Suggestion for zwave dimmer with LED bulbs

I recently added Zwave to my household. Currently its a simple thermostat, lock, and Vera2 controller. I am ready to add dimmers to the mix.

I have been replacing my lights with Phillips LED 6E26R20 (Home Depot R20 6W, although website only shows the 7W now. I have it on a dimmer now (Lutron, nothing special) and noticed that it will turn off at about 5% power and it also it flickers at very low power levels, but I read elsewhere this could be from the dimmer.

So I am looking for good dimmers that support Z-Wave, LED bulbs (particularly the one I mentioned above) and with a nice manual dimmer on the switch itself. The current one I have has a button on the bottom that lights up when off and have a nice sliding knob for 3/4 of the switch for dimming. You just turn it on and adjust as you see fit.

Anyone have any suggestions?

As I wrote in another topic, I’m using a few different dimmers with my LEDs. The GE/Jasco dimmers will go to a very low brightness with my LEDs. However, I do get the “flickering” you mention, especially when it’s very low. The ACT HomePro dimmers won’t dim quite as low, but they seem to stop dimming at a good spot before things get too unstable.

The flickering seems to be more of a function of interference from other electronics, especially CFL bulbs. The more CFLs I replaced with LEDs, the more stable my LEDs on dimmers became.

Some say this has to do with the LEDs being below the wattage minimum specified on the dimmers. I’m not noticing a correlation. I have some single LED floods on dimmers and a couple areas with 4 and 5 LEDs which should be well above the minimum wattage. They all seem to work about the same.

It really amazes me how terrible our choices are when it comes to switches. Dimmable CFLs have been around for LONG time now. Energy efficient lighting is anything but new, it’s about time these manufacturers figure out how to work with low-wattage lighting. And only one, really expensive Z-wave ceiling fan speed controller from Leviton? REALLY? Argh.

So I just added four more of the Phillips LED 6W bulbs I mentioned above. The room they are in is 6 recessed canned lights. Before I had 4 8W and the 2 6W Philips, now 6 6W Philips. They turn on and off, but only half of them dim and only be about 5% difference. So I think the dimmer I am using (a Lutron) can’t handle them well. Going to have to order a couple dimmers tomorrow and try my luck I guess.

Removed a followup because I was being stupid. I grabbed what I thought were the same bulbs. One of which was, but the other three were slightly different and not dimmable. All I can say is I had two kids with me and I was rushed.

So now that I solved the problem of the differences in the bulbs, I still need to find a good zwave dimmer that works well with LED lights (no drop out, no pop on, etc). Going to try a Leviton RZI06-1LX/VRI06-1LX Vizia RF Z-Wave 600W Dimmer - Incandescent.

If anyone has other suggestions I am willing to try, thanks…

General update in case anyone cares. I tried the the Leviton VRI06-1LX and found that it I didn’t have enough load on it. I was at 36W, 4 under the minimum recommended of 40W. This caused flickering. I changed a couple LED bulbs (from 6W to 8W ones) to bring it to 42W and it stabilized.

Going to try a Cooper next.

feedback always appreciated, we save each other alot of trial and error that way!

[quote=“Haderak, post:5, topic:168201”]General update in case anyone cares. I tried the the Leviton VRI06-1LX and found that it I didn’t have enough load on it. I was at 36W, 4 under the minimum recommended of 40W. This caused flickering. I changed a couple LED bulbs (from 6W to 8W ones) to bring it to 42W and it stabilized.

Going to try a Cooper next.[/quote]

So how did the LEDs dim with the VRI06-1LX? Did they dim ok from the dimmer’s max setting to min setting? I am in the process of moving to Z-wave. I bought a number of the switches. However, I’m wondering whether to Also use the VRI06 dimmer given that it’s targeted for incandescent bulbs, which can be harder to get in the future.

So here is what I found. I have 6 canisters, and I used 6W Philips LED dimmables from home depot. These bulbs are slightly more spotlightish then I like, but ok. I will move them to another room eventually. I was using a Lutron dimmer from Home Depot and it worked great. Dimmed smoothly, no flickering, no pulsing, and it didn’t turn off at the lowest value.

I replaced the Lutron with the VRI06-1LX and it doesn’t work as well. I don’t like how the dimmer works. I liked the slide style on the Lutron much better. The VRI06 flickers as it lowers, and I noticed a very slight flicker at certain levels. It doesn’t cut off at the end at least. So it is useable, but not ideal. Especially with the flickering.

