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Tan's simple HA questions


WayneW said:
I think your information source is old. AFAIK, bus Ethernet went out with the coax, I think it was called 10base-2 and it was daisy chained.

The other key word is "hub". For anything with more than a few ports, I don't think hubs are easily available anymore. Everything big should be on a switch, which only sends traffic down the leg it needs to go. It doesn't broadcast to all legs like a hub did.
The book, though, is © 2004!! I was thinking I'd eventually do a review of the book for this site. Hmm. Guess I've got at least one negative comment to make. Now I don't know whether to keep reading.

Ater I made my post, I spoke with the best computer-engineer I know (EE and Comp Sci; background in process control) and he said the same: star topology is better, now, than bus. Intelligent switches replaced hubs some time ago and the switches handle routing to as to reduce traffic. Bus systems, he said, "were suseptible to 'chatter' which can bring the network to its knees".

Anyway, one good thing to come from all this is that he's agreed to take a look at my cabling and he supposedly has some $8k piece of equipment that can detect even slight degradation of performance caused by things even as slight as (to use his words) "the pressure of a chair on a cable". (I think he's going to find a lot worse problems with my wiring than that!) He's not a HA expert but he does know computer networking.

I asked him about gigabit ethernet and he's going to look into pricing for me. For streaming HDTV, at least, I'd think this might be a good upgrade to plan.


I accidently installed an insteon dimmer switch on a chandelier w/ compact flourescents. I notice it still works, although the bulbs flutter a bit when getting going.

What are the consequences? Should I expect the CFs to have dramatically shortened lives, or is this hard on the switch, or what? Unless there are more serious consequences than fluttering startup in the CFs, I'm tempted to leave things the way they are and just use the instant single tap in general. I must say, though, the CFs appear to work at less than full power.


Senior Member
I would be very careful with this. It is possible (maybe not highly) that the ballasts could overheat and catch fire if they are run undervoltage for an extended period of time. It would probably depend on the specific CFL's.

At the very least it might shorten the ballast life. Running them at 85% or more might not be that bad but anything lower than that will probably be a problem one way or the other.

They do make dimmable CFL's with special ballasts.

Cautionary Markings on products are there for a reason. I know of one case where an expresso machine had a caution marking not to open a lid until the pressure was released. Well some lady did it anyway and the lid shot up and hit her in the head causing her to fall backwards and hit the other side of her head. Needless to say the Consumer Product Safety Council pushed the issue and had Underwriters Labs change their standards and now the caps are more like those for a car radiator. And of course the price went up for a machine.

Another one for the books was 4 guys picking up a running lawn mower to trim the tops of hedges. Not one of the 4 had enough brains to question it. Most lost a few fingers. And the lawn mower had a marking not to put your hands underneath while it was running so eitehr they could not read or didnt think it applied to them I guess.

Things like this weed out the gene pool in extreme cases.


Digger said:
I would be very careful with this. It is possible (maybe not highly) that the ballasts could overheat and catch fire...At the very least it might shorten the ballast life. ....

They do make dimmable CFL's with special ballasts.
Thanks. That is as good as I could have hoped for; as long as I don't attempt to run the bulbs dimmed, and I won't, I should be okay.... And I will look around for the dimmable CFls.


Active Member
I saw on Discoveries This Week (2 weeks ago) a man was demonstrating his new dimmable CF lights. It said he used controlled pulses to dim them down. It was so smooth too (video demo of course). He was like "Tell me when you see the lights dim" and they were down to like 30% and you never even noticed.

I am trying to find a link...



Senior Member
Has anyone used dimmable CF lights with Insteon? I found the following:

which references them not working with certain remote controllable technologies but is not specific.

They have daylight versions as well:

Does anyone have any recommendations for a site where these can be purchased? I will have to take a run up to Home Depot as it might be that easy.

I'll have see the 'smooth dim' video gets found to see who makes those lights (not sure how much of a difference there is with dimming amongst the brands).

I already have dimmers in a bunch of rooms, but if the lighting is appropriate I get the best of all worlds perhaps: dimming, daylight bulbs, and low cost.

They even have some that might be for outdoor use, but might be an efficient replacement for indoor as well:


Active Member
which references them not working with certain remote controllable technologies
I have no experience to back it up, but I'm willing to bet that Insteon will not be problem. CFLs and X10 are a known problem area, and I'm sure that is what they are referring to.


Senior Member
I had tons of problems with Insteon and certian older CFL bulbs causing noise problems. I would up replacing most of my CFL's with newer ones and its been better.

I still have a problem with the missed commands when Itry and tell all lights to go off one by one. The insteon just cant seem to handle it.

My biggest problem now is linking Insteon switches together or the the ELK. I just cant get some to want to link. Its gotten to the point I am almost ready to give up. I thought I had the noise under control but maybe I dont.