problem.
Switching supplies operate in the 30 KHz to 300 KHz range (the lower range
being more common in larger devices). I would look for a good quality supply
that notes that it has line noise rejection (the filter would work both ways
- keeps line noise out, and switching noise in). But there is no spec I
commonly see that would help you. I would operate under the assumptions that
only PC power supplies on the limit either through loading or wear out are a
problem for noise generation. (Let's see how many posts that statement
brings - because maybe it is a bigger problem than I think.) - So I would
say most of the solid PC power supplies operating below their peak spec
should not be a problem.

2) How does the RF Ferrite Choke help - the simplest way to describe this is
that low frequency power flows through the conductors in the cable - but
everything that is higher frequency (like the X10 signal, or noise in the
same band) actually propagates through the insulator around the conductors
as an electro-MAGNETIC wave. The Ferrite choke is like a magnetic conductor
that shorts out the electromagnetic wave preventing it from propagating
along the AC power cord.

After re-reading this I wonder if a summary is in order to fix the X-10
propagation problem:

Priority 1: Ensure an X-10 phase coupling solution is in place (even if it
seems to work without one).

Priority 2: Inject and receive the signal to the PC Interface (the most
important X10 receiver/transmitter) as close as possible to the breaker
panel.

Priority 3: Don't connect anything at the same point as the PC interface if
at all possible.

Priority 4: Then look for signal traps (surge and line noise filters) that
might be diminishing the signal.

Priority 5: Then look for signal interference - things that would crate line
noise in the 120 KHz range.

I hope this helps - rather than confuses.

Jim
--------------------------------------------
David,

Since you have eliminated the noise sources and X10 signal traps I think you
have a phase coupling problem, and/or a low signal level or corrupt message
coming from the RF receiver. I have a couple of suggestions.

1) The oven element in the stove when heating - e.g. when the oven is
heating up from cold to say 375 F is an excellent "short" between the two
phases for X10 Signals. So - try the RF commands with the oven turned on. If
it gets much better then you definitely have a phase coupling problem.

2) My experience with the X10 RF items is that the X10 RF receiver module is
really a kind of repeater / AC phase synchronizer - the smarts of what
message gets sent is actually in the RF sending device. If the battery level
is low in the RF sending device you can get incomplete / garabled messages.
You might want to check the battery in that device.

3) If you want to solve the phase coupling problem safely - please DO NOT
ADD anything inside the electrical panel - only items that have a UL/CSA
rating for that purpose should be put in there - just in case. I'm sure that
99.9% of people that do that will come to no harm but it does increase the
risk of an electrical fire within the panel (particularly an arc that will
not self extinguish) since there is only a very large amperage breaker, and
then line fuses upstream from anything in that panel.

4) Happily there is usually another place in your home that the two phases
of the 120V appear if you have a reasonably modern home (>1979 in Canada I
think) - the kitchen should have split plugs (e.g. each outlet on a dual
socket in the kitchen is it's own 15 amp supply - but both must be tripped
off with the same breaker action - which is easiest to accomplish by routing
a 3 wire 2 phase cable to the box and connecting one phase to each outlet).
You should have a "double breaker" like the stove breaker but only 15 amps
if this is the case and if you are lucky it's marked as kitchen outlets. It
is then possible to use a outlet expander plugged into on of those split
plugs to house the capacitor and inductor of a passive phase coupler - it
can also be easily removed if you move. Such as:
http://www.homedepot.ca/escalate/store/DetailPage?pls=hd_canada_gift&bc=hd_c
anada_gift&pc=202505&tab=desc>&clist=0189803237ff:018980323811:13dcb60014049
4 or Canadian Tire Product# 52-1568-0 but make sure it is one that you can
take apart and put back together (some are moulded sealed).

Even better is to modify a surge protector since it will be easier to solder
to inside the box (because you would replace the surge suppressor items with
phase couplers - and if you get lucky it will have the capacitor you need)
http://www.homedepot.ca/escalate/store/DetailPage?pls=hd_canada_gift&bc=hd_c
anada_gift&pc=139367&tab=desc>&clist=0189803237ff:018980323811:13dcb60014049
4
(also sometimes it is easier to take apart a light dimmer to get a suitable
inductor than it is to find a place to buy an inductor shielded for 240
volts)
http://www.homedepot.ca/escalate/store/DetailPage?pls=hd_canada_gift&bc=hd_c
anada_gift&pc=336411&tab=desc>&clist=0189803237ff:018980323811:13dcb60014048
c

I hope you find this note of some use.

