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Fluorescents and migraines??

Discussion in 'Electrical Engineering' started by Dean Hoffman, Jan 7, 2008.

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  1. CFL's are a good idea but should not be legislated since they are "not
    ready for prime time".

    The CFL's on the market are largly incompatible with dimmers and
    electronic switches (motion detectors and timers). Basically they are
    not a drop in replacement for incandescent. Also the failure rate is
    outrageous in my experience. They tend to overheat and the electronics
    either shut down or simply melt. I have no doubt some fires will result
    from these products.

    There is also a potential RF interference problem from the electronic
    ballast that should not be ignored. As these proliferate, so could
    interference to radio spectrum.

    Furthermore they are another hazardous waste disposal problem. Until
    there is a way to dispose of them safely, they should not be forced on
    the market.

    I have about a dozen of them in my house with four failures in two
    years, so I am speaking from experience.

    --
    Joe Leikhim K4SAT
    "The RFI-EMI-GUY"©

    "Treason doth never prosper: what's the reason?
    For if it prosper, none dare call it treason."

    "Follow The Money" ;-P
     
  2. krw

    krw Guest

    The same energy has to be stored.
     
  3. TKM

    TKM Guest

    There are indeed performance standards for CFLs -- from Energy Star. Life,
    light output, color, RFI, etc. are included. See the required numbers and
    test procedures at::
    http://www.energystar.gov/ia/partners/product_specs/program_reqs/cfls_prog_req.pdf

    But flicker is not on the list and I agree that it should be. Flicker is a
    lighting quality factor. Not everyone is bothered by it; but those who are
    tend to be bothered a lot and so they end up not liking or using efficient
    lamps which, of course, means less energy savings. As Vic points out,
    flicker can easily be minimized or eliminated. The additional cost is
    modest.

    In my view, Energy Star CFLs, because they are already positioned as
    consumer products that are intended to provide quality lighting, should
    include flicker criteria. Flicker criteria should also be part of the new
    Energy Star LED system requirements and I've discussed the subject with
    Energy Star several times now.

    While it isn't surprising that there are still complaints about short lamp
    life --- for all lamps, not just CFLs, there's little reason to complain
    about or tolerate it. If Energy Star CFLs are involved, manufacturers have
    to provide an 800 number on the carton and respond to complaints. I've had
    half a dozen on test in my own house for almost 5 years now. They are on
    several hours daily with no failures so far.

    Terry McGowan
     
  4. [snip]
    I fully agree! The flicker data was obtained with the goal
    of persuading Energy Star that a flicker spec was necessary
    because CFLs with electronic ballasts _could_ flicker;
    something that too many people think is impossible.

    BTW - the Energy Star LED spec seems to have a (perhaps
    unintended) flicker spec - probably because LEDs can be run
    in pulse mode.
    Same here. Most of my CFLs have long life and I have never
    had a failure that overheated the lamp or ballast.

    --
    Vic Roberts
    http://www.RobertsResearchInc.com
    To reply via e-mail:
    replace xxx with vdr in the Reply to: address
    or use e-mail address listed at the Web site.

    This information is provided for educational purposes only.
    It may not be used in any publication or posted on any Web
    site without written permission.
     
  5. Not if you can suck it out of the power line at low line
    voltage levels and boost the voltage up for the DC link.

    --
    Vic Roberts
    http://www.RobertsResearchInc.com
    To reply via e-mail:
    replace xxx with vdr in the Reply to: address
    or use e-mail address listed at the Web site.

    This information is provided for educational purposes only.
    It may not be used in any publication or posted on any Web
    site without written permission.
     
  6. Guest

    | Same here. Most of my CFLs have long life and I have never
    | had a failure that overheated the lamp or ballast.

    I have 5 CFLs so far. All are outdoors. So far no failures. But in the
    winter in the cold, they are very dim until they warm up. That is yet
    another issue they need to get fixed. Given that it is a mercury vapor
    issue, I suspect the fix will be to switch to LEDs. But I'll still make
    the complaint to the government.
     
