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CF lights and home automation

At my session at the Mac OS X Conference, Chuq asked about using compact fluorescent lights with X10 modules. You see, while CF lights are great for saving energy, the ballasts used to ignite the light can throw X10 modules for a loop. Either they generate noise which prevents X10 signals from being properly sent or received, or the "jitter" created when the bulb is being lit confuses the module into thinking that you're controlling the light manually so the module immediately turns it back off.

It's a pretty common problem and really the only way to solve it is to find CF lights that are well-behaved. And since manufacturer's don't bother to test for X10 compatibility, you need to rely on the home automation community, or trial and error, to find out which models will work. The XTension user's discussion list has reports on both good and bad experiences with various brands, for example.

For my part, and as I emailed to Chuq after the conference, The Harmony Lightwiz CF lights work OK for me. I buy them from Silicon Valley Power. I only have a few in my house, but they've served me well for the past couple of years.

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