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Author Topic: Converting An Existing X10 System To Work With CFLs  (Read 134098 times)

dave w

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Re: Converting An Existing X10 System To Work With CFLs
« Reply #15 on: March 14, 2008, 12:16:05 PM »

  Anybody have any ideas, short of trying to run a neutral (nearly impossible) or just giving up and going back to an incandescent bulb?

Thanks for any thoughts.

-D
FWIW
I have "Coach Lanterns" on either side of garage door which I wanted to put CFLs in to keep lit all night.

I ended up installing a second wall box immediately below one of the coach lights and installed a spotlight fixture wired in parallel with the coach light. In this new fixture I have one of the 7 Watt "ping pong ball" standard base bulbs. This "ballast bulb" keeps the WS467 switch happy.

From there it is a matter of disguising the "ping pong ball" fixture. I ended up fabricating a small opaque focusing shade over the bulb, which added some light on the walkway. More creative thoughts were to make a sign with the house numbers, or first letter of our last name, etc to mount over the fixture so would have soft silhouette lighting from the back.
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steven r

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Re: Converting An Existing X10 System To Work With CFLs
« Reply #16 on: March 14, 2008, 02:11:28 PM »

...In this new fixture I have one of the 7 Watt "ping pong ball" standard base bulbs. This "ballast bulb" keeps the WS467 switch happy.

From there it is a matter of disguising the "ping pong ball" fixture. I ended up fabricating a small opaque focusing shade over the bulb, which added some light on the walkway....
I've wondered if a plug in air freshener, heat or fan type, would serve as a "ballast" to keep a WS467 switch happy when used with LEDs or CFLs. There wouldn't be a need to hide a light if it did.
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Voyager62

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Re: Converting An Existing X10 System To Work With CFLs
« Reply #17 on: August 26, 2008, 06:21:44 PM »

HELP!!!  :(

I had shorted out two of my old circa 2005 WS477 wall switches and had to buy 2 more new ones from X10.com.

Well, the new ones are completely different from the old ones.  Instead of shorting that capacitor to enable local dimming, they have a new daughter board.  The switch also remembers the previous light level, which is a pain because at first I thought something was broken when the bulbs wouldn't brighten back up after turning the switch off and back on.

Does anyone know how to convert these switches for use with CFLs?  Besides the daughter board, the main chip is rotated 90 degrees and there is a different resistor where the 330 Ohm resistor was.  The colors are Brown, Black, Orange, and Silver for the tolerance.

Your instructilons were on the mark.  I had blown out one swith using the instructions at the other website and was able to ressurect one of the old switches by replacing the Triac, but I still need to modify 2 of the new WS477s.
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dave w

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Re: Converting An Existing X10 System To Work With CFLs
« Reply #18 on: August 26, 2008, 08:49:01 PM »

HELP!!!  :(

Does anyone know how to convert these switches for use with CFLs?   but I still need to modify 2 of the new WS477s.
Other than adding a neutral wire, the WS477 ITSELF can not be modified for CFLs. It needs operating current normally (parasitically) drawn through the incandescent bulb in the OFF state. A CFL will not deliver this current.
Either you include an incandescent bulb as a load along with the CFL(s) (like using one incandescent bulb and three CFLs in a fan, or a chandelier), or some have put a resistor across the socket of the CFL to pass enough parasitic power to keep the WS477 operational. I think the resistor method is a bit dicey but several folks on the forum has had no problem. I just don't like putting a resistor across 120V in an electrical box. You will need to search the forum for the resistor value I think it was around 22K but not sure.
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Voyager62

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Re: Converting An Existing X10 System To Work With CFLs
« Reply #19 on: August 26, 2008, 10:13:58 PM »

Quote
Other than adding a neutral wire, the WS477 ITSELF can not be modified for CFLs.

I was able to modify the old WS477 by adding a neutral wire, but before I found Oldtimer's instructions I had blown out 2 of the Triacs and fried a resistor or something else in the third.  I completely ruined 2 switches, but was able to resurrect the third by switching triacs.

