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Dimmable Compact Fluorescent Lights

 

Compact Fluorescent bulbs must be designed specifically to work on a dimming circuit. Traditional incandescent bulbs dim by reducing the amount of power sent to the bulb. Less power means less heat and less light. Reducing power to a Compact Fluorescent bulb can keep its filament from getting hot enought to work properly, and the bulb simply goes out.

Compact Fluorescent use a ballast (the bulb's engine located inside the ceramic betwween the socket and the bulb) which starts the light and keeps it lit. Early Compact Fluorescent bulbs had magnetic ballasts that did not easily lend themselves to dimming. Electronic ballasts have reduced this problem but some work better than others. Some bulbs work with some dimmers but not others. Ballasts not designed to work on a dimming circuit and get hot enough to be considered a fire hazard.

As all CFLs, our dimmable CFLs require a 60 second run up time to achieve full brightness, as well as have temperature limitations at both extremes. Specific to our dimmable CFL models is that they must be used on modern analog dimmers, which includes all models manufactured after 1995. They will not work on digital dimmers, which although uncommon, may still be found in certain situations, particularly new commercial installations. Dimmable CFLs will not dim to 0% as their incandescent counterparts, which is due to the technology involved. A CFL functions using the same technology as fluorescent lighting, which requires that an arc be maintained between the cathodes. A certain amount of power is required to maintain this arc. There is also power that is consumed in the operation of the ballast. Due to the power consumed by these two items, a dimmable CFL is unable to dim to 0%.

Compact Fluorescent produce about 4 times more light output per watt than incandescent bulbs. Compact Fluorescent also produce significantly more light (measured as lumens) per watt than alternative technologies such as LED and Cold Cathode lights.

Any dimmer after 1995

Our Compact Fluorescents use Amalgam rather than Liquid Mercury. Our Compact Fluorescent's use amalgam for three very important reasons:

1) This allows all of our Compact Fluorescent's to be used in totally enclosed fixtures.

2) The use of amalgam eliminates the environmental concern regarding disposal of Compact Fluorescent's. The mercury used in the lamps is entirely contained inside the almalgam alloy and does not escape when the lamp is destroyed or disposed of. This makes the lamp safer to handle than conventional Compact Fluorescents.

3) Amalgam technology maintains light output in extreme temperatures.

During normal operation of the lamp there are also certain times when the lamp will flicker. This flicker is standard for a dimmable CFL and indicates that the lamp is yet to reach a stable state. This can be expected to occur when the input power to the lamp is being adjusted as the arc is stabilizing. Also, during extremely low dimming situations this indicates that the lamp is not receiving enough power to steadily maintain the arc and the lamp requires more power. Just below this low level at which the lamp flickers, the ballast will automatically shut off due to lack of power. If a lamp is left in a condition in which it continuously flickers, this will lead to failure as it creates a scenario equivalent to continuously turning the lamp on and off.

If dimmed correctly using the proper equipment and left in a stable state at all times, dimming of a CFL lamp will not reduce its average rated life. In situations where the lamp is allowed to flicker constantly or a non-approved dimmer is used, dimming may affect the life of the lamp.

It is important to note that dimming to 0% should not be used as a standard method to turn off the lamp as this still allows for some power to travel through the line. To turn off the lamp, it is important to move the switch into the off position.


www.dimmablecfls.com is wholly owned and operated by David Tyson Lighting, Inc., located in Jacksonville, Florida. They have been in business since 1992 supplying business around the United States and Globally with long lasting lighting products at the lowest possible prices.  

5515 St. Augustine Road
Jacksonville, FL. 32207
PH: 800-385-3148
FAX: 800-385-3149

Copyright 2009/2010, David Tyson, All Rights Reserved.