Jim
-----Original Message-----
From: [hidden email]
[mailto:[hidden email]] On Behalf Of J D
Sent: January 25, 2006 4:50 AM
To: [hidden email]
Subject: [mh] X10 signal question


Hi again,

I'm going to cross-post this here because the X10 forums seem to largely be
useless.

Every house I have tried my X10 gear in has had a problem wherein getting
signals to go across circuit breakers seems to be impossible.
I know that X10 gets choked off by noise filters, but what I don't
understand is this:

1) Why on Earth would you put noise filters between the breakers in a MAIN
BREAKER BOX??
2) I have tried using my gear in three different houses including my own
apartment, and in all of them the X10 gear has failed to work between
circuit breakers.  Am I doing something wrong?  It makes no sense that three
different houses built at completely different times would all have noise
filters between their breakers.

TIA,
Jarett

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Re: X10 signal question

Tom-75
Nice reply.. Good Wiki material.

>Jarett,
>
>You should search the misterhouse news archive and you will find lots of
>helpful thoughts. I posted these two a while ago to help out some with
>similar problems:
>---------------------------------------
>My opinion on the few questions posted:
>
>Background - X10 works by injecting a nominal 120 KHz signal burst at the 3
>phase zero crossing points of a single phase circuit for those 60 Hz cycles
>it wants to mark as a digital "1" and nothing on those that are zeros. An
>X10 receiver listens at its zero voltage crossing for the 120 KHz burst.
>
>My opinion - when PC's power supplies interfere with the X-10 signal the
>overall X-10 signal distribution is probably marginal at best anyhow - so I
>would insure that that is fixed first.
>
>My personal principles (written from a NA 117V perspective):
>
>Attempt to create a star signal path for the X-10 signal. In particular the
>computer running the main control program should be near the center of the
>star. (This might be hard for some homes.)
>
>I locate the X10 PC interface as close as possible to the 117V breaker /
>distribution panel. In my case it plugs into the panel plug - located within
>3 feet of the panel.
>
>I have an X10 signal phase bridge between the two 117V circuits. I DO NOT
>depend on the signal getting reliably coupled by the street transformer from
>one phase to another. It may work sometimes - but after a heavy rain there
>may be too much attenuation in the path to the street transformer and back.
>I use a passive X10 phase coupler located in a dedicated 220V box on a
>workbench circuit also within a few feet of the breaker panel.
>
>This creates a star configuration with the X10 computer interface at the
>center of the star.
>
>Everyone that I have talked to has had an X-10 phase coupling problem or
>very few devices that just happen to be on the same phase. If you live in NA
>and don't have some kind of phase coupler solution you probably have a
>marginal X10 signal on one phase of your AC distribution. Fix that first.
>
>(Note do not be tempted to put anything within the breaker box - I once saw
>an electrical fault (badly stripped cable) happen in an electrical panel
>after a storm induced voltage surge and I was very glad there was nothing
>combustible in the breaker panel because the arc just burnt out after about
>3 minutes of smoke - it was not a large enough arc to trip the breaker.
>Since by UL code there is nothing combustible in the breaker panel there was
>no resulting fire).
>
>Even though it is inviting I do not plug anything into socket on the X10
>computer interface. Just leave it alone to send and receiver signals without
>a local load on the signal. Plug your PC into another circuit - even if it
>is just a few feet of splitter bar line cord away. (In my case the UPS is
>plugged into the same socket, (not the X10 interface but the adjacent
>socket), and the PC is into the UPS. The UPS has line noise filtering.
>
>Now lets consider what can happen to that 120KHz signal burst marking a 60
>Hz phase: it can be attenuated by some signal trap - like the inductors and
>capacitors in the PC power supply, or some other noise filter before it gets
>the chance to radiate out the star, or there is so much noise near the 120
>KHz band pass filter that it can not be heard, or hear other 120 KHz signals
>over the noise.
>
>Now to the questions:
>
>1) How would one determine if a PC power supply is going to interfere?
>2) What does a ferrite choke do?
>
>The original post implied that there was a noise source that was interfering
>(rather than the signal was marginal and being trapped). So the solution was
>to disconnect the offending device at the zero crossing points by the diode
>drops.
>
>1) PC power supplies don't seem to spec the noise they generate at their
>switching speeds - likely because it is not usually a big RF problem.
>Switching supplies operate in the 30 KHz to 300 KHz range (the lower range
>being more common in larger devices). I would look for a good quality supply
>that notes that it has line noise rejection (the filter would work both ways
>- keeps line noise out, and switching noise in). But there is no spec I
>commonly see that would help you. I would operate under the assumptions that
>only PC power supplies on the limit either through loading or wear out are a
>problem for noise generation. (Let's see how many posts that statement
>brings - because maybe it is a bigger problem than I think.) - So I would
>say most of the solid PC power supplies operating below their peak spec
>should not be a problem.
>
>2) How does the RF Ferrite Choke help - the simplest way to describe this is
