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Thread: On activating, blink pattern from dimmer in problem location

  1. #1
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    On activating, blink pattern from dimmer in problem location

    A dimmer shows a crazy blink pattern during activation, like an old movie marqee:

    https://photos.app.goo.gl/YXqeZmxYmLAYXfh67

    This is the second -6NA that has started behaving this way in this same location, controlling recessed lights. These recessed lights are on Lutron's list, and other lights throughout the customers house work fine with a -6NA. The dimmer will not activate when it does this, and Lutron Tech Support says this is not a valid blink pattern.

    We have some suspicions. Both the original and the replacement dimmer in that location were near another dimmer that controls bathroom sconces (WAC Lighting). When the other sconce dimmer is at a low light level, the -6NA recessed dimmer turns on and off erratically. Our guess is that the sconce dimmer generates some noise that causes the on/off behavior

    The customer is not going to replace the sconces or anything else, so we replaced the -6NA and discovered the replacement is behaving the same as the first. The master repeater will no longer communicate with it, so we de-activated it and tried re-activating it. However, when re-activating, its blink code was one that did not appear in the technical brochures.

    Here is what you can help us understand:


    • The blink pattern must mean something. A pattern so clever does not happen by accident in two switches in the same way. My guess it means that the radio does not work.
    • If it is the sconces making some radio noise that disturbs this one location, is there something we can do about it?


    We would be grateful for any help. Replace -6NA devices is getting expensive.

  2. #2
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    1. WAC elv type loads and Lutron Dimmers do not play well together. I'm not sure why but I can tell you it's frustrating. Sorry you're learning the hard way. That said, you should still be able to get this working.
    2. I've experienced LOTS of weirdness using 6NA dimmers in 'auto-detect' mode- try going into your program and changing this dimmer from auto to reverse phase.
    3. Try removing the dimmer from the wallbox and temporarily wiring it directly to the sconces as a test. I'd hope that if there was a wiring error in the building this would result in a RA2 dimmer and Sconce that work well together. If that's the case then you may need the electricians to carefully redo the splices and feeds to correct any potential problems.

    I can tell you that I saw a different blink pattern on a few 6NAs running in auto mode that would work for a while and then lock up. Once they locked up the only way to get it working properly again was to reboot the dimmer by pulling the FASS to reset power. The solution I tripped over was to set the 6NA dimmers to forward phase instead of Auto as this matched the fixture requirements.

    Hope this helps-

  3. Thanks SDR-Mike thanked for this post
  4. #3
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    ^^ what he said. Lots of experience with Ra2 and WAC. RUN! It doesn't work, and I'll tell that to your designer, too. Switch WAC only, and only when they force you. Willing to bet the WAC driver/xfer is feeding back on the neutral that is shared with this dimmer. Try pulling the FASS on the dimmer for the WAC and see if that solves the problem.

    digit1 has had some luck reviving the 6NA from the "3 LEDs of death", but my experience says replace the dimmer once it does this. The transformer/driver is incompatible. Primarily on Sebco drivers here in San Diego, but YMMV. Know what you have, and set the phase appropriately before this happens.

    BTW- that's a new one for me, kudos for showing me something new! (I've seen a lot of installs).

    Regarding the radio not working, if the dimmer is responding that way only during activation, the radio works. You're right, that blink pattern should mean something, and someone-somewhere in PA would know what it is. The "3 LEDs of death" means an over-watt/over-amp/dirty power issue with the dimmer's internal processor. Again, I'd remove the WAC from the equation first. Then see if it works.

    By no means is WAC Lighting bad, they work great on Diva and Skylark. WAC just uses transformers and drivers that HATE the digital Maestro/Caseta/Abella dimmers- thus we have had nothing but horrible experiences with them and 6NAs, but I've seen them get screwy with the 6/10ND as well. Switching only, despite that fact the fixture is "dimmable"- just not with Ra2.
    Business Development Associate- Design, Sales, Installation, and Programming of Smart Homes for Baker Electric Home Energy
    mbalay@bakerhomeenergy.com
    "Spread the light, brother" -Blake Richetta
    "If you think hiring a professional is expensive, wait until you hire an amateur" -Crustyloafer

  5. #4
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    SDR-Mike - a quick note. Funny to hear you choose to only switch WAC. I found on a recent project that HW-RPM-4A didn't play well with WAC Tape so I installed 6NA dimmers. Performance was much improved with the 6NA over the 4A RPM. Low End flicker was the worst offence but out of the corner of your eye you could detect flicker all the time if you knew to look for it.

