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jonathani
Starting Member

USA
5 Posts

Posted - 10/04/2012 :  7:41:22 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Project: Landscape Lighting that can be Dimmed
Most landscape lighting is on or off because most 12v landscape lighting transformers do not allow dimming.
Landscape lighting control systems are typically self-contained with transformer, timer, and light sensor.

Since I already have software in place for scheduling and events, all I needed was a dimmable transformer to supply the power.
Here are the components I am using for my system, wired to test before I install this weekend.
Everything works as expected, lights steady across the entire dimmable range of the 2475DA1.

Control: Smarthome 2475DA1 In-LineLinc Dimmer 400w
Transformer: Elco Lighting LVT-303-AC LighTech 300w 12v Electronic Dimmable Transformer
Lights: Paradise GL22788BK Low Voltage Cast Aluminum 10-Watt Halogen Palm Island Post Light
Timer: HouseLinc

Image album

2475DA1 [white/clear, top right] and LVT-303-AC [black, left] wired for test.
Blue wires are transformer's 12v AC output, connected to 14ga wire.


Tap used to connect lights to 14ga wire, simple snap connectors.


Light connected to 14ga wire.


Lights on!

Edited by - jonathani on 10/04/2012 8:42:29 PM

stusviews
Moderator

USA
11449 Posts

Posted - 10/04/2012 :  10:55:17 PM  Show Profile  Visit stusviews's Homepage  Reply with Quote
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oberkc
Advanced Member

USA
2511 Posts

Posted - 10/05/2012 :  03:35:51 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
My experience with those pierce-point connectors is not good. I have soldered, all mine, protecting each joint with silicone and wire nuts. This has worked well so far.

Many of the smarthome dimmers are "rated" for incandescent loads only (unfortunately, my access to the smarthome web page appears broke at this point). Are you concerned about compability with this 12V transformer and the inlinelinc? Have you determined whether this transformer interferes with communication for insteon?

Is that transformer rated for outdoor use? If not, is it your intention to mount it inside?

Edited by - oberkc on 10/05/2012 03:38:13 AM
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jonathani
Starting Member

USA
5 Posts

Posted - 10/05/2012 :  06:22:53 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by oberkc

My experience with those pierce-point connectors is not good. I have soldered, all mine, protecting each joint with silicone and wire nuts. This has worked well so far.

Many of the smarthome dimmers are "rated" for incandescent loads only (unfortunately, my access to the smarthome web page appears broke at this point). Are you concerned about compability with this 12V transformer and the inlinelinc? Have you determined whether this transformer interferes with communication for insteon?

Is that transformer rated for outdoor use? If not, is it your intention to mount it inside?



Good feedback on the connectors.

The transformer I chose (and most other dimmable transformers I reviewed) is compatible with TRIAC dimmers. It is my understanding that TRIACs are what Smarthome Insteon devices use. Incidentally, I tested the setup with an older rotary dimmer switch, and that had some odd results. There were stable levels where the lights were steady, but at in-between brightness levels, the lights flickered. With the Insteon controller, the lights were steady at all levels.

Cannot yet comment on transformer noise, but from what I have read, problems are generally related to lower brightness levels and can be resolved with noise filters.

The transformer is not rated for outdoor use, planning to mount inside and run the 12v line out.

Edited by - jonathani on 10/05/2012 07:00:55 AM
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oberkc
Advanced Member

USA
2511 Posts

Posted - 10/05/2012 :  08:00:00 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
The transformer is not rated for outdoor use, planning to mount inside and run the 12v line out

That is how I did mine. I use four transformers.

quote:
and can be resolved with noise filters.

That is also consistent with my experience. In case it is not obvious, make sure you filter only the power to the load, and not the inlinelinc itself.
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jonathani
Starting Member

USA
5 Posts

Posted - 10/05/2012 :  08:21:06 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by oberkc
quote:
and can be resolved with noise filters.

That is also consistent with my experience. In case it is not obvious, make sure you filter only the power to the load, and not the inlinelinc itself.



So you put the filter between the Insteon load wire and transformer hot wire?
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oberkc
Advanced Member

USA
2511 Posts

Posted - 10/05/2012 :  08:45:18 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Exactly!
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Geo
Advanced Member

Canada
586 Posts

Posted - 10/05/2012 :  3:48:39 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
All commercial dimmers, manual or Insteon, etc. use triacs as the control element. There have been some attempts with the IGBTs but I haven't seen any sold.
Light flicker with a manual dimmer is most likely due to its poor condition or line voltage variations. There is no difference in the dimming circuits between manual and Insteon or X10.
I have never seen a "non-dimmable" transformer. Transformers may get a little warmer due to losses caused by non-sinusoidal voltage caused by phase firing of the triac, but the waveform is still symmetrical. As far as I'm concerned, "dimmable" transformers are there just to extract higher price. Transformer by its very nature transforms the load characteristics as well as voltage and current. There will be some added inductance but the incandescent load on the secondary will still show as incandescent on the primary and, therefore, the dimmer will see an incandescent load.
It's the dimmer that generates noise, not the transformer.

As oberkc says: Exactly.




GJN
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kilbournj
New Member

USA
25 Posts

Posted - 10/06/2012 :  07:56:35 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hummm, this is an interesting topic! There are definitely (110/220vac and others) transformers which are listed as non-dimmable. I use 12v track lighting and X10 compatible Leviton dimmers with an appropriately rated and UL listed (juno brand) dimmable transformers. If a transformer is listed as non-dimmable you may be able to use a TRIAC or some other electronic dimming method to control it but this writer would highly recommend NOT doing so. Typically you will over heat the control device or perhaps the transformer and cause a catastrophic component failure worst case consider a house fire.

Edited by - kilbournj on 10/06/2012 08:10:27 AM
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Geo
Advanced Member

Canada
586 Posts

Posted - 10/06/2012 :  09:43:05 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
We're talking about two different things here. There are "dimmable ELECTRONIC transformers" which have very little in common with normal, that is wire wound, transformers. Dimmable electronic transformers are designed to supply low voltage lights and control them with a common type (triac) dimmer. There is no such thing as a "dimmable" wire wound transformer, although if you know what you are doing, you can dim the regular transformer. I, for one, have never needed the electronic variety.

GJN
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jonathani
Starting Member

USA
5 Posts

Posted - 10/12/2012 :  1:48:45 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
UPDATE:

The system has been functioning for almost a week, and I have noticed no noise-related issues.

There are three other Insteon devices on the same circuit, and all have functioned as they did before, no errors or odd behavior.
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Geo
Advanced Member

Canada
586 Posts

Posted - 10/13/2012 :  08:07:38 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Good!

GJN
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