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"Blinking lights"


flsenior

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Insteon keypad, Cree LED downlights (6 lights)

I have the Cree lights installed as replacements for incandescent floodlights in the ceiling.  The installation has been in place for 18 months with no issues.  The lights are controlled by the "A" button on the Insteon keypad.

At random times, I will have a very slight "blink" of all the ceiling lights.  The "blink" is a very short duration, almost as if the power was interrupted.  It may happen only one time or it may happen 3-4 times in an hour.  The frequency of the problem is very random.  I may have the issue for 1-2 days and then it will disappear for days/weeks and return. 

I am trying to find a method of determining whether the problem is my lighting, the circuit panel or my power company.  I have contacted the power company and they claim that they power supply is without fault.

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7 minutes ago, flsenior said:

Insteon keypad, Cree LED downlights (6 lights)

I have the Cree lights installed as replacements for incandescent floodlights in the ceiling.  The installation has been in place for 18 months with no issues.  The lights are controlled by the "A" button on the Insteon keypad.

At random times, I will have a very slight "blink" of all the ceiling lights.  The "blink" is a very short duration, almost as if the power was interrupted.  It may happen only one time or it may happen 3-4 times in an hour.  The frequency of the problem is very random.  I may have the issue for 1-2 days and then it will disappear for days/weeks and return. 

I am trying to find a method of determining whether the problem is my lighting, the circuit panel or my power company.  I have contacted the power company and they claim that they power supply is without fault.

That's not really much to go on for us to help. It could be anything. Since it's intermittent, I think it could be something in your wiring/power. The best thing to do is see what's happening on that circuit when it happens and see what's turning on, running, etc.

The easiest place to start would be the bulbs.If you have bulbs in another location to swap with, I would see if the issue follows the bulbs. If it does and stop in that location then the bulbs are the issue. 

If the problem remains with new bulbs, then you can swap the switch. If it persists then you know it's something in the environment

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There have been oter discussions in regards to LED lights flickering, IIRC it has to do with insteon traffic being reflected in certain LED's.  I believe it was said that newer LED's with a different technolgy from older bulbs do not flicker.  I dont remember, but it may have been @simplextech or @larryllix that explained it.  THen again I could have dreamed it.

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I have had lights blink for years now, and learned to ignore it.

I don't believe any of my non controlled bulbs or WiFi bulbs have ever done it.

My best guess is that Insteon are devices doing some kind of reset when disturbed by a powerline glitch, and it amplifies the effect. Insteon devices don't seem to demonstrate this with the slow response thermal based incandescent lighting but the LEDs show it up now.

I really doubt it comes out of ISY because the Insteon protocol could not send an on and then an off control that fast from any Insteon device.

Sent using Tapatalk
 

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It's definitely something with the Insteon protcol and messages.  I see flickering periodically and I know it's Insteon traffic because sometimes I can see the IOLinc light blinking in unison to the flickering.  I never had flickering with my lights until I went with Insteon and I've used z-wave, zigbee and Lutron.  Ultimately I may end back with Lutron but going with RA2 instead of Caseta.

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I have noticed the same problem with a number of led lights on Insteon switches.  I have lots of Cree CR6 lights on Insteon switches all over my house and have not seen them do it.  Not sure which Cree downlights you have.  But I have other led's that do flicker.  They did not do it when they were new that I ever noticed.  It seemed like I first noticed it after they were several years old.  I believe it is the same blink you describe.  It is super fast, maybe 50 milliseconds.  So fast you almost question whether it actually happened.  I can not say if these lights do it on regular switches since I damn near don't have any regular switches.  I would say the interval of flickering is similar to you.  Maybe a few times per hour.  Hard to say since all of the lights that do it are accent lights where you aren't continuously paying attention to them.  It seems like multiple lights on the same switch do it together, so it is probably the switch, not the bulb.  But there must be something to the bulb since it seems to only affect certain bulbs.

