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New Smart Dimmer Lights don't dim and have flickering issues

New Smart Dimmer Lights don't dim and have flickering issues

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  #1  
Old 01-03-21, 12:46 PM
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New Smart Dimmer Lights don't dim and have flickering issues

I'm starting to feel like Clark Griswold in Christmas Vacation and could use some help...

The short story is that I just installed a Kasa HS220 smart dimmer. For a while, it looked like it wouldn't dim, but it would turn on and off. However, if the TV which is on a separate circuit is turned on, the lights seem to dim, and there is intense flickering at every dimmer level but 100%.

The longer story I have a basement room with two fluorescent light fixtures (4 tubes each). There are two 3-way switches on either side of the room. I replaced the 4 tubes in each fixture with 2 Toggled dimmable LED tubes. These wire direct to the AC line. That worked great, as expected. Next, I eliminated one of the 3-way switches (I know that the HS220 is *not* compatible with 3-way). 120V was now going direct to the other switch, now effectively a single-pole switch. After this, I hooked up the HS220 to replace the other switch. This switch is in a two-gang box, and the other switch in the box is on a different circuit (let's call it Circuit B). I had been certain that I was getting line/load/neutral for the HS220 all from the original Circuit A.

I ran through the full setup on the Kasa app. Adjusted dimming values. However, the switch wouldn't dim the lights. To test, I swapped the HS220 with a Lutron Skylark dimmer I have in another room which also uses Toggled tubes and already works great. With both devices swapped and wired up, they both worked great, completely as expected. I swapped back to the desired configuration being sure to use the exact same wiring.

However, I went to watch TV. The TV is on Circuit B. As soon as it is turned on, the lights connected to the HS220 (which is on Circuit A) flickered briefly. Huh. I tried dimming, and sure enough they actually dimmed. Except anything below 100% resulted in some pretty intense flickering from the lights. When I turned off the TV, the lights went back to full power. I'll also add that I can take the dimmer down to 1% and the lights are still at full power. There are several other AV/ethernet and lighting appliances plugged into Circuit B, but only the TV affects the lights. Everything on Circuit B works as I would expect it to.

I've attached the wiring diagram for this circuit.

I tried disconnecting sections to see if that ruled anything out. When I have the second light bank removed from the circuit (dashed brown line), light bank 1 acts as expected it turns off and on and dims. There is no interference from the TV being on.

I don't know what voodoo is going on in my basement or where wires are crossed (possibly literally!). Does anyone here have advice for how to proceed? Thanks!




 
  #2  
Old 01-03-21, 12:54 PM
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Does you diagram show that the original switch only had a black and white connected to it? If so the white is not a neutral.
 
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Old 01-03-21, 01:06 PM
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Thanks for the quick reply. The original switch (that was replaced by the smart dimmer) had 4 wires black, white, red, and ground. Here's the shot before I started changing everything (well almost. looks like I got the black wire disconnected)


 
  #4  
Old 01-03-21, 02:51 PM
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pcboss got it right. The 3 wires connected to the old switch were for a 3-way switch.

You'll either have to install the dimmer at the other switch location, which will require some reconnecting of wires to turn the 3-way into a standard 2-way. Otherwise, you'll have to do some reconnecting of wires to make this location the main switch.

Or get a smart switch that can function as part of a 3-way setup.

If you pull out the other switch and take a similar picture, we can help with how best to wire it up.
 
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Old 01-03-21, 03:30 PM
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Sorry, either I didn't clarify, or I'm not quite understanding. This had been a room with two switches (3-way). One of the switches had been at the box labeled 'old switch'. The other was at the location labeled 'HS220'. At the 'old switch' location, there is no longer a switch. I thought I had rewired it in such a way that made the HS220 location the only switch on the circuit. The circuit diagram reflects what I currently have.

Here are the wiring changes I made at the 'old switch box':
1. White leading to 'HS220' switch location had been connected to the black wire going to lights. White is now connected the big bundle of white neutral wires in the box.
2. Black leading to HS220 location had been a traveler on the 3-way switch. Now it is connected to the live line.
3. Red leading to HS220 location had been a traveler on the 3-way switch. Now it is connected to the black wire that goes to the lights.
4. Black/line that was going to the switch is tied to the black wire as described in #2.

This looked like the right way to remove a switch from a 3-way circuit. If I did something wrong or need to adjust anything, please let me know. Here's a shot of the switch before I removed it and changed the wiring. If you want to see what it looks like now, I can get a pic of that too. Thanks!

 

Last edited by stonesif; 01-03-21 at 03:32 PM. Reason: Numbered list formatting issues.
  #6  
Old 01-03-21, 04:42 PM
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Your diagram or labeling of the switch is incorrect.
You can't have the light (which is switched) and a receptacle(which is always live) on the same common screw of the switch. Is this location where the dimmer is going ?


With three wires between the switches.... you can put the dimmer at either end but how you make up the splices is important.
 
  #7  
Old 01-03-21, 06:50 PM
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Thanks. This picture is not where the new switch is going. At this box, I'm just going to have a blank plate, as I got rid of the switch that had been here. As for the outlet For some reason, the previous owners of the house did actually have that outlet tied to the switch. So whatever was plugged in there would only work when the lights were on. I don't see a use for that, and so have tied the outlet direct, bypassing the switch.

Here's a new picture for you. This is the same box as the last picture I posted, just with the modifications I've made. Hopefully that helps this to make more sense. Does this look properly wired to you?

In case it got lost in the original post, the new smart switch does work fine if I remove the second set of lights from the circuit. It's when they're connected that I get these weird problems...


 
  #8  
Old 01-03-21, 06:56 PM
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That wiring is correct.

LED's operate erratically in a circuit like that. Just having the always live black in close proximity to the switched red can supply enough induced voltage to make the lights work even when the switch is off. More and more LED bulbs are coming out with included snubbers to reduce that issue.
 
  #9  
Old 01-03-21, 08:35 PM
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The white that was on the switch was not a neutral. It sounds like you have now spliced it into a bundle of neutrals. Can you confirm?
 
  #10  
Old 01-04-21, 02:33 PM
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Confirming, yes, the white is spliced in with the bundle of neutrals.
 
  #11  
Old 01-04-21, 02:37 PM
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If this helps, I did some more testing...

If I remove either of the light banks from the circuit, the switch works just fine. It dims, it turns the light on and off. However, it's when they're both wired into the circuit that I have problems...
 
 

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