CFLs flicker when Wall Swtich WS467 is OFF

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Howdy,

I've been slowlyg trying CFLs in the house to see if they work OK wtih our
X10 installation.  We've decided that the quality of light is acceptable for
the energy $ savings.

But, when I put some (N:Vision from Home Depot) 60W CFLs in the kids' room
overehad light, controlled by a WS467, everything was fine until I turned
the lights off.  They don't go fully off!  We get a very low light flicker,
probably 5-10 times a second.  I triple-checked, the wall switch was not
dimming the lights.

Is this a result of the current sense (for local control)?  If so, would the
standard mode for disabling current sense stop this?

It is doubtful that the kids would sleep well with this annyong flicker, but
also likely that it would also damage the CFL electronics eventually.

Thank you for  any input.  Or for pointing me to a more appropriate group.

Jim



Re: CFLs flicker when Wall Swtich WS467 is OFF

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The WS467 is a 2 wire device that requires continuous current
flow to operate.   It normally gets this through the cold filament
of an incandescant lamp.  Put a small incandescant lamp in
parallel with the CFL and the CFL will stop flickering.  I'm
currently using a 15 watt lamp but I plan to try a 4 watt night
light.



Re: CFLs flicker when Wall Swtich WS467 is OFF
Thanks, John.  I'll give that a try.  But the kids might still balk at a
night light in their room - they're way beyond that now.  :-)

However that will be fine for the porch lights.

Jim



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Re: CFLs flicker when Wall Swtich WS467 is OFF
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Yup, disable the current sensing (local control) and the lights will
stop flickering. Been there done that!  :-)

Re: CFLs flicker when Wall Swtich WS467 is OFF
On Sun, 09 Mar 2008 19:19:46 -0700, Gadgets wrote:

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Not quite!  The WS467 is only a two-wire device.  To disable the current
which causes the CFL flickering would remove power from the WS467
circuitry and prevent it from being turned on remotely. (The WS467 does
not have "local sensing" as the term is generally understood for plug-in
lamp modules.)

The OP needs to replace the WS467 with a wall switch designed for
fluorescent lamps.  Note that these all require having a neutral wire in
the switchbox, and generally operate with a relay, so there will be an
audible click when they're turned on or off.


Re: CFLs flicker when Wall Swtich WS467 is OFF

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Yes, another poster (or maybe you earlier) already discussed the two-wire
aspect.  No power, no workie.

For some of the switches I can easily try the trick of a low wattage
incandescent bulb in parallel.  For the others,  the fixture has two bulbs -
for now I'll just try one bulb of each type.  Less than half the energy
savings, but better than none.

I can disable the local dimming feature (which I had to mod te enable) and
can train the kids to NOT dim via the remote [or take away the palm remote
and only let them use the stick-a-switch without dimming control].  They can
hear the wall switch start to buzz (better than I can!) when the dimming
happens so I think they'll stay on top of that.

So, unless we get some spurious dimming, and the wall switches stay on at
100% level, I'm thinking this will be OK.  If you know another reason why it
wouldn't be OK, please let me know.   While I'd rather not buy new switches,
I'd much more rather not have to buy a new house or get new kids.

Thanks again.

Jim




Re: CFLs flicker when Wall Swtich WS467 is OFF
One CFL in parallel with 160 watts of incandescents worked fine with my X10
dimmer until the dimmer burnt out after about 3 weeks.

Another note: CFLs do not dim. Some are rated to be used on dimmers (safe)
but they cannot dim. I have tried a few brands now.


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Re: CFLs flicker when Wall Swtich WS467 is OFF

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The assertion that "CFLs do not dim" is at best misleading.

There are in fact *many* CFLs that are _designed_ to be dimmed just as there
are CFLs that are _not_ so designed.

A google of "dimmable CFL" returns 167,000 hits.
  
The topic of dimmable CFL's has been discussed many times in this newsgroup.

I have four or five different types of dimmable CFLs including, as previously
discussed in c.h.a,  outdoor-rated, candelabra-base, warm, dimmable n:Vision
CFLs from Home Depot -- the largest home improvement store chain in the US.
These CFLs and others dim jist fine in my experience and for my purposes.

HTH ... Marc

Visit my ongoing Home Automation and Electronics Internet Porch Sale at
www.ECOntrol.org/porch_sale.htm

Marc_F_Hult
www.ECOntrol.org

Re: CFLs flicker when Wall Swtich WS467 is OFF
I have a Sylvania and a GE dimmable CFL and neither one can be dimmed. They
do start amazingly fast and without any flicker though. Oh yeah, one works
in -30 C in my garage just fine.


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Re: CFLs flicker when Wall Swtich WS467 is OFF

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Your assertion that dimmable "CFLs do not dim" is patently false.

What model number of "GE dimmable CFL" do you have ?  Is it a FLE26HT3 or
FLE15HT3 (both "dimmable to 20% of maximum light output")

What model Sylvania? Is it a Dulux® EL 15 watt BR30 (dimmable to 10% of full
light output") ?

If the CFLs you have are described and sold as dimmable CFLs by those
manufacturers, then either your dimmer, or the particular CFLs you have, or
both are defective.

