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Small progress - Phil's Rambling Rants
March 3rd, 2007
07:19 pm

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Small progress
The main overhead light in my bedroom hasn't worked for a couple of years.  On Thursday, while shopping, I picked up a replacement socket.  This afternoon, I spent something like half an hour trying to figure out which circuit breaker I needed to turn off, but once I eventually got the right one (it was labeled as being for a different room), I was able to disassemble the fixture, pop out the shorted socket, pop in the replacement, and put it back together.  The new socket is a teeny bit longer than the old one, and a 13 watt compact fluorescent bulb only just barely fit inside the cover glass; with the new one I can't put the cover on, so I just have a bare bulb until I can find someone who'll sell me slightly larger covers that fit my fixtures.  But I have a light in my bedroom.  And even though I've been blowing off stuff I need to be doing all day, I now have a small feeling of accomplishment to feel good about.

(CF bulbs are great, but they have two failings that nobody seems to be willing to acknowledge.  One is that they're not actually as bright as they claim; when a 60 watt incandescent was just barely adequate, a 13 watt CF is too dim.  But the bigger failing is that CFs are bigger than the incandescents they replace.  When they first came out they were a whole lot bigger and never fit; now they're only a little bigger, but it's still enough that they don't fit in a lot of fixtures.)

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From:sraun
Date:March 4th, 2007 02:14 am (UTC)
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I've never put them side-by-side, but we've been happy with 13 watt CFs replacing 60 watt incandescents. There's a definite start-up period - they are perceptibly dimmer for the first couple of minutes (maybe longer depending on the ambient temperature).

The size factor can be a big problem! We couldn't put CFs in one of our bedrooms because of that. Hmm - I should go check that - we've been getting some CFs from IKEA that are enough smaller that they might fit. The problem wasn't the base, it was the bulb size - IKEA is selling some that are the same form-factor as an incandescent except for the over-size base.
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From:whl
Date:March 4th, 2007 03:30 am (UTC)
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I've noticed the at least seeming difference in brightness, and when I replaced a 60 watt bulb recently, I used a 22 watt CF, normally intended to replace 75 watt bulbs.

I've been checking to see if the amount of heat this generates exceeds the 60 watt limit on the fixture it is in; I suspect it won't.

One other issue is if you are using X10 to control your lights. What I hear is that enough power is "leaked" through the lamp modules (to detect the manual switching of the lamp) to make the lights glow all the time. Thus I've only been putting them in fixtures that are controlled by the relay based appliance modules.

Older issues, which might be solved in modern CFs: some were not to be used upside down, and others were not to be used outdoors.
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From:tigertoy
Date:March 4th, 2007 04:25 am (UTC)
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I find the 22 watt ones nice and bright, but where the 13 watt ones just barely fit in most of my fixtures the 22 watt ones just plain don't. I need to get half a dozen bigger fixture covers.
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From:msminlr
Date:March 4th, 2007 12:15 pm (UTC)
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Are these the totally-enclosed type that fit into a collar with three screws to hold it in?
Lowe's and their major competitors all have fairly wide selections of replacements for these.
Just take the old one along to make sure the new one has the same neck size.
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From:tigertoy
Date:March 4th, 2007 12:36 pm (UTC)
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They are the bowl that screws into a neck type, and I think they're standard size. As you say, I need to bring along one of the old ones. Champaign has a specialty lighting store, but I expect prices would be high there; I'll have to see what Lowe's has.
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From:beige_alert
Date:March 4th, 2007 04:27 am (UTC)
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The "60 watt limit" is about the heat output, not the light output. A 22 watt bulb can't exceed the heat output of a 60 watt incandescent bulb!

X10 is an issue. Of course you can only use the relay-based units, not the triac dimmers. Usually the local-control current will cause weird glowing or attempts to start, so you have to hack the module to disable the local control. Instructions on which lead to cut can be found on the internet.

Usually the claimed light output figures are a bit optimistic. There is also always some warm-up period, though some of mine start an near full output, and others start *very* dim before they warm up. CFs vary widely in their characteristic, and unfortunately it seems like you can't buy the some kind twice, since brand names and model names and availability change constantly, which also makes it hard for anyone to offer useful reviews, since you probably won't be able to find whatever they recommend, or it will be under a different name, or the name they give will now be something totally different.

CFs have been out for a long time now, and it's been irrational to use anything else for any light that gets significant use for many years, so in my mind the wonder is not that they are slightly bigger than the obsolete incandescents but that light fixture manufacturers *still* have not figured out the size of a normal light bulb, which is a bit bigger these days than it was when I was born.
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From:whl
Date:March 4th, 2007 05:24 am (UTC)
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Yeah, I realize it's about the heat, having seen a nicely browned warning label once.

The 22 watt CF does only barely clear the shade support "harp" in this particular lamp.

The information about how to find which trace to cut will come in handy, eventually, although for the moment I don't want to modify the hardware. Fortunately, I have 3 relay units.
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From:mbumby
Date:March 4th, 2007 03:30 am (UTC)
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I agree with you on the too dim point. And the size -- I just got a fan installed in the bathroom, and it has a place for a light, and even the quite-small CFs I bought at Sam's just don't fit.
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