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Troubleshooting RF Communication Issue in LumInsight DT Network (KB1327)

The TOP900 and EMB900/901 are 900 MHz RF devices.  RF communication is not perfect so it is not uncommon to have issues with RF communication during parts of the day. 
 
You may have RF communication problems to a device in the morning, but you might be able to communicate to the device later in the day or the next day.  The LumInsight DT (LDT), formally called LumeStar, control network is designed to handle periodic RF communication issues.  If there are no day-light time changes, you will probably not notice any scheduling issue even if there has been no RF communication for 2 week (the schedule will be off by a minute or two).
 
LDT should be running 24/7. LDT will then broadcast the schedule and current timestamp to all devices every night.  When you start LDT, it will also broadcast the schedule and current timestamp to all devices. LDT periodically sends the current timestamp periodically (default: every 10-30 minutes).
 
Even with good communication, it not uncommon for a request to a device to fail.  For example, if you try to read the devices Voltage /Current / Power /Power Factor and that fails try at least two more times before considering it an RF communication issue.  In general, you want to see at least 3 request failures before saying there is a RF issue.
 
Configuring some devices as repeater can improve RF communication to device that can't be reached directly from a Gateway or Base Station.  Try not to use too many repeaters as that can negatively affect RF communication.  Most car dealerships have no repeaters or at most 1-2 repeaters. 
 
If RF communication seems to work during the night but not during the day then the light power may be on a timer.  Even on sites where all lights are supposed to be powered 24/7 we have found that someone had re-wired the power on some lights so that they were in fact on timers.
 
LQI: Measures the quality of the RF Communication
255 = Maximum value
150 = Minimum suggested for a Repeater
30 = Minimum needed for good communication
1 - 29 = may still have limited communication
 
Testing RF communication:
1. Run RF range test
    - Right-click the device, group or Network node in the LDT tree and select “Diagnostic > RF Range Test”.
 
2. Run Poll test
    - Right-click the device, group or Network node in the LDT tree and select “Diagnostic > Poll Device(s)”.
3. If both RF Range test and Poll tests pass then RF communication is probably good enough.
   a. Even with both RF test and Poll test working it doesn’t necessarily mean that Energy download works. Go to step 6.
   b. It is possible that RF test works and Poll fails, or vice versa.  This could happen as the RF range test and poll tests send packets of different sizes.  If this constantly happens then the RF communication may be marginal.  That is, some data may get through but not all communication. Try adding a repeater to improve performance. 
 
4. Make a nearby device a temporary repeater – if marginal or no RF communication
  a. Use the LDT mapping function to see nearby devices
  b. Look for a device nearby that has a LQI of 150 or greater.
  c. Make the nearby device a temporary repeater
     i. LDT Map (5.20.11+) - Use the Set Operating Parameters
         - Check the Repeat Message checkbox and click Set Operational Parameter button.
     ii. LDT tree view
         - Right-click the device and select Set Parameters > Set Operating Parameters
         - Check the Repeat Message checkbox and click Set Operational Parameter button.
  d. Try steps 1 and 2 again. 
- If you still can't get it to work go to step 5.
-If you can now communicate to the devices
    -Check into why the temporary repeater was necessary.
    - Consider making the repeater permanent or make another device a repeater.
    - Go to step 7.
 
5. Use the Diagnostic Menu> RF Range Test (with Explicit Device ID).
    a. If this works then re-commission the device.
        - Note, make sure you write down the Motion and repeating settings first as Decommissioning wipes out these settings.
        - After commissioning, and configure motion and repeating settings
    b. If this still doesn't work, try again tomorrow.  Go to next step 6.
 
6. Look at the Data Log chart or Energy Log Chart for this device and look for Power outages (red Line) or Resets
    a. Download the current Data Log and Energy Log
       - Right-click device and select “Download Data and Energy Logs > Download Data Log
       - Right-click device and select “Download Data and Energy Logs > Download Energy Log
    b. View Data Log Chart
       i. Right-click device and select “View Data and Energy Logs > View Data Log Chart
       ii. Look for:
      - Red lines: these are power outage, periodic red lines indicates power on timer.
      - Dark blue squares: power reset; a lot of resets indicate bad fixture power
    c. If you can’t see the Data Log/Energy Log then enable automatic download, and check the next day.
    d. You may also want to download the Data log from a nearby device and check if shows any issues.
    e. To enable automatic download
       - Go to Setup Menu and select “Setup Menu > System Parameters > Unattended Functions Tab”.
       - Change Daily communication to download Energy or data logger from each device.
        Note,

  • For Car dealerships download data logger. 
  • For cities, you will probably be downloading energy, so only temporarily set to data logger (make sure it is set to energy downloads at least 4 days before end of month).          

   
7. If light is off – TOP900 (EMB)/fixture/Power may be off –breaker test.
    a. This is a two person job, someone to power cycle the pole and someone to visually inspect when power turns on.
    b. Turn the pole power
    c. Turn on
    d. If the lights are supposed to off (Testing during the day like during the day)
        - The light should come on for 1-2 seconds and go to schedule which would be off
    e. If the lights are supposed to off (Testing during the day like during the day)
        - The light should come and stay on at the Dim Level in the group schedule.
        - If brand new installation this should be 100% on, default is photocell with 100% on
        -if was a previously working TOP900, then the light will go to what is set in the schedule
    f. If the light never run turns on then no power is getting to the TOP900 and the Pole power is mostly on a Timer somewhere on the site..
        - If you can communicate to the device at night or the datalogger is working then this usually means power on timer.
    g. If you think there is RF communication sometimes then you could add the device to LumInsight DT and assign it to a group.
       - Not recommended for all sites, contact support@echelon.com for details 
8. If this is a TOP900TLX and you are at the site with an electrician/lift – power reset test
    a. Unscrew TOP900 remove from fixture
    b. Plug the TOP900 and twist on.
    c. If the lights are supposed to off (Testing during the day like during the day)
        - The light should come on for 1-2 seconds and go to schedule which would be off
    d. If the lights are supposed to off (Testing during the day like during the day)
        - The light should come and stay on at the Dim Level in the group schedule.
        - If brand new installation this should be 100% on, default is photocell with 100% on
        -if was a previously working TOP900, then the light will go to what is set in the schedule
   
9. Swap Test, If this is a TOP900TLX and you are at the site with an electrician/lift – Swap TOP900s
    a. If you can swap a known good communicating for the problem device
    b. Does the new TOP900 work?
       - if yes, then it may be the TOP900, try the old TOP900 on a known good fixture
        - If no, then most likely you have a fixture issue.
10. Turn off any temporary repeaters that are not needed
    a. LDT Map - Use the Set Operating Parameters
         - Uncheck the Repeat Message checkbox and click Set Operational Parameter button.
    b. LDT tree view
         - Right-click the device and select Set Parameters > Set Operating Parameters
         - Uncheck the Repeat Message checkbox and click Set Operational Parameter button.

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