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Author Topic: Dissable Dimmer?  (Read 4112 times)

willyman

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Dissable Dimmer?
« on: August 30, 2006, 09:01:06 AM »

Hello All,

My name is William and I am new here, as you probably can tell.  I am an electrical engineer and a HUGE geek.  Before I discovered X10, I converted my whole house to florescent light bulbs to save electricity.  Unfortunately, this is a problem with the dimming feature of the X10 wall switches.  I would like to know if there is an easy way to dissable this dimming function inside the module.  I have already discovered a "hack" way to do it, but I dont believe it is the easiest way.  For all I know, one of the extra pins on the chip may perform that very function.  If anyone knows or has already done this experiment, I would be interested to know if there is a better way than I am currently doing it.

Also, if anyone has general info on what pins 8 and 9 on the 78566 chip do I would be very interested in this.

Thanks,
-William
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Charles Sullivan

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Re: Dissable Dimmer?
« Reply #1 on: August 30, 2006, 09:54:28 AM »

There are X10-compatible wall switches specifically made for operating fluorescent lamps.  They do require that you have a neutral wire available in the switch box.  See for example http://www.x10pro.com/pro/catalog/xps2.xps3.xpss.page9.html

Smarthome also has some http://www.smarthome.com

One problem with 2-wire wall switches is that the current required to operate the switch runs through the ballast and causes the lamp to flicker when Off.
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steven r

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Re: Dissable Dimmer?
« Reply #2 on: August 30, 2006, 12:26:39 PM »

...One problem with 2-wire wall switches is that the current required to operate the switch runs through the ballast and causes the lamp to flicker when Off.
...And that is likely to be a major problem! Follow the links in Charles Sullivan's message above. You'll have problems until you get the right switches.
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Oldtimer

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Re: Dissable Dimmer?
« Reply #3 on: August 30, 2006, 02:04:43 PM »

Here's a link to another possible solution to the fluorescent light problems discussed here.

http://www.x10community.com/forums/index.php?topic=9281.msg57138#msg57138

I haven't tried it on on fluorescent lamps so I'd like to know if it works on them also.  Also you'll still have to be careful not to activate dimming, but at least, if it works, you'll be able to use ordinary X10 modules as opposed to the pricier pro or third party types.
« Last Edit: August 30, 2006, 02:08:57 PM by Oldtimer »
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Charles Sullivan

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Re: Dissable Dimmer?
« Reply #4 on: August 30, 2006, 04:26:22 PM »

Here's a link to another possible solution to the fluorescent light problems discussed here.

http://www.x10community.com/forums/index.php?topic=9281.msg57138#msg57138

I haven't tried it on on fluorescent lamps so I'd like to know if it works on them also.  Also you'll still have to be careful not to activate dimming, but at least, if it works, you'll be able to use ordinary X10 modules as opposed to the pricier pro or third party types.


I think you've got to assume that somewhere, sometime, someone will either unknowingly or accidently send a dim signal to that module.  (Maybe your neighbor who just bought a new "toy" from X-10.)

Without extensive testing to be sure there's no hazard, e.g., ballast meltdown or a module in flames, there no way I'd risk my life or property with this scheme to save a few bucks.

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willyman

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Re: Dissable Dimmer?
« Reply #5 on: August 31, 2006, 09:59:50 PM »

Hello All,

I spoke with one of my co-workers about my "hack" modification and he agreed that it would be a suitable solution.  We are both surprised that there is no simple/obvious way to dissable the dimming function.  As mentioned in the post that Oldtimer linked to, the modules "steal" a little bit of power from the power line to sustain their internal circuitry even when the light is at full brightness.  The exact amount of voltage that gets clipped off the sine wave is from the zero crossing point up to about 20V.  This is unsatisfactory for running a CFL and expecting any kind of decent life out of the thing.  I have already performed an exhaustive google search to see if anyone else has investigated this, and found nothing.

As Charles mentioned there is no way I am going to install these switches and hope that the dimmer function never gets activated.  However, since I already have a lot of these old two wire switches I am going to try and modify them to dissable the dimming function.  People like me take "No user serviceable parts inside" to be a personal challenge. ;D

The only two solutions (that I have come up with) are to replace the entire triac circuit with a relay, or modify the circuitry to keep the triac on all the time.  The problem with both solutions is there is no longer enough power available for the chip.  So both solutions require a neutral wire to sustain the chip when the light is on.  The latter is smaller and more efficient and the switch can still function as a three-way switch.  I will post my schematic and pictures of the modification if anyone else wants to dissable the dimmer in a regular 2 wire wall switch once I am done.

-William
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dave w

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Re: Dissable Dimmer?
« Reply #6 on: September 01, 2006, 12:30:53 PM »

willyman

Do you think a SSR in place of the Triac would work?
Since internally SSRs are triacs I would guess "drop" across the SSR would be comparerable to the original triac.

...this could be fun!
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