compact fluorescent help needed

I am a mechanical engineer and am having a little trouble with a project that i am working on. I need a little help.
I am wanting to have a light source of multiple full spectrum compact
fluorescent bulbs. They are newer and have electronic ballasts built in. I know that i need to connect them in parallel to get the voltage across them, but i am having an issue knowing if there are any other things i need to be looking at. I am wanting five bulbs (average 30W each) on toggle switches so i can vary the amount of light. I am also wanting to have four of the bulbs at 30W and one at 14W. So, the circuit would be five parallel branches with a toggle switch and a light on each branch all feeding back into the , at least in my mind. Will turning on any of these in a simple parallel circuit affect the others in the circuit?
The other thing that i could do is to have one of the lights on a dimmer in place of the one lower powered bulb. I know this is problematic on the cfl design, but if i could even get 100 hours of use before failure, it would be worth it to me. If worse came to worse i could buy a lamp that allows this and pirate the parts, but if there is another way to do this, it would be good to know.
Any comments on how this would be done or some things that i will need to address would be much appreciated. Thank you.
Joshua
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On 3/30/07 9:05 AM, in article snipped-for-privacy@y80g2000hsf.googlegroups.com, "jfkriege"

You appear to have a good handle on the problems you might encounter. The dimming is likely to be the greatest problem you will encounter. I doubt that the electronics in the base will be designed to allow what you want, although such design is possible. Why not just use an incandescent lamp for the one you wish to dim?
That said, there are fluorescent lamps that can be dimmed but I have little first-hand knowledge of them. There also are new technologies being developed that are even more efficient than regular fluorescent lamps. I believe the auto industry is very interested in them. Of course, LEDs will do what you want albeit at a high expense.
Bill -- Fermez le Bush--about two years to go.
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First I would recommend that you not use screw-in CFLs. They are fine for retrofitting a home fixture but are really just full of compromises that you have no control over. Further, new versions come out all the time so it is unlikely that you can find precise replacements.
You also managed to push one of my rant buttons...
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Opps, I hit one to many buttons myself, :-(
Anyway: There is no agreement on what "full spectrum" means. As a lighting term it usually shows up in sales liturature trying to imply that it is somehow better than anything else. Often they try to link it to being more like daylight, but won't say in what way. These days almost all CFLs are 80 CRI or better (very good) and color selection runs from 2700 -6500 CCT (very yellow to very blue.)
If your building something of value, take the time to use seperate lamps and ballasts (dimming ballasts are common.) Then you can select wattage, color, shape of the lamp and use ballasts with long life that are easily replaceable, and you can put the ballasts many feet from the lamp. The only thing you'll lose is the simplicty of mounting screw sockets, and maybe some space.
Richard Reid, LC
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