Sparking/Arcing sound from X10 (Appliance) Light Switch

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So I am in the process of getting one of the rooms in my house re-plasterd after it had damp remedial work done to it.

Today I took down the existing light fitting that was in the room (was a wooden based 3 x ses swivel light with 3 x 5w SES LED candle bulbs) and I replaced it with a normal BC type pendant in preparation for the plasterer.

When I put in a 20W CFL bulb and switched the power on, at first everything was fine but then after about a minute my X10 appliance switch (AW10U) started to make a arcing/crackling sound and the light in the room started to flicker.

First tried switching the power off and back on via the MCB for the RCD protected circuit, followed by trying a 5w LED bulb; but did no good. In the end the X10 switch (AW10U) died and the light would not switch on. (Although the red led on the X10 switch still switched on and off.)

In the end I ended up replacing the X10 switch for a normal light switch, where all seems OK for now. It is also to note that the pendant I used was a old one that I recovered from my grandparents when I fitted a light for them and consequently has been sitting in my garden shed for about 6 months.


Anyway, should I be concerned? Needs further investigation for sure I know, just wondering if it was the pendant what caused the X10 switch to fail or if it was just a coincidence with the unreliable and unpredictable nature of X10 devices.

Regards: Elliott
 
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It sounds like a loose connection. Maybe in the process of replacing the switch you have made good the loose connection.

Was the lamp in your temporary pendant a higher rating than the existing LEDs?
 
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By pendant do you mean the type with a ceiling rose, I have known them when damp (possibly from being in ther shed) to track across inside the plastic, worth doing a continuity check between L N E, though reading again sounds like the pendants ok now via a plate switch, failing that maybe your switch did not like the cfl lamp
 
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It sounds like a loose connection.

My first thought, but I tend to do screws up very tightly. I did have three days worth of a kango/jack-hammer taking of the old internal render in the room about 6 months ago, so maybe the vibration through the walls loosened the screws in the X10 light switch, although all has been good up till now though. Other than the switches and the light fittings, all other joints on the circuit are done in maintenance free JB's.

Was the lamp in your temporary pendant a higher rating than the existing LEDs?

Yes, but not by much. It is a 20W Philips CFL now vs. 3 x 5W LED's before.

I also took the X10 switch apart and their is a clear smell of burnt electronics inside. Plus look at the relay contacts in the photos below.

 
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By pendant do you mean the type with a ceiling rose

Yes. The pendant was inside though for about 20 minutes before I switched the power on, and although I did not see any condensation there might of been micro condensation in the ceiling rose that was not visible causing subsequent tracking. My initial worry was the dark colour/oxidation of the brass terminal connection blocks in the ceiling rose.

I have also just noticed a dry solder joint between the switched line out and the brass terminal block of the X10 switch, although that may have happened when taking the unit apart for inspection.
 
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crude attempt

That made me chuckle. Attempt! :)

X10 stuff has never been reliable in the long run, I have about half of my X10 automation stuff fail. I have had a couple of these over heat and melt around the fuse holder/line pin when they only had a 2Kw load applied to them. Also had them along with the similar lamp module version and other wall swicthes stop responding to X10 signals and only being able to be turned on/off by pressing the local button.

Since 2009, I have spent around £1000 on X10 automation.
 
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That X10 Plug In Module looks cheap and nasty! I would not be plugging that into anything, or anything into that.

So £500 worth of stuff has failed? That's a poor show
 
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So £500 worth of stuff has failed?

About £250 work has failed over the years.

From what I can recall, I have had:

  1. Two X10 Compatible Plug-in Appliance Modules severely overheat and the built-in fuse holder melt and the line pin becoming detached from the unit.
  2. About 2 or 3 Plug-in Appliance Modules stop responding to X10 signals sent to them, effectively becoming a non X10 controlled module.
  3. About 1 or 2 Plug-in lamp modules stop responding to X10 signals sent to them, effectively becoming a non X10 controlled module.
  4. Two RF Receiver modules fail and stop receiving X10 signals. One was this type what lasted about 3 years and the other was this type what only lasted a year.
  5. The one Wall Appliance switch recently fail. (aka This Thread)
  6. One of these fail (It was outside though!)
  7. One of these fail.

And for those interested, MY X10 order history:

 
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