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alternety
Junior Member

USA
57 Posts

Posted - 11/25/2015 :  6:05:47 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I have a bunch of LED bulbs. Cree and some others. I just replaced two higher power CFLs over the stove with 2 similar Cree LEDs. The CFLs were in there for years with no problem. I just decided to use LEDs.

The lights are on an Insteon multibutton switch. No dimming.

The LED lighting failed after about a month. The bulbs are fine, but the Insteon switch is toast. In talking with my brother, he had the same problem with Insteon and LEDs. He said he had heard from other that there was a problem.

I am planning to switch mostly to LEDs. I have a bunch in outside lights that are on dimmers but seldom used.

Is anyone else aware of a problem with Insteon and these bulbs?

Tfitzpatri8
Administrator

USA
10686 Posts

Posted - 11/25/2015 :  6:27:01 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
This isn't limited to Insteon, it applies to all dimmers.

What might not be obvious is, even if you program a dimmer with a 100% dim level and instant ramp rate, and even if no one in the house is accidentally dimming it periodically, you are still stressing any non-dimmable load you are attaching to it. The result is as you describe--you can damage the load, the dimmer, or both.

Only dimmable loads should be connected to a dimmer. CFL and LED bulbs must be labeled as dimmable, never assume! If the load isn't designed to be used with a dimmer, always use a relay-style keypad or switch instead.
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oberkc
Moderator

USA
3843 Posts

Posted - 11/25/2015 :  7:02:03 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I have not had any issues with LED bulbs killing insteon switches. Nearly my entire house is LED and insteon switches. All seem to work with very few failures of any kind, certainly none I attribute to the presence of LED bulbs.

Like Tfitzpatri8, I am careful not to install non-dimming bulbs to dimmer switches.
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alternety
Junior Member

USA
57 Posts

Posted - 11/25/2015 :  7:38:57 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
The bulbs are actually rated as dimmable. Both the CFLs and the LEDs.

Trying to do anything useful with Insteon using non-dimmable Insteon switches is quite difficult and in many cases simply unacceptable. The availability of relay based switches fitting into most situations is essentially Zero. Either because of zero color choices or not 8 button to go with everything else I have. I have always viewed that as a problem. You pretty much have to use dimmers and just never use them at less than 100%. I believe there is no intrinsic reason why a TRIAC dimmer can not be started on a zero line crossing and pretty much behave like a relay. I have always rather presumed Insteon does this.

Anyway, both bulbs and controls are supposed to work together.

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stusviews
Advanced Member

USA
15854 Posts

Posted - 11/25/2015 :  10:09:01 PM  Show Profile  Visit stusviews's Homepage  Reply with Quote
The 6-button KeypadLinc On/Off Switch can easily be configured for 8-button mode. Two of my several KeypadLinc On/Off switches are set to 8-button mode. Color change kits are available and come to about the same price as getting a KeypadLinc in other than white.

There is no way a TRIAC can give the same results as a relay and also be configured for dimming. The circuitry that allows for dimming clips the sine wave even at 100%.

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alternety
Junior Member

USA
57 Posts

Posted - 11/25/2015 :  10:24:12 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
OK. I forgot about the replacement fronts.

A relay would be fine. But I am still not convinced that a dimmer control should not work with a dimmable bulb. There have to be a bunch of people out there dimming LED bulbs. And I have some that will need to do just that. How does one distinguish between a bulb being started at full brightness and then dimmed vs a bulb that starts at high level and is not dimmed? The conditions are the same. All the equipment is the same.

I am trying to find out if there are particular LED bulbs that cause problems or if some Insteon dimmers fail unreasonable.
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stusviews
Advanced Member

USA
15854 Posts

Posted - 11/25/2015 :  10:52:04 PM  Show Profile  Visit stusviews's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Virtually all standard dimmers work well with dimmable CFL and/or LED bulbs.

All home automation dimmers fail to function correctly with some CFL and/or LED bulbs. There are two solutions. Review the manufacturer's recommendations (which can change) or trial and error.

