Motion Sensor Light for Front Entrance

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The use of the term "controller" above means the the switch will respond to commands on the AC line from any "controller" that issues a command. In your case that command comes from the wireless motion sensor you will be using. The transceiver receives the command wirelessly and puts it onto the AC line. So, it's passing it along and I guess you could consider the transceiver as a type of controller.
Basicly, the transceiver unit just passes along what it receives. But it also has an X10 outlet that responds to commands as any other one would. The only difference is that it is hard-wired as Unit #1. In your application you don't need the outlet so you could ignore it.
So, you just set the motion sensor, transceiver and wall switch to the same house code. Then you set the motion sensor to any unit # and the wall switch to the same unit #. If you select unit #1, the outlet on the transceiver will go on and off at the same time as the wall switch. If you select any other unit #, only the wall switch will be activated.
You can also set the light on time, dusk to dawn, etc on the motion sensor as well.

I don;t know of any way to make it work as a parallel type arrangement. The only way I can see it working would be to convert it to 2 of the X10 motion sensors, make the light so it's always on ie disable the motion sensor on it, replace the switch with an X10 switch and use the transceiver.
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On Sep 10, 12:52 pm, snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

Thanks!
I must be learning something becasue that's exactly what I thought your answers would be.
I'll put my order together and get busy.
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I received my X10 order yesterday and started playing around with the devices. Pretty cool!
In a matter of minutes I was turning on lights in my living room by walking across the back yard. Drove SWMBO nuts!
I'll be installing the switches and other items for my entry and driveway lights this weekend.
I love new toys!
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Good to hear it's working for you. The only problem I have seen is the outdoor motion sensor needed new batteries once and then failed at about 2 years. You could see that moisture rusted the battery connections. But, given that they only cost $10 or so, still OK by me. Also, only have experience with the one, other ones may last longer. I used double sided velcro tape to mount it so it's easy to remove to change batteries, etc.
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On Sep 16, 12:02 pm, snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

Yeah, the one thing I noticed about the motion sensors is the little rubber plug over the delay setting screw.
If this were to disappear or lose its flexibilty and no longer seal the opening, I can imagine the device failing soon after. *Maybe* they've accounted for that but I doubt it, especially at < $10.
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[snip]
CFL don't pass that trickle

X10 RECEPTICLE modules don't have the current sense "feature" but for some strange reason still have the trickle current. A CFL won't be completely off unless you have some other load connected too.
[snip]
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wrote:

Some new points:
I just checked an X10 appliance module that plugs into the wall and has a mechanical relay. Using a high impedance voltmeter, it showed 110V with the module off. So, Mark is correct, they do pass some current even when off. However, the AC circuit voltage measured at the outlet is 120, so even the high impedance meter is enough to substantially decrease the voltage, meaning whatever current there is when it's off, it's very small.
That X10 module is hooked up to a 100W CFL and with the module off, the CFL does not show any light in a completely dark room. Its totally out.
I have another X10 wall switch that is the type that will work with any load, not just resistive. It's been connected for a couple years now to small CFLs that are at the front door. They are the candle type, there are 4 of them and are maybe 25W light output each, meaning it wouldn't take much to light them up. They too are totally out at night.
Prior to using that X10 switch with neutral, I had used a regular X10 switch. With that, I did experience the phenomenon where the CFLs lit at a very low levels from the pass through current. I replaced it with the X10 switch for any load and as described above, it works perfectly.
From all that, I concluded that with the mechanical relay type X10s there would be no current flowing with it off. Having tested the plug-in one, it's clear that as Mark pointed out, there is still some current flowing. But, from a practical standpoint it doesn't appear to matter as both of these applications using CFLs work perfectly.
The mystery remains as to why any current is still being passed in the modules that use a neutral. I can't conceive of why they would design it that way. With the modules that don't have a neutral, it makes sense. They power the X10 electronics off the current in the circuit, making it unnecessary to have a neutral, which in turn makes it installable anywhere whether you have a neutral or not.
The key point is that for the application Derby is looking at, if he want to use CFL, he needs to get the wall switch that will work any load, which is the one that also has a neutral. I have exactly what he is trying to do working here. But the whole thing is largely a moot point, because I don't think CFLs for an outside motion light is appropriate anyway.

