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musictappy
2008-07-20, 16:36
Hi Everyone,

I have an issue that I am trying to resolve. I have a Duet, and am running version 7.0.1 - 19705 of Squeeze Center. I initially installed the Duet wireless, (server computer wired to router, wireless connection to Duet receiver) but was having occasional problems getting it to properly play flac files. It would work about 80% of the time, but there were times when it would not be able to find my library, or would stop playing. I figured I was having interference issues, since I can pick up about 4 other networks in my house. I decided to try a set of homeplugs to see if it would work better (Netgear HDX101). I now have the system set up ad hoc using the homeplugs. It seems to work much better now, as I have not had any dropouts in days.

My question though is about the Network Test in Squeeze Center. When I was running wireless, I would get very good Network Test results at the 1500 kbps rate (most were over 100% with just a few at 90%.) With this result, I was still getting dropouts though. With the homeplugs, when I run the 1500 kbps Network Test, my average reading is 40%, with quite a few lower than this. I do not hit 100% at all, yet my flac music files seem to work better.

I know I should be worrying about the final result (how it works), but if this homeplug setup is not going to work well in the long run, I want to be able to return them and not waste the money. Has anyone else seen this type of situation, and is it indeed cause for concern?

Thanks for the input.

Pat

exile
2008-07-20, 18:11
I can't say I've ever done an official test with my netgear powerline xe102's but I can attest to the fact that I have virtually perfect connections on my three slimboxes-all of them connected via powerline. I've had this setup running consistently for about six months.

musictappy
2008-07-21, 09:43
Thanks for the reply, I am hoping that will be the case in my situation. I am a bit troubled by the crummy network test numbers that I am seeing, but it is working better than wireless so far. I hope I don't run into problems in the future.

I would be curious to hear others experiences also.

Thanks, and keep the music playing!

Pat

seanadams
2008-07-21, 14:38
If your homeplug adaptors are on opposing power line phases, then you may be able to get a vast improvement by making some minor changes to the wiring in your breaker panel.

To figure out if they're on the same phase, first identify the breakers for the outlets that the homeplug adaptors are connected to.

Then measure with an AC voltmeter across two of those breakers*. If you get about 0V, they are on the same phase (good). If you get about 240V, they are on different phases. To change the phase that a circuit is on, swap it with the wire going to the breaker immediately below it. (miniature "dual" breakers count as the same breaker here).

Swap wires as needed until all circuits powering homeplug devices measure 0V against each other. An electrician can do this for you in a few minutes.

* you can also figure it out visually by counting spaces, but using a voltmeter is faster and more reliable.

pfarrell
2008-07-21, 15:13
seanadams wrote:
> To figure out if they're on the same phase, first identify the breakers
> for the outlets that the homeplug adaptors are connected to.
>
> Then measure with an AC voltmeter across two of those breakers*.

If you don't know what you are doing, please hire a qualified
electrician to do what Sean suggests.

Sticking random probes into live power is not a good idea.

--
Pat Farrell
http://www.pfarrell.com/

bigfool1956
2008-07-22, 07:25
If your homeplug adaptors are on opposing power line phases, then you may be able to get a vast improvement by making some minor changes to the wiring in your breaker panel.

To figure out if they're on the same phase, first identify the breakers for the outlets that the homeplug adaptors are connected to.

Then measure with an AC voltmeter across two of those breakers*. If you get about 0V, they are on the same phase (good). If you get about 240V, they are on different phases. To change the phase that a circuit is on, swap it with the wire going to the breaker immediately below it. (miniature "dual" breakers count as the same breaker here).

Swap wires as needed until all circuits powering homeplug devices measure 0V against each other. An electrician can do this for you in a few minutes.

* you can also figure it out visually by counting spaces, but using a voltmeter is faster and more reliable.

