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Author Topic: Leviton X10 (DHC) 2-wire dimmer switches on eBay  (Read 1207 times)

toasterking

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Leviton X10 (DHC) 2-wire dimmer switches on eBay
« on: March 09, 2020, 04:48:04 PM »

I just bought an armful of used Leviton DHC HCM10 2-wire dimmer switches on eBay and just wanted to give the group a heads up that there are more.  Be aware that they are almond colored, which is like a "cream" color and only slightly darker than white.

I still have a few fixtures in my house that are wired with single-pole switch loops and cannot easily be rewired without tearing out a wall due to the construction.  These switches operate when wired that way, and very well.  Wiring with neutral is recommended, but optional.  Still, these switches perform very well for me with just a single-pole, 2-wire connection, even with most dimmable LED bulbs, and even perform better than a "dumb" 2-wire dimmer in some cases.  They also have a handy LED bar on the side that shows the current or memorized dim level and an indicator at the bottom that lights when OFF to help you find the switch in the dark.

These are a unique item because:
  • The solution from X10 (WS12A) kind of sucks.
  • I haven't found any X10 switches from other manufacturers with this feature set.  AFAIK, all of them (e.g. SmartLabs, ACT) require a neutral.  Not to mention they're also discontinued.
  • There is an Insteon 2-wire switch, but it does not support X10.  AFAICT, it doesn't even support Insteon PLC and requires you to have a "dual mesh" module near it that speaks Insteon RF.

The solution from X10 sucks because:
  • The WS12A has not a real rocker; it has a squishy half-rocker that is a single button that does everything, but that's not obvious to a new user.  It's not intuitive to use.  (The Leviton switch has a control that moves and works similarly to a real rocker.)
  • None of my guests have ever been able to figure out the WS12A.  They hit the rocker and it ramps up slowly enough that they think nothing happened and hit it again, which stops it at a low brightness and sets that to the new resume dim level.  With no LEDs, there is no feedback from the switch and no other indication as to what went wrong.  The new dim level cannot be bypassed with a single tap, and they don't know to hold it down.  At that point, they don't know how to fix it and give up.  (The Leviton switch doesn't exhibit any of these behaviors.  It implements resume dim, but not stupidly; a second tap doesn't cancel brightening.)
  • The WS12A ramps on very slowly (over 2 seconds).  (The Leviton switch ramps up quickly and ramps down slowly.)
  • The WS12A's resume dim cannot be bypassed one time by tapping the switch.  (The Leviton switch's can.)
  • I've had problems with both the WS12A and WS467 spuriously glitching to ON state without any X10 signal being sent (verified with an XTBM Pro and an XTB-232).  This has happened with multiple units over multiple production periods, and I've tried a couple of mods to no avail.  The Leviton switches don't do that.
  • The WS12A can resume to a random state and brightness level after a power glitch.  (The Leviton switches appear to use flash or EEPROM to store state so shouldn't do that.)

These design issues aren't limited to only the 2-wire X10 brand switches.  I'd love to see X10 step up their game and redesign all the wall switches to compete better.  As it is, they're just a few hacks on top of the old single-button WS467.  For cases when users have a single-pole switch loop that can't be rewired, Insteon also offers Insteon-compatible LED bulbs.  I don't know about everyone else, but the idea of an efficient LED bulb with an integrated receiver appeals to me more than a Socket Rocket.  An all-in-one might be more attractive to others as well.

I wasn't planning for this to be a rant.  The bottom line is:  These things are nice and they're on eBay.  They're discontinued and in short supply, so if you think you might want them, get them now.  (BTW, I have no affiliation with the person selling them other than being a customer.)
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JeffVolp

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Re: Leviton X10 (DHC) 2-wire dimmer switches on eBay
« Reply #1 on: March 10, 2020, 09:35:41 AM »

These things are nice and they're on eBay.  They're discontinued and in short supply, so if you think you might want them, get them now.

I have a bunch of the 600W 2-way version (HCM06-1TW) brand new in white, but they are more expensive than the used ones on eBay.

An advantage of the 2-way version is that they contain a transmitter to indicate when they are controlled locally.  I use that in our media room to switch power to the subwoofers when the lights are switched on.

http://www.levitonproducts.com/catalog/model_HCM06-1TW.htm

Note however, Leviton does say they require a neutral connection - probably because of the transmitter.

