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FYI - I found a fairly good dimmable CFL

KenM

Active Member
Hi all,

I just wanted to share this;

I have located a fairly decent dimmable CFL that works with my older VIZIA-RF (Z-Wave) lamp modules. The device is called 'purespectrum 75' and is listed as a 20 Watt, 2700K, 75 watt soft white equivalent. I have had them installed in two of my living room torchiere lamps for a week now and am relatively (best dimmable CFL I have located so far) happy with them.

The bulb is a little long, about 5.5 inches and has a slight hum when dimmed, I would probably not want to use them (dimmed) in a room that does not have a little ambient background noise. The price seems fair and they are available on Amazon.com. Dimming is fairly linear from 100% down to about 20% (the 20% is per manufacturer) and they do not flicker out but remain at that 20% level as the dimmer is reduced down to the lowest range.

As a test, I put one in a single socket controlled by a VIZIA-RF two-wire (no wired neutral - incandescent only) wall dimmer. It worked, and surprised me pleasantly. I have ordered a few more and plan to see how they survive in the long run in one of the two-wire dimmers.

FYI only

Ken
 

IndyMike

Active Member
Hello Ken,

Thank you for the information on the purespectrum bulbs. There's a lot of us that have been looking for a decent dimmable CFL.

I'm surprised that you can control these with your 2-wire Vizia-RF switches as well. Looking at the data sheet, the manufacturer claims high power factor (>0.9) and low THD (<33%). It's likely the powerfactor correction that is allowing your Vizia-RF switch to establish a connection through the bulb when off.

Data sheet: purspectrum 75

It's good to see a manufacturer step up and provide a bulb with reasonable THD at a reasonable cost. I'm tired to trying dimmable bulbs that trash to powerline and don't deliver on their dimming range.

It looks as if Purspectrum has a number of additional bulbs ready to launch. I can't wait for their R30 launch. I have quite a few can lights that could use these.

Thanks again,
IM

And by the way - long time, no talk. Good to hear from you.
 

KenM

Active Member
I'm surprised that you can control these with your 2-wire Vizia-RF switches as well. Looking at the data sheet, the manufacturer claims high power factor (>0.9) and low THD (<33%). It's likely the powerfactor correction that is allowing your Vizia-RF switch to establish a connection through the bulb when off.

Hi Mike.

That sort of surprised me too. I have come to the (biased) conclusion that the (older) Vizia-RF line is indestructible (I sure have not been able to kill one with my experiments). I bought in to the first Vizia-RF issue and have yet to have a failure. This CFL must have some sort of restive(ey) load. What surprised me is that the CFL will stay illuminated, when the dimmer is at 1%. How do they do that I wonder? The dimmer only provides some little spikes of energy at the low level to the CFL.

Ken
 

ano

Senior Member
Hi all,

I just wanted to share this;

I have located a fairly decent dimmable CFL that works with my older VIZIA-RF (Z-Wave) lamp modules. The device is called 'purespectrum 75' and is listed as a 20 Watt, 2700K, 75 watt soft white equivalent. I have had them installed in two of my living room torchiere lamps for a week now and am relatively (best dimmable CFL I have located so far) happy with them.

The bulb is a little long, about 5.5 inches and has a slight hum when dimmed, I would probably not want to use them (dimmed) in a room that does not have a little ambient background noise. The price seems fair and they are available on Amazon.com. Dimming is fairly linear from 100% down to about 20% (the 20% is per manufacturer) and they do not flicker out but remain at that 20% level as the dimmer is reduced down to the lowest range.

As a test, I put one in a single socket controlled by a VIZIA-RF two-wire (no wired neutral - incandescent only) wall dimmer. It worked, and surprised me pleasantly. I have ordered a few more and plan to see how they survive in the long run in one of the two-wire dimmers.

