Photo by Melody
Are you ready? It's time for our 14th annual photo contest! Enter your best pictures of the year, for a chance to win a calendar and annual subscription here. Hurry! Deadline for entries is October 21.

Handyman: Light dimmer/fluorescent lite question

Communities > Forums > Handyman
bookmark
Forum: HandymanReplies: 23, Views: 938
Add to Bookmarks
-
AuthorContent
Horseshoe
Efland, NC
(Zone 7a)

March 14, 2004
12:32 AM

Post #807633

Quick question, folks...

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?

Thanks!
scooterbug
Tellico Plains, TN
(Zone 7b)

March 14, 2004
12:59 AM

Post #807655

http://www.colehardware.com/hotline/2003/11/dimmers.htm


http://www.lighting-fixtures-ceiling-fans.com/dimmer_switches.htm

Hope you find answers here Shoe =)


This message was edited Mar 13, 2004 8:01 PM
Sparks42
Lexington, NC
(Zone 7a)

March 14, 2004
2:25 AM

Post #807715

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.
Sparks42
Lexington, NC
(Zone 7a)

March 14, 2004
2:45 AM

Post #807750

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
will flicker.

It didn't tell how to install a dimmer switch.
Horseshoe
Efland, NC
(Zone 7a)

March 14, 2004
2:58 AM

Post #807757

Okay dokey...thanks Sparks, I wondered what would happen if I used a dimmer on them. So...I could dim them to a certain point, and when they start flickering then give them a tad more power, maybe?

Scooter, thanks for the links. One of them said only certain kinds of fluorescents can be dimmed, I'm sure I don't have that special kind.

Thanks folks!
dpmichael
Rethymno, Crete
Greece
(Zone 10b)

March 14, 2004
5:55 AM

Post #807836

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.

Dimitri
Horseshoe
Efland, NC
(Zone 7a)

March 14, 2004
3:24 PM

Post #808052

Ohhh...I've seen things like that in offices and such. Good idea, Dimitri. I'll have to keep an eye out for something like that.

golddog
Western, PA
(Zone 6a)

March 14, 2004
10:03 PM

Post #808335

I remember back in wiring classes the instructor saying DON'T use a dimmer switch on a fluorescent light. We didn't ask why. We just don't.

The link to Cole Hardware says. a special fixture and compatible dimming control are necessary.

The filtering idea sounds best.

Good luck, and let us know what you did.

Frankay
Northport, ME
(Zone 5b)

March 15, 2004
12:37 AM

Post #808453

Horseshoe, lately I've been hearing about how you and Red Green may be... Is some duct tape in order?
momcat
northeast, IL
(Zone 5a)

April 2, 2004
9:45 PM

Post #826764

Shoe,
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.
Deb
Horseshoe
Efland, NC
(Zone 7a)

April 2, 2004
10:24 PM

Post #826799

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!
momcat
northeast, IL
(Zone 5a)

April 3, 2004
12:57 AM

Post #826964

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.
Deb
Horseshoe
Efland, NC
(Zone 7a)

April 3, 2004
1:14 AM

Post #826979

Ohhhh...okay. I understand. They can be dimmed, but need proper dimmers.

I'll be sure to check out the Sylvania brands. Thanks! Will holler back and let ya know what I can find on the "open market".
SO1
Spokane, WA

August 13, 2004
7:29 AM

Post #1000248

umm... shoe?

heres my two cents...

one cent. get a dimmer switch

two cent... put it in, n get some tape...

three cent... mark on the tape where the lites begin to flicker...

four cent... DON'T GO THERE!!

(ok, thats more than two cents)

:D

Arod

comment: all teh research in the world won't do ya no good till ya use it. meaning, put in the dang switch n find out... lol :D
Horseshoe
Efland, NC
(Zone 7a)

August 13, 2004
3:26 PM

Post #1000702

Hah! Thanks SO1...makes good sense to me!

Michaelp
Glendale, UT
(Zone 5a)

August 15, 2004
12:12 AM

Post #1002592

I tried it, and had to take the dimmer switch back out and replace the ballast.
Horseshoe
Efland, NC
(Zone 7a)

August 15, 2004
1:54 AM

Post #1002675

Hmmm...sorry you blew out your ballast, Michael.

I finally took a good look at this dimmer switch...had to use a magnifying glass to read the back. "Not for use on fluorescent fixtures". Guess that settles that, eh?

Michaelp
Glendale, UT
(Zone 5a)

August 15, 2004
11:52 AM

Post #1002955

I should have used a magnifying glass also ,because I still don't know if anything was written on the back of mine.
morrowsmowers
Glassboro, NJ
(Zone 7a)

March 27, 2005
3:32 AM

Post #1365336

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.

Ken & Sue in Glassboro, NJ
Horseshoe
Efland, NC
(Zone 7a)

March 27, 2005
3:46 AM

Post #1365358

Thanks morrowsmowers,

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

WELCOME TO DG!

Hope to see you around the site!

Shoe.
morrowsmowers
Glassboro, NJ
(Zone 7a)

April 1, 2005
11:44 PM

Post #1378072

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.

Ken & Sue in Glassboro, NJ
Chilko
Precipice Valley, BC
(Zone 2a)

April 3, 2005
7:43 PM

Post #1381293

Shoe, we have one fluorescent fixture that we can raise or lower to reduce the light; and another for which I have a second cover that I tinted. Not as easy as a dimmer switch but cheepcheepcheep!
Horseshoe
Efland, NC
(Zone 7a)

April 4, 2005
5:13 AM

Post #1382199

Hehehe...I luv 'cheep cheep cheep'! Thanks chilko! (Great idea to tint the cover...that just may be what I need to do!)

And again, thanks ken and sue...I logged your info into my memory bank!

Be seeing you both around the site! Great place to hang out, eh?!

benord2000
JERSEY. C. I.
United Kingdom

April 22, 2005
1:01 PM

Post #1419412

we, over here in the UK cannot use dimmer switches for tube lighting , only for bulb lighting

You cannot post until you register and login.


Other Handyman Threads you might be interested in:

SubjectThread StarterRepliesLast Post
Easy "Water Pic" Hole Digger roadrunner 20 Apr 11, 2008 3:43 AM
My rain water harvesting pics Dinu 24 Mar 31, 2009 4:28 PM
a peculiar bookcase (Horseshoe, have a look!!) dpmichael 56 Mar 17, 2007 6:57 PM
concrete stain crestedchik 7 May 30, 2007 4:27 AM
hard to move sliding glass door Janiejoy 10 Jul 9, 2009 3:37 PM


We recommend Firefox
Overwhelmed? There's a lot to see here. Try starting at our homepage.

[ Home | About | Advertise | Media Kit | Mission | Featured Companies | Submit an Article | Terms of Use | Tour | Rules | Privacy Policy | Contact Us ]

Back to the top

Copyright © 2000-2014 Dave's Garden, an Internet Brands company. All Rights Reserved.
 

Hope for America