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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Experience can be a beyotch of a teacher sometimes...feel free to learn from my mistakes/pain, no charge.


Just in case anyone was wondering if they could achieve "off" using a Lutron Maestro RF2 dimmer (600W, but ganged with a second 1000W Maestro RF2) with 65' of Birddog LED rope light (blue, in my case), the answer is a big, fat NO.


Turning the dimmer to off doesn't turn the rope lights off, even though it's presenting probably about a 52 watt load, best guess (65' @ 0.8W/ft).


This SUCKS. I ordered 65' precisely because of the need to present a "big enough" load to achieve true off with this dimmer, based on feedback from others on this forum. I guess I guessed wrong here...

UPDATE: IT WORKS, YOU JUST NEED TO MAKE 100% SURE YOU HAVE THE RIGHT MODEL PICKED OUT AND THAT SAID MODEL'S LOWEST RANGE IS GREATER THAN THE LOAD PRESENTED BY YOUR ROPE LIGHT. IN MY CASE, THE MRF2-6ND-120-XX WORKED PERFECTLY, WHILE THE MRF2-600M-XX AND ITS ILK FAILED MISERABLY.
 

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Did you call Lutron Tech support about this? I can understand the LED not dimming but I never heard that the dimmer doesn't turn off. Also the Bird Dog website says to figure 5.5w per foot. What happens when you hook up a standard bulb to the dimmer?
 

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There can be trouble with triac based dimming or switching of some LED products which can lead to flickering, failure to turn completely off and possible failure of the LED. This includes the Lutron R4U module.
 

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is there a neutral in the box?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I'm not an electrician (the electrician wired in a simple switch, knowing that I would be replacing it with the Maestro that was on backorder), but it's a two gang box, with a neutral (ground wire, right?), with a Lutron MRF2-10D-120-WH (1000W dimmer) on the left linked to 10 x 45W halogen cans and a Lutron MRF2-600M-WH on the right linked (hardwired) to the Birddog LED rope light. Each dimmer is paired with its own Maestro MRF2-3BRL-L-BL (Pico) RF remote.


The cans operate as expected: fully dimmable, on/off, no issues.


The LED lighting not so much: definitely dimmable (no flickering), but it never fully turns off, and quite frankly still throws a decent amount of light when it's off. Per Birddog, this LED rope light is 0.8W/ft (their incandescent rope is 5.5W/ft).


I switched the hookups (putting the rope on the 1000W dimmer) and the same issue, but "off" was brighter. Cutting the rope from 65' down to 13' yielded similar results, but "off" was dimmer.


In the interest of netting a quick solution--having lights that won't turn off in a light-controlled room seems rather counter-productive--I have purchased traditional incandescent rope and plan to replace the LED rope. The original goal was semi-cool lighting without spending much coin; as life sometimes does, it threw me a curve ball.


Once the room is finished, I'll revisit this issue. Gracias.
 

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I bet with a little perseverence that you could come up with a solution for your special rope light. You gave up too quickly.



At the very least, you should have called Lutron Tech Support.


Edit - find out the specs on the LED driver, from Bird Dog, and then look at that Lutron LED website linked above by jcmitch.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by amillians /forum/post/18326654


but it's a two gang box, with a neutral (ground wire, .......and a Lutron MRF2-600M-WH on the right linked (hardwired) to the Birddog LED rope light...


Per Birddog, this LED rope light is 0.8W/ft (their incandescent rope is 5.5W/ft).

From those model #'s, it doesn't seem like you are using the neutral. The way standard Lutron dimmers work is that they bleed a small amount of current through the dimmer to provide power for the dimmer. The dimmer expects to "see" a resistive load on its load leg. It is not seeing this load, so it bleeds power until it does. So current is hitting your LED lights even when off. Since they use so little power, they come on.


You might want to try a MRF2-6ND-120-WH which is a dimmer with a neutral. This dimmer allows the power it needs to operate to bleed back through the neutral, and not to the load.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Well, another life lesson: Home Depot blue incandescent rope light is awful. It's aqua/teal, and doesn't put out near as much light as the Birddog LED rope. Hell, the LED rope puts out more light in the "off" position than the HD incandescent blue puts out at max. Back that goes...


Thanks everyone for the input/help/motivating words.



Birddog customer service wasn't much help. They were very puzzled.


I'll call Lutron tech support to see if a MRF2-6ND-120-WH would solve the issue (thanks herdfan!). Also, dimming might be over-rated, so maybe the Maestro MRF2-6ANS-WH switch is the answer.



Lesson learned: electricity is complicated. And expensive it seems. Looks like I'll be adding the MRF2-600M-WH to my Electronic Hall of Shame.
 

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Lutron will know more about the Bird Dog LED driver than Bird Dog.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Neurorad /forum/post/18330313


Lutron will know more about the Bird Dog LED driver than Bird Dog.

Unless Bird Dog or someone else has sent Lutron their unit for testing Lutron won't have a clue.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Neurorad /forum/post/18330313


Lutron will know more about the Bird Dog LED driver than Bird Dog.
Quote:
Originally Posted by duvetyne /forum/post/18330720


Is there a driver involved?

From looking at their website, these seem to be very similar to LED Christmas lights.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by herdfan /forum/post/18335365


From looking at their website, these seem to be very similar to LED Christmas lights.


That's what I'm seeing, a bunch of LEDs in series...no driver involved.
 

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LEDs are DC and all must have some kind of driver whether built into the fixture base, the cord or remotely located. With Christmas lights you can see the driver at the beginning of the run as either a small box or cylinder. With LED rope light the driver is in the cord seen as a small box or cylinder.
 

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Quote:
LEDs are DC and all must have some kind of driver whether built into the fixture base,

LEDs are diodes, no 'driver' is required.

Have a look at some xmas lights sometime, you'll see nothing but a bunch of lEDs in series, sometimes with a current limiting resistor, mostly without.

The xmas lights with the 'driver' are multifunction.
 

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 http://www.ledropelightsandmore.com/...tructions.html


There must be an "interface" between AC voltage and the DC LEDs. Many in the industry are calling this interface a driver whether or not is is just a rectifier. I have LED Christmas lighting of different brands and have installed LED rope and they all have a lump in the cable where the rectifier/driver is. I'm not an engineer but all of the googled information shows this to be true.


Not all interfaces like being connected to a triac dimmer or switch whether they appear to work well at first or not. I'm seeing LED failures when on triac based switches with a "sense" current flowing through the LED rope lights.


Even neutral wire dimmers still let some current flow when off. To have a complete "off" you have to pull out the air gap switch at the bottom of the Lutron dimmer.
 

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Quote:
There must be an "interface" between AC voltage and the DC LEDs.

There probably should be, but the thousands of xmas lights sold every year don't have any kind of interface, and the rope light in question doesn't either.

Quote:
I'm not an engineer but all of the googled information shows this to be true.

I am an engineer and practical experience show this not to be true at all. The "lump" in the cable could simply be a fuse.


two wire triac based dimmers have a leakage current though the load, this current powers the timing circuit in the dimmer.

Dimmers with a neutral connection don't have this leakage current.
 

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i had a similar problem with my lutron homeworks 4 setup when using led under counter lights. they were from home depot, and looked nice when on, but once off they would flicker every 5-10 seconds or so. i went back to the installer to see what was up and sure enough his demo room had crestron light modules with leds and the same thing happened. apparently, the lutron sends a very small voltage through the cable all the time to ping the keypads back and forth (or something along those lines), and would cause the led's to flicker when off. i ended up replacing them with small xenon's and they work perfectly. not the same cool light color, but they work and im happy at that.
 
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