Home>Discussions>ELECTRICAL & LIGHTING>CFL bulb flickers in a timed light socket
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DayC
CFL bulb flickers in a timed light socket

Just bought a house and the previous owner had one of those timed light socket adapters screwed into the light socket on his garage so the light would automaticaly come on at dusk and turn off at dawn. I put a CFL bulb in there and it does nothing but flicker! I can take the adapter out, put the CFL back in and it's fine....Also when the CFL is in the adapter if I put my hands near where it screws in to the socket the flickering stops. Take my hands away and it starts again. Can you tell me why it might be doing this? A regular bulb won't do this, just the CFL and only when plugged in to the adapter...

dj1
Re: CFL bulb flickers in a timed light socket

These sensors and also regular dimmers are for the ordinary old fashion light bulbs only, not for CFLs.

If you want your light from dusk to dawn, install a regular bulb. Also, make sure the photo eye faces the light source.

DayC
Re: CFL bulb flickers in a timed light socket

Thanx, I wonder if they do make them for CFLs, because the whole purpose of using one if it was going to be on all night was to conserve energy, thus why I took out the regular bulb and replaced it with a CFL in the first place :)
Would suck if I can't use it with a CFL because I have never seen a sensored light before and thought it was very neat! Thank you for the info :)

dj1
Re: CFL bulb flickers in a timed light socket

They must make them. I've never used one myself, but go to lighting places or supply stores and get one.

Timothy Miller
Re: CFL bulb flickers in a timed light socket

Howdy i understand why regular CFL no work in a dimmer- dim-able CFLs readily available. But why a photo cell wired ahead of the fixture would affect a CFL? Does a photo cell not turn power on an off like a switch?

motoguy128
Re: CFL bulb flickers in a timed light socket

I think it depends on the type of relay used in the photocell. I forget the different types.

ON my post light out front, I don't have any issues with a CFL... although this spring I'm going to switch to a LED because I've heard LED"s don't put out UV spectrum light so they don't attract bugs, or at least a lot less. The only issue I've had is that it won't turn on below 15F. But that's because it's not rated specifically for outdoor use.

DayC
Re: CFL bulb flickers in a timed light socket

See, that's another problem...Finding a CFL, or even an LED for that matter that is rated for the cold! Talked to a hardware guy and he assured me that a CFL could be used....Until he read on the box of several motion sensors/dusk to dawn etc that infact CFLs can not be used. He at least thanked me because he learned something new! lol...So...Do you think a dimable CFL would work? But again finding one that is rated for the cold weather...*sigh* Might just have to go for a motion sensor light instead of the dusk to dawn ones because if I can't find a CFL/LED to be on all night I'll settle for an *old fashioned* light bulb in a motion sensor :rolleyes:

ed21
Re: CFL bulb flickers in a timed light socket

I have an outdoor flood lamp cfl in a motion detector fixture & it works fine,except in the cold it is very dim until it warms up. Okay in the summer, spring & fall, but not in the winter. I suspect a cfl that is dimmable would work. Or look for an outdoor rated lamp, since outside lights are often on motion detector or timed circuits.

dj1
Re: CFL bulb flickers in a timed light socket

That's right...until they get their act together, use the incandescent bulbs.

I stocked up on those, to last me for a while.

I remember when the code for 1/2" anchor bolts and washer was changed from round washers to square washers. Trouble was that nobody had square washers for sale. This stopped my construction back then for a week...even the inspector was frustrated.

DayC
Re: CFL bulb flickers in a timed light socket

At last...I finally have an energy efficient light bulb that works with the dusk/dawn adaptor!! I ended up getting a dimable LED and voila! It is equivalent to a 40w. No flickering like the CFL, gives off the perfect ammt of light and it is -10c right now and it's still working fine! Whew!

Fencepost
Re: CFL bulb flickers in a timed light socket

Glad the LED bulb worked out for you.

I believe the reason the photocell didn't work is because rather than having an actual relay, it used a solid-state circuit that depends on current flowing through the light bulb at all times. This current isn't enough to light an incandescent bulb during daylight, but it is enough to cause a CFL to flicker.

The screw-in adapters probably aren't even available with a true relay. You'd need to wire in a 3-wire photocell -- these have a true relay and require a neutral connection. A 3-wire photocell will properly power ANYTHING you hook up to it, within its electrical rating. They don't require current flow through the lamp to work. 2-wire photocells, however, are all solid-state devices and depend on current flow through the lamp.

The 2-wire solid-state circuit is cheaper to produce than a 3-wire relay. (There might be 3-wire solid state circuits, too, but they are probably even more to produce.)

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