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  • OT: Electric Wiring, lights dim when off...

    I installed an electrical timer for my front porch light last week. It indicated it would work with incandescent lights, but the packaging didn't mention if it would work with LED's or not. I figured it's not a dimmer, just a timer, and the LED's were supposed to be able to work with a dimmer so I gave it a shot...

    The timer worked fine with the small incandescent lights that were in the fixture, but when I switched them out for the LED units, they stay very dimly lit even when the timer is off. When turned on manually or by the timer, they get nice and bright, probably 7-10 times the brightness of when they are off/dim.

    I'm kind of wondering what's going on. It advertises no neutral wire connection needed. The timer uses only three lines, green for ground, black for the incoming voltage, and blue for the "load" which goes to the light fixture.

    After disconnecting the original toggle switch, I tested the wire running to the "Load", (the light) by placing one tester lead on that line and the other on the ground and there was no voltage. I then put one lead on the hot line coming in and the other lead on the ground line and it showed 120V so I thought I was good with which was which. Did I screw this up?

    The light is so dim when off that I don't mind it being this way as long as it's not hurting anything or dangerous. I expect the LED's will have a shorter life because of this. They were $10/ea by the way, the Candelabra type, and there are three of them in this fixture. they use 5 watts and put out around 40 watts worth of light.

    This is the timer: http://www.homedepot.com/p/Defiant-5...-203678181-_-N

    These are the bulbs: http://www.homedepot.com/p/TCP-40W-E...-204499399-_-N


    Any ideas? Am I okay to leave it as is?
    Thanks,
    TomZ
    Last edited by tomzarbo; 09-06-2014, 04:18 PM. Reason: fixed bulb link
    *Veneering curves, seams, using heat-lock iron on method *Trimming veneer & tips *Curved Sides glue-up video
    *Part 2 *Gluing multiple curved laminations of HDF *Cello's Speaker Project Page

    *Building the "Micro-B 2.1 Plate Amplifier -- Part 1 * Part 2 * Part 3 * Part 4 * * Part 5 'Review' * -- Assembly Instructions PDF

  • #2
    Re: OT: Electric Wiring, lights dim when off...

    My guess is that the LEDs are dimly lit by leakage current that wouldn't be sufficient to light an incandescent bulb. Incandescent bulbs are very non-linear about their light output vs current, only giving much visible light when the current is near their rated amount, but LEDs tend to be linear. Just a guess. I doubt it's hurting the LEDs.
    Francis

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    • #3
      Re: OT: Electric Wiring, lights dim when off...

      I have an LED bulb in my hallway with an on/off switch. No timer. It stays dimly lit when in the off position. In my garage door opener there are 2 fluorescent bulbs that do the same thing, although there is a timer in that unit. I have both types of bulbs in different parts of the house, but only those 2 locations stay dimly lit when everything is off. I have no idea why the hall light stays on. :dunno:

      I live in a 60 year old house that probably has goofy wiring.
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      • #4
        Re: OT: Electric Wiring, lights dim when off...

        Originally posted by fpitas View Post
        My guess is that the LEDs are dimly lit by leakage current that wouldn't be sufficient to light an incandescent bulb. Incandescent bulbs are very non-linear about their light output vs current, only giving much visible light when the current is near their rated amount, but LEDs tend to be linear. Just a guess. I doubt it's hurting the LEDs.
        I had read some reviews that this particular timer didn't play nice with every type of LED bulb. Some worked fine, others not. I thought I may have to run one traditional incandescent bulb with two LED's to get it to work, but I guess that wouldn't help.

        Thanks for the input.
        *Veneering curves, seams, using heat-lock iron on method *Trimming veneer & tips *Curved Sides glue-up video
        *Part 2 *Gluing multiple curved laminations of HDF *Cello's Speaker Project Page

        *Building the "Micro-B 2.1 Plate Amplifier -- Part 1 * Part 2 * Part 3 * Part 4 * * Part 5 'Review' * -- Assembly Instructions PDF

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: OT: Electric Wiring, lights dim when off...

          Originally posted by doctormorbius View Post
          I have an LED bulb in my hallway with an on/off switch. No timer. It stays dimly lit when in the off position. In my garage door opener there are 2 fluorescent bulbs that do the same thing, although there is a timer in that unit. I have both types of bulbs in different parts of the house, but only those 2 locations stay dimly lit when everything is off. I have no idea why the hall light stays on. :dunno:

          I live in a 60 year old house that probably has goofy wiring.
          My former house was about as old and had no ground wire in any of the fixtures. Made doing electrical work fun and exciting!
          This house is 20 yrs. old so I hope it's wired correctly, but who knows.

          Thanks
          TomZ
          *Veneering curves, seams, using heat-lock iron on method *Trimming veneer & tips *Curved Sides glue-up video
          *Part 2 *Gluing multiple curved laminations of HDF *Cello's Speaker Project Page

          *Building the "Micro-B 2.1 Plate Amplifier -- Part 1 * Part 2 * Part 3 * Part 4 * * Part 5 'Review' * -- Assembly Instructions PDF

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: OT: Electric Wiring, lights dim when off...

            I tend to agree with fpitas, ya got current leaking somewhere. Have you checked the light fixture to be sure nothing is bridging the neutral to the hot by some strange chance? You don't have a neutral at the switch, but you have to have one at the fixture.

            Good luck, Mark

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: OT: Electric Wiring, lights dim when off...

