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 Can Insteon dim anything other than a incandescent
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cringstrom
Starting Member

Canada
4 Posts

Posted - 03/16/2011 :  5:29:42 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I bought some "Dim-able" CFL and LED bulbs, only to find that they make the keypad and switchlic's freak right out.. turning it off enabled light-switch rave mode apparently..

Anyone found any Insteon or even x10 for that matter that can dim something other that the old Edison and halogen style bulbs?

I could even settle with something remote controllable that can pot voltage. IE: 12volt lighting can be dimmed sometimes by simply pot'ing the voltage down to 6 volts.

I can foresee a ban on incandescent lighting..

-Chad

Tfitzpatri8
Administrator

USA
10765 Posts

Posted - 03/16/2011 :  5:43:50 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Dimmable CFL and LED bulbs are not all alike--different makes and models generate more or less power line noise. Insteon devices can function with a wider variety than the discontinued, x10-only SwitchLinc and KeypadLinc devices.

For recent messages about dimmable LEDs that work well with Insteon automated dimmers, see http://www.smarthome.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=7861 , and http://www.smarthome.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=7845

Incandescents still have life in them, since new and impending regulations only require improved efficiency and many specialty bulbs are exempt. California has already implemented new federal rules and you can already buy new higher-efficiency incandescent bulbs that only burn something like 72 watts to deliver the same lumens as an older 100 watt bulb at any home improvement store.
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Geo
Advanced Member

Canada
815 Posts

Posted - 03/18/2011 :  05:59:55 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Both CFLs and LEDs are inherently incompatible with standard dimmers based on phase control - this includes manual as well as electronic dimmers such as Insteon, X10, etc. What it means is that they can't behave like substitutes for the incandescents. There have been attempts to make those CFLs and LEDs dimmable with the standard dimmers, but the results, predictably, if you consider the underlying technical issues, have been pretty bad. It is impossible to use the entire dimmer range, dimmed levels are unstable and dimmed CFLs'ghastly greenish color is just awful.
I don't know if CFLs or LEDs can ever provide the same light color ambience as dimmed incandescents - if they can't, why dim?

GJN
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Tfitzpatri8
Administrator

USA
10765 Posts

Posted - 03/18/2011 :  06:27:54 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
You may be dating yourself, Geo. As those two threads I linked to point out, others disagree with your assessment of newer dimmable LED technology. Development continues, but the latest models appear to be getting pretty good reviews using Insteon dimmers.

(That said, I agree with you about CFLs. They are at best a stopgap technology until better & cheaper LEDs become widely available.)

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BLH
Advanced Member

6071 Posts

Posted - 03/18/2011 :  10:26:59 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Sorry Geo.
The EcoSmart ECS 19 WW 120 Dimmable LED bulb was designed to run on a standard dimmer.
It uses a National LM3445 triac-dimmable LED driver chip. Dims very nicely and has some Power Factor correction also provided by the LM3445 IC and associated parts.
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andyf0
Junior Member

USA
43 Posts

Posted - 03/18/2011 :  11:05:58 AM  Show Profile  Visit andyf0's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I assume the bulb you're talking about is the EcoSmart A19 40w equiv LED bulb? I actually bought 4 of these with the intention of using them on a LampLinc dimmer. The dimming functions were very good however they made the LampLinc module buzz loudly at all brightnesses. This weekend I'm going to try the Philips A19 40w equiv bulb, it's only a couple of more dollars than the EcoSmart.

Andy
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BLH
Advanced Member

6071 Posts

Posted - 03/18/2011 :  11:57:53 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Yes that is the model EcoSmart I am talking about.
On my revision 2.0 and 4.3 LampLincs do not make any buzzing noise. Yours very well could have.
On mine at full On they did generate some power line noise. So in some places I could see it being a problem.
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andyf0
Junior Member

USA
43 Posts

Posted - 03/18/2011 :  1:13:03 PM  Show Profile  Visit andyf0's Homepage  Reply with Quote
The Philips A19 bulbs work perfectly with the LampLinc. Dimming is good and they're totally silent (accoustically). Should be noted they're quite warmer than the EcoSmart at 2700 degrees. I think the EcoSmarts are around 3000 degrees.

Andy
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Geo
Advanced Member

Canada
815 Posts

Posted - 03/18/2011 :  3:42:37 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I've been out of the circulation for a while, so I may be a bit out of touch with the current home automation market. I have no arguments with what's stated in the links above but I do suggest study of the LM3445 spec sheet http://www.national.com/ds/LM/LM3445.pdf mentioned by others. It supports what I had stated before.

LM3445 (and competition) need a minimum of about 80VAC for the LEDs to work (the situation with the CFLs is similar). The spec states that below this minimum voltage the LEDs will extinguish. This simply means that the regular "dumb" dimmers can be connected to the LEDs, but will lose a significant range of travel of the pot. On the other hand, "smart" dimmers, such as Instaneon (and even X10 can be made to behave that way) make this behavior transparent to the user. Since micros are inexpensive these days, this should eventually become a standard for all dimmers.

GJN
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