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Smarthouse Owners!

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Smarthouse Systems have been obsolete since 1995 - But we still have parts - Conversion to modern technology also available!

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VIDEO - DIY'ers Replace your Obsolete SmartHouse System -
Non-Automated or Automated

 

FREQUENTLY ASKED SMARTHOUSE QUESTIONS

Stewart Electronics

1154 Jordan Road
Lyman SC, 29365

1-864-663-0011

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The long awaited Smarthouse Lighting Adapter plates are now in stock!
This adapter allows fast conversion to modern technology, greatly reducing the time and cost of a conversion. Adapters work with both AMP and Molex lighting systems – all styles!

 Repairs and Conversions available - Click Here for more details

 

 Q. Who is STEWART ELECTRONICS and why do I need their services?

 

A. We are the one of the oldest installing Smarthouse Dealerships and unlike most others, we are still in business to assist owners of Smarthouses. We started installing Smarthouse systems in the early 90’s and are still in the business. However, the Smarthouse system has been out of production since 1995 and the Manufacturers of the parts no longer make or support these systems or parts.

 

 We are a private contractor who owns all the remaining spare parts in the world and can implement repairs (as long as our spare parts last) and can assist you in the conversion of  your Smarthouse to current technology.

 

When you bought your Smarthouse is was state of the art. It is still a fine piece of engineering and can be made to last many years into the future.

 

We can facilitate service at your location as needed, and can work with your choice of local licensed contractors to coordinate the repairs or conversions. State Licensing and regulations will determine the role we can play on your site.

 

Q. Are their other locations where I can get Smarthouse parts or service?

 

A. No! We are now the only location for parts and parts repairs. In addition we don’t know of any other trained service personnel for the AMP or Molex Smarthouse system. However, we will not abuse our position. We provide parts and service at a fair price that allows us to stay in business. We believe that we can provide parts and service to you for many years to come.

 

Q. What role does AMP play today?

 

A. None! At one time they employed a team of technical personnel to support the Smarthouse installs. Since 2001  these services have not been provided by AMP and none of the previous Smarthouse technical staff is employed by AMP. All calls to AMP for Smarthouse service or to speak to one of the previous technical staff are routed to us.

 

Q. What is the warranty for AMP Smarthouse parts and systems?

 

A. All AMP Smarthouse parts and systems are well beyond the warranty coverage period. However, we can still repair many parts/systems for a fee.

Q. What is the best advice for people with Smarthouses?

 

A. Convert your house to current technology (this is not the same as converting your house to conventional electrical). We have had a lot of response to our mailings and this is running us out of Smarthouse replacement parts pretty fast. As our supply of spare parts shrink, the choices narrow and the costs go up. One day we will be out of “workarounds” and the repair option will either not exist or be very expensive.

 

We have a Planning Guide that will help you to determine the costs of converting your smarthouse to conventional technology. When you complete this guide you will have an idea of the cost of parts and labor to do the conversion. Once converted, your house will no longer be a smarthouse and allSmarthouse brand (obsolete) parts will be replaced with modern products available from multiple sources.

And………… Unlike the situation you find yourself in now, where only one firm can implements repairs to your Smarthouse (us), there will be many trained installers from which to choose.

 

 Once converted, you will have modern technology available from multiple sources and local repairmen to do all future service.

 

 You must understand that the task at hand is for us to use your existing Smarthouse wiring to install the modern technology onto. This is more difficult than installers that are already trained in modern techniques wish to tackle. However, once we complete this portion of the conversion, you will have a house that they can maintain.

 

 A word about converting your wiring to conventional electrical……. This is by far the worst and most expensive choice. It involves pulling new cables throughout the home and even repainting and/or putting up new wallpaper!

Q. I want to sell my house. What do I need to know about the Smarthouse Wiring?

 

A. Plenty! The real estate laws in each state clearly indicate that you must divulge the information that your wiring is obsolete before selling the system. Further, you must advise the prospective buyer that fact that the Smarthouse system can only be maintained by a very few people nationwide (us)!