... Marc

Visit my ongoing Home Automation and Electronics Internet Porch Sale at
www.ECOntrol.org/porch_sale.htm

Marc_F_Hult
ECOntrol.org

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Re: CFLs flicker when Wall Swtich WS467 is OFF
Do you have any idea how a CFL  and a dimmer works?


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Re: CFLs flicker when Wall Swtich WS467 is OFF
From some research I have discovered that
1) Dimmable CFLs have only started to be produced in 2007 ...maine are older
than that.
2) Dimmable CFL bulbs have a very limited range of dimming
3) It takes a special dimmer to make them work. Most reports tell us that
they do not dim with many dimmers.

http://www.edf.org/page.cfm?tagID=633&fixture=0&shape=0&feature1=1


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Re: CFLs flicker when Wall Swtich WS467 is OFF

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Utter nonsense.  Whoever " "John J. Bengii" actually is was duped by his
naive googling and the self-promoting PR from yet another entrant into the
crowded dimmable CFL arena.

Like many other folks, I've had -- and dimmed! -- 'dimmable' CFLs for years.

Visit
http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?fuseaction=cfls.advanced_cfl_search_submit
to 'research' just the 63 different ENERGY STAR qualified dimmable CFLS that
are available. Many have been available for years or supercede previous
versions.

Using the search tools at the site, one can learn that there were at least
three different manufacturers of ENERGY STAR qualified dimmable CFLs by 2002.

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Whoever posts as " "John J. Bengii"  has demonstrated that s/he doesn't know
a dimmable CFL from a dim bulb.

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Many are dimmable in a 10:1 ratio of Full:Dimmed actual light output. How is
that "very limited"? It is equivalent to unscrewing 9 out of 10 light bulbs
in a multi-lamp candelabra.

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Wrong. It does not "take[s] a special dimmer to make them work".  Apparently
whoever posts as " "John J. Bengii" thinks that there is a single technology
that just arrived in 2007!

But one touted claim of that technology is that it works  with the
conventional manual and electronically controlled, TRIAC-based, phase-control
AC dimming technology that has been prevalent for the past 30 years. As have
many other dimmable CFLs for years.

... Marc

Visit my ongoing Home Automation and Electronics Internet Porch Sale at
www.ECOntrol.org/porch_sale.htm

Marc_F_Hult
www.ECOntrol.org

Re: CFLs flicker when Wall Swtich WS467 is OFF

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Do you have any idea how obviously unrelated the question of what my
expertise may be is to your unhelpful, un-informed, clownish assertion that
'dimmable CFLs don't dim'  ?

(FWIW, I have designed, built, tested and used AC lighting dimmers for use in
my home using analog (ramp + comparator) and microcontroller phase-control
techniques (AVR and 8051-based) using discrete SCR and modular (SSR;
solid-state relay) output stages with analog (0-10vdc), direct mechanical,
and digital (DMX512 / DMX-512) controls.

And I have quantitatively measured, under controlled circumstances, the
actual dimming of incident light from actual 'dimmable' CFLs using those
dimmers.  

Among other related experiences.)

... Marc

Visit my ongoing Home Automation and Electronics Internet Porch Sale at
www.ECOntrol.org/porch_sale.htm

Marc_F_Hult
www.ECOntrol.org

Re: CFLs flicker when Wall Swtich WS467 is OFF
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Hmm.  I checked X10 site (just for giggles) and here is what they say about
that:
http://kbase.x10.com/wiki/Incandescent_Lights_Only
"Also, this [fluorescent light] ballast is an inductive load. Controlling
such a load could permanently damage the Wall Switch Module."

I guess you are right - that triac circuit just isn't cut out for that type
of load.

That means my pay-off time just got extended since I'll have to replace at
least 4 WS467 [or just go back to manual swtich]... and I doubt I have a
neutral line handy, so add an electrician.  Yep, I think the CFLs will save
me money in about 20 years.  Sigh.

Jim

PS  Comment about dimming CFLs deleted as I don't want to dim them.



Re: CFLs flicker when Wall Swtich WS467 is OFF
On Thu, 20 Mar 2008 15:01:10 -0400, "Robert Green"

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My experience also. There are several effects that make the dimming of a
CFL a different experience from dimming a typical incandescent lamp.  

In my mind, there are at least three different 'regimes' in the dimming
effect of an incandescent lamp:

    1) A range near maximum output in which the output diminishes,
       but the change in color temperature is minimal

    2) A greatly dimmed range in which the increased warmth (decrease
          in color temperature) is part-and-parcel of the 'dimming'
           effect

    3) a range near extinction in which the apparent illumination
       of distant objects may be negligible depending in large part
       on the status of our eyes' dark adaptation, but the lamp
       filament produce a candle-like effect and provides a local
       "point of light" which may be all that is needed or desired for
some purposes.

(I suspect that there are technical terms for these phenomena of which I
am ignorant (for now ;-)

By and large, dimming of CFLs don't have these 'regimes' so the actual
decrease in light output _seems_ less. Quantitative comparisons with a
light meter are illuminating (pun intended).