>that low frequency power flows through the conductors in the cable - but
>everything that is higher frequency (like the X10 signal, or noise in the
>same band) actually propagates through the insulator around the conductors
>as an electro-MAGNETIC wave. The Ferrite choke is like a magnetic conductor
>that shorts out the electromagnetic wave preventing it from propagating
>along the AC power cord.
>
>After re-reading this I wonder if a summary is in order to fix the X-10
>propagation problem:
>
>Priority 1: Ensure an X-10 phase coupling solution is in place (even if it
>seems to work without one).
>
>Priority 2: Inject and receive the signal to the PC Interface (the most
>important X10 receiver/transmitter) as close as possible to the breaker
>panel.
>
>Priority 3: Don't connect anything at the same point as the PC interface if
>at all possible.
>
>Priority 4: Then look for signal traps (surge and line noise filters) that
>might be diminishing the signal.
>
>Priority 5: Then look for signal interference - things that would crate line
>noise in the 120 KHz range.
>
>I hope this helps - rather than confuses.
>
>Jim
>--------------------------------------------
>David,
>
>Since you have eliminated the noise sources and X10 signal traps I think you
>have a phase coupling problem, and/or a low signal level or corrupt message
>coming from the RF receiver. I have a couple of suggestions.
>
>1) The oven element in the stove when heating - e.g. when the oven is
>heating up from cold to say 375 F is an excellent "short" between the two
>phases for X10 Signals. So - try the RF commands with the oven turned on. If
>it gets much better then you definitely have a phase coupling problem.
>
>2) My experience with the X10 RF items is that the X10 RF receiver module is
>really a kind of repeater / AC phase synchronizer - the smarts of what
>message gets sent is actually in the RF sending device. If the battery level
>is low in the RF sending device you can get incomplete / garabled messages.
>You might want to check the battery in that device.
>
>3) If you want to solve the phase coupling problem safely - please DO NOT
>ADD anything inside the electrical panel - only items that have a UL/CSA
>rating for that purpose should be put in there - just in case. I'm sure that
>99.9% of people that do that will come to no harm but it does increase the
>risk of an electrical fire within the panel (particularly an arc that will
>not self extinguish) since there is only a very large amperage breaker, and
>then line fuses upstream from anything in that panel.
>
>4) Happily there is usually another place in your home that the two phases
>of the 120V appear if you have a reasonably modern home (>1979 in Canada I
>think) - the kitchen should have split plugs (e.g. each outlet on a dual
>socket in the kitchen is it's own 15 amp supply - but both must be tripped
>off with the same breaker action - which is easiest to accomplish by routing
>a 3 wire 2 phase cable to the box and connecting one phase to each outlet).
>You should have a "double breaker" like the stove breaker but only 15 amps
>if this is the case and if you are lucky it's marked as kitchen outlets. It
>is then possible to use a outlet expander plugged into on of those split
>plugs to house the capacitor and inductor of a passive phase coupler - it
>can also be easily removed if you move. Such as:
>http://www.homedepot.ca/escalate/store/DetailPage?pls=hd_canada_gift&bc=hd_c
>anada_gift&pc=202505&tab=desc>&clist=0189803237ff:018980323811:13dcb60014049
>4 or Canadian Tire Product# 52-1568-0 but make sure it is one that you can
>take apart and put back together (some are moulded sealed).
>
>Even better is to modify a surge protector since it will be easier to solder
>to inside the box (because you would replace the surge suppressor items with
>phase couplers - and if you get lucky it will have the capacitor you need)
>http://www.homedepot.ca/escalate/store/DetailPage?pls=hd_canada_gift&bc=hd_c
>anada_gift&pc=139367&tab=desc>&clist=0189803237ff:018980323811:13dcb60014049
>4
>(also sometimes it is easier to take apart a light dimmer to get a suitable
>inductor than it is to find a place to buy an inductor shielded for 240
>volts)
>http://www.homedepot.ca/escalate/store/DetailPage?pls=hd_canada_gift&bc=hd_c
>anada_gift&pc=336411&tab=desc>&clist=0189803237ff:018980323811:13dcb60014048
>c
>
>I hope you find this note of some use.
>
>Jim
>-----Original Message-----
>From: [hidden email]
>[mailto:[hidden email]] On Behalf Of J D
>Sent: January 25, 2006 4:50 AM
>To: [hidden email]
>Subject: [mh] X10 signal question
>
>
>Hi again,
>
>I'm going to cross-post this here because the X10 forums seem to largely be
>useless.
>
>Every house I have tried my X10 gear in has had a problem wherein getting
>signals to go across circuit breakers seems to be impossible.
>I know that X10 gets choked off by noise filters, but what I don't
>understand is this:
>
>1) Why on Earth would you put noise filters between the breakers in a MAIN
>BREAKER BOX??
>2) I have tried using my gear in three different houses including my own
>apartment, and in all of them the X10 gear has failed to work between
>circuit breakers.  Am I doing something wrong?  It makes no sense that three
>different houses built at completely different times would all have noise
>filters between their breakers.
>
>TIA,
>Jarett
>
>__________________________________________________
>Do You Yahoo!?
>Tired of spam?  Yahoo! Mail has the best spam protection around
>http://mail.yahoo.com 
>
>
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>http://sourceforge.net/mail/?group_id=1365
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>
>
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>
>
>  
>