FYI only

Ken

I've always had good luck with any "Cold Cathode" CFL. They all seem to be VERY dimmable with almost no flicker. A few companies make them, just search for "Cold Cathode Dimmable" I use about 25 of them in my bathroom fixture and they work great. In the morning, my automation system lights them to about 10% from 0% and then I up them to 100% from there. They also have an advantage of a long life since they have no filament to burn out. They are a bit pricey, but not overly so. Litetronics is one company that makes lots of models.
 

nick_l

Member
I've always had good luck with any "Cold Cathode" CFL. They all seem to be VERY dimmable with almost no flicker. A few companies make them, just search for "Cold Cathode Dimmable" I use about 25 of them in my bathroom fixture and they work great. In the morning, my automation system lights them to about 10% from 0% and then I up them to 100% from there. They also have an advantage of a long life since they have no filament to burn out. They are a bit pricey, but not overly so. Litetronics is one company that makes lots of models.

25? Wow! How big is your bathroom?

On a serious note, I'm a big fan of Cold Cathode bulbs as well.
 

ano

Senior Member
I've always had good luck with any "Cold Cathode" CFL. They all seem to be VERY dimmable with almost no flicker. A few companies make them, just search for "Cold Cathode Dimmable" I use about 25 of them in my bathroom fixture and they work great. In the morning, my automation system lights them to about 10% from 0% and then I up them to 100% from there. They also have an advantage of a long life since they have no filament to burn out. They are a bit pricey, but not overly so. Litetronics is one company that makes lots of models.

25? Wow! How big is your bathroom?

On a serious note, I'm a big fan of Cold Cathode bulbs as well.

Oh, yeah, I have the typical "Glamor" builder-special light fixtures that hold those clear globe lights. My wife has a longer one on her side (of course) and I have the shorter one. I maybe have 9 bulbs, and she has 16 or more. So they were designed for those 25W globe bulbs, which in total would be maybe 625W of light. Not all that unusual for a bigger bathroom actually.

I replaced them all with these:
https://www.1000bulbs.com/product/6868/FC05-8G2505F.html

They use 5W each, so in total I now use 125 watts instead of 625 watts for the same light. We do need to remodel our bathroom and get rid of these stupid globe light fixtures, I know, but for now it does the trick.

Another comment I will pass along is if you are just using a few CFL bulbs and you notice that dimming isn't smooth, try adding one incandescent bulb on the circuit. Sometimes just having one of these reduces flicker and improves the dimming.
 

IndyMike

Active Member
Hi Mike.

That sort of surprised me too. I have come to the (biased) conclusion that the (older) Vizia-RF line is indestructible (I sure have not been able to kill one with my experiments). I bought in to the first Vizia-RF issue and have yet to have a failure. This CFL must have some sort of restive(ey) load. What surprised me is that the CFL will stay illuminated, when the dimmer is at 1%. How do they do that I wonder? The dimmer only provides some little spikes of energy at the low level to the CFL.

Ken

Hello Ken,

You've got two great observations:

1) Leviton "robustness": I have 8 of the "old" X10 Leviton switches still in use. As you indicated, they've been flawless. They can be configured as 2 or 3 wire switches and I use both. I have them in hallways and stairwells (motion activated) where they get constant use throughout the day. I won't give up on them until they give up on me. A good horse is difficult to find.

2) CFL dimming range: If your CFL is staying illuminated with the dimmer at 1%, the manufacturer has gone though great efforts to make this lamp truly compatible with existing dimmers. I have not seen anything like that to date in a CFL (haven't tried the CCFL's that ANO has posted). It may also explain why the lamp base is a bit larger/longer than competing products. Quality does have a habit of consuming space. Add that to the power factor and THD rating and you may have a true winner. Hopefully other manufacturers will see the light and follow suit.

Please keep us posted on how these lamps perform for you.

Thanks,
Mike
 

BLH

Active Member
KenM; Thanks for the information on the CFLs.
Most dimmable ones I have tried did not work that well.
 

programmergeek

Active Member
CFL are so old and not energy efficient, so 4 years ago :( Anyhow I found some decent dimable CFL but they seems to burn out faster espically when dimmed. Now I am using LED's Mostly the philips ones and some cree. 1/3 the power no warm up time, none have gome bad. This is really the way to go.

