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Author Topic: x10 AND led  (Read 847 times)


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x10 AND led
« on: April 22, 2018, 02:31:46 AM »

After many years of successfully using X10 I now have been forced to adapt and try to learn how to make X10 dim or turn on LED well. FYI, the dimmers that fade up are the worst culprits. Dimmers that turn on immediately to full have a better chance of successfully turning on and dimming LED well. Using a signal carried over the power line is handy but precarious. The X10 dimmers are very sensitive to extraneous noise carried over your power lines and they false trigger easily in an "unclean power environment". If we all had no other devices on our power grid X10 would likely work 100% better. Things like HVAC, refrigerator, garage door openers, TV's and on and on cause noise over the power lines and create problems for X10. I've experimented with every dimming module X10 makes and some work OK and some are virtually useless with some LED loads. X10 relays work every time but if you want to control light levels as I do it will take some creativity. Also, not all LED's, dimmable or non dimmable, are not created equal. Experiment with a few different manufacturers and see which works best for you and stick with it. I typically find LED lamps with CREE LED arrays work best. Also, the old way of calculating your loads for your dimmers is no longer a valid way to determine usable loads. LED's are a capacitive load and X10 dimmers are strictly and specifically designed for resistive loads. Therein lies the inherent problem with dimming LED. It has been determined that dimmers that use a triac as opposed to SCR's will usually handle the capacitive loads but that not a factor in X10 home dimming as they all use triacs. I have experienced some circuits that just about won't turn on when I try their number but false trigger when I'm turning on other circuits. FYI, a wall dimmer with a slider or a knob stands a much better chance of dimming an LED well. If one had a way to put an amount of resistance on the dimmer I believe it would make a drastic change in the overall performance of X10 LED dimming function. One could parallel a "dummy" resistive load such as a 250-277VAC low wattage lamp but that's not practical in a home application. There are many more technical reasons why LED is a less than good candidate for thyristor (Triac/SCR) but I'll stop here on that subject. 

For X10 to survive the next generation of users that are using LED they must step up to the plate with a solution for erratic behavior for dimming LED. I don't think X10 has made a real technology improvement in their basic dimmers in 20 years or more. I'm a very long time X10 user but am struggling a bit making LED do what I want it. I have other viable alternative to control LED very well but I really like X10. I'm waiting for the solution to come along.

I've said enough.

Brian H

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Re: x10 AND led
« Reply #1 on: April 22, 2018, 11:52:32 AM »

This module has been mentioned in another X10 and LED Bulb thread. It goes across the load. I don't know if anyone with x10 has tried one yet. As it is sold for a Z-Wave protocol dimmer. That uses RF signals and not power lines.

The X10 two wire switches steal power through the load.
I know of one X10Pro XPDI3 that uses a Neutral for power has been mentioned as dimmable LED Bulb friendly.

Other protocols like Insteon use a Neutral connection and are more likely to work with dimmable LED bulbs.
Though as you have seen in your tests and from what I also have seen. Not all dimmable LED bulbs work equally. At one time LED bulb manufacturers has tested with information. For what dimmers worked with that dimmable LED bulb.
« Last Edit: April 22, 2018, 11:57:26 AM by Brian H »

HA Dave

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Re: x10 AND led
« Reply #2 on: April 22, 2018, 08:53:03 PM »

I know a lot of people are hooked on light dimming. But...I remember back in the 1950's.....

Existing homes (and many new homes) were what was called "under-wired". Often... homes built prior to electrification had a minimal amount of wiring (when electric became available). Often rooms had one ceiling light in the center of the room... and maybe... an outlet somewhere along a wall. Depending on the room... there might be a light switch (connected to the center light). Many rooms would merely have a pull-switch with a chain or string that hung down from the ceiling light.

A common up-grade to the under-wired home.... was to install a rheostat on those lights with a switch. Then use a 250 or even 300 watt bulb in the light fixture. With the light turned all-the-way-up residents could easily see at night to iron clothing (we did that a lot in the 50's), read books, sew, knit, and darn socks. Otherwise... the light would be dimmed down for (black & white) TV watching.

Of course.... I seem to have lost track of the family darning egg. And for most close-up work... I tend to use task lighting now-a-days. I much prefer modern task lighting to 1950's centralized lighting. Singular bright lights.... don't evenly light a room. And even in my 40's built home... I can't take a giant step away from an outlet (without being within a step of another outlet).

I would not automatically force modern LED lighting into an old lighting paradigm based on old technologies and economic circumstances from a by-gone era. I'd instead reconsider what lighting needs would BEST fit the needs of each room and each user. 

« Last Edit: April 22, 2018, 08:55:39 PM by HA Dave »
Home Automation is an always changing technology


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Re: x10 AND led
« Reply #3 on: June 01, 2018, 06:58:15 PM »

i too have many X10 wall switches.
i changed all my bulbs to LED. if you have multi bulbs, just leave one incandescent bulb and you will eliminate strobing and flicker.
my 3 way setups work, and even dim.
what part numbers are you using?


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