CFL Actual Power Consumption

Old 05-25-14, 04:31 AM
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Post CFL Actual Power Consumption

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This is not a new issue.
The whole CFL issue is a sales job. CFLs are touted as saving at least 80%. I have a friend who is an electrical engineer with Idaho Power utility. He measured the voltage with a true power meter and an oscilloscope, the power consumption and waveform of several CFLs.
The reason for the apparent energy savings is because conventional kWh meters measure only the first harmonic of the waveform. Upon measuring voltage and amperage and observing the waveform, he came up with a more realistic 25%-35% savings at the generator. In other words, your kWh meter is reading the greater savings, but the generator is seeing a larger load.
If all we are concerned about is our altruistic desire for feeling good about helping the planet, CFLs are not a very good way to go about it. In fact two states so far have said they are switching to kVa meters, which do measure true power consumption.
What prompted this discussion was several residents who had complained to the power company about breakers tripping. When my friend and colleague did his investigation, he discovered the CFLs were, indeed tripping the breakers. Not just in one house. Many across the city of Pocatello, and other regions.

One reason power companies have considered kVah meters is because of all the large industrial variable frequency drives, soft-starts and computer gear, which all introduce "dirty power" back on to the grid through harmonics of the waveform. Normal motors don't do that.
We have invented many wonderful inventions. Now if we can make a grid that can handle it, we will be set. It will require a colossal investment, and it will require huge filtering networks strategically across the grid to "clean up" the dirty power, or it might be accomplished with some type of inhouse filtering required of the companies that introduce the dirty power.
My own experience with CFLs was in my garage. I bought the most robust, most expensive bulb I could buy for my trouble light. The light bulb would run fine for a minute or so, then sizzle, then go out. If I tightened it, it would work again, but go through the same shutdown process. I finally took out the bulb and examined the base. You could see the arcing, and the degradation of the base contact material. I have never had an incandescent bulb do that in the same fixture.
I do have a couple of CFLs, but I bought hundreds of incandescents so I will be well supplied for a while

Last edited by ray2047; 05-25-14 at 05:32 AM.
Old 05-25-14, 05:10 AM
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How does your run on sentence of a rant help the original poster regain power?

Lightbulbs have nothing to do with the OP's electrical problem.

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