Incandescent Lights Only

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Question

Why can’t I use the X10 WS467 Wall Switch Module to control a fluorescent light?

Answer

The main reason why the X10 Wall Switch Module cannot be used to control a fluorescent fixture is because it is a two-wire device and is hence wired in series with the load. The switch itself needs to stay powered up itself; because it does not have a neutral connected to it, it gets a small neutral feed through the bulb even when it is off.

The control signals, which are transmitted onto your house wiring, have to pass through the incandescent lamp (the load). However, a fluorescent light contains a ballast which acts as a block to the X10 signals and makes it impossible to control the switch remotely. A CFL does not permit a clean neutral connection through it back to the switch. Also, this ballast is an inductive load (a coil), and controlling such a load could permanently damage the Wall Switch Module. This is also why the WS467 should NOT be used to control any kind of appliance (such as a ceiling fan). A Wall Switch Module for controlling fluorescent fixtures, the WS13A, is available from www.x10.com.

X10 PRO also has a version for controlling ceiling fans, model XPDI3. Note however, that the XPDI3 and WS13A are commercial grade switches that require a neutral connection. There often is no neutral wire available at the location of the switch you are replacing. Therefore these switches are recommended for installation only by a qualified electrician.