Lights on Dimmer

My front door outside lights are 2 ceiling can lights each with a dimmable LED light bulb installed. These lights are controlled by an INSTEON dimmer light switch. The lights are programmed to come at 50% power. When motion is detected at the front door, the lights power up to 100%. After 5 minutes, they go back down to 50%.

My Sense unit recognized the lights when they come on (50%) as “Device 5”. I can turn them on and off and watch Device 5 come and go from the Sense app. But, if Device 5 is on and the lights go up to 100% and then I turn them completely off, Device 5 still shows it’s on in the app. Or if I go from an off state to 100% power, it doesn’t recognize that as Device 5 either.

Is this expected behavior? If it is, then Sense is not useful for dimmable lights.

I’m guessing Sense is looking for an off-signature in the same power transition range as the on-signature, especially since the on to 50%, then off seems to be working. The 50% to 100% and back to 50% change is a different pair of on-off-signatures, that may eventually be found, depending on how often the matched pair occurs. But unmatched sets, where there are two on signatures (0-50% followed later by 50%-100%) the a single off, are probably problematic. But the dimmable part isn’t the issue - it’s the unmatched part in your application.

ps: If you were using a Hue hub, Sense would pick this up successfully via the Hue integration, but only because the Hue controller supplies Sense with actual bulb power readings, not just simple on/off/dimmer level data. And the Hue bulbs are all individually characterized for dimmer level vs power usage.

I don’t use a Hue hub. Thanks for the reply.

The fact that Sense is picking up 2 x LED bulbs at 50% is, based on my general understanding of how things are going with low-wattage detection, fairly impressive. I’ve got plenty of (non-HUE) LEDs that I don’t expect to be detected anytime soon because they are only 5-10W and manually operated.

In your case I wonder:

  • Is the dim cycle (50-100%) quite frequent? (I assume so given it’s motion activated)

  • Are the bulbs turned off, manually, very often? (I assume not so much. Less variability in switching is giving you better detection)

  • Are the bulbs in the larger (wattage) realm? (I assume so, and being on the same circuit means the wattage is above the lower detectable threshold)

  • And most importantly: Is your Sense detecting the bulbs 0-to-50% ramp (say 0-to-X watt ramp, and visa-versa) more easily than the 50-to-100% ramp (< X-to-2X ?) because of the larger absolute wattage change (in the 0-to-50% transition) … or is the ramping signature at play? The speed of the ramp might also have something to do with it.

As @kevin1 suggests, Sense may eventually pick up on the multiple signature pairs.

  • Is the dim cycle (50-100%) quite frequent? (I assume so given it’s motion activated) It’s actually not all that frequent as we don’t get many evening vistors.

  • Are the bulbs turned off, manually, very often? (I assume not so much. Less variability in switching is giving you better detection) No, not often. They come on and are turned off most of the time by an automation program.

  • Are the bulbs in the larger (wattage) realm? (I assume so, and being on the same circuit means the wattage is above the lower detectable threshold) **There are 2 fixtures controlled by the switch. At 50%, they consume 75W. **

  • And most importantly: Is your Sense detecting the bulbs 0-to-50% ramp (say 0-to-X watt ramp, and visa-versa) more easily than the 50-to-100% ramp (< X-to-2X ?) because of the larger absolute wattage change (in the 0-to-50% transition) … or is the ramping signature at play? The speed of the ramp might also have something to do with it. I believe the ramp signature must be at play. Sense recognizes 0-50% but does not recognize 0-100% or 50-100%.

Hmm, 2 LED bulbs are consuming that at 50%? Two possibilities:

  1. You have significantly greater than 37.5w bulbs?

  2. The Sense detected device isn’t actually showing you the signature from the bulbs alone.

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When you said that, it made me check and sure enough, the light bulbs were not LEDs. They were old normal bulbs. I replaced them with LED bulbs and deleted the device from Sense. I’ll wait for it to recognize them again. BTW, at 100%, they only use about 25W according to Sense app.

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That makes much more “Sense”…score one power saving discovery for your unit.

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