Most of the lights in my house are LED lamps dimmed by incandescent-only dimmers. Since I think that ought to get fixed regardless, I’ve been swapping them out for the GE Smart Motion Dimmers as I can. While three of four have gone well, there’s one that has me stymied. Hoping someone can suggest a reasonable path forward.
We have a room with LED can lights throughout, divided into two halves, each controlled by its own dimmer. (I would have done them all together, but they didn’t ask me.) First half had all the appropriate wires in the box, installed the dimmer, and they work really well. However, it’s not oriented such that the motion detector on the switch can see motion in the room, only someone entering or exiting. The second dimmer is oriented so that the motion detector on it would see the entire room. I was planning to take @mlebaugh’s suggestion to disable the auto-off on the switch and instead set a WebCoRE rule to turn both off if neither motion sensor detected activity.
Here’s where I ran into problems: The dimmer box in question has no neutral. It only has hot, load, and ground. As part of some other electrical work, I asked an electrician about putting in a neutral; his feedback was that it would hard to fix but easy to work around – since ground and neutral are tied together at the box anyway, just use ground as the dimmer’s neutral and call it good.
So I tried installing it that way, and ran into another apparently-infamous problem: The lights aren’t actually “off” – they’re very dim. And when on, they… I can’t quite see them flicker, but I have the feeling they’re doing exactly that at very high frequency.
I wondered if the neutral was in fact the issue, so I opened up an outlet a few feet away and ran a wire off of it. (Can’t leave it that way, obviously, but just to test.) Same problem when the lights were “off”, but a new problem appeared – when I turned the dimmer “on,” the lights went up to full then immediately back to the same way they were at “off”.
At that point, I just put the old dimmer back in. I’ve since installed the same unit in a different room, where it’s working just fine, so that probably rules out a bad switch. But I’m not sure what’s wrong and what to pursue next. I could just stick a motion sensor on the ceiling, I suppose, but then I can only control the lights in half the room, which kind of defeats the purpose.