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alternety
Junior Member

USA
57 Posts

Posted - 11/25/2015 :  11:19:25 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I am simply not willing to buy your statement above. At compatible power levels, all the TRIAC based dimmers are basically the same basic thing. Just what is it about "home automation" TRIACs that is significantly different from the TRIAC (or a pair of SCRs) being sold at Home Depot to dim lights. I really would like to know just what that is. Perhaps I can protect my Insteon devices. I am really not seeing it.

I just wrote the material below for another thread here and did not realize it was an old thread. So I brought it here. It seems relevant.


I believe the LED electronics should be able to dim correctly down to a pretty reasonable level without damaging something. But it requires doing some things differently than for non-dimmable. The switching regulator in the bulb can be designed to deal with a decent range of input voltage. There is probably a bridge rectifier on the AC line, followed with some capacitance (and things). The switcher then needs to be able to produce the required power to run the light. It does that by controlling the switching rate. An every day example is all the power supplies around that will take anything from 120 VAC to 220 VAC with out changing any switches.

LEDs are current operated devices. The AC from the switcher is rectified and essentially sent to something that controls the current to the diode stack. This may or may not be some separate electronics. It could be a function of circuitry inside the switching controller (they are pretty full of functions for little money). So,roughly, the DC from the switcher goes to a current control, which may be an external pass device or part of the switcher IC. If the switcher is capable of generating sufficient output power over a suitable range of line input, it can then control the brightness of the LEDs. A simple feedback link to the input power will allow the control of current in the LEDs. When the line voltage from the dimmer reaches a lower cutoff, the light goes out because the switcher shuts itself off. For non-dimmable, just remove the variable current regulator.

That description is a bit rough, and it is not a trivial design exercise. But quite a bit can be done with one or two ICs. There is cost involved in making the electronics for either kind of bulb. Somewhat more for dimmable. But my gut says pretty minimal. Particularly as volumes increase. And LEDs steadily get brighter, more efficient, and cheaper. What's not to like.

Now thinking through what is happening (and assuming proper design): there is really not some place in the power train that is likely to be damaged by a bit of TRIAC residual distortion of the line voltage or low average line voltage. The only part of the circuit that could even hope to see any spike is a bridge rectifier with a filtered output. With a much longer time constant.

There are bulbs out there that directly take signals of some sort (frequently something like WiFi I believe). It is probably not too hard to include power line signal decoding in the light. I am guessing the most annoying part would be getting a clean signal from the line. The decoding could be added to the switcher chip or a radio chip. From the line it may need another transformer. They are relatively expensive as a component and take up space. But then you could just provide normal full AC all the time. Perhaps Insteon could send something up the line from the "dimmer" switch. That could get a bit complicated. Or just use the radio in the dimmer to a matching receiver in the light. If they can make a bulb for WiFi; piece of cake to do it for the Insteon radio.
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Geo
Advanced Member

Canada
815 Posts

Posted - 11/26/2015 :  04:52:29 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
The above explanation is absolutely correct. There are NO special TRIACs or SCRs for home automation.
I've had no problem with LEDs, but am reminded of the situation with early CFL that were failing due to constant switching and whatever the explanations could be. In the end the reason for the majority of failures was a cheap, underrated capacitor. Since the design modification the failure rate is no longer such a problem.

GJN
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BLH
Advanced Member

5911 Posts

Posted - 11/26/2015 :  06:10:32 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
One added point.
Many dimmable LED bulbs have an In Rush and Repetitive Peek Current. Rarely mention by the LED bulb manufacturers.
I have some Lighting Science Group dimmable LED bulbs and they say count each 8.5 watt bulb as a 85 watt load when counting up the wattage on a standard triac dimmer.
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alternety
Junior Member

USA
57 Posts

Posted - 11/26/2015 :  12:53:59 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
OK. I forgot about the replacement fronts.

A relay would be fine. But I am still not convinced that a dimmer control should not work with a dimmable bulb. There have to be a bunch of people out there dimming LED bulbs. And I have some that will need to do just that. How does one distinguish between a bulb being started at full brightness and then dimmed vs a bulb that starts at high level and is not dimmed? The conditions are the same. All the equipment is the same.

