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Smarthome 'Linc failures - your experience?

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    Smarthome 'Linc failures - your experience?

    I started this thread in an attempt to learn more about the failure modes of 'Linc devices that others have experienced and to try to find resolutions for them.

    Over the years I have installed many of Smarthome's 'Linc devices; LampLinc, SwitchLinc, KeypadLinc, etc. At first I was pretty happy with them. However, as time went by the devices began to fail (usually just after the warranty period ended.) Sometimes units would completely die and other times they would become only partly functional (pushbutton failure, etc.)

    After a recent power failure I had 4 devices fail; 2 SwitchLincs and 2 KeypadLincs and upon calling SH for replacements, I learned that they no longer stock any non-Inseton products for repair or replacment.

    Frankly, I'm just not interested in moving to Insteon because while SH claims that Insteon devices are "X10 compatible", that does not mean that they are "fully backward compatible." For example, new two-way ApplianceLincs (Insteon) will respond to X10 commands but they will not report their status via X10 as you would expect. Status reports are only available via Insteon.

    Given the obsolete status of these not-so-cheap devices, I thought it was time to 'crack the cases' and see what could be done to repair them. I opened one of my dead KeypadLincs and quickly discovered the problem - the power supply circuit was poorly implemented and is pretty much guaranteed to self-destruct over time. I've attached a photo of the heat damaged PCB traces below.

    Replacing the components and mounting them in a more "heat friendly" manner has resolved the issue with these two units and they're back in service. As part of the process I have created schematics for the KPL (V1) and am writing new firmware to fix some bugs and add a few new features.

    So, if you've used 'Linc devices in the past or are presently using them and have had failures, please take a moment to share your experiences. Your input will be greatly appreciated and may help to resurrect some dead 'Lincs!

    Also, I am looking for dead linc devices that I can use to evaluate failure modes. If you have any dead lincs that you're going to discard, please consider donating them to my little project - I'll pay for shipping!
    Attached Files
    Last edited by mfisher; February 22, 2009, 02:25 PM. Reason: Add request for dead lincs
    Best regards,
    -Mark-

    If you're not out on the edge, you're taking up too much room!
    Interested in 3D maps? Check out my company site: Solid Terrain Modeling

    #2
    Any chance you are willing to share the schematics of the keypadlincs?

    Jack
    Over The Hill
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    Virtualized Server 2k3 Ent X86 Guest on VMWare ESXi 4.1 with 3 SunRay thin clients as access points - HSPro 2.4.0.48 - ZTroller - ACRF2 (3 WGL 800's) - iAutomate RFID - Ledam - MLHSPlugin - Ultra1wire - RainRelay8 - TI103 - Ultramon - WAF-AB8SS - jvESS (11 zones) - Bitwise Controls BC4 - with 745 Total Devices - 550 Events - 104 scripts - 78 ZWave devices - 42 X10 devices - 76 DS10a's 3 RFXSenors and 32 Motion Sensors

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      #3
      Sure. Send me an email or PM with your email address and I'll send over a PDF or XPS.
      Last edited by mfisher; March 25, 2008, 12:02 AM.
      Best regards,
      -Mark-

      If you're not out on the edge, you're taking up too much room!
      Interested in 3D maps? Check out my company site: Solid Terrain Modeling

      Comment


        #4
        I've got a couple of dead switchlincs. I haven't opened them up yet. Do you have a parts list available as well? Thanks.

        Comment


          #5
          Mark:

          Here is my situation. Maybe you can suggest something. I have a 2876S Icon switch that just stays on permanently. If I turn on or off the switch the light doesn't do anything. The LED will work when I turn the switch on or off but does not activate the light. Can you tell me where to look on the switch? There does not seem to be any burns anywhere on the switch. If I try to reset the switch, nothing happens, still always on. Is the switch a goner? Please, any ideas to look for?

          Thanks,
          Steve

          Comment


            #6
            Very interesting. I sent you a PM...

            Did you notify Smarthome of your findings ?

            Joel

            Comment


              #7
              No, not yet. I am going to contact them today. The only problem is that the switch is past the warranty by a couple of months. I know it was an inexpensive switch, but I would like to know why it is doing this. It has happened before with a couple of old switchlinc 2385's. I just trashed them, because they were about 3 years old, way past the warranty.

              By the way, I did not get your PM.

              Steve

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by Jim Fricke View Post
                I've got a couple of dead switchlincs. I haven't opened them up yet. Do you have a parts list available as well? Thanks.
                I did not create a BOM, but my schematics contain many of the part numbers...
                Last edited by mfisher; April 11, 2008, 12:15 PM.
                Best regards,
                -Mark-

                If you're not out on the edge, you're taking up too much room!
                Interested in 3D maps? Check out my company site: Solid Terrain Modeling

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by skozin View Post
                  Mark:

                  Here is my situation. Maybe you can suggest something. I have a 2876S Icon switch that just stays on permanently. If I turn on or off the switch the light doesn't do anything. The LED will work when I turn the switch on or off but does not activate the light. Can you tell me where to look on the switch? There does not seem to be any burns anywhere on the switch. If I try to reset the switch, nothing happens, still always on. Is the switch a goner? Please, any ideas to look for?

                  Thanks,
                  Steve
                  Steve,

                  I'll bet that the triac in the unit has failed in the "shorted" state and you may not see any physical evidence of the failure. I have had many X10 devices over the years that failed in this way. Depending on your electronics skills, you could open the unit up and try replacing the triac. I've not opened an Icon switch but if it's like any of their other switches this will include unsoldering the triac from the PCB, drilling the rivet out (this holds the triac to the aluminum case) and installing a new device. Be sure to replace the triac with the same part number.

                  Good luck!
                  Best regards,
                  -Mark-

                  If you're not out on the edge, you're taking up too much room!
                  Interested in 3D maps? Check out my company site: Solid Terrain Modeling

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Thanks for the advice. I will let you know what Smarthome says about the problem.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by skozin View Post
                      Thanks for the advice. I will let you know what Smarthome says about the problem.
                      Steve, what happened with SH on this?
                      Best regards,
                      -Mark-

                      If you're not out on the edge, you're taking up too much room!
                      Interested in 3D maps? Check out my company site: Solid Terrain Modeling

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Smarthome said that it passed warranty and would not replace the switch. Wasn't worth opening it up and tinkering with the switch and possibly burning down my house. I just tossed it in the garbage.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Thanks for the update.

                          If anyone has dead Smarthome switches, please let me know...
                          Best regards,
                          -Mark-

                          If you're not out on the edge, you're taking up too much room!
                          Interested in 3D maps? Check out my company site: Solid Terrain Modeling

                          Comment

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