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But not another CFL load! I just tried running two CFLs from a splitter plugged into an appliance module and "bang-bang" both turn themselves back on, in serial order. The load has to be something that absorbs the trickle current completely, and that's usually a tungsten lamp, although it can be a non-PS power supply or other type of device.
While there are many "mods" listed for turning off local current sense, I've found that they don't eliminate the flow of trickle current into a CFL and thus, they still flash but at least they won't spontaneously relight. It's such a bummer that X-10 should really come out with a CFL-friendly control module. I am surprised they haven't, given the potential scope of the problem with the phase out of tungsten bulbs. Hmmm. Years of Usenet have taught me to Google before bashing.
OK - just checked with X-10's live support. They are still pushing AM466 modules which flash and relight like crazy! The actually called me on the phone (sales, not techie) sent me three useless links, said it was "noise on the line" (tell that to three different X-10 meters I own that say "no noise") and were pleasant, friendly and yet totally unhelpful in solving the flashing problem. Google seemed to intimate there was a new, CFL-friendly module, but it had actually done the annoying trick of turning my search words into a mis-labeling of a link to the plain old flash-like-a-turn-signal AM466 appliance mod.
-- Bobby G.
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[snip]

Right. The setup in my bedroom is a lamp with 100W CFL and a TV (I got a small Visio LCD TV that is not "power amnesiac" (comes on with power)) connected to a receptacle module (SR227) which does not have "local control" and the TV provides enough load.
[snip[

I seldom find "customer service" to be helpful, but at least you got someone you could talk to. I just had a really bad experience with a wireless (CDMA) broadband carrier, where the person ignored 90% of what I said.

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The Green Police are making those non-amnesiac devices harder to find. My RCA TV is one, and when you turn it back on with the IR after shutting it down via X-10 it covers the lower half of the screen with a whiny warning about the clock losing its settings. Hey, you're a TV, not a clock!!!! STFU. (-:

"Flashing" is also dependent on the type of lamp. I have some GE's that don't flash but that are X-10 signal suckers and some N:Vision (HD brand) bulbs that flash like demented fireflies. X-10 needs to make a CFL friendly control module.

I've found if you're even moderately knowledgeable about a product it takes two escalations to get someone who's not reading from an IF THEN ELSE chart and who can actually troubleshoot. X-10's tech support came in as "Unknown name/Unknown number" on caller ID, FWIW. Once I heard her speaking I knew I was not going to get a good answer. I hope I don't regret giving them my phone number.
-- Bobby G.
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And I have two settups using X10 with CFL and both work perfectly. One uses the plug-in appliance module with a 100W CFL in a desktop light. The other is the X10 wall switch that powers 4 small candle type CFLs, maybe 25W each at the front door. Both go totally out when off.
I guess it could depend on the design of the CFLs.
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On 9/9/2010 12:43 AM, Robert Green wrote:

I have a whole load of the Universal Modules, which I used in a previous life, for Halloween animation. I modified the UM to remove the screw terminals and I then added a 1 foot pigtail with a female receptacle. Actually, it was cut off from an extension cord, so there were 3 outlets. The wire went into the place where the screws were, formerly. I've read that the contacts are rated for line voltage, but because of the exposed screw terminals, the unit was only rated for low voltage. Anyway, as this is just a plain make contact in series with the load, it works good on the CFLs that where blinking with the module off. I am now presently using this on in my living room. One sort-of problem, these modules click REAL LOUD.
The 2nd possibility is regular lamp/appliance module modification. I have seen modifications that make a lamp module into a click-free appliance module. One uses a solid state relay. The other uses some other parts. These modification eliminate the sense current completely. Google click free or quiet module modifications.
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I have a bunch of UM's, and they do indeed clack, but I am too much of a pussy to pass 110VAC through a contact spec'ed for 33VAC. You're proving that it can be done. I'm saying "Hey, X-10, why are you forcing people like Art to do your design engineering for you?"