This is only relevant if the OP is in North America, in the UK and the rest of Europe virtually no homes have 2 or 3 phases connected, and if they do the cross-phase voltage will be around 440V - which is extremely hazardous. Fingers out!

simbo
2008-07-22, 07:46
This is only relevant if the OP is in North America, in the UK and the rest of Europe virtually no homes have 2 or 3 phases connected, and if they do the cross-phase voltage will be around 440V - which is extremely hazardous. Fingers out!
If musictappy could tell us where he/she is it would help. I know of a good tweak to UK-based HDX101's that can have a dramatic impact on performance.

On a similar note, my SB3 mains adaptor has a detrimental impact on the performance of my Homeplug network. Admittedly I haven't had the same issue with my Duets adaptors.

andynormancx
2008-07-22, 07:53
I know of a good tweak to UK-based HDX101's that can have a dramatic impact on performance.

Do tell, I have a set of HDX101s sat in their box because they are hopeless on my mains.

seanadams
2008-07-22, 07:56
This is only relevant if the OP is in North America,[...]

Can't you tell by his accent?

simbo
2008-07-22, 08:07
Do tell, I have a set of HDX101s sat in their box because they are hopeless on my mains.
Oh, seeing that you've asked. Full details here (http://forum1.netgear.com/showthread.php?t=7895), but here's the rundown:

These devices can be accessed remotely (there's even a web UI if you enable it!). One of the settings on there is for "notches". This is, in effect, something enabled for UK boxes that ensures it complies with European radio interferance laws. Switching this option off will probably improve performance (possibly by as much as 50%) but could upset your CB-radio-weilding neighbours. I, of course, do not condone such actions. ;-)

st2lemans
2008-07-22, 08:08
>> This is only relevant if the OP is in North America, in the UK and the
>> rest of Europe virtually no homes have 2 or 3 phases connected, and if
>> they do the cross-phase voltage will be around 440V - which is
>> extremely hazardous. Fingers out!
In Switzerland virtually all homes are connected to 3-phase. Voltage
difference between phases is 380V. Different rooms are often on
different phases. My kitchen actually has outlets on three different
phases, as I kept blowing the breaker when I tried to run the microwave,
deepfryer, fridges, etc. all on one phase.

Tom

bigfool1956
2008-07-22, 08:44
>>In Switzerland virtually all homes are connected to 3-phase. Voltage difference between phases is 380V. Different rooms are often on different phases. My kitchen actually has outlets on three different phases, as I kept blowing the breaker when I tried to run the microwave, deepfryer, fridges, etc. all on one phase.

Tom

OK, I stand corrected about Switzerland. I have to say that (apart from specifically designed 3-phase sockets for cookers etc) having outlets on different phases in the same room is risky at best, and AFAIK illegal in the UK. Reason: because you can have two phases within touching distance, in the unlikely but possible event you have a fault in two appliances you can get 380-440V straight through you. That tends to be one's final mistake!

I guess in the US you need three phase supplies to stop high power appliances, such as ovens and washers, from drawing enourmous current, by upping the voltage.

pfarrell
2008-07-22, 09:03
bigfool1956 wrote:
> I guess in the US you need three phase supplies to stop high power
> appliances, such as ovens and washers from drawing emourmous current,
> by upping the voltage.

In the US, real three phase is only in industrial systems. I've never
seen it in a house.

In US homes, they run 240 AC in, and split it for most of the outlets,
lights, etc. So you run 240/2 or 120V for domestic stuff, with 240 V
only for heavy appliances like clothes dryers, electric stoves, and
water heaters.

As you say, with twice the voltage, the wires only carry half the
current for the same power.


--
Pat Farrell
http://www.pfarrell.com/

sgard9
2008-07-22, 09:22
Actually the typical U.S. home and small business does not have 2 or 3
phase AC power. What we typically and incorrectly refer to as two
phase power, or the two phases in our AC breaker panels is really a
split single phase 240 VAC service. It would be appropriate to refer
to this system as a 3-wire, single phase, mid-point neutral system.

