RadioShack Programmable Control Center and Timer.

My landlord is having a problem with this thing. You're supposed to replace all your outlets and wall switches with control modules, then you can operate any electrical equipment in your house remotely or on a schedule. The manual is sketchy, but it looks like the control center sends a 2.4 ghz signal through the house wires that operate the control modules. It works somewhat, but it screws some things up. Like it will manually dim a light, until it goes all the way off, but then it won't come back on again.
We have an ISP across the street that broadcasts a wireless internet signal at 2.4 ghz. Could that be causing problems?
The model number of this device is 61-2470. Thanks.
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You also have cordless phones to contend with. Then again, it may just be Radio Shack quality.

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Could be. You can switch the modules to a different code, A, B, C, etc. Give that a try. Ed snipped-for-privacy@snet.net http://pages.cthome.net/edhome
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wrote:

It's not. It sends 125Khz pulses just past the zero crossing of the AC waveform.
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The signal it sends isn't 2.4 GHz (or even close!) The WISP would not be causing the problem. I have a similar system in my home and it was problematic when my electric truck was charging. A power line filter on the truck power control unit solved the problem.
Find the source of the problem (something plugged into the power line) by unplugging things one at a time. Then install the appropriate filter on the offending device. Here are some filters: http://www.smarthome.com/x10troubleshoot.html
Don W.
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On Wed, 02 Jul 2003 11:50:14 -0500, "R. Gregg Reed"

thats an X10 device. X10 is notorious for requiring very clean power lines for it to work properly. That just about means plug-in filters for anything electronic in your house. Well, maybe not that bad, but I have filters on all my computers and monitors, TV, audio amp, subwoofer, even the stove with its microprocessor. Operation was really erratic until I did all this...
I guess even before you do the filtering is to check that the transmitter is on the same powerline phase as the receiver. the X10 signal wont hop phases. You may get it to work sometimes but operation will be very erratic. If they're on different phases, you may need to buy a phase coupler. www.smarthome.com is a good place for all this stuff.
Radio Shack kind of lures people into buying this stuff but never mentions that it takes a lot more time and effort to clean your power line to make it operate reliably. For simple systems it may work fine, but usually it doesnt unless you spend a lot more.
BTW, x10 works on a 120kHz carrier, not 2.4GHz, if your interested here's a link explaining it: http://www.x10.com/support/technology1.htm
This website is also a good site to buy modules and other X10 devices but watch out for their email spam.
dickm
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I have spent a lot of time in commercial buildings and residences troubleshooting this technology. Some people refer to it as X10 because BSR was one of the first companies 20 or so years ago that developed it and marketed it under the X10 name.
Now there are several manufacturers of these products including Leviton (Decora Home Controls) and Advanced Control Technologies (A10). Radio Shack also has their own version. Much of the technology is interchangeable.
After all that I have experienced, I am reluctant to recommend the use of this equipment except as a last resort. I have seen modules work on one day and the next day don't work, but the day after that work again. My conclusion is that the equipment never works 100% of the time. 99% under the best circumstances is what you should expect. I have had other electrical contractors consult with me after they have installed this technology in a building or residence because they were getting tired of all the callbacks.
Electrical interference can be a big problem. Motors, computers, and everything else connected to your power system can inhibit that signal traveling across your existing circuits. Another problem that arises from time to time is neighbors controlling each others lights from their home.
One contractor I know was really pushing the use of this technology and made several sales and installations in the same neighborhoods. He particularly would use the modules for outdoor lighting. Neighbors would talk to each other and then call up this contractor to install the same set-up in their home. I had cautioned this guy about the use of this technology based on my experiences, but he figured that since the customers were asking for it, he would give it to them. After several installations on the same street he kept receiving callbacks. The customers were complaining that their lights were going on and off at all different times of day and night. The contractor did not pay much attention to the choice of address codes for each residence when he did each installation. The neighbors all had the same codes and were able to turn each others lights on and off. This is especially true when each neighbor's power is from the same utility company transformer. This contractor had to go back to each customer's house and change the codes so that each house was different. It cost him a lot of time and manpower to do this. Now he tells me that he cautions his customers about the downside of this type of installation and only recommends it when it is more cost effective.
The manufacturers produce amplifiers, couplers, controllers, signal strength meters and other components to get a good signal and measure it at each module location. Troubleshooting is a very time consuming process. You are not working with wires that have become loose or broken although a loose connection can affect performance also. You are fixing something that you cannot see or feel. If you don't have the equipment to test the signal it is difficult to see what the actual problem may be.
I couldn't say with certainty that the internet service provider across from your location was causing a problem, but I would consider it a possibility. Try contacting the manufacturer of your components for technical support.
I expect that this technology will be around for a long time as it is an easy way to modernize an old house into a "Smart House". I also expect that the manufacturers will continue to improve the functionality and reliability of their systems. My recommendation for anyone considering this type of installation is to plan carefully. Don't go around and replace every switch and receptacle, but only the ones that you really want to be controlled from a central or remote location or by computer. Also take into consideration that it is not just a matter of replacing a switch or receptacle. You should also install a coupling device across your phases in the electrical panel. A big house or building should have an amplifier and a repeater. Ideally the circuits used for these components should not have any other equipment connected to them, but that would be difficult to achieve in a retrofit installation.
I hope this information helps.
Good luck,
John Grabowski http://www.mrelectrician.tv

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John,
Based on my experence with X-10, you are providing very good advise. I use X-10 for non-critical applications such as turning on china cabinet lights for six hours at sundown, or nightlights, etc.
I have found that surge suppressors are the biggest problem in blocking X-10 signals.
Henry

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Do you have a signal bridge between the two hot sides of the line? Putting an X10 device on one 117v phase, with the transmitter on the other, will definitely make operation unreliable unless you bridge them properly.
"R. Gregg Reed" wrote:

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