Author Topic: X10 remote control troubleshooting & recommendations  (Read 380 times)

Beaker

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X10 remote control troubleshooting & recommendations
« on: January 23, 2018, 09:27:06 PM »
I have a whole house fan in the attic, which is controlled by an X10 wireless transceiver. A few days ago the tenants turned it on accidentally, and now it won't shut off. The fan just runs continuously (well, until I flipped the breaker). The fan seems to be just fine, I just can't turn it off. Thus I suspect something in the control system. The control system has been finicky and generally weird for years now, so it would not be terribly surprising if it doesn't work.

It's a hardwired fan - ie it just takes plain electric wires, no plugs or anything. It's connected to an X10 XPFM inline receiver module. Downstairs there's an X10 Pro PAT01 transceiver. There's also a keychain remote, which I neglected to get the model number of but looks similar to this one.

Now, when you push the button on the remote there's usually a distinct "click" sound from the PAT01 transceiver unit. It's inconsistent, but it does seem to work. This makes me think both the remote and the PAT01 are at least somewhat functional, and therefore I suspect the XPFM module. I did verify that the channel settings on both units are identical. I also tried changing the channel settings, which did not seem to make any difference.

So, specific questions:
  • Does it seem like I've correctly diagnosed this as an issue with the XPFM module?
  • Is there anything else I should check or try to fix before I start replacing parts?
  • Is there a better control system I can/should use? Like I said, it's always been kind of weird, so this might be a good chance to replace it with something better, but I'm not sure where to begin on that.

Thanks for taking the time to read this!

PS, I don't think it matters, but the fan is a Tamarack HV1000 X10, which appears to have come with the control units included. I believe it's all the original equipment that came together.

HipGnosis

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Re: X10 remote control troubleshooting & recommendations
« Reply #1 on: January 24, 2018, 09:27:27 AM »
I was an electronics tech in the US Air Force in the 70's and 80's.  I worked on equipment that was designed in the 50's and built in the 60's.  I got very good at troubleshooting.
X10 is old tech now.  I was interested in it a few years ago, but the writing was on the wall that LAN, WiFI and/or bluetooth (The Internet Of Things; TIOT) technology was going to replace it in the market.

You've troubleshot the remote-transceiver function, but not the transceiver-module communication or function
Are there any other modules in the house?  Can you control the module from the transceiver directly?
Is the transceiver working to control anything else?

Home control / automation is definitely transitioning to TIOT, but there are many (many) proprietary/incompatible systems out now. 
The one 'standard' that is emerging is IFTTT (IF This Then That). This is a logic protocol, not a brand or communication protocol.

If you are only wanting/needing to control the fan, you could use a wireless-remote control/switch for appliances;
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0087EIDRS/
If it was me, I'd get this set for just a cpl dollars more; https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01NASZ0UM

Beaker

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Re: X10 remote control troubleshooting & recommendations
« Reply #2 on: January 24, 2018, 02:14:46 PM »
You've troubleshot the remote-transceiver function, but not the transceiver-module communication or function
Are there any other modules in the house?  Can you control the module from the transceiver directly?
Is the transceiver working to control anything else?

There are no other transceivers, receivers or remotes in the house that I'm aware of, so unfortunately I can't troubleshoot anything that way. I did try pushing the "on/off" button on the transceiver, which makes the same click sound but doesn't seem to do anything else.

If you are only wanting/needing to control the fan, you could use a wireless-remote control/switch for appliances;
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0087EIDRS/
If it was me, I'd get this set for just a cpl dollars more; https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01NASZ0UM

Thanks for the pointer, I think this is generally what I'm looking for. I was hoping for something that could be attached with raw cables instead of a plug. I'll look around for that once I get home from work, but if you happen to know of something like that off the top of your head that would be appreciated. If not, I can certainly do my own research from this starting point.

Thanks again!

HipGnosis

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Re: X10 remote control troubleshooting & recommendations
« Reply #3 on: January 24, 2018, 03:50:49 PM »
Thanks for the pointer, I think this is generally what I'm looking for. I was hoping for something that could be attached with raw cables instead of a plug. I'll look around for that once I get home from work, but if you happen to know of something like that off the top of your head that would be appreciated. If not, I can certainly do my own research from this starting point.

Thanks again!
Get one of these ($0.38) https://www.homedepot.com/p/Leviton-15-Amp-Grounding-Duplex-Outlet-Ivory-R51-05320-00I/100044028 
put it in one of these ($0.26) https://www.homedepot.com/p/Carlon-1-Gang-18-cu-in-Zip-Box-Non-Metallic-Switch-and-Outlet-Box-Blue-B118A/202546986
and cover them with ($0.22)  https://www.homedepot.com/p/Leviton-1-Gang-Duplex-Outlet-Wall-Plate-Light-Almond-R56-78003-00T/202059793

HipGnosis

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Re: X10 remote control troubleshooting & recommendations
« Reply #4 on: January 24, 2018, 04:01:42 PM »
BUT..
Before you buy anything, you should confirm that there is A/C power at the XPFM module for the fan.
And that the wire connections to the A/C, module and fan are 'secure'.
 

Beaker

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Re: X10 remote control troubleshooting & recommendations
« Reply #5 on: January 24, 2018, 07:15:52 PM »
I believe I would also need one of these, right?
https://www.homedepot.com/p/Leviton-15-Amp-125-Volt-Double-Pole-3-Wire-Grounding-Plug-Black-R50-3W101-00E/205165472

The three items you just posted create a standard outlet. I'd plug the radio receiver/outlet into that. Then this item would allow the fan to plug into that. I was rather hoping to skip this, particularly since I don't think I have very much excess wire coming from the fan, but I don't have any better ideas.

The existing wires do work and are secure, but thank you for the reminder.

BTW, nice work on your handle. Much more clever than mine. :)

HipGnosis

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Re: X10 remote control troubleshooting & recommendations
« Reply #6 on: January 25, 2018, 08:49:16 AM »
You are correct, sir.  You would then need a way to 'plug' the fan into the remote module.

I made it way more complicated than it has to be. I appologise.

Get a wireless, inline, remote control, like this one;
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B074PT93YT/ref=asc_df_B074PT93YT5348550/

Thanks for the handle compliment.  I like your handle; I imagine it's in homage to Beaker the lab assistant on The Muppets.
 

Beaker

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Re: X10 remote control troubleshooting & recommendations
« Reply #7 on: February 12, 2018, 07:50:08 PM »
Finally got it installed, worked perfectly. Had a bit of trouble getting it wired in because the old remote was attached with wire nuts I couldn't figure out how to remove, and because the fan itself is a bit strangely. If anyone happens to stumble on this post and want to do the same thing, definitely find the installation manual beforehand!

Thanks again for the help, HipGnosis.