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Old 10-14-2009, 05:34 PM   #1
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fluorescent screw in bulbs


fluorescent screw in bulbs my nieces room has them in her fan and last night one of the 3 with the light switch off started flickering she took pics but can't see much not worth showing.She said it had a glow and then started blinking only one of 3 would you think the ballast in the screw in bulb stored power to make this happen have never heard of this before (I told her it was haunted) But has anyone came across this before ? And yes the switch was off so no power to light fixture!!

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Old 10-14-2009, 05:47 PM   #2
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Similar report one time.
Found that polarity was reversed and neutral was running through the switch and the hot was always on. Check that one out quick.

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Old 10-14-2009, 05:51 PM   #3
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PS-in this instance the bulbs were incadescents, not fluorescents
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Old 10-14-2009, 05:57 PM   #4
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Maybe it's burning out. I had a CCFL light inside my computer act in a similar way. It was actually the inverter that was burning out and not the light itself.
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Old 10-14-2009, 06:03 PM   #5
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thanks for your reply they are the srew in swivil bulbs here is a pic i thought about maybe neutral and hot rev but havnt checked yet today is her bitrhthday so there is a party right now will check Tomorrow Thank you. Did not hang fan so i will check thank you,

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Old 10-15-2009, 06:20 AM   #6
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My fan in the living room is the same way. It is very faint and you can not notice it unless the room is dark with the other lights off. I attributed it to having something to do with the CFLs and the remote control system, as it does not do it if I have the wall switch turned off.
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Old 10-15-2009, 08:51 AM   #7
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If this is happening with the fan on could it be the magnetic field form the motor exciting the phosphor in the bulb? I have seen florescent tubes glow around some heavy duty metal shop equipment.

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Old 10-15-2009, 09:00 AM   #8
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If the fan is turned on it could produce electromagnetic fields that induce currents in the fluorescent ballast that cause the light to flicker.

Phosphors exposed to visible or UV light of appropriate frequency will store the energy and slowly release it. When the fluorescent light or another light in the room nearby is turned off, then the phosphors in the fluorescent bulb may be seen to glow faintly and steadily for a few seconds in the darkened room.
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Old 10-15-2009, 02:00 PM   #9
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If the fan is turned on it could produce electromagnetic fields that induce currents in the fluorescent ballast that cause the light to flicker.

Phosphors exposed to visible or UV light of appropriate frequency will store the energy and slowly release it. When the fluorescent light or another light in the room nearby is turned off, then the phosphors in the fluorescent bulb may be seen to glow faintly and steadily for a few seconds in the darkened room.
The swich for the fan and light are off and with no power i take one bulb out a i get 30 volts.I checked the hot and neutral and they are correct in the canopy and light fixture so i took the other two bulbs out and still 30 volts go to my sons room same lights and take all them out they are on the same curcuit and bingo 0 volts put 1 in at a time with tester in light socket and 1 bulb 0 volts 2nd bulb now i have 30 volts took it out and put last one in and still 0 volt put the other 3 in nieces room one at a time and 0 volts must be that one bilb i dont know never ran into this problem befoere
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Old 10-15-2009, 02:15 PM   #10
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The ballast circuitry in the lamp could include a capacitor that holds a charge big enough to make the light flicker a few times. Depending on where the capacitor is wired in, the charge could give someone a shock from touching both the lamp base that screws into the socket, and the metal tip at the end. There really should be a resistor that bleeds of any residual charge. If one of the three lamps in the fan is incandescent, that would bleed off any charge (from the other two lamps) that appeared at the hot and neutral connections of the sockets.
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Last edited by AllanJ; 10-16-2009 at 06:40 AM.
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Old 10-15-2009, 07:47 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by RegeSullivan View Post
If this is happening with the fan on could it be the magnetic field form the motor exciting the phosphor in the bulb? I have seen florescent tubes glow around some heavy duty metal shop equipment.

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I originally thought that was the case with mine, so I turned the remote to both the fan and light off but still the faint flicker. Thought then that maybe the magnetic field from the motor was exciting the flourecents, but that would not account for the lack of flicker when no power is sent to the box via the wall switch? It is so faint that it has never really bothered me over the last 3 years since I installed the CFLs and just attributed to an idiosyncrasy of CFLs when used with remote control units. I would assume that there must be a small amount of electricity that passes into/through the receiving module to allow it to interact with the remote.
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Old 10-15-2009, 07:58 PM   #12
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fluorescent screw in bulbs


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Originally Posted by rselectric1 View Post
Similar report one time.
Found that polarity was reversed and neutral was running through the switch and the hot was always on. Check that one out quick.
But then why 1 out of 3???! (the ultimate symbol of confusion)
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Last edited by spark plug; 10-15-2009 at 08:00 PM. Reason: Missing Parenthesis (a/o) Parentheses!
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Old 10-15-2009, 08:04 PM   #13
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PS-in this instance the bulbs were incadescents, not fluorescents
Then that reinforces your contention in post #2; Mystery remains. Why One out of Three (bulbs)!One says YES! One says NO! (The ultimate symbol of Confusion)
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Old 10-15-2009, 08:23 PM   #14
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Problem not solved Still getting 30 volts with the switch off Going to take the switches out from the two rooms and check the neutrals and make sure threy are good. They do have lighted switches. Then check all the neutrals in all the receps And also the panel check the neutral there.
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Old 10-16-2009, 06:57 AM   #15
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Lighted switches -- Hmmmm

Most lighted switches use the lights being controlled to complete the circuit for the little lamp in the switch. Not enough current flows to make incandescent lamps in the main fixture glow but some current must flow, including through the ballast if the lamp is fluorescent. Sample to sample differences in CFL lamps being controlled by the switch can result in charging of capacitors in the lamp ballasts and flickering of just one of the lamps, the same one each time, which discharges the capacitors in all of the lamps. Then the cycle repeats.

OT: Neon switch lights require something like 70 volts to strike. Sometimes the characteristics of the lamps (some fluorescent or extremely low wattage incandescent) being controlled are such that fewer volts appear across the switch terminals with the switch turned off and the switch light does not come on.

If the switch light is neon and has not lit up, then the voltage across the main lights (to neutral) should be zero with the switch off and after any capacitors have discharged (screw an incandescent lamp into one socket for a few seconds). If the switch light is lit and uses the main lights to complete its circuit, then some voltage can be measured from the switched hot terminal of the switch (and also the hot terminal of the main lights) to neutral, how much depends on the specific lamps in the main light fixture.

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Last edited by AllanJ; 10-16-2009 at 07:11 AM.
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