Just remember we all grew up looking at incadecents and all teh dimmers and electrical stuff is made for that type of bulb. It will take a while for technonlgy to catch I thing HAI is one of the first coming out with a CFL dimmer spicificaly. But seriously look into LED's. I am much happier.
 

KenM

Active Member
Hi again all,

All of this talk made me curious about power factor and CFL bulbs, so I did a little searching. I have linked one of many articles that attempt to explain how power factor effects the actual (price paid) power: PDF article on CFL Power Factor .

I am converting my lighting to CFL with the idea of saving energy. Realizing that a 23 Watt CFL with low (typical) power factor might actually cost about 40 Watts of power is a bit of an eye opener. Fluorescent lighting is still very efficient (lumens/watt) but all of the hype gets dulled a little with some more accurate information. I have read, but cannot verify, that meters in the US actually measure Volt Amps. If that is true, then the extra costs comes out of my pocket.

That makes me even happier to discover these 'purespectrum' high PF bulbs.

Ken


One added thought:
Many lawmakers are trying/going to force most all of us to replace existing incandescent bulbs with CFLs. That would be less painful if the same lawmakers would put a requirement on CFL manufacturers to meet some minimum efficiency/noise requirement. I would also be in favor of forcing them to list the 'actual' power of these devices. ;)
k
 

BLH

Active Member
Yes the CFLs that I have specifications on have a PF around 0.5.
Now the CCFLs I have are around 0.9 for a PF.
 

WayneW

Senior Member
All of this talk made me curious about power factor and CFL bulbs, so I did a little searching. I have linked one of many articles that attempt to explain how power factor effects the actual (price paid) power: PDF article on CFL Power Factor .

I am converting my lighting to CFL with the idea of saving energy. Realizing that a 23 Watt CFL with low (typical) power factor might actually cost about 40 Watts of power is a bit of an eye opener. Fluorescent lighting is still very efficient (lumens/watt) but all of the hype gets dulled a little with some more accurate information. I have read, but cannot verify, that meters in the US actually measure Volt Amps. If that is true, then the extra costs comes out of my pocket.
Thanks, that link is a good read. But I think it can be summed up in this one quote
The majority of CFLs sold in the Canadian market have low- or nominal-power factor of approximately 0.55. HPF CFLs, in contrast, have a power factor greater than 0.9, which creates significant savings for the utility.
AFAIK, there are no residential customers in the US where there bill is affected by power-factor. Large commercial stuff does include power factor in their billing. Here is a good read about a power factor correcting device http://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=232734 but I don't want to hijack this thread to talk about that device here.
 

KenM

Active Member
All of this talk made me curious about power factor and CFL bulbs, so I did a little searching. I have linked one of many articles that attempt to explain how power factor effects the actual (price paid) power: PDF article on CFL Power Factor .

I am converting my lighting to CFL with the idea of saving energy. Realizing that a 23 Watt CFL with low (typical) power factor might actually cost about 40 Watts of power is a bit of an eye opener. Fluorescent lighting is still very efficient (lumens/watt) but all of the hype gets dulled a little with some more accurate information. I have read, but cannot verify, that meters in the US actually measure Volt Amps. If that is true, then the extra costs comes out of my pocket.
Thanks, that link is a good read. But I think it can be summed up in this one quote
The majority of CFLs sold in the Canadian market have low- or nominal-power factor of approximately 0.55. HPF CFLs, in contrast, have a power factor greater than 0.9, which creates significant savings for the utility.
AFAIK, there are no residential customers in the US where there bill is affected by power-factor. Large commercial stuff does include power factor in their billing. Here is a good read about a power factor correcting device http://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=232734 but I don't want to hijack this thread to talk about that device here.

Thanks Wayne. I enjoy the heck out of getting new information. This is a FYI thread, and I started it, so, no hijack is happening. Thanks again for the info.
k
 

IndyMike

Active Member
Hi again all,

All of this talk made me curious about power factor and CFL bulbs, so I did a little searching. I have linked one of many articles that attempt to explain how power factor effects the actual (price paid) power: PDF article on CFL Power Factor .