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Re: X10 signal question

Neil Cherry
In reply to this post by Jim Serack
Jim Serack wrote:
> Jarett,
> My opinion on the few questions posted:
>
> Background - X10 works by injecting a nominal 120 KHz signal burst at the 3
> phase zero crossing points of a single phase circuit for those 60 Hz cycles
> it wants to mark as a digital "1" and nothing on those that are zeros. An
> X10 receiver listens at its zero voltage crossing for the 120 KHz burst.

This is becoming less and less the case (the 3 phase burst). Many
vendors have turned this option off as it tends to cause more problems
that it fixes.

> My personal principles (written from a NA 117V perspective):

> (Note do not be tempted to put anything within the breaker box - I once saw
> an electrical fault (badly stripped cable) happen in an electrical panel
> after a storm induced voltage surge and I was very glad there was nothing
> combustible in the breaker panel because the arc just burnt out after about
> 3 minutes of smoke - it was not a large enough arc to trip the breaker.
> Since by UL code there is nothing combustible in the breaker panel there was
> no resulting fire).

Allow me to update my entry, Jim is correct, don't add things other
than wires to the breaker. The proper method is to run new wires to
a new box and add the bridge there. It's supposed to be on it's own
breaker. I'm using the Smarthome SignaLinc that plugs into a 220V
dryer outlet. It works very well.

> Now lets consider what can happen to that 120KHz signal burst marking a 60
> Hz phase: it can be attenuated by some signal trap - like the inductors and
> capacitors in the PC power supply, or some other noise filter before it gets
> the chance to radiate out the star, or there is so much noise near the 120
> KHz band pass filter that it can not be heard, or hear other 120 KHz signals
> over the noise.

Attenuated means loses signal strength (that's for the OP not Jim :-).

> Priority 1: Ensure an X-10 phase coupling solution is in place (even if it
> seems to work without one).
>
> Priority 2: Inject and receive the signal to the PC Interface (the most
> important X10 receiver/transmitter) as close as possible to the breaker
> panel.
>
> Priority 3: Don't connect anything at the same point as the PC interface if
> at all possible.
>
> Priority 4: Then look for signal traps (surge and line noise filters) that
> might be diminishing the signal.
>
> Priority 5: Then look for signal interference - things that would crate line
> noise in the 120 KHz range.
>

Not necessarily part of the above but ...

Priority 6: Don't leave the CM11A dangling unconnected to the PC's
serial port. Strange things happen.

> --------------------------------------------
> David,

???

> 3) If you want to solve the phase coupling problem safely - please DO NOT
> ADD anything inside the electrical panel - only items that have a UL/CSA
> rating for that purpose should be put in there - just in case.

Hey it bears repeating, right? I've seen too many cap's explode. Metal
flies all over, definite fire hazard.

