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Fluorescent Lamp Striation

  1. Jul 31, 2009 #1
    We have Compact Fluorescent lamps hooked up to a dimmer circuit, and they are striating (flashing) at exactly the same frequency, even at full power setting, which tends to tell me it's circuit related.

    Now I know that a dimmer circuit uses a triac to chop up the waveform, and therefore we're witnessing some by-product of this.

    However, the striations seem to be a lot slower than 60Hz, otherwise I'm not sure we'd be able to see them.

    Anyone know the physics of striations of Fluorescent lamps?
    If and where the problem is in the circuit, ballast, or lamps?
    or how to fix this?

    Thanks ahead of time.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 31, 2009 #2


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    Science Advisor

    Can't tell you the root cause of the phenomenon, but I can tell you how to fix it: don't use a dimmer with your standard CFLs. They aren't designed for it, it doesn't work well, if at all, and it greatly shortens their lifetime (and isn't great for the dimmer, either). If you must have the ability to dim them, use dimmable CFLs--it will say so on the package.
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