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6 Button Dimmer (2334) and Flickering Lights


jbferg

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I searched and found limited posts on this topic, but perhaps others have had this issue.  I have a ISY 994i running 4.3.26 firmware.  I've been building out a system for a couple of years now and have close to 50 Insteon devices.  I have one Z-Wave lock too and some IP cameras that operate via the network interface.  In general things work great - programs operate as they should, etc.  I'm reasonably capable at programming to get LED lights to do what they should and am a happy customer.

 

That said, I have a pesky problem.  I just replaced a standard 2477D module controlling some overhead lights with a 6 Button dimmer keypad (2334-232).  Now that I have done this, the lights on the load circuit flicker frequently and badly.  There was no flicker on a standard 2477 dimmer.  In the past I've seen this with certain brand LED lights, but I have to rule this out since the light bulbs haven't changed, just the controller.  I thought the 6 button unit might be defective and replaced it.  Same issue.

 

Does anyone have any experience with these sorts of issues?  It feels like interference from Insteon traffic on the neutral wire and maybe the keypad dimmers are just more sensitive because of the extra 4 buttons that can be programmed?

 

Thanks!!

Jason

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I searched and found limited posts on this topic, but perhaps others have had this issue.  I have a ISY 994i running 4.3.26 firmware.  I've been building out a system for a couple of years now and have close to 50 Insteon devices.  I have one Z-Wave lock too and some IP cameras that operate via the network interface.  In general things work great - programs operate as they should, etc.  I'm reasonably capable at programming to get LED lights to do what they should and am a happy customer.

 

That said, I have a pesky problem.  I just replaced a standard 2477D module controlling some overhead lights with a 6 Button dimmer keypad (2334-232).  Now that I have done this, the lights on the load circuit flicker frequently and badly.  There was no flicker on a standard 2477 dimmer.  In the past I've seen this with certain brand LED lights, but I have to rule this out since the light bulbs haven't changed, just the controller.  I thought the 6 button unit might be defective and replaced it.  Same issue.

 

Does anyone have any experience with these sorts of issues?  It feels like interference from Insteon traffic on the neutral wire and maybe the keypad dimmers are just more sensitive because of the extra 4 buttons that can be programmed?

 

Thanks!!

Jason

 

Hello Jason,

 

As you indicated LED bulbs are a hit and miss affair with many brands of HA controllers not just Insteon. It should be noted there are not very many Insteon products that indicate official support for LED bulbs.

 

The only one that comes to mind is the ILL (In-Line LInc) which does indicate LED bulb support. Having said this does the flicker seem to track with the Insteon signals going back and forth?

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It's probably just the LEDs themselves.

 

I have another one over my Kitchen sink that has begun to flicker occasionally. This $40 bulbs has been installed for about 6 months now and has slowly begun to get worse. At least now I can identify what is happening as this is in the centre of my gathering room and we thought we were blinking at the same time :)

 

I need to get on a ladder soon, and replace this one. I think it was a Philips or some other big expensive name but where do I find a receipt for a light bulb? Who kept those things. Things are a changing,.

 

Oh yeah. No Insteon involved, just a relay based MS. Real automation.

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It feels like interference from Insteon traffic on the neutral wire ...

 

It's not possible for "something" to be on the neutral wire that is not also on the line wire.

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I replaced all of my canister lights with LEDs right after buying my house as many had burned out and I don't like my bulbs to not match in color/temp. Six months later I began installing my Insteon network. Almost every room in the house flickered that had those LEDs when there was Insteon traffic. Then I read here on this forum and others about some LEDs working better than others in an Insteon network.

 

I was so disgusted at the thought of replacing close to a thousand dollars worth of bulbs I had just bought. But I couldn't live with the flicker. So I began the effort by selecting and buying one LED bulb online to give a test for color, dimming, flickering, etc before buying more.

 

I replaced one of four canister lights in the kitchen with this bulb for the test. I liked the look and dimming. Check.  Then I tested for flickering by purposely generating Insteon traffic. The bulb didn't flicker. AND NEITHER DID THE OTHER THREE!  I could see the lights in the adjacent room flickering.

 

Hmm.... So then I replaced the original bulb and moved my test bulb to the next room. Again the same behavior, all bulbs in there quit flickering and the adjacent room I had first tested was now flickering.

 

So I bought dozen of these bulbs to place one in each rooms with these canister LED bulbs. All my flickering was gone!

