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 X-10 and LED Christmas lights
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vinthewrench
Starting Member

2 Posts

Posted - 12/05/2006 :  11:25:35 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I noticed that when I hookup LED Christmas light string to an X-10 appliance remote, the LEDS still stay light (although dim) I suspect this is because of the lamp switch feature.

anyone have a good solution to prevent the lights from staying on, or maybe a module that is X10 compatible that doesnt do this? Maybe there is a resistor I can hack out?

vinthewrench
Starting Member

2 Posts

Posted - 12/06/2006 :  10:12:32 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I suspect I need to clip the local control/current sensing diode. Lets see what happens..

I am surpised that there isn't a model out there that doesnt have this feature.
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mteator
Senior Member

USA
266 Posts

Posted - 12/06/2006 :  11:22:12 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
This was brought up recently here:

http://www.smarthome.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=835

Doesn't look like there's a solution yet, just a workaround with a nightlight.

~Michael
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Mike Sleight
Starting Member

USA
7 Posts

Posted - 01/18/2009 :  8:35:16 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
My 70-lite LED strings draw 2 watts. A nite-lite of 4W fixes the problem, so each set now draws 6 watts total. Darned sight better than the 22 W comparable incandescent mini's draw. The nite lite can be plugged at the end of the string, or at the end of 3 strings, as necessary.

I outside decorate 4 bush areas, each with a string of all-red, all-green, all-blue and all-yellow lights, about half converted to LED's, as I can afford. All-yellows are impossible to find. Got Reds $ blues at after-Christmas garden shop sale, $5 a string.

I control them all with HCA, a program which runs through "scenes" of color groupings with over a thousand changes an evening. Started it 12 years ago, and have been bearing down on LM-14A and predecessors ever since.

Any ideas to improve on the 4 watt nite lite work-around? I paint 'em black or use the color of the rest of the led's on that string.
--Mike
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Geo
Advanced Member

Canada
586 Posts

Posted - 10/27/2009 :  4:36:01 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
X10 modules need a bit of current to operate. That current is drawn through the load. Although just a few milliamperes, it's enough to let the LED glow. Like the other suggestion already says, connect a small incandecent lamp to the string of LED lights and the "problem" goes away.

GJN
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BLH
Advanced Member

4469 Posts

Posted - 10/29/2009 :  07:32:34 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
The new X10 Appliance Modules [they call them CFL Friendly] don't have the Local Control feature. They still have a small sensing circuit to know if the mechanical switch is in the on or off position. The current is much less than the older ones. There is no diode to cut in it and the layout is completely different. They still make my LED lights glow, but not as bright. The Black and Decker FWLROD Outdoor Lamp Receiver also has this small current on the output. They call it a Lamp Module but it sounds and acts more like an Appliance Module. Typical Clunk on activation.

Edited by - BLH on 10/29/2009 07:33:37 AM
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Mike Sleight
Starting Member

USA
7 Posts

Posted - 10/29/2009 :  8:40:09 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
[b][b][size=1][size=2][size=3][font=Times New Roman]Thanks, BLH. In order to deal with all the models, I'm now plugging a bulb adaptor in the end of the lead of LED's and screwing in a 7 watt S11 standard base bulb as an additional load. Too bad, 'cause that deveats the low consumption feature of LED's, but that's the only thing that makes 'em go out completely.

--Mike
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BLH
Advanced Member

4469 Posts

Posted - 10/30/2009 :  03:37:23 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Yes that is what we recommend in the X10 forums. A small night light. Though some like a resistor for a load.
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Mike Sleight
Starting Member

USA
7 Posts

Posted - 10/30/2009 :  07:34:41 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Yes. I'm an electronics engineer who certainly understands the resistor concept, but finds just screwing in a light bulb (resistor) is just plain easier.
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BLH
Advanced Member

4469 Posts

Posted - 10/30/2009 :  08:49:26 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I am an Electronic Technician and agree. The bulb is a much safer and easier way to go.

I have modified an earlier X10 LM465 Lamp Module. Removed all the sensing components. Replaced the triac with a Sharp SSR and components needed to drive it. It now has no leakage to the load and LED's are fine with it.
If you dim it by accident. When the drive gets too low it just turns off.
New Soft Start LM465's are different and I have never tried doing one of those.
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Mike Sleight
Starting Member

USA
7 Posts

Posted - 10/30/2009 :  09:29:47 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I used to run 18 of them outside, some of them lamp modules, and try as I did some would get watered and die. I'd replace any failed semiconductors, and specked out one output scr or xistor whatever as higher current capacity and could run 800 watts off it. Not necessary tho', now with LED loads.

What is the Smarthome equivalent to these X-10 modules. I want to keep within the X-10 protocol.
--M
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BLH
Advanced Member

4469 Posts

Posted - 10/30/2009 :  11:01:37 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Smarthome has replaced almost all of their brand X10 modules with Insteon and Icon Modules. They can have an X10 address programed into them.
There where some X10; X10Pro; Leviton and Black and Decker X10 modules still listed on their sire along with one basic Smarthome Brand 2000SC Lamp Module.
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Mike Sleight
Starting Member

USA
7 Posts

Posted - 10/30/2009 :  12:49:02 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks BLH. I know lots of X-10 stuff is flakey like the outdoor spotlight pair, which won't turn off after a power failure. And the TM-751 transciever; and the LM15A Remote Controlled Lamp Module.
--M
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BLH
Advanced Member

4469 Posts

Posted - 10/30/2009 :  3:34:56 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Well the LM15A Socket Rocket is known to have it's triac short. Leaving it on all the time. Many are blown by the surge of the light bulb burning out.
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Mike Sleight
Starting Member

USA
7 Posts

Posted - 10/30/2009 :  8:39:50 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Mine is intermittent; becomes unprogrammed with provocation.
--M
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Mike Sleight
Starting Member

USA
7 Posts

Posted - 10/30/2009 :  8:41:26 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
'Scuse it: I meant WITHOUT provocation.
--M
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yeldarb
Starting Member

USA
1 Posts

Posted - 12/13/2009 :  07:56:40 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I tried clipping the local control/current sensing diode on an X-10 lamp module but either I did it wrong or maybe it was the wrong kind of module. The LEDs still stayed dim when "off".

