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Author Topic: Soft Start Driving Me Crazy. Can it be turned off?  (Read 11163 times)

stefanis

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Soft Start Driving Me Crazy. Can it be turned off?
« on: September 04, 2008, 02:50:48 PM »

So I just got four new WS467's to replace ones that have worn out. When I turned them on for the first time all of them only came on half way. So I turned them off, and I noticed that they faded out. Odd, I thought. So I looked at the documentation that came with the switches to see if I had done something wrong. Nope. And there was no mention of "soft start" in the paperwork. The old switches that were worn out had to be pressed really hard and sometime held in for a bit, so I decided to do the same thing with the new one, thinking that maybe the switches weren't wornout, maybe it had something to do with the lamp or gang box or something. Then the light brightened. AHA I discovered that there there was something new added to the switches. Cool beans, I like free new features.

BUT  ???

Now that I have lived with it for a week, I hate it. My five-year-old is forever tapping the button because he things that the lights are not turning on because of the slow ramp up time. My wife kind of double clicks and ends up resetting the brightness level to 50%. I just want a switch that turns the lights on and off.

I'm a software nerd, I don't know nuthin' 'bout rewiring no circuits.  :-[ So, have any of the EE's out there figured out how to disable soft start, I know that you could add local dim to the old WS467's by cracking it open and removing parts, so is there a way to add parts to take the local dim away?
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dave w

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Re: Soft Start Driving Me Crazy. Can it be turned off?
« Reply #1 on: September 04, 2008, 09:34:00 PM »

No, there is no "hack". The ramp is internal to the controller chip, so you are stuck. However the good news is you have local dimming and AGC. You might find older switches on eBay. Or you might find some one on the forum who would trade you old switches for your new ones. Personally I love the ramp. It should greatly extend bulb life, and eliminate switch failure when a bulb burns out when first turned on. 
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Brian H

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Re: Soft Start Driving Me Crazy. Can it be turned off?
« Reply #2 on: September 05, 2008, 06:28:35 AM »

I agree there is no hardware hack that is known to stop the soft start. I believe it is part of the firmware programed into the micrcontroller IC used to run the switch.

The X10Pro version XPD3 wall switch; with soft start; booklet only give the way to always start at 100% but sounds like your wife and 5 year old have both reset things.
The booklet says hold the button until the light is full on; before releasing the button. Easily easily reset to other levels.
« Last Edit: September 05, 2008, 07:00:29 AM by Brian H »
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alexmyron

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Re: Soft Start Driving Me Crazy. Can it be turned off?
« Reply #3 on: September 07, 2008, 02:44:58 PM »

SOFT START in some of my rooms is crazy to me too! Walking into a dark room while the light FINALLY turns on is in fact dangerous too!
I wish there was a hack of some sort without having to  search  for old versions somewhere.
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dave w

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Re: Soft Start Driving Me Crazy. Can it be turned off?
« Reply #4 on: September 07, 2008, 06:44:52 PM »

Has something changed in Softstart??? On my Softstart wall switches; tap the button on the switch,  and from OFF to full bright is about one second at most.
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Brian H

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Re: Soft Start Driving Me Crazy. Can it be turned off?
« Reply #5 on: September 07, 2008, 06:50:51 PM »

The soft start switches in question. Are they X10/X10Pro or another brand where the ramp rate can be adjusted? I have seen some that can be set real slow. Like I believe 7 minutes? :'
I don't have soft start wall switches but have the lamp modules. Mine ar at most 2 seconds. Off to on or on to off.
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stefanis

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Re: Soft Start Driving Me Crazy. Can it be turned off?
« Reply #6 on: September 09, 2008, 05:59:41 PM »

These are the standard push button X10.com switches. They take about 3 seconds to brighten or dim. I've gotten used to it, don't really like it, but I can now unconsciouly turn the light on without mucking it up. My five year old, on the other hand, thinks that if the light doesn't come on right away, he has to press it again, which then resets the brightness level. My wife feels the need to hold button in until the light is all the way on. I guess that works too, but if you let go early, that too resets the level.

What would really be nice is if we could pull the control chip and either replace it or reflash it. So back to the embedded guys, go any ideas?
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Brian H

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Re: Soft Start Driving Me Crazy. Can it be turned off?
« Reply #7 on: September 09, 2008, 06:24:51 PM »

I believe Soft Start was added when X10 redesigned the PCB for more accessable microcontrollers. I think DIP style is getting harder to find and went to surface mounted.
I also believe that they are using mask programed chips that are programed by the factory and can not be reflashed.

