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Thread: Flickering lights on circuit with low voltage and line voltage bulbs

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    Default Flickering lights on circuit with low voltage and line voltage bulbs

    Hoping someone can give me some ideas on a flickering light situation. Here is the background:
    *
    On a single circuit I have 6 low voltage lights and 6 line voltage high hats. They are all controlled by 4 switches, 1 of which is a dimmer. When first installed 5 years ago, it worked fine with incandescent bulbs in the high hats. A few weeks ago I switched the incandescent to CFLs. Two weeks later the low voltage lights are flickering (even when not using the dimmer). The CFLs are working fine. The flickering does not happen right when the lights are turned on. It takes anywhere from 2 to 20 minutes for the flickering to start.
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    I switched the CLFs back to the incandescent and it still happens. Any ideas what it could be?
    *
    Thanks a lot!!
    David

  2. #2
    Jack of all trades DonL's Avatar
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    Hello davidwie,

    Most normal CFL bulbs should not be used with dimmers. Maybe you did install dim-able ones ?

    It sounds like you may have a bad SCR / FET in the dimmer. Maybe a loose wire.

    SCRs / FETs are cheap devices to buy, and can be replaced.

    Good Luck on your project.

    Have a Great day.

    DonL

  3. #3

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    Thanks for your response DonL,

    Could it be the dimmer even if when I turn on the lights with a normal switch on the circuit the low voltage lights still flicker? Remember there are 3 normal switches on the circuit also.

    Thanks again! I may justy try replaceing the dimmer with a regular switch.

    David

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    Jack of all trades DonL's Avatar
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    David, It would be depending how the Dimmer is wired in the system.

    You should be able to just bypass the dimmer for testing to see if it still flickers.

    Some dimmers, when OFF still pass the voltage threw them, Depends on the design.

    DonL

    P.S. May just be a connection that got disturbed, When you changed the bulbs.
    Last edited by DonL; 04-18-2011 at 06:18 AM. Reason: P.S.

  5. #5
    Plumber jimbo's Avatar
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    Most CFL are not dimmable. Even if you got dimmable, bulbs, there is almost no chance that your old DIMMER is compatible with flourescent. I think if you replace the dimmer with a proper switch, you flickering problems will go away.

    We all have to rethink the dimming concept thanks to alfgore. A fluorescent compatible dimmer will cost you a C note. Dimmable bulbs are also pricier. LED's are a mixed bag. Many are not dimmable, some are, but may require specialty dimmers.

  6. #6
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Some dimmers cannot be used with some low-voltage fixtures. It depends on the way the system makes the low voltage (i.e., what kind of transformer it has - magnetic or electronic). If you use the wrong type of dimmer, it will fail. Sounds like this may be what's happening. Next biggest thing would be a loose connection somewhere. The easiest thing may be to hardwire the connection and eliminate the dimmer, or replace it with a normal switch. If the problem goes away, you know it is the dimmer. It can take some time for the dimmer to fail if it isn't compatible with the low-voltage circuit.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

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