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"Varilight" Dimmer Switches (IR, not X10)

 
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Andy



Joined: 29 Oct 2004
Posts: 51
Location: Nottinghamshire, UK

PostPosted: Wed Jun 29, 2005 7:56 am    Post subject: "Varilight" Dimmer Switches (IR, not X10) Reply with quote

I just got some room lighting working with dimmers, controlled by a JP1 remote, and I am posting my experiences here in case it helps anyone else (this wasn't the first solution I tried, but I wish it had been, it's so simple).

This is probably of UK interest only, as the items are 200-250V only, and in the normal UK plateswitch format (i.e. 85mm x 85mm).

The dimmerswitches are made by Varilight, and the cheapest place I found them in the UK is TLC-Direct.

The beauty of them is that they are capable of learning codes from your remote (so you don't need a JP1 remote, but of course you will need a button that is truly spare, or something else will get operated at the same time !). With a JP1 remote I constructed some codes that were unlike anything else I have, using the NEC1 protocol with a "Device Number" of 123, "Sub Device" of 12, "Parm" of 34.

The learning process is simple. They are touch-operated (for non-remote use). Just tap the touch button 6 times in quick sucession and it's in learning mode, now operate the remote control button you want to use, once again to confirm, and it's done.

The sensitivity is huge, which suits me, as I have them hidden on top of a cabinet, seeing only IR reflected from the ceiling. But they still work with the remote (6131) in another room, not necessarily pointed towards the doorway, which is a bit excessive, really.

In fact the sensitivity was a problem when programming them, as I had a notebook PC on at the same time. I had realised that it was learing the IR from the PC's IR port before I had a chance to press the remote control button. So I covered the PC's IR port with a book, but still there was enough IR escaping to foul up the learning process !

They come in 1 or 2 gang, a range of wattages from 250 to 600, many finishes aside from the "standard" white. There is a way of making them work in a two-way switch arrangement (not a true 2-way switch circuit, but using the same number of wires), which I haven't tried yet, but I'll report here when I have.

Best of all (for my application), they work well with transformers for low-voltage lighting ("dimmable" electronic transformers, that is). The majority of dimmerswitches currently available still seem to exclude this application.

Operation is like other touch-control dimmers, in that a brief press toggles on or off, a longer press ramps the brightness up and down. Herein lies the only change I could wish for - if it used separate buttons for on, off and brightness, then it would be amenable to control by a timer-controlled remote for security lighting (without a danger of getting out of step). But that's a vain hope, it almost certainly uses the Siemens SLB0587 chip, the single-input operation of which is an obvious choice for the touch-button operation.
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The Robman
Site Owner


Joined: 01 Aug 2003
Posts: 17902
Location: Chicago, IL

PostPosted: Wed Jun 29, 2005 11:01 am    Post subject: Re: "Varilight" Dimmer Switches (IR, not X10) Reply with quote

Andy wrote:
With a JP1 remote I constructed some codes that were unlike anything else I have, using the NEC1 protocol with a "Device Number" of 123, "Sub Device" of 12, "Parm" of 34.

I'm guessing that you just made up the '34' parm value, but you might be interested to know what that value will actually do, just in case you encounter some strange results that you don't understand.

Hex code '34' means that the following bits are set: 2, 4 and 5

When bit2 and bit5 are set, it invokes some special handling for the RECORD button. The executor will toggle bit7 of both the device code and the sub-device code when the RECORD button is pressed.

When bit5 is set, it means that there are two device codes (ie, the main and the sub device codes), which is what you wanted, so that's OK.

With bit4 set and bit0 clear, you will get an NECx1 signal, rather than an NEC1 signal.
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www.hifi-remote.com
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Andy



Joined: 29 Oct 2004
Posts: 51
Location: Nottinghamshire, UK

PostPosted: Thu Jun 30, 2005 4:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, these were just numbers plucked from the air. Lucky I didn't want to put my lights on the record button !
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PushTheButton



Joined: 18 Jan 2006
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2006 12:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is a fairly old topic but I've also got some Varilight dimmers.

I've also got a Varilight remote for controlling up to 8 of these lights. If you don't learn a signal then these dimmers use a default ir code. The default is "Button1".

Protocol: RC-5
Device: 29

Button1: EFC=205
Button2: EFC=109
Button3: EFC=141
Button4: EFC=045
Button5: EFC=077
Button6: EFC=237
Button7: EFC=013
Button8: EFC=172

Cheers - John
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The Robman
Site Owner


Joined: 01 Aug 2003
Posts: 17902
Location: Chicago, IL

PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2006 1:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for those codes John, I have created an upgrade based on them. If you get a chance, could you test it please:

http://www.hifi-remote.com/forums/dload.php?action=file&file_id=2718
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Rob
www.hifi-remote.com
Please don't PM me with remote questions, post them in the forums so all the experts can help!
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PushTheButton



Joined: 18 Jan 2006
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2006 1:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That works, it's pretty much a copy of the setup I've done myself. I'll post an upgrade to the files section in future.

Btw thanks for all the great work put by yourself et al.
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