Thats awesome, with the X10 which light module do you use? The LM12? It says it can't be used with fluorescents...not sure which module I should get if I go in for the x10...
I just thought to look up your AC power details, and it appears Australia has 240V/50hz power compared to US 120V/60hz. All details that follow are for US versions, you'll need to look up appropriate equivalents. I do at least know that there are X10 device versions manufactured specifically for Australia.
Here's a quick primer on basic modules.
Appliance Modules - Use a mechanical relay for simple on/off control. Cannot dim. Works with anything. Comes in two-prong and three-prong (grounded) versions. Relay produces a noticeable "pop" sound when switching.
Lamp Modules - Uses a solid-state switch (triac). Recommended for incandescent lamps, and will turn them on/off and dim. Always two-prong. If you can insure the dimming function will never be used, it often does work for simple on/off control of other things like fluorescents, and has the advantage of no "pop" sound. Attempting to dim something that was never intended to be dimmed (like standard fluorescents) may work poorly, not at all, or possibly damage something.
LM12 is one lamp module, but there are also clones made by other manufacturers; usually with different letters but the same numbers. All are referred to as X10 lamp modules, and work interchangeably and equally. Same deal with the appliance modules and CM11A, just buy whichever manufacturer's version is cheapest. Again, you'll need Aussie equivalents, and I don't know specific model numbers.
The ballast I got is the Lutron ECO-T5H39-120-2
. I got this on Ebay for $30 USD including shipping. I don't see that Lutron has a 240V/50hz equivalent, but hopefully there are similar devices available from other manufacturers, available at similar discounts. It has three inputs, and it's this control scheme that appears to make X10 dimming control possible:
Neutral - Goes to the "neutral" AC wire.
Switched Hot - Goes to the "hot" AC wire, and is used to turn the ballast on and off. I think it's called "active" for you.
Dimmed Hot - This is the dimming control wire, and it goes to the hot output of a lamp module.
IMPORTANT - not all dimming ballasts share this control scheme! Some require proprietary controllers, stay away from these. Others require a variable DC voltage as a control; these might still be interfaceable to an X10 lamp module with some cleverness or a little electronics.
Now here's what I don't yet know, and can't test until I actually get my parts and get started:
1) If, by cutting power completely on Dimmed Hot, it will shut off the ballast, or just reduce power output to its minimum of 10%. If the latter, I will also need an appliance module on Switched Hot; no big deal.
2) If the X10 lamp module achieves dimming by switching hot, or by switching neutral. If it's the latter, I may have break out the soldering iron and make a converter. (It's possible my result here doesn't apply to Aussie X10 equivalents.)
Hope that helps. I'll answer additional questions to the best of my ability.
PS - I did also consider DIY LED lighting. The deal-breaker for me was that after spending a lot of money and time designing and assembling a LED fixture, somewhere down the road I will probably want to change the color spectrum. For fluorescents, it's as simple as changing bulbs. Replacing LEDs is more difficult and expensive, and may require driver changes too. Or I could add individually colored LEDs to boost color(s), or use RGB LEDs; but both of these require more money, time, and complexity. And then I might have to contend with proper light blending and multi-colored shadows, and have to use light diffusers which are lossy and would decrease the efficiency and directionality advantages of LEDs. It's just too much trouble for my 46g, though I would still consider taking on the challenge of building a full-on RGB LED light for a 10g or smaller.