Author Topic: Light flickering and generally doing crazy things - NOW DIMMER SWITCH HAS MELTED  (Read 2612 times)

purps

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Hi all,

I am having a rather worrying problem with the lights in my lounge. Since last night, the dimmer itself has not been behaving as it should, and I have no control over it through LinuxMCE. If I try to increase the lighting level via the dimmer, it basically jumps to being on 100% then flickers crazily (between being completely on and completely off) when it gets there. It's very erratic when I lower the light level also.

I tried resetting the core - no change. I also tried removing the Z-wave dongle completely - again, no change. And now I've just tried switching the core off completely, and again, the dimmer switch is behaving in exactly the same way - does mean that it can ONLY be a fault with the switch?

This is the dimmer I have http://www.uk-automation.co.uk/zwave-homepro-wall-dimmer-switch-wire-p-1460.html

Any advice would be gratefully received!

EDIT: Just switched off all the ground floor lights on the fuse board/circuit breaker to see if that would shock it into submission, and now the lounge lights are just stuck on 100% - neither pressing the switch itself or the orbiter controls have any effect whatsoever  :(. The little blue light on the switch is off, just in case that is relevant (usually it is on when the lights are on).
« Last Edit: October 04, 2010, 12:40:48 pm by purps »
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buckle

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Re: Light flickering and generally doing crazy things - broken dimmer?
« Reply #1 on: October 01, 2010, 06:02:17 pm »
Have you changed bulbs recently?  If so, are they compatible with your dimmer?

purps

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Re: Light flickering and generally doing crazy things - broken dimmer?
« Reply #2 on: October 01, 2010, 07:11:02 pm »
Thanks for the reply. No haven't changed the bulb, and it is the normal incandescent sort. Everything was working fine until last night.
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purps

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Re: Light flickering and generally doing crazy things - broken dimmer?
« Reply #3 on: October 01, 2010, 08:34:07 pm »
PLEASE READ IF YOU ARE USING THESE DIMMER SWITCHES!!!

Before I went to work this morning, I switched off all the ground floor lights at the fuse box, just be on the safe side. It was bloody lucky that I did.

When I got home from work (about an hour ago), I switched on the ground floor lights to have a play, and as expected, the lounge light was still jammed on 100% (as I mentioned in the edit in my original post). I then sat down in front of my laptop with the aim of removing the light from the system and trying to add it again, not that I had much hope that this would work. About 15 minutes later, my girlfriend came back from the shops, and the first thing she said when she got in the door was that she could smell burning plastic. The dimmer switch was hot to the touch.

This is what I found after I had removed it. As you can see the label has melted away, but you can also see that the white casing itself has also started to melt.





So for Christ's sake, if you suspect a problem with ANY electrical device, DO NOT continue using it and GET IT REPLACED. Sorry to be melodramatic, but I just want people to be aware.
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Kooma

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Re: Light flickering and generally doing crazy things - broken dimmer?
« Reply #4 on: October 01, 2010, 09:30:12 pm »
Okay, does not do good for the reputation of the manufacturer.. Just to make sure, what kind of load you were driving with the dimmer? Was it below the power limit (300W)?

purps

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Re: Light flickering and generally doing crazy things - broken dimmer?
« Reply #5 on: October 02, 2010, 01:41:28 am »
The power limit is in fact 500W (that's what was written on the label that got melted...), but my lounge light is 150W in any event.

It is not my intention to ruin the manufacturer - any device has the potential to go faulty. I just want people to be aware that this can happen, and that if they suspect anything dodgy, to stop using it! I'm going to get it replaced and see how the next one goes.
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Kooma

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Re: Light flickering and generally doing crazy things - broken dimmer?
« Reply #6 on: October 02, 2010, 09:52:04 am »
purps, could you please contact the manufacturer and let them know what happened?
Just got my first unit this week, that's why a bit curious about what happened and what is the reason..

purps

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Re: Light flickering and generally doing crazy things - broken dimmer?
« Reply #7 on: October 03, 2010, 01:27:51 am »
I had already requested an RMA number from http://www.uk-automation.co.uk/ BEFORE the melting thing happened (not got it yet), but I will contact him again and also the manufacturer soon.
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totallymaxed

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Re: Light flickering and generally doing crazy things - broken dimmer?
« Reply #8 on: October 05, 2010, 09:19:01 am »
I had already requested an RMA number from http://www.uk-automation.co.uk/ BEFORE the melting thing happened (not got it yet), but I will contact him again and also the manufacturer soon.

We've never had an ACT ZWave switch 'melt-down' on us but our experience with them from a reliability perspective not good at all. In the early days they were pretty much the only 'flavour' of ZWave available on 868mhz so we put up with this for internal testing. However we have stepped back from selling these units too customers becuause we know that we get a lot of failures & returns.

All the best


Andrew
Andy Herron,
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purps

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Hi Andrew,

What other problems have you seen with these switches?

Could you possibly recommend an alternative please? These were the only ones I could find that I thought were a reasonable price, the alternatives seem so expensive. 50 quid is still a lot in my opinion.
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Murdock

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Not to speak for Andrew, though I have had good luck with this: http://wiki.linuxmce.org/index.php/Intermatic_HA20C

It's been running for a bit over a year and I haven't had any issues yet.

purps

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Thanks man, but I'm in the UK.
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purps

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I have been offered a "Duwi" z-wave dimmer as a replacement, anyone have any experience of these?
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totallymaxed

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I have been offered a "Duwi" z-wave dimmer as a replacement, anyone have any experience of these?

The Duwi's are very nicely made & well engineered products and we have used those in some customer installations - i have nothing but positive feedback on the Duwi ZWave products. Take a look at the Merten range too... they are more expensive than the Duwi range but are well built and reliable. Here in the UK we now mostly specify the MK Astral lighting range for custom installers - they are beautifully designed and engineered products. However they are eye wateringly expensive.

All the best


Andrew
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Convergent Home Technologies Ltd
United Kingdom
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purps

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Thanks for that information Andrew, very useful.

EDIT: So we've agreed to replace the ACT switch with the Duwi one - Ivor Atkins from http://www.uk-automation.co.uk/ has been nothing but extremely helpful and understanding.

Have not yet heard any response back from ACT regarding this issue.

Kooma, are you in the UK? Ivor says that they will be selling these Duwi dimmers soon, at a "similar" price to the ACT ones, and we have it on good authority that they are of a decent quality. Maybe consider using these over the ACT ones regardless of what ACT say (if anything). Piccies below...





« Last Edit: October 07, 2010, 03:44:35 pm by purps »
1004 RC :: looking good :: upgraded 01/04/2013
my setup :: http://wiki.linuxmce.org/index.php/User:Purps