 

 There have already been several instances of Smarthouse owners selling their home without divulging this information and then having lawsuits placed against them and/or the real estate firm. In every instance the homeowner was made to pay all costs to convert the house to conventional technology or conventional electrical (which cost them much more than converting to conventional technology). This may come as bad news, but it is good advice to deal with it before trying to sell the home!

Q. Are there any programs to replace my current Smarthouse system or to do repairs for free?

 

A. No! There was a program that provided free parts and “conversions” of AMP Smarthouses to a more recent technology at a greatly reduced cost. However, these programs ended in 1999. Today, there are no programs available from AMP of any kind. If you were not included in the conversion program, you may contract us to do this conversion. Or, you can purchase the parts from us and have a local contractor do the conversion. The conversion is pretty simple and a single page drawing is all we need to provide to your contractor. We will be glad to quote this service to you.

Q. I have a light that won’t turn on from the light switch (or won’t turn off)

 

A. First, be sure the light bulb is not bad! If the light bulb is OK, then you could have one of several problems. See the next few questions to determine the exact cause of the problem.

Q. I have a light switch that feels like it might be broken or is visibly broken.

 

A. Replacements are available. These switches are low voltage and can be replaced without calling a Licensed Electrician. However we advise you to check with a licensed contractor before starting.

 

 All replacement parts are of the newer style (Gen II) so after selecting the correct replacement switch to order, review the answer to the following questions:

1.        How do I know whether I have Gen I or Gen II style Lighting Blocks

2.        What is required to replace a Gen I block with the newer Gen II style?

 

Q. I have a light that won’t turn on from the light switch (or won’t turn off)

 

A. Solution 2 – If you have a Smarthouse system controller installed, go to the room where it is located and look at the small colored lights on the face of the controller.

1.        Green Light – System is OK and chances are the light blocks are all OK. If the light switch is probably the problem.

2.        Yellow Light – System in Warning. You could have one or more bad blocks.

·        Removing AC power for a brief period of time may restore your light to full operation. See instructions on removing power listed below.  - Or -

·        Block replacement is most likely fix, but there could be other problems. See discussions about replacing and tickling blocks.

3.        Red Light – Major Failure. The entire system is down and any lights that still work from the switch will not be able to run a timed schedule or be operated from a wall mounted LCD keypad or from the Homeview software program.

·        You will need a service visit. Call us at 1-864-663-0014 to discuss.

 

CYCLING THE POWER

First try to remove the AC power to the system controller and wait a few minutes before restoring it.

Next, try to remove the AC power feeding the bad block.

If neither of these steps work, you will probably need to replace one or more blocks.

 

Q. How do I know if I have a full Smart House or not?

 

A. If you have a Smarthouse system controlled installed, then your house is at least partially Smart. If no controller is installed, then you probably have a Smart Redi house (capable of becoming full Smart with an upgrade).

·        To determine if you have a Smarthouse controller see the question:

I have a light that won’t turn on from the light switch (or won’t turn off)

 

Q. Can I upgrade my Smart Redi house to full Smart?

 

A. No! Due to the age of your system, we will not be able to provide this service. However, converting to modern technology is certainly possible and recommended!

·        See the Question about Converting your system:

Can I replace my system with a more modern system?

 

 

 

 

Q. How do I get service for my home?

A. For simple repairs requiring switch changes and/or light block changes, you can normally handle that yourself or get a local licensed contractor to do it for you. We can ship the parts to you and can sell or rent you a Smart Helper and/or Smarttech software.

Note that unless you use the time/date schedules or LCD keypads for controlling your lights, you may not need the Smart Helper or SmartTech software.

 

·        For complicated repairs, we may have to visit your location. Local and State licensing and regulations will determine the role we can play at your particular location.

·        It is possible for you to change the parts and us to program your house from our location if you rent or purchase the SmarTech software and PC.

