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Author Topic: CFL versus X10 – Which Models are Compatible  (Read 20687 times)

JeffVolp

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CFL versus X10 – Which Models are Compatible
« on: April 10, 2011, 10:22:10 AM »

Last week my workbench light burnt out.  I had been using an incandescent because the CFLs I had at the time would not fit.  We since purchased a couple of 13W Sylvania "Soft White mini 60" (CF13EL/MINI) that were small enough to fit, and I replaced the bulb with one of them.  It takes a minute or so to come up to full brilliance, but the color temperature and brightness match the previous 60W incandescent very well.

Yesterday I was testing another batch of devices.  As part of XTBM testing I check the signal level from a Maxi Controller plugged into the same power strip to verify the gain switch is working.  The signal read about 20% lower than usual.  At first I thought it was a problem with that XTBM, but I verified the 1% resistors were all in the correct locations.  Then I checked the level with my prototype XTBM, and it read the same.  Hmm…  Maybe the old Maxi Controller is finally going soft.

Later I was testing a bunch of XTB-IIRs.  As part of that testing I check the output of the return signal amplifier with a very weak incoming signal.  It also read lower than normal, so I put that one aside for further investigation.  The next one also read lower than normal, and I thought perhaps the input stage tuning was slightly off due to a new lot of components.  I still did not connect the dots back to that new CFL.  I verified the tuning was correct by injecting a signal from my Wavetek into the powerline.  However, there was still a signal there when I disconnected the Wavetek.  Hmm…  Then it dawned on me…   The new CFL!  Add a filter and the XTBM and XTB-IIR behaved exactly as they should.

I bring up this long-winded narrative to show you that as things evolve in our homes, there can be an impact to X10 signals that are not observed at the time.  While one of these bulbs would not cause a problem, slowly replacing incandescents with them would eventually result in a deterioration of X10 performance.  This particular bulb acts both as a noise source AND a signal sucker.  So, the bottom line:

13W Sylvania “Soft White mini 60" (CF13EL/MINI):  Not Compatible without a filter.

Jeff
« Last Edit: August 02, 2011, 03:56:15 PM by Noam »
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Brian H

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Re: CFL versus X10 – Which Models are Compatible
« Reply #1 on: April 10, 2011, 12:32:34 PM »

Thanks for the evaluation and information.

Sounds like another cap across the line input to reduce their emissions to a acceptable level.

I actually have a CFL where the manufacturer spent the added few cents and has a inductor from the center contact of the bulb to the PCB. Where the cap was across the line.
« Last Edit: August 02, 2011, 03:56:27 PM by Noam »
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JeffVolp

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Re: CFL versus X10 – Which Models are Compatible
« Reply #2 on: April 10, 2011, 12:45:43 PM »

I actually have a CFL where the manufacturer spent the added few cents and has a inductor from the center contact of the bulb to the PCB. Where the cap was across the line.

If you have the manufacturer and model number, please add it to your post.  We need to create a list of CFLs that are compatible with X10 systems.

Maybe manufacturers will see this as an incentive to spend the extra few cents to increase their market share.

Jeff
« Last Edit: August 02, 2011, 03:56:39 PM by Noam »
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Brian H

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Re: CFL versus X10 – Which Models are Compatible
« Reply #3 on: April 10, 2011, 01:20:59 PM »

I will see if I can find the information on the CFL.
It was burned out ones I did an autopsy on the base.  ;D
Looked again and the input inductor was actually on the PCB.
Westinghouse Triple-23 Older style with three 'U' shaped tubes.
Sylvania CF13EL/MINIT/TWIST/DAY
GreenLite 13W/ELS-M 2700K
« Last Edit: August 02, 2011, 03:56:52 PM by Noam »
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Noam

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Re: CFL versus X10 – Which Models are Compatible
« Reply #4 on: August 02, 2011, 04:14:49 PM »

I know this is an older thread, but after conversations with Jeff, I'm trying to revive it.

I have been running for a few years with 6 CFL "bug bulbs" in my outdoor fixtures. They are a mixture of n:vision and EcoSmart 14w (60w equivalent).
The 6 fixtures are controlled by two SmartHome Insteon ToggleLinc relays, and two Insteon SwitchLinc relays.
(For those of you having trouble with the math: two switches have two bulbs each, the other two have one bulb each)
Other than one bulb going bad prematurely (I think it was one of the n:vision ones), and throwing out enough noise to cripple my entire system, I haven't had any other problems with them.

I just replaced 11 more bulbs. I put in 6 of the Philips "EnergySaver" 13w (60w equivalent) in one fixture, and and 5 of the 9w (40w equivalent) in another.
Each fixture is controlled by a SmartHome Insteon ToggleLink relay switch.

I didn't detect any issues with either fixture, and with both of them on (6 of the 23w ones, 5 of the 9w ones), I didn't have any problems with the rest of my system responding to commands.

I don't have an XTBM (yet), so I don't have a way to measure the noise levels of these bulbs.

I also bought a few of the Dimmable EcoSmart 65w equivalent spot bulbs for my recessed lights, but I found the "Daylight" version to be too bright, so I didn't get to the point of testing for noise.
I have to exchange those for the "soft white" version and test again.

Can anyone recommend a recessed spot bulb (r30 type) that is a soft-white 65w equivalent, is dimmable, and doesn't interfere with X10?
(I have two older SmartHome Togglelinc dimmers on those lights, and I'd rather not change the switches out for relay ones if I don't have to.)
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Adlmail

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Re: CFL versus X10 – Which Models are Compatible
« Reply #5 on: November 27, 2011, 12:00:17 PM »

The problems I have been having with lamp modules and various cfls are due to the design of the modules not being updated.  These include
  ..cfls blinking when turned off
.. Cfls occasionally flashing different brightness
.. Cfls not going to full brightness.

All these problems are due to the module not being able to phase control from zero to 100%.  They turn on at about 90% and go Down to 20%.  I observe cfls got brighter after pressing dim after turning on.

I agree with other posts that x10 bulbs would be great.  Meanwhile I seem to be stuck with incandescents unless I want to give up dimming.
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Dan Lawrence

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Re: CFL versus X10 – Which Models are Compatible
« Reply #6 on: November 27, 2011, 12:14:12 PM »

CFLs are hit and miss.   I use CFL's in LM15A's since they are not dimable.  Some CFLs are noise makers and block X10 signals.  You don't know if a CFL is a noise maker or not by the package.  If you find a brand that makes noise, get rid of it, if the brand doesn't make noise, use them.
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Adlmail

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Re: CFL versus X10 – Which Models are Compatible
« Reply #7 on: November 27, 2011, 12:17:45 PM »

A correction to my last post.  The lamps flashing when they are turned off occurs with the relay appliance module.  It comes from a feature they put in to sense appliances being turned on with their switch to turn the module on.  Unfortunately the current being put out is enough to flash cfls.
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Brian H

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Re: CFL versus X10 – Which Models are Compatible
« Reply #8 on: November 27, 2011, 12:35:16 PM »

The NEW CFL friendly appliance modules are a lot better then the older ones with local sensing.
Though the small is the output On or Off sensor can still make some CFLs flash Though most no longer flash.
Low current LEDs still glow partially.

Also the new soft start lamp modules do not dim to 0%. On mine it is about to 20%.
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