The SSR mode looked interesting, but I am reluctant to do much more than snip a wire or cut a surface trace. X-10's final solution was to use a 7W nightlight to counteract the flashback of a bulb I am using to saving electricity. Add in the 4 watts for the X-10 module and another 4 watts for the controller and the economics start to sour. A fully equipped X-10 house draws considerable standby current. I remember measuring mine at close to 400 watts. In a lot of places, the flashing hardly matters and it's actually the most efficient low leveling night lighting you can get (if you're not epileptic). I''ve tried a lot of the mods, and while they do eliminate the local control, they don't stop the current trickle!!!!!
The twin bulb 40W fixture in the workshop finally failed so I replaced it with a new, high eff. unit. Now it flashes with the same intensity as nearby lightning does. Surprisingly, you can navigate quite easily if you move slowly. More than enough light to see a black cat sleeping on a dark rug. Seeing a white dog is no problem. Low SAF and neighbor approval factor, though. Went back to a manual switch (shudder) for the time being.
-- Bobby G.
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On 9/9/2010 7:30 PM, Robert Green wrote:

... worse than the generic appliance module. I'm not sure where I found it, but, someone reported that the relay contacts were actually rated at line voltage. The exposed screw terminal are what actually made them put a spec of 33VAC on the module. As you said, I'm proof that it works but I don't have any hard documentation showing the contact rating.
Also, when you said your house had an X10 standby load of 400 watts, I can't see how. I am assuming you mean from modules and such. Today I connected 8 generic lamp modules to a Kill-A-Watt unit. The 8th module made the display go from 1 watt to 2 watts.
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Nope. I screwed up. I was comparing the appliance and lamp modules and thought I had an appliance module (which can handle 15A) in my test box when in fact, it was a lamp module which is limited to 300W. Interestingly, there's different wattage rating for incandescent and resistive loads on appliance modules due to the inrush current of incandescent lamps compared to the load presented by a space heater.
Fortunately, every "X-10 Super Deal" I have ever bought into came with free lamp modules, so it wasn't an expensive mistake, just an impressive one. The plastic melted around the internal components and smoked quite a bit, but did not catch fire. I was surprised that the module didn't have a fuse in it and melted down, but at the price they charge for lamp modules, a fuse would probably be overkill.
I recall at the time there was a lot of discussion in Comp.Home.Automation about how dimming modules had to be "derated" if run in the same wall box and I was curious to see just how much heat the modules generated. I can see why X-10 (and probably the NEC) doesn't want dimming switches controlling switched wall outlets. Too easy to do what I did by accident with a vacuum cleaner or some other high wattage load.
-- Bobby G.

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Yes and no. It doesn't indicate fractional watts so you need to use the kWh mode and measure over a long time frame. I measured several X10 modules this way for ~100 hour periods. See...
http://davehouston.org/x10-power.htm
NOTE: The readings were under no load conditions but I doubt that the trickle current will be that significant.

In-line amperage measurements are worse than useless with non-linear loads like these. The Kill-A-Watt takes thousands of instantaneous readings of both voltage and curreny each second and then averages them to get a very accurate reading. The kWh mode has 30ppm accuracy.

I've neen dealing with major health issues (and have additional surgery scheduled). As for my measurements, I did exactly the opposite, refuting numerous people who were claiming X10 modules used 5-10W based on ammeter readings.

Don't waste your time - this method is, as noted above, worse than useless - worse because it is extremely misleading.
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Yes, senility strikes again. But I demand half credit - I remembered that it happened and that you were involved and believe me, like the Langoliers, things out beyond a certain distance are getting all dark and hazy and a little bit scary.
I did recall the most important result of your research to me, at least concerning the Kill-a-Watt. For low end reading to be accurate, low power loads needed to be measured over time and there was a reason that you couldn't just take the Kill-a-Watt's low current, instant readings as gospel. Thanks for correcting my "holey" memory. One hole filled means something else just leaked out, though.
The amount of trickle current - do you think it varies in some way with the nature of the load connected to it? Does the current that causes CFL's to flash also heat a tungsten filament slightly or does the differing nature of the load affect how much current is passing?
I get some pretty serious flashing of two hi-eff 34W fluorescent tubes in the workshop - enough to see by if you move very slowly (-; It would be easy enough to first to compare an appliance module's power consumption without such a load and then with. In about 200 hours or about 8 days from now. (-:
So, 100 hours reading an appliance module, no load v. 100 hours reading appliance module with the two bulb shoplite that flashes more brightly than any other fluorescent in the house. I can even supplement those with readings of an appliance module with a small CFL and another with a 100W tungsten bulb. I also want to see what it costs to run a 7W nitelight with a CFL load since it's now X-10's tech support recommendation to cure the flashing problem. No wires monsters, no lights in boxes - it should get safety approval.