Quote
There are instructions on this web site under "adding a neutral wire" for converting WS467s  (and similar switches) to work with CFLs. The main problem is that these instructions are very sparse. They also apply to WS4777s, you'll just have one more wire to deal with. This is not a job for wimps but once you've done one it becomes very straight forward.  Here are some additional pointers based on my experience.

What I need to know is what modifications are needed to do the same with the new switch as you could with the old switch.

From Oldtimer:
Quote
NOTE:  All my WS467s and WS477s are older production.  Apparently the latest production has some different components inside which I have no experience with.  You can tell them from older production because they have local dimming capability. Hopefully others will be able to post their results modifying these newer wall switches.

I need someone that knows how to modify the new switch.
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Oldtimer

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Re: Converting An Existing X10 System To Work With CFLs
« Reply #20 on: August 27, 2008, 03:11:09 PM »

I think the resistor method is a bit dicey but several folks on the forum has had no problem. I just don't like putting a resistor across 120V in an electrical box. You will need to search the forum for the resistor value I think it was around 22K but not sure.

DAVE W: Just go to the first post in this thread and follow the links there under MODULE REPLACEMENT and LAMP MODIFICATION.  The whole resistor story is there in those and susequent links.
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steven r

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Re: Converting An Existing X10 System To Work With CFLs
« Reply #21 on: August 27, 2008, 03:23:42 PM »

Skimming the half dozen items that came up on a search for "22K", I was reminded of the importance of having the right wattage also. It should be a least 1/2 watt or 1 watt if you want to be sure. Also use good wiring practice and heat shrink any exposed resistor leads.
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dave w

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Re: Converting An Existing X10 System To Work With CFLs
« Reply #22 on: August 27, 2008, 05:07:48 PM »


DAVE W: Just go to the first post in this thread and follow the links there under MODULE REPLACEMENT and LAMP MODIFICATION.  The whole resistor story is there in those and susequent links.

Well like I said, I really am not interested in putting a resistor in a bulb socket or electrical box. But glad steven r pointed out the wattage. 
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Oldtimer

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Re: Converting An Existing X10 System To Work With CFLs
« Reply #23 on: December 13, 2008, 08:13:52 PM »

As of the date of this post I have made a change to the ERRATA page for this thread.

Click here to see it.

Do not link to this page.  It will be deleted and reposted each time a change is made to the ERRATA page.

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ravis1

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Re: Converting An Existing X10 System To Work With CFLs
« Reply #24 on: January 01, 2009, 10:07:47 PM »

In his excellent posting, Oldtimer has mentioned that in future he would prefer to use theoretically safe values. That line motivated me to do some calculations and I hope someone can validate my calculations. My calculations suggest that 22K ohm resistor with one watt rating should be a safer alternative. Here are my calculations:

Voltage/Resistance = Amps
120 volt/22000 = 0.00545 ampere

Voltage * Amps = Watts
120 volt * 0.00545 ampere = 0.6545 watt ~ 1 watt rating resistor

Please note that if you do this same calculation with 110 volt rating the answer in wattage will be 0.55 watt. Since the tolerance of resistors is about +/- 10%, a 0.5 watt resistor could range between 0.45 watt and 0.55 watt. Therefore, a 22K ohm and 1/2 watt resistor is very close to the theoretical limit and I believe 22K ohm 1 watt resistor with 10% tolerance would be in the safe zone.

Next we can calculate annual cost of electricity used by this resistor.

Generally, the cost of electricity is about $0.067 per Kilowatt-hour or kwh.

(Watt * hours in a day * days in a year)/1000 * Price per kwh = Annual cost of electricity used
(0.6545 watt * 24 hours * 365 days)/1000 * $0.067 = $0.38

So you will be spending about 38 cents a year of electricity for using a 22K ohm resistor across the CFL load. I guess it is a small price to pay for home automation and energy saving!

Thank you all for maintaining this nice thread!