-- Scott --


On Jul 22, 2008, at 8:44 AM, bigfool1956 wrote:

>
>
> I guess in the US you need three phase supplies to stop high power
> appliances, such as ovens and washers from drawing emourmous current,
> by upping the voltage.
>
>
> --
> bigfool1956
>
> David Ayers
> Music is what counts, hifi just helps us enjoy it more
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> bigfool1956's Profile: http://forums.slimdevices.com/member.php?userid=13782
> View this thread: http://forums.slimdevices.com/showthread.php?t=50082
>
>

musictappy
2008-07-22, 09:56
If it helps, I am in North America - El Paso, Texas to be precise. Thanks for the responses, the HDX101s are working so far, despite the crummy readings on the network test. As long as it plays properly, I'm happy. I just hope it keeps working!

Pat

Goodsounds
2008-07-22, 10:29
I'm not a technical person, but I think some of the previous comments have been a bit misleading. Please allow me to stick my nose in to offer some observations, and thanks in advance for any corrections to my contribution:

"having outlets on different phases in the same room is risky"

This is standard practice in the US for residential wiring, for places like kitchens with higher demands. Typically each "box" is on one lead, so that the different phases would be completely separate (different wiring to different boxes). Among other reasons, this is done for load balancing - you want the fridge on a different line than the electric range, for example.

"I guess in the US you need three phase supplies to stop high power appliances, such as ovens and washers"

Historically, things like clothes washers in the US might be described as using less power than European ones, despite the size difference. Mostly because European ones have always had water heating functions, while US ones were only motors and pumps. That is changing as Euro- and world-designed models become more common in the US, so that water heating functions are becoming more common in washers sold in the US.

"In US homes, they run 240 AC in, and split it for most of the outlets"

I think US drops are all 110 - a house gets two wires, each 110, which are 220 if put together. Not split in the house as far as I know.

"In the US, real three phase is only in industrial systems"

Well, this is ok but a bit misleading. Most (maybe all?) US electical distribution is 3 phases from the power plant. Look at transmission towers, normally you see the distribution wires in sets of 3. Most residential neighborhood distribution is two phases only. But this is still "real three phase" electricity distibution, to use your words, but often just two phases in a given neighborhood. Sometimes all three phases lead into an area, and then the phases are paired in the different combinations for sub-areas, again for load balancing. Commercial/industrial locations usually get three drops, sometimes it's needed for certain equipment, otherwise it's just to accomodate the higher load.

pfarrell
2008-07-22, 10:38
Goodsounds wrote:
> "In the US, real three phase is only in industrial systems"
>
> Well, this is ok but a bit misleading. Most (maybe all?) US electical
> distribution is 3 phases from the power plant. Look at transmission
> towers, normally you see the distribution wires in sets of 3. Most
> residential neighborhood distribution is two phases only. But this is
> still "real three phase" electricity distibution, to use your words,
> but often just two phases in a given neighborhood. Sometimes all three
> phases lead into an area, and then the phases are paired in the
> different combinations for sub-areas, again for load balancing.

If its owned and covered by the Power company, sounds industrial to me.

More precisely, I've never seen a US residential setup with three phase.
Once you head into the homeowner's land, its not three phase. What it is
out on the power pole before the step down transformers is pure "thar be
dragons" for me.

Someone up thread said that US domestic is not really two phase, its one
phase split, 120V per leg. I've heard this same distinction made by
Power EE's. I know that in a three phase system, there are three signals
that are pi/3 out of phase. In the domestic setting, there is no phase
shift at all.

But for me, this is academic. I just hire a professional electrician to
do this stuff.



--
Pat Farrell
http://www.pfarrell.com/

Goodsounds
2008-07-22, 10:43
Amen brother.

seanadams
2008-07-22, 11:04
"having outlets on different phases in the same room is risky"

This is standard practice in the US for residential wiring, for places like kitchens with higher demands. Typically each "box" is on one lead, so that the different phases would be completely separate (different wiring to different boxes). Among other reasons, this is done for load balancing - you want the fridge on a different line than the electric range, for example.


It also saves wire. A single 12/3 cable (2 hots, 1 neutral, and ground) can carry twice as much power as a 12/2 (1 hot, 1 neutral, and ground). The netural only needs to carry the difference between the current on the two hots. In effect, you transmit 100% more power for only 33% more copper.

