compact fluorescent lights reviews?

Rustytek

Active Member
I am going to put cfl (compact fluorescent lights) throughout my home and was wondering if anyone had experience with different brands (light quality)? I am also interested in different types (i.e. director lights (r30), dimming, etc.). Also, can anyone recomend a seller. I have seen great deals on ebay but do not want to purchase a case without testing the individual lights first.
 
I would be interested if someone could verify that if you placed a large amount of this type of lighting in your home that it did not play havoc with your X-10 powerline signals.

Fluorescent lights in general do not play very well with X-10. I have no idea about "compact fluorescents" though.
 
Compact fluorescents will not work well with ordinary x10 light switches and lamp modules.

CF's will flash when the light is turned off.

I have 3 CF bulbs in my living room that are on cheap x10 appliance modules and they work fine.

They also don't play well in tri-light equipped lamp bases.

I converted mine to simple toggle lamp bases.

From my experience you would need to have switches and modules that are not for incandescent loads.

Hopefully some other users will add more info.

CF's sure do help the electric bill.

There is lots of info on electrical usage at

http://michaelbluejay.com/electricity/index.html

good luck.........
 
I tried a package of 8 from Sam's club. I bought them roughly 6 months ago back in the spring and 4 of the 8 of them have burned out. I only tried one in an X10 controlled lamp and saw the same thing Neil did. I promptly moved it to a non X10 controlled light. I hope these were just a bad batch or cheaply made bulbs but at that price they aren't saving me much.
 
i have started putting CFs around my house as well. i have some on appliance modules or on switches for non-incandescent loads. i have not noticed any problems w/ CFs affecting my powerline. it does cause problems for my xantech IR receivers when the lights are warming up after powering on.

one thing i have experimented with is if i replace all incandescents with CFs - except one - on a light switch, i can still control it with a regular x10 light switch. i think the switch needs to see at least one incandescent load. i'm not sure if this is good/safe for the switch though so be careful doing this.
 
BraveSirRobbin said:
I would be interested if someone could verify that if you placed a large amount of this type of lighting in your home that it did not play havoc with your X-10 powerline signals.

Fluorescent lights in general do not play very well with X-10. I have no idea about "compact fluorescents" though.
I have replaced incandescent bulbs with fluorescents in about 111 fixtures so far. Several of the fixtures have multiple bulbs so the total bulb count is a bit higher. They are a mixture of CFL, Circline screw-in (miniture magnetic ballast) and standard magnetic ballast fluorescents. Haveing a large quantity of fluorescents has not impacted X-10 signal quality in a general sense; ie no system wide signal suck or excessive line noise issues beyond what I had with incandescent bulbs.

Some specific points:

Do not use dimmable CFL bulbs from a company called TCP. They put a huge amount of noise on the line. Once you dim one you can never brighten it again because the line noise kills the reception to the module controlling it.

On the other hand, Phillips dimmable CFL bulbs work great. No line noise and no audible buzzing even when they are dim.

Appliance modules will cause some CFL bulbs to flash when off due to current leaking through the "local control" circuit. Disabling local control will not fix the problem because the current path still exists. The circuit in X-10 brand 2-way modules is different and sometimes you can solve the problem by using these modules even if you don't use the 2-way feature for anything.

Relay switches do not have local control circuits so they do not have the flashing problems that plug in modules experience. Be sure to use switches that have a real relay and NOT an SCR used in switch mode.

Do not use INSTEON appliance modules with any kind of fluorescent light. The local control circuit allows much more current leakage than previous X-10 modules and they go into self-destruct mode if connected to to any kind of magnetic ballast. It is not clear if they are dangerous when connected to dimmable CFL bulbs but I would avoid them until the issue is resolved.
 
I installed 12 GE's 100 (26 watt) helical soft-whites in my kitchen's bucket type housings with no effect on any of my X10 stuff. I do not control them with x10, but they have been working well for about six months.They do come with a 5 year guarantee. I picked them up at Target when they were on sale.
 
upstatemike said:
Do not use INSTEON appliance modules with any kind of fluorescent light. The local control circuit allows much more current leakage than previous X-10 modules and they go into self-destruct mode if connected to to any kind of magnetic ballast. It is not clear if they are dangerous when connected to dimmable CFL bulbs but I would avoid them until the issue is resolved.
Over at the AccessHA website, a Smarthome rep mentioned he himself put the Insteon Appliance modules through a ton of tests with CF bulbs. I understand you've had a bad run of luck with standard magnetic ballast bulbs, but I took that to mean shoplight or aquarium style rather than compact fluorescent.

My cf bulbs are all electronic ballast, and I have experienced no failures with Insteon Appliance modules. Although I'm not using them here yet, I haven't heard any complaints about relay wall switches and CFs either.

Tom
 
I agree Insteon relay wall switches work fine with CFLs. I have several installed that control CFL bulbs.

I also have regular non-dimmable CFLs working with Insteon Appliancelincs with no problem. I just wonder if there might be an issue with dimmable CFLs which have additional circuitry in the electronic ballast that might be affected by the higher local control current of Insteon appliancelincs.

Are you using any dimmable CFL bulbs with v2 appliancelincs?
 
I use them for indicator lights and nightlights but they are not bright enough for area lighting. Also the color is not ideal... about the same color temperature as moonlight.

In theory they should dim fine but many dimmers require a minimum load to work properly. You would probably need a cluster of about 20 of these for them to work properly with a basic X-10 dimmer with no neutral connection.
 
upstatemike said:
I agree Insteon relay wall switches work fine with CFLs. I have several installed that control CFL bulbs.

I also have regular non-dimmable CFLs working with Insteon Appliancelincs with no problem. I just wonder if there might be an issue with dimmable CFLs which have additional circuitry in the electronic ballast that might be affected by the higher local control current of Insteon appliancelincs.

Are you using any dimmable CFL bulbs with v2 appliancelincs?
Now that'd just be silly. You can't dim an appliance module, so there's no point using a more expensive dimmable CF bulb with one.

Tom
 
Some people buy bulbs in bulk or just move things around. I have some Phillips dimmables that used to be on dimmer switches but are now in lamps controlled by appliancelincs (v1 not Insteon). The point is a relay should be a relay and be able to handle any load within its current rating.
 
upstatemike said:
Some people buy bulbs in bulk or just move things around. I have some Phillips dimmables that used to be on dimmer switches but are now in lamps controlled by appliancelincs (v1 not Insteon). The point is a relay should be a relay and be able to handle any load within its current rating.
Are those the ones that put out a 400+ volt spike? I don't know that I'd want *any* of my 'spensive household electronics sharing power with that.
 
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