Specifically an X-10 coupler/repeater that's mounted next to the circuit
panel in an ABS enclosure and connected to both phases via a tandem breaker.
Will my AHJ freak out because it's not UL listed?
Who said I had a permit? (-: We don't need no stinkin' permits.
This is concerning possibly changing the current setup. I had extensive
discussions about the potential hazards of using a non-listed device with
its creator who assured me that the enclosure he selected would contain any
mayhem. To avoid inspection hassles, I ended up wiring the device through a
240VAC outlet that I installed (that did pass inspection after I corrected a
nicked wire around a screw terminal). The inspector never questioned the
repeater/coupler because he never saw it.
Now I am considering hard-wiring the unit to the panel and would like to
find out if the AHJ will freak out because the device is not UL listed and
what the issues are relating to non-listed equipment. It's much harder to
hide once it's permanently connected. One of the problems other X-10 users
have run into is that some inspectors have absolutely no idea what X-10 is
nor do they want to know.
On Wed, 26 Feb 2014 18:11:06 -0500, "Robert Green"
If you don't have an open permit, how is the AHJ going to know you
have this thing and if you do get a permit later, this will be
"existing" and if it is not in the scope of the new permit, they still
will not say anything most of the time..
The NSA will tell them. Or Yahoo will hijack my webcam and show them.
It would be my luck that they took pictures or good notes. I know, arf arf.
Thanks, I'm not as worried as I was.
Here's a different question. A long time ago when I had central air
installed, they added a breaker to my breaker box and ran wiring to the
outside to a disconnect and then to the A/C but no one ever came to inspect
their work. Do A/C installers get a "pass" for things like that?
My A/C installer called a licensed electrician who got a permit.
Was inspected. Failed because the breaker they installed did not
have the correct sticker on it.
Breaker had to be replaced.
Inspector didn't even look at the wiring, just the stickers on the
breaker and external disconnect.
Thanks for the data point. It's a little disturbing that the inspector
didn't bother to look at the wiring, just the stickers. If they got the
breaker choice wrong, I might suspect they did something else wrong.
I often wondered whether they were supposed to call the inspector but didn't
bother. I don't think there's a mechanism for the AHJ to find such
installations. They were the low bidder and they proved it with their less
than stellar work (garbage, knock outs and all sorts of metal stuff left
outside where they could get picked up by the lawnmower).
Lo barato cuesta caro. ("The cheap becomes the expensive")
In SW Florida, Lee County particularly, there is not much emphasis on
catching homeowners doing unpermitted activity. They do try to catch
unlicensed or unpermitted activity by 3d parties but this is more in
the vein of consumer protection than revenue. Generally it is
complaint driven or, occasionally, an inspector will see a job in
progress and there is no permit on record or the trucks do not have a
license number on them.
You still have the right to refuse entry into your house without a
warrant and they seldom ask unless they can just cajole you into
thinking having them taking a look at the work you are having done is
a good thing.
The "contractor" himself is still subject to being accosted when he
comes outside and they can call the sheriff if the guy is hard to get
along with. Generally this will just be an administrative action if
the guy has a license.
This is separated from the tax man. That is a separate agency that
uses aerial photos and biannual on site inspections to get their
money. If you can see it outside the house, it will show up on your
tax bill, even if nobody ever mentions it to you.
I've seen that happen to a number of house-flippers on the various "Flip
This House" TV shows, especially concerning outside work like redoing steps
leading up to the house.
Yeah, that's like cops trying to convince a suspect to "get ahead of this
thing" before you get into real trouble. Don't believe it!
That's a big IF.
I'd like to get "separated from the tax man." Permanently!
Been there, done that with the damn central AC that I no longer even use.
One year I challenged my assessment and boy oh boy did they ever lace into
me with every inspector/inspection they could think of. The "message" was
"don't challenge us - EVER!"
Not legally but it does happen a lot.
Another example is a water heater. Most are replaced without a permit,
most AHJs think they need one. I have even heard CBOs saying they wish
Home Depot (et al) would be required to see a permit and record the
number before they sold one
The butthead that installed my WH the last time around certainly could have
used inspecting. Thank God I had already installed a CO detector because he
had not attached the flue pipe to the chimney correctly and a week after the
install it just fell off. Unlike car exhaust, there was no tell-tale odor
of any kind (I realize CO is odorless, but with cars, you can usually smell
Glad that got discovered, and didn't lead to
illness or worse.
I got to replace a length of flue pipe one time
for a WH, the power company guy noticed and
redtagged the unit. Not much room to work, and
it was a real challenge. Perforated galvanized
strap makes up for a lot of lack of man hands.
My arms are too short.