Sharing a neutral has a significant safety risk which is that a break in the neutral wire can cause one leg or the other to get pulled up towards 240V.

Browny
2008-07-22, 14:20
My testing has found that the power supply for the SB3 (a switcher?) sprays RF on the mains and drops the throughput on the Homeplug adapters when plugged into the same socket as the SB3.

Have mananged to switch the SB3 power to a different spur from the fusebox - this is now working fine.

Food for thought??

bigfool1956
2008-07-22, 18:34
My testing has found that the power supply for the SB3 (a switcher?) sprays RF on the mains and drops the throughput on the Homeplug adapters when plugged into the same socket as the SB3.

Have mananged to switch the SB3 power to a different spur from the fusebox - this is now working fine.

Food for thought??

See now here's another thing, because in the UK we use ring mains as standard, which wikipedia implies is pretty unique. This means we shouldn't have 'spurs', and it should actually be quite hard to find another socket in the same room that is not on the same ring. However DIY rewiring (maybe a previous owner) can change that situation. Generally though using a different socket in the same room of a UK house is identical to using the same socket.

On the point of 3 phase in the same room, obviously in the US the potential even across two phases is less than the potential on a single phase in Europe. Should be approximately 200V assuming each phase is 110V. Yes it can be fatal, but usually it isn't. 400V on the other hand is survivable, but the odds are considerably less (been there, done that, and boy does it hurt).

Going back to OP's original point, and adding to Sean's post, homeplugs don't like electricity meters, and if you really have two lines in to the house, however they are arranged, then the path from one line to the other is likely to pass through the meter, which would have a significant effect. In that case changing in the way Sean described would have a benefit.

Goodsounds
2008-07-22, 19:56
I remember fondly days past by when I too lived between Southhampton and Vienna. I visited the UK pretty regularly, and was amused to learn about the electical practices that were so different from the US AND so different from continental Europe - fused plugs, switched sockets, etc. Don't know if it was right or wrong, but I was told at the time that the British approach was cheaper and perhaps not as good (for reasons not mentioned to me).

My two SB3s work great wirelessly, so I have no homeplug experience. The crossover between the circuits is an interesting question, and I wonder if someone who knows something about it could say if it is feasible to make a homeplug connection across two circuits not on the same feed. In the US, does the connection done for a 220 circuit (like for an electric dryer) afford a pathway for the homeplug signal?

simbo
2008-07-23, 00:03
I'm running Homeplugs between downstairs (where the router is) and upstairs (where the home PC is), as with all UK houses they're on different circuits (i.e. separate fuses on the circuit board), and they work fine. Mind you, we have one of those old fashioned fuseboxes with bakelite fuse cases and graded wire. Not sure Id be so successful on RCDs.

bigfool1956
2008-07-23, 06:12
In most UK houses you will be fine with homeplugs anywhere in the house, bacause all the ring mains are joined at the consumer unit.

seanadams
2008-07-23, 08:24
The crossover between the circuits is an interesting question, and I wonder if someone who knows something about it could say if it is feasible to make a homeplug connection across two circuits not on the same feed. In the US, does the connection done for a 220 circuit (like for an electric dryer) afford a pathway for the homeplug signal?

X10 devices have the same problem, albeit at much lower frequencies. And indeed, turning on an electric dryer or range (causing the load to create a path between the two phases) is a good way to test whether signal integrity could be improved by a coupling device. Often just a capacitor is all you need. You can get "passive couplers" that plug into a dryer outlet, like this: http://www.smarthome.com/4816a2.html

They might help with homeplug too. Unless you install such a coupler, the signals have to get across either by capacitive coupling in the wiring and breaker panels, or perhaps by making it all the way back to the distribution transformer. That doesn't work very well for X10, and I'd expect it to work even worse for homeplug.

cparker
2008-07-23, 09:26
See now here's another thing, because in the UK we use ring mains as standard, which wikipedia implies is pretty unique. This means we shouldn't have 'spurs', and it should actually be quite hard to find another socket in the same room that is not on the same ring. However DIY rewiring (maybe a previous owner) can change that situation. Generally though using a different socket in the same room of a UK house is identical to using the same socket.

