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Author Topic: Home theater Dimmer Recessed lighting Cans  (Read 12099 times)

tearl42

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Home theater Dimmer Recessed lighting Cans
« on: January 02, 2008, 09:15:43 PM »

Greetings to all,

I did sone searches and I didn't find the information that I was looking for so here I am posting away... :-)

I have just installed my home theater and as most things doing it in stages is more cost effective for me, so I'm ready do start doing the lights one part at a time.

I have a standard drop ceiling with Halo H7T can lights with 12 on 2 switches (6 each switch). I would like to put in dimmers for them, but I think I'm over whelmed by choices.

I was thinking of putting in 2 dimmer switches (maybe INSTEON SwitchLinc Dimmers) with a Palm Pad Controller (HR12A) and
2-Way Transceiver Module.

Am I off base or is this all I need for now?

Thanks in advance!

Tom
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Knightrider

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Re: Home theater Dimmer Recessed lighting Cans
« Reply #1 on: January 02, 2008, 10:07:51 PM »

need more info on the types of light bulbs in the cans.  are they cfls, what's the wattage of each unit, etc. don't be affraid to be overly specific.
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Brian H

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Re: Home theater Dimmer Recessed lighting Cans
« Reply #2 on: January 03, 2008, 06:55:31 AM »

One more thing to find out. Is there a neutral power wire in the switches electrical box. Many of the switches need a neutral; like the Insteon ones do.
As mentioned type of bulb and wattage is also needed.
Also are the switches next to each other. Some like the Insteon need to be derated by 200 watts apiece if they are next to each other.
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tearl42

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Re: Home theater Dimmer Recessed lighting Cans
« Reply #3 on: January 03, 2008, 07:53:45 AM »

Mmm... The light bulbs are just stock 65w "flood light" bulbs from the local mega mart.

And Yes, the house was built in 2000 and everything has a copper ground wire.

Thanks!

Tom
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HA Dave

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Re: Home theater Dimmer Recessed lighting Cans
« Reply #4 on: January 03, 2008, 10:39:40 AM »

I think 6 can lights are a lot per dimmer switch...... even if you over-look the wattage limits.... which your at the edge of, or maybe just over the edge of.

In my home theater I have the main body of can-lights (9) on three dimmers. Even with three dimmers.... all those lights are off, or dimmed to off during the movie viewing. I found, in my theater environment the overhead lighting to be too distracting for use during the movie. And blinding (even ON-to-dim) after the movie.

I use low wattage indirect lighting during moving showings. I have a some ropelighting, and a neon clock, which provides plenty of "comfort & safety" lighting during the movie. I use in-cabinet and indirect lighting (also low wattage) when the movie ends.... to "bring up the house lights".

I use three separate lighting themes:  A pre-movie lighting theme... during movie lighting... and after movie lighting.

Pre-movie: Two can-lights (front) near the screen, full bright. Five can-lights center, 80% dimmed. Back, overhead lighting off. Under counter (rope lights), and clock-light on.

During movie viewing:  Rope lighting and clock lighting remain on. All other lights are turned off in phases via a macro activated with the "watch a movie" button on my Harmony 628 remote. I use a IR mini controller (IR543) to convert the Harmony's IR to an X10 signal. If pizza is being served, I have a 40 watt spot over a table which is manually turned on.

After the movie:  I bring up the house lighting with another macro, turning on cabinet lights (low wattage and in-direct) and two spot lights that are directed to walls (movie posters). a hall (stair-way) light is also turned on.

Even though I don't use all those can-lights during show-times.... they sure come in handy for vacuuming up pop-corn, and cleaning the popper after company leaves. Although, many theater remotes can run the macro's required (mentioned above), X10's AHP (CM15A) with the software suite can sure make it easier.

I have a restroom off my theater which has a motion-detection nightlight inside. I also play the movie [being shown] in the restroom on a small TV. I do all this (and MUCH more) with X10. Actually, I even run the pre-movie lighting set-up... by voice command using BVC.

« Last Edit: October 15, 2009, 12:17:55 AM by Dave_x10_L »
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dave w

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Re: Home theater Dimmer Recessed lighting Cans
« Reply #5 on: January 03, 2008, 12:03:03 PM »

Mmm... The light bulbs are just stock 65w "flood light" bulbs from the local mega mart.

And Yes, the house was built in 2000 and everything has a copper ground wire.

Thanks!

