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Posted: 31 January 2010 at 3:18pm | IP Logged Quote 

After searching the internet for more information on dimming CFL's, I have found that there is much confusion on the types of dimmer that can work with them. There are also multiple warnings that non dimming CFL's must not be used with a dimmer (even if left on 100%), as the ballast will overheat and may burst in to flames

More warnings go on to mention that any CFL should not be used in an enclosed fitting, which again is probably due to the ballast overheating. Even more warnings state that the 10,000 hour MTBF is only attainable if the bulb does not overheat (It cooks the electronic components which then fail early)

Clearly we need to know what is going on here, as even Megaman state that an "inductive" dimmer is required. Most others state that a "mechanical" dimmer is required, or that "touch" dimmers will not work, or even that soft start dimmers are the work of the devil.

Now forgive me for stating the obvious, but surely 90% of dimmers in use in the UK will use a semiconductor triac, and will chop the sinusoid to reduce the power ? What are these inductive or mechanical dimmers ?? Something from the Victorian era ?

I've done a lot of reading, and can't get any good information here, so I have contacted Megaman and asked this very question.

Put this another way - if you use dimming CFL's and your house burns down due to your use of a "non approved dimmer", the insurance company computer might say NO when you try to claim !

Does anybody have any good information on this ?
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turbotimbo
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Posted: 31 January 2010 at 5:39pm | IP Logged Quote turbotimbo

Hi Homer,

Thanks for sharing your researce, as you say it is very confusing. I did do some experimentation with dimmable CFLs myself a few months back, but when they are about £10 each and don't do what you want I decided the best course of action was to postpone further experiments for a few years until they become more widely available and the price drops.

I have a simple rule now: where I need X10 and BBSB dimming lamp modules, I use incandesant bulbs. I use CFLs only with the appliance modules and ordinary household switches.

 

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Rob Iles
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Posted: 31 January 2010 at 11:41pm | IP Logged Quote Rob Iles

I don't know if I'm lucky or not, but I've explained to a few places my involvement with Harmony, and potential sales etc, and they're usually willing to give a couple of samples (even if only on loan).

I'll try to make some time to run through some good uns - - nothing so far has been noteworthy :-(

Rob
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Posted: 01 February 2010 at 10:47pm | IP Logged Quote 

Well the lack of response so far from a company that appears to sell the most advanced dimmable CFL's makes me think that turbotimbo has it right here.

I have always been a fan of dimmers, and I use various types all around the house. Due to this I don't use the full rated wattage of most of the incandescent bulbs I own, so I am already saving power. In my lounge when I am watching tv in the evening, I have an 80W table lamp on so low that it is dimmer than a candle. FYI even my old french 500W standard lamp draws only 80W when on its dimmest setting (but I don't use that now).

I'm beginning to think that these CFL bulbs are a dead end technology, and to use them means that I have to replace all of my dimmers - which would probably have to be replaced again for the next quick fix which hopefully doesn't use quite as many toxic chemicals.

Why should I replace my candle power tv light filament bulb with a CFL that will only dim to 20% ?

Come on people, post your thoughts.......
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turbotimbo
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Posted: 01 February 2010 at 11:01pm | IP Logged Quote turbotimbo

Right on Homer!
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Posted: 02 February 2010 at 9:28pm | IP Logged Quote 

Tick tick tick, still no answer from Megaman.

Since I still have my dimmable cfl's from my earlier thread plugged in to ordinary household dimmers, I guess I now need to measure the temperature the ballasts are running at before they burn my house down. With no other information being available from the manufacturers, this appears to be the only course of action.

The manufacturers appear to have left this potential safety hazard as ambiguous as possible, and it's at our risk. When a filament bulb fails, it only goes 'pop' !


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Posted: 06 February 2010 at 4:00pm | IP Logged Quote 

OK, Megaman have replied. Here is their expansive answer:

Good Morning, if you go on our website www.megamanuk.com, on the left hand side, click Megaman technology and then scroll down to dimmerable and click that. There will then be a list of all the dimmer switches we have tested with our lamps.   These are recommended with our lamps as other dimmer switches can damage our lamps. Please find attached some information on our dimmer range.   If you have any other questions please feel free to email me. Kind regards    Stephanie Kitching

The attached information includes lists of dimmers that will work with cfl's including some Rako dimmers. Searching on the Rako website to see why they should work when others don't basically takes me to the same dead end

What the Rako information does tell me, is that for £101.28 (+vat) you get a dimmer that will ONLY work with Megaman dimmerable bulbs ! Please take that into account when buying these dimmers - As stated before, how many years until the next non compatible technology forces you to change all of your dimmers again (And at £120 each).......

This clearly is a minefield.
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