Lutron has replaced all of the dimmer switched that I purchased (from HD)
for free. In fact, they did it twice because they were apprently defective
(the 2nd round of switches I got unsolicited). You may get the same
courtesy by contacting them:
Lutron Electronics Company Co., Inc.
7200 Suter Road
Coopersburg, PA 18036
Phone Number: 1-(888) LUTRON1
Fax Number: (610) 282-3090
E-Mail Address: E-Mail: email@example.com
A bulb blowing, especially the usual burnout with a bright blue flash,
can take out the dimmer.
The bright blue flash is a "burnout arc", which can briefly draw
something like 100 amps or more for a few milliseconds. The dimmer may be
made as cheaply as possible, and could only "usually" as opposed to really
reliably survive the current surge of a burnout arc.
I have also heard of complaints of a few lightbulbs lacking fusible
links in their necks. Those are supposed to blow if a burnout arc draws a
really bad current surge. In extreme cases, I have heard of bulbs without
fusible links failing badly with the glass bulb popping off the base. My
guess is that the wires violently vaporize adjacent glue/cement due to an
extreme current surge drawn by a burnout arc.
Lightbulbs of "Big 3" brands (GE, Sylvania, Philips) probably have fewer
issues in this area. Store brand lightbulbs of "usual regular shape and
size" and 25, 40, 60, 75 or 100 watts and same hour life expectancy
figures and same lumen light output figures as "Big 3 brand" ones are "Big
3" ones with the only difference being the brand or lack thereof printed
on the top of the bulb.
Lowest prices I have seen for "standard" "Big 3" lightbulbs: At Lowes.
Another idea: Use compact fluorescents and do without the dimmer. Four
7-watt spirals will outshine four 25-watt incandescents, and a 25 watt
incandescent dimmed to the point of consuming 7 watts will produce about
1/4 or less the light of a 7 watt nightlight. If you never or hardly
ever need less light than that and dim only for energy conservation
purposes, go for compact fluorescents if you don't need dimming.
Now another idea: Compact fluorescents often do not do well in
bathrooms often used for short trips - unless they are cold cathode! And
cold cathode ones are dimmable. They are somewhat less efficient than the
usual hot cathode ones, but still a lot more efficient than incandescents.
Online lightbulb sellers sell ones up to 8 watts, which are about as
bright as 25 watt incandescents. They are rated to last 25,000 hours and
do not suffer extra wear from starting, and are even rated for
flashing/blinking duty. What mainly tends to go wrong with those is that
they fade as the phosphor gets worn out over the years, otherwise they
fail from breakage or the electronics blowing from an especially bad power
surge that blows electronic products.
Still another idea: If there is a need for dim light as well as bright
light, the most energy-efficient option is to have separate light sources
for those. (Though dimmable compact fluorescents are a close second and
quite convenient.) The dim-light source could be a nightlight having a
built-in switch and the traditionally incandescent bulb replaced by a 3
watt cold cathode compact fluorescent, such as the 3-watt N:Vision one
available at Home Depot. If you like less light than that, LED
nightlights do well there with usually around 1 watt of power consumption.
- Don Klipstein ( firstname.lastname@example.org)
Are all dimable CFLs cold cathode?
Roughly what happens to CFL efficiency as they are dimmed?
Dimable linear tube fluorescent balasts, IIRC, have a maintained hot
lead to power the filaments. What happens to efficiency as they are dimmed?
You should write a book. In effect, you probably have.
No. The dimmable version of Philips SLS 23 is hot cathode.
I imagine that there is some loss of efficiency when dimming a dimmable
hot cathode CFL, since I suspect the ballast provides some means to keep
the electrodes hot. I am not sure this is the case.
I expect any CFL will operate less efficiently when dimmed, but
generally only slightly less efficiently when dimmed unless the dimming is
very severe. I expect ballast losses to be a higher percentage of input
power during dimming. Incandescents lose effciency much more than
fluorescents do when dimmed.
- Don Klipstein ( email@example.com)
I weird thing about triacs...they are opposed diacs...if you use them
with a DC current...once you turn them on
(gate current)...you can't turn them off.
You have to open the circuit.
They can be used as solid state relays.
(Opposed or back-to-back is really not the right term, triacs are
parallel wired with a common gate diacs.)
Hope this makes sense...I am in my 60s...and if the mind is like the
Triacs are sorta opposed SCRs, not diacs. Diacs are two lead devices,
effectively back to back zener diodes. No current until the voltage
gets to the zener (diode reverse breakover) voltage. Unlike a zener,
the breakover is in both directions. With zener diode, it breakovers
one way, and the other way it acts as a normal diode and conducts
at > .6V.
Diacs were commonly used in triac dimmer cicuits to provide firing
control to the gate, but now I think they do without them.
Right - to turn of a SCR or triac, the voltage across the main terminals
has to drop (close) to zero. With household AC, of course, that
happens 120 times per second.
Tho, I seem to recall something violent you could do with the gate
to get an SCR to shut off without zeroing the voltage. Or at
least a buddy claimed it would cut off if you shorted the gate
to the "nearby" main terminal.
Age and Treachery will Triumph over Youth and Skill
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