Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length

Author Topic: Newbie > Help educate and design my CFL capable X10 starting point!  (Read 3887 times)

bluenote

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Helpful Post Rating: 0
  • Posts: 10

Hey guys

I got a gift certificate for X10 as a gift, and I'm pretty excited about trying this stuff out. 

First, let me just say that, the X10 website is really, really, a turn off.
It comes across as scammy, and for some reason it really doesn't seem to have all the one would expect.
72 hour sale ending in X minutes?  Come on.  Give me some credit.

I just want to figure out what I need, pick the exact items, and get a good price.  I don't want to be ripped off,
and pay more than I should, just because I wasn't able to find the exact 'combo deal' in all the *pages and pages and pages*
of sales and what not.  It's ridiculous.

I doubt anyone here can help with that part though. What I DO need help with is conceptualizing and planning my X10 starting point.

So here's my questions, in no particular order.

1) Controlling and communication - I don't understand if some devices (ie: socket rocket) actually receive RF commands, or whether they receive commands that (I assume) are transmitted through the power connections, like my power-line networking modules do.

2) CFL and dimmable CFL.  All the lights in my house are CFL's with very few exceptions.  Some would be fine just to turn on and off remotely.  Others I want to dim.  I did a little reading in the forum and I just couldn't figure out a straight permanent answer to this.  What modules can I use?  There is a "CFL lamp module" listed, actually, its the only one that references CFL, but when you go to the details, it doesn't even mention CFL!       I would purchase actual dimmable CFL bulbs where I want to dim, but otherwise I have just plain jane CFL's.    I read stuff about modules allowing a low current through the bulb to power themselves off of, and this perhaps reducing bulb lifetime, or not working at all. 

Would someone summarize this for me?  I have both lamps and light fixtures I want to control, and some of both that I would like to dim, but I don't know what modules to use, and how they are controlled (wired/RF).

2b) I'm using a dimming lamp with regular CFL's right now.  They produce a buzzing noise.  Even though I don't "dim" the light, am I wrecking the bulbs, or unknowingly doing something else bad here?  Like creating electrical noise or something?

3) I've changed out exactly 3 light fixtures in my life, and thats about my experience with house wiring.  So I don't mind wiring this stuff in, but, I'm not going to understand anything beyond the basic simple explanations.
However, I'm extremely computer savvy and will no doubt want to integrate this stuff with my house PVR setup.  I'm not afraid to do a little soldering, but I'd prefer not to if I didn't have to especially at the beginning here.

I think I'll leave it there for the moment, because Im sure the answers to these will shape the next round.  Thanks in advance for your patience!

Logged

Brian H

  • Community Organizer
  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Helpful Post Rating: 301
  • Posts: 13092
Re: Newbie > Help educate and design my CFL capable X10 starting point!
« Reply #1 on: February 23, 2010, 06:20:40 AM »

The sales site has actually improved from the it was a few months back. Some called it close to soft porn.

One tip. Check all the sales areas. I have seen an item at a different price on two different pages.

Sometimes picking a deal or two. Gets you all you really wanted and some extras for later use.
I may not need all six appliance modules right now, but the MegaPack deal on them is hard to resist.

1) Socket Rockets use a power line control signal at 120KHz; as do most of the X10 modules.
Remotes and motion sensors use an X10RF signal that is received by a transceiver [RR501; TM751]; the CM15A AHP Interface; Security Console and resent over the power line to control the modules.

2) The two wire wall dimming switches steal power through the light bulb and can not be used with any CFL. The ones that have a mechanical relay switch in them can control a CFL. They do not dim and require a Neutral power wire in the switch box.

Plug in lamp and appliance modules do have some local sensing current on the output. The later ones are much better than the ones many had problems with. A few years back.

Dimmable CFLs act differently than regular bulbs as they many times don't dim linearly and flicker at lower settings.
Here are two links from a bulb vendor with more data.
http://www.1000bulbs.com/images/PDF/Dimmable%20CFL%20Precautionary%20Notes%20-%20MUST%20READ.pdf
http://www.1000bulbs.com/images/neptun_instructions.pdf
http://www.1000bulbs.com/images/PDF/dimmable-ccfl-installation-notes.pdf

I have used CCFLs [Cold Cathode Flourescent Lights] and they dim better than the CFLs that can be dimmed. They are more expensive and most are only in lower wattages. I have 8 watt MicroBtite one in use.

2b) Even at 100% many dimmers still modify the AC wave and can cause the symptoms you are describing. A dimmable maybe better even if used at 100% Damaging them may depend on the CFLs exact electronics.

