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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Posts
    17

    Default Photo electric switch with CFL

    I have been using CFL's with a motion sensor switch for some time.
    Yesterday the bulb needed replacing and I replaced it with another CFL, same wattage, but the light flickered when it should have been off. I put another one in and the same thing occurred. What do think the problem is?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    SoCal
    Posts
    6,321

    Default Re: Photo electric switch with CFL

    For motion detector lights and also for dusk to dawn lights, better use old fashion incandescent bulbs.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Columbiana, Alabama
    Posts
    693

    Default Re: Photo electric switch with CFL

    Perhaps the sensor went out in the fixture, not the CFL.

    You may want to try an incandescent like Dj suggested for no other reason than to test the fixture.

    Or, try the CFL's that you think are bad in another fixture.

    Dusk-Dawn lights can be a little tricky, if aimed at each other or another light source, all kinds of unexpected things happen.

    Also, the sensors work best on heavy loads, not CFL's. Quality control on both the CFL's and the photo cells are not great, you may be on the edge of good performance.

    Good Luck from Columbiana, Alabama
    Maurice Turgeon, thesemi-retiredelectrician.com

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Pacific Northwet
    Posts
    1,565

    Default Re: Photo electric switch with CFL

    If the sensor has a neutral (white) wire, the CFL should work fine. Many sensors do not have a neutral wire, and depend on the resistance of an incandescent bulb to provide a return path for the electricity that powers them -- CFLs don't provide the proper resistance so they fail to work.

    If you choose to replace the sensor (and the electrical box has a neutral wire available), be sure to replace it with a sensor that has a neutral wire.
    The "Senior Member" designation under my name doesn't mean I know a lot, it just means I talk a lot.I've been a DIYer since I was 12 (thanks, Dad!). I have read several books on various home improvement topics. I do not have any current code books I can refer to. I was an apprentice plumber for two years.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Fayette County, Ohio
    Posts
    5,775

    Default Re: Photo electric switch with CFL

    Just a guess but I would say you have a solid state motion device. These are a problem controlling other solid state devices like CFL's due to leakage. You most likely were just lucky with the first lamp. Either get a mechanical switch type controller or use incandescent bulbs.
    Jack
    Be sure you live your life, because you are a long time dead.-Scottish Proverb

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