 

It seems the flickering can be eliminated by not having all bulbs on the same circuit of the same make/power/resistance/etc.. Not sure exactly why, but I've been flicker free for a year. The one exception is a set of lights in my pantry but those are three candelabra LEDs that are the same. Those lights are only on when briefly in the pantry (automatic with the door opening/closing) so it hasn't presented enough annoyance for me to do anything about it, yet.

 

So the message here is that even if you have flickering LEDs there might be a workaround for you without replacing all your bulbs.

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I replaced all of my canister lights with LEDs right after buying my house as many had burned out and I don't like my bulbs to not match in color/temp. Six months later I began installing my Insteon network. Almost every room in the house flickered that had those LEDs when there was Insteon traffic. Then I read here on this forum and others about some LEDs working better than others in an Insteon network.

 

I was so disgusted at the thought of replacing close to a thousand dollars worth of bulbs I had just bought. But I couldn't live with the flicker. So I began the effort by selecting and buying one LED bulb online to give a test for color, dimming, flickering, etc before buying more.

 

I replaced one of four canister lights in the kitchen with this bulb for the test. I liked the look and dimming. Check.  Then I tested for flickering by purposely generating Insteon traffic. The bulb didn't flicker. AND NEITHER DID THE OTHER THREE!  I could see the lights in the adjacent room flickering.

 

Hmm.... So then I replaced the original bulb and moved my test bulb to the next room. Again the same behavior, all bulbs in there quit flickering and the adjacent room I had first tested was now flickering.

 

So I bought dozen of these bulbs to place one in each rooms with these canister LED bulbs. All my flickering was gone!

 

It seems the flickering can be eliminated by not having all bulbs on the same circuit of the same make/power/resistance/etc.. Not sure exactly why, but I've been flicker free for a year. The one exception is a set of lights in my pantry but those are three candelabra LEDs that are the same. Those lights are only on when briefly in the pantry (automatic with the door opening/closing) so it hasn't presented enough annoyance for me to do anything about it, yet.

 

So the message here is that even if you have flickering LEDs there might be a workaround for you without replacing all your bulbs.

 

That's a wonderful find. Thanks for the effort and report.

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Great suggestions all. I will swap the bulbs out today and see if perhaps they've just "gone bad" or if another brand makes a difference.  I had hoped that things were finally stable in this room (a large kitchen) after spending more than $700 on LED bulbs for lamps and overheads!  I'm convinced this is great bulb technology and thankfully we see lots of new products coming out all the time.

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Great suggestions all. I will swap the bulbs out today and see if perhaps they've just "gone bad" or if another brand makes a difference.  I had hoped that things were finally stable in this room (a large kitchen) after spending more than $700 on LED bulbs for lamps and overheads!  I'm convinced this is great bulb technology and thankfully we see lots of new products coming out all the time.

I always buy the Dimmable types now. They are typically more expensive but I know they have to put better power supplies in the bulbs and less likely to start flickering after few months of usage.

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I always buy the Dimmable types now. They are typically more expensive but I know they have to put better power supplies in the bulbs and less likely to start flickering after few months of usage.

 

The only LED bulbs I've ever experienced flicker with are dimmables on a dimmer. Non-dimmable bulbs on a relay/on-off device have never flickered.

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I don't know if this will help, but, in a home that I just sold, I had about ten small low voltage LED's under the kitchen cabinets and they hummed and flickered a bit.  They were controlled by a non-dimming Insteon wall switch that controlled the transformer.  I replaced one of the LED's with an incandescent bulb and that solved the problem.

 

In my current apartment, I have many LED lamps controlled by dimmable plug in modules.  If I employ a slow ramp rate, the LED's will flicker and do other strange things.  If I change the ramp rate to near zero, there is no flicker.  However, I need to be careful not to dim the LED's beyond 40%-50%.  The LED's are Philips, and I'm told by SH that this brand is trouble.

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Any of the brands a few years back were problems as they tried to make them too cheap. I have Cree units that started to flicker after about 3-4 months of perfect service.

 

@Stu, this is not 120Hz flicker I am seeing. I have that on some when dimmed, especially my expensive Cree bulbs, now they are getting older. This is the occasional brilliance dip that seems to go completely out and then come back on full brilliance. A rough guess is the dip lasts 1-2 cycles only. For the longest time I thought I might have blinked my eyes but now this is happening more frequently and we can actually zoom in on the bulb that is doing it.

