120V Direct Current and CFL's: The Saga


"Hey!", announced the booming friendly voice (BFV) at the other end of the line,

"Compact Fluorescent spiral bulbs don't work on 120V DC, Right?" It was more of a statement of perceived fact, rather than a question.

Sidenote: It appears BFV had replaced every 60W incandescent with 14W CFL's [Usually A Smart Move] in the stairwell lights of his high rise apartment buildings.

During a routine test of the buildings' emergency circuit, to which stairwell lighting was connected, the CFL's died. This emergency back-up system was run by batteries that produced 120V D/C power. It was now apparent his CFL's were meant for A/C only.

EELCO, mystified asked: " This is the first time we'd heard about such a challenge. Where did you purchase the CFL's?"

BFV: "At the local 'big box' retailer."

EELCO: "OK - that's fair. Actually - you may still have some of ours in your truck. Why not give them a try? Let us know the outcome."

3 Hours Later:

BFV: " Yours work fine!! (and the music played) "Get us 6 cases of 48 lamps ASAP."

That, my readers, was almost a year ago. Another satisfied customer!

What's the difference?

While BFV was away doing his testing, we checked with our Engineers. Apparently not all CFL's are of the same quality.

There is a difference between the Commercial Grade lighting EELCO supplies, and the Residential (aka Home) Grade commonly found at the hardware store.

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