CFL Dimming

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  #1  
Old 04-26-11, 12:39 PM
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CFL Dimming

There's a debate at work (or we need to learn). Sometimes when we remodel kitchens, we add can lights. Since we're in CA, we need CFL's. Do I understand this correctly: In order to dim, you need a dimmable ballast and a special dimmer (MK10) or would it commonly be called a florescent dimmer or electronic dimmer?

If I understand this correctly, my real question is what would happen if in the past, someone may have connected only the special dimmer? Someone told me recently he had done it and an electrician told him it was O.K. I'm skeptical...

I have installed the lights but never tried to have them dimmable. I basically have treated them as "undimmable"

Thanks for any help

Brian
 
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Old 04-26-11, 01:16 PM
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You need dimmable CFL ballasts and an electronic dimmer. If you go with a particular manufacturer's lighting system you may need the dimmer to match the ballasts.

Just an electronic dimmer with standard CFL lamps? It might work depending on how the CFL was manufactured. My assumption is that as you dropped the dimmer setting the lamp would stay lit until you reached a threshold when it would just cut out, and maybe flash or flicker a little.

Personally I think dimmed CFLs look terrible compared to their incandescent counterparts. Hopefully they will give up on dimming CFLs and we'll be able to just skip over the CFL technology and go straight to LED for nice efficient dimmables.
 
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Old 04-26-11, 03:21 PM
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I have dimmable incandescent can lights in my master bedroom, master bath, up and downstairs hallways and in my kitchen. We love them. I have been quietly buying up replacement incandescent bulbs and the goverment will have to pry them from my cold, dead hands.

Or they could just make LEDs a bit more affordable.
 
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Old 04-26-11, 04:10 PM
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You could always order incandescent lights on the internet. I know a couple of places.
 
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Old 04-26-11, 06:56 PM
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There is no problem buying incandescent lamps yet, just buy a case from almost any supply house.
 
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Old 04-27-11, 05:52 AM
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With CFL's you need dimmable CFL's (HAVE TO BE DIMMABLE TYPES) and the correct dimmer. I was told by Lutron that they have dimmers for CFL use but there is a short list of approved lamps / manufacturers. Even then, there can be some issues with them as CFL's can vary a bit, even on the same run. Their dimmers have a manual ajustment to allow for that. Bottom line - you can dim CFL's but only certain ones that SAY dimmable and use the better dimmers designed for them. The technology is still not where it needs to be. We see more and more LED's being used, and yes, the prices are still high.
 
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Old 04-27-11, 05:59 AM
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Originally Posted by JimElectric View Post
The technology is still not where it needs to be.
That sums it up well. I've tried dimmable CFL of various generations and the "cheaper" dimmable LEDs. But neither comes close to the range or quality of incandescents. Not even worth considering. I took the LED bulb back. I have some newer dimmable CFLs that are better and cheap enough that I didn't return; they work fine as regular CFLs and in a pinch I can use them on my dimmable circuits, which are many.
 
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Old 04-27-11, 06:18 AM
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I'm not a factory guy, but we are clearly in a transition period and given all of the advantages of LED or other newer technology IMO, I would not expect to see a lot of innovation going into CFLs. Be it a mandated end to incandescents or simply higher energy costs, the switch to solid state lighting will move forward.

As for the performance and price of LEDs, that should be changing rapidly. I just hope that the successful brands that finally emerge and begin to expand the market are manufactured here at home.

Bud
 
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Old 04-27-11, 09:08 AM
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The Halo LED module for 6" cans looks cool, pretty light, dimmable. I saw one set up on demo at the supply house, but it's a particular customer who will pay $150/ea. for the privilege of being a guinea pig with the new technology. I suppose if you figure in the reduced energy cost, more lamps per circuit, and not having to pay a maintenance man to replace the lamp for (allegedly) 20 years it probably does save money in the long run, but it's a hard cost to justify up front.
 
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Old 04-27-11, 10:47 AM
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So far we have sold about 100 of the new Halo units. So far so good. Only problem was one of the larger users had a lighted handle switch setup for their (hotel) rooms and they had issues with one guy getting shocked because he did not know that 50-60 volts still went through the wiring and he did a no - no and just turned the switch off
The pricing on those has dropped a bit. Still, LEDS are expensive.
 
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Old 04-27-11, 12:05 PM
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I made a homeade led lamp out of a string of led lights and a par 20 lamp. Works nice although it is red. It seems to be alot more efficent, however than the led bulbs on the market
 
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