 

hmmmmm... I was just thinking this bulb, over kitchen sink, is backed up by an inverter. Maybe contacts are getting dirty etc... I have had many problems with Occupancy sensor in this switch position, like 5 of them went back as keep retriggering after no motion. Insteon is not involved in this one at all.

 

Maybe I will crawl up there and swap that bulb with another on another circuit nd switch.

 

Thanks for making me think about it. Need to get proactive as I just ordered replacements for the lineup over the counter, 5K, 27W BR40's. Better work surface  colour than the 2700K I have now.

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The only LED bulbs I've ever experienced flicker with are dimmables on a dimmer. Non-dimmable bulbs on a relay/on-off device have never flickered.

 

Yes, this is my experience too.  The latest after a few days of experimentation is good news.  I bought Laughlin G7 LEDs (14W PAR30 dimmable spots).  These things got great reviews and so far, no flickering at all.  @haroldunger, I like your idea of dropping the ramp rate as a troubleshooting tip.  What's clear is that sometimes these configurations are like chasing a ghost in the machine, especially with changes in LED circuits, different brands, and different loads on the same circuits.  Over time I have to believe this gets to be more stable.

 

Thanks again for the great advice.  My next project is going to be some undercounter LED strips.

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I got my new bulbs for Costco.ca today and replaced my flicking unit.

 

It was the bulb purchased last year and another Cree bulb starting to flicker (not 60 Hz). This makes me angry as I paid about $40 for this CREE BR40 bulb. This is about the 5th or 6th CREE bulb that has worked fine for a few months only to start flickering, or in this case flicking out briefly, on a random basis. No dimmer or Insteon involved. I think the new bulb performance proves it to not be supply related.

 

I am told, I think at HD, that CREE has a service number to call that will attempt to make it right. No receipts around any more but this bulb has only existed for less than two years. We'll find out.

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I have seen a Cree phone number mentioned on a lighting related forum. Though I don't have it at the moment.

 

I have had Cree bulbs go bad. Three of of six of my 60 watt, A Shell, high CRI ones have died. All the same way. Started to occasionally pulse off and now dead. Though I can see arcing inside them.

I have some older 60 watt ones where the shells fell off and started also acting like the ones above. I found the spring contacts they used to couple the LED array to the driver was arcing. Push on it with an insulated plastic tool and it went back On. Side note. The LEDs are in series and the normally running voltage on the array is 220VDC. 280VDC open

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  • 4 weeks later...

I don't find the issue is directly related to LED bulbs.  I have issues with using the dimmer on any 6 button dimmer keypad.  I either use it only for on/off functionality by setting the local settings to 100% On, and .1 ramp rate.  I then use a 2477D to control the load I want to be dimmable.  I find even LED bulbs labeled as "non-dimmable" will dim with the 2477D, although the dimming is not linear, nor will the dimming work well below 40%.  Using the 2334-232 as a dimmer causes flashing issues for me even if the bulb it is dimming is not LED.  I either end up not using the On/Off button at all, or for a load that won't require dimming to avoid the flashing issues.

 

With the 2477D, I have no issues from 0 to 100%.  The dimming is linear and works all the way down to the point where the cob chip is just barely glowing at 1%.  Each LED (12W or 13W COB) has its own transformer, which is labeled that it supports dimming, and works flawlessly with only 1 down light connected per 2477D, as well as 5 down lights per 2477D switch.  I use 1 button on an 8 button keypad to control 6 2477D dimmers controlling a total of 15 12W COB down lights in my living room.  The ramp rate is set to 8.5 seconds and 70% On for the scene and for the local settings for each of the 2477D switches.  All 15 down lights work in unison either with the single button on the keypad, or with the one 2477D set as a controller.  The lights turn on and reach 70% in unison with the single button or the 2477D controller, and dim down to 0% in unison as well.  With a 6 Button (2334-232) used as a dimmer, it caused flickering not only for the connected load, but also the other switches it acted as the controller for.       

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It may work but dimming a LED not made to be dimmed. Will shorten its life and maybe do damage to the dimmer itself.

Yes, I would not normally dim a non dimmable LED.  I just find that the dimmer in a 2477D is much more compatible with LED lights than either the 8 or 6 button KPL, even though none of them are actually rated for use with LED bulbs of any kind.  I suspect that the dimmer in the KPL switches is not the same quality as the dimmer inside a 2477D, and therefore has issues with LED bulbs.  Likely you would need to have only incandescent or halogen bulbs.  Even if you had six 10W LED bulbs, once dimmed past a certain point there may still be issues or inconsistent operation due to the low current requirements for LED bulbs.

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