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Compact Fluorescent light bulbs burning out

Discussion in 'Electronic Repair' started by [email protected], Nov 5, 2007.

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  1. Guest

    I have a ceiling lamp/fan combo in which lightbulbs are constantly
    burning out. My dad was convinced it was in my head. I'd already
    tried regular bulbs and other fluorescent, I hadn't tracked it but
    they were dying far too frequently. This spring, on a bet with my
    dad, I swapped the 3 bulbs for brand new Compact Fluorescent lights.
    6 months later, 2 of them are dead. One died 2 months or so ago. I
    left it in there because I was seeing if maybe having 3 bulbs was too
    much for the lamp. The other died today. This is the office, the
    light gets turned on and stays on, often for several hrs at a time,
    never just for a few minutes.

    This lamp just kills lightbulbs. Not just CF bulbs, either, I'd even
    tried regular bulbs, they lasted even less time.

    The only reason I could find as per google was a possible
    overvoltage. But I haven't had the problem on any of the other lights
    in my house, so it's not a "global" issue.

    The big question is.. is it the lamp, or is it a electrical problem?
    I kinda like the lamp but obviously if its a problem, it's got to
    go.

    Suggestions/tips welcomed!
    MB
     
  2. Guest

    More notes: It is a ceiling fan too but I don't use the fan. The room
    above is a guestroom. There is no vibration, flickering or anything
    else unusual.
     
  3. Jamie

    Jamie Guest

    vibration from the fan?
     
  4. none

    none Guest

    Just a guess here: If the sockets show any discoloration or corrosion,
    they could be producing a poor connection to the bulb. That could
    produce heat at the connection point between the bulb and the socket,
    which could damage the bulb... Take all appropriate precautions while
    checking or cleaning the contact surfaces...
     
  5. hr(bob)

    hr(bob) Guest

    Are the bulbs bare or are they in some kind of glass globe or envelope
    that could be causing them to heat up. There isn't much margin on the
    components they use in compact fluorescent lights, especially the off-
    brand ones, and when they are used upside down in ceiling fan
    fixtures, all the heat from the lamp and from the electronics is
    concentrated in the base of the bulb, and the glass surround doesn't
    allow for much airflow thru the tiny slots in the bases of the
    bulbs.

    A good comparison would be to have two identical sets of 2 or 3 bulbs,
    one set in the standard/normal base-down operation, and the other set
    in an inverted position with something around them to keep in the
    heat. I'd bet a goodly sum of money the upside down lamps die at
    least 50% sooner than the ones where the heat can dissipate.
     
  6. hath wroth:
    1. Does the lamp or fan have a speed control or light dimmer? If so,
    is it trying to dim the CFL light?

    2. Cheap CFL lamps? I bought a box of 20ea 60 watt equivalent lamps.
    They work ok in the open air, with the tubes pointed upward. However,
    if inverted or in some cover that blocks airflow, they last about 