·        For Conversions to modern technology, we will probably have to visit your location. Again, local and State licensing and regulations will determine the exact role we can play at your particular location.

·        For Conversions to conventional AC wiring, we offer no help. Good luck!

 

Q. How do I schedule a visit?

 

A. Contact us at 1-864-663-0014. Ask for Tony Stewart, He can provide all costs and schedule information.

 

Q. Should I make a backup copy of my program?

 

A. For sure! However, without SmartTech software this may be impossible.

 

Q. What happens if my Smarthouse Controller fails and I don’t have a copy of my program?

 

A. It can be reprogrammed, but this may take many hours and quite often we must visit your location to get your system running again. We suggest you purchase a copy of Smarttech technician’s software and backup your current program before it costs it’s too late.

 

Q. Are there any parts I should keep on hand?

 

A. Yes! Since these parts have not been made since 1995 the supply of spares is shrinking. We have purchased all the remaining spare parts from the manufacturer AMP. There will be no more! Some of these parts we can fix, others we can not. You should consider owning some of the more critical spare parts we can’t fix that we can’t fix. For example:

Smarthouse system Controller: Part Number 363715-01

System Enclosure: part Number SCOLA000

Onan Power Supply – 3 Circuit: Part Number 362827-8X

Onan Power Supply – 8 Circuit: Part Number 363827-1

AT&T Telephone Gateway: Part Number 362805-1

AMP LCD Wall Control Keypad: Part Number 362643-1

A few of the wall switches:

Single Switch: Part Number 362954-1

Dual Switch: Part Number 362955-1

Quad Switch: Part Number 362956-1

Cluster Switch: Part Number 362751-1

Cluster Switch I/R Version: Part Number 362816-1

And a few spare lighting blocks.

·        Some of these parts are already getting dangerously close to gone!

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Q. Can I replace my system with conventional ac wiring?

A. Not easily! Since your house is wired with low voltage cable, it is very time consuming and expensive to convert the system to conventional AC wiring. Besides that, the switches on the wall are bigger than standard light switches and would require the dry wall to be patched at each location, requiring painting/wallpaper – Messy and expensive! We do have some oversized plates that can be used to convert these opening to accept standard sized switches. However, you will still need to rewire using AC cabling. Call us before attempting this process.

 

 

 

Q. Can I replace my system with a more modern system?

 

A. Oh yes! A conversion to a more modern system is a good choice. The parts to do this are available from us. It will take several hours per light switch for the labor, and new parts will need to be purchased. While not as expensive as converting your house to conventional AC wiring, conversion to a more modern system can still be expensive and time consuming.

 

 The wall switch in each room can remain (lowering the cost), but a new lighting system and system controller will need to be installed. Call us for a quote for this conversion at 1-864-663-0014

 

Q. How do I know whether I have Gen I or Gen II style Lighting Blocks?

 

A. Older styles are called Gen I and identified by the type of connector they use. This Older Gen I connection is called a “Switch Sensor Cable Tap” and is 1 ½” across by ¾” tall. This connector is built into the block and accepts the orange cable typically used to connect to the light switches in each room.

 

The newer style is Called Gen II and identified by the type of connector used. The newer style connection is called an RJ connector and looks like a telephone cable connector (also called an RJ11). The Gen II connector has 6 pins and is also built into the block.

 

Q. What is required to replace a Gen I block with the newer Gen II style?

 

A. An adapter is available that converts the Older Switch Sensor connector to the newer RJ style. One is needed for each connection on the block that is used. On some blocks only one connection is used so only one adapter would be needed. On blocks where both connections are used, it will take two adapters. These adapters are also required when replacing Gen I style light switches with the newer Gen II style (one required per connection, be sure to count each connection used as needing 1 adapter).

 

Our stock of adapters are getting dangerously close to being depleted.

