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Matt
 
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Default Flourescent Bulbs in Dimmers

Hi,
I have always been told not to put flourescent bulbs in light systems
with dimmers. My question is what happens? I know you can't run the
flourescent bulbs in a 'dimmed' fashion... so if I run the system at
full power all the time I would assume it would be ok. But what
happens if someone turns the dimmer down? Will it blow anything up?
Just shorten the life of the bulb? Burn the dimmer out? Cause world
hunger to stop, etc?
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John A. Weeks III
 
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Default Flourescent Bulbs in Dimmers

In article , Matt
wrote:

Hi,
I have always been told not to put flourescent bulbs in light systems
with dimmers. My question is what happens? I know you can't run the
flourescent bulbs in a 'dimmed' fashion... so if I run the system at
full power all the time I would assume it would be ok. But what
happens if someone turns the dimmer down? Will it blow anything up?
Just shorten the life of the bulb? Burn the dimmer out? Cause world
hunger to stop, etc?


I think the dimmer would buzz loudly, then blow out. A
traditional dimmer works by briefly interrupting the current
going to the bulb. The dimmer the light, the larger the gaps
are when the power is interrupted. That works great for a
resistive load like a light bulb or a radiant heater. But
flourescent bulbs have ballasts and capacitors in them to
start up and keep running. These are reactive loads.
Interrupting power to these things causes the magnetic fields
to build up and shutdown. That acts like a very heavy load
on the dimmer, which will likely overload it and blow it up.
Or pop the breaker. The light itself will likely never get
enough uninterrupted current to fully startup, so it will
probably do little more than flicker.

I have never seen a dimmer for flourescent bulbs. I suspect
that the new high-tech bulbs that run on radio frequency have
the same issue. Motors have similar problems with dimmers.
I have seen motor speed controllers, but I suspect that
handling the speed mechanically is cheaper.

-john-

--
================================================== ====================
John A. Weeks III 952-432-2708
Newave Communications
http://www.johnweeks.com
================================================== ====================
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WDS
 
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Default Flourescent Bulbs in Dimmers


John A. Weeks III wrote:
In article , Matt
wrote:
I think the dimmer would buzz loudly, then blow out. A
traditional dimmer works by briefly interrupting the current
going to the bulb. The dimmer the light, the larger the gaps
are when the power is interrupted. That works great for a
resistive load like a light bulb or a radiant heater. But
flourescent bulbs have ballasts and capacitors in them to
start up and keep running. These are reactive loads.
Interrupting power to these things causes the magnetic fields
to build up and shutdown.


There are newer compact fluorescents that work fine on dimmers. Check
the box before you buy.

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Don Phillipson
 
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Default Flourescent Bulbs in Dimmers

"Matt" wrote in message
...

I have always been told not to put flourescent bulbs in light systems
with dimmers. My question is what happens? I know you can't run the
flourescent bulbs in a 'dimmed' fashion... so if I run the system at
full power all the time I would assume it would be ok.


It is here at least.

But what
happens if someone turns the dimmer down? Will it blow anything up?
Just shorten the life of the bulb? Burn the dimmer out?


1. The light goes off.
2. No (not yet, 12-18 months).
3. I do not think so.
4. No (not yet.)

--
Don Phillipson
Carlsbad Springs
(Ottawa, Canada)



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Matt
 
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Default Flourescent Bulbs in Dimmers


But what
happens if someone turns the dimmer down? Will it blow anything up?
Just shorten the life of the bulb? Burn the dimmer out?


1. The light goes off.
2. No (not yet, 12-18 months).
3. I do not think so.
4. No (not yet.)


Heheh ok thanks. I guess the easy solution is to just replace the
dimmer with a regular switch, eh?

The question is.. is it worth it for 6 40watt bulbs that burn only
occasionally? Everything else in the house has been conversed to
compact fluorescent.


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WDS
 
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Default Flourescent Bulbs in Dimmers


TKM wrote:
Screw-base compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs) which combine the bulb and
ballast into one assembly generally cannot be dimmed although manufacturers
(including Philips) now list one or two types that they claim can be dimmed
with standard wall-box or socket dimmers. I haven't tried any of those, but
suspect that the dimming range is limited.


I saw a demo of them the other day and they dimmed just as well as
incadescents.

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