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UPB and Floodlights

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    UPB and Floodlights

    I'm going to finish off my UPB interface software and apply it improve the performance of my road floodlights. In essence I want to replicate the functionality of the X10 floodlights where motion detection is reported and On/Off control of lights can be achieved.

    After the repeated babble failure modes of the X10 and Leviton products I implemented a make-shift combination of Home Depot motion sensors, powerflash, and X10 floodlights in a mode where they only use the On/Off control capability.

    My thinking now is to use the IO UPB module where motion detection becomes the input and the output side is connected to a 120V relay to power the lights. I'm looking for design suggestions on the motion input side of this setup and other ideas that may make for a easier/better solution.

    Retro-Reflective Laser sensor

    I've been using this sensor from Banner Engineering for work and to fill my swimming pool:

    It's a little expensive (~$130), but works up to 60 feet. I use them to trigger cameras with traffic, and with two of them you can even sense the direction of traffic (turn the light on when you pull into the driveway, off when you pull out).


      What makes these different than one such as a visonic or even the basic one that comes from the local hardware store?


        rocco - what is a motion sensor used to help with filling your swimming pool? Did you mean to secure your swimming pool?


          Originally posted by Michael McSharry
          What makes these different than one such as a visonic or even the basic one that comes from the local hardware store?
          It uses a laser beam that is polarized and modulated. That means that it is immune to sunlight or reflections. It will only recognize it's own beam, reflected off of a corner-cube prism reflector. It will not be confused by chrome bumpers, windows or mirrors.
          Originally posted by smoothtlk
          rocco - what is a motion sensor used to help with filling your swimming pool? Did you mean to secure your swimming pool?
          I use it to sense the water level. The last zone of my RainBird is set for twenty minutes, and fills the pool each night. I mounted a retro-reflector on one of the pool tiles at the water line, and point the laser beam at the desired water level on the reflector (from across the yard). This unit is wired between the RainBird and the valve, and shuts off the valve when the water touches the beam.


            Great idea Rocco!
            Martin Custer


              Martin, you embarrased my UPS guy by using FedEx packaging and a UPS label.

              First look feedback on UPB modules...

              The primary configuration software is UPStart which is free from Simply Automated. It has a very professional feel to it which is in contrast with the Insteon software. This reflects the maturity and dedicated focus to the product.

              While slick to the user interface, the automation support is not at the same maturity. The UMI I/O module was not included in the export record documentation and the link names were skewed with each export. I emailed through standard channels about the bugs and incomplete documentation. We will see how responsive they are.

              The UPStart software has some built-in functional test capability so you can test if a switch works. It has no functional test support for the I/O module. It does provide good tools for the analysis of transmission and signal noise.

              I was surprised to hear a buzzing each time the Processor Interface Module (PIM) was addressed. It sounded much like an X10 dimmer hum, but only lasted for the duration of the communication.

              The I/O and PIM module both have a solid feel of a quality construction. The I/O module is very flexible as to the types of inputs it can accept and the data sheet with it provided clear instructions on how to connect each type. For example it can do the telephone ring detect, line-level audiio detect, dry contact, voltage sense and current sense.

              I tested the I/O <--> PIM signal quality going between two locations for which X10 cannot span. I had no problems at all with a 94 to 96 quality level. I was surprised that the level dropped 20 points at the PIM and 10 points at the I/O when I plugged the standard 5 Amp X10 filter into the same circuit to which the PIM was connected. The PIM was not connected to the filter, but was in parallel on the same line about 10 ft apart. If I had more filters I would test to see if this is a one-time loss or if it is incremental
              Last edited by Michael McSharry; July 21, 2005, 11:50 PM.


                The UPB Homebrew Motion Floodlight project is completed. Since the UPB IO module has multiple inputs I also replaced my Mail Guard/Powerflash combination with one of the UPB inputs.

                I had a Visonic motion detector on the shelf for two years so it finally found a good home. The sensor Rocco pointed out is attractive, but the bird in the hand did the job quite well as it was protected from most environmental effects.

                The UPB protocol was also quite nice with respect to acknowledgements. An ack comes from the PIM to confirm that the PIM accepted the command and one comes from the IO module that confrims it received the PIM's command. The IO Module to PIM only consumes one bit time on the powerline. I have a lot of error checking and timeouts in the software, but I'll guess that these paths will rarely, if ever, be executed. Unlike the X10 interface, the UPB has a very good software-level interface and protocol.

                When I pulled the IO module out of the wall socket during testing and then later replaced I was surprised to see that the relay output retained its last state. This means that during power outages the UPB IO nterface will continue to maintain its outputs.

                Another very nice feature is that each of the three inputs and two outputs contain a small green led on the face to indicate their state. No need to get the multimeter out to do testing. Just a simple glance at the module will show its input and output state.
                Attached Files


                  I've good results with the Visonic SPY motion sensor in this configuration and now I'm trying to add a second motion sensor in the same manner. I have a DSC Bravo3 that shows a wiring configurtion as:

                  Alarm Contacts 100ma 24vdc and the picture shows a 10 ohm, 0.25w resistor between the NC and common terminals of the motion sensor.

                  When I connect it up to the UPB input as a dry contact with a length of about 50 ft of Cat5 between the two, the UPB module usually (but not always) reads the inactive (NC) state as an open rather than as a closed contact. I have the option on the UPB as a voltage rather than dry contact input.

                  What is the typical security system inerface to these wired motion sensors? Do I need to provide some form of load between the NC & common? Is the 50ft of cat5 causing me a problem with this type of interface?