    Jceirra- what brand/model recessed lights are you having the problem with? I'd like to know what's on the list and which list- let us know make and model of the problem fixtures and maybe we can recommend a fix. Have you tried forcing to reverse phase?

  6. Thanks SDR-Mike thanked for this post
  7. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by digit1 View Post
    SDR-Mike - a quick note. Funny to hear you choose to only switch WAC. I found on a recent project that HW-RPM-4A didn't play well with WAC Tape so I installed 6NA dimmers. Performance was much improved with the 6NA over the 4A RPM. Low End flicker was the worst offence but out of the corner of your eye you could detect flicker all the time if you knew to look for it.
    We tried everything with WAC. Always a failure of some sort. It is possible that the larger driver for the tape light is responding well. I've tried sconces, step lights, and down lights. All were a failure with RA2 dimming. That covers the 6NA (auto, forward, and reverse), QSGRJ, and the 10ND. The only time it was acceptable was the 8ANS, and still there was a slight flicker- very noticable when the step lights were the only thing on at night. I'll file away the info on the tape light driver.
    Business Development Associate- Design, Sales, Installation, and Programming of Smart Homes for Baker Electric Home Energy
    mbalay@bakerhomeenergy.com
    "Spread the light, brother" -Blake Richetta
    "If you think hiring a professional is expensive, wait until you hire an amateur" -Crustyloafer

  8. #6
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    The lamps are WAC WS-79636 (http://www.waclighting.com/product/3128). They look great, but they are far too bright for the location they are installed (vertically next to the medicine cabinets) and they need a dimmer. They are just tape lights inside, but some bad electronics somewhere underneath.

    I knew that I did a terrible job of explaining. Oddly enough, the dimmer that burns out is not the dimmer connected to the WAC, but an innocent one nearby, connected to recessed lamps with Cree LEDs that Lutron lists for -6NA. The recessed dimmer is the one we have replaced twice. It works fine until the dimmer with the WAC dims very low; I have tried setting default to 50% and low trim to 20%, but the customer gets around it by using the dimmer button to start it from off (and it goes to 5% and burns out the recessed dimmer).


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  9. #7
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    If the low trim is set to 20%, then that is the lowest setting on the dimmer, even when dimming up from off. Have you tried forcing the 6NA to the appropriate phase control in the software? Should be the last option when also setting the low end trim.
    Business Development Associate- Design, Sales, Installation, and Programming of Smart Homes for Baker Electric Home Energy
    mbalay@bakerhomeenergy.com
    "Spread the light, brother" -Blake Richetta
    "If you think hiring a professional is expensive, wait until you hire an amateur" -Crustyloafer

  10. #8
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    I will go to the site later this week with another replacement -6NA for the recessed lights and re-program the WAC to have a minimum 20%.

    This one bathroom has eaten a lot of profit from this job.

  11. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by jcierra View Post
    I will go to the site later this week with another replacement -6NA for the recessed lights and re-program the WAC to have a minimum 20%.

    This one bathroom has eaten a lot of profit from this job.
    Sorry for your pain, been through it multiple times with WAC. Best practice is to only switch WAC going forward, with maybe the exception of the tape light drivers as reported by digit1 above. When I encounter WAC, I only give the customer the option of switching, unless they agree to time and material to trouble shoot their lighting selection's compatibility.
    Business Development Associate- Design, Sales, Installation, and Programming of Smart Homes for Baker Electric Home Energy
    mbalay@bakerhomeenergy.com
    "Spread the light, brother" -Blake Richetta
    "If you think hiring a professional is expensive, wait until you hire an amateur" -Crustyloafer

  12. #10
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    jcierra - Now that you've better explained the scenario, I'm REALLY concerned there's a basic wiring error. Any chance the WAC dimmer output is feeding the Recessed Dimmer? If SDRMike has seen dimmers running WAC fixtures damage OTHER dimmers in the same house then consider my mind blown.

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