Tom

No, copper ground is not a Neutral. The Insteon and just about every X10 switch which can be used for fluorescent lights (including CFL bulbs), or fans (inductive load) require a Neutral. Look in your wall box for several white wires,  wire nutted together, that is likely to be a Neutral.

X10 switches WS467, WS4777 (3-way), and WS12A (decorator paddle) do not require a Neutral wire but they will work only with incandescent bulbs...generally CFL's or LED bulbs will NOT work on these switches.
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Knightrider

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Re: Home theater Dimmer Recessed lighting Cans
« Reply #6 on: January 03, 2008, 05:59:32 PM »

number of lights is not as important as total wattage. the standard (if there is one) x10 dimming (two wire) wall switch is rated at 500 watts.
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HA Dave

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Re: Home theater Dimmer Recessed lighting Cans
« Reply #7 on: January 03, 2008, 11:11:23 PM »

number of lights is not as important as total wattage. the standard (if there is one) x10 dimming (two wire) wall switch is rated at 500 watts.

That's absolutely correct.... from a electrical inspection, and fire safety view-point. Which is VERY important all lighting should be safe.

However lets not forget lighting also needs to be good. The extra cost of switch or two can make a big difference. Lighting isn't cheap anymore... what light we pay for should be effective.
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Knightrider

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Re: Home theater Dimmer Recessed lighting Cans
« Reply #8 on: January 04, 2008, 05:48:39 PM »

Leave it to Dave to find something I may have missed.  I use X10 for power management.  Never thought of simply "splitting up lighting circuits, but that would save in the long run.  However, let's not forget that each switch draw roughly +/- 2 watts of current.  I guess you really need to plan your usage out before you make the leap.
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tearl42

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Re: Home theater Dimmer Recessed lighting Cans
« Reply #9 on: January 04, 2008, 06:37:18 PM »

Mmm... The light bulbs are just stock 65w "flood light" bulbs from the local mega mart.

And Yes, the house was built in 2000 and everything has a copper ground wire.

Thanks!

Tom

No, copper ground is not a Neutral. The Insteon and just about every X10 switch which can be used for fluorescent lights (including CFL bulbs), or fans (inductive load) require a Neutral. Look in your wall box for several white wires,  wire nutted together, that is likely to be a Neutral.

X10 switches WS467, WS4777 (3-way), and WS12A (decorator paddle) do not require a Neutral wire but they will work only with incandescent bulbs...generally CFL's or LED bulbs will NOT work on these switches.

Ok, so I wish my digital camera wasn't being repaired so I could take a picture and show you guys what I'm talking about. I pulled to cover off my switch and I see a white, a black and a copper each going to the 2 switches. I have had residential wiring classes and I have run my own outlets with killing myself, but I'm still kind of a rookie. I can follow directions very well, cause I no like shocky... :-)

So if the limit on the switch is at 500w and I have 6 lights at 65w that's only 390w. I should be GTG from what Knightrider said. And I agree with Dave, I want this to be done right. So what is the recommended hardware?

Thanks,

Tom
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Brian H

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Re: Home theater Dimmer Recessed lighting Cans
« Reply #10 on: January 04, 2008, 07:41:32 PM »

If both the White and Black go to the switch. You have a switch loop and not a neutral.

My home is the same. In my switch loop the White on the switch is the LINE [Yes Line] in the lights electrical box. The black from my switch loop then connects to the Lights Black Line connection and the white of the light goes to the neutral of the lights electrical box.

One of Uncle Phill's Tutorials may show a clearer explanation.

 http://www.act-solutions.com/PCC/kingery.htm
« Last Edit: January 04, 2008, 07:47:53 PM by Brian H »
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tearl42

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Re: Home theater Dimmer Recessed lighting Cans
« Reply #11 on: January 05, 2008, 09:33:45 PM »

If both the White and Black go to the switch. You have a switch loop and not a neutral.

My home is the same. In my switch loop the White on the switch is the LINE [Yes Line] in the lights electrical box. The black from my switch loop then connects to the Lights Black Line connection and the white of the light goes to the neutral of the lights electrical box.

One of Uncle Phill's Tutorials may show a clearer explanation.

 http://www.act-solutions.com/PCC/kingery.htm


This is an excellent read. I now understand. No I do not have a negative anywhere that I can find. So with that, what are my options?

Thanks,

Tom
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Boiler

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Re: Home theater Dimmer Recessed lighting Cans
« Reply #12 on: January 05, 2008, 11:28:37 PM »

This is an excellent read. I now understand. No I do not have a negative anywhere that I can find. So with that, what are my options?