I am trying to find out if there are particular LED bulbs that cause problems or if some Insteon dimmers fail unreasonable.
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Tfitzpatri8
Administrator

USA
10686 Posts

Posted - 11/26/2015 :  12:56:51 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I've been using dimmable LEDs with a bunch of Insteon dimmers for a while now without it being any trouble. I use LEDs specifically rated for dimming, and I make sure to account for inrush current when determining load capacity. I also take into account the cold start-up dim level when programming, since they have a smaller range of operation than incandescents.

For large or non-dimmable loads, I use relay-type devices exclusively.
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Geo
Advanced Member

Canada
815 Posts

Posted - 11/27/2015 :  05:00:19 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Depending on the dimmer design, inrush current is one problem, especially with leading edge dimmers. Another one is the voltage transient, especially pronounced in the trailing edge dimmers. Depending on the type of the load it can exceed the line voltage several times and kill components not rated for it.

GJN
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oberkc
Moderator

USA
3843 Posts

Posted - 11/27/2015 :  07:58:42 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I use dimmable LEDs throughout my house, on I nsteon dimmer switches. Noroblems that I have noticed. I have percieved some bulbs as electically noisy, bu have experienced no failures of bulb or switch that I can recall.
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AutomatedOutlet
Average Member

USA
114 Posts

Posted - 11/30/2015 :  11:36:19 AM  Show Profile  Visit AutomatedOutlet's Homepage  Send AutomatedOutlet an AOL message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by stusviews


All home automation dimmers fail to function correctly with some CFL and/or LED bulbs. There are two solutions. Review the manufacturer's recommendations (which can change) or trial and error.



Not true. Both PCS and Leviton have UPB dimmers made specifically for dimming CFL/LED loads. The Simply Automated dimmers also handle them well.

Martin Custer
Automated Outlet
Locations in Dallas, Houston, Austin & Tulsa
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Steverino
Starting Member

USA
3 Posts

Posted - 12/03/2015 :  2:01:40 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I just installed a 2466DW dimmer to control four Sylvania RT4 9 watt dimmable downlights. It seems like I can only dim the lights from about 0-10% and then they go to full brightness. At around 10% they will occasionally switch to full brightness and then back to 10% after a while. Should I be looking for another type of dimmer or lights or both? The goal is to control these lights from a home automation system. I have other Insteon devices but I'd be willing to use a different technology if it works better.
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stusviews
Advanced Member

USA
15854 Posts

Posted - 12/03/2015 :  3:03:19 PM  Show Profile  Visit stusviews's Homepage  Reply with Quote
That's unusual. Most LED bulbs don't come on at all until the 10% brightness level, although they will dim down to about 5%. What is the result if you replace one LED bulb with an incandescent bulb?

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Steverino
Starting Member

USA
3 Posts

Posted - 12/03/2015 :  3:25:48 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks for the reply. I replaced one of the RT4's with a small incandescent bulb and now the lights all dim through the full range. Is that a clue about what's happening with the all LED configuration?
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stusviews
Advanced Member

USA
15854 Posts

Posted - 12/03/2015 :  3:50:20 PM  Show Profile  Visit stusviews's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I don't know about all LED configurations, but that certainly helps a lot of LED bulb installation problems.

I'm glad it helped you

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Steverino
Starting Member

USA
3 Posts

Posted - 12/03/2015 :  3:55:31 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
This configuration is a group of recessed LED downlights. Unfortunately, having one incandescent bulb at a significantly different brightness will not be aesthetically acceptable. I'll keep searching for a solution. Thanks.
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stusviews
Advanced Member

USA
15854 Posts

Posted - 12/03/2015 :  4:30:24 PM  Show Profile  Visit stusviews's Homepage  Reply with Quote
A higher wattage incandescent or, especially, halogen bulb may be a better match.

Stu's Views is Education and Fun. What do YOU want to VIEW today?
MathLandia High school mathematics learning fun.
Both Stu's Views and MathLandia are free websites that do not sell anything.
Saving energy is not always free. Be a world saver.


Please don't PM with questions that can be asked in a forum.
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rpsa
Starting Member

USA
9 Posts

Posted - 10/18/2018 :  04:29:28 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
The Illuminating Engineering Society is having a webinar today (10/18/18) at noon EDT titled: Solving LED Dimming Issues in Retrofit Projects
https://www.ies.org/education/electronic-resources/webinars/
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