Compact Florescent lamp trick

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I replaced one bulb of 4 incandescent bulbs with a compact florescent lamp and the dimmer on the circuit quit working. The lights come on but full brightness no matter where the control is. Put in a regular light bulb and everything is back to normal. If igure the reactive load of the florescent lamp screws up the dimmer.
Jimmie.
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on 10/16/2009 8:50 AM (ET) JIMMIE wrote the following:

You need to buy "dimmable" CFLs
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Bill
In Hamptonburgh, NY
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Are you trying to control the CFL with the dimmer (can't do that) or is the fixture with the CFL simply on the same branch circuit as the dimmer but not controlled by it?
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Not really I just forgot it was on a dimmer when I went to replace the bulb. I was surprised when all the other lamps came on full brilliance when I put the CFL in.
Jimmie
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On 10/16/2009 7:48 AM JIMMIE spake thus:

Sounds like the dimmer is affected by the current drawn by its load (and as you said, doesn't work with a reactive load like a CFL).
You could go ahead and use it if you don't mind giving up the dimming function; just run the lights at full brightness. Shouldn't hurt anything.
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Not really I just forgot it was on a dimmer when I went to replace the bulb. I was surprised when all the other lamps came on full brilliance when I put the CFL in.
Jimmie
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I put a cfl and a 75W incandescent in a common ceiling fixture on a dimmer. The incandescent lamp dimmed normally down to halfway. The cfl stayed at essentially full brightness until the incandescent was at 1/2 brightness, then it went out and the incandescent lamp steyd at the reduced brightness and then dinmmed the rest of the way normally.
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wrote:

I tried it again on another dimmer and it works more like you said on that one.
Jimmie
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JIMMIE wrote:

I'm no CFL expert, but I recall a thread on here where you had to buy special CFLs with an extra circuit in the base, for use on dimmers.
On a related note- does anybody make CFLs for the small candelabra bases? (can't remember the proper term). Half my ceiling lights use those damn things. Had to get special ones of those, too. Ones in the hanging lamp over kitchen table were regular 'flame' bulbs when I moved in, and when one zap-failed, it fried the dimmer. The special ones have a backup wire to keep the spike from going back up the line, or something.
-- aem sends...
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saw candelabra CFLs at sams club last week. my best friend has those !@##$ at his home. now he can convert to CFLs
I bought a special dimable CFL for my bathroom. its in a light bar with 4 regular bulbs/
they dim the CFL doesnt... how wierd
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

It probably does dim, you just don't notice it in comparison to the incandescents. The two that I have in my house, if you slide the dimmer all the way low, the lights are still close to 50% brightness. If I put incandescents in the same fixture, at the same setting, you can barely tell that they're on. It's not a problem for me; the application is the wall sconces in my living room, and I'm using "100W equivalent" CFLs (which actually are pretty bright.) So dimmed down they are good for just sitting and chatting with folks, and all the way up you can read without straining your eyes.
nate
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote in part:

I would expect a dimable CFL to dim more slowly than incandescents do. Incandescents greatly lose energy efficiency when dimmed.
Non-dimmable CFLs mixed with incandescents may give close enough to zero visible dimming effect until the incandescents are getting about 60% of full power and producing about 25-30% of full light output.
- Don Klipstein ( snipped-for-privacy@misty.com)
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aemeijers wrote:

yes, I have some. They work "OK" but still aren't great - the dimmer hums a little when they're fully dimmed, so I wonder if something bad isn't happening in there. (it's a Lutron Diva dimmer, if it makes any difference. I *think* the CFLs are Sylvania, FWIW. Pretty sure I got them at Lowe's. The "dimmable" CFLs that Home Despot sells... aren't. They sucked so badly I returned them on principle.)

yes, and "candelabra base" is the correct term. "Edison base" is the standard light bulb that we all know and love, "Mogul base" is the size larger than that that you hardly ever see anymore.
nate
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On 10/16/2009 4:20 PM Nate Nagel spake thus:

Well, you (and I) don't see mogul bases much anymore, but anyone who deals with commercial or industrial lighting sees them a *lot*.
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On Fri 16 Oct 2009 04:53:00p, David Nebenzahl told us...

Most mogul base bulbs for residential use were 3-way builbs used as the center bulb in floor lamps. They were particularly common in the 1940s- 1950s. Usually the central mogul base bulb was surrounded by 3 edison base sockets with a3-way switche to turn on 1, 2, or all 3 bulbs. The mogul had it's own 3-way switch to handle the double filaments.
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Wayne Boatwright wrote:

So back in the 50's the "lamp dimming" technology to dim lights and use less power was far, far superior to the modern use of "Dimmer Switches". That figures! (I'd like to find one of those lamps.)
At my last home I rewired the lights on the ceiling fans. I made it so the first pull on the chain turned on two opposite bulbs (25 watt), the next pull turned them off and turned on the other two sockets (with 60 watt bulbs), the third pull turned on all four sockets/bulbs. Much more efficient than a dimmer switch.
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Tony wrote:

Speaking of the 1950s (and up into the 60s)- remember those living room pole lamps with multiple heads growing off them? Some of them were even spring-loaded to go between floor and ceiling without having to have a huge base. Common use was in the 'Dagwood and Blondie' corner of the living room, with the 2 big chairs, so each person could have light on what they were reading. 3rd head was usually bounced off ceiling, or just ignored. I think my grandparents wore out about three of them. He was a retired EE, so he would switch parts around to keep the important parts working.
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aemeijers wrote:

Funny, I was just thinking about them last week and pictured the spring loaded one we had when I was a kid! I think I may have seen one on TV and that jarred my memory.
How about the adjustable height dining room light? It had an egg shaped spring loaded center part to coil up the wire inside if you were to raise it up. You simply grabbed the light and pulled it down or pushed it up and the spring loaded wire would hold it there... until it got old.
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Tony wrote:

My grandparents had both of those, as well as a big starburst clock over the console TV.
The lights are actually quite functional, albeit passe style-wise. Esp. so the pull down dining room table light, if you're the type of person who likes to lay down some newspaper on the table and tinker with stuff.
nate
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