Hello Tom,

If you are still interested in the Smarthome line of switches your options have pretty much disappeared.  The Switchlinc will not work without a neutral.

Smarthome has come up with a two wire configuration that consists of a Switchlinc and a Inline module (mounts at one of your lamps).  Unfortunately, these are only rated for 300W.

Link: Two Wire Dimmer

Could you cut your lamp wattage back to 45W each?  12 - 65W bulbs sounds like a lot of light for a home theater environment. 

Another option could be dimmable CFL's.  I'm currently "test driving" a couple of Sylvania 15W (65W equivalent) dimmable CFL's.  They "play" ok with my X10 and Insteon switches but they are much whiter (3000K color temperature) and don't dim down nearly as low as a standard incandescent.  They're also $10-12 a pop.

Edit 1-6-08: After thinking about it some more, I'd like to retract the above.  CFL dimming (Sylvania) is nonlinear and minimum levels are inconsistent between bulbs.  Not a good idea for a home theater area.

If you're not dead set on the Smarthome switches there are a number of different options:

  • Leviton makes a line of HCM06 (600 watt)/HCM10 (1000 watt) dimmer switches that can be used without a neutral wire.  These are similar in appearance to the Smarthome units and use "true rocker" action.  There are also color change kits available if you have something other than white or ivory.  I have a number of these - they've been flawless.
  • If you don't need the "true rocker" activation, the X10 brand switches do not require a neutral either.  The WS12 units are rated at 500W incandescent.

« Last Edit: January 06, 2008, 11:14:47 AM by Boiler »
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tearl42

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Re: Home theater Dimmer Recessed lighting Cans
« Reply #13 on: January 05, 2008, 11:58:11 PM »


Hello Tom,

If you are still interested in the Smarthome line of switches your options have pretty much disappeared.  The Switchlinc will not work without a neutral.

Smarthome has come up with a two wire configuration that consists of a Switchlinc and a Inline module (mounts at one of your lamps).  Unfortunately, these are only rated for 300W.

Link: Two Wire Dimmer

Could you cut your lamp wattage back to 45W each?  12 - 65W bulbs sounds like a lot of light for a home theater environment. 

Another option could be dimmable CFL's.  I'm currently "test driving" a couple of Sylvania 15W (65W equivalent) dimmable CFL's.  They "play" ok with my X10 and Insteon switches but they are much whiter (3000K color temperature) and don't dim down nearly as low as a standard incandescent.  They're also $10-12 a pop.

If you're not dead set on the Smarthome switches there are a number of different options:

  • Leviton makes a line of HCM06 (600 watt)/HCM10 (1000 watt) dimmer switches that can be used without a neutral wire.  These are similar in appearance to the Smarthome units and use "true rocker" action.  There are also color change kits available if you have something other than white or ivory.  I have a number of these - they've been flawless.
  • If you don't need the "true rocker" activation, the X10 brand switches do not require a neutral either.  The WS12 units are rated at 500W incandescent.



Oh, I'm far from set on anything, except the rest of my house has rocker switches so I do want to stick with then. But if the Leviton ones will work without the neutral wire then I'm ok with that.

So, getting down to the actual hardware I assume that I need a transmitter and a remote. So are there specific models of transmitter that will work with the Leviton switches?

Time to go and do some pricing...

Tom
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Boiler

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Re: Home theater Dimmer Recessed lighting Cans
« Reply #14 on: January 06, 2008, 01:16:48 AM »

Oh, I'm far from set on anything, except the rest of my house has rocker switches so I do want to stick with then. But if the Leviton ones will work without the neutral wire then I'm ok with that.

So, getting down to the actual hardware I assume that I need a transmitter and a remote. So are there specific models of transmitter that will work with the Leviton switches?

Tom,

Just to be clear - the X10 WS12 is a rocker or "paddle" style switch.  The difference is that is uses a single micro switch to activate.  You press the bottom of the paddle to activate and press the bottom of the paddle to turn off. 

The Leviton HCM series use two micro switches.  Press the top for ON and the bottom for OFF (i.e. "true rocker").

I've used most of the X10 RF remotes with my Leviton switches (palmpad, universal and learning remotes - UR73a?) as well as plug in mini timers and other consoles.  The choice is yours.

If you are using a RF remote, you'll need a transceiver (RR501 or TM751) to receive the RF and communicate on the powerline.

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