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22 minutes ago, apostolakisl said:

I have noticed the same problem with a number of led lights on Insteon switches.  I have lots of Cree CR6 lights on Insteon switches all over my house and have not seen them do it.  Not sure which Cree downlights you have.  But I have other led's that do flicker.  They did not do it when they were new that I ever noticed.  It seemed like I first noticed it after they were several years old.  I believe it is the same blink you describe.  It is super fast, maybe 50 milliseconds.  So fast you almost question whether it actually happened.  I can not say if these lights do it on regular switches since I damn near don't have any regular switches.  I would say the interval of flickering is similar to you.  Maybe a few times per hour.  Hard to say since all of the lights that do it are accent lights where you aren't continuously paying attention to them.  It seems like multiple lights on the same switch do it together, so it is probably the switch, not the bulb.  But there must be something to the bulb since it seems to only affect certain bulbs.

Most of the older generation LED bulbs use a driver circuit which can cause the blinking/flickering.

The new bulbs such as the FEIT led bulbs use a newer generation of leds which don't require a driver circuit. Another plus to the newer bulbs is that they run a lot cooler, almost no heat vs. the older bulbs which required heat sinks.

The FEIT bulbs dim almost down to zero with no flicker.

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42 minutes ago, Techman said:

Most of the older generation LED bulbs use a driver circuit which can cause the blinking/flickering.

The new bulbs such as the FEIT led bulbs use a newer generation of leds which don't require a driver circuit. Another plus to the newer bulbs is that they run a lot cooler, almost no heat vs. the older bulbs which required heat sinks.

The FEIT bulbs dim almost down to zero with no flicker.

It is getting about that time, I suppose, to replace the bulbs.  They are about 7 or 8 years old and run about 4-8 hours/day depending on season.  The dimming to zero isn't an issue since these are all accents lights that just come on every night.  I suppose it is a slight plus when they ramp from zero up and back to zero smoothly the whole way up/down.  But mostly I am not looking at the lights when they turn on/off.

By "not having drivers" are you referring to the ones that have the phosphorous "fillaments"?  I have quite a few of these style, but my flickering lights are spots, and I haven't seen spots with those led components.  

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1 hour ago, apostolakisl said:

It is getting about that time, I suppose, to replace the bulbs.  They are about 7 or 8 years old and run about 4-8 hours/day depending on season.  The dimming to zero isn't an issue since these are all accents lights that just come on every night.  I suppose it is a slight plus when they ramp from zero up and back to zero smoothly the whole way up/down.  But mostly I am not looking at the lights when they turn on/off.

By "not having drivers" are you referring to the ones that have the phosphorous "fillaments"?  I have quite a few of these style, but my flickering lights are spots, and I haven't seen spots with those led components.  

Not sure about the spots, You can usually tell as the newer bulbs are lighter weight (no heat sinks)

This is the type of led filament I'm referring to, they're using them in most of their line:

 https://www.amazon.com/Feit-Electric-CFC60-950CA-FIL/dp/B07XFYW43R/ref=sr_1_28?gclid=EAIaIQobChMI5-64lo3w5gIVCMZkCh0XQwxzEAAYASAAEgItb_D_BwE&hvadid=241680593693&hvdev=c&hvlocphy=9030950&hvnetw=g&hvpos=1t1&hvqmt=e&hvrand=13285222990327029949&hvtargid=kwd-7836340300&hydadcr=24629_10399556&keywords=feit+electric+light+bulbs&qid=1578352509&sr=8-28

 

 

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1 hour ago, Techman said:

Yes, those are the phosphorous filaments.  They have a bunch of UV led's mounted to a glass substrate in series such that the voltage is divided over maybe 100 leds resulting in each led getting roughly 1 volt without any drivers needed.  The UV light excites the phosphorous which then glows in the visible spectrum.  I have lots of those style and I haven't seen them flicker.  I am just roughly giving the idea here, so don't shoot me for being wrong on the exact details, but this is the jist of it.   But I have never seen spot lights with that configuration.  The ones I have that flicker are accent lights . . . in other words, they are spots.

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The phosphorescent/LED combo bulbs were suppose to increase the CRI output. White LEDs have a very  narrow band blue LED that is thought to  be harmful to human vision and/or Circadian rhythms.  In an effort to balance the white colouring they have made the blue LED much more intense than the red green spectrum LEDs which are broad band spectrum. The phosphorus redistributes the spectrum into a flatter spectrum output.

