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Author Topic: CFL troubles with X-10  (Read 5220 times)

misterz

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CFL troubles with X-10
« on: January 22, 2007, 08:03:01 PM »

Been trying to use CFL's in my apt. Lamps are fine. But, in the bathroom with the light controoled by wall module, the lights blink when turned off. Another light controlled by wall module is unrespnsive to remote commands. What's up? What can be done?
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Dan Lawrence

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Re: CFL troubles with X-10
« Reply #1 on: January 22, 2007, 08:45:26 PM »

You can't use standard CFLs in diimers, which means for X10, Lamp and Wall Switches. They say so right on the CFL packages.

CFLs can be used in LM15A "Socket Rocket" screw-in modules, which do not dim. I have standard CFLs in 3 Socket Rockets for over a year with no problems at all.

Non-dimming CFLs are as scarce as the poverbial hen's teeth. I've never been able to find them in the Baltimore area, where I am.
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Tuicemen

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Re: CFL troubles with X-10
« Reply #2 on: January 22, 2007, 11:36:24 PM »

Dan I think you mean "Dimable" CFLs.
Quote
Non-dimming CFLs are as scarce as the poverbial hen's teeth
I've found the higher the wattage the CFL the more likely it supports the dimming function! ;) :D I also noticed the ones uncased so they look like a regular bulb also are more likely to support dimming! ;) :D ;D
« Last Edit: January 23, 2007, 08:52:38 AM by Tuicemen »
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Dan Lawrence

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Re: CFL troubles with X-10
« Reply #3 on: January 22, 2007, 11:41:38 PM »

I was not refering to dimming CFLs.  I have 3 regular CFL's in Socket Rockets and they work fine.

I was referring to the inability to find diimming CFLs in the greater Baltimore area. I've converted all non X10 lights to CFLs. I've got two lamp modules driviing lights that are not dimmed that would be candidates for dimming CFLs, if I could find some locally. I'n not interested in finding 2 on the web with shiiping charges.
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Brian H

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Re: CFL troubles with X-10
« Reply #4 on: January 23, 2007, 06:58:22 AM »

Some brands of CFLs and Socket Rockets make powerline noise in the X10 area. As verified with an ELK ESM1 and a Smarthome TesterLinc. One combination I had made both my X10 and Insteon modules flaky. yes I have a mixed selection of devices.
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misterz

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Re: CFL troubles with X-10
« Reply #5 on: January 23, 2007, 11:10:23 AM »

Actually, I've found success in the following situations. In my bathroom, the light fixture is one of those vanity types with 6 bulbs. When I replace one CFL with one regular bulb, the blinking stops and the fixture responds to remote commands. Similarly, in my bedroom there's an overhead w/. three indoor floods. W/. all CFL's, it blinked in the off position and was unresponsive to remote comman. But, replace one CFL with a standard flood and it performs fine. Alternatively, another switch which has a single bulb connected to it didn't offer the previous option. So, that must stay as a regular incandescent.

Now..., I've another X-10 wall switch. I know it's special as I got it years ago to handle the ceiling fan/light conected to it. The regular X-10 wall switches didn't work as they caused grinding noises with the fan motor. So, I got this one. Maybe, you can tell me what kind of switch it is. I want to know because this switch has none of the problems I mentioned. I replaced the three bulbs with three CFL's. No blinking and responsive to remote commands. Any thoughts?
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dave w

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Re: CFL troubles with X-10
« Reply #6 on: January 23, 2007, 12:12:26 PM »



Now..., I've another X-10 wall switch. I know it's special as I got it years ago to handle the ceiling fan/light conected to it. The regular X-10 wall switches didn't work as they caused grinding noises with the fan motor. So, I got this one. Maybe, you can tell me what kind of switch it is. I want to know because this switch has none of the problems I mentioned. I replaced the three bulbs with three CFL's. No blinking and responsive to remote commands. Any thoughts?

You probably have a X10 or Smarthome switch that is made to "dim" inductive loads( i.e X10 Pro's  XPDI3). X10 or Smarthome's inductive dimmers require a neutral wire. Unless the CFL is dimmable even the XPDI3 may not work for CFL's.
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Re: CFL troubles with X-10
« Reply #7 on: January 23, 2007, 09:48:31 PM »

Actually, I've found success in the following situations. In my bathroom, the light fixture is one of those vanity types with 6 bulbs. When I replace one CFL with one regular bulb, the blinking stops and the fixture responds to remote commands. Similarly, in my bedroom there's an overhead w/. three indoor floods. W/. all CFL's, it blinked in the off position and was unresponsive to remote comman. But, replace one CFL with a standard flood and it performs fine. Alternatively, another switch which has a single bulb connected to it didn't offer the previous option. So, that must stay as a regular incandescent.

What you are experiencing here is the fact that most X10 wall units are 2 wire and get the current they need to operate by passing some current through the load at all times (even when off).  The current is low enough that it is not sufficient to heat the filament in most incandescent bulbs.  CF's work entirely differently and the low current passed through their electronic circuitry is generally insufficient to power the module properly and has the side-effect of causing the CF to blink once it's electronics build up sufficient charge fire the high-voltage coil that ionizes the gas to produce light.

If you want to use CF's you will most likely have to replace your wall switch units with ones that don't dim and require a neutral wire so that they are not trying to pull their operational current through the load (light).
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