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Author Topic: Phase Coupler  (Read 3644 times)

soxfan1966

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Phase Coupler
« on: April 07, 2013, 08:00:53 am »

Good morning...

In my x10 setup I was experiencing some devices that would not turn on/off reliably.  After some investigation I found out about the need for a Phase Coupler - so that the 2 "Phases" could be controlled.

Another interesting thing I learned was that having an x10 Transmitter (i.e. TM751A) on each Phase you can run into issues with Unit numbers 1 and 9 (the commands to each can cancel each other out).  This is an issue if both TM751's are on the same House Code.

You can read about this here:
http://davehouston.org/multiples.htm

I had this setup - which explains why unit code 9 was not working.  I removed one of the TM751's and unit code 9 worked again, but I was having trouble getting unit code 1 to work (which is the one device I have on an opposite phase, at least right now).

So I thought all I needed to do was to get a Phase Coupler and all would be well.  So I ordered one off Ebay, the kind that plugs into the dryer outlet (which because it is a 220V outlet is attached to each Phase).  It did not work.  Granted, the phase coupler was used so it is possible that it does not work.

Which leads me to the purpose for this post...

1) If my dryer is running and I can reliably control unit codes on each phase, this seems to indicate that a Phase Coupler will correct the issue.  I should also note that I have solar electric panels on my roof, which are connected to an inverter, which is then wired into my electrical panel on a 220V circuit (again, so it will feed both Phases).  And when the inverter is running I again can reliably control units on both Phases.  However, when it is dark out (i.e. the Inverter has shut down), and the dryer is not running, I run into issues with Unit Code 1.

Does this seem to be an accurate understanding of the Phase Coupler issue?

2) If I assume #1 above is indeed accurate, and that a Phase Coupler would correct the problem, then it would indicate that the Phase Coupler I did buy is faulty.  Correct?

3) In determining which Phase a particular switch / outlet is on, is there any tips for figuring this out?  It seems that (at least in my house) the circuits on each side of the panel alternate.  I'll call them Phase A and Phase B.  So going down the left side of the panel, the first circuit is Phase A, the second Phase B, third Phase A, etc.  So a double breaker which takes up 2 slots one on top of the other is connected to both Phases A and B.  I'm not sure if the right side of the panel also alternates A, B, A... or if it perhaps is B, A, B...

So my assumption is that my issue is Phase related but I was hoping there was an "easy" way to track this down and make sure.

If it is indeed Phase related, do the dryer plug-in Couplers work and is it likely I ended up with a bad one?

Thanks...
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KENRAD

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Re: Phase Coupler
« Reply #1 on: April 07, 2013, 06:32:59 pm »

I have never had good results with the dryer phase couplers my recommendation would be to look at some of Jeff Vlop's stuff,  Mainly the XTBR-II it is a phase coupler as well as a amplifier it will greatly improve your x10 communications

I don't have his web site right now but search him on the x10 forum and there is tons of info.  His stuff is top grade and has solved all of my x10 nightmares

 (Chr)  Ken

 
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soxfan1966

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Re: Phase Coupler
« Reply #2 on: April 08, 2013, 09:26:43 am »

Thanks for the info...

I was able to find Jeff Vlop's web page and specifically a link to the XTB-IIR (which appears to be what you were referencing).

http://jvde.us/xtb/XTB-IIR_description.htm

It's possible according to the documentation on that page to have a dryer plug wired into the device for use as a plug in dryer phase coupler.  I'm really not keen on the idea of wiring something directly to my panel.

So I am not sure what the difference between the XTB-IIR is and what I currently have, with the possible exception that what I have is simply a coupler whereas the XTB-IIR is also a repeater?

What I have now is a SignaLinc, but an older model that has a plug and a short cord with an outlet recepticle where the dryer cord then plugs in.  The newer version of this appears to be a small tan box that plugs into the outlet and then the dryer cord plugs into it.  Other than that they appear to be the same.

There is also a coupler / repeater version:
http://www.smarthome.com/4826A/SignaLinc-4-Pin-Plug-in-Coupler-Repeater/p.aspx

Which is discontinued.  But I can find them on EBay.

So I am still not sure if:

1) The issue I am having is with the Phases - still no idea if it is possible to test such a thing

2) If I need a coupler / repeater as opposed to just a coupler

3) if there is a real advantage to a wired version of such as opposed to the dryer outlet plug version.

Any additional info on some / all of there questions would be most appreciated....

Thanks

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soxfan1966

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Re: Phase Coupler
« Reply #3 on: April 09, 2013, 03:10:56 am »

Made another discovery last night, completely by accident...

The light I have been having the problem with is in my bedroom.  When I went to bed, I was able to turn the light on - which was interesting since the Phase Coupler was not plugged in and the dryer was not running.  Then I turned the tv on and went to turn the light off and it would not work again.  After some trial and error, I found that when my bedroom tv had power supplied the light could not be controlled, and when the power was not supplied (the tv simply could not be off, it has to either be unplugged or the power strip it was plugged into had to be off) the light would work just fine.  I also tried another power strip to make sure it was not that and switching power strips did not change the problem.

So the issue appears to be that my bedroom tv is a signal sucker.  I think the solution is to put a filter on that tv, thought I am not sure if having an x10 signal booster would also correct the problem...
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KENRAD

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Re: Phase Coupler
« Reply #4 on: April 09, 2013, 10:33:50 am »

I would definitely go with filters alot of the new electronic devices even computers TVs, and especially items like cell phone charges can create line noise or be signal suckers.  I have a very large setup but I have well over 10 filters through out my setup as well as a phase coupler and an signal booster.  I find that filtering and coupling are the key to having a reliable system I think that working this out early in your installation will save you alot of headaches in the future,   Afew other products from Jeff Vlop that I found to be of great help was the XTB-ANR check it out.  As far as I am concerned Jeff has the best products for creating reliable performance with your x10 system.  I have tried alot of other solution's over the years and his seemed to solve my issues completely

Just my thoughts

 (Chr)  Ken   
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I have no clue how to do this but its a lot of fun trying.
Win 8.1, win 7 64 and 32 bit,
XTBR, CM15A, ZTroller
PCC, T.A.C ,HS3, Nitrogenlogic remote, Bluewatch(BT), Bluewatch(WIFI), all plug ins
Microsoft kinect,
Nitrogen logic depth controllers
Phillips Hue, Global Cache, Hyperion, Kodi

soxfan1966

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Re: Phase Coupler
« Reply #5 on: April 09, 2013, 11:42:05 am »

Thanks for the info...  I will take a look at some of his other stuff...
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soxfan1966

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Re: Phase Coupler
« Reply #6 on: April 12, 2013, 07:39:53 am »

So....  Now I have a Phase Coupler in place (which does appear to be working) and am awaiting arrival of a Filter (the Smarthome 1626 FilterLinc 5-Amp Plug-In Noise Filter) to use on my bedroom tv.  I have tested some other potential devices (other computers etc) and none seem to cause issues.

I did run into another problem device...

On the same circuit as my bedroom tv and light, there is an exterior outlet.  In this outlet, I have my landscape lights plugged in.  These are low-voltage lights with a transformer.

I can now turn these lights on, but not off (and when they are on, I cannot turn on/off the bedroom light either).  So it sounds like I need a filter for this as well.  I am not sure if the filter I am going to be putting on the bedroom tv will also correct this, but will see.

So my question is - can these Smarthome 1626 FilterLinc be used outside (I cant seem to find anything that says they can or can't)?  Is there a better filter that I could use for the outdoor device?
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