Basically the 40W minimum load is a very real constraint on this dimmer from what I can tell. If you don’t have more then 40W load I wouldn’t recommend this dimmer. So I won’t be buying any more of this.

I have read good things about Cooper dimmers and may try those. I also noticed Home Depot now has a Lutron CFL/LED specific dimmer. So my hope is that soon other manufacturers will come out with LED friendly zwave dimmers. In the meantime I am just going to install switches where I don’t need dimming.

I am also checking out my wiring in other rooms to see if I can support the magnetic and electronic dimmers, once I learn more about them. Also I just saw that Leviton has a CFL compatible dimmer model number 6673-10W.

That’s the rub when you’re an early adopter, the mass market producers are still geared to making products for 100+ year old incandescent lighting.

Once LED’s start to replace incandescent lighting in reasonable numbers you should see some better dimming product geared to current more efficient lighting products appear… till then- you’re the beta tester :o

In my case… I bought a couple of the Cree downlight LED’s sold at Home Depot, Amazon, etc (http://tinyurl.com/6k388z7) for our master bedroom. Well, it turns out our ceiling has 6" joists and the attic above it has floorboards so they had to use low-profile cans in the upstairs rooms. Unfortunately, the Cree lights need 6.5 inches from top to bottom of the can… so I’m out of luck using them in the four bedrooms upstairs till they redesign them to fit into low profile cans.

OT- FWIW; there seems to be some degree of general anger aimed at CFL/LED lighting- even at the retailers who sell the products…
I was at Home Depot a few weeks back just killing time looking at the LED lighting products while my wife was in the garden section. I saw a woman re-stocking one model of LED bulbs- so I asked “do you sell a lot of those?” to my surprise she replied “it’s just ridiculous to spend $60 on a light bulb when people can’t even put food on the table” as she shoved the case of bulbs into the shelf area. Mind you she was re-stocking the $19.99 LEDs (not $60 LEDS), but she was really angry.
Then on Earth Day (April 22nd) I again went to HD to see if they got the new hybrid CFL/Halogen bulbs in yet- figured that would be a good interim solution for our MBR lighting issue. Didn’t see any on the shelf- so I asked someone in the lighting department if the had seen them yet- well he hadn’t even heard of hybrid CFL/Halogen bulbs yet- then said “they just keep making the light bulb more and more complicated don’t they? I hope we don’t start carrying them too”.
Wow, ignorant much :frowning:

Wait until the “rocket scientists” who work at that Home Depot have to remove all of the incadesent bulbs one day soon :slight_smile:

Some ppl where I work have already started stock piling incandescent bulbs!
Well you can lead the horse to water… or in my best Dr. Smith voice “oh the ignorance!”

I have been swamped at work so haven’t had a chance to read further.

But apparently google is tossing it’s had in the ring for home automation.

they showed off some home automation egg thingie at their developers conference apparently. The blurps I saw said it was for interfacing with non-wifi devices. The interesting bit is (if the blogs can be trusted) apparently they showed demos of LED BULBS that directly talked to the google thingie. Not the lamp, not the switch, the bulbs talked to the google egg. So the question is how?

Wireless or power line?

using an established protocol or something google invented?

would be too darn cool if there was a z-wave chip in the bulb itself.

anyone see anything about that?

looks like some sort of wireless. Wonder who’s protocol it is…

So how do they work? Each bulb will contain a small, wireless chip allowing the bulbs to communicate with one another, establishing a wireless mesh network that communicates with a wireless router in the home, which in turn can communicate with the phone.

[i]edit: looks like google made their own.
http://news.cnet.com/8301-11128_3-20061566-54.html

It uses a new mesh network wireless protocol rather than Wi-Fi, ZigBee, or the other proprietary home automation protocols.

Having many devices communicating using ZigBee or Wi-Fi could create interference problems, one reason why a new protocol is being used, Holland said. Since it is open-source, Google and Lighting Sciences Group hope it will be adopted by other lighting and home automation companies. The networked bulbs will be available by the end of the year at the same cost as their general-purpose LEDs, for which prices range from under $20 to about $35 for a 60-watt equivalent.

Read more: http://news.cnet.com/8301-11128_3-20061566-54.html#ixzz1MB5PjMrs


[/i]

If they could add wireless control to a (LED) bulb at virtually no additional cost- then I like the idea.
Z-wave for locks, appliances, thermostats, and cheap Google G/B Wireless for lighting… might just work! Would certainly keep costs down for HA lighting anyway… and guaranteed dimmer compatible cause it would be built into the bulb.

I’ve heard the Google protocol is Zigbee.

The Google stuff was brought up in this topic.