Linear tubes are likely to come on at (or near) full brightness. CFLs
have a problem.
You, of course, have no idea if your idea would work for CFLs. The time
lag problem is vaporizing the mercury.
No one in their right mind would connect a CFL tube to a home-brew power
supply. For an operating lamp, ballasts are essentially a constant
current source. You likely had constant voltage or are losing efficiency
with a resistor.
"Instant start" fluorescent tubes, by the way, start by high voltage
without initial electron emission from a filament. (I believe some CFLs
start that way also.)
You have no clue how fluorescents work. It is by fluorescence, in this
case some chemicals on the tube wall convert UV to visible light. Noble
gasses do not produce UV. They ionize and provide an initial arc which
vaporizes the mercury that is in all fluorescent lamps. The vaporized
mercury becomes part of the arc. Vaporized mercury has a strong UV line.
It produces all the fluorescence.
It is, by the way, how most "neon" tubes work - all of them that are not
I suggest the OP ask people which CFLs have a short time to full brightness.
Continuing the tradition of useless advice from the homeownershub.
I too have played for fluorescent fixtures, and I used to light up tubes
with my ham radio transmitter / antenna (running 2KW PEP)
instantaneously using RF. The phosphors, like those on a CRT faceplate,
glow as soon as electrons impinge, rather than waiting for the heated
filament to ionize the tube and make a plasma.
Noble gas tubes such as those filled with xenon, argon, neon, etc.
certainly go to their plasma state truly "instantaneously" and it is
thus not surprising that they make perfect "flash guns" for photography
with no delays and pulses of light less than a millisecond duration
In this specific matter, I am looking for a commercial, off the shelf
solution which can be maintained with no DIY effort.
I think the new GE hybrid is a great solution, assuming they last as
long as claimed. The LED would be even better owing to its simplicity,
but I have to allow cost issues to determine which path I chose.
Would be interesting to know your application that requires such a lamp.
LIfe has lots of other things to be annoyed with. Why pick this one?
FWIW, I've seen significant differences in startup time for the SAME brand
of lamp from different batches. I'd guess the OEM's just buy from
the current low-price leader.
When I buy CFLs, I take along a socket and plug them into the
outlet by the back door at home depot.
Start with the 12-packs and others that aren't in a clamshell.
If you can't find any of those, ask the guy at the back checkstand
if they're rapid start and if you can return any that aren't.
Buy 'em, test 'em, return them to the same guy immediately.
Find the outlet first ;-)
Probably rips it off with his teeth. If I worked in a store where
customers wanted to "try out" light bulbs before buying them I would
call security and have them escorted out. Never heard of such an idiot
been in some of your stores.
If you want cheap bulbs, you're probably watching for sales that happen
on "bulk packages". Anything over two bulbs often comes in an easily
YOU should never do anything YOU find unreasonable.
Seeing the number of CFL's I've returned over the years - mostly
"dimmable" ones that weren't but also within the last week a 3-way one
whose second setting was noticeably dimmer and of a drastically higher
color temp than the first - I'm thinking that trying before you buy is
not a bad idea. Haven't done it yet, but may start. For now, I'm
sticking with Sylvania and GE only until I find another brand that I
find works reliably. Sadly, as with many consumer goods, the vast
majority of CFLs on the market save for the very very plain single
wattage spirals seem to be unmitigated garbage.
Let me guess, you are a CSR for Home Despot?
I *have* seen up to 8 CFLs in a clam shell. I don't think I've seen
any but maybe expensive ones in anything easy to open.
I know a lot of those carbon filament bulbs I bought from Mr. Edison
didn't work as well as he said they would. Every time I went to
complain, they told me he was "napping". We all know what that means.
I don't use a light meter, but it seems to me the last batch from Home
Depot do that. And they were down to 48 or 60 or 80 cents a piece
iirc for 60 and 100 watts. This was 5 months ago and 40 and 75 watt
equivalents were still expensive for some reason.
They are called Ecosmart soft white, in bubble packs of 4, with green
and white paper inside.
And not only tthat, they're smaller than they used to be and fit in
the 4?" globes that some of my light fixtures have.
I use pretty much all CFLs around my house and with the exception of
some encapsulated decorative globe types in a light bar, none of them
show any notable warm up period after a few hours of use. There is
perhaps a 1/4 second start time from switch on, but they are at 80%+
I do find that most CFLs do require a few hours burn in time, presumably
to fully vaporize and distribute the tiny amount of mercury, before they
settle into the no/negligable warm up state.
Most of the CFLs I use are basic 60W equiv models, with some larger
100W+ equives in a few applications. Also, unlike what some people
claim, I have very few failures of CFLs and when they do fail it's
usually after a number of years of daily use.