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steven r

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Re: Converting An Existing X10 System To Work With CFLs
« Reply #25 on: November 04, 2009, 10:34:32 AM »

...That line motivated me to do some calculations and I hope someone can validate my calculations. My calculations suggest that 22K ohm resistor with one watt rating should be a safer alternative...
Interesting that I would get an email notice today of a post to this topic. ???  *
Anyway while bumping an old topic, thanks are in order to ravis1 for reminding us of ohm's law. As a result, I'll stick with 1 watt should I need to do such a mod.

*Mystery solved. A spam posting, now moved for review of the post and poster, prompted my forum topic email. Thanks again to everyone out there keeping this board free of spam.
i.e. Do to the work of a few unpaid volunteers, most spam is caught within a few hours and sometimes just minutes of being posted and violators are promptly banded from the board. Everyone, including X10, should be grateful for the work of these volunteers.
« Last Edit: November 04, 2009, 11:11:25 AM by steven r »
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dave w

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Re: Converting An Existing X10 System To Work With CFLs
« Reply #26 on: November 04, 2009, 11:32:28 AM »

Do to the work of a few unpaid volunteers, most spam is caught within a few hours and sometimes just minutes of being posted and violators are promptly banded from the board. Everyone, including X10, should be grateful for the work of these volunteers.
:)%
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amunoztico

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Re: Converting An Existing X10 System To Work With CFLs
« Reply #27 on: May 03, 2010, 05:44:00 PM »


Can someone post again all the links about how avoid CFLs blinking? ("1/2 watt 22k ohm resistor")

any new solution?

Regards!
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Dan Lawrence

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Re: Converting An Existing X10 System To Work With CFLs
« Reply #28 on: May 03, 2010, 08:06:59 PM »

What I use to stop CFLs from blinking is a cube tap and a 4 watt night light plugged into the appliance module used to control the fixture.  When the fixture (and the CFL) is off, the night light kills the trickle current so no blink.   
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NickJ

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Re: Converting An Existing X10 System To Work With CFLs
« Reply #29 on: January 23, 2011, 03:45:53 PM »

Thanks for maintaining this great post.

I had the same problem converting to CFL's but was afraid of the mods.  I recently discovered Purespectrum dimmable CFL's and they work great.  I have not experienced any interference with X10 signals (but I do use a coupler/booster) and I haven't seen any flashing from the X10 current pulses that test to see if a user is switching so they can turn on.  Everything works!

And they have great color ( a warm 2700 K) and come on instantly.  I don't often dim many of these lamps but I got 30 for $81 on Amazon (maybe $95 with shipping) and feel they are well worth the little extra cost.  In fact the 16 incandescents I have already replaced will save their cost in one month!  You cant beat a one month payback.  Those 16 run about 15 hours per day.

The bulbs are longer than incandescents so they won't fit some lamps.  I just ordered 5 lamp harps slightly larger than installed which should allow me to convert 5 more.  If you decide to do that a lamp harp should be no more than 1/2" longer than the shade height. I may still have to remove and reinstall the harp every time I change a bulb that's not often. For the four odd ball lamps that don't have lamp harps (horizontal bulbs) I plan to use socket rockets but in a different way:  I will use a L125-W Leviton Light Socket to Outlet Plug adapter, a L61-I-EA Leviton Plug-In Light Socket Outlet Adapter Plug and a L65 Leviton Plug-In Right Angle Triple Tap Outlet Adapter and insert the socket rocket in the L125 W and plug the lamp cord into the L61 installed in the socket rocket so the socket rocket will be down at the outlet and not in the lamp socket. The socket rocket can handle CFL's (from other posts) and doesn't have the auto on switching feature so there should be no blinking.  I lose that auto on ability on those lamps but if I leave those socket rockets ON anyone can turn the lamps on and off as desired and I can turn the socket rocket off to make sure they are off at night.  I will probably use the recommended NVision CFL's in those lamps assuming they make small bulbs that will fit.

I still have a few wall switches I'd like to convert but haven't been able to find a relay wall switch that does NOT respond to the "all -lights-on" command.  Can  anyone suggest a solution?  The only thing I can think of is to use an appliance module to power the wall switches but that will require some odd ball rewiring that might not meet code.
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