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Thread: Trouble with PD-5NE-BL

  1. #1
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    Trouble with PD-5NE-BL

    I've been trying to replace an existing Lutron Diva MLV dimmer with a new PD-5NE-BL Caseta ELV/MLV dimmer with no luck. I'm almost certain the Caseta dimmer is faulty.

    My setup:
    - 9x Phillips LED bulbs, 6.5W/12V/800mA bulbs wired in parallel. Model 454546
    - In the box, hot, load, ground and neutral.
    - Single pole (e.g. not 3-way)
    - Existing dimmer is a DVLV-600P

    Symptoms:
    - The LED on the dimmer scans up and down (moving from the top to the bottom of the dimmer). Load lights don't work
    - Eventually, the first and middle LEDs on the dimmer blink rapidly, implying a neutral wire fault (see my notes above).

    Things I've tried:
    - Triple checked that I have the neutral wire connected correctly (which I know is live because another switch in the same box is connected to it)
    - Triple checked that I have my load and hot wires connected correctly, including ensuring that I haven't swapped them (tried swapping them, dimmer doesn't come up as expected).
    - Switching between MLV and ELV modes via using the FOSS switch, including remember to save the settings
    - Factory resetting the dimmer, including before doing any flip of the FOSS switch or doing any other messing around

  2. #2
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    Also as a note, I know my load isn't messed up as I re-installed the old Diva dimmer and things work again

  3. #3
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    The issue isn't the dimmer or the bulbs. It is the transformer. LEDs make a lot of noise that will make a lot of noise and drive electronic dimmers like Caseta and Mestro to do strange things like cycle the LEDs. More so when used with magnetic transformers. Even more so when used with older magnetic transformers. Newer transformers are designed to filter the noise and prevent it from getting back to the dimmer.

    The Diva dimmer is mostly mechanical so the noise won't affect it as much.
    LED, Incorporated
    Raleigh, NC 27614

  4. #4
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    Hmm, is there any option other than digging up wherever the transformer is buried in the wall and replacing it?

    Also I can't imagine the transformer is particularly old. My home was completely remodeled in 2005 and I believe that's when the new lights were installed.

    Also, I've installed PD-5NE for a similar setup in my Master bedroom that also has LEDs backed by an MLV transformer without problem so I'm a bit skeptical that it's the transformer.

    Is there any official documentation on the LED cycling behavior?

  5. #5
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    You are not alone. I am having the exact same problem on my install. In order to remove the issue of the LED MLV transformer, I did a test install in a location that has 6 recessed LED lights in it and I had the exact same issue. The switch turns on and off at will and sometimes I get the blinky top and middle LEDs on the switch. I've tried three different switches and all three switches were purchased from Amazon so i'm not sure if they have a bad batch or counterfeit switches. I find it incredibly unlikely that I was unlucky enough to get three faulty switches. I have Lutron sending me one directly and we'll see if it has the same issue.

    This definitely acts like a noise issue but that is ridiculous. This is house wiring - there's always noise and crap on the line so i cannot believe Lutron would not include a sufficient filter in this design. Let's face it, if Lutron didn't include a sufficient low-pass filter to block out the AC noise, then why the hell are these switches $99? If noise is creating these problems then this is a poorly designed switch.

  6. #6
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    Just a quick update. I replaced the previous switch with a PD-10NXD-WH from Amazon. That worked without a problem. Dimming works fine, no buzzing either.

    So I either had a bad unit or PD-5NE-BL has poor filtering for LEDs.

  7. #7
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    Glad you got it to work as I'm about ready to throw Caseta out and try some other solution. Did your bulbs require an MLV dimming?

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Rowland View Post
    Glad you got it to work as I'm about ready to throw Caseta out and try some other solution. Did your bulbs require an MLV dimming?
    Dan,
    Not sure if I followed your question, but my Bulbs are LEDs (model number above) but I have an MLV transformer which is compatible to it. I have the Phase set to MLV on my Caseta dimmer.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by tise7 View Post
    Dan,
    Not sure if I followed your question, but my Bulbs are LEDs (model number above) but I have an MLV transformer which is compatible to it. I have the Phase set to MLV on my Caseta dimmer.
    No worries. I spoke with Lutron support and that switch does MLV but not ELV.

    Also, did you happen to buy your original PD-5NE off of Amazon? I bought three of them and they all were bad. I hooked up one that Lutron shipped directly as an RMA and it worked perfectly. Easy install like I've come to expect from the Caseta products. I think the batch of PD-5NE's that Amazon has are from a bad lot or something.

  10. #10
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    Magnetic transformer experience

    I recently installed 32 of these PD-5NE dimmers in my house as part of an all-Caseta makeover. Two of the 32 circuits had magnetic transformers (one 10 years old and one brand new) and I experienced exactly this failure on both circuits. Thinking I maybe had DOA dimmers, I tried a second dimmer on one of the circuits and it worked. Emboldened, I tried a second dimmer on the other circuit but it failed. I'm not sure if I did anything differently when swapping in those second dimmers but I think I may have been quicker to set the dimmer phase to the MLV setting on the one that worked. Anyway, now I had 3 dead dimmers. I contacted Lutron customer support (chat) and they recommended PD-10NXD for use with magnetic transformers. I have standardized on all-PD5NE's which match the user-experience of the Pico's so I asked to speak with someone who could explain why the PD-5NE's weren't working, since all the chat agent could suggest was looking at Lutron's LED compatibility website (which offered no insight). They referred me to Technical Support. I don't recall if I even tried to engage with them about the transformer issue but they readily agreed to a warranty replacement of the 3 dead dimmers. When I got the replacements, I swapped one onto the circuit with the magnetic dimmer and quickly set its phase and it worked. At that point, I was all set and started integrating the bridges with my two SmartThings hubs.

    I discovered, belatedly, that Lutron's integration with SmartThings only supports one hub (sigh) so I wound up swapping my hubs for the PRO models and going down the path of a custom integration that supports multiple hubs. In the course of doing that, I had to delete devices from one hub and re-install them on the new one. That action was straightforward for everything except the one dimmer still on a magnetic transformer. Perhaps in the course of deleting and re-installing it, it forgot what phase it was supposed to be on because I found it failed in the same way again. Rather than hassle with this further, I'll replace the magnetic transformer with an ELV one so I can get off this crazy merry-go-round.

    I think Lutron should update its product materials to indicate that PD-5NE is not suitable for use with magnetic transformers, despite its phase-settability.

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