So what kind of cockamaime, contrived logic is behind this
The reason I ask is to not necessarily be hurtful, but to see if
perhaps there is some other solution to your problem. People come in
this newsgroup on a regular basis asking for some piece of Rube
Goldberg unconventional uninvented technology to solve a problem that
a different piece of common technology would solve with a lot less
On 6/7/2011 1:29 PM, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
As I posted earlier in this thread, my question arises from my attempt
to provide bright hallway and staircase access for elderly people with
diminished eyesight. The original 100 watt incandescent bulbs are only
switched on briefly, and CFLs take too long to get adequately bright.
As it turns out, the recommendation from "Mal" was 100% correct. I went
to Lowes today, found the recently introduced General Electric "hybrid
technology" bulbs he described, and took some home for testing.
They work superbly well.
The two part hybrid design automatically turns on both the CFL and
halogen filament to provide full intensity output upon start-up. As the
CFL warms up, the halogen bulb is extinguished, and within maybe a
minute or so the lamp is 100% CFL.
There is a small color shift as the color temperature shifts from warmer
(approx 2500 degrees Kelvin) to a cooler, bluer CFL temperature as the
halogen lamp is replaced by the CFL output. The effect is not something
you would normally see unless you are looking for it.
The 75 watt equivalent version of the bulb consumes 20 watts, produces
over 1200 lumens output, is warrantied for 5 years for free replacement,
and is estimated to last for 7.3 years in average service. They are sold
at Lowes for $13 for two bulbs.
This is an ideal solution for me, saving a lot of watts, maintaining
true "instant on", and having (supposedly) a long, warrantied life
The nearest LED equivalent at Lowes was being offered on "clearance" for
$29 for 1 bulb. Much longer predicted life but considerably lower
lumens, 840 to be exact.
I am extremely impressed with this new, dual hybrid design from a
lighting performance point of view. Time will tell if their MTBF /
failure / life expectancy prediction holds.
I personally trust that GE will stand behind their warranty and are
unlikely to be exaggerating their claims. On the other hand, I have
several examples of "instant on" CFLs from Sylvania, Phillips, etc.
which are not in any way delivering anywhere near full output until
literally a minute or two after they are switched on. This GE is in a
class by itself.
Thanks again to all who responded. As always, the knowledge and talent
on this forum is incredible and very much appreciated.
But the savings in electricity they talk about are when the bulbs are
on for a long time. If, as you imply, the bulbs are only on for a
short time, you are essentially just using the halogen portion of the
bulb, which is nowhere as efficient as the CFL portion of the bulb.
So, your savings are much much less than stated if the bulbs are only
on for short intervals....
On 6/8/2011 12:18 PM, hr(bob) email@example.com wrote:
You're right Bob that the savings may not be great since the lights are
intended to be kept on mostly for moving through the hallways and
staircases at night and are switched with switches at both ends of the
Many times the lights are turned on and then not turned off, so there
will be savings many nights of the year. Even when they are turned off
properly, the walking time for the hallway and the staircase can be many
minutes long, particularly for people who have mobility issues. Even in
these situations, for 10 minute lighting periods, the CFL will still
provide all of the savings for maybe 90% of the total time, after the
first minute of halogen light extinguishes.
These are a good solution for my specific problem, but may not make a
lot of sense in general if instant lighting output is not a concern.
Most people are apparently quite content with a short sixty to ninety
second warm up, and for these situations, the cheaper non-hybrid CFL is
a better solution.
I would love to use LEDs but there does not seem to be any which put out
1000 or more lumens which cost anywhere near $6 per bulb.
You know, the funny thing is that I have had both good and bad with
x10. In my old house, in the southwestern suburbs of Chicago, it
worked, but to a point. I couldn't have too many modules, or the
signals would get swamped. I tried using the X10 amplifier/phase
repeater and the results were disastrous. So I had to go with a
passive phase coupler. It would continuously send out random x10
commands which were apparently triggered off noise. But, for the
most part, if I "obeyed the rules" it worked. Here in the western
mountains of NC, I use that amplifier/phase coupler, and it works
perfectly. I am basically using 1 house code and all 16 channels.
I do have a motion detector on another house code. I do
occasionally see an anomaly, but they are few and far between.
I agree. Some locations everything works fine, others, not so good. I had
two repeaters, a Leviton and an X-10 model and neither compared to the XTB
repeater because the XTB boosts the signal to 25V whereas most X-10 gear
transmits with 5V or less. Long cable runs, shoplights, UPS's and switched
power supplies all eat into the X-10 signal in various ways. The XTB cuts
through them all.
Jeff's XTB gear is superbly designed, thoroughly tested and flawlessly
assembled. The kits he's built for me look machine soldered.
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