GE/Jasco 45602 Outlet Dimmer Module

I ordered a GE 45602 outlet dimmer module that’s working great with a single dimmable 11W Philips LED bulb.

There are however, big, bold warnings on the packaging and in the manual about not using this module with fluorescent lighting. “Plugging a non-resistive load such as fluorescent lighting or a device with a motor into the z-wave controlled outlet may result in damage to the lamp module and will void the warranty.” It makes no mention of LED bulbs, but I’m not sure if this is because the packaging was printed before LED bulbs became mainstream, or if they’re saying LED bulbs are ok.

I’d love for someone to break down why this works better than most z-wave dimmable wall switches (that require a minimum load of ~40W). And also, whether it’s safe/recommended to continue using this dimmer module with LED bulbs.

I can break it down for you… and it’s a pretty easy difference: Neutral wire.

Remember that a z-wave switch or module is an electronic device all it’s own. It has a wireless radio that always needs to be on in order for it to “hear” commands to turn on or off. Obviously in order to have an electrical device running it needs both positive and negative connections. The electricity has to “flow in” on the one side, and “flow out” on the other.

For z-wave dimmer switches that don’t have a neutral line (such as the GE/Jasco 45612), where does the power “flow out” too? Obviously coming in on the hot wire from the breaker box, but where does it go? It takes advantage of the fact that a Z-wave switch uses very, very little power. It “leaks” a small amount of juice down the wire through the lights and back to the breakers box. This is usually a small enough amount that it doesn’t light up incandescent bulbs or LEDs with you have a big enough load.

Now, you’re module, on the other hand, doesn’t have this problem. It has hot and neutral contacts in the outlet that it is plugged into. It doesn’t have to leak any power through the lamp circuit cause it can just send to the outlet directly. It has, essentially, two circuits built inside of it. The one, which runs the module itself, is always connected, always using a little power. The second circuit is the one that sends power to the light and is either turned on or off by the switch. Because there’s no “leak” of power through the light circuit there’s no “minimum wattage” to prevent the lights from turning on.

Now, is it safe/recommended? I have heard at least somewhere that you shouldn’t use ordinary LEDs with a dimmer switch but instead should look for LEDs that are specifically “dimmable.” That said, I’ve been using LEDs for months and months with Z-wave dimmers (one that has a neutral, and one that doesn’t) and I’ve had no problems with the LEDs or the switches.

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Awesome, that was super helpful. Thank you. I figured wall module was less flaky due to the fact that it’s always powered by the outlet, I just wanted some validation on that thought.