  7. Guest

    | In article <>,
    | alt.engineering.electrical, says...
    |> | On 9 Jan 2008 05:52:14 GMT, wrote:
    |> |
    |> |>
    |> |>| Does the spectrum cause migranies and "skin eruptions"? I thought
    |> |>| migraines were flicker rate which should be a non-issue with CFLs.
    |> |>
    |> |>I see CFLs that flicker. Probably very cheap ones. But they exist.
    |> |>
    |> |>BTW, I bought an LED flashlight the other day that has a white spectrum
    |> |>that does not bother me like other LEDs and all fluorescents and metal
    |> |>halides do. And it's a rather bright and well built one. LEDs are now
    |> |>looking more like they could be my future efficient lighting method.
    |> |
    |> | Line-powered LEDs can also flicker if the DC link is not
    |> | properly filtered.
    |>
    |> No doubt. Maybe one day the lighting industry will figure out how to
    |> properly smooth out the DC? Hint: it can be done without those big
    |> capacitors that power supplies of days gone by had. One idea that
    |> comes to mind is to chop the current with a pulse width varied to
    |> compensate for the lower frequency component(s) of the ripple.
    |
    | The same energy has to be stored.

    Stored? What do you mean stored? That's not the only way to do it.
     
  8. Guest

    | On Sat, 12 Jan 2008 19:00:58 -0500, krw <>
    | wrote:
    |
    |>In article <>,
    |>alt.engineering.electrical, says...
    |>> | On 9 Jan 2008 05:52:14 GMT, wrote:
    |>> |
    |>> |>
    |>> |>| Does the spectrum cause migranies and "skin eruptions"? I thought
    |>> |>| migraines were flicker rate which should be a non-issue with CFLs.
    |>> |>
    |>> |>I see CFLs that flicker. Probably very cheap ones. But they exist.
    |>> |>
    |>> |>BTW, I bought an LED flashlight the other day that has a white spectrum
    |>> |>that does not bother me like other LEDs and all fluorescents and metal
    |>> |>halides do. And it's a rather bright and well built one. LEDs are now
    |>> |>looking more like they could be my future efficient lighting method.
    |>> |
    |>> | Line-powered LEDs can also flicker if the DC link is not
    |>> | properly filtered.
    |>>
    |>> No doubt. Maybe one day the lighting industry will figure out how to
    |>> properly smooth out the DC? Hint: it can be done without those big
    |>> capacitors that power supplies of days gone by had. One idea that
    |>> comes to mind is to chop the current with a pulse width varied to
    |>> compensate for the lower frequency component(s) of the ripple.
    |>
    |>The same energy has to be stored.
    |
    | Not if you can suck it out of the power line at low line
    | voltage levels and boost the voltage up for the DC link.

    Or just chop it wide at the lower voltage part of the cycle and chop it
    narrow at the higher voltage part of the cycle. Then at the peak, chop
    it all the way out for a while and move the flicker from 120 Hz to 240 Hz.
     
  9. krw

    krw Guest

    I see what VR is talking about but that's going to play hell with
    the PF. The EU isn't going to like that much and I'd imagine the
    US won't wait forever, particularly if every light bulb on the
    planet plays these games. There are two zeros per cycle to "smooth
    over".
     
