Compact fluorescent control

Jeff R.

Has anyone had any issues with controlling compact fluorescent lights (on/off) with any of the different controllers/hardware or Software programs. How about the dimmable fluorescents, any luck with them.


Dimmables vary a lot by brand. Some are fine and some are nothing but trouble. The majority of my lighting is CFL and I have no trouble with Insteon. The key is to use Relay switches and NOT dimmers. Any time you mix a triac with a CFL you will likely have problems... even if the triac is programmed to operate as full on or full off with no dimming.
I have no problem at all controlling my CFL with UPB dimmers, as long as they are programmed for ON/OFF.
X10 Appliance Modules use more Local Control Sensing current and frequently the CFL flickers all the time it is off or turns back on.
Insteon ApplianceLinc V2 Modules seem to be better. I have also tried dimables on an X10 Lamp Module and since they start at full on before a dim. They work but again may flicker off.
Insteon LampLinc V2s and dimables worked if I set the on/off ramp rate to the fastest it could be set at.
I use 9, 11 and 13 watt regular CFL's with X10 appliance modules all thru the house without any flickering or problems.

Be sure add them to the software as appliance modules so the software doesn't attempt to dim them.

No luck however with the x10 appliance modules on LED lights even with the current sensing disabled - they still glow when turned off.

I haven't tried any dimmable CFL's so I can't comment on them at all.

I would try a couple before you go out and buy a bunch of six packs !

Thanks everyone for all the comments. I was really wondering about the differences between relay vs. triac, I appreciate the info on this. Glad to hear others are having good luck with the CFL's, I plan on using quite a few in our new house.

Just do what I do, forget the environment and use energy consuming incandecents!

Now before those earth firsters get upset, my spouse receives problems from florescents (I can't see a difference, but it affects her epilepsy) and this includes CFL's.

Until they get this problem licked, I'm sticking with Incandescents and those give me no trouble at all. My only hope seems to be some type of LED technology inovation that hasn't happened yet (LED lights don't have this problem, but are not of insufficient lumens to replace all of our lighting with).

If it makes anyone feel better, we composte to the extreme and have water barrels to reduce the need for using faucets to water our garden. Also use phosphate free soaps, and other green products. But unfortunately I can't cut the cord on incandescents.

nsisman said:
No luck however with the x10 appliance modules on LED lights even with the current sensing disabled - they still glow when turned off.
I had the same problem with LED lights and Insteon LampLinc V2. I went back to SmartHome's documentation and it said the lamp must be drawing at least 25 Watts for current sensing, but as you said, even with this disabled the LED lights still glow. After trolling for a while, I came across the suggestion of attaching a night-light to the LED lights and voila... no glow. Shut the night-lite off and the glow returns. Seems like a design flaw to me, but I am not a power systems guy.
I've heard of a few installations and had a personal experience where CFL units put enough noise on the powerline to interfere with communications. If you want to be on the safe side, budget for an inline filter between the light(s) and the switch.

The X10 Appliance modules have two mods for local control sensing. The small jumper disables the sensing but not the current that flickers the lights. The diode some cut; stops the flicker from the sensing circuit but enough noise can trigger it back on. Cut the diode and the jumper and it is a much better fit.