Permits are lacking on many home furnace replacement jobs in area
A review by The Star of public records from Kansas City, Lee's Summit,
Overland Park and Olathe tracking the replacement of residential heating and
cooling units in 2013 determined that permits were rarely pulled. The
records showed that some of the area's well-known and established heating
and cooling companies took out few if any permits. This means many
homeowners don't get safety inspections to ensure carbon monoxide is vented
Looks like you're going to use one the Jeff Volp XTB repeaters, right?
looking to get one for some time. I'm using the regular X10 repeater
and, in this location, it seems to work ok ... although it has had some
Christmas, when I use many modules, I had, just for one evening, a
my 1132CU was picking up constant 'noise' and blinking its light. I
suspect that the
XPCR was sending out some random stuff, but really don't know. I saw
this in my
more suburban house a few years ago and in fact, couldn't use the XPCR
at all. It
generated so much noise, it would block or generate its own X10 signals.
Here in a more rural setting, it seems to work ok. The XTB unit is not
unfortunately ... especially, if you opt to save a few $$$ and buy it in
kit form. But,
the reviews seem to say it's the best unit out there for x10 repeating.
I know it's wrong, but I have my present XPCR hidden inside the breaker
box, so it's
not easy to see the LEDs on it, but keeps it from being easily seen.
Yes, I actually have a few because I was one of his beta testers from the
very get-go and ended up with every piece of equipment he ever designed.
I have that unit - a lot cheaper than the XTB-II but you really get what you
pay for. The problem with the XPCR is that it doesn't substantially boost
the signal. The XTB-II can detect very weak X-10 signals smaller than 100mv
and boosts them to around 25 volts. That's why very little on the market
Jeff's also worked very hard on perfecting the firmware which means
accounting for the many devices that *almost* follow the X-10 protocol.
IIRC, the biggest issue is that some device makers put the X-10 signal out
at the wrong place on AC cycle - slightly before or after the location
specified by the protocol and that has some pretty serious repercussions in
trying to design a repeater. Creating something like an X-10 repeater that
has to deal with devices from dozens of different manufacturers (some of
them extinct!) is quite a challenge.
I had a Leviton repeater that would go into a "babel" mode when you hit it
with just the right command (dimming, IIRC - that's hard for a repeater to
handle because of the open-ended nature of such commands). The unit would
start sending out fragments of legit X-10 commands (one reason a meter is
now a necessity) in an endless cascade. That meant *nothing* in the house
worked because the powerline was taken over by a strong, thoroughly
corrupted string of signals.
I am ashamed to say that first unit (the Leviton) was installed in the
panel, temporarily, with jumper cables. EEEK! (-: It didn't stay there
long because of all the trouble it caused. I was about to trash my X-10
setup. I posted a note in CHA about the repeater problems and Jeff
contacted me about testing his new repeater. The rest, as they say, is
I also had a bad CM11A that would start spewing commands endlessly when it
overheated. They apparently had made a big batch of bad units. The CM11A
was also known to "speak in tongues" if you made a mistake and left the
RS-232 programming cable attached to the CM11A but not the PC.
The XPCR is OK as a repeater/coupler in simple setups but it lacks it the
incredible power of the XTB-II. It's also missing some very nice features
like a digital input port so you can plug devices like HomeVision or Ocelot
controllers directly into the repeater without needing an intermediate
device like a TW523.
In my house, with the plethora of plug in equipment like switched power
supplies and UPSs (a known X-10 killer) there's just no operating X-10
without the XTB. A while back when I was working on the circuit panel I
disabled the XTB and it became immediately apparent how much the successful
functioning of X-10 now depends on having a powerful coupler/repeater.
I only bought the assembled versions because I've never seen anyone solder
as cleanly or professionally as Jeff. I also think it's important to
support small businesses like his. Very few people are making things in the
USA anymore. There's also the small matter of my absymal soldering skills.
We had extensive discussions about getting a UL listing and it's just not
justifiable at his sales volume. Install a 240VAC outlet near the circuit
box (you can use an existing dryer hookup but the closer to the panel, the
stronger the signal). Then you don't have to worry too much about the
If you install the XTB-II in a separate metal box it's not very likely that
even a catastrophic failure would do more than melt the components. The
unit is internally fused and installed on a dual breaker that trips both
phase connections if either one causes a trip. Not sure what the right word
for such physically linked breakers is . . . (senior moment)
I agree wholeheartedly and I have tried most of them. I have
repeater/couplers from X-10, ACT, Leviton and more. They are junior
leaguers compared to the XTB line. His XTBM line of meters is also
unmatched for the price. The higher priced one has a built in repeater
check function that tests the repeater function every time the meter is
plugged in. Jeff's one of the most detail-oriented people I know. If for
any reason you had a problem with one of his units, I am sure he would work
very hard to resolve it. I can't recommend his stuff highly enough. Just
look at the pictures of assembled products and you'll see the attention to
detail I am talking about.
And you're worried about the XTB's NOT being UL listed?!!! You bad dog,
No, I'm not worried about the UL thing. I've seen many UL devices burst
flames. And, I have some home made stuff which is certainly not UL ...
the individual part are, but not the whole thing. My plan for the XTB
would be to
install it in a box next to the panel.
It sounds like a safe plan to me. As long as it is behind a suitable
breaker you might see some smoke but the fire should be safely inside
the box and the breaker should stop it. That is all we expect from any
If it is not within the scope of a permit, I doubt an inspector would
even give it a glance. They don't just come in and demand to see your
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