Incandescent Lights Only

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Question

Why can’t I use the X10 WS467 or WS12A Wall Switch Modules 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. 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). A fluorescent light contains a ballast which acts as a block to the X10 signals and makes it impossible to control the switch remotely. Therefore, a compact fluorescent light does not permit a clean neutral connection through it back to the switch. Also, this ballast is an inductive load. Controlling such a load could permanently damage the Wall Switch Module. This is why the WS467 should NEVER be used to control any kind of appliance, like a ceiling fan. A Wall Switch Module for controlling fluorescent fixtures, the WS13A, is available from www.x10.com.

You can use some halogen bulbs with all of our X10 wall switches. Most halogens that are 120V screw-in (using a standard base thread like the one shown below) do not use a ballast transformer. They are directly resistive like a standard tungsten bulb, but use a different metal for the filament and gas. If your halogen lights do not screw into a regular socket, please contact an electrician or the manufacturer to find out if the lamp or fixture has a transformer in it.

X10 also has a version for controlling ceiling fans and dimming inductive loads, the 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, we recommend that these switches should only be installed by a qualified electrician.

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