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Thread: Two Failed 6NAs - Line or Load?

  1. #1
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    Unhappy Two Failed 6NAs - Line or Load?

    Hi everyone,

    I have a room where I have just experienced my second RRD-6NA failure (the so-called three LED failure) in six months. The 6NA controls an integrated LED in a ceiling fan (directly, no canopy module is installed) and before the failure, the dimmer worked without issue. As is recommended, the 6NA is programmed for reverse phase control and not left to automatically determine the phase.

    Some other pieces of information - some of which might be useful, others might be a red herring:
    1. I had noticed that the ceiling fan light in this room will periodically flicker (maybe once every few days for 5-7 seconds).
    2. The house is protected by a Siemens whole-house surge suppression system; as my memory serves, I started to notice the flicker after this system was installed; the surge suppression system was installed as mitigation against failing very expensive electronic switches and integrated LED lighting after the first 6NA failure.
    1. I have another room (on a different circuit) with the same fan and a RRD-6NA also controls the integrated LED; that dimmer seems to be working fine, but only is used maybe once a month, whereas the room experiencing the failure is used multiple times a day. I have not noticed any lighting flicker in that room.
    2. A RRD-2ANF controls the ceiling fan speed; this switch seems to work fine.
    3. Prior to the installation of the RadioRA2 controls the room had a MACL-153M and a MA-FQ4FM controlling the integrated light and the ceiling fan; neither of these controls experienced any failures in 4+ years of service. However, the ceiling fan (two different ceiling fans, actually) causes a noticable hum at 60 Hz when it is on, which was puzzling - the other room with the same fan and the same controls (originally Maestro, also converted to RadioRA2) does not have a similar hum. The hum was significantly reduced, but not entirely eliminated, when the RadioRA2 controls were installed.

    I have (always) suspected a neutral issue with this particular circuit, but have never been able to identify a specific cause. I am open to any and all suggestions as to how to best troubleshoot or diagnose an issue as I would rather not have to buy a fourth replacement dimmer...

    Thanks,

    Jeff

  2. #2
    Senior Member
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    I would case down that possible neutral issue first.

    Can you get the specs on the LED module? If it truly needs forward phase, you could force a 6NA forward or use the 6/10ND. The 6/10ND is preferred for forward phase, they use triac- 6NA is a FET dimmer. MACL153M is a triac dimmer, which may be the reason for the differences.

    Is the fan and light sharing the neutral?
    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

  3. Likes randyc, ShadesJeff liked this post
  4. #3
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    The ceiling fan is a Hunter Prestige fan, I believe the model might be a Windemere. Originally, a Minka Aire fan was installed in the location, but that fan had an unacceptably louder 60 Hz hum with the original controls. Unfortunately, I could not find any specific information on the integrated LED module for the Hunter fan. As I recall, the fan came with a Hunter-specific canopy module that was never installed. With the MA-FQ4FM fan control switch, the Lutron canopy module was installed; with the RRD-2ANF, there is no canopy module installed.

    Yes - the two controls (dimmer and fan control) share a single neutral from the switch box on the wall to the ceiling fan location.

    Are the dimmers in most of the manufacturer-provided canopy modules triac-type dimmers?

    I will re-program the 6NA to forward-phase and see if the dimmer makes it more than a few hours/days before experiencing the three-LED failure.

    Thanks,

    Jeff

  5. #4
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    Jeff,
    Once you have the three LEDs of death, the likelihood of a repeat offense for that particular dimmer is high, even with a gap switch pull or factory default. I would give it a try and check the 6NA first, only because the money is already spent. If it happens again, swap for the 6ND if the buzzing/humming went away. Otherwise run the 6NA forced to forward.

    Hard to say what most manufacturers use. I believe a majority are triac- Lutron invented that back in 1959. Relatively cheap and a known quantity. The FET dimming came around for ELV/reverse phase. Once things went digital (Maestro and the like), most remain triac, but the FET was able to be switched between the two. 6NA was the first to do this, and do it automatically (sometimes causing issues- never use a 6NA on a Sebco driver!!). Others soon followed, but none can match the 6NA. But the few times you'll have the issue, the 6ND should do the trick.
    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

  6. #5
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    Mike,

    Thanks - to clarify the 60 Hz hum is during the operation of the fan motor, not from the light. With the Hunter Prestige fan, the RRD-2ANF has reduced the hum to a not-quite imperceptible level. I re-hung the Minka Are fan this morning and even with the 2ANF control, that motor hums very loudly. I am going to order a replacement motor for that fan to complete the troubleshooting.