Now if it was an Insteon device most have a programming set of pads on the PCB. Just that Smarthome has on intention of letting anyone update firmware in the field.  ::)
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dave w

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Re: Soft Start Driving Me Crazy. Can it be turned off?
« Reply #8 on: September 09, 2008, 10:07:59 PM »

What would really be nice is if we could pull the control chip and either replace it or reflash it. So back to the embedded guys, go any ideas?

You can do nothing from an X10 stand point. They are what they are.

Look in to PCS or Smarthome brand scene switches which have programmable ramp rates.
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x10bob

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Re: Soft Start Driving Me Crazy. Can it be turned off?
« Reply #9 on: June 13, 2011, 02:22:55 PM »

I hate to be a troll, but it's time to resurrect this thread.  I tried putting up with this SoftStart "feature: as long as
I could, but enough was enough.

I originally had traditional WS467 type wall switches, the older units without softstart.  During a room upgrade, we
switched to Decora style switches, so I replace the units with WS12's.  Unfortunately, and unannounced to me,
these new switches came with the SoftStart "feature".  I tried putting up them them, but couldn't get use to them.
The on-delay is a little disconcerting, but the ease with which they could get double tapped and thus "stuck" at
some dim level was too much to put up with.

I was able to solve the problem however!

Fortunately, I had kept my old switches around for some future purpose. 

I simply unclipped the electronics from the metal wall plate of the old switches
(this also requires removal of the screw that holds the output transistor to the
heatsink), and swapped the new metal plates & plastic linkages onto the
old electronics.  The whole procedure took less than 5 minutes per switch.
The bigger pain uninstalling/reinstalling them into the wall.

In any case, Voila!  Now I have switches that work the way I want.

Not sure what I will do when one of the old switches fail, but that's a problem for another day.

P.S. I also swapped the new electronics onto the old metal wall plates (the ones that are not recessed and lack
the plastic linkages).  Anybody want a deal on these :-)  ?!

-Bob
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dave w

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Re: Soft Start Driving Me Crazy. Can it be turned off?
« Reply #10 on: June 13, 2011, 03:37:17 PM »

Wow, I guess you really do consider SoftStart to be a giant pain. I guess there is more than one way to skin a cat. (PS for you PETA-ites, I love cats, but the expression fits).

FWIW I like SoftStart. It should increase bulb life and a side benefit, it dramatically reduces the chances of a bulb burnout shorting out the switches triac when the filament breaks.

Anywho, I commend your tenacity.
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luke03

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Re: Soft Start Driving Me Crazy. Can it be turned off?
« Reply #11 on: June 24, 2011, 05:11:32 PM »

If you really don't like the soft start, you can swap them out with WS13A, which is appliance module, can not soft start.
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dbemowsk

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Re: Soft Start Driving Me Crazy. Can it be turned off?
« Reply #12 on: June 25, 2011, 12:49:49 AM »

The only downside to the WS13As is the annoying click that some people cannot tolerate.  I have seen hacks out there for standard appliance modules for installing SSRs (Solid State Relays), but I don't know that I have seen these hacks done on a WS13A as I don't know if there is enough space in the case.  SSRs eliminate the annoying click that you get from the appliance modules, but SSRs can be expensive.  If you are handy with a soldering iron, this guy shows how to make a cheap pseudo SSR using an opto-isolator and a triac.  ***WARNING***  If you mod the WS13A with the triac based SSR, it will then be subject to load restrictions similar to the lamp modules.  Do not attempt to use this on an appliance as you may risk burning the triac.  Also I am not sure how well it would work with a fluorescent light.
« Last Edit: June 25, 2011, 12:55:25 AM by dbemowsk »
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Dan Bemowski
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Brian H

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Re: Soft Start Driving Me Crazy. Can it be turned off?
« Reply #13 on: June 25, 2011, 06:03:43 AM »

The WS13A also needs a Neutral Power connection in the switch box.
The WS467 steals power through the load so not having a Neutral is not a problem.
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dave w

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Re: Soft Start Driving Me Crazy. Can it be turned off?
« Reply #14 on: June 25, 2011, 10:05:32 AM »

I have seen hacks out there for standard appliance modules for installing SSRs (Solid State Relays), but I don't know that I have seen these hacks done on a WS13A as I don't know if there is enough space in the case.  
Dan,
I think the hack is for putting an SSR in a lamp module to make it a "silent Appliance Module".

The WS13, Appliance Module, etc. turns ON and OFF by gating a SCR half cycle pulse through a solenoid latching relay. I don't think there is a source of constant drive to keep the SSR gated ON in any of the "clunking" X10 modules.

« Last Edit: June 25, 2011, 10:11:42 AM by dave w »
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