I purchased a Black and Decker FreeWire FWLROD Outdoor Lamp Receiver since this seemed like a better solution for outdoors anyway. As mentioned above this "also has this small current on the output. They call it a Lamp Module but it sounds and acts more like an Appliance Module. Typical Clunk on activation." LED strings still stayed dim when "off" !

I would rather not use the method of installing a 4W "nite lite" on the load side, both because the light would be visible in my display, and also its a location exposed to the elements. Someone mentioned wiring in a resistor... what kind would I use? This seems a bit dicey, isn't this essentially a heater? Could I instead try to find something commercially available that does the same thing, such as one of those little heating pads for a pet lizard cage? Or maybe one of those tubes that helps keep down the humdity inside a gun safe? I'm not sure how little/much wattage these items would draw, but at least those would be actual products and not something I rigged up myself. They would not be visible, and would be (or could be made) waterproof. Thoughts?

I'm really surprised nobody has made a new module that doesn't have this problem? I'm also surprised that nobody has made a USB version of the venerable CP290 with the same standalone functionaly: clock and stored schedule(s), as well as control buttons on the front. Powerlinc doesn't even have this.

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Geo
Advanced Member

Canada
586 Posts

Posted - 12/14/2009 :  11:08:29 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Removing the diode can't fix the problem, although it will dim the lights a bit. With the diode in, there is a 2.2k and a current feedback resistor 330k providing the path. Clipping the diode will remove the 2.2k resitor from the path, but the 330k remains, allowing about 250uA to flow (assuming about 1.2V forward voltage per LED. The LEDs can be used as excellent zener diodes, providing a sharp knee in a microampere range, but that's another story) and the LEDs can still glow at that current. The only way around it is to add a load. I still use a few strings of incandescent lights, so as long as they work, potential energy savings will not offset the cost of new lights. When they're gone, I think I'll put in a small resistor. I haven't tried it yet, but by my calculations about 100k/0.25w resistor should do the job. The additional dissipation is about 144 mW.
Why there are no modules available, in my view, is economics. The cost of developing, tooling and recertifying the new module will not be offset by sales. These units have been around for some 30 years, are made in China by the millions, so why change? They work fine with CFLs unless you want to dim them. It is generally felt that the CFLs are not the silver bullet for ecology and will be in a foreseeable future replaced by most likely LEDs. This gives little incentive to develop dimming modules for CFLs. I wouldn't hold my breath waitintg for them. It will most likely be a new generation of modules developed when the illumination sources have been settled for a long term and Insteon system will probably take over the X10 market.
CP290 was a great product. It served me well for 20 years. When it died I replaced it with PowerLinc with great disappointment. It took me a month to get the system working again with lots of workarounds to tame the below par software, which has not been updated for good 5 years. One anomaly related to the time keeping of the PowerLinc made me finally to give up on it and purchase similar unit from another manufacturer. It doesn't have the push buttons like the old CP290 either, but works flawlessly without any workarounds.

GJN
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Kevin Rose
Starting Member

USA
8 Posts

Posted - 12/22/2009 :  5:13:45 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Has anyone tried replacing one of the LED bulbs with an old incandescent miniature bulb? Less conspicuous and lower wattage than a 4W nightlight, but will still provide a load to keep the string below the LED's breakover voltage. Weatherproof too.
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Geo
Advanced Member

Canada
586 Posts

Posted - 12/23/2009 :  08:09:49 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
This has been re-hashed a few times. I've gone through the schematics and there really isn't any way to accommodate LEDs only without a fundamental module redesign - something I very much doubt any manufacturer has an incentive to do.
I did some calculations and came up with a 100k resistor to provide sufficient draw to turn the LEDs off. The resistor will dissipate less than 150mW and if you were to replace the plug on one LED string with a new one, you could place the resistor inside it.
100k works with the string I tested, but I didn't spend any time trying to generalize this value. In my Christmas lighting I still combine some older incandescent strings with the newer LEDs, so I don't have the problem to start with. As Kevin Rose is asking, connect an old, smallest incandescent string together with the LEDs and the problem goes away.

GJN
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belcat
Starting Member

Canada
1 Posts

Posted - 12/12/2011 :  6:41:56 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I can confirm that the 100k resistor across the 120V socket works nicely, my blue LED lights no longer glow when the power is off.
It is very easy to solder the extra resistor, and power dissipation is minimal (especially since most VCR/DVD/Bluray players use 1W or even more!).
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Geo
Advanced Member

Canada
586 Posts

Posted - 12/13/2011 :  08:06:23 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I told you so ;-)

GJN
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terbos
Starting Member

USA
1 Posts

Posted - 08/29/2012 :  3:12:11 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
For convenient and safe packaging you could simply make a dongle from a replacement 2-prong plug for lamp cord. Instead of putting wire into it, just put a 100K resistor between the screw terminals (no soldering required) then seal the cord hole with caulk. If you find a string of LEDs that glows dimly from the X10 controller leakage, just plug the dongle into the backside of the light string.
Easy, portable, and reusable!
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aabbaagirly
Starting Member

1 Posts

Posted - 09/03/2012 :  02:04:17 AM  Show Profile  Visit aabbaagirly's Homepage  Reply with Quote
one word : blinker!
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