 

The part number for the adapter is 362952-01

 

Q. If I replace a block, is there anything else I need to do for it to work?

 

A. Only if you are using a program or schedule in your house. For example, if you use a time and date schedule to turn on lights or if lights can be controlled from a wall mounted LCD keypad, then you are using a fully programmed system and you will need to “Tickle or Initialize the newly installed block”

 

If on the other hand, you only want the light to come only when you press the wall switch for that light, then you will not need to Tickle the block.

 

In some installations, there were multiple locations where a single light could be controlled (multiple light switches). If you require a 3 or 4 way control of the light, then you will need to Tickle the block befor the other switch locations can control the light.

 

To Tickle or Initialize the block see the discussion on Tickle options.

 

 

Q. How do I replace broken connectors on Light switches or blocks?

 

A. There were two different cable tap connectors that were used.

The replacement for a Light switch is always the “Switch Sensor” type - Part Number 362037-1

The Replacement for Dimmer and Fixture Lighting Blocks is the Switch Sensor type - Part Number 362037-1

The Replacement for Application blocks is called an “Application Cable Tap” – Part Number 362078-1

Other devices used these connectors. Here is how to tell which one you need: Look at the actual pins between the connector and the crimp hood. If it has 6 pins, it is a Switch Sensor Cable Tap. If it has 8 Pins, It is an Application Cable Tap.

 

 A special tool to crimp these connectors is required. We don’t have any of these for sale, but would rent one for a few days. It is possible to crimp this connection without the tool. However, the major reason for most failures is an improperly crimped connector!

 

Q. How do I "tickle" the block to initialize it? Can I do it at the switch end or do I need a special cable at the block? 

A. This requires one of two tools.

1.        A handheld Programmer called a Smart Helper and the correct cable.

·        Two Styles existed, An older version designed for the Gen I type blocks and a newer style designed for the newer Gen II style blocks (This model can also program Gen I blocks with a RJ25 to Switch Sensor Converter)

2.        A DOS based program called SmartTech and a PC capable of running true DOS programs.

3.        Two Versions of this program existed.

·        The older style included a copy protection key that plugged into the Parallel Printer port of your PC and could not Tickle a block

·        The newer style did not require a copy protection key and can also tickle the block, thereby replacing the need for the Smart Helper.

 


 

Q. I think I need to "tickle" the Application Control Block for the PC Interface but cannot see how it can be done with the cable/connectors I have with the Smart Helper. All I have is a long cable w/ DIN connector at one end and a RJ-11/Sensor Block Adapter at the other end.

 

 A. Looks like the Smart Helper you have is an old style. The old styles have a Cable that plugs into the helper with a Din type connector (round with 6 total pins). The other end of the cable is wired to the piece that plugs into the Gen I blocks. The old style cables are one piece (the Gen I end can't be removed).

 The very oldest styles had a small end made on it that tickled the Application block, Applications blocks didn't tickle over the Orange Cable like switch sensor blocks did.

 The new style helpers have a din plug on one end and a RJ11 (actually it's a 6 pin or RJ25 style). This cable plugs right into the Gen II blocks using the RJ11 type cable. There is also an adapter that can be used to program Gen I blocks. This adapter is a separate piece with an RJ11 connector on it for use with the new style cable (Din on one end, RJ11 on the other).

 

Q.  I don’t have either of the things necessary to Tickle my blocks, what can I do?

 

A. Unfortunately we will have to come to your location to do this for you.
 



 

 


Q.      What is the cost of Service from STEWART ELECTRONICS ?

 

A.      Each case is different, please call for more details.

 

·         To order parts, call us at 1-864-663-0014

·         If you are a previous Smarthouse dealer or a repairman who will be installing the parts, Contact STEWART ELECTRONICS for a Dealer Price List.

·         If you are a Smarthouse owner who needs parts or service feel free to call us (STEWART ELECTRONICS)

Local and State licensing and regulations will determine the exact role we can play at your particular location.

 

 

 

 

* Our family serving yours since 1976 *   Stewart Electronics  1154 Jordan Road, Lyman, SC 29365 864-663-0014