X10 low energy

Discussion in 'Smart Home, Climate Control & Security Forum' started by steford, Feb 11, 2009.

  1. steford

    steford
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    Can't seem to find a definitive answer to this other than "no" so here goes. I have an LW10U dimmer which I simply use to on/off 2 60W regular bulbs in my living room. I'd like to change these to low energy bulbs but can't because the switch needs a minimum load and has issues with low energy lighting. My PC switches on these lights when we are out (alarm set) automatically. The LW10U replaced 2 switches which brought on each light independently. One of the lights has a 2nd cord switch which we don't use.

    So - is there any way I can get low energy bulbs into this setup. Happy to change the switch or add extra stuff (I have an LM15 bayonet lamp module handy and appliance/lamp modules). Happy to modify something if necessary. At the very least would simply replacing 1 bulb with a low energy work (as total load would still be greater than 60W).

    Thanks for any help.
     
  2. neilball

    neilball
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    You cannot standard low energy lights with dimmers - the ballast in the low energy lamp cannot be dimmed this way. Even with the dimmer set to 100% still causes problems for the ballast as the dimmer output is not a clean sine wave. You run the risk of blowing the lamp and/or dimmer. However there are now dimmable low energy lamps from Megaman and Varilight that will be ok providing you keep the total load above the minimum required by your x10 dimmer. These dimmable low energy lamps are much more expensive than standard units and ideally need to be started at 100% before being dimmed down. With some dimmers they are not very linear when dimmed but at least they will not damage the dimmer or lamp.
     
  3. steford

    steford
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    So as it stands I could add a single Megaman into the circuit - leaving 1 60W original bulb in there to keep the load up?

    No other X10 switches (non-dimmable) or devices allowing me to use 2 regular low energy bulbs?

    Thanks.
     
  4. neilball

    neilball
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    There are X10 relay/appliance modules which should be capable of giving switched control of standard low energy lamps but these are din-rail modules so not direct replacements for the faceplate dimmer you have just now. Is your wiring in any way accessible to allow the use of an appliance module thereby letting you replace the switch plate dimmer with a conventional momentary switches?
     
  5. steford

    steford
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    When you say accessible where do you mean? Other than at the switch, the 2nd switch or in the celeing I'm not sure. I've never been too clued up on the din rail modules as to what they can do/where they go.

    EDIT: OK I've had a quick look round. If I understand this correctly I could stick an AD10 (din rail switch) behind a regular switch (removing the dimmer entirely) or replace the cord switch with one. This would provide X10 switching on the current 2-way circuit and if it is simpy an extra controlable on/off would do exactly what I need. Is that right?
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2009
  6. NicB

    NicB
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    I'm with @neilball - Using an X10 appliance module will work with fluorescents and low energy bulbs. You will lose the ability to dim, but it sounds like that isnt needed so an AM12 or the Domia 10 (not lite) equivalent will do the trick.
     
  7. steford

    steford
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    Thanks for that - getting one of those into wall space might be hard though!

    Can the DIN Rail stuff be installed in there (it's smaller according to the spec I can see)?

    Thanks.
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2009
  8. NicB

    NicB
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    Sorry, I should have paid more attention - There is an AW10U whcih is the appliance version of the LW10U. That should be a drop in replacement.

    Or you could go with an AW12 micromodule and install a push-to-make switch. A little more complex and more costly, but gives you a different aesthetic cos you can choose your own switch.
     
  9. steford

    steford
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    I believe the AW10 needs a neutral. I'm thinking I could stick any compatible X10 switcher behind my corded switch (not in use). As this controls 1 of the main lights independently it would be ideal.
     
  10. steford

    steford
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    Ran this by Lets Automate and the claim there's nothing that can help me. Any further thoughts?
     
  11. benwillcox

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    One solution is to replace your X10 lamp module with an X10 appliance module. However these make a big CLICK due to the relay, so can be annoying to listen to!

    BUT, I have replaced quite a lot of my X10 controlled lamps that were originally incandescents, with CFL replacements. What I found was that they can work ok, providing you get the correct brand of lamp! I have a couple of Megaman 2000 11 watt bog standard CFLs controlled by a couple of X10 plugin lamp modules, with no problems at all (obviously don't try and dim them, it doesn't work). However some other lamps I tried first flickered badly when in the 'off' state.
    I would suggest getting a couple of different types and just give them a try.

    Ben
     
  12. steford

    steford
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    Unfortunately it's not a lamp module - it's a wall switch and apparently there's nothing out there that can help. I do have some appliance modules handy so I could stick a few lamps on them of course but wanted to stick with the current setup. The idea of trying the megaman bulbs is a good one but they are expensive if they don't work and Megaman have told me they don't recommend the x10 dimmer switch.

    My latest thinking is to go back to 2 standard switches and replace the currently unused cord switch with the x10. This would at least allow me to replace 1 bulb with a low energy alternative and switch one on/off for security whilst costing me nothing.

    Not ideal but there seems little choice.
     
  13. benwillcox

    benwillcox
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    Ok but internally it's probably the same technology, I have used LD11 DIN modules and plugin lamp modules with success. Have you actually tried any low energy lamps on it? It doesn't do any harm, it'll either work, or it won't. The megaman lamps I use are just the cheapo standard 99p (or whatever) jobbies, not the dimmable ones.

    Ben
     
  14. steford

    steford
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    That's interesting.

    Yes I tried low energy some years ago and got the flickering - from what I've read this can cause overheating and burning at the switch.

    Probably worth picking up some Megamans at that price then to see how they go in the current setup - there is a minimum wattage required though (like the lamp modules) and 2 of those will be way under.
     
  15. steford

    steford
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    Couldn't source any Megamans locally so have gone with the current setup with a 60W standard bulb and an 11W low energy and leaving the switch as is to save hassle. Everything I've read and been told points to not going below 60W with the LW10U switch.
     
  16. davehk

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    My Varilight Dimmables work perfectly well fading up from 0% on an LD11 subject to having 60W of G9 on the circuit as well.
     
  17. Markie Boy

    Markie Boy
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    Guys Im having the issue of CFL flickering when my lamp modules are swicthed 'off'. Would these "dimmable CFLs" be a surer bet for success than just randomly purchasing some different brand of CFLs?
    Id rather not have to buy new appliance modules as that could become expensive.
     
  18. simon1

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    I found this thread via a google search after having no luck with dimmable low energy bulbs and my X10 system.

    I've got good news - The Govena 20w bulbs with FlexDigit® technology work with the LM12 plug in module perfectly.

    However, they DON'T work with the LW10 light switch (very strange behaviour).

    Got mine from ebay for only £5.99.
     

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