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Author Topic: Latest Version of the LM465 Now Has "SoftStart"?!?  (Read 255653 times)

Brian H

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Latest Version of the LM465 Now Has "SoftStart"?!?
« on: July 13, 2007, 07:43:20 AM »

Has anyone received the LM465 lamp Modules with the SoftStart feature as seen in: X10 Knowledgebase: New LM465 with SoftStart ?

Sounds like a new feature and I was wondering what an owner thought of the new feature.


[TTA Edit: Added description and formatting to LINK; corrected typo.]

« Last Edit: July 13, 2007, 11:28:29 AM by TakeTheActive »
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Boiler

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Re: Latest Version of the LM465 Now Has "SoftStart"?!?
« Reply #1 on: July 13, 2007, 08:04:29 AM »

Brian,

Interesting find

Quote from: X10 Knowledgebase

This feature used to only be available on the now-discontinued LM14A Two-Way Lamp Module. However, we will be introducing it in new LM465 lamp modules- we needed to change out one of the chips inside, and the engineers decided to upgrade the unit.

Is X10 responding to customer requests, or is this a case of component obsolescence?  If it's the latter, I expect we'll be seeing the same feature in other X10 products.

I really like the soft start on my Leviton dimmers.  Bulb life is significantly increased by eliminating the surge current at turn on.  Great for outdoor lamps.


[TTA Edit: Remove double QUOTE; bump SIZE of quote for readability and impact.]
« Last Edit: July 13, 2007, 11:37:07 AM by TakeTheActive »
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Charles Sullivan

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Re: Latest Version of the LM465 Now Has "SoftStart"?!?
« Reply #2 on: July 13, 2007, 09:29:23 AM »

How nice of X-10 to make a radical change in a product's characteristics without changing the model number.  How many people will understand what's going on with their systems when they unknowingly have a mix of old versus new modules.

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Walt2

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Re: Latest Version of the LM465 Now Has "SoftStart"?!?
« Reply #3 on: July 13, 2007, 10:25:23 AM »

How nice of X-10 to make a radical change in a product's characteristics without changing the model number. 

They have been doing that for some time now.  For example, as I just found out, there are two different UR-74 remotes.
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Boiler

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Re: Latest Version of the LM465 Now Has "SoftStart"?!?
« Reply #4 on: July 13, 2007, 10:57:43 AM »

How nice of X-10 to make a radical change in a product's characteristics without changing the model number.  How many people will understand what's going on with their systems when they unknowingly have a mix of old versus new modules.

Wow, hadn't looked at it that way but you're absolutely correct.  This may be the source of numerous troubleshooting posts in the future.
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TakeTheActive

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Re: Latest Version of the LM465 Now Has "SoftStart"?!?
« Reply #5 on: July 13, 2007, 11:58:27 AM »

Bravo X10!

Now that CFLs are mainstream (I'd venture to say CFLs are now in more homes than X10, where 10 years ago only the Geeks bought them) and incandescents are fading away (IIRC, isn't Canada planning to outlaw incandescents in a few years?), add a feature that we could have been using for years! ::)

All of my "nightly running" incandescents that were either on X10 modules or switched diodes for dimming purposes have been replaced with CFLs.


Is X10 responding to customer requests, or is this a case of component obsolescence?

How's the old saying go? I'll give you 3 guesses and the first 2 don't count. :D


...I really like the soft start on my Leviton dimmers.  Bulb life is significantly increased by eliminating the surge current at turn on.  Great for outdoor lamps.

Would you estimate the bulb life is increased enough to cover the added expense of keeping a 150 watt flood / spot (times 10 for me) at 1% for ~6 hours/day to allow a 'soft' ramp-up when detecting motion during the "busy" period (dusk until ~4 - 6 hours later) ?
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JimC

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Re: Latest Version of the LM465 Now Has "SoftStart"?!?
« Reply #6 on: July 13, 2007, 12:12:39 PM »

Quote from:
Sounds like a new feature and I was wondering what an owner thought of the new feature


I haven't tried any of the new LM465's yet but I have used this feature in the now discontinued LM14A Two-Way Lamp Module. I liked it very much. Not only did it dim up and down it also remembered the previous dim setting and the lamp when turned on would go to that dim level.
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Boiler

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Re: Latest Version of the LM465 Now Has "SoftStart"?!?
« Reply #7 on: July 13, 2007, 12:25:28 PM »

Would you estimate the bulb life is increased enough to cover the added expense of keeping a 150 watt flood / spot (times 10 for me) at 1% for ~6 hours/day to allow a 'soft' ramp-up when detecting motion during the "busy" period (dusk until ~4 - 6 hours later) ?

Absolutely not - a 1% quiescent current would be a stiff price to pay for a soft ramp.  Where does the 1% # come from?

I use Leviton HC06's (with return) for my outside lamps.  If you're telling me the units are dissipating that much power in the "off" condition I'll head home in 30 minutes with a meter and a screwdriver.
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TakeTheActive

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Re: Latest Version of the LM465 Now Has "SoftStart"?!?
« Reply #8 on: July 13, 2007, 12:27:51 PM »


How nice of X-10 to make a radical change in a product's characteristics without changing the model number.  How many people will understand what's going on with their systems when they unknowingly have a mix of old versus new modules.


...For example, as I just found out, there are two different UR-74 remotes.

Don't forget about the: KR19A Slimfire Remote Programming Discrepancies... (Read 6524 times)[Updated: 2006/11/22] ;)
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TakeTheActive

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Re: Latest Version of the LM465 Now Has "SoftStart"?!?
« Reply #9 on: July 13, 2007, 12:47:19 PM »


Absolutely not - a 1% quiescent current would be a stiff price to pay for a soft ramp.  Where does the 1% # come from?

