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Thread: PD-5NE Caseta Electronic Low Voltage ELV Dimmer periodically shuts off

  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2018

    PD-5NE Caseta Electronic Low Voltage ELV Dimmer periodically shuts off

    Hi All,

    I had a LUTRON PD-6WCL Caseta Wireless Dimmer (no neutral wire required) installed in my kitchen with a 12V track light with 6 halogen bulbs (small GU8.5 / MR16 indoor flood bulbs). It worked fine although there is a slight buzz from the lights (and I also swear they don't get as bright with the dimmer as they did with the old switch). I didn't realize until a few months later when a bulb burned out that this was a low-voltage fixture.

    While planning to upgrade some other switches in the house, I learned about the availability of the ELV dimmer and thought the PD-5NE would eliminate the buzz. The house is 100 years old and the wiring to the kitchen light is very outdated (not even romex), but the switch happens to be in a 2-gang box that contains wiring for a disconnected outlet, so there is an available neutral wire.

    I wired up the new PD-5NE ELV dimmer and it started up fine; the lights even appeared to be back to their full brightness and there we no audible buzz. However, as they warmed up, they would start to flicker and then ultimately periodically shut off and then come back on again repetitively. I wouldn't call it a flicker so much as a very slow strobe; off for a second or two, and then on for about 5-10 seconds or so.

    I switched the phase to MLV and things were much worse, so I reverted back to ELV.

    I read about interference from a neutral line that may overload the dimmer and trigger it to shut off, and I'm wondering if that is what was happening here. I've decided to revert back to the original switch; I don't trust my neutral line and I think ultimately I'd rather replace the cheap track lighting with something that is not 12V.

    Before I send the ELV dimmer back, I'm wondering if there is any chance that compatible MR16 LEDs would resolve the issues (the buzz, flickering, and shut-offs), or if the more likely culprit is not the halogen bulbs but rather this rogue neutral hookup.

    Appreciate any additional insight!

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Most dimmers have a default high-end trim. It is usually around 10%. You should see a slight dimming when

    Some transformers are not dimmable. Depending on the age of the transformer it may not be compatible with the electronic dimmers. This is often indicated by the pop-on/off you are seeing. Also, LEDs require a driver. I have never gotten a MR16 LED to work with a straight transformer (MLV or ELV).
    LED, Incorporated
    Raleigh, NC 27614

  3. #3
    Authorized Lutron Contributor
    Join Date
    May 2013
    We've found that MR16 LEDs are difficult to dim properly.

    Here is Lutron's App Note #559 on dimming MR16 LEDs:
    Page 2 shows the ELV transformers that would have to be connected to the LED, and the dimmers that can control those transformers. Page 3 shows the compatible MR16 LED bulbs.

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2013

    OP references Halogen Lamps

    If you're having trouble with halogen lamps then I'd expect as much trouble with LED lamps.
    It's very possible the original transformers are non-dimming type.
    Based on the age of the wiring and difficulty with multiple dimmer types I'd recommend getting an electrician to evaluate your particular situation.

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