  10. Guest

    | In article <>,
    | alt.engineering.electrical, says...
    |> | In article <>,
    |> | alt.engineering.electrical, says...
    |> |> | On 9 Jan 2008 05:52:14 GMT, wrote:
    |> |> |
    |> |> |>
    |> |> |>| Does the spectrum cause migranies and "skin eruptions"? I thought
    |> |> |>| migraines were flicker rate which should be a non-issue with CFLs.
    |> |> |>
    |> |> |>I see CFLs that flicker. Probably very cheap ones. But they exist.
    |> |> |>
    |> |> |>BTW, I bought an LED flashlight the other day that has a white spectrum
    |> |> |>that does not bother me like other LEDs and all fluorescents and metal
    |> |> |>halides do. And it's a rather bright and well built one. LEDs are now
    |> |> |>looking more like they could be my future efficient lighting method.
    |> |> |
    |> |> | Line-powered LEDs can also flicker if the DC link is not
    |> |> | properly filtered.
    |> |>
    |> |> No doubt. Maybe one day the lighting industry will figure out how to
    |> |> properly smooth out the DC? Hint: it can be done without those big
    |> |> capacitors that power supplies of days gone by had. One idea that
    |> |> comes to mind is to chop the current with a pulse width varied to
    |> |> compensate for the lower frequency component(s) of the ripple.
    |> |
    |> | The same energy has to be stored.
    |>
    |> Stored? What do you mean stored? That's not the only way to do it.
    |
    | I see what VR is talking about but that's going to play hell with
    | the PF. The EU isn't going to like that much and I'd imagine the
    | US won't wait forever, particularly if every light bulb on the
    | planet plays these games. There are two zeros per cycle to "smooth
    | over".

    The flicker will be worse in Europe.

    So basically, it comes down to producing smooth DC while keeping PF near 1.
    And it would seem LEDs have the same issue.

    Incandescent avoids the issue by having a long term temperature filament.
    That is, the filament remains hot even during zero crossing. So what about
    a phosphor that can continue to glow at the same color? FYI, I do see the
    existing phosphors glowing at zero crossing, but the color is different.

    Or maybe we just need DC distributed in the home. But don't get any idea
    that Edison was right ... he was selling pulsing DC.
     
  11. You can only use this method if you don't need a DC link
    voltage near the peak power line voltage.

    --
    Vic Roberts
    http://www.RobertsResearchInc.com
    To reply via e-mail:
    replace xxx with vdr in the Reply to: address
    or use e-mail address listed at the Web site.

    This information is provided for educational purposes only.
    It may not be used in any publication or posted on any Web
    site without written permission.
     
  12. Well, you obviously have to store SOME energy since you
    can't take energy from the power line when the voltage is
    near a zero crossing. However, using sophisticated
    techniques you can significantly decrease the size of the
    energy storage capacitor.

    --
    Vic Roberts
    http://www.RobertsResearchInc.com
    To reply via e-mail:
    replace xxx with vdr in the Reply to: address
    or use e-mail address listed at the Web site.

    This information is provided for educational purposes only.
    It may not be used in any publication or posted on any Web
    site without written permission.
     
  13. TKM

    TKM Guest

    That's interesting. What do you mean by "pulsing DC" --- unregulated? The
    Smithsonian historical material indicates that the steam-powered generators
    were speed regulated and the load was just incandescent lamps initially, of
    course.

    Terry McGowan
     
  14. This is standard in the SMPSUs used in enterprise grade
    computers nowadays (or you can't sell them in various
    parts of the world, such as Europe).
    It doesn't really. You can read the strobe on the side of a
    record turntable under a 240V 40W 50Hz lamp.

    I'm not convinced there's any problem at all with the amount
    of 100Hz flicker that you'll get from a CFL. You can't actually
    perceive flicker at 100Hz though -- the human brain is far
    too large to process the information fast enough. A fly can
    see flicker at 1000Hz though, due to a much smaller brain.
    This whole issue was raised by someone in an organisation
    who didn't understand the difference between old magnetic
    ballasted fluorescent tubes and modern CFLs.

    There are also a number of people who complain about fluorescent
    lighting, but I have found this to be psychosomatic in the
    cases I know. If they think the lighting is fluorescent,
    it causes them a headache or whatever. This doesn't correlate
    with whether it really is fluorescent though.
     
