Lamp vs. Appliance Modules

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This page discusses the two classes of modules that switch the power to your device, and when and when not to use each. This choice is one of the easiest choices you will make when choosing components for an X10 system.

Lamp modules should ONLY be used for incandescent lamps

X10 lamp modules include elctronic dimmers. This alters the A/C waveform for the power sent to the device, making them incompatible with appliances and most flourescent and compact flourescent lights. Even if you plan to use the module only in its "entirely on" (100%) or "entirely off" (0%) state, minor changes to the waveform can damage flourescent lights, flourscent light ballasts, and appliances. If you are using a lamp module on an incandescent light and later replace the light in the lamp with a compact flourescent, you will need to remove the lamp module and replace it with an appliance module.

Note that there are some flourescent lights specifically designed for use with electronic dimmers, and these lights might be compatible with X10 lamp modules, but you should contact the manufacturer to ensure compatibility with specific types of dimming circuits found in lamp modules, as some dimmable floursecents require special circuits unique to the bulb. A dimmable flourcents would be clearly marked as dimmable. If it is not marked as such, assume that it is not dimmable and can not be used with a lamp module. If it is marked as dimmable, check the documentation with the bulb to see if it will work with the type of dimmer in your lamp module.

Appliance modules can be used with most devices

Appliance modules may be used with most devices that are safe for remote control. Do not use them for devices that present a fire hazard, such as toaster, or hair dryers, or anything that would cause a problem if it turned on when you were away from home. Do use these modules for appliances like radios, televisions, recirculating pumpsm and use them for flourescent lihgts. Appliance modules work using a relay to make the connection to power the attached device. Unlike lamp modules, you will hear a click when they turn on or off (some are louder than others - see the section of this site on appliance modules for a discussion of individual module types within this category).