While we are talking electrics....
The latest regs for elecs in the UK are pushing towards radial rather than ring circuits. The advantage of the ring main is that the load is reduced on the wire (ie. the chances of it going up in flames ;) as the power can go either way around the ring, to that meaty 5kw fan heater.

You will normally have a number of radial circuits already, one for your hot water cyclinder, one to your cooker etc. So its not that much different and is cheaper for house builders companies.

A spur takes its power from a ring main, so its affectively part of a ring main, though you shouldnt spur from a spur unless you fuse it correctly.

Note builders being builders, if you have an extension added to your house, rather than rip up the floor to continue the ring main, they will look in the ceiling and drop a spur from your upstairs ring main, so one end of your room may indeed be on a different ring main.

Finally dont forget the Part P "gravy train", that you need to be registered to be messing with some of your electrics anyway.. Though when you move house normally the most you will be asked to have done by the mortgage company is a visual check of the consumer unit if you dont have a certificate.

Anyway regarding wireless v homeplug.. I didnt notice any difference myself, apart from the extra flashing from the network port keeps me awake :)

peter
2008-07-25, 02:18
bigfool1956 wrote:
>
> This is only relevant if the OP is in North America, in the UK and the
> rest of Europe virtually no homes have 2 or 3 phases connected, and if
> they do the cross-phase voltage will be around 440V - which is
> extremely hazardous. Fingers out!
>

I live in Holland (Europe) and I had two phases in my previous home.
I couldn't use my X10 modules in most of the house.

Regards,
Peter

bobkoure
2008-07-26, 06:59
My testing has found that the power supply for the SB3 (a switcher?) sprays RF on the mains and drops the throughput on the Homeplug adapters when plugged into the same socket as the SB3.
Seems like it'd be easiest to just replace that PS with a non-switcher.

I started out a few years ago (well, ten or so) not wanting to throw away the PSs on some gear I was discarding. So I started a box. About five years ago it grew into an exchange - my neighbors (I live in a cohousing community) bring me their old PSs - and if they need one for something they come rummage through my crates... so I may be overstating the ease of finding a non-switching PS.

Milhouse
2008-07-26, 08:26
For UK owners, I found this old (http://forums.slimdevices.com/showthread.php?p=81254#post81254) forum thread which recommends a regulated 5V (1500ma) linear PSU (http://cpc.farnell.com/PW00187/batteries-power-supplies/product.us0?sku=unbranded-ad-05150r) from CPC for 14.51 ex VAT - seems like it might be worth a punt if the standard switched PSU puts so much noise back onto the mains. Note that the CPC linear supply is substantially bigger than the standard PSU!

Phil Leigh
2008-07-26, 23:34
For UK owners, I found this old (http://forums.slimdevices.com/showthread.php?p=81254#post81254) forum thread which recommends a regulated 5V (1500ma) linear PSU (http://cpc.farnell.com/PW00187/batteries-power-supplies/product.us0?sku=unbranded-ad-05150r) from CPC for 14.51 ex VAT - seems like it might be worth a punt if the standard switched PSU puts so much noise back onto the mains. Note that the CPC linear supply is substantially bigger than the standard PSU!

That's the one I use...it just works.

bobkoure
2008-07-28, 19:08
And that one's not a switching power supply? Or does the "linear" part mean it's nicer to the power on your mains?

andynormancx
2008-07-29, 02:50
And that one's not a switching power supply? Or does the "linear" part mean it's nicer to the power on your mains?

The linear bit tells you that it isn't a switch mode power supply.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Power_supply#Linear_power_supply

Phil Leigh
2008-07-29, 07:01
And that one's not a switching power supply? Or does the "linear" part mean it's nicer to the power on your mains?

It is a linear with a large transformer in it...