I've put light dimmer switches on the wall for incandescent lights before but was wondering if anyone has ever used them to dim a fluorescent light before.
Would there be a big mal-foogerty? Would it mess up the light? (Those fluorescent lights need power to light the gas in them and didn't know if the dimmer switch would be safe.)
The reason I ask is I have two 4 ft shop lights on the ceiling in my shoffice and sometimes the glare is too much. I was thinking of putting in a dimmer switch so I can reduce the light (and the glare).
Does this sound feasible, or am I gonna mess something up?
Shoe, I have never heard of dimming flourescents and I do know which wire not to grab. Would think once you lowered the power the lights would just start flickering, then go out. You have aroused my curiosiity and will see what I can find out about it.
Guess I was mistaken. The following is taken out of context from some kind of research paper.
According to my previous research, we can only reduce light
levels emitted by the fluorescent tubes by up to 40% using a dimmer
switch--if we attempt to lower the levels any further the lights
Hi Horseshoe, I was wondering if you can get your job done by adding aluminium blocks under your lights, or by switching to lower watt lamps. Aluminium blocks are made of light aluminium sheet, they come in a trellis-like or honey-comb like pattern and block oblique rays allowing only the vertical ones to reach their target - I am not sure if you can find them on their own or you have to pay for new lights altogether.
There are dimming fluorescent ballasts. I'm not sure how readily available they are. Sylvania makes some, I'm not sure who else. I work for Sylvania in R&D on electronic ballasts for fluorescent lighting. If there is anything you need to know I will try to find the answers. We make some that will dim down to 10%, no flickering whatsoever.
Howdy Folks...just now getting back to this thread.
I never did add the dimmer switch...when I got it out of my supply box I read the back, "To prevent over-heating and chance of fire do not use with fluorescent lights or motored appliances". So, that settled that problem, eh?
Maybe it was just the dimmer switch I had. Maybe there are others that CAN be used with fluorescents?
Momcat, it sounds like it is not the light so much as it is the ballast? I better check those out at Lowes or Home Depot next time and see what they offer there. Thanks!
Yes, Shoe, it is the ballast that makes it dimable. I know we are making more and more dimming ballasts. You can get some fluorescents to dim somewhat by lowering the input voltage, if you have that capability, but once they get below 75 to 80 volts input on a ballast made to operate at 120V, the lamps will generally start to flicker. The dimmer switches for fluorescents are, I believe, different from your standard dimmer switches.
To dim a fluorescent you need a combination of a special dimmable ballast with a fluorescent dimmer. This is an expensive combination. You could rewire the fixtures so you could control each of the bulbs in a fixture seperately and this would allow you to cut the light output down much more easily.
Since this first post I found a dimmer switch that was made for fluorescent lights. Not sure what the difference is. However, it was expensive (for me) so I just decided to turn off the overhead lights when they are too irritating and use table lamps.
By the way, just noticed your joining date...please accept a big hearty
The fluorescent dimming ballast is a special package of circuits that is made to work with the dimming ballast that you must install in the fixture. You need both of them used together to get fluorescents to dim properly -- and then you can only get so much dimming before the light becomes useless and then just plain goes out. There are ways to "stage" lights in a fluorescent fixture to give lesser or more light as needed that would be much easier than dimming if you don't really need the dimming feature.