Possessed X-10 lights on by themselves randomly


Old 07-11-04, 06:04 AM
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Possessed X-10 lights on by themselves randomly

After several years of no problems with X-10, in my new home the X-10 switches are proving anything but reliable.

In the last few weeks lights have started coming on all by themselves. Switching house codes and unit numbers doesn’t make a difference. The haunted lights are also not on the same circuit.

It may or may not be related to the central air conditioner coming on – a bit hard to tell because it doesn’t happen every time the unit switches on, and at other times the lights are go on, get turned off and then go on again while the unit is still running. Depending on where you are in the house, it’s also not audibly obvious that the external unit just went on.

I know that X-10 switches have a local control feature – so if there is a dip in the power they will trip to on, but the lights in the house that are on do not dim or brighten when the air conditioner goes on or off – or when other things go on or off for that matter. Having previously lived in Phoenix, I won’t say our local weather is “hot”, but turning off the A/C for a prolonged time would be less than pleasant – and as I say, it’s not like the possessed lights go on every time. For a while they were misbehaving during the day more than the night – perhaps because so many other things were off at night too.

There are also some moments where ON / OFF signals don’t seem to get through to some units – but they work fine at other times (front lights have started not turning on).

It’s a three story house with a lot of switches so retrofitting for a hardwire solution and controller set is not an option without a heck of a lot of work, time and wall repair.

Thoughts and suggestions would be most appreciated.
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Old 07-12-04, 12:12 PM
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are you using a controller? if so which one?

are you using a signal bridge? bridge/amp? if so which one? do you have attic vent fans that come on with a thermostat in hot weather?
Old 07-12-04, 01:03 PM
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I don't have any signal bridge or bridge amp devices of any kind - I really don't know what they are or where they would be applied / attached. If they might be helpful to try, please give me a bit more information about them.

We don't have attic fans or other things that operate in tandum with the A/C or heating system. But we do have both a sump pump and a radon gas venting system. The sump runs intermittantly - we have the fortune of collecting the run off from homes up hill from us so our neighbors accross the street don't ever see their sump run. The behavior of the lights does not seem tied in any way to the sump - if anything the sump is active less now then it was earlier in the year. The radon gas system is in operation continuously, and has been for a long time.

On the subject of major things using electricity - the dryer and water heater are both gas.

Hope this helps give a bit more insight - thanks
Old 07-12-04, 04:48 PM
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for x-10 signal bridge (phase coupling) go here for an explanation http://www.hometoys.com/htinews/jun9...y/kingery3.htm <br>kingery article on phase coupling<p>for x10 phase coupling products go here http://www.smarthome.com/x10troubleshoot.html <br>smarthome under couplers even better see the products under repeaters <p>for troubleshooting noise go here (start with #9 the last link directly below <br>http://www.hometoys.com/htinews/dec9...gerly12-01.jpg <br>kingery article on x10 noise <p>and here<br>http://www.hometoys.com/htinews/oct9.../kingery11.htm <br>another kingery noise article <p> and here<br>http://www.hometoys.com/htinews/aug9.../kingery10.htm <br>another kingery noise article<p>and here <br>http://www.hometoys.com/htinews/jun9...y/kingery9.htm <p>another kingery article <p>and here<br> http://www.smarthome.com/solution18.html<br>smarthome troubleshooting article<p>and if you're running an activehome cm11a timer to control your x10 receivers go here <br>http://www.geocities.com/ido_bartana...verheating.htm <br>problems with the cm11a<p><b>but before reading all this stuff you might want to double check your light bulbs and make sure they're all at least 40 watts (if you're using cheap x10 switches without a neutral or even expensive ones without a neutral connection) and also you might try changing to another brand of bulbs to see if those particular bulb filaments are producing noise</b>
Old 08-17-04, 12:40 PM
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ActiveHome module

I am probably one of the least X-10 knowledgeable people, but I had a problem similer to your. I purchased the "X10 ActiveHome Automation Kit" which includes a module to connect to your computer then plug into a wall socket. It is programmable for different commands. I disconnected the computer cable on mine, forgot about it, then suddenly lights would come on by themselves, if I pressed a button on a remote switch it would probably turn on some light in the house, but not the one I had it programmed for. It had me really confused until I remembered the computer module. I unplugged it and the problem went away.
Old 08-17-04, 05:08 PM
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Yep, the interface module retains the memory and programming - even if the computer is disconnected or turned off.

I believe X-10 has a few other modules that do the same thing.

On the other hand, X-10 has a few ghosts in the machine anyway. "You get what you pay for" has never been truer.

Good luck!
Old 11-29-04, 07:40 AM
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I had a problem with X10 gremlins for a little bit as well... Check your controllers - I systematically removed everything that could control the X10 devices by unplugging or removing the batteries and the culprit turned out to be a Remote that was acting up - I replaced the batteries and the problem seemed to go away.
Old 12-28-04, 06:07 PM
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sounds like noise interrupting signal, audio equipment is bad at this at any rate there are various filters, signal boosters, and phase couplers available,

radio shack just doesn't have enough ! try these people ,

smarthome located in Irvine, Calif.

lol steve

Last edited by SafeWatch; 01-01-05 at 08:47 AM. Reason: No phone numbers, please
Old 01-31-05, 10:59 AM
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batteries and interference

A couple suggestions would be replacing/checking the batteries in each module/controller that has them.
It could also be interference from other radio signals. Do you have other neighbors close by?
Old 02-17-05, 07:25 AM
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Also change the bulds in the Incans to 60Watts or over.......if you are using any 2 wire X-10 units......below 60W and non-Incans can cause X-10s to have signal issues.
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