              I wouldn't dismiss the possibility of leakage but I just purchased some LED bulbs that will be used in new light fixtures when our master bath is remodeled in the next several weeks. While researching info on both CFL and LED bulbs, I noticed that while many LED and CFL bulbs are advertised as being able to work off dimmers, I also found some comments about them needing "special" dimmers, not ones used for incandescent bulbs, in order to work properly.
              Paul

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              • #8
                Re: OT: Electric Wiring, lights dim when off...

                Originally posted by tomzarbo View Post
                These 2 links point to the same thing!
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                • #9
                  Re: OT: Electric Wiring, lights dim when off...

                  Read the reviews. It looks like unit only works with incandescent bulbs. It must use some type of device which allows some leakage current to flow thru it. Incandescents require a lot of current to operate, LED's do not.
                  9 out of 10 British housewives can't tell the difference between Whizzo Butter and a dead crab.

                  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=19CvEO3Riy0, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xs1aUws0Lrs
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                  • #10
                    Re: OT: Electric Wiring, lights dim when off...

                    Originally posted by thekorvers View Post
                    These 2 links point to the same thing!
                    Sorry, fixed it.
                    *Veneering curves, seams, using heat-lock iron on method *Trimming veneer & tips *Curved Sides glue-up video
                    *Part 2 *Gluing multiple curved laminations of HDF *Cello's Speaker Project Page

                    *Building the "Micro-B 2.1 Plate Amplifier -- Part 1 * Part 2 * Part 3 * Part 4 * * Part 5 'Review' * -- Assembly Instructions PDF

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: OT: Electric Wiring, lights dim when off...

                      IStrange. It could be that the timer uses a solid state part rather than a mech switch, and there is a tiny bit of leakage. Or, maybe they have a small cap across the contacts, to suppress arcing, and that allows a tiny amount of current.

                      Thing about these highly efficient LED's, is they are exactly that. A little whiff of current, and you're making light. I remember back when they were fairly new, and I was measuring one with a ohmmeter, was shocked to see the tiny current from the DMM light it up! This coming from the just ending status quo of panel lights were all little incandescents, and you had a transformer just to power the lights...

                      Shouldn't harm it, and hey, you get a night light feature, if that's not a problem...

                      But, after thinking more, you want to check and be sure that you don't have the hot side somehow wired to the unswitched (s/b neutral) side. That would be a safety issue, in that you'd have the socket hot with the switch or timer off.. It could also explain the glow, with the capacitance of the wiring providing a leakage path.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: OT: Electric Wiring, lights dim when off...

                        Connect a relay coil to the "load"'connection of the timer. The other end of the coil goes to neutral (not ground). Attach one end of the relay contact to the LED lamp and the other contact to "line". That should fix it.

                        Relay should be rated for 120 VAC at 10 amps or higher. Coil must be 120 vac.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: OT: Electric Wiring, lights dim when off...

                          Originally posted by tomzarbo View Post
                          I installed an electrical timer for my front porch light last week. It indicated it would work with incandescent lights, but the packaging didn't mention if it would work with LED's or not. I figured it's not a dimmer, just a timer, and the LED's were supposed to be able to work with a dimmer so I gave it a shot...

                          The timer worked fine with the small incandescent lights that were in the fixture, but when I switched them out for the LED units, they stay very dimly lit even when the timer is off. When turned on manually or by the timer, they get nice and bright, probably 7-10 times the brightness of when they are off/dim.

                          I'm kind of wondering what's going on. It advertises no neutral wire connection needed. The timer uses only three lines, green for ground, black for the incoming voltage, and blue for the "load" which goes to the light fixture.
                          Timers that don't need a neutral use the load line to complete a circuit for the small amount of current they use to actually run the timer. Incandescent bulbs won't light with that small current, but it looks like LED's will. You can wire a relay as suggested, leave it as is, or, if there is a neutral in the box, get a timer that uses the neutral. -- Doug

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: OT: Electric Wiring, lights dim when off...

                            The switch has a mechanical switch on the bottom of it that (I think) mechanically turns off the connection, and when switched to "off" the lights go out completely. So, it must be the switch I guess which is allowing a small current to pass even when off.

                            The relay idea is good, but I'd have to try and fit that in the box somehow and it's kind of tight in there.

                            I've read up a bit more on this online and it seems that others have reported the same thing happening.

                            If it doesn't hurt the LED's or the circuit inside them, I guess I'll leave it as is.

                            TomZ
                            *Veneering curves, seams, using heat-lock iron on method *Trimming veneer & tips *Curved Sides glue-up video
                            *Part 2 *Gluing multiple curved laminations of HDF *Cello's Speaker Project Page

                            *Building the "Micro-B 2.1 Plate Amplifier -- Part 1 * Part 2 * Part 3 * Part 4 * * Part 5 'Review' * -- Assembly Instructions PDF

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: OT: Electric Wiring, lights dim when off...

                              Originally posted by tomzarbo View Post
                              The switch has a mechanical switch on the bottom of it that (I think) mechanically turns off the connection, and when switched to "off" the lights go out completely. So, it must be the switch I guess which is allowing a small current to pass even when off.

                              The relay idea is good, but I'd have to try and fit that in the box somehow and it's kind of tight in there.

                              I've read up a bit more on this online and it seems that others have reported the same thing happening.

                              If it doesn't hurt the LED's or the circuit inside them, I guess I'll leave it as is.

                              TomZ
                              When was the last time you went to your breaker panel (fuse box) took the cover off and tightened down all the connections? Especially all the neutral and ground connections.

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