The issue I ran into was the limit imposed on the plug in outlet on Jeff's XTB. It's got a wattage limit for plug in devices, I believe it's either 10 or 15W, but I could be wrong. I measured the devices with a Kill-a-Watt (2 Maxi's, 1 ControlLinc Maxi, 1 Mini controller and a Mini Timer that uses a wall wart transformer and not the standard X-10 type power supply). The Kill-a-Watt gave me a very low number that was below the limit imposed by the XTB, and so I plugged them all into one unit and it worked. I did not measure it using the accumulation kWh mode because waiting around for 100 hours to get a reading is not very practical, but alas, seems necessary when dealing with low wattage items using the Kill-a-Watt. FWIW, the ControlincMaxi's nameplate lists 100mA, the X-10 lamp and appliances modules list no wattage information, and the X-10 Mini lists 2 watts.
The XTB operated quite well with 5 units plugged into the amplification outlet UNTIL I removed the Mini-timer with the wall wart. Then, it fried. When it happened, I got into a discussion with Jeff Volp who immediately went over my admittedly low altitude head with discussions of mixed reactive and inductive loads on both his circuit and the metering methods I was using to make sure I was within the wattage range specified on the XTB label. It was, as they say in the Army, above my pay grade.

Welcome back! Been a while since we last heard form you. Sorry that you're still having health issues. I hope all goes well with your medical procedure.

<Sigh> It seems I lost the decimal place in the fog of senility. Yourfigures were .4 and .5 and not 4 and 5. I hopefully still have my notes around, but I distinctly recall a metric you used was that they were much cooler to the touch than a 7W nightlight, giving a "rough" reading that said common sense dictated it had to be below 7W. That's when I decided that under careful enough controls, the relative amount of heat output between a module and a 7W night lite could be used to verify readings with meters, that for whatever reason, gave erroneous readings at the low end as when used in a typical way. (Like me!)
IIRC, and it's clear I don't "Recall Correctly" anymore, they did make the heat in a closed, insulated box rise respectfully. They were clearly drawing power that could be measured as heat output. I recall they differed from your readings, but I also recall the experiment being shut down by the resident safety engineer, Ms. Swmbo. The idea of enclosing electronic gear (especially lamps) in wooden boxes lined with Styrofoam did not pass muster, even though it was "unlikely but not impossible" to start a fire. I might e ven have the readings saved in a draft message.
I believe the modules I was running were running under load because I wanted to know the effect and size of the trickle current flow. That was when CFL's had just gone mainstream and I first noticed the flashing problem. I began delving deeper into how to measure the trickle current flow, but someone, I think it might have been Dan L. advised against it, charitably citing safety concerns but more likely having to do with the primitive equipment and skills I possess. (-:

