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Author Topic: Advice needed on controlling recessed lighting cans  (Read 5944 times)

JonInMichigan

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Advice needed on controlling recessed lighting cans
« on: April 11, 2009, 12:38:54 PM »


Hello.   I am finishing my basement with a drop ceiling and recessed lighting cans containing halogen flood light bulbs.
I’m thinking of light groups, each consisting of 3 or 4 “can lights” in each group.  Each “can light” would have a 50 -100w halogen flood bulb (110v) in it, just like the bathroom.   
My goal is that someone who is walking into the basement is able to use the wall switch, at the bottom of the stairs, to turn the main light groups on and off without worrying about, or really even being aware of, the X10 system.   
When entertaining guests, I would like to (as king and master over my basement domain – LOL) be able to seize control of all the light groups controlled by the main switches, as well as control  over other X10 devices (i.e. disco ball, etc), from an X10 remote positioned behind the bar.   That way, in entertainment mode, I can control the mood an ambiance of the whole environment with pre-set macros, etc.
So here are the questions I’m struggling to find answers to:
(Note: I will be installing all the wiring in the basement so I have no problem running both hot and neutral wires to each of the switch boxes, unlike most typical switches in your house.)
1.   Can the wall dimmer switch module (which is rated at 40-500w) handle 3 or 4 halogen flood bulbs at a time (say 65 – 100 watts each)?   That’s only 300-400watts, but I see some conflicting opinions on this issue.
2.   If I were to shut the lights off with the X10 remote and walk/stumble upstairs at the end of the night, can the next person coming down to the basement the next day use the switch to turn them back on?   Or do they need to be on via the x10 controls before the wall switch will work?  I don’t want my kids or wife to have to even think about the x10 system when we are in non-entertainment mode.
3.   Do I need to use the rocker dimmers or with the switch with X10 dimmer control work?
Additional Info:  A few years ago, I built the basement bathroom, which contains two 65w halogen flood lamps in recessed lighting cans, controlled by a conventional (NON-X10) dimmer switch.   I had some advice from friends before I undertook the project that a dimmer wouldn’t work properly with can lights.   It was actually bad advice as the can lights have been working fine on the dimmer for five years.   They are able to be dimmed from off to full brightness without flicker or any heat problems.
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Jsnlong

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Re: Advice needed on controlling recessed lighting cans
« Reply #1 on: April 11, 2009, 01:01:35 PM »

Can/Halogen lights are ment to be dimmed.......I think every can/halogen light I have ever installed any where have always had dimmers.

The x10 switch's have manual overrides at the switch itself. But when or if you use active home pro to make your macros and such. The X10 switch will not send a signal to the macro/computer to let you know if it is on or off. (NO 2 way commutation) but that's one of the down side to the great price of X10 automation. But yo Can turn them on and off at the switch and with a remote.

As long as you dont go over 500 watts these should work

A rocker switch with dimming
http://www.x10.com/automation/ws12a_s.html

A push button switch with dimming
http://www.x10.com/automation/ws467_s.html

Wall switch for Disco Ball LOL. Cant use a dimmer to control those
http://www.activehomepro.com/accessories/acc_wallswitch_ws13a.html

Have fun with the set up I would also suggest the new RF icon remote. Great control over your Tv and stuff plus X10 lighting. This remote will make you King of your Basement with out costing you a King's ransom
http://www.x10.com/promotions/ir32a_remote.html


« Last Edit: April 11, 2009, 01:04:57 PM by Jsnlong »
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Knightrider

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Re: Advice needed on controlling recessed lighting cans
« Reply #2 on: April 11, 2009, 02:04:02 PM »

If only Austin Powers knew about x10.........
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JonInMichigan

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Re: Advice needed on controlling recessed lighting cans
« Reply #3 on: April 11, 2009, 03:09:45 PM »

Jsnlong,

Ok.   That's what I figured.   If it's off at the switch then I can't turn it on with the X10 software, but if it's off with the software, then I can still turn it on at the switch... if I understand correctly.

Thanks for the links too!

Jon
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Knightrider

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Re: Advice needed on controlling recessed lighting cans
« Reply #4 on: April 11, 2009, 03:37:26 PM »

Jon,
The override that Jsnlong is referring to is a tiny slider switch which is used to cut power for bulb changing.  With the x10 switch you can control off and on locally and by remote -- no matter what the state of the base switch is.  The remotes also will dim the unit.  From what you've described, X10 would be perfect for you.
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bitman

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Re: Advice needed on controlling recessed lighting cans
« Reply #5 on: April 11, 2009, 04:09:42 PM »

You have a disco ball down there!?  ::)

Oh boy.

 >!
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HA Dave

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Re: Advice needed on controlling recessed lighting cans
« Reply #6 on: April 11, 2009, 04:18:36 PM »

.........When entertaining guests, I would like to (as king and master over my basement domain – LOL) be able to seize control of all the light groups controlled by the main switches, as well as control  over other X10 devices...

It was my Basement Home Theater that got me started with X10...
« Last Edit: October 16, 2009, 12:50:49 AM by -Bill- (of wgjohns.com) »
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JonInMichigan

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Re: Advice needed on controlling recessed lighting cans
« Reply #7 on: April 11, 2009, 11:52:49 PM »


Knightrider, thanks for clearifying.  Sounds even better!  I like the wall controls to work normally for the technology impaired, while still being able to command the system remotely.   I had a hard time doing that in the early days of the x10 and gave up on it.   When I looked at how many things I needed to control in the basement (and no I don't have a disco ball yet.... but when making a good plan you need to think of the possibilities...

which is why I'm thinking of some x10 outlets in key positions above the drop ceiling for things you are more likely to use in there commercial form, like the transformer for a disco ball, etc.   A fog machine for halloween....well anyway... :o  Sure I could cut the 110v cords (if they have one - like a fog machine)  and wire them inside a junction box, but it's nice just to have plugs.   That stuff will be x10 controlled only.   If people want the disco ball turned on they will have to explore the remote...lol.   But I don't want to give up control over the basic lights....drunk people like to try to control these things....but they won't because I will have ultimate POWER over the lights with the x10! LOL Kidding...somewhere in the back of my head there must be some truth to that though.   Basically, I just wanted dimmers behind the bar with 2 way capability with the entryway switches.   That's a pain in the butt, tons of rolmex, and then I thought....hey I could just take control with x10 stuff and it would be cheaper and easier, but it's very hard to find good specs. So I appreciate the forum.  It's been helpfull.

Dave_10x_L, awesome theater!!!!
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spam4us

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Re: Advice needed on controlling recessed lighting cans
« Reply #8 on: April 14, 2009, 12:04:41 AM »

I have banks of can lights in my basement.  I used ws467 switches but they are all located where my breaker box is.  I ran home runs from each bank of can lights (about 6 cans per bank at 60 watts each) back to the ws467 switches.  I have about 9 of the ws467 mounted in a row next to each other.

I then control all of my lights using mini controllers.  You can use active home pro to trigger a macro to turn on any of the ws467 switches. Set the mini controller to say housecode B and have all of your ws467 set to say housecode C.  When you press B1 on the mini controller, you can trigger a macro to turn on C1  C2 and C5 if that's what you want.

You can place the mini controllers anywhere in your house say near an entrance to the basement.  During "Party time", you can move that controller out of reach from your guests.   OR    you can get fancier with active home pro and write a macro that will ignore the commands from the housecode B controller and only respond to your behind the bar housecode P controller. So pressing P1 on on the P controller will trigger a macro & turn on C1 C2 and C5 but your tipsy guest pressing B1 on the B mini controller will not get anything to happen.

hope you get the idea.
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