CFL question

ggunnggunn ✭✭✭Solar Expert Posts: 1,973 ✭✭✭
Last night I noticed a CFL loaded lamp in my living room flickering between two states of brightness. I reached under the shade to make sure the lamp was screwed in tight and burned my hand (mild 1st degree) when I touched it where the tube connects to the base; it was as hot as an incandescent bulb. Is this normal? Is there any history of CFL's starting fires? I replaced the CFL.

Comments

  • CariboocootCariboocoot ✭✭ Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: CFL question

    Well I have had and still do have a lot of CFL bulbs. The bases get warm, but not burning hot. I'd say something was wrong with that one and it was probably going to fail soon anyway.
  • peakbaggerpeakbagger ✭✭✭ Solar Expert Posts: 341 ✭✭✭
    Re: CFL question

    I watched on self destruct a few weeks ago,initially it flickered a bit and then one day I heard a scorching noise and it burned real bright for brief time. I shut the power off and it was quite hot to the touch. It didnt ignite anything externally but I expect in the right conditions it might have.
  • mike95490mike95490 ✭✭✭✭✭ Solar Expert Posts: 8,415 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: CFL question

    I've read of several instances of CFL's self-immolating, but just the bulb and its electronic base (and it's mercury payload).
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  • RandomJoeRandomJoe ✭✭✭ Solar Expert Posts: 472 ✭✭✭
    Re: CFL question

    I had one self-immolate. Started with flickering bright/dim, then started to "hiss". I got up and started for the switch, but before I got there the bulb flared up - tons of smoke, *seemed* like a flame but that may have just been the light (the bulb was still shining) reflecting off the smoke. Then I flipped the switch - and changed my drawers... ;)

    I've had several other bulbs die, generally only knew they were dead by looking up and seeing they weren't on (all were in multi-bulb fixtures). That was the only one that gave me a light show! Some of the others did have signs indicating they might have emitted smoke though - cracked base, some blackening around the crack.
  • nielniel ✭✭✭✭ Solar Expert Posts: 10,311 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: CFL question

    i had several of the older cheap ones go on me and i can say i wouldn't have paper or something that would catch fire quickly that close to one.
  • PNjunctionPNjunction ✭✭✭ Solar Expert Posts: 762 ✭✭✭
    Re: CFL question

    Note that CFL's don't like to be used in 3-way lamp sockets. If so, change them out to plain old on/off 2-way sockets.
  • solar_davesolar_dave ✭✭✭✭ Solar Expert Posts: 2,344 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: CFL question
    PNjunction wrote: »
    Note that CFL's don't like to be used in 3-way lamp sockets. If so, change them out to plain old on/off 2-way sockets.

    Well it depends, 3 way sockets on lamps are just doubling filament switches, and if the bulb base is made to the normal socket standard they will work fine. I have several setup that way with no issues.
  • RandomJoeRandomJoe ✭✭✭ Solar Expert Posts: 472 ✭✭✭
    Re: CFL question

    Perhaps he meant the "dim/full" type lamps that use a standard bulb? I have several floor lamps that have that sort of thing built in - pretty sure they just switch a diode inline for the "dim" setting, supplying half-wave AC.

    CFLs will illuminate on the half-wave setting, but are a little dimmer. Never ran one any length of time to see what would happen.

    LED bulbs may or may not! :) My Philips LED bulbs apparently only use the OTHER half-wave. They don't come on at all in the "dim" position.

    I've never bothered to rewire any of the lamps. If I used the switches more I would but I have them on wall switches. The built-in ones fail if used much anyway - these are just the $20 or $30 floor lamps from Home Depot, nothing fancy.
  • BB.BB. admin Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,629 admin
    Re: CFL question

    The older CFL bulbs that used a "real" inductor based ballast will either not work and/or over heat when run on 1/2 wave setting (diode).

    I am not sure if any "modern" CFL bulbs out there still use inductive ballasts, but I would be hesitant using CFL/LED bulbs on 1/2 rectifiers--They may over heat/fail early.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • solarvicsolarvic ✭✭✭✭ Solar Expert Posts: 1,053 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: CFL question

    I have a couple of The circle cfl lights made by LIGHTS OF AMERICA That I bought more than 10 years ago I like. Threw a couple away when the quit working. Found that you could buy the circle bulb without the ballast, so bought some of them. Think when the bulb starts to flicker or dims that the bulb is ready to fail and will blow the ballast if you don,t change the bulb. I have a lot more bulbs than ballast so I get the bulb changed before the ballast gets ruined. Also I have a couple table lights with three way switches and the bulbs have been in them for years. The switch is the manual kind that you always turn clockwise to turn on the different positions solarvic
  • waynefromnscanadawaynefromnscanada ✭✭✭✭ Solar Expert Posts: 3,009 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: CFL question
    BB. wrote: »
    The older CFL bulbs that used a "real" inductor based ballast will either not work and/or over heat when run on 1/2 wave setting (diode).

    I am not sure if any "modern" CFL bulbs out there still use inductive ballasts,

    -Bill
    The ones with the "real" inductive ballast are long a thing of the past. They're all electronic now, and after converting the 60 Hz AC to DC, it's run through an inverter that supplies the "bulb" with 20Khz or higher frequency power. Operating at over 10 Khz gives about 5 % more light than 60 Hz, thus the change for efficiency, PLUS, a few electronic components are now far cheaper and far lighter than the old traditional inductor ballast and eliminate the 60 or 120 Hz strobing of the lamp that many of us could detect. Another plus is the pulsing flickering start of the "real" inductor lamps is eliminated with the electronics, and of course we now have instant start, which was impossible with the old inductor type ballast.
  • ShadowcatcherShadowcatcher ✭✭✭ Solar Expert Posts: 228 ✭✭✭
    Re: CFL question

    I have replaced all but a few of our CFL's with LED, The CFL's are only in occasionally on locations.
  • waynefromnscanadawaynefromnscanada ✭✭✭✭ Solar Expert Posts: 3,009 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: CFL question
    I have replaced all but a few of our CFL's with LED, The CFL's are only in occasionally on locations.

    Did likewise, total conversion. I like the LEDs better, no delayed start and instant full brightness, especially outside in the cold. And speaking of cold, up here in Winter the outside temps are often so cold the outside CFLs wouldn't get up to anything near full brightness until Spring brought warmer temps. Now with the LEDs, no matter how cold it gets here, it's instant on full brightness!
    Speaking of outside lights, I MUCH prefer Daylight "bulbs" for outside use. Anything "warmer" gives me yellow/brown snow and strange looking trees.
    With Daylight bulbs I don't have to eat yellow, or worse, brown snow. :D
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