Can I dim these lights?
October 26, 2012 1:01 PM   Subscribe

How can I dim these lights?

I recently purchased these light fixtures and realized afterwards that these do not have dimming capabilities. They take 22 watt 2-pin CFL light bulbs.

Is there any cost-effective way to make these dimmable? Can I simply track down a 2-pin dimming CFL (if they exist) or do I have to replace the hardware with a suitable ballast? Returning and replacing the light fixtures is not an option.

posted by masters2010 to Home & Garden (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Dimming capability is pretty much all in the ballast, I'm afraid. You'll need to find a ballast capable of it somehow.
posted by ambrosen at 1:07 PM on October 26, 2012

Best answer: I don't believe that a dimmable 2-pin cfl exists, but you can look.

If it were my project, I'd look into replacing the whole insides of the fixture with a standard medium-base socket, ditch the ballast in favor of direct wire. I have no idea what it looks like in there, but I know you can go to Home Depot and buy a standard lamp socket, and threaded nipple rods of a variety of lengths for $5 or less. If yo'ure very lucky there will be a threaded hole somewhere in the luminaire housing that the rod threads into; otherwise you'll have to construct a mounting base for it somehow, but drill/tapping a hole is not impossible. Take it apart and look, at least.

With a standard socket, then you can use an incandescent (dimmable) or a CFLi (the screwbase kind with an integrated ballast, which do exist as dimmable) or a LED retrofit (read the package and look for dimmable)
posted by aimedwander at 1:42 PM on October 26, 2012

Best answer: Cheaper than aimedwander's solution might be to replace the center section of the fixture. RAB sells both mogul and 2 pin versions of that fixture and the centre section is sold separately. They are only held in by a couple screws. I've bought them but I had to special order them. At that point you can just screw in a dimmable CFL.

This will maintain the weathproof listing of the fixture.
posted by Mitheral at 4:25 PM on October 26, 2012

Do you really need "dimmable", or just want lower than 22W?

You can safely stick a 7W CFL in that and it will work just fine, at 7W rather than 22.
posted by pla at 7:34 PM on October 26, 2012

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