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Author Topic: Dimmable CFL Modules  (Read 52959 times)

nklght

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Dimmable CFL Modules
« on: January 14, 2008, 12:20:50 AM »

Many countries are banning incandescent light bulb's; along with some states in the U.S.A.  How about creating a Compact Flourescent Lightbulb (CFL) module and switch which is dimmable?  CFL's require less energy to operate and many X-10 users, I believe got into this system to save energy.
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HA Dave

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Re: Dimmable CFL Modules
« Reply #1 on: January 14, 2008, 07:25:30 AM »

Dimmable CFL's (<link) are available... and they have their uses. Some LED bulbs can also dim. I have been using the CFL's for nearly a decade and the LED's for over a year.

The recent awareness of the general public to CFL's continues to surprise me. Fluorescent lighting was invented in 1896... and exhibited at the New York World's Fair in 1939. This isn't a new technology... it's benefits and problems have been well known for some time. There are many ways to light our environments. Every method, and/or technology for lighting has both benefits and problems. Disguarding one technology (and it's benefits) due to the popular trend of excepting another... is a little like throwing out the baby with the bathwater.

I regularly encourage people not to narrow their lighting selection... but to broaden their knowledge and use of lighting options and techniques.

The use of "lighting themes" is one way people can do this. I personally like to use (the greenish/blue/white) LED lights for effect or up-lighting, to remove dark corners. This allows me to use (sometimes) a single (yellowish) CFL, and yet not feel like I am setting in a dark room (while using less than 20 watts of power). Of course... pulling open drapes, or rising blinds during the day... can be both enlightening and enriching (if the artificial lights are turned off).

This is where X10 really shines [pun intended]. Using various X10 modules and devices... allows for easy set-up and use of lighting themes.. and automatically turning lights off when not in use. Even opening and closing the drapes can be automated based on light/time/temperature/occupancy... and so on. Some of the more experienced, and knowledgeable X10 users also control their Heating & air conditioning using X10.

So.... can (X10) technology save energy and money while enriching our life's? Absolutely!

Banning incandescent light bulb's.... foolish popularism.


« Last Edit: March 29, 2009, 08:33:48 PM by Dave_x10_L »
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dneal

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Re: Dimmable CFL Modules
« Reply #2 on: July 09, 2008, 12:23:01 PM »

Does this mean that the standard dimmable wall switches will then work with CFLs??  (I hope so  :)% )

Thanks...
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Dan Lawrence

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Re: Dimmable CFL Modules
« Reply #3 on: July 09, 2008, 02:13:32 PM »

Does this mean that the standard dimmable wall switches will then work with CFLs??  (I hope so  :)% )

Thanks...

They will work, but never. never dim them.   :(
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Brian H

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Re: Dimmable CFL Modules
« Reply #4 on: July 09, 2008, 04:20:25 PM »

The dimming switches that just have two wires and steal power from the bulb. May not work. The ones that have a real Neutral wire along with the Line and Load should work fine with dimmable CFLs. Most like to be turned on full and warm up maybe a minute before dimming.

 -:) Do a short test. Is limited to one manual GE Two wire dimmer and one X10 WS12A control lead for companion taped up. One dimmable CFL.
The GE seemed to work OK. Just go to full and dim down. Was not linear as I kind of expected and flickered at lower settings.
WS12A Local button seemed to turn it on and off and again dim not linear and flicker at lower settings. NO X10 control no matter if on or off before signals sent. Also tried swapping load and line samething. No X10 control. Old style incandescent was fine bot locally and X10 remotely.
So two wire dimmers may or may not like dimmable CFLs and it also maybe brand and model selective.

Also tried both a older and newer with soft start LM465 Lamp Module. Dimmable CFLs seem to work OK with them and I did find the new soft start ones have a slightly higher AC Local Control current, but no DC current like the older ones.
« Last Edit: July 09, 2008, 08:12:48 PM by Brian H »
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Walt2

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Re: Dimmable CFL Modules
« Reply #5 on: July 09, 2008, 08:40:19 PM »

The GE seemed to work OK. Just go to full and dim down. Was not linear as I kind of expected and flickered at lower settings.

