Using a 3-way X10 Wall Switch As a 2-way Switch

The pushbutton on the X10 wall switch controlling the fiercely incandescent lamp over the kitchen table has gotten erratic, so I dug into the Big Box o’ X10 Crap for a replacement. Turns out The Box has only 3-way switches, but the lamp needs a standard two-wire switch.

The instruction sheet shows this diagram:

X10 3-way Wall Switch Wiring
X10 3-way Wall Switch Wiring

The pushbutton on the CS277 “Companion” switch connects the red lead to the two blue leads. The blue leads are always connected together and carry the lamp current, so the red lead is just a signal from the remote button.

The WS477 “Master” switch will work as an ordinary switch if you cap the red lead with a wire nut and tuck it into the box.


6 thoughts on “Using a 3-way X10 Wall Switch As a 2-way Switch

  1. Ah yes, good ole X10. Will there ever be anything as affordable but more reliable?

    1. more reliable?

      Well, anything else would be more reliable, but that’s not saying much.

      The kitchen light circuit has real problems: when the light over the table turns itself off, the other switches may or may not be controllable. That’s the third switch I’ve had there over the years, so it must be noise.

      I’m thinking of conjuring up a “radio receiver” for the 100 kHz band to watch what’s happening, as I’d rather not plug the spectrum analyzer directly into the AC line. [grin]

  2. “Big Box o’ X10 Crap” LOL — I have one in my basement.

  3. Have you tried an AM radio as a noise detector? I had a power-fail light with a charging circuit that would kill AM reception all throughout the barn/shop, no matter what circuits the lamp and radio were on. Should be enough harmonics to get to somewhere on the AM band. I have 200A service for the barn. Comes in handy. [grin]

    On another note:

    fiercely incandescent lamp

    Not sure how well they play with X10, but what about trying an LED lamp in that fixture? The new ones are dimmable, and the “40W” bulb from Costco (FEIT Electric Conserve-Energy) says they are 500 lumen. In a lot of applications, they seem to be brighter than the nominal 900 lumen “60W” 13W CFLs. We keep our house at 62F at the thermostat at night, and it gets several degrees colder than that in other rooms. Just switched the front porch light to LED; it’s nice having light immediately. At 0C and below, a CFL was about like starting a Coleman lantern…

    Last LED thread, I said we had been using a Cree bulb for a few years. Wrong, it was a FEIT. The 7.5W bulb is happy in a small porch fixture–the envelope stays cool, while the base gets warm, but not horribly.

    We’re now using a mix of 7.5W LEDs in the more difficult fixtures (dining room, pantry and bedrooms) and using the lifetime supply of CFLs in easier-to-swap areas, like the 3-bulb fixtures in the kitchen. FWIW, Costco has a 9.5W “60W” bulb, but it’s heavy. Cree has one that’s seems to be identical to their 7.5W. We’re using the Costcos as reading lamps; haven’t tried the brighter Cree. Costco has the 7.5W bulbs in 3-packs for about $10. The Cree 9.5W is about $7 or $8. I think the Cree 7.5W is about $6 right now. If I do lighting in the garage (it’s unpowered), I’ll use LEDs.

    1. an AM radio as a noise detector

      Good idea!

      On a quick check, even when those switches don’t work, there’s not much noise. It seems to increase from 1000 kHz up through 1600 and doesn’t come from anything I was willing to turn off during a quick check.

      Much to my surprise, however, the four-tube fluorescent fixture over the “work area” of the kitchen does interfere with the switches, without raising the AM noise floor. It’s not definitive, because turning the fixture on doesn’t kill them dead, but maybe it just produces enough noise to push them over the edge.

      Obviously, I need a software defined radio with decent LF-band reception…

      an LED lamp in that fixture

      It uses a tubular 150 W halogen bulb, of the sort commonly found in old-skool torchier curtain-burner lamps, so an LED retrofit isn’t in the cards. Lovely reading light on the table, murder on flying bugs, and not much to recommend from an energy saving standpoint… [grin]

      1. I suppose the newer fluorescent ballasts put out a fair amount of RF hash. Something to be said for iron-age ballasts, if you could get the starters…

        I have one of those dual-head halogen worklights. Lost one lens while it was lighting the 3/4″ plate I was flame-cutting, but the other side is “safe”. I noticed it’s still in the habit of letting the filament get so hot it sags enough to contact the quartz(?) envelope and develop a huge bubble. Converting that worklight to use four or so CFLs is on my round-tuit list.

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