Below is a list of some of the most frequently asked questions we recieve about UPB.
If you don't see the answer you are looking for, please contact PLLC directly.


#1 QUESTION:
"Any tips about preparing for a UPB installation ?"

ANSWER:
1.    Make sure all your UPB devices have been put into Default Mode first.
2.    Do a test using UPSTART on all 3 x phases
3.    If a 3 x phase site…use the 3 x phase repeater
4.    Use one (1) one UPB device at the furthest point of each phase…alternatively use a special purpose SLAVETEST MOD, with a 240V plug ready for immediate use by plugging into a 240V GPO…record the signal strength
5.    When doing these initial tests…try to turn on what appliances that you can e.g.……Air-conditioning …..all Lights….Drills…Solar…etc etc and most important “Check” that all phases are clean with no recorded “NOISE!”…
6.    If any phase has too much noise, try to isolate the device generating the noise and remove
7.    All 3 x Phase air conditioners, please insert the PLLC “conditioner”, at the output of the A/C invertors
8.    Make sure your PIM is in Pulse mode…can be done on UPSTART
9.   Make sure your Signal to PIM (At the Powerline Interface) is high…see Illustration below
10.  DO NOT have your dimmer set at LOW Sensitivity… this is only for USA applications
11.  When configuring your UPB devices, be careful not to set “OFF” to 100%...must be set to 0%

 


MORE GENERAL QUESTIONS:

1. What is Universal Powerline Bus (UPB™)?
2. What are the technical differences between UPB™ and X10?
3. Do these technical differences make UPB™ better than X10?
4. Why is UPB™ better than RF-based communication?
5. Do all UPB™ products require a Neutral wire?
6. What are "Scenes" and how does UPB™ address them?
7. What are "Links"?
8. How many devices can be used in a single system and will my neighbor's UPB™ devices interfere
with my system?
9. Who invented UPB™?
10. How long has UPB™ been available?


1. What is Universal Powerline Bus (UPB™)?
UPB™ is a highly reliable, cost effective, 2-way communications technology that enables lighting control products to utilize existing powerlines to communicate for both residential and commercial applications.

2. What are the technical differences between UPB™ and X10?
Although both technologies use standard powerlines to communicate, the technical approaches are significantly different. Compare UPB™ and X10™ yourself.

First, X10 uses a single fixed frequency to communicate, which means if there's noise on the line at that specific frequency, you'll have intermittent reliability issues, because the signal has to fight the noise to get to its destination. UPB™ utilizes a Pulse-based communications method called Pulse Position Modulation (PPM) that has a range of frequencies to communicate with, which means it can select the cleanest path to send the signal across the powerlines. The end result is much faster and reliable communications.

In addition, there is a difference in voltage strength: X10 is 4volts at its strongest level; UPB™ is 40 volts - 10 times stronger. This additional strength provides a bigger pulse on the powerline, which results in better reliability (especially when the signal is communicating over longer distances.) The bigger the wave, the longer it can travel.

Another difference between the two technologies is that the length of the transmission packet is longer for UPB™, which allows for more data to be communicated over the same pulse. The UPB™ packet is 4-times longer than the X10 and is generated 5 times faster. The increase in speed will make UPB™ installations more responsive than X10, which results in better reliability and a better overall user experience.

Last, UPB™ is a 2-way communication protocol, whereas X10 is primarily one-way. 2-way communication allows for the system to verify that that the communication has been successfully received, which significantly increases the reliability.

3. Do these technical differences make UPB™ better than X10?
UPB™'s communications over the powerline are much more reliable than X10. Because UPB™ uses Pulse Position Modulation (PPM), it can choose the clearest path of communications. This reduces the total cost of deploying a controlled lighting system, because it works after the first installation. This decreases the number of service calls, and eliminates intermittent reliability issues. Most X10 installations require the use of filters and repeaters to address intermittent communications and reliability issues.

4. Why is UPB™ better than RF-based communication?
Although very reliable, RF-based automation has certain limitations. First, the radio waves are easily obstructed by physical structures i.e. radio waves do not travel through brick or steel. This can be compensated for, but requires multiple repeaters throughout the structure to assure reliable signal strength, which can make an RF system very expensive. Second, radio transmitters must be placed in plain site for optimal signal strength. Unfortunately, they are not always aesthetically pleasing, and often conflict with the décor of the home.

5. Do all UPB™ products require a Neutral wire?
Yes. The Wall Mount Dimmers and Keypad Controllers require a Neutral wire for normal operation. The plug in modules plug into a standard wall outlet which automatically has the ground connection.


6. What are "Scenes" and how does UPB™ address them?
"Scene" is a term used in the lighting control industry to describe specific lighting events. For example you can create a 'movie scene' in your home theater or a 'dining scene' in your dining room. When the appropriate scene is programmed and selected, UPB™ transmits the scene command on the powerline and has the appropriate lights respond by going to proper level. No central controller is required (X10 requires a central controller.)


7. What are "Links"?
"Links" is a UPB™ term to describe the channel of communications that 'link' transmitters and receivers in a lighting communications system. Once one or more Links have been opened, the device listens for an action that is acted upon based on the system program (i.e. dim the room, turn the lights on or off, etc.) the resulting program. Because of the 'link' structure of UPB™, no controller is required.


8. How many devices can be used in a single system and will my neighbor's UPB™ devices interfere with my system?
During the UPB™ system setup a unique network address is assigned per home. This network address is specific to the home assigned and keeps outside systems from conflicting. UPB™ can support up to 250 loads per network address and up to 250 network addresses per power transformer. This compares to X10, which can support a total of 256 loads per transformer.


9. Who invented UPB™?
Powerline Control Systems (PCS) has been developing UPB™ for over seven years. PCS has been awarded a total of two patents for their innovation, and have three additional patents pending. Prior to releasing its first product line incorporating UPB™, PCS performed a two-year, real world residential customer trial. This trial uncovered opportunities for product and reliability improvements, which were incorporated into the final product designs. The resulting product line, PulseWorx, is the most robust, reliable powerline communications product available today.


10. How long has UPB™ been available?
UPB™ has been in development since 1999, but has been deployed in commercially available products
since 2002.

 

 

 

 

 

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