  15. I do consider it normal for CFLs used outdoors in wintry conditions to:

    A) If rated for such conditions, to take a few or several minutes to warm
    up. (In locations where it gets "really cold", it helps and may sometimes
    be necessary to enclose the CFL in some sort of housing to help accumulate
    heat - and allow at least several minutes for good warmup.)
    (In locations with temperature extremes in both directions, such as
    USA's "northern Great Plains" and nearby areas including adjacent areas of
    Canada, one may want to have outdoor fixtures with outdoor-rated CFLs
    having a housing that is seasonally removable so as to assist warmup only
    during colder times of the year.)

    B) If not suitable for such conditions and if lacking an outer housing to
    hold in some accumulated heat, to only partially warm up and not get
    well-warmed-up until the weather improves.

    - Don Klipstein ()
     
  16. Guest

    |
    | |
    | <Big Snip>
    |
    |>
    |> Or maybe we just need DC distributed in the home. But don't get any idea
    |> that Edison was right ... he was selling pulsing DC.
    |>
    |> --
    |> -----------------------------------------------------------------------------
    |> | Phil Howard KA9WGN | http://linuxhomepage.com/
    |> http://ham.org/ |
    |> | (first name) at ipal.net | http://phil.ipal.org/
    |> http://ka9wgn.ham.org/ |
    |> -----------------------------------------------------------------------------
    |
    | That's interesting. What do you mean by "pulsing DC" --- unregulated? The
    | Smithsonian historical material indicates that the steam-powered generators
    | were speed regulated and the load was just incandescent lamps initially, of
    | course.

    Edison's generators output DC by reversing the electrical connections every
    half cycle. The end result is basically the same as a full wave rectifier
    bridge. You get 2 pulses per cycle. I don't know what speed his generators
    actually ran at.
     
  17. Guest

    | wrote:
    | [snip]
    |> The flicker will be worse in Europe.
    |>
    |> So basically, it comes down to producing smooth DC while keeping PF
    |> near 1. And it would seem LEDs have the same issue.
    |>
    |> Incandescent avoids the issue by having a long term temperature
    |> filament. That is, the filament remains hot even during zero
    |> crossing. So what about a phosphor that can continue to glow at the
    |> same color?
    |
    | I don't think that can be easily arranged. The mechanics of fluorescence are
    | different from the mechanics of phosphorescence.

    They can be mixed. So why not? I just don't know what colors would be an
    option or available.


    |> FYI, I do see the existing phosphors glowing at zero
    |> crossing, but the color is different.
    |
    | And glow at the crossing is from phosphorescence and additionally it depends on
    | the kind of phosphor used.

    I'm just tossing the idea out. I'm not an expert on specific kinds of
    phosphors.


    | I am still trying to figure out what in the world you guys are talking about.
    |
    | I either must be blind or something else is at play here.
    |
    | The flicker of, say, a PHILIPS TL-D/55/56 35W, is /colossal/ compared to the
    | flicker of my 2700K CFLs. As far as I am concenred, I don't perceive /any/
    | flicker on my CFLs.

    Maybe you have one of the good ones I've read about that don't flicker.


    | The only time I saw my CFLs flickering was when there was a voltage drop in my
    | appartment, because all four kitchen ones flickered simultaneously.
    |
    | Are we talking about non-perceptible flicker?

    The 100 Hz or 120 Hz (depending on country) blinking.
     
  18. Guest

    | It doesn't really. You can read the strobe on the side of a
    | record turntable under a 240V 40W 50Hz lamp.

    I've seen that. It's every so slight.


    | I'm not convinced there's any problem at all with the amount
    | of 100Hz flicker that you'll get from a CFL. You can't actually
    | perceive flicker at 100Hz though -- the human brain is far
    | too large to process the information fast enough. A fly can
    | see flicker at 1000Hz though, due to a much smaller brain.
    | This whole issue was raised by someone in an organisation
    | who didn't understand the difference between old magnetic
    | ballasted fluorescent tubes and modern CFLs.