> Even better is to modify a surge protector since it will be easier to solder
> to inside the box (because you would replace the surge suppressor items with
> phase couplers - and if you get lucky it will have the capacitor you need)
> http://www.homedepot.ca/escalate/store/DetailPage?pls=hd_canada_gift&bc=hd_c
> anada_gift&pc=139367&tab=desc>&clist=0189803237ff:018980323811:13dcb60014049

??? There are 230V surge suppressors (Canada/US)?

--
Linux Home Automation         Neil Cherry       [hidden email]
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Wiki X10 signal question

Jim Serack
In reply to this post by Tom-75
Tom,

I guess I could author a section - How do I get myself set up as a wiki
author?

Jim



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Re: Wiki X10 signal question

Tom-75
go to

http://misterhouse.wikispaces.com/ and sign up and then if you try to edit, there will be an option to request permission to edit pages.


>Tom,
>
>I guess I could author a section - How do I get myself set up as a wiki
>author?
>
>Jim
>
>
>
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>
>
>
>  
>




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Re: X10 signal question

J D-2
In reply to this post by Neil Cherry
Aha!

"To get a path you need a signal bridge."

So.  Where do I get one of those?  :)

As for the forums, I was referring to the X10 official ones, found here
(newly revamped, but still terrible):
http://www.x10.com/news/msgb/index.cgi?board=automation&action=read&postid=000003&topid=6653&numof=

Interesting.  This guy says a wireless repeater will help.  I don't see
how, since I am trying to make it so that my CM-15A or CM-11 can
control devices (and receive signals from, e.g., an ActiveEye)
throughout my house.  Both of these send powerline signals, not
wireless.

--- Neil Cherry <[hidden email]> wrote:

> J D wrote:
> > Hi again,
> >
> > I'm going to cross-post this here because the X10 forums seem to
> > largely be useless.
>
> Just out of curiosity which which forum? Do you have a link?
>
> > Every house I have tried my X10 gear in has had a problem wherein
> > getting signals to go across circuit breakers seems to be
> impossible.
>
> Simple explanation:
> You are kind of correct. Getting a signals from 1 phase of the 120
> to the other phase of the 120 is impossible unless something is
> there to 'bridge' the 2 phases. The 2 phases are not connected
> together.
>
> More complicated explanation (but still simplified so you don't
> need an EE or Electrician's License):
>
> Normally you use 120 V AC in your appliances with the exception of
> things like driers, electric stoves, furnaces, large A/C units and
> some hot water heaters. For a small home the Electric Company gives
> you a single 120 V AC feed (up to 100 Amps). In my home I have 2
> 120 V AC feeds. They are not connected to each other, they are
> isolated by the transformer out at the street. Each 100 A feed
> is what I've been referring to as a phase. See the ASCII drawing
> below:
> Wires and
> transformer      Breaker
> on the            Box
> Pole
>          100 A   +------+           Wall
> ----)   Feed    | |  | |          Outlet
>      )-------------+  | |          +----+
>      )           | |  +------------|(||)|
>      )----------------+ |          |(||)|
>    +-)   100 A   | |  | |          +----+
>    |     Feed    +------+
>    v Ground             v
>                    A  B
>
> If you plug in an X10 device into 2 wall outlets that are on the
> same phase then they can talk to each other (skipping things like
> X10 black holes). But if you plug in an X10 device in an outlet
> on phase A and an X10 controller on phase B they won't be able
> to communicate because there isn't a path to each other. To get
> a path you need a signal bridge.
>
>
>
> > I know that X10 gets choked off by noise filters, but what I don't
> > understand is this:
>
> > 1) Why on Earth would you put noise filters between the breakers in
> a
> > MAIN BREAKER BOX??
>
> Usually the breaker box is the best place for a filter. Shortest
> distance between the 2 phases.
>
> > 2) I have tried using my gear in three different houses including
> my
> > own apartment, and in all of them the X10 gear has failed to work
> > between circuit breakers.  Am I doing something wrong?  It makes no
> > sense that three different houses built at completely different
> times
> > would all have noise filters between their breakers.
>
> See explanation above. One thing to note: apartments are more
> complicated in that the electrical system coming into it may
> be more complicated. Some use 3 phase power. The simplified
> description still holds for what we need to explain.
>
> --
> Linux Home Automation         Neil Cherry       [hidden email]
> http://www.linuxha.com/                         Main site
> http://linuxha.blogspot.com/                    My HA Blog
> http://home.comcast.net/~ncherry/               Backup site
>
>
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