Compact flourescent bulb located outside is dim, even after a few minutes

thorsnessthorsness Solar Expert Posts: 52 ✭✭✭
Up at our cabin, we installed a two battery, inverter-solar panel-generator supplemented light system. I ran about 50' of cable out to the woodshed this summer (on the way to the outhouse) and we put a light out there with it's own switch, etc. I have noticed that the bulb in the woodshed is never as bright as the bulbs inside the cabin. The temps have been between 10* f and 28* f so it's not been that cold.
One thing I thought of as I wrote this is to plug a light into the outlet we have out there and see if I still have the same problem. Any ideas or suggestions? Thanks.

Comments

  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 9,361 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Compact flourescent bulb located outside is dim, even after a few minutes

    Sine or square wave inverter ?

    Are the bulbs very light weight (electronic ballast) or heavy (iron ballast)

    Try measuring the voltage at the outlet, with the light on

    Try swapping bulb locations
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  • BrockBrock Solar Expert Posts: 633 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Compact flourescent bulb located outside is dim, even after a few minutes

    Is the fixture enclosed, if so it should warm up in 5 or so minutes to match the inside lights. If it's not enclosed where heat can build up try one of the enclosed lamps, they tend to look like a normal light bulb with a plastic or glass cover.

    If it's not on much or for a long time an incandescent might be in order since they get to full brightness right away. Even enclosed outside here at 0F they take about 10 minutes to get up to full brightness and they start dim, like barely noticeable, but do warm up.
    3kw solar PV, 8 L16's, xw 5548, Honda eu2000i, iota DLS-54-13, Leaf EV, 4 ton horizontal geothermal, grid tied - Green Bay, WI
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,007 admin
    Re: Compact flourescent bulb located outside is dim, even after a few minutes

    Also try different brands of bulbs... And I have found that, some bulbs, if they are not used a lot will take a while to "warm up" after a few months of non-use.

    The other type to try would be small Halogen bulbs... A good Halogen light+reflector is very energy efficient too (in terms of lumens per watt).

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • thorsnessthorsness Solar Expert Posts: 52 ✭✭✭
    Re: Compact flourescent bulb located outside is dim, even after a few minutes

    Thanks to all. Will try the enclosed bulb style and see.
    We're gaining daylight and charging amps every day!

    thorsness
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Compact flourescent bulb located outside is dim, even after a few minutes

    i say go with an incandescent out there. something in the low wattage range(15-40w) would do and i suspect you won't be there very long in the cold so it won't be used as a library. maybe a refrigerator bulb would do it. if that's too much then consider some leds, but they will be about equal to night lights. i say the incandescent won't be on long enough to make a big dent in your overall power consumption unless you have lots of people staying there. the cfl won't be bright until after you've finished so this is a waste.
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: Compact flourescent bulb located outside is dim, even after a few minutes

    I've been using CF's outside for well over 10 years. The earlier ones would never get above half brightness in cold weather ( zero degrees F, or -18 C) the newer Sylvania ones however have really surprised me, as after a minute or so - - - full brightness. They all however have to be protected from wind chill.
    Wayne
  • thorsnessthorsness Solar Expert Posts: 52 ✭✭✭
    Re: Compact flourescent bulb located outside is dim, even after a few minutes

    Thanks guys.
    Neil, was your suggestion of a "refrigerator bulb" intentional? Good joke it was.
    I'll give the enclosed CF a shot and if it doesn't work, then a small incandescant.
    At this early stage of having my small system, i am a bit stingy about actually using energy. I need to ease up a bit and enjoy the light. After all, it's 99% free from now until November. It sure beats those dim, sooty, inefficient propane lights we used to have.

    Thorsness
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Compact flourescent bulb located outside is dim, even after a few minutes

    yes, pun intended.
  • thorsnessthorsness Solar Expert Posts: 52 ✭✭✭
    Re: Compact flourescent bulb located outside is dim, even after a few minutes

    Success.
    Tried an enclosed 60W equivalent CF this weekend and even though temp was 3* f, it burned nice and bright! It outshone the unenclosed spiral 100w equivalent CF times 10. No contest. So, thanks guys for the advice.

    Thorsness
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: Compact flourescent bulb located outside is dim, even after a few minutes

    Great news! Things are definitely getting better with the newer CF's.
    Wayne
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