Certainly when using X-10 modules and their linear power supplies. Am I right to assume an in-line ammeter would be much more accurate with inductive and purely resistive type loads? I would assume by the short time between the posts that Art took an instantaneous measure, and not an averaged one. But I'm Often Wrong, so only he say for sure.
At least all this is what I recall when I insisted to an incredulous Jeff that the XTB had been running with no incident with all five X-10 items listed above plugged in via power strip. I am sure he'll be around to correct me shortly as well. As I said, this is really outside my bubble. The XTB problem occurred AFTER I REMOVED the sole inductive load (a wall-wart powered Mini-timer) from the powerstrip with the other four components. It seems quite counterintuitive that reducing the overall load caused the XTB to burn up, but apparently the combination of inductive and linear loads on the XTB was preventing the load from burning up the XTBs input circuitry. I won't paraphrase Jeff's explanation and embarrass myself further. Maybe he can reiterate for us.
I should note that Jeff both offered to repair the unit free and changed the labels and instructions to accommodate the unusual results I discovered by flagrantly disregarding the label warning. Now, in addition to the wattage limit, he indicates that no more than two X-10 devices be plugged into the XTB's amplification outlet. I think a lot of non-engineers and techies have real problems understanding the intricacies of the different types of devices as well as other concepts, like the PF (power factor), phase angles and so on. I know I do!
If reactive and inductive loads can interact as they apparently did with the XTB, is it possible that measuring multiple modules and dividing that outcome as both you and Art did is not actually equivalent to reading a single unit? I assume you did that because reading single units that draw under a watt is problematical for the KaW, even in the kWh "accumulation" mode.
Good to here from you again, Dave, even if you're still correcting the living hell out of me and shaming my Mad Cow brain - that has to be it - Mad Cow. Anyway, that's how we learn, even if the ego gets a little burned around the edges.
And again, here's to a good surgical outcome.
P.S. to Art. Glad you asked this question, nothing at all's changed but I feel alot better that X-10's not eating 400 watts just "being there." I feel a lot worse though, about where all those extra watts are going. A while back someone suggested that the older the house wiring, the more likely substantial amount of juice are going up in heat in the wires. That would not be good. )-:
-- Bobby G.
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Rather than further spaghetti-ize things by trying to respond inline to your inline comments, I'll just p*ss off all the anti-top-posters and try to respond to your major points here.
Inline ammeters only work for purely resistive loads where voltage and current always remain in phase with each other. With reactive loads (inductive or capacitive), voltage and current are 90° out of phase, requiring multiple, simultaneous measurements. Power=Voltage*Current so averaging each doesn't work. You have to average the products of the many readings.
Non-linear loads are usually those related to power suplies with diodes that tend to draw current only at certain points in the voltage sine wave. These also require multiple, simultaneous measurements.
I'll leave it to Jeff Volt to explain why you had the problem with the XTB.
CFLs have non-linear power supplies which cause (small) surges, triggering the X10 flashes.
You really don't need the closed box. Just put your hand on the 7W nightlight. It should be hot enough to be quite uncomfortable. IIRC, I used 3W which was still uncomfortable. X10 modules (with no load) have to dissipate the heat associated with the idle load they represent. They never get too warm to touch (unless defective) so this is a quick and dirty sanity check whenever someone suggests they waste significant power.

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Most inexpensive X10 devices have transformerless power supplies, which use a capacitor to drop the line voltage to the low level needed by their electronic circuitry. The charging current is reactive, which is not in-phase with the applied voltage. The Kill-a-Watt has two ways to measure power consumption - watts and VA.
Watts is the "real" power that you pay the electric company for. VA (volt amperes) is the average of the real-time multiplication of voltage and current over the entire AC cycle. Purely reactive loads will draw current charging up at one point in the AC cycle, and dump that energy back to the poweline elsewhere in the cycle, resulting in no "net" power consumption. However significant current can be drawn during the charge and discharge.
The amount that VA differs from watts is a function of the power factor of the device. When the power factor is 1.0, the VA and watts will be essentially the same. At lower power factors, the numbers can differ by large amount. For a Maxi Controller, the Kill-a-Watt reads 1.0 and 10 for watts and VA respectively. Even though the Maxi Controller label says it only consumes 2.5W, the low pass filter in the XTB must deliver the same current as if a 10W load was plugged in.
You can think about this in another way. If you stick a big capacitor - say 2.2uF - into an AC socket, it will pull about the same current as a 1200 ohm resistor. If that were "real" power (watts), the capacitor would dissipate about 12 watts. However, the capacitor won't even warm up because the current is "imaginary" (90 degrees out of phase with the applied voltage). I just verified this with my own Kill-a-Watt. It measured 0 for watts, and 11 for VA with a 2.2uF capacitor.
The power supply in a X10 transmitter functions a lot like that capacitor. The only "real power" that the Kill-a-Watt measures is that actually consumed by the module electronics.
It the case cited earlier wherein the XTB low pass filter was overloading by removing one of the 5 loads, that one load had a power transformer. So, its "imaginary" inductive current was opposite that of the other X10 transmitters, partially canceling out their effect. When that load was removed, the current pulled by the 4 remaining capacitive loads (about 40VA) exceeded the rating on the XTB low-pass filter inductors. This is similar to the issue that the power company deals with by placing capacitors in their distribution network to balance out the inductive reactance from the various motor loads.
I realize that this may be a difficult concept for some. Hopefully, the capacitor example above will help you understand the issue.
Jeff
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Which is why the power companies charge industrial and other customers, with large reactive loads, a premium. They have to supply (and have the infrastructure for) the higher current even though it does no work.
It is also why CFLs may not bring about as big a reduction in power usage as claimed by those who foisted them on us. Instead of merely banning (effectively) incandescents, they should also have mandated that CFLs have a high power factor or, at least, require the manufacturers to put the PF on the package.
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