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Author Topic: wall switches - higher quality?  (Read 2122 times)

kevinv

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wall switches - higher quality?
« on: November 28, 2015, 12:18:23 AM »

I am looking for a decorator style wall switch that maybe has a better "feel" than the standard x-10 models.   Maybe it would help if the x-10 models could have the local dimming option removed... it seems like if I hold the switch down too long it ends up dimming which I generally don't want etc...   Anyhow..  I would just like a switch that is a little more solid and modern...   I guess Insteon has something that will respond to x-10 signals...   anything else ?


Thanks!!
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Brian H

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Re: wall switches - higher quality?
« Reply #1 on: November 28, 2015, 06:18:14 AM »

They have improved the X10Pro On Off switch. XPS4 has a quiet relay and AGC.
I have not seen anything on the dimmers but know they are slowly reworking modules.

As for Insteon. Be very careful if you decide to go with them. They are in the process of removing X10 support. All newly designed models no longer list X10 support. Some of the older designs still have X10 support.

Except for the one two wire Insteon dimmer model with incandescent load restrictions.
All Insteon modules need a Neutral power connection. So you have to have a Neutral in the switch box. Many still have a switch loop. With Line and Load only that the two wire X10 dimmers work with.
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bkenobi

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Re: wall switches - higher quality?
« Reply #2 on: November 29, 2015, 02:28:22 PM »

Any word on whether Authentix will be removing the dumb local dimming feature?  If they are redoing the switch, I wish they would look at the SmartHomes switch that was sold for a few months.  It's basically the same as the Insteon ToggleLinc.  I really like that switch, but it's so huge to fit inside most of my deep enclosures...and $50.  If X10 made that switch and priced it around the $20-25 that SmartHome was selling them at, that would be a REALLY nice option!

Tuicemen

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Re: wall switches - higher quality?
« Reply #3 on: November 29, 2015, 03:32:17 PM »

I'll suggest that to the owner.
However many want the local dim.
Maybe a option to disable with a jumper switch or something similar would be the way to go.
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Brian H

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Re: wall switches - higher quality?
« Reply #4 on: November 29, 2015, 03:54:23 PM »

I remember the short time Smarthome X10WS467DI dimmer and the X10WS467I On Off modules. They where Togglelincs with the Insteon labels removed but they didn't change the firmware. Took a few seconds for my Insteon Controller to read its six digit ID and firmware level.
Was a bargain compared to the Insteon models prices at the same time.
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dave w

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Re: wall switches - higher quality?
« Reply #5 on: November 29, 2015, 10:46:05 PM »

Any word on whether Authentix will be removing the dumb local dimming feature? 
Easy there Kenobi, I use local dimming all the time. If you just give paddle a quick tap, it works fine.
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bkenobi

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Re: wall switches - higher quality?
« Reply #6 on: November 30, 2015, 10:57:01 AM »

I use it too, but generally because someone else has double tapped the switch and left it in the almost off state.  I personally think a longer delay before the dim kicks in might work but the way it's implemented by old X10 was not very intuitive.  I have 3-way switches in my garage and people who go out there generally can't figure out how to work them because they turn on to minimal dim for most people (meaning they double tapped).

Some way to disable or speed up the soft start and some way to disable the local dimming would go a long way to improving my experienced WAF.  I have been watching ebay for more of those X10WS467DI and X10WS467I modules but obviously they won't appear.  The ToggleLinc modules do, but they are generally full retail for used modules.

toasterking

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Re: wall switches - higher quality?
« Reply #7 on: November 30, 2015, 12:44:47 PM »

I completely agree with bkenobi.  Every person who comes to visit invariably screws up trying to turn on any WS12A switch the very first time they use it, including people who've previously visited and been given a tutorial on how to use the switch.  I'm not exaggerating here.  They tap the switch, think it didn't work because the light isn't at full brightness instantly (as it's fading up), and tap it again, freezing it at a low brightness.  They do this without even thinking because they've been conditioned to expect an instant (and full brightness) response from a mechanical switch.  Of course, they don't realize that the entire paddle is just one big momentary button no matter where they press, and they're too bewildered at that point to even investigate whether pressing and holding does anything.  Even worse is that, even if they turn it off and on again, it's still stuck at the low brightness they erroneously selected before because of the "resume dim" feature.  They either end up asking me for help turning the light on or I walk into the room later to find the lights barely on because they either gave up or didn't know they even turned the light on.

