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Dimmable compact fluorescents

ptr727

New Member
My apologies for double posting in two forums, but a member from AVS forum recommended I ask here.

Please see my original post:
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=861529

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I have changed all the incandescent bulbs in my house to compact fluorescents (CFL).

The only remaining incandescents are the R30 style floodlights in the vaulted ceilings of my living/dining room.

These lights are controlled with INSTEON SwitchLink dimmers:
http://www.smarthome.com/2476d_light_dimmer.html

I am looking for dimmable CFLs that will be compatible with the SwitchLink dimmers.

The following sites list several options for dimmable CFLs:
http://www.1000bulbs.com/products.p...or-Fluorescents
http://www.onebillionbulbs.com/Revi...able-Flood/1020

I am concerned that in trying to save electricity I have a poor experience with flickering, buzzing, and limited dimming control that I have heard happens with older generation dimmable CFLs.

Does anybody have experience using dimmable CFLs with the SwitchLink dimmers, can you recommend a particular CFL model?



Regards
P.
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Madcodger

Active Member
I've had excellent results with the Philips Marathon line of dimmable CFLs, including R30 bulbs in ceiling cans. Can be found at many Home Depots and now, Walmart.
 

ptr727

New Member
As mentioned in the SmartHome forum, how would you rate the "ambiance" effect of the the CFLs?
The dimmes are in my living and dining rooms and used to set a mood, and if CFLs will loose that affect, then I'd rather stay with what I have.

If I do stay with incandescents, what are my options for energy efficient bulbs?
I noticed that HomeDepot is selling R30 replacement 6-packs claiming energy used by 3 new bulbs are equivalent to 1 old bulb.

Regards
P.
 

mdiehl

Active Member
Although relatively expensive, try 1000bulbs.com. I've been using some of their "Cold Cathode" CFLs (Microbrite) for a while now. These bulbs are relatively low wattage(5-8watts input, roughly equal to 35-50 watt visual output). They are in my experience, very smoothly dimmable (down to about 10%) and have 25,000 hour lifetimes. Unlike "hot cathode" CFLs, these lamps aren't bothered by frequent on/off cycles. They worked well with my Insteon Dimmer Module too (now gone to z-wave, but at least the "basic" Z-Wave dimmer module does not live happily with dimmable CFLs for very long... :lol:
 

gregoryx

Active Member
I bought a dozen dimmable CFLs to try out. Their dimmed state is not the same as incandescent at all. They flicker at 30% or so and buzz (though not loudly). They seem fine for environments where they're not dimmed much. I've got them in the office and kitchen so far. I'll put them in the kids rooms. I won't be putting them in any major areas any time soon.
 

deranged

Active Member
Although relatively expensive, try 1000bulbs.com. I've been using some of their "Cold Cathode" CFLs (Microbrite) for a while now. These bulbs are relatively low wattage(5-8watts input, roughly equal to 35-50 watt visual output). They are in my experience, very smoothly dimmable (down to about 10%) and have 25,000 hour lifetimes. Unlike "hot cathode" CFLs, these lamps aren't bothered by frequent on/off cycles. They worked well with my Insteon Dimmer Module too (now gone to z-wave, but at least the "basic" Z-Wave dimmer module does not live happily with dimmable CFLs for very long... :lol:

I would have to agree, I have recently purchased about a dozen of the Microbite, Warm whit and cold white. And I am extremely pleased with them. They dim very well almost to the point of off before any flickering.

And the Z-wave act zdw103 switch has handled them fine. I had to have 4 of the 5watt bulbs running on the switch before it would behave correctly. Not a big deal for me as it was a 4 light fixture.

I also have another zdw103 with 4 of the 8watt microbite bulbs.

And the big WAF is they look like regular bulbs.

StevenE
 

ginigma

Active Member
How do CFL's handle the cold? I know that regular fluorescent lights take a while to come on to full brightness in cold weather. I'm thinking of replacing the bulbs in my garage with CFLs, but I'm worried about winter time in New Jersey, when it's cold.
 

gregoryx

Active Member
I've noted that they take longer to turn on when cold than when warm... but that's a pretty relative comparison here in SoCal. :D
 

huggy59

Active Member
Not to keep going off-topic, but the CFLs we have here (middle of Maine), which are not the dimmable types, do take a while to come up to full brightness in cold weather. We go below 0 F in the winter at times, and the small ones (like 60w) we use in the fixtures next to the outside doors do take a couple minutes to brighten up when it's really cold. At that time of year, we just flip them on before getting dressed to go out and by the time you're ready, so are they.
 

mdiehl

Active Member
As I recall, the "cold cathode" CFLs(CCFLs) perform well at cold starts. Even they require a 1-2 minute "warmup" even at room temp, to get full output.
 

Mike

Senior Member
Great thread. There was one like it here probably a year or so ago and either the sources were not the best ones or they have had significant improvement in these bulbs as the prices were two or three times what I am seeing on that site.

I'll have to try some. Almost every room in my house is tied to a Insteon Dimmer. Being in an 'expensive' electricity area I now see the benefit of using relays as you can use the more efficient bulbs (such as what Digger had done). With lower bulb costs and keeping the ability to dim, this might be a nice fit.

In many of the rooms I was using GE Reveal light bulbs as I liked the color of the light. I'll have to see how these compare as well.
 

gbirk

Member
I just purchased one Philips Marathon dimmable R30 CFL from Home Depot to try it out. I installed it in the Kitchen on an Insteon Dimmer. It takes a few seconds longer to come on than the incandescent bulbs, the light is whiter, and the dim state is not the same, as mentioned above. I switched it out with an incandescent since it buzzes loudly once its dimmed.

Are there any dimmable CFL bulbs that do not buzz?
 
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