These effects are one of the reasons why LED lighting is becoming more
exciting with each incremental technological advance. The use of Red Green
Blue (RGB) arrays, sometimes controlled as in the entertainment lighting
arena by DMX512  (DMX-512 ; DMX-512a) make it possible to control color
temperature and illumination level _independently_.

In our kitchen we have both ceiling cans (which can be either/and
incandescent and CFLs, and dimmed, 12VDC MR26 lamps which can be either
LED Halogen incandescent. I 'spect that in the not too distant future I'll
be experimenting with RGB LEDs in that location.

Maybe with something like akin to this remote-controlled 5watt RGB Full
Color Mr26 LED Spotlight

http://eliteenterprises.trustpass.alibaba.com/product/100445376/5w_
RGB_Full_Color_Mr26_LED_Spotlight.html

... Marc

Visit my ongoing Home Automation and Electronics Internet Porch Sale at
www.ECOntrol.org/porch_sale.htm

Marc_F_Hult
www.ECOntrol.org

Re: CFLs flicker when Wall Swtich WS467 is OFF
On Wed, 19 Mar 2008 09:48:54 -0400, "John J. Bengii"

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On Wed, 19 Mar 2008 22:24:12 -0400, "John J. Bengii"

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On Thu, 20 Mar 2008 12:49:09 -0400, "John J. Bengii"

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Whoever it is that posts as "John J. Bengii" is both a fountain of
misinformation and apparently unwilling or unable to competently search the
very newsgroup he is polluting with his nonsense.

The topic of how to dim a dimmable Philips compact fluorescent lamp (CFL)
with an X-10 WS467 (see thread Subject) was addressed as early as February
1999 -- nine (9) years ago ! -- in  comp.home.automation (c.h.a).

See:

http://groups.google.com/group/comp.home.automation/browse_thread/thread /
25783e925ffd8ce4/602ea48d1584867f?lnk=gst&q=dimmable+cfl#602ea48d1584867f

JVHRoberts wrote on February 3 1999 in comp.home.automation:
 
    "OK, folks, I did it!! I added a white neutral wire to the
    WS467, and it turns on, off dims, and everything, with
    the Philips dimmable compact fluorescent."


HTH ... Marc

Marc_F_Hult
www.ECOntrol.org

Re: CFLs flicker when Wall Swtich WS467 is OFF
Troll away, clown.

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Re: CFLs flicker when Wall Swtich WS467 is OFF

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I did mark them all!  We'll just have to hpe for reasonable warranty
replacements (do they ALL require you to send in the bad bulb?  That lmost
defeats the entire purpose since I could almost buy a new one for the same
price.  Oh, good marketing ploy!)
And my recessed lighting cans are just that - complete, empty cans with a
socket in the middle at the top.  So they will have lots of room around the
electronics part of the bulb.  I only now realized this when talking to a
friend who told me that he couldn't get his CFL flood lights to fit into his
precisely because there is no such room.  So maybe I'll be OK here.

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Yeah, I keep stuff like that, too.  Too much the engineer -"now why did that
fail the way it did???"


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Yeah, the more I study this, the more I agree with you.  It will likely not
be possible to make a fully plug-compatible replaclement CFL for a tungsten.
We just gotta figure out what featuers are imptorant and find the ones that
meet those requirements.

I'll try to call N:Vision and give them the feedback.

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Oh, isn't that the truth!

Jim



Re: CFLs flicker when Wall Swtich WS467 is OFF
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particularly
mark
the
bases.
the
his

If my experience with cooling ever-hotter generations of CPU generalizes to
CFL cooing, there has to be a pretty good and unimpeded airflow to keep the
temperatures down.  A very big fixture could still overheat if there's no
exit at the top for the hot air.  Lots of recessed lighting elements were
designed to tolerate high heat rather than dissipate it.  That's not what
CFL's need.

I'd do a test run.  If, after six months, if I had premature failures or
very slow starting or serious darkening I would measure the temperature at
the top of the cans to see if I could bring it down a bit.  It's important
to compare a new bulb to the existing ones at this point because the
darkening is hard to notice without a new bulb to make the comparison.  If I
found problems, in the worst case scenario I'd put a 12VDC cooling fan at
the point with the highest temperature and see if I could vent the output to
a cooler area.  However, you should be able to generate enough airflow by
convection that you won't need a fan.

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analysis
that

After my first Lights of America (made in China!) CFL bulbs failed I
realized that the longevity was not going to match the package claims, so I
began keeping records, receipts, saved bulbs and an ever-lengthening list of
"not quite plug compatible" discrepancies, the worst of which is  "won't
work without a neutral at the switch with X-10."

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Do
lights
a
bulbs in
throughout the
safety.
not
tungsten.
that

It's a reminder that this great country was built on a spirit of compromise.
Every day I've got to compromise something, somewhere!  It's time to
compromise and buy another batch of plug-in X-10 filters.

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Good idea.  X-10 users are probably not big on their list but I'll bet with
a little wheel squeaking we can move up.

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each


Well, the project's going slowly enough to give them time to figure it out.
There's no end of fun running romex through old wood, brick, plaster and
lathe.

--
Bobby G.




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