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Insteon and LED lights question


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I don't think that there is an absolute answer, and there are several questions:

2 hours ago, ingeborgdot said:

LED lights cause insteon switches to wear out faster. 

I don't know why that would be as a sweeping statement for all LEDs. I've had LED bulbs of different types on varying ages of Insteon dimmer switches for ~8 years... switchlincs, togllincs, inlinelincs, keypadlincs and lamplics. Some of the lamplincs and inlinelincs are original first generation. No switch failures related to LEDs that I'm aware of


2 hours ago, ingeborgdot said:

Or is he full of it? 

I'm not an electrician. Can he provide a technical reason and links to stories, research that prove this out?  Insteon switches can have problems and go bad, but nothing tied to LED bulbs in general.


2 hours ago, ingeborgdot said:

  Are insteon switches fully compatible with LED?

LEDs have different designs. Some work better than others. I've been lucky in that of the ~20 that I've had, they work. There are stories of different brands/models flickering, not dimming evenly etc. While I think less of that has been happening as the LED bulb design has matured, probably some still have problems.

If you're planning to buy a large number at one time, I would suggest first buying one or two of the brands you're targeting and try them our first, rather than finding out the hard way and having to deal with "spouse approval factor problems" from problems with lights and dealing with returns.


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Can't say for presently sold LED bulbs.

I know some of the earlier ones had a Inrush current when turned On and a Repetitive peek current when running. Some LED bulb manufacturers use to give you a wattage number to determine how many of their bulbs could be on a dimmer. At one time I had some that where 6 watts but the manufacturer said use 80 watts when calculating  loads on a dimmer.

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"...wear out faster..."

That's a curious way to describe the failure of a non-mechanical part.  There's nothing to wear out, there are no wear surfaces (other than the micro switches on the paddle, which have nothing to do with the load, and are the same on a dimmer or a switchlinc device).

The closest failure mode that matches with "wear" might possibly be operating the device near its thermal limits, which might accelerate age-related failures.  I cannot imagine why LEDs in general would cause more heat than an incandescent load.  I suppose specific LED bulbs with very poorly-designed power supplies might cause intense current spikes on the power line, but that would impact all dimmers, not just Insteon.

In short, that phrase simply does not compute.  As Paul stated above, the electrician needs to provide more detailed technical information on the nature of the problem (if one assumes that said electrician is merely guilty of "oversimplification" of the problem, rather than being guilty of passing on misinformation).

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As others have stated, not only do some LED lamps draw substantially higher inrush currents at initial turn on, most LED lamps also draw peak currents during steady state operation that exceed the steady state current that would be drawn by an equivalent wattage incandescent lamp. This must be taken into consideration when determining how many lamps may be safely connected to a given dimmer. 

I've attached CREE's most recent dimmer compatibility list. If you review its content, as one example, you'll note that for Cree's 100W equivalent A21 lamp (which draws 17 watts), they recommend using no more than 5 lamps (85 watts) on Leviton's IPL06 600 watt rated incandescent dimmer. Some of the other dimmers listed on this chart can support a greater number of lamps, even though they have a lower wattage rating. 

Cree also states that their lamps are designed for compatibility with standard incandescent dimmers, and state that "Absence of a dimmer from this chart does not imply incompatibility".

Based on this, I've always felt that I could safely connect the smallest number of lamps listed for any 600 watt rated leading edge incandescent dimmer included on this list with an Insteon dimmer. I've been using the Cree 100w A21 and PAR30LN TW lamps on this list with Insteon dimmers, with no more than 4 lamps connected per 600W dimmer, and 7 lamps per 1000W dimmer, with no performance or reliability issues.


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