RadioShack Programmable Control Center and Timer.

Discussion in 'Wireless Internet' started by R. Gregg Reed, Jul 2, 2003.

  1. My landlord is having a problem with this thing. You're supposed to
    replace all your outlets and wall switches with control modules, then
    you can operate any electrical equipment in your house remotely or on
    a schedule. The manual is sketchy, but it looks like the control
    center sends a 2.4 ghz signal through the house wires that operate
    the control modules. It works somewhat, but it screws some things up.
    Like it will manually dim a light, until it goes all the way off, but
    then it won't come back on again.

    We have an ISP across the street that broadcasts a wireless internet
    signal at 2.4 ghz. Could that be causing problems?

    The model number of this device is 61-2470. Thanks.
    R. Gregg Reed, Jul 2, 2003
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  2. R. Gregg Reed

    Just Me Guest

    You also have cordless phones to contend with. Then again, it may just be
    Radio Shack quality.
    Just Me, Jul 2, 2003
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  3. Could be. You can switch the modules to a different code, A, B, C, etc.
    Give that a try.
    Edwin Pawlowski, Jul 2, 2003
  4. R. Gregg Reed

    Don W. Guest

    The signal it sends isn't 2.4 GHz (or even close!) The WISP would not be
    causing the problem. I have a similar system in my home and it was
    problematic when my electric truck was charging. A power line filter on the
    truck power control unit solved the problem.

    Find the source of the problem (something plugged into the power line) by
    unplugging things one at a time. Then install the appropriate filter on the
    offending device. Here are some filters:

    Don W.
    Don W., Jul 2, 2003
  5. I have spent a lot of time in commercial buildings and residences
    troubleshooting this technology. Some people refer to it as X10 because BSR
    was one of the first companies 20 or so years ago that developed it and
    marketed it under the X10 name.

    Now there are several manufacturers of these products including Leviton
    (Decora Home Controls) and Advanced Control Technologies (A10). Radio Shack
    also has their own version. Much of the technology is interchangeable.

    After all that I have experienced, I am reluctant to recommend the use of
    this equipment except as a last resort. I have seen modules work on one
    day and the next day don't work, but the day after that work again. My
    conclusion is that the equipment never works 100% of the time. 99% under
    the best circumstances is what you should expect. I have had other
    electrical contractors consult with me after they have installed this
    technology in a building or residence because they were getting tired of all
    the callbacks.

    Electrical interference can be a big problem. Motors, computers, and
    everything else connected to your power system can inhibit that signal
    traveling across your existing circuits. Another problem that arises from
    time to time is neighbors controlling each others lights from their home.

    One contractor I know was really pushing the use of this technology and made
    several sales and installations in the same neighborhoods. He particularly
    would use the modules for outdoor lighting. Neighbors would talk to each
    other and then call up this contractor to install the same set-up in their
    home. I had cautioned this guy about the use of this technology based on my
    experiences, but he figured that since the customers were asking for it, he
    would give it to them. After several installations on the same street he
    kept receiving callbacks. The customers were complaining that their lights
    were going on and off at all different times of day and night. The
    contractor did not pay much attention to the choice of address codes for
    each residence when he did each installation. The neighbors all had the
    same codes and were able to turn each others lights on and off. This is
    especially true when each neighbor's power is from the same utility company
    transformer. This contractor had to go back to each customer's house and
    change the codes so that each house was different. It cost him a lot of
    time and manpower to do this. Now he tells me that he cautions his
    customers about the downside of this type of installation and only
    recommends it when it is more cost effective.

    The manufacturers produce amplifiers, couplers, controllers, signal strength
    meters and other components to get a good signal and measure it at each
    module location. Troubleshooting is a very time consuming process. You are
    not working with wires that have become loose or broken although a loose
    connection can affect performance also. You are fixing something that you
    cannot see or feel. If you don't have the equipment to test the signal it
    is difficult to see what the actual problem may be.

    I couldn't say with certainty that the internet service provider across from
    your location was causing a problem, but I would consider it a possibility.
    Try contacting the manufacturer of your components for technical support.

    I expect that this technology will be around for a long time as it is an
    easy way to modernize an old house into a "Smart House". I also expect that
    the manufacturers will continue to improve the functionality and reliability
    of their systems. My recommendation for anyone considering this type of
    installation is to plan carefully. Don't go around and replace every switch
    and receptacle, but only the ones that you really want to be controlled from
    a central or remote location or by computer. Also take into consideration
    that it is not just a matter of replacing a switch or receptacle. You
    should also install a coupling device across your phases in the electrical
    panel. A big house or building should have an amplifier and a repeater.
    Ideally the circuits used for these components should not have any other
    equipment connected to them, but that would be difficult to achieve in a
    retrofit installation.

    I hope this information helps.

    Good luck,

    John Grabowski

    John Grabowski, Jul 3, 2003
  6. R. Gregg Reed

    Mike Berger Guest

    Do you have a signal bridge between the two hot sides of the line?
    Putting an X10 device on one 117v phase, with the transmitter on
    the other, will definitely make operation unreliable unless you bridge
    them properly.
    Mike Berger, Jul 3, 2003
  7. R. Gregg Reed

    Henry Guest


    Based on my experence with X-10, you are providing very good advise. I use
    X-10 for non-critical applications such as turning on china cabinet lights
    for six hours at sundown, or nightlights, etc.

    I have found that surge suppressors are the biggest problem in blocking X-10

    Henry, Jul 3, 2003
  8. R. Gregg Reed

    Gary Tait Guest

    It's not. It sends 125Khz pulses just past the zero crossing of the AC
    Gary Tait, Jul 4, 2003
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