I am converting my lighting to CFL with the idea of saving energy. Realizing that a 23 Watt CFL with low (typical) power factor might actually cost about 40 Watts of power is a bit of an eye opener. Fluorescent lighting is still very efficient (lumens/watt) but all of the hype gets dulled a little with some more accurate information. I have read, but cannot verify, that meters in the US actually measure Volt Amps. If that is true, then the extra costs comes out of my pocket.

That makes me even happier to discover these 'purespectrum' high PF bulbs.

Ken


One added thought:
Many lawmakers are trying/going to force most all of us to replace existing incandescent bulbs with CFLs. That would be less painful if the same lawmakers would put a requirement on CFL manufacturers to meet some minimum efficiency/noise requirement. I would also be in favor of forcing them to list the 'actual' power of these devices. ;)
k

Hi Ken,

This is exactly what got me excited about your 'purespectum' bulbs when you posted. While I have extensive experience with Power Quality in an aircraft environment, I have very little experience with traditional electric grid distribution. While the concept is the same, the end goal is entirely different.

As you noted, there has been a huge push to convert to lower power appliances and lighting. While this has lightened the power load on the electrical grid, but it is coming at a cost. The proliferation of electronic loads cause power to be consumed entirely differently than what the power systems were designed for. The reduced power factor and increased distortion creates other loading problems for transformers and utilities. It can also (as we well know) create havoc for powerline communications.

Previously, Power Factor was not a consideration for residences (factories are charged based on their PF consumption) . Most of the loads in homes consumed power in phase and didn't add significant harmonics. That is changing. Europe has already adopted standards for PF and THD of electronic devices. We are a bit behind the curve.

CFL's have traditionally had extremely poor Power Factors and high THD. Even so, they are not nearly as disruptive as higher power electronic devices like plasma TV's and switching power supplies on computers/UPS's/Audio. For that reason they have been flying below the radar. In general, CFLs appear to be a good thing for the power grid. While the may have horrible PF and THD, the relative reduction in power consumption does help our power distribution system. The effects on residences can (again) be entirely different from a power quality viewpoint.

I was impressed by the product that you posted because:

1) To my knowledge, there is no legislation requiring high power factor/low THD CFLs. The trend appears to be in the opposite direction. Smaller bases (nicer fit) with higher THD.
2) Your observation that this bulb functioned down to 1% with a 2-wire dimmer - this manufacturer is trying hard to make a dimmable CFL that is compatible with existing "standard" dimmers.
3) The bulb is a higher lumen version (75W equivalent) and appears to be reasonable in cost - even though it appears to be very new.

In short, this manufacturer is stepping up and providing a CFL that operates like a standard incandescent (high PF, low distortion, full dimming range, 2-wire compatible). I've been waiting for year for this. I can only hope that other manufacturers will follow suit.

I happened to come across a site that rated CFL's and LED's some time ago. Very interesting reading. Most of the reports stard in the 2000 time frame where THD was in the range of 130%. To my surprise, CFL THD has gotten worse in recent years. Not the direction we'd like to be headed for our powerline systems.

The following is a series of reports on screwbase CFL's that is freely available: http://www.lrc.rpi.edu/programs/NLPIP/PDF/VIEW/SR_SB_CFL.pdf
The site itself is located here: http://www.lrc.rpi.edu/programs/NLPIP/index.asp you'll need to register to download test reports (Email).


Edit - I am one slow poster:

WayneW - I agree that all of the residential services that I know of are charged based on "true" (in phase) power.

Ken - The 40W quoted in the article that you cited is the Volt-amp equivalent. While you shouldn't be charged for it, the power company has to supply it. This can result in a capacity issue for your power supplier.

As a side note, some of the reports that are cited above show THD values in excess of 200% for CFL's (things have gotten worse over the years). There also does not appear to be a pattern by manufacturer (i.e. manufactures provide both high and low PF bulbs within their range of products).
 

BLH

Active Member
I picked up a pair of ULA {U Lighting America} SDS15 CFLs
15 watt. Replaces a 75 watt bulb. Dimmable. PF>0.90

I have not done too much with them yet. Other than burn them in for 6 hours.

My Kill A Watt Meter did show a PF of between 0.90 and 0.95 at full brightness.
 
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