Do 3-way X10 Switches Need A Load To Operate Properly?



You betcha. I set up a reminder for this time next year. (-;
--
Bobby G.



Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Monday, December 5, 2016 at 8:46:35 AM UTC-5, Robert Green wrote:

It doesn't work if you snip the joke.
Baiting...hook...get it?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote in message

You walked into it! Every hear of "fish or cut bait?" I cut the bait. (0:
--
Bobby G.



Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Monday, December 5, 2016 at 8:46:35 AM UTC-5, Robert Green wrote:

I replaced the fixture this weekend. I did not replace the X10 3-way switches. I'm willing to take a chance mainly because of what I saw when I opened the box. They changed the MS electronics in the fixture.
Since I really don't know what was killing the fixtures, the X10 circuitry or a poor quality MS, I'm going to lean towards the MS in the fixture being the actual problem. I have no way of knowing, but since "they" decided to change the electronics inside the fixture, I'm going to run with the new one and see what happens. If it dies in a year or so, I'll change the switches and give up the dimming feature.
Of course, the fixture decided to screw with me anyway.
I bench tested the new fixture in my (dark) shop and the MS and timer operated perfectly. Then I installed it on the wall, used the Test mode (during the day) and it worked fine. I then set it to Run mode and waited until dark. I discovered that it did not detect motion. I put a broom right up to the detector. Nothing. What? It worked when I bench tested it in my shop. Why won't it work on the wall?
It was the damn Christmas lights! The lights on that part of the house are about 6" closer to that fixture than the other one. That's just enough light to fool the fixture into thinking the sun is still up. I turned off the Christmas lights and the fixture worked fine.
I guess I'll have to wait until after the first of the year to take advantage of the new fixture.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 12/14/2016 11:24 AM, DerbyDad03 wrote:

Typical motion detector works by detecting motion in a heat signature. Has a bunch of lenses that project the field of view onto the sensor at different angles. As the heat signature moves, it passes across the sensor causing a change in amplitude. If you have a hot spot in view that is currently impinging on the sensor the broom can block it, thus causing a change in the sensor output. It's best to move the heat source that's hotter than the background horizontally across the field of view. Try setting the broom on fire.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Wed, 14 Dec 2016 11:24:03 -0800 (PST), DerbyDad03

I was with you right up to using a broom to test it on the wall. These motion detectors are called PIR or Passive Infra-Red. In other words, they detect body heat. A broom that is the same temperature as the surrounding area won't trigger it. They can be fooled by wearing a heavy coat in the winter, too, if the outside of the coat is cold and the sensor doesn't see your face (or your face is a very small percentage of the sensor's visual area).
Pat
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Wednesday, December 14, 2016 at 3:56:14 PM UTC-5, Pat wrote:

ry

ided

e


d

ght

y


gh

f

ntage

Not arguing, just wondering...
As a reminder, here is the fixture in question. Note the location of the se nsor window.
https://www.lowes.com/pd/Portfolio-11-75-in-H-Brushed-Nickel-Motion-Activat ed-Outdoor-Wall-Light/50014166
The one that has worked for years is mounted next to the front door. It is located near upper left corner of the storm door - the side that opens. To be exact, the sensor is 12" down from the top of the door and 10" away from the opening side.
As soon as the storm is opened 3” (from the inside, just to be clea r) the light comes on. What heat signature is the sensor sensing? Isn't the storm door the same te mperature as the sensor (currently a nice balmy 25F)?
As far as I recall, this happens winter, spring, summer and fall.
To see if the sensor was being triggered by a rush of hot air from the insi de, I left the storm door open, waited for the light to go out and then slowly opened the main d oor. The sensor did not trigger. If I try the same experiment but rapidly open the front do or, the sensor does trigger. I don't know how to tell if it's movement or heat that the sensor sensed.
Thoughts?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Wed, 14 Dec 2016 15:18:37 -0800 (PST), DerbyDad03

Usually, motion sensors have a milky white window. In this case, it looks like it is dark to match the fixture. I'm not sure what that means. If it is like others I have seen, opening the screen door might partially block some sources of heat. For example, this time of year, your air temp might be 25, but I bet the ground temp is higher. Or, maybe there is some other source of heat like a street light that the door frame blocks. These, of course, are wild guesses on my part. Post back if you discover any new evidence. I am still quite sure your sensor is passive infrared. The only other possibilities I am aware of are ultrasonic which wouldn't have a window like that and video camera/software based (like the newer traffic light controllers) which would be too expensive for a simple light fixture.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
<stuff snipped>

because you

Send us the bill and we'll post it on line!
In reality I read about a NJ set of shrinks put case details of some young man's (might have been a child) in their legal pleadings that ended up (of course) on line when they were unpaid for too long. The kicker: They did not use electronic billing and somehow because of that, HIPAA privacy rules didn't apply!
I don't see a lot of hope for changing social behavior that's existed since the dawn of man and perhaps even before in the social animals that preceded us. Meerkats, dogs, cats, horses, birds and lots more species have "bullying" problems. And it frequently has very bad consequences for all the affected groups.
There was a Nature doco about how when the male leader of a baboon troop got too agressive and bullied *everyone*, the three highest status females got together, ambushed him, beat the daylights out of him and escorted him outside of their territory.
I often wonder if bullying really did drive the Columbine shooters over the edge or some other factors were more contributive?
--
Bobby G.



Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
<stuff snipped>

Agreed. He's often quite razzable and I try to accommodate his razzability. (-:
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Monday, December 5, 2016 at 9:16:44 AM UTC-5, Robert Green wrote:

https://i.imgflip.com/ikkto.jpg
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Mon, 5 Dec 2016 07:13:14 -0800 (PST), DerbyDad03

:-)
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Wed, 30 Nov 2016 13:28:54 -0800 (PST), DerbyDad03

Trader was right. I forgot about powering the X-10 module itself when I answered. Most x-10 modules need some sort of load to power themselves. I vaguely remember a few x-10 compatible modules that used the neutral but most did not.
Regarding three way, are both of your x-10 switches identical? (I know one is connected in a 3-way and the other isn't, but are they the same model?) Maybe a minor design difference is affecting the waveform powering the motion detector. Just guessing. Pat
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Thursday, December 1, 2016 at 7:07:44 AM UTC-5, Pat wrote:

I don't see how they could be identical. An X10 single dimmer switch is different than the main module in a 3-way "pair" even if by nothing more than the number of wires. Maybe the dimming portion of the electronics is the same in both types of switches, that I don't know.
When the remote switch of the 3-way pair is used to dim the fixture, does it do the dimming itself or does it tell the main module to dim the light? If it talks to the main module, then I would guess that the electronics would have to be different than in the single dimmer.
I don' know if this is the model number of the 3-way I have (not home now) but this is "physically" what I have - a large main module and a smaller remote switch.
(Amazon.com product link shortened)
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Thu, 1 Dec 2016 06:31:44 -0800 (PST), DerbyDad03

Early 3-ways were, indeed, different. Later ones were all 3-way. If you didn't need the 3-way, you just didn't buy the companion switch and put a wire nut on the unused wire. They made these things for decades (starting in 78 I think), so we have no way of knowing exactly what you have.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

The satellite switch, IIRC, is nothing more than a momentary push button switch that sends a signal to the main unit (but not dimming current) to control the main load. It's very narrow and shallow according to the photographs. It clearly doesn't contain enough room to put a heat-sinked thyristor into it. Couldn't find a schematic, though. They used to be out there.

They are all like that AFAIK. I seem to recall it's a momentary switch because someone in the nearly defunct CHA group was asked by SWMBO to find a "less chintzy" switch and a normal wall switch would not work.
--
Bobby G.



Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Thursday, December 1, 2016 at 3:45:58 PM UTC-5, Robert Green wrote:

That's what I thought. My question was in response to Pat who asked if the dimmers I am using are identical for each fixture - the one that has lasted for 5 years and the ones that keep failing. My question was to clarify whether the main unit for a 3-way pair was the same (internally) as the single switch module. I assume he was looking at a difference in the switches as the root cause of the failures.
Maybe I'm not explaining that very well. Let me try it this way:
The main unit of the 3-way pair has an extra wire for the traveler, so we know that *physically* it is different than a non-3-way switch. My question concerns the insides of a 3-way vs. a "standard" switch module. Is the circuitry the same other than perhaps a tap to accept the traveler signal?
In other words, could be Pat be onto to something? Could the 3 way module be so different in it's design that it is causing the failures? If I replaced the 3-way with the same model number as the standard switch, and of course, eliminated the remote switch, might the failures stop?

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
<stuff snipped>

replaced

course,

No, I believe it's the same basic circuit board for both with either added components or different pin outs. It would be in keeping with the X-10 way. Their RF wall switches came in many configurations but all share the same basic PC board.
--
Bobby G.



Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Wednesday, November 30, 2016 at 4:29:04 PM UTC-5, DerbyDad03 wrote:

No, I didn't say that. I said IDK what kind of X10 3-way switch you have, but if it doesn't have a neutral connection, which I suspect it doesn't, then it requires a load to be able to power it's own electronics to operate.

I guess if you're satisfied with replacing the outdoor fixture every 18 months to 5 years, that meets your definition of working, than your good to go. So, what's the problem then? And I would not be surprised that other fixtures would not work at all. I would never expect a fixture that has a motion sensor to be able to work with a dimmer, where it gets less than normal voltage, unless the specs specifically said it would work.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I am guessing that the switched power supply in the fixture that powers the motion circuitry is like many others in that it has a wide range of input voltages. Perhaps instead of being in the 120 to 240 input range it's something like 40 to 160. The load is very small and may function at low or "chopped" voltage levels. At least it's working for DD. I have the same "no neutral" outside light problems. Solved one with a rewire and a non-dimming switch. Solved another by using tungsten bulbs and a separate motion detector.
It would be interesting to know at what point the motion sensor fails to detect motion. The lowered voltage is likely to impair sensitivity even before the "no go" level is reached.
I think DD should be thankful it's working as well as it is. From the reviews at Lowe's I suspect poor QC or design is the culprit for premature failures.
--
Bobby G.



Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.