CFL's (Dimmable)

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Old 01-13-08, 08:42 AM
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CFL's (Dimmable)

I've replaced nearly every incandescent bulb in my home with CFL's but I have two rooms that require dimmable CFL's, plus two outdoor fixtures with dusk to dawn sensors that also require dimmable CFL's to operate properly.

I purchased these from ebay:
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll..._promot_widget
They work fine on the outside fixtures and also on the indoor dimmers except that the dimmers are killing them.

The bulbs came in a package of 12; two bulbs went outside, two inside. With-in about a two month period, I've replaced the other 8 bulbs on the two rooms with the dimmers. Luckily, they weren't very expensive.

So, I go to ACE Hardware and buy two GE Brand Dimmable CFL's figuring they're a brand name and will work like a charm. Man, was I wrong; they hardly dim (maybe 5% to 10%) and then just cut out about a quarter of the way through the dimmer range. They weren't cheap either, each bulb cost $12. The cheapies dimmed perfectly through the whole range of the dimmer dimmer switch; they just didn't last very long!!!!

Any suggestions on a high quality, dimmable CFL that won't burn out after a week and will dim through the whole range of the dimmer switch?
Thanks,
Phil
 
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Old 01-13-08, 11:48 AM
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Most of the motion sensor or photocell lights say no to use with CFLs or dimmers in their installation instructions.

IIRC, it is something about leaking a small amount of current thru the bulb burns them out.
 
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Old 01-13-08, 02:37 PM
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I tried dimmable CFLs a year or two ago and got similar results: Poor range, not enough lumens, premature failure. I got one replaced on warranty and when the second went I just all of that size and put in a new fixture. I do have a different design dimmable CFL on a dimmer switch but it has never shown any sign that it dims at all. You flip the switch all the way up and it goes on. You flip it halfway down and it goes off. I am too lazy to replace the dimmer switch, so it stays.

I haven't seen a good CFL and conclude that no one has come up with the magic circuitry to make them dim well. Time to start checking out dimmable, color-corrected LEDs.
 
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Old 01-13-08, 02:41 PM
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Originally Posted by pcboss View Post
Most of the motion sensor or photocell lights say no to use with CFLs or dimmers in their installation instructions.

IIRC, it is something about leaking a small amount of current thru the bulb burns them out.
They may say that, just like tungsten loads on timers or whatever intermatic always warns about, but I have two separate fixtures with photocells and CFLs. So, they run for as many hours a year as there are dark hours in a year. I've replaced each bulb less than once a year, probably more like once in two years. That's not a problem in my book.
 
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Old 01-13-08, 03:25 PM
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Originally Posted by pcboss View Post
Most of the motion sensor or photocell lights say no to use with CFLs or dimmers in their installation instructions.

IIRC, it is something about leaking a small amount of current thru the bulb burns them out.
pcboss,
Yes, that's correct you cannot use standard CFL's with photocells, but dimmable CFL's are okay to use with photocells and motion sensors.

Phil
 
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Old 01-13-08, 06:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Philossifer View Post
pcboss,
you cannot use standard CFL's with photocells
Like I said before, I've been using CFLs with photocells for years. They work fine.
 
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Old 01-13-08, 07:42 PM
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Originally Posted by ArgMeMatey View Post
Like I said before, I've been using CFLs with photocells for years. They work fine.
ArgMeMatey,
So you've been using the standard CFL's eh?

I think it might depend on the type of photo cell you have........ Certain photo cells act much like an on/off switch with no in between. I believe those type of photo cells will not damage standard CFL's.

But, some photo cells don't operate in an "On" or "Off" mode, they actually modulate or vary the light output of the bulb based on how much ambient light the photo cell is sensing. Those types of photo cell will indeed damage standard CFL's.
Sometimes you can spot these type of photo cells as they will cause the bulb to flicker as they approach their point of activation or de-activation.

Yours is probably the first type that operates in an "On/Off" mode............
Phil
 
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Old 01-13-08, 08:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Philossifer View Post

I think it might depend on the type of photo cell you have........ Certain photo cells act much like an on/off switch with no in between. I believe those type of photo cells will not damage standard CFL's.

I think you're right. I have the K4100 series Intermatic stem and swivel mounts. I looked at their instructions and didn't see anything about the load except the voltage, wattage, VA ratings. These have a common neutral, but separate line and load leads.

On the other hand, the screw-in ones say not to use them with fluorescents. Electrically I don't know what's different about them, but maybe space limitations keep them from doing the same as with the stem mounts.
 
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Old 01-14-08, 05:13 AM
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Originally Posted by ArgMeMatey View Post
I have the K4100 series Intermatic stem and swivel mounts. I looked at their instructions and didn't see anything about the load except the voltage, wattage, VA ratings. These have a common neutral, but separate line and load leads.
ArgMeMatey,
My outdoor fixtures are similar to yours! I even tested them by partially blocking the Photocell and then continuing to block it off slowly until the light clicked on.

My lamp post (which operates on low voltage 24V) has the other type of photo cell. As I partially block it's photocell, the bulb lights dimly until I fully cover the photo cell, and then the bulb come on to full brightness.
Phil
 
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