Radio Shack "Plug 'n Power" units fail now

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Old 03-19-07, 04:39 PM
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Radio Shack "Plug 'n Power" units fail now

I have 2 Radio Shack "Plug 'n Power" Control systems, one from the 80's and one from the 90's. Both were working fine for years until last year, when they both stopped functioning.

BTW, one was used for my outdoor shed light and outdoor bug light (plugged into a shed outlet), and one was used for a basement room.

Upon testing, I've discovered the units still work but only if plugged into the same wiring as the appliance (no circuit breaker in between).

The circuit brerakers have not been replaced as far as can recall, so why is this happening? And what can be done to fix the problem?
 
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Old 03-21-07, 10:04 AM
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I would start by making sure the breakers have not been tripped. Then I would try replacing the circuit breakers. That is a good and cheap place to start.
 
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Old 04-03-07, 11:00 AM
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Two possibilities

[QUOTE=Electro Mo;1145112]I have 2 Radio Shack "Plug 'n Power" Control systems, one from the 80's and one from the 90's. Both were working fine for years until last year, when they both stopped functioning.

Three thoughts:

1. My units have never worked IF I have them on different sides of the buss: Power comes into the building as 220v comprised of TWO 120v lines and a ground in between. In the breaker/fuse box, this is most easilly seen by observing the two metal buss strips that go down through your breaker box. Most breaker boxes are configured with a sawtooth buss so that everyother breaker is on a different 120v supply line.

The "Plug 'n Power" units seem only to work if both curcuits are on the SAME 120v side of the buss.

2. I also had a problem with a surge suppressor: I had failures on one of my lines, but I switched surge suppressors and had no further problems.

3. A ground fault interupter (GFCI) might have the same kind of effect as "2" above.

GOOD LUCK
 
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Old 04-13-07, 05:31 PM
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A phase coupler sounds like what you may need. It goes on a 220 circuit breaker to "couple" both hot legs for the signals.

Do you have an electric oven? Turn it on and then see if it works. If it does, thats what you need. X10.com has them.

Also, not all X10 units are the same, they just use the same technology. The best I've found has been the Leviton units, Radio Shack and X10 branded the worst.
 
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Old 12-16-09, 02:39 PM
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Since the foregoing posts are quite old, and I've just become a new member, I'm not sure whether many will find this of value anymore. My experience with Plug 'n Power modules suddenly failing (or turning on lights in the middle of the night) took awhile to troubleshoot, but after a couple weeks I did. We had gotten a new desktop computer. The power supplies for these typically convert the familiar 60 HZ line frequency to a much higher frequency to make components smaller, cheaper, and rectification easier. This higher frequency radiates through house wiring and causes interference with the pulses, carrying control signals to Plug 'n Power components, such as wall switches and dimmers. Once the computer circuit breaker was switched off (not just shut down) all the Plug 'n Power modules worked fine once again. The Radio Shack people seemed unconcerned about this fundamental design problem.
 
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