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ICON experience

Mike

Senior Member
upstatemike said:
Mike said:
Considering that most switches I have will be dimmers, it's a natural progression for me. If I had a large number of relays and power was not an issue, I'd be more inclined to use Icon relays inside. However it is really only for outside lights that I am using relays for, so there are only a handful of them.
What part of the country are you in? Reason I ask is I am doing just the opposite. I am installing almost all relay switches and only put dimmers on lights controlled by motion sensors or in a few places where I need the dimming effect like the dining room.

Our local utility just got approval to raise electricity rates by 265% so almost all of my lights are, or soon will be, CFL or fluorescent and most of my new switches are relay types. Tungsten and Halogen lights, even when dimmed, are just too expensive to run anymore!
I'm down state! Out on the island actually.

I'm a big fan of the GE Reveal light bulbs (I recommend trying one if you haven't seen them). I do however have most of the lights dimmed down as the preset setting, which I like the effect of.

Electricity rates are a bit annoying, especially the 'surcharge' that has been added recently. Hasn't driven me to flourescent's.
 

tanstaaf1

Member
Mike said:
...
I'm a big fan of the GE Reveal light bulbs (I recommend trying one if you haven't seen them). I do however have most of the lights dimmed down as the preset setting, which I like the effect of.

Electricity rates are a bit annoying, especially the 'surcharge' that has been added recently. Hasn't driven me to flourescent's.
What's a GE Reveal Lightbulb? Hmm. Nevermind. My teeth do look more handsome without all those "yellow rays"!

We haven't yet had those kind of electric rate jumps where I live in N. CA. However, just a few months ago I was surprised by a spot on the local T.V. news announcing that, effective that day, all new construction and remodelling in California would *require*, well, let me quote:

"Mandatory Features and Devices, Low-Rise Residential, [150(k)]: This section requires fluorescent and compact fluorescent lighting in kitchens, bathrooms, garages, utility rooms, outdoor areas and other spaces, with a number of exceptions. As an alternative to using high-efficacy fixtures, controls can be used such as qualifying dimmers and occupancy sensors.

“In new construction, designers are going to want to become familiar with the ‘alternative’ part of this requirement very quickly,†notes Mark Cerasuolo of Leviton. “Compact fluorescents and fluorescents in bathrooms are a hard-sell for builders—especially in bathrooms, where unnatural-looking illumination can be a real liability among the ‘better half’ of the home-buying equation. Expect to see a surge in interest in residential dimming and occupancy-sensing technology as builders strive to reconcile the need to comply with the new standards with the requirement of keeping their homes sellable and desirable.â€


About CA's strict new lighting code (see sec 150 toward bottom)

Soo...occupancy sensors are coming soon to a place near your butt. Might as well go all the way and make it a smart home that also knows when to flush. ;-)

On a related topic...

LED lights are well into development and, from everything I've read, we should be expecting them to sweep the scene within a few years at most. Supposedly about the ultimate in energy efficiency, I'd expect them to replace CF in that venue.

Does anyone know if LED lights will be dimable? If so, it could influence switch type being put in place today.
 

Guy Lavoie

Active Member
tanstaaf1 said:
Does anyone know if LED lights will be dimable? If so, it could influence switch type being put in place today.
Technology-wise, it should be easier to dim a LED then a compact fluorescent tube. Unless the electronics driving the LEDs (if electonics are needed at all, but shouldn't from what I know about LEDs) impose a constraint, this should be doable. A LED is just a diode. Using them for lighting at high voltage would probably involve putting a number of them in series to be able to use 120 v household voltage. Since they are diodes they rectify the current, so you might have a half of them wired to light on each half cycle to avoid flicker. One problem is that LEDs turn on and off very quickly, so any flicker would be more noticable. Their quick lighting speed is what makes them currently desirable as auto brake lights and traffic lights, because they startle you into action when they turn on.
 

upstatemike

Senior Member
Does anyone know if LED lights will be dimable? If so, it could influence switch type being put in place today.

Dimming is not a problem for LED lights and if they were close to being practical it would definitely influence my switch choice. Problem is the light output of LED bulbs needs to be at least triple what is today for them to be practical replacements for CFL or Incandescent bulbs. Also the color needs to be softened into something more natural than the harsh "moonlight" blue-white color of current devices. This is easy from a technical standpoit with LEDs but throws a wrench in the cost equation for manufacturing them.

By the time they have $4 LED bulbs available that put out over 1,000 Lumens of "warm" light, I'll be ready to upgrade my switches again to the new current standard (whatever that turns out to be!)
 

eufreka

Active Member
BLH said:
They are also cheaper if you only want to use them as a companion with no local load controlling another switch. Yes I forgot about the preset dim and brighten delay.
I am about to order 6 ICON Relays for all my outside lighting...and I was considering ordering several Icon dimmers until the discussion about ramp rates/instant on dissuaded me.

