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Thread: electrical solution or an exorcism?

  1. #31
    DIY Junior Member GatorKenD's Avatar
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    Default Never say die!

    I thought I'd bring some closure to this with a "reveal."

    Disconnecting the "extra red/black" wires solved the problem of the lights turning themselves on, but it was very unsatisfying not knowing where those wires went and what they did. I borrowed a toner generator and inductive amplifier from a friend in an effort to trace these down. Attached is a photo of "culprit:" an X10 switch located in a corner of the courtyard.

    The wall switch in the courtyard is only 20 feet away from this X10, but I've got a hunch why it's there. This spot in the courtyard was where the hot tub used to be. I'm guessing this was so you could turn on the courtyard lights while you were in the hot tub. Or, maybe more accurately, turn OFF the courtyard lights! The architect who built and lived in this house for 30 years would have been mid-40's when it was built in 1979. I'm guessing this house has seen some shagadelic hot tub parties in it's time. On a side note (but related to shagadelic): I've got all the original plans for the house, which included a fairly complex solar hot water system. I cracked up when I finally figured out what the pump marked WB was for... that was the solar hot water for the water bed!

    I'm totally unfamiliar with how these X10 devices work, but I assume it either has a timer component that started turning on randomly or a short. Thanks to all for the feedback.

    Regards,
    KenName:  the culprit.jpg
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  2. #32
    DIY Senior Member BobL43's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GatorKenD View Post
    I thought I'd bring some closure to this with a "reveal."

    Disconnecting the "extra red/black" wires solved the problem of the lights turning themselves on, but it was very unsatisfying not knowing where those wires went and what they did. I borrowed a toner generator and inductive amplifier from a friend in an effort to trace these down. Attached is a photo of "culprit:" an X10 switch located in a corner of the courtyard.

    The wall switch in the courtyard is only 20 feet away from this X10, but I've got a hunch why it's there. This spot in the courtyard was where the hot tub used to be. I'm guessing this was so you could turn on the courtyard lights while you were in the hot tub. Or, maybe more accurately, turn OFF the courtyard lights! The architect who built and lived in this house for 30 years would have been mid-40's when it was built in 1979. I'm guessing this house has seen some shagadelic hot tub parties in it's time. On a side note (but related to shagadelic): I've got all the original plans for the house, which included a fairly complex solar hot water system. I cracked up when I finally figured out what the pump marked WB was for... that was the solar hot water for the water bed!

    I'm totally unfamiliar with how these X10 devices work, but I assume it either has a timer component that started turning on randomly or a short. Thanks to all for the feedback.

    Regards,
    KenName:  the culprit.jpg
Views: 88
Size:  38.8 KB
    I'm glad I mentioned it in my post # 13. something, somebody with an X10 transmitter device or even a multimedia system may be sending out the signal to turn this on
    I am definitely not a pro plumber, but I am a pro crastinator

  3. #33
    Jack of all trades DonL's Avatar
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    Some of the X10 stuff is good, Some not so much.

    The X10 replacement light switches have a bad habit of getting SCR damage.

    They trigger on / off or get stuck on, Shorted or partial shorted.

    Appliance modules seem to be much more reliable, because they use a relay and are not Dim-able.

    Besides the faults triggers of the X10 stuff, They are a lot better than they use to be. IE RCA/RS
    Theory only works perfect in a vacuum.

    Cyber Security Protection for Windows C:\ > WWW.WinForce.Net

  4. #34
    DIY Senior Member BobL43's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DonL View Post
    Some of the X10 stuff is good, Some not so much.

    The X10 replacement light switches have a bad habit of getting SCR damage.

    They trigger on / off or get stuck on, Shorted or partial shorted.

    Appliance modules seem to be much more reliable, because they use a relay and are not Dim-able.

    Besides the faults triggers of the X10 stuff, They are a lot better than they use to be. IE RCA/RS
    I have a ton of X10 stuff, and only had a very few failures. I still have one or 2 X10 Motion detector flood lights that have been out there for about 19 years and work fine. I control my outdoor low voltage light with them, and lts of interior lighting. Great when using the Home Automation software and the USB interface controller. Not reliable enough for a life support system, but the stuff has worked well for me. I even had a bunch of their cheap wired and wireless cameras in use before I went to more sophisticated video stuff. Smile, you're on Candid Camera
    I am definitely not a pro plumber, but I am a pro crastinator

  5. #35
    Jack of all trades DonL's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BobL43 View Post
    I have a ton of X10 stuff, and only had a very few failures. I still have one or 2 X10 Motion detector flood lights that have been out there for about 19 years and work fine. I control my outdoor low voltage light with them, and lts of interior lighting. Great when using the Home Automation software and the USB interface controller. Not reliable enough for a life support system, but the stuff has worked well for me. I even had a bunch of their cheap wired and wireless cameras in use before I went to more sophisticated video stuff. Smile, you're on Candid Camera
    I do not like the way that they give you the software for the products that you buy.

    They should give you a copy on Disk, and not make you go thru a licenses server that don't work.

    You got to get the drivers while you can... Make your own backup.
    Theory only works perfect in a vacuum.

    Cyber Security Protection for Windows C:\ > WWW.WinForce.Net

  6. #36
    DIY Junior Member Electromen's Avatar
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    Originally there was probably a photocell in that outside box.
    Electrical Contractor since 1980

  7. #37
    DIY Senior Member BobL43's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Electromen View Post
    Originally there was probably a photocell in that outside box.
    yo mean before that X10 switch? probably, if there was anything before it.
    I am definitely not a pro plumber, but I am a pro crastinator

  8. #38
    DIY Junior Member Electromen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BobL43 View Post
    yo mean before that X10 switch? probably, if there was anything before it.
    Yes, X10 was first sold by Radio Shackin 1978. The house was built in 1979. Since it's concrete, conduit and wire, the outside box was probably original to the house. If it was X-10 originally it was one of the first ones sold, but why put it outside? That's why I guessed photocell.
    Last edited by Electromen; 12-11-2011 at 09:07 AM.
    Electrical Contractor since 1980

  9. #39
    Jack of all trades DonL's Avatar
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    When Radio Shack® sold them they were not very reliable.

    I have found the newer X10® stuff to be a bit better.
    Theory only works perfect in a vacuum.

    Cyber Security Protection for Windows C:\ > WWW.WinForce.Net

  10. #40
    DIY Junior Member Electromen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DonL View Post
    When Radio Shack® sold them they were not very reliable.

    I have found the newer X10® stuff to be a bit better.
    Yes definitely.
    The latest system I installed was Leviton Vizia RF. The technology was come a long way.
    Electrical Contractor since 1980

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