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This is simply unacceptable

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Posted by Bluuuue Rajah on March 22, 2009, 9:28 am

I bought my first compact fluorescent bulb, and I despise it.  It flickers
when it's off and buzzes loudly and when it's on.  I can tolerate those two
annoyances, but after it's been turned on for twenty minutes, it emits a
disgusting chemical smell.  This compact fluorescent fiasco is one of the
ugliest scams perpetrated onto mankind by the government, big business and
the news media.  Those dishonest pricks oughta all be lined up and SHOT!

Posted by Tim Jackson on March 22, 2009, 10:57 am
Bluuuue Rajah wrote:

If it flickers when off that means there is something seriously wrong
with the insulation of your house wiring, risking electric shock or
fire.  This is not a fault with the lamp, but it is giving evidence of a
problem that incandescent bulbs would not show.

****Your wiring needs urgent attention!****

Buzzing loudly and smelling suggests your mains voltage is too high for
the lamp rating.  This can also end in fire.  Compact fluorescents *are*
vulnerable to overvoltage, as I found out the hard way when setting up a
home generator in Africa.  Again incandescents are less vulnerable,
although overvoltage does shorten their life quite a bit.

Tim Jackson

Posted by Eric Swanson on March 22, 2009, 12:02 pm

I am not certain your diagnosis is correct. The power supply of my Xbox 360
started buzzing loudly and emitting a smell. You know how Microsoft knows
how to design hardware. Anyway after six weeks, much grief, many long
distance calls, etc., etc., Microsoft finally replace my "cube". That solved
the problem of buzzing, smell and smoke. I did not need to replace my
household electrical wiring.

BTW are you an electrician?

Posted by Tim Jackson on March 22, 2009, 12:39 pm
 Eric Swanson wrote:

I'm an industrial electronic engineer in the UK of some 30 years experience.

Read my answer again. I did not suggest that the buzzing/smell issue was
a wiring issue. It is a symptom of overload in the ballast.  This may
possibly be a fault in the lamp, the wrong lamp for the supply, or a
faulty supply (I have of course no idea what sort of supply the poster
has). Either way it shouldn't happen and indicates a fire hazard as the
smell suggests it is overheating.  I've actually seen one of these
things ignite under such circumstances.

It is not as the poster suggests a design feature of compact
fluorescents. (Nor of Xboxes.)

Flicker in fluorescents indicates there is some small leakage current
with something in the order of 100V behind it, getting into the circuit
beyond the switch somehow.  However it is getting there, it shouldn't
happen with well maintained wiring in good condition.  The current that
will light the lamp is similar to that which can be felt by humans, so
there is a clear and present risk of shock.  It could also be indication
of a failing insulation which may break down progressively and
catastrophically leading to fire.  It is not a risk worth taking.


Posted by vaughn on March 22, 2009, 1:12 pm

You are correct, that lamp is unacceptable.  Your defective unit should be
returned to the retailer and exchanged for a good one.

Equally unacceptable is your conclusions, apparently based on a sample size
of 1, that CFLs are;  "one of the ugliest scams perpetrated onto mankind by
the government" and that the lamp was manufactured by "dishonest pricks".  I
have been using CFLs for years now, and would be very upset if they suddenly
disappeared from the market.  They are a far superior product to a standard
incandescent lamp. They last longer and consume far less energy.

But yes, just like standard incandescent lamps, the occasional one will be
bad right out of the package.


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