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I installed this switch, to an existing 3 way switch setup that worked just fine (no dimming present). I wanted the automation, thus the programmable switch.

This is setup on outside lights for the garage and porch. The porch has a CFL, and on the side of the garage door (3 of these LED's on each side).

The very strange thing is, the switch works like it should, both lights turn on, BUT when I turn the switch off (on either wall switch) the LED's just dim, they don't turn all the way off - see pics. What would cause this?

Wall switch is OFF Switch OFF

Wall switch is ON Switch ON

  • Can you post photos of the wiring in the switch boxes? – ThreePhaseEel Mar 11 '17 at 18:02
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    Right on the Amazon web page that you linked to is explicitly says: "For use with incandescent and halogen lights up to 500 W, not compatible with compact flourescents". So why are you trying to use the switch outside its usage envelope? BTW the behavior you are seeing is exactly the reason that the product carries the above usage statement. Closely related is the reason the product is also specified of a "40 watts minimum" of such type loads. – Michael Karas Mar 11 '17 at 18:21
  • This is true, however the lights are fully functional as the full load is at least 40 watts, that's the important piece. It still doesn't explain why they are remaining dimly lit. It's on their website that it will work with LED's as well. – hwp08 Mar 11 '17 at 18:36
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The switch specification calls for a minimum load of 40 watts (see page 2 of this). Apparently it does not draw power for itself directly from the source, but relies on current flowing through it to power the electronics.

This review expresses one user's frustration with trying to use it with LED lights.

Alas, the solutions are not wonderful:

  • Add an incandescent or halogen bulb to the circuit, or
  • Replace the switch with one rated for 0 watts minimum.

An incandescent will shunt most of the current when the switch is "off" so that the other bulbs will be dark without the incandescent being visibly "on".

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This control is not listed for use with LEDs or CFLs, only incandescent/halogen. That means it's not designed nor certified for that use. It is illegal to use an electrical device contrary to its listing. Consult with the manufacturer (they're easier to reach than you think) and get their advice, perhaps they have expanded their listing to include certain CFL or LED.

Other than carefully engineered exceptions, it generally works like this

  • smart device or dimmer does not require a netural wire
  • smart device or dimmer supports modern bulbs

Choose one.

The reason is that any snart device is, itself, a machine requiring power to operate itself. The ones that don't need a neutral wire are relying on a trick of leaking power through the load, and incandescents have a peculiar property which makes that trick work. it is a random side effect of how incandescents work, it was not engineered into them.

  • Thanks Harper, see this page here, about halfway down, Honeywell states that if the wattage is met, it will work with LED's, so perhaps their packaging is out of date. Thanks for the info about the 'leakage', i didn't realize that's how it works. So is there any risk of damage to the LED's to simply be dimmed when the switch is off? – hwp08 Mar 11 '17 at 21:23
  • Damage or short life. LEDs have switching power supplies, and if you reduce the available voltage they'll increase their current draw to compensate. They treat dimming as defective power, and compensate for it. Dimmable LEDs also look at the power waveform and try to guess the intended dim level, then dim in their own way. They are interpreting the leakage current as a command to be dim. The upshot is timer and dimmer are trying to use leakage current for 2 incompatible purposes, with unpredictable results. Switch one bulb to incandescent/halogen, that may give it the needed current flow. – Harper - Reinstate Monica Mar 11 '17 at 22:35

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