Have you had a chance to read any of the getting started or troubleshooting threads?
http://jvde.us/x10_troubleshooting.htm
http://forums.x10.com/index.php?PHPSESSID=l2v2t8pnj3cr5fgm3ej6i3igm3&topic=19252.msg107493#new
http://forums.x10.com/index.php?topic=9899.msg57946
http://www.act-solutions.com/PCC/uncle.htm
« Last Edit: February 23, 2010, 07:32:46 AM by Brian H »
Logged

bluenote

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Helpful Post Rating: 0
  • Posts: 10
Re: Newbie > Help educate and design my CFL capable X10 starting point!
« Reply #2 on: February 23, 2010, 07:27:04 PM »

Hey Brian

Thanks for taking the time to respond.  Your post was really helpful, and I appreciate the list of links, too.  I'm afraid after searching the keywords for my problem and finding a mishmash of data that I wasn't able to interpret very well, I did try searching for some FAQ's, but what I found in the "what to do before posting" thread was a little too elementary and the smilies guide kind of gave me the idea I'd be better served searching or asking. 

Your explanation raised on or two more questions, after which I hope to start surfing for the combo deal that best suits :)

I don't know how to tell if a switch, or unit has a relay, or has 3 wires, etc. 
What components from X10.com *can* be used with regular CFL's simply for on and off functionality?
What components can be used to dim dimmable CFL's ?

I read in between the lines of what you've said and it sort of sounds like, X10 and CFL's don't go (easily) together. 
Does some other manufacturer provide more CFL friendly gear (I don't need names or links).  I'm just kind of wondering what the 'real world' rubber hits the road solutions people are using.  Give up CFL's?  Or use non CFL-designed gear with CFL's and hope?

I must be missing something, aren't I?

thanks for your patience

Cory
Logged

Mel99

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Helpful Post Rating: 5
  • Posts: 93
Re: Newbie > Help educate and design my CFL capable X10 starting point!
« Reply #3 on: February 24, 2010, 08:54:25 AM »

I read in between the lines of what you've said and it sort of sounds like, X10 and CFL's don't go (easily) together. 
Does some other manufacturer provide more CFL friendly gear (I don't need names or links).  I'm just kind of wondering what the 'real world' rubber hits the road solutions people are using.  Give up CFL's?  Or use non CFL-designed gear with CFL's and hope?

I must be missing something, aren't I?

thanks for your patience

Cory



For what it's worth ...

I've been using CFL's for several years in my outside lights with XPS3 wall switches with no problems.  Additionally, I put one in a socket rocket a few months ago, again no problems.

Others may have other experiences and I'm sure they will post.

Mel
Logged

Brian H

  • Community Organizer
  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Helpful Post Rating: 301
  • Posts: 13092
Re: Newbie > Help educate and design my CFL capable X10 starting point!
« Reply #4 on: February 24, 2010, 10:12:11 AM »

Yes the data can be difficult to decipher.
Wall switches that can be used with CFLs and Low Voltage Lights: X10 WS13A; X10Pro:XPS and an in the fixture mounted. XPFM
None of the dimming wall switches will work with CFLs. Though some have used one regular bulb with the rest CFLs in a fixture and it has given varied results.

Plug in modules. I know the X10 AM466 3 pin appliance module has been redesigned for better CFL use. I think the 2 pin AM486 may also be updated. X10Pro PAM01 2 pin and PAM02 3 pin appliance modules. I have no hard facts on their being redesigned, but most times they are the same as the X10 versions with a different label.

Lamp modules that can be dimmed. X10 LM465 with soft start; X10Pro PLM01; PLM03 with soft start. How they work maybe tied to the electronic ballast in the dimmable CFL. Some brands may work better than others. I have a few brands of CCFLs and one works fine in a LM465 and another flickers and troughs fits.
As mentioned. Many have found the LM15A Socket Rocket and a CFL works fine. Even though X10s official stand is incandescent only bulbs. My thoughts are on the off chance one brand doesn't like a Socket Rocket. They can say we said so.

There maybe other brands of X10 compatible devices. Leviton comes to mind. I am sure others may give added data for you.

There are other protocols besides X10 that may have switches and modules that are CFL friendly. I use a mixture of Insteon and X10. Insteon can have an X10 address added to it so some of my older X10 controllers and remotes can also control them. My early revision ApplianceLinc V2 modules also had issues with some brands of CFLs and CCFLs.

No CFLs and an automation module problems is not only with X10 protocol. I have seen some ZWave wall switches and lamp modules that are also not CFL friendly.

You would also have to get a controller. To turn on, off, dim and brighten the modules.
Do you think you want to go with a computer interface; tabletop controls; RF remotes. They can be used together. I have RF remotes and computerized controls for my setup.
« Last Edit: February 24, 2010, 10:34:31 AM by Brian H »
Logged
 

X10.com | About X10 | X10 Security Systems | Cameras| Package Deals
© Copyright 2014-2016 X10.com All rights reserved.