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Thread: Lamp modules and low-energy bulbs

  1. #1
    Automated Home Jr Member
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    Default Lamp modules and low-energy bulbs

    I've been doing some research and can't seem to find a definitive answer

    Most countries, including the UK, have now banned the sale of incandescent light bulbs in favour of the low-energy kind. The X10 lamp modules, LM12, etc. all state, however, that these are the ONLY bulbs that can be used.

    Is there any way of using or dimming a low energy bulb with these modules? I found this post which may suggest the use of certain dimmable bulbs may be possible:

    http://www.avforums.com/forums/10086264-post18.html

    Has anyone tried this or had any experience?
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  2. #2
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    Had you investigated LED bulbs at all? Quite expensive at the moment, but may be the way forward...

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    The biggest problem with virtually all electronic dimmers is that they require a minimum load. And this is the biggest problem using either CFLs or LED lighting. Plus some LED fixtures prefer trailing edge style dimmers.
    Another problem with CFLs that are dimmable is that some will only go down to about 25% brightness and any lower they switch off. Also some of them won't have smooth transitions.
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    Quote Originally Posted by toscal View Post
    The biggest problem with virtually all electronic dimmers is that they require a minimum load.
    So as long as the total wattage of the bulb exceeds the minimum load they should work? What is the minimum load for the LM12? Is that the "making capacity"? If so it's 60W according to letsautomate.com

    I may have to try an experiment to find a definitive answer. What's the worst that can happen? Would I be in danger of damaging anything?
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  5. #5
    Moderator toscal's Avatar
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    According to the manual minimum load is 40W. And they are not suitable for fluorescent lights.
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scribbler View Post
    So as long as the total wattage of the bulb exceeds the minimum load they should work? What is the minimum load for the LM12? Is that the "making capacity"? If so it's 60W according to letsautomate.com

    I may have to try an experiment to find a definitive answer. What's the worst that can happen? Would I be in danger of damaging anything?
    The worst that happened (at least up till 2005, which is when I stopped running X10 training courses) is that you will tank your LM12.... to the extent that we started explicitly talking about the minimum load on our installer training sessions because this kept happening because installers paid no attention :-o

    In our experience, failure never happened catastrophically, but underloading just led to "stops working" failure of the X10 modules in question.

    To be honest, it may be that 2010 model LM12s handle this mode better, but I would have expected that the model number would have moved to LM13 if such a change had been made :-)

    Letsautomate (although they were a competitor for many years!) are a very, very, good company - and if they say that 60W is the making load, I would treat that very seriously. (My own memory says 40W, but Lets have an additional 5 years experience in the field, and may well give a "more honest" answer than some manfacturers!)

    Please bear in mind that failure of dimmers because of sub-making-load loads is NOT an instantaneous thing - your experiment might show that the bulb cuts out... or seems to work... but then, a few weeks/months later, the LM12 just fails.



    Oh, and in my own house, I bought about 30 incandescent bulbs before they went out of fashion, specifically to deal with the few X10 dimmers left... and replace others with X10 Appliance (relay) devices.

    Regards,

    Mark
    Last edited by MarkHarrison; 1st March 2011 at 09:28 PM.

  7. #7
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    Cheers Mark, that helps a lot!

    After you mentioned that you simply stocked up on incandescent bulbs I did a quick search on ebay. I discovered that you can still get them and they're quite reasonably priced at 5 for 6!

    I think that for now, rather than risk damaging the equipment, I'll just use these bulbs
    Add some extra sophistication to your wedding by booking a string quartet from Sounds Ideal!
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  8. #8

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    Yeh, You can find it e-bay for cheaper.

  9. #9
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    I have tested the dimmable Master LED, 7W from Philips and it is working perfect with my X-10 dimmer modules.

  10. #10
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    Default megaman 'dimmerable' bulbs

    I've had some success with megaman gx53 9w 'dimmerable' bulbs, and the new-style X10-2 plug-in dimmers. I run 6 bulbs off one dimmer, which just about reach the minimum load. I know letsautomate recommend against this combination, but I've only had one bulb (out of 6) fail in the last year, and the dimmer appears to be fine. The dimming response curve isn't even slightly linear, half brightness seems to be at about 15%, but I'm sure that software could compensate for that.

    Unfortunately, 9w bulbs aren't really bright enough for the room, so I'm now going to change them over to 13w non-dimmerable bulbs. I'm going to use 3 on/off channels of 2 bulbs each, then the software will turn them on and off individually to achieve the commanded brightness level.

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