    Nice try ... to make people who admit to seeing the flicker be perceived
    as having a small brain. Just keep in mind that the whole brain does not
    get involved in the sensation of light and flicker. Possibly, different
    people perceive the flicker in very different ways. I know I do see the
    flicker. I used to think it was the cause of my headaches from such
    light sources. But it's not. The cause of the headaches for me turns
    out to be the dis-continuous spectrum. But I still see the flicker when
    it is there. I see the flicker is HPS lamps, but those don't give me a
    headache.


    | There are also a number of people who complain about fluorescent
    | lighting, but I have found this to be psychosomatic in the
    | cases I know. If they think the lighting is fluorescent,
    | it causes them a headache or whatever. This doesn't correlate
    | with whether it really is fluorescent though.

    Some LEDs give me the headaches. Some CRT screens do, too. But some don't.
    Almost all fluorescent lights do, whether they flickered or not. I have
    seen some incandescents that flickered. One recently was a bathroom night
    light that had actually burned out and in so doing, recontacted the filament
    in an unsupported way. It was physically/mechanically vibrating while it
    was also running brighter than usual due to the now shorter filament.

    Again, I do see the flicker in a great many lights. I don't see any in
    many others, but I don't know if that is because the light is smooth or
    just flickering at a higher frequency. BTW, I see the flicker in _some_
    car tail lights, and not in most others. I'm guessing they are regulating
    the current on the LEDs by a rather low frequency PWM.
     
  19. Guest

    | On Sun, 13 Jan 2008 09:58:13 -0500, krw <>
    | wrote:
    |
    |>In article <>,
    |>alt.engineering.electrical, says...
    |>> | In article <>,
    |>> | alt.engineering.electrical, says...
    |>> |> | On 9 Jan 2008 05:52:14 GMT, wrote:
    |>> |> |
    |>> |> |>
    |>> |> |>| Does the spectrum cause migranies and "skin eruptions"? I thought
    |>> |> |>| migraines were flicker rate which should be a non-issue with CFLs.
    |>> |> |>
    |>> |> |>I see CFLs that flicker. Probably very cheap ones. But they exist.
    |>> |> |>
    |>> |> |>BTW, I bought an LED flashlight the other day that has a white spectrum
    |>> |> |>that does not bother me like other LEDs and all fluorescents and metal
    |>> |> |>halides do. And it's a rather bright and well built one. LEDs are now
    |>> |> |>looking more like they could be my future efficient lighting method.
    |>> |> |
    |>> |> | Line-powered LEDs can also flicker if the DC link is not
    |>> |> | properly filtered.
    |>> |>
    |>> |> No doubt. Maybe one day the lighting industry will figure out how to
    |>> |> properly smooth out the DC? Hint: it can be done without those big
    |>> |> capacitors that power supplies of days gone by had. One idea that
    |>> |> comes to mind is to chop the current with a pulse width varied to
    |>> |> compensate for the lower frequency component(s) of the ripple.
    |>> |
    |>> | The same energy has to be stored.
    |>>
    |>> Stored? What do you mean stored? That's not the only way to do it.
    |>
    |>I see what VR is talking about but that's going to play hell with
    |>the PF. The EU isn't going to like that much and I'd imagine the
    |>US won't wait forever, particularly if every light bulb on the
    |>planet plays these games. There are two zeros per cycle to "smooth
    |>over".
    |
    | Well, you obviously have to store SOME energy since you
    | can't take energy from the power line when the voltage is
    | near a zero crossing. However, using sophisticated
    | techniques you can significantly decrease the size of the
    | energy storage capacitor.

    My idea was to boost the flicker frequency to evade the issue. But, alas,
    it has the problems of bad PF and missing the peak voltage when at 2x Hz.

    Back to DC.
     
  20. Yes - at least for me. I can measure significant 120 Hz on
    the light output of all the the CFLs in my house, but I
    don't see any flicker.


    --
    Vic Roberts
    http://www.RobertsResearchInc.com
    To reply via e-mail:
    replace xxx with vdr in the Reply to: address
    or use e-mail address listed at the Web site.

    This information is provided for educational purposes only.
    It may not be used in any publication or posted on any Web
    site without written permission.
     
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