I just received 2 free CFL bulbs from our local power company as part of an energy saving campaign. The packaging says that they are not to be used with dimmers or electronic timer switches. I can understand why dimmers might cause a problem but why would electronic timer switches cause a problem and exactly what kind of problem is it (ie reduced bulb life, fire hazard or what?)?
It would depend on the type of timer you are talking about some of the newer digital timers use either a mechanical relay (( you'll here a click when it's energized )) or a Solid state relay ... both of which would work fine for all flouresent loads .... (( the easyest way to tell is read the instructions that came with the timer and see if it will control inductive loads ))
Now the problem is with cheap timers and the automatic security type timers that use cheap triacs with no suppresion / and or rely on a resistive load for powering the unit ((( Very comon with wall switch timers so you don't need to run more/extra wiring to the timer ))) ..... Useing these types of units will ussally not harm the light for a short period of time .... it will how ever case the light to randomly illuminate as the cap in side the unit charges and discharges .... and you may not get full light output when the unit turns on (( if it does )) and or it might flicker ...
And depending on who made/ what type of light your useing it might actually distroy the electronic ballast since they are becoming more and more fussy (( sorry but globes are the worst and smoke the best )) and the phillips SLS 17 watter I have has lived through 7 years of abuse to bad they don't make them anymore )) And you might actually damage your timer ??
So the best Idea if you don't want to distroy your light/timer find a timer that will control it like NOMA's outdoor digital timer with 14 events .............. and the worst case would usally be some smoke but not a fire as most lights are fused (( either with a fuse or buy underrated fets that go pop ))
Hey Creative, thanks for the info. It was a lot more detailed than any source I've tried so far.
It sounds promising given that the timer switches I'm using appear to be of the newer variety that you mentioned (they click when energized). I'll be checking my manuals tonight to make sure.
Your welcome and if you need to know any more info just keep posting I do check them every once and while and if you don't know if your timer can control the lights post the make and model up and I'll see if I've used one before or not (( I've use a few timers with Compact Flouresents even the ones that said you can't )) and I've lost a few to ... if only you could get the magic smoke back in the light ))
I have just started using this forum, but thought that I would post this comment, on the subject raised.
Approximately 4 years ago I undertook an electrical refurbishment program, for a local authority, here in the U.K.
Part of the specification included the supply and fitting of a specified make of bathroom extractor fans, along with other ventilation products from the same manufacturer. These fans were fitted with "over-run" timers [standard enough], and humidity controlers, both integeral components, of the fans. Also fitted, as supplied [free of charge] by local authority [energy conservation project], were enough compact source fluorescent lamps for each dwelling. It was also part of the 'spec that these lamps be fitted "in every lighting outlet". At handover commisioning, when I replaced the temporary tungsten fillament lamps, with the supplied CSF lamps problems developed in every dwelling.
The bathroom lights were connected to the upstairs lighting circuit, as standard. The fans were also connected to this circuit and had, prior to the fitting of these lamps [CSF], worked as specified. After installation of the said, CSF, lamps the fan timers were impossible to set, the opperation of these timers was completely erratic, remove the CSF lamp and everything returned to "normal".
Discussions with both the lamp and fan manufacturers led nowhere, neither would/could apparently offer a solution. The local authority, specifier, accepted the situation and, in order to meet completion dates, allowed me to install ordinary tungsten lamps, in the bathroom areas.
In the same properties the same fans were installed in the utility rooms, along with conventional switch start fluorescents, but these fans were connected, via suitably fused disconnection devices, to the power circuit, for that area. Non of these fans were problematical.
I have not, since that time, tried the same combination fan control/light source.
The lamps as supplied were not made by the company that provide this forum, I did not try another make of CSF lamp, nor fan combination.
I did contact other fan/CSF manufacturers and no-one would say that they had suffered any problems, of the kind described.
There appeared to me [an electrician by training/experience] to be some interference between the two devices, but both manufacturers assured me that their respective devices, were "suitably" immune to such interference.
As the fan contained electronic timing devices this may be linked to your question.
Ok the fan should of had suitable sheilding that should be grounded .. to a good Tested ground .. but even with this there may of been a absense of RFI chokes on the inputs to the fan/controller and compact flouresents emit huge amounts of RFI but so long as they are not emitting either directly or even/odd harmonics on say 121.5 Mhz or 243 Mhz nobody will really say any thing about them other then the fact they interfear with most FM radios and some X10 remotes ..
Now to fix this problem tunsten lights are the easyest solution but if you have to go CFL you might want to try adding a small choke infront of the fan supply and also a small RC bridge (( a small cap and resistor filter for higher frequencies <50/60 Hz )) and try out a better quality CFL ..
And as for the switch start flouresent if it uses a magnetic ballast they emit very little electrical noise and even the electronic high frequency ones run alot cleaner then the CFL's do (( Sorry philips and other CFL makers they are cheap and power line filtering is both more expensive and increases the size of the light's ballast ))
Now I'am not sure what sort of radio standards you have in the UK (( all CFL here in Canada and US all carry FCC standards so they don't interfear with emergancy bands but this does not protect other bands )) so you might also want to check it (( if you have access to spectrum analizer )) you can contact a government radio authorities should it be transmitting ((( this is some thing you would have to look at from your end since each countries laws ares diffrent ))) and then they might come up with a solution for you .... and if you actually get some one in the government who's a radio amature they might be able to tell you how to fix that problem for a few pennies a unit ((( I know wraping the wire thru a small choke will remove unwanted Short wave interferance from most power lines and they only cost like 60 Pence a shot and they are like 30 seconds to install and zero maintance after installation unless some one breaks it there's nothing to fail )))
[quote="Creative"]Ok the fan should of had suitable sheilding that should be grounded .. to a good Tested ground .. but even with this there may of been a absense of RFI chokes on the inputs to the fan/controller and compact flouresents emit huge amounts of RFI but so long as they are not emitting either directly or even/odd harmonics on say 121.5 Mhz or 243 Mhz nobody will really say any thing about them other then the fact they interfear with most FM radios and some X10 remotes ..
And what about RFI, and its influence on TV set and Personal Computer?
Ok home computers .. These use switched mode power supplies and they incorperate RFI control via chokes,capicitors, and other filters ... this is more so not to filter out noise coming in (( have ever it's very effective )) but to filter digital RFI noise going out .. especially on high frequency systems .. (( some computers will even use spread spectrum to try and control RFI emissions ))
Now TV's most use online regulation, now every TV I've seen does have some basic filtering on the power supply in the form of a choke and a set of filtering caps ... but the problem with a TV accepting interfearence is from the antenna in usally so you could use a nice grade of cable with proper ends ... now if your actually useing an antenna (( I don't and have yet to find a bulb the does bother digital sat TV )) you could try moving the light away from the TV antenna, that or use a antenna amplifier as close as possable to the TV antenna ... hence overpowering the interfearance and you can get RFI, EMI filters that plug in like a power bar with coaxal protection on them ......
And the best thing if it's bothering the TV is find some in the neigbhood who's into amature radio and ask them to help you they can and useally will tell you how to fix the problem with the greatest easy ... that and most are pretty friendly to (( never hurts to know the neighboors ))