    I was completely wrong about the fan having an integrated LED kit (sorry - it was installed 4-5 years ago). In fact, there were two GE LED7DBC-C3 candelabra bulbs installed in the fan. When I traced the wiring, it looks like the bulbs are getting "direct" power from the ceiling box - there are no intermediate circuit boards or components. Has anyone had issues with these particular bulbs and the 6NA dimmer? Does anyone have a recommendation for a good compatible candelabra bulb for the 6NA dimmer? From the Lutron Compatibility tool, it looks like a fair number of the current Philips LED bulbs are compatible. I care more about the high-end brightness than I do the low-end dimming, for what it's worth.

    I also confirmed the neutral lug on the sub-panel with this room's circuit was tight and the neutral readings throughout the circuit (including at the ceiling fan box) are right around 2V. Interestingly enough, the reading on the hots for both the fan and the light also were around 2V with the FASS switches pulled for both the 2ANF and the 6NA. I was just using my every-day low-end meter - I will measure again with a high-end Fluke to see if that is simply a measurement artifact.

    Thanks!

    Jeff

  7. #6
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    If you aren't concerned with dimming, why not use an 8ANS? They are ridiculously durable. In my experience, the 6NA is a finicky dimmer and unless you are truly driving an ELV transformer I would not recommend it. I second Mike's suggestion of a 6/10ND. If the light is truly a separate SL from the the fan motor with no intermediary circuitry, you should be fine. Look for any JA8 spec candelabra base lamp if you are dimming it and you will probably be fine dimming and humming wise, but don't expect much below 30%.

  8. #7
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    Mike, The three green LED lights at the bottom when you press the 6na indicate the dimmer is in safe or protect mode. Its not typically "death" for the dimmer. I have heard of people literally throwing them away, and I have seen you talking about the "three leds of death". If you hook up an incandescent load to the dimmer it will typically start working again. alternatively I found out by accident (lol, don't ask me how its embarrassing) if you put power to the neutral and neutral to the power with load disconnected it will also reset it and causes it to start working again.... although that is clearly not the preferred method. The 6na starts out in reverse phase phase (ELV) and waits for the driver (magnetic or elv) to respond if it gets a signal it associates with magnetic it automatically switches to forward phase. But certain drivers don't communicate their intentions well with the 6na and it locks up in safe mode. I typically will get it working again and then without any load connected, only power and neutral, use the software to force it into correct forward (magnetic) or reverse (ELV) phase and it starts working again. Only once could I not get the 6na out of safe mode. Thank you for your posts, I have learned a great deal from them, and hope this helps repay the favor.

  9. #8
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    Interesting Taylor. I will try your fixes next time. Why not. I have had maybe 5-6 6NA do the 3 LED dance. In the first few case nothing would fix it. Software, reseting, other loads. When your on a time time table to get the house on and you've "been through this before" you replace and move on. I want to throw in my resent experience and see what the group thinks. Job has two closets his and hers. His has 3 sets of tape lights edging the shelving on Mag Drivers. Hers has 6 of the same. All set to auto. One 6NA locked up and would not shut off in his. Replaced 6NA and put in forward. Locked up on site the day I did it. Put in auto and worked fine. A week later locked up. Replaced with 6ND. No problems so far. Only thing I could see was the cord pigtail they used was 2prong no polarity. Possibly plugged in backwards. But chances they all where plugged in correctly but this one are slim? I'm only programming job. Didn't do install and didn't take pics so no info on drivers. All nut 2 drivers are under drawers in the toe kick dead space. This one included. Bad driver?

  10. #9
    Interesting - I just had a similar experience with Kichler driver and tapelights the smallest load / shortest length kept giving me fits - like 12 other runs with 6na where fine, this one kept going into "Protect" Then I realized it ONLY happened when the dimmer went to 100% I played around with the "Highend Trim", dropped it to 60% and then it worked every time?

  11. #10
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    Shafer Another thing I will keep in my pocket for future. Again, I tend to get in the go mode to quick. Gota go get this done so I can go to the next job. GO GO GO. Good to be busy but sometimes skip ideas because of time issues.

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