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This is going to sound WAY, WAY out there, but I have to say it. In summary, I solved random flickering lights *throughout my house* by replacing a 12V transformer I was using to power under-cabinet LED light strips in the kitchen. Riiiiiiiiiiiigggghhhhhht, I hear you all saying, but the fact is, is that the problem completely disappeared after I made the replacement. Let me describe in detail what I did to figure this out. I'm not sure how useful it will be, but if anything it's a good story. 

I had this what seems to be a VERY similar behavior to what @flsenior described in his original post. My wife and I would be sitting in our family room watching TV and seemingly randomly, lights in the kitchen or the family room, and even a front bedroom would very quickly blink off, then on again. I mean they'd go off for a few milliseconds, then back on again. Just enough for a human being to notice... and be annoyed. Honestly, I was hoping that my wife didn't notice since I figured it had to do with all the Insteon switches and LED bulbs I was installing, against her frequent skeptical and annoyed questioning as to why I didn't have better things to do with my time. :)

Unfortunately, she did notice. :(

I had gone through many different Insteon switch/dimmer, LED/incandescent bulb swaps to try and identify what exactly was causing the problem to occur, but I was having a hell of a time knowing whether changes I made made any difference because I never seemed to quite be able to get the flickering to completely stop. What I did *feel* was that SOMETHING was occurring that caused the flickering to become slightly more or less frequent at times, but I wasn't totally sure and I couldn't figure when the change occurred.

Sooo.... at the time I was also starting to learn about how to use and program microcontrollers (aka arduino). I decided to create a "flicker detector" device. This device's job was to basically sit around all day in the problem areas of my house (while my wife and I were at work) with affected lights turned on and record the number of flickers it detected. It would log the time and length (milliseconds the lights were off) of each occurrence.

After getting that little device working, I ran several experiments over a week, where I controlled exactly which switches/bulbs were on/active in order to significantly change in the frequency of flickering.

Much to my eventual surprise, but also great satisfaction, I discovered that when my kitchen's under cabinet LED strip lighting was on, the flickering frequency increased significantly. When they were off, the flickering decreased, but didn't disappear completely.  The strip was controlled by a simple (not programmable) motion sensor that turned them on when it sensed motion in the kitchen, then turned them off after a few minutes. This explained why sometimes my human senses felt that more frequent flickering did sometimes "randomly" occur. They weren't actually random. The frequency just changed based on whether somebody, or my dog happened to walk into or around the kitchen.  

After discovering this, I completely unplugged the 12v adapter that was powering them and lo and behold the flickering WENT AWAY COMPLETELY.

After being convinced by a couple electricians that my wiring for the LED strip was theoretically fine, I just replaced the questionable 12v transformer with a new one. I haven't had a flickering problem since! 

Now, I am NOT an electrician or electrical engineer. I have no understanding or explanation as to how a rogue 12v transformer plugged into my house's electrical grid could have that kind of broad effect on my lighting. But, what I do know is that my wife hasn't complained about flickering for years and is even beginning to enjoy the fact that lights go on and off all over the house as needed. :D

 

 

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2 hours ago, greazer said:

This is going to sound WAY, WAY out there, but I have to say it. In summary, I solved random flickering lights *throughout my house* by replacing a 12V transformer I was using to power under-cabinet LED light strips in the kitchen. Riiiiiiiiiiiigggghhhhhht, I hear you all saying, but the fact is, is that the problem completely disappeared after I made the replacement.

I've seen all sorts of craziness like this before.  I use Philips Warm Glow bulbs, which almost don't flicker, and also am replacing the older Cree bulbs.

But I've also had a ton of weird things happening with a whole variety of devices, not just transformers.  A bunch of Filterlincs helped, as did replacing some shady devices, and adding filtering to my whole house with a breaker panel installed surge suppressor.

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6 hours ago, jec6613 said:

I've seen all sorts of craziness like this before.  I use Philips Warm Glow bulbs, which almost don't flicker, and also am replacing the older Cree bulbs.

But I've also had a ton of weird things happening with a whole variety of devices, not just transformers.  A bunch of Filterlincs helped, as did replacing some shady devices, and adding filtering to my whole house with a breaker panel installed surge suppressor.

Interesting! But just for the record, when I had my blinking lights problem, some of rooms that had a blinking problem had incandescent lights. The LED bulbs and insteon switches turned out to be a red-herring (either that or the installation of them somehow caused the problems in my transformer to become exposed).

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