The GE brand dimmable CFL I have, can only dim down to, say, 70% or so of full brightness, before they simply turn 'off'.  Not even close to the "night light" level of lighting I like to use with my original incandescent bulbs.    Plus, like you mention, they require one to turn them 'on' to a blinding 100% first and wait for them to warm up before dimming.  No easy-on-the-eyes slow "theater style" dim up.

CFL's don't like to "short cycled".   In applications where one turns 'on' a light for only a few minutes (closets, guest baths, motion detectors, etc), CFL end up having a much sorter life time.
 
IMHO, until these short-coming are designed out, will I really ever embrace using CFL.
« Last Edit: July 09, 2008, 09:53:33 PM by Walt2 »
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Brian H

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Re: Dimmable CFL Modules
« Reply #6 on: July 10, 2008, 06:42:52 AM »

Thanks for the update Walt2.
My post was not too clear  ::) The switch was an older GE manual dimming switch with a slider.
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JimC

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Re: Dimmable CFL Modules
« Reply #7 on: July 10, 2008, 07:37:21 AM »

Quote from:
CFL's don't like to "short cycled".   In applications where one turns on a light for only a few minutes (closets, guest baths, motion detectors, etc), CFL end up having a much sorter life time

That's interesting. I have a CFL that is turned on by a motion sensor and then turns off 5 minutes after not detecting motion. This is located at the bottom of my basement stairs and lights the way to my small work shop. This, on a typical day, is triggered 10 to 20 times. I have been using the same bulb for over two years with no problem. Guess I have just been lucky. :)
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steven r

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Re: Dimmable CFL Modules
« Reply #8 on: July 10, 2008, 12:26:19 PM »

Quote from:
CFL's don't like to "short cycled".   In applications where one turns on a light for only a few minutes (closets, guest baths, motion detectors, etc), CFL end up having a much sorter life time

That's interesting. I have a CFL that is turned on by a motion sensor and then turns off 5 minutes after not detecting motion. This is located at the bottom of my basement stairs and lights the way to my small work shop. This, on a typical day, is triggered 10 to 20 times. I have been using the same bulb for over two years with no problem. Guess I have just been lucky. :)
On the other hand, the ones that I put in my flood cams burned out in only a few months.
« Last Edit: March 29, 2009, 02:29:13 PM by steven r »
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nklght

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Re: Dimmable CFL Modules
« Reply #9 on: August 30, 2008, 12:56:01 AM »

Yes, dimmable CFL's are available, but how will they react with X-10, and is it really worth paying $13.00 for a 60 watt equivelant, when a person can purchase a 4 pack of standard incandescent bulbs for 89 cents.  The advantage of using the standard incandescent bulb is first they cost 57 percent less than the dimmable CFL  22 cents compared to 13 dollars, also the standard incandescent is almost certain to work with X-10, you pray a lot when incorporating CFL's 
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nklght

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Re: Dimmable CFL Modules
« Reply #10 on: March 29, 2009, 01:03:02 AM »

The home depot has started carrying dimmable CFL's.  I purchased 2 of them and so far have been pleased with the performance.
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dave w

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Re: Dimmable CFL Modules
« Reply #11 on: March 29, 2009, 06:05:56 PM »

Yes, dimmable CFL's are available, but how will they react with X-10, and is it really worth paying $13.00 for a 60 watt equivelant, when a person can purchase a 4 pack of standard incandescent bulbs for 89 cents.  The advantage of using the standard incandescent bulb is first they cost 57 percent less than the dimmable CFL  22 cents compared to 13 dollars, also the standard incandescent is almost certain to work with X-10, you pray a lot when incorporating CFL's 
CFLs are one of the "fixes" for "Man Made Global Warming" . rofl

I use CFLs in outdoor and garage lights primarily for their lower electrical consumption since these are lights I leave on into the wee hours. However when one factors in the considerably higher cost on initial purchase, fact that the CFLs will not likely continue to be used for their entire "10,000 hour" life since they gradually dim over life, and since they contain mercury which may end up harming the environment more than helping, I'm not so sure that they are a good investment money wise or eco wise.   $0.02
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thelanranger

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Re: Dimmable CFL Modules
« Reply #12 on: September 06, 2011, 10:49:59 PM »

This is not about a dimmable BULB...we need a fluorescent capable MODULE!
No one seems to understand quite how this works and I don't understand why...it was mentioned about not limiting yourself to lighting and that fluorescent lights were invented well over 100 years ago...I find myself constantly screaming about the same things! 