I would like to save money where I can, however, so I was wondering whether I can do the following:

If I put a SwitchLinc v2 dimmer on the load, but add an ICON dimmer as a secondary (virtual 3-way), will that allow the SwitchLinc to always use ITS ramp rate (I think it is called the RemoteRampRate?), etc, for On/Off/Scenes or will the ICON dimmer send instant Ons and Offs?
 

dwarf

Member
eufreka said:
If I put a SwitchLinc v2 dimmer on the load, but add an ICON dimmer as a secondary (virtual 3-way), will that allow the SwitchLinc to always use ITS ramp rate (I think it is called the RemoteRampRate?), etc, for On/Off/Scenes or will the ICON dimmer send instant Ons and Offs?
This will work as long as you cross-link the two switches after locking in your remote ramp rate. I have this exact setup with an icon switch in my garage to a light in my kitchen.
 

eufreka

Active Member
dwarf said:
eufreka said:
If I put a SwitchLinc v2 dimmer on the load, but add an ICON dimmer as a secondary (virtual 3-way), will that allow the SwitchLinc to always use ITS ramp rate (I think it is called the RemoteRampRate?), etc, for On/Off/Scenes or will the ICON dimmer send instant Ons and Offs?
This will work as long as you cross-link the two switches after locking in your remote ramp rate. I have this exact setup with an icon switch in my garage to a light in my kitchen.
Thanks for the reply! I have ordered 6 icon relays, 3 icon dimmers, and 2 v2 dimmers to get me started.

I didn't order any trim plates because, I am hoping that the decora switch paddles are "standard" sized? When I first built my house I used regular mechanical decora switches throughout...so hopefully I have all the trimplates I need...
 

BLH

Active Member
I used a standard Decora trim plate on my Insteon 2476S SwitchLinc Relay V2 that I got at a local hardware store.
 

Mike

Senior Member
Mike said:
I linked the outside light to another outside light (the other one using a full Insteon Relay switch, since the switch is in the foyer). This part is probably a mistake on my part, but there is a half second or so delay in turning the lights on (the master will go on, then a brief delay and the linked light will go on). I'm suspecting this one is my fault in how it was linked, and I must have introduced some kind of delay to the link. Off to read some documentation...
I was looking around (and happened to replace that switch as well as the paddle stuck) and came to the conclusion that the delay is to be expected.

The transmission to the other light does take some time, and although the name may have been a play on 'instant on', for remote switching I don't think that is the expectation.

My original post was probably not accurate (a half-second is too long, the delay is less than that, there is a clear delay (you can see the delay and hear the clicks of the relay being separate).

This is expected behaviour right? The signal does take a fraction of a second to get to the linked light, causing the delay.
 

bmil

Member
I'm using the Icon versions primarily as the non-load of a 3-way switch with inside lights (where I want a gentle ramp-up) and for outside lights where I don't need a gentle ramp-up rate.

I've had 2 Icon Relay's and a regular Switchlinc V2 Relay die on fluorescent lights. Two Icon's for under counter kitchen flourescents and a Switchlinc V2 on my overhead garage fluorescents. However I have a Switchlinc V2 Relay on an over sink fluorescent that has been ok for a month now. Don't know what to do about my fluorescent lights now (old x10 relay's??). Smarthome needs to address the whole fluorescent light problem a lot of people seem to be having with all the Insteon relay's.

Another little issue is that Icon's "green" led doesn't come close to matching the "green" light pipe replacement for the Switchlinc's. The Icon "green" looks more like amber when an Icon is in a gang box next to a Switchlinc V2 with the green lightpipe replacement.
 

upstatemike

Senior Member
bmil said:
I've had 2 Icon Relay's and a regular Switchlinc V2 Relay die on fluorescent lights. Two Icon's for under counter kitchen flourescents and a Switchlinc V2 on my overhead garage fluorescents. However I have a Switchlinc V2 Relay on an over sink fluorescent that has been ok for a month now. Don't know what to do about my fluorescent lights now (old x10 relay's??). Smarthome needs to address the whole fluorescent light problem a lot of people seem to be having with all the Insteon relay's.
I have not heard of anybody else having problems with fluorescent lights and Insteon relay switches. All of the problems I know about (including my own) have been with Insteon ApplianceLinc modules. These have a problem with magnetic ballasts because of the local control circuitry. Relay switches do not have this circuitry so you should not have any problem with fluorescent lights with them.

I have 15 Insteon relay switches installed so far with no problems. What are your problem switches doing when you try to control fluorescent lights?
 

bmil

Member
upstatemike,

I guess I've been assuming that all the problems people have been having with Appliancelinc V2's applied to the switches as well. I see now where local control is the culprit.

My fluorescent problems started with my kitchen fluorescents. I installed a Switchlinc V2 Relay on my undercabinet lights and one on the over sink light. The undercabinets are 4 fixtures tied together. I'm not familiar with electronic vs magnetic ballasts but my undercabinets use little T5 tubes and when they come on do the famous "flicker a few times before coming on steady" behavior. This Switchlinc worked for about 5 days then died. None of the led's were lit and the paddles did nothing. If I held in the set button, it lit up dimly while you held it in. Tried a factory reset but still nothing.

My over sink fluorescent fixture is a different brand and comes on steady instantly when turned on (no start up flicker). No problems with this one and it's been over a month now.

I assumed the difference was related to the start up flicker so I went ahead and installed an Icon Relay on my garage ceiling fluorescents. These also come on instantly (use T8 tubes) with no flicker. The Icon Relay died just like the undercabinet fixtures after about 5 minutes and 2 or 3 on/off cycles.

I was just giving up on Insteon Relay switches for any fluorescent lights. But after your reply I'm now thinking that maybe I just got a few lemons in the batch. Maybe I'll go ahead and give those killer fixtures another try when the dead switches are replaced.

Thanks...
 

upstatemike

Senior Member
I would try again with new ones. I think there was a batch of bad switches that were failing due to a manufacturing problem. If you got some of theose they would have failed even without any load attached. I don't think it was the fluorescent lights that did it.
 

TonyNo

Active Member
I just got my two Icon dimmers and was wondering if anyone knew why there is a relay in each one? :D A clear case holds no secrets! :p
 
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