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Problem with PCS UPB repeater and SA Gen 1 switches - how to work around?

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  • Problem with PCS UPB repeater and SA Gen 1 switches - how to work around?

    I have close to 100 of the Gen 1 SA switches. 1 main panel and 4 sub panels in a 10K sq ft house. I was getting occasional communication issues from one far end of the power network to the other, despite having couplers in all panels. So I bought an SPR-1 repeater, and replaced the coupler in the main panel with it.

    Then Upstart stopped seeing about 30 of my 100 devices, reporting no communication when verifying the network.

    I got in touch with a PCS expert, and he told me that the problem is likely not actual signal propagation, but that the Gen 1 SA switches don't respond as expected to repeated signals, as sent (repeated) from the SPR-1 repeater. Specifically, the repeated message is marked as "message copy 2", but when the SA devices reply, they mark their response as being in response to "message copy 1", which the repeater (and Upstart) ignores, since it thinks the device is responding to a different message.

    The simplest fix I can think of would be to move my PIM to the center of the network, instead of the periphery where it is now (in the basement next to my HS server). The problem is, the center of the network, i.e. the main panel, is in a separate building about 150 feet away.

    So my question(s):

    1. Is there a way to relocate a PIM to a place remote from the HS server? For instance, I could easily add another PC near the main panel, and perhaps somehow route the UPB commands from my basement server through ethernet to this auxiliary PC, where it would deliver the signal to a PIM at that location?

    2. Is there some other way to game this system, perhaps playing with the messaging to hack that all messages are "message copy 1"?

    Any advice appreciated,

    Jerry


  • #2
    Have you considered the PCS Gateway? It connects by IP, so it likely can be located anywhere you have a (wired) network connection.

    I'm not sure this plug-in supports it, but I believe Spuds plug-in does.
    Mike____________________________________________________________ __________________
    HS3 Pro Edition 3.0.0.548

    HW: Stargate | NX8e | CAV6.6 | Squeezebox | PCS | WGL 800RF, Rain8Net+ | RFXCOM | QSE100D | Vantage Pro | Green-Eye | X10: XTB-232, -IIR | Edgeport/8 | Way2Call | Ecobee3

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    • #3
      You could also extend the UPB PIM up to 300 feet away (serially).

      I have done serial wire runs here close to 150 feet using Cat5e cabling and RJ-45 to RJ12 or RS232 connectors.

      In the 1990's used black box repeaters for serial connections relating to automotive logistics and airline freight terminals (serial terminals, printers et al) and used catXX to extend twinax connections.



      I continue to utilize UPB today here and have placed multiple PIMs connected to serial to ethernet devices in the attic, 2nd floor and main floor mostly to check signals. Three main UPB PIMs today connect for automation and sit adjacent to the fuse panel with separate breakers for each one. A bit over the top though.

      Testing a small commercial style 433Mhz 1 watt serial modem today that will work up to 8Km. This would work for you if you did not have any ethernet cabling by your main panel.
      - Pete

      Auto mator
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      X10, UPB, Zigbee, ZWave and Wifi MQTT automation.

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      • #4
        Both of these are excellent suggestions, and fit my application.

        Since Michael's suggestion involved another $300 piece of equipment that I would be using essentially as a distant PIM, I went with Pete's solution, slightly modified. The modification was that the Cat-5 cable from my basement server location to the garage main panel wasn't terminated with RJ-45s yet, so I just individually connected the conductors. The first questions I had was how a 9-pin DB9 cable signal could be sent on an 8-conductor Cat-5. I figured out that pin 9 isn't used. So I cannibalized a DB9 serial cable, and luckily the conductors were color coded, so first I used a continuity tester to figure out which color was on pin 9. Then I simply matched which colors on the DB9 I connected to which colors on the Cat-5 cable at each end of the operation.

        The PIM works fine with about a 200' serial connection over Cat-5 wiring. I uninstalled the repeater SPR-1, and replaced it in the main panel with a phase coupler. All completed, I get adequate signal strength from the PIM to every device in the network. Problem solved!

        Thanks Pete - brilliant solution!

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