Back in the " old days ", CM11A/AH owners would program a "DIM to 1%" instead of an OFF to be followed by a "BRIGHTEN TO xx%" SoftStart instead of an ON.
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Charles Sullivan

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Re: Latest Version of the LM465 Now Has "SoftStart"?!?
« Reply #10 on: July 13, 2007, 01:18:59 PM »

[Absolutely not - a 1% quiescent current would be a stiff price to pay for a soft ramp.  Where does the 1% # come from?
..
I just plugged three 100 Watt incandescent lamps into an "old" LM465 and the latter into a "Kill-A-Watt" meter.  The accuracy of this meter is specified as 0.2% of full scale (1875 Watts) and is therefore questionable at these low levels.  But I read:
  Module fully On       -  294 Watts
  Module turned Off   -  0 Watts
  Module dimmed to minimum brightness - flipping between 5 and 6 Watts

That would be closer to 2%.

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Boiler

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Re: Latest Version of the LM465 Now Has "SoftStart"?!?
« Reply #11 on: July 13, 2007, 02:17:23 PM »

Back in the " old days ", CM11A/AH owners would program a "DIM to 1%" instead of an OFF to be followed by a "BRIGHTEN TO xx%" SoftStart instead of an ON.

I just plugged three 100 Watt incandescent lamps into an "old" LM465 and the latter into a "Kill-A-Watt" meter.  The accuracy of this meter is specified as 0.2% of full scale (1875 Watts) and is therefore questionable at these low levels.  But I read:
  Module fully On       -  294 Watts
  Module turned Off   -  0 Watts
  Module dimmed to minimum brightness - flipping between 5 and 6 Watts

That would be closer to 2%.

Ah yes, the early days of X10.  Before cell phones, CFL's, and electronic ballasts - I remember them well.

As usual, you are both absolutely correct.  Leaving a module dimmed to 1% for 90% of the day, so that you can program a soft start for the 10% of the day that the device is in use, is horribly wasteful.

If the new LM465 is setup like my Leviton dimmers, you don't need to leave the device at the 1% level.  The on ramp is controlled by the switch.  From an off state (0 watts), you can issue an on command and the device will ramp to full on (or preset dim level).  No current inrush to kill your filaments.  No 1% off condition consuming power.  No repeated bright and dim commands clogging up your power line.

Am I missing something here?

Charles - thank you for running the power vs level testing.
« Last Edit: July 13, 2007, 02:30:24 PM by Boiler »
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Charles Sullivan

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Re: Latest Version of the LM465 Now Has "SoftStart"?!?
« Reply #12 on: July 13, 2007, 03:06:12 PM »

Back in the " old days ", CM11A/AH owners would program a "DIM to 1%" instead of an OFF to be followed by a "BRIGHTEN TO xx%" SoftStart instead of an ON.

I just plugged three 100 Watt incandescent lamps into an "old" LM465 and the latter into a "Kill-A-Watt" meter.  The accuracy of this meter is specified as 0.2% of full scale (1875 Watts) and is therefore questionable at these low levels.  But I read:
  Module fully On       -  294 Watts
  Module turned Off   -  0 Watts
  Module dimmed to minimum brightness - flipping between 5 and 6 Watts

That would be closer to 2%.

Ah yes, the early days of X10.  Before cell phones, CFL's, and electronic ballasts - I remember them well.

As usual, you are both absolutely correct.  Leaving a module dimmed to 1% for 90% of the day, so that you can program a soft start for the 10% of the day that the device is in use, is horribly wasteful.

If the new LM465 is setup like my Leviton dimmers, you don't need to leave the device at the 1% level.  The on ramp is controlled by the switch.  From an off state (0 watts), you can issue an on command and the device will ramp to full on (or preset dim level).  No current inrush to kill your filaments.  No 1% off condition consuming power.  No repeated bright and dim commands clogging up your power line.

Am I missing something here?

You're missing that X-10 is not Leviton and that your Leviton dimmer probably costs 3-5X as much as an LM465.   If (as appear highly likely from the description) all X-10 has done is make an Off signal dim the module to minimum brightness, then we're stuck with the wasted energy.   (That 5 Watts I measured, if at all accurate, adds up to over 40 KWH per year.)
 
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Boiler

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Re: Latest Version of the LM465 Now Has "SoftStart"?!?
« Reply #13 on: July 13, 2007, 03:47:03 PM »

OK, now I'm re-calibrated.  I was in no way trying to be contentious, just trying to understand the concern.  I guess I never considered a device that dissipates 2 watts in the OFF state an option.  I can't imagine someone considering this for a new design.

If this is the case, they may wind up catching flack from the FERC.  They definitely wont be getting any "energy star" certifications.

In terms of cost - the HC06 dimmer switch runs $40.  The closest X10 equivalent would be the WA12A at $20.  I attribute the cost difference to the Leviton AGC and true rocker action (more hardware) and the Leviton name.  The soft start, 1 button code capture, and preset dim would be PLC programming "features" that cost a bit to develop (must be amortized) but don't add to the hardware cost.
« Last Edit: July 13, 2007, 04:03:40 PM by Boiler »
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Walt2

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Re: Latest Version of the LM465 Now Has "SoftStart"?!?
« Reply #14 on: July 13, 2007, 06:07:21 PM »

I haven't tried any of the new LM465's yet but I have used this feature in the now discontinued LM14A Two-Way Lamp Module. I liked it very much. Not only did it dim up and down it also remembered the previous dim setting and the lamp when turned on would go to that dim level.

Does these "new" LM465 also support pre-set dim levels like the LM14A?  I mean, you can set an absolute dim level, and the module to ramp up to that level, and stop (no need to use a blinding 100% as a reference level).
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