No one has any problem with the Smarthome switches because they emulate a traditional rocker paddle switch and are thus intuitive.  They also have a default brightness level that can be customized, but it is implemented in a way that prevents it from being set accidentally.

#1 request: Get rid of the "resume dim" and replace it with a preset brightness level feature.  The only difference here is to require a sequence to set the level that makes it harder to change by accident. (Examples: Use an additional "set" key; require a very long button press to set it; use whatever brightness is set within 10 seconds after reconnecting the air gap; send a code from a controller to set it.)
#2 request: Either implement separate "on/bright" and "off/dim" keys like the Smarthome switches or just leave the single key but make it equally easy to press when hitting the top or bottom of the rocker.  You don't really need discrete on/off keys as long as it "feels and looks right" and it responds as expected.
#3 request (low priority): Option to disable soft start or increase the ramp rate.
#4 request (low priority and increases cost): Remember the brightness level and ramp rate settings during a power outage.

Edit:  Corrected a spelling mistake.
« Last Edit: November 30, 2015, 03:24:00 PM by toasterking »
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Tuicemen

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Re: wall switches - higher quality?
« Reply #8 on: November 30, 2015, 02:36:10 PM »

Hopefully Authinx's current stock will get depleted this Christmas season and require them to go back to the manufacture. ::) :'

They have stated all modules will get enhancements as new inventory is needed.
I've asked that they consult the forum for improvement suggestions or at least ask me for Ideas before production starts.
This of coarse doesn't mean everything or anything we suggest will get implemented right off the bat. :(
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dave w

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Re: wall switches - higher quality?
« Reply #9 on: November 30, 2015, 08:19:18 PM »

I use it too, but generally because someone else has double tapped the switch and left it in the almost off state. 
Yes, now that you mention, I have done that also.

Your suggestion of a longer delay is a good one. Seems like it would be a simple matter to change the PIC programming. But maybe the PIC only has 16 bytes of unused memory.   rofl
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bkenobi

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Re: wall switches - higher quality?
« Reply #10 on: December 01, 2015, 10:45:45 AM »

Actually, there are 3 things I would consider necessary to make the switch close to ideal, but one improvement is not easy.

1) Add a delay for local dimming so a simple double bump doesn't leave it in the minimum on state.
2) Either eliminate the soft-start feature (preferred) or change the ramp time so it's fully on in ~0.5 seconds from the time of button press.
3) Change the switch type from the button (original style small button) to a toggle like the ToggleLinc.

Requests 1 and 2 should be really easy and doable with the current hardware.  The 3rd is obviously more difficult and costly.  I don't actually consider the ToggleLinc ideal as I think the physical size of the switch behind the plate is too large.  In general, the X10 switches are much easier to work with since they are physically smaller.  The WS13A is the exception as it's just as large as the SmartHome brethren (though to be fair, only slightly larger than the WS4777).  Something between the size of the WS467 and WS4777 would be nice though.

bkenobi

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Re: wall switches - higher quality?
« Reply #11 on: December 04, 2015, 11:39:36 PM »

Not to hijack the thread, but I have to mention that I lost another MS16A today.  That's 3 in 3 years.  This time, the batteries lasted longer than the sensor!  If you are going to suggest an improvement to a module, please please PLEASE suggest that they make their "outdoor" motion sensors capable of functioning outdoors!

I'd use something else, but X10 doesn't make anything better...

bkenobi

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Re: wall switches - higher quality?
« Reply #12 on: December 10, 2015, 06:10:43 PM »

FWIW, hoping to get a toggle style light switch at a reasonable price with X10 might not be as far fetched as I initially thought.  This is a companion switch from SmartThings (Zigbee or Z-Wave) so the physical hardware is available at a reasonable price.

https://shop.smartthings.com/#!/products/ge-in-wall-toggle-switch-add-on

The full switch costs around the same as the ToggleLinc, but that doesn't mean that the price couldn't be lower given more motivation or a more mature technology.  X10 is certainly not bleeding edge, so I would hope that it wouldn't demand WiFi LED light bulb type prices.   >!
 

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