Jeff
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toasterking

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Re: Leviton X10 (DHC) 2-wire dimmer switches on eBay
« Reply #2 on: March 10, 2020, 11:54:20 AM »

I have a bunch of the 600W 2-way version (HCM06-1TW) brand new in white, but they are more expensive than the used ones on eBay.

An advantage of the 2-way version is that they contain a transmitter to indicate when they are controlled locally.  I use that in our media room to switch power to the subwoofers when the lights are switched on.

This is the one additional thing I wish that the Leviton switches that I found could do, since it's also helpful for the controller to know what state the load is in.  But I didn't expect transmission from a 2-wire, single-pole device, which was the whole point of needing these.

However, I'm now curious about the potential to use the HCM06-1TW in other applications.  The manual seems to indicate that it transmits ON or OFF when being turned on or off.  Is that the only code it transmits when being switched on/off?  It also states "Brightness level and status may be obtained from dimmer by transmitters with Status Function".  I'm curious how this is implemented.  When it receives STATUS REQUEST (11111), does it return the dim level in the typical extended (type 3, command 1) format?  Does it also return a STATUS ON (11011) or STATUS OFF (11101) command?

Apologies if you don't know and don't want to screw around with it to find out.  I just know I've always disliked the way the SmartLabs switches immediately send their dim level as the deprecated "preset dim" format with house codes as soon as they're dimmed locally.

BTW, I note that the HCM06-1TW isn't on your X10 inventory page.  I should have heeded the advice to ask about things not listed, though that would opt you in to periodic spam from me.  :)
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JeffVolp

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Re: Leviton X10 (DHC) 2-wire dimmer switches on eBay
« Reply #3 on: March 10, 2020, 01:18:00 PM »

I should have heeded the advice to ask about things not listed, though that would opt you in to periodic spam from me.

That is something I have never done unless it was responding to a question someone had asked on the Forum.

I had just used the ON and OFF commands, but out of curiosity I monitored its communication with the XTBM-Pro:

When turned on it transmitted O1, O_ON.
Then I dimmed it to about half brightness.  It transmitted O1, extended code AA38 (I assume that is brightness).
Then I sent a Status_Request, and it responded O1, Status ON.  No extended code for brightness.
Obviously, when turned off it transmitted O1, O_OFF.

Jeff
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dave w

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Re: Leviton X10 (DHC) 2-wire dimmer switches on eBay
« Reply #4 on: March 10, 2020, 02:26:48 PM »

O-o-h Ebay is my next stop. I need one or two two wire switches with AGC. I sent email to Authinx to see if their current two wire switches has AGC. They do not.
Thank you Toast, for the heads up!!
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toasterking

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Re: Leviton X10 (DHC) 2-wire dimmer switches on eBay
« Reply #5 on: March 11, 2020, 04:10:27 PM »

Thanks for investigating, Jeff!  From your report, these behave exactly the way I'd want them to.

It transmitted O1, extended code AA38 (I assume that is brightness).
I assume the same, though I'm not familiar with that format.

I don't think I have any projects right now that I would need these for, but I'm sure I'll find some after my next move.  How many do you have stashed away?
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toasterking

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Re: Leviton X10 (DHC) 2-wire dimmer switches on eBay
« Reply #6 on: March 11, 2020, 04:10:55 PM »

O-o-h Ebay is my next stop. I need one or two two wire switches with AGC. I sent email to Authinx to see if their current two wire switches has AGC. They do not.
Thank you Toast, for the heads up!!

Welcome. :)
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JeffVolp

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Re: Leviton X10 (DHC) 2-wire dimmer switches on eBay
« Reply #7 on: March 11, 2020, 05:09:57 PM »

How many do you have stashed away?

More than 10.

Jeff
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Pele

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Re: Leviton X10 (DHC) 2-wire dimmer switches on eBay
« Reply #8 on: May 19, 2020, 09:49:59 AM »

How many do you have stashed away?

More than 10.

Jeff

I have sent you an email.

I'm a big fan of Leviton products. And with the chintzy feeling of the X10 "pro" stuff I recently installed, I'll probably be swapping them out with Leviton gear.
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