LED, CFL and conventional fluorescent tubes cannot be dimmed in the same way as an incandescent light.  An incandescent light can be dimmed by simply turning down the voltage....kind of like the knob on your stereo.  This is how the dimmers on all the x10 things work currently.  LEDs and fluorescent lights need full voltage to operate...in order to "dim" them you need to use Pulse Wave Modulation (PWM) dimmers.  This slows the flickering of the bulb in the case of the fluorescent from 60 beats a second or in the case of the LED actually makes it flicker to begin with and then slows it.  As the flickering slows, the bulb appears to dim.  Dropping the voltage on an LED bulb can actually burn it up, same with a CFL as the "ballast" is inside the bulb.  When the voltage reaches a critical low they just go out...at this "going out" point you're just damaging the bulb...it's basically like creating a power surge (voltage drop) to the device that it can't handle.

PWM dimmers that are not x10 capable are READILY available at any hardware store...why on god's green earth x10 has not taken it upon themselves to solder on to the ass end of an x10 receiver is beyond me but as z-wave now makes one I'm nearly about to switch products...get with the program guys!
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HA Dave

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Re: Dimmable CFL Modules
« Reply #13 on: September 07, 2011, 01:24:37 AM »

This is not about a dimmable BULB...we need a fluorescent capable MODULE! ...............................
PWM dimmers that are not x10 capable are READILY available at any hardware store...why on god's green earth x10 has not taken it upon themselves to solder on to the ass end of an x10 receiver is beyond me

Please understand this forum isn't widely read by X10's staff. This is a community forum, staffed by volunteers... users of X10... just like yourself.

I feel your pain.... well sorta. I know bunches of people enjoy the dim feature. I am not really one of them myself.

Back in the 1950's..... dimmers (actually rheostats) were all the rage. [I remember many homes still had the gas light fixtures... although I never saw anyone use them.] Mostly people would have one ceiling mounted electric light fixture as close to the functional center of the room as possible. Then they would (as an after thought) put in a 150 or 200 watt light bulb on a rheostat (dimmer). People would proudly show off how a 200 watt (non-frosted) bulb would brightly light up a room. Like I said... it was all the rage... the fashion of the times... it was in style. The light was glaring and harsh at full brightness. The rheostat wasted electricity when the light was dimmed as only marginally less electric was used during dimming. As much of the reduced current was expelled as heat.  

I have nothing against fashion and style! Heck my walls are painted a very "current" color.... much darker than anything I have had in the past. But the fashion will change... and the walls will need repainted.

With today's modern homes and the many lamp (and light) options available. I don't understand the desire to dim lights at all. It still wastes electric... when saving electric is the whole point of CFL's anyway. And very bright lights still are uncomfortable to many peoples eyes. It seems to me that a bright bulb on a dimmer of some sort has been the show case of every poorly lit room... I've ever seen.

Several lights... and a selection of lighting themes... Could be a much more comfortable eye friendly solution. As well as a way to reduce electric consumption.
« Last Edit: September 07, 2011, 01:31:38 AM by HA Dave »
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Brian H

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Re: Dimmable CFL Modules
« Reply #14 on: September 07, 2011, 06:15:21 AM »

thelanranger;
The new design CFL friendly Appliance Modules do quite well with CFLs.
Two wire wall switches don't as we expected.

Also they do make dimmable LED bulbs that work fine with Lamp Modules.
I have tested an EcoSmart 60 watt equivalent with good results.
It uses a National LM3445 triac-dimmable LED driver IC.
Some of the Philips brand LED bulbs reported as working well, with dimmers.

I have a few of the new energy standard 72 watt {100 watt equivalent} halogen incandescent replacements and they work fine with X10 devices.

With the reports of X10 changing their business model. I doubt any new X10 devices are in the works. Other than OEM things like the AirPad in the lineup.
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