[aprssig] CFL Bulbs and Shack backup power ;-)

Stephen H. Smith wa8lmf2 at aol.com
Tue May 31 20:41:51 EDT 2011

On 5/30/2011 12:12 PM, Donald Jacob wrote:
> Stephen,
> I called the X10 manufacturer of the "Socket Rockets" and they
> confirmed my multiple
> findings. The Socket Rockets do not work with  CF bulbs. I have blown
> a few of both (CF bulb and Socket Rocket) trying them out. They did
> say that the appliance module will work with the CF bulbs. They are
> working on a solution for the Socket Rockets and the wall mounted
> switches/dimmers.
> If you have had luck with the Socket Rockets please let me know the
> manufacturer of the CF bulb .
> Thanks
> Don  WB5EKU
> On Mon, May 30, 2011 at 12:05 PM, Stephen H. Smith<wa8lmf2 at aol.com>  wrote:

You must have reached a totally clueless sales type because the Socket Rockets 
are explicitly advertised as being suitable for CFLs.    They are classed as 
lamp modules (i.e. respond to "All Lights On" X10 command) but they are 
strictly ON/OFF switches. They DON'T dim.

I have one controlling a Feit Electric "120W" (25W actual) PAR38 flood 
replacement.  This is an outdoor-type flood with the waffle-textured glass 
diffuser up front, sold in 4-packs at Costco.  It's mounted in an indoor wall 
sconce fired at the ceiling.     I have three "60-watt" (15 W actual) 
"N-Vision" mini-spirals in the lighting part of a ceiling fan, each with it's 
own socket rocket.  These are angled downward about 45 degrees (typical fan 
lighting fixture). .  The N-Visions are sold in a variety of watt levels and 
color temperatures at Home Depot.   In my utility room, a ceiling fixture has a 
Feit "60 watt" (15 actual) spiral with a Socket Rocket controlled by an X10 
"Hawkeye" motion sensor.   At my mother's place, a pair of 20 W Nvisions on 
Socket Rockets have survived  two Michigan winters (both the bulb and the 
socket rocket) in flood fixtures in the car port.

The X10 wall switch problem is almost insoluble, since the switch is in series 
with the bulb.   With the lamp off, nearly the full line voltage drops across 
the switch module - cold lamp filament in an incandescent is practically zero 
ohms. When the lamp comes on, nearly the entire line voltage drops across the 
bulb once the filament heats, resulting in only 5 volts or so drop across the 
switch module.   The X-10 fluorescent wall switch is essentially an appliance 
module (relay rather than triac) mounted in the wall. The real pain is that it 
needs access to a white (neutral) wire so that the module can see a full 110 
VAC all the time.      I take normal X10 appliance modules (for fluorescents) 
or lamp modules (for incandescents) , saw off the male prongs, solder wire 
leads to the remaining stubs, and cram them inside ceiling fixtures where they 
can bridge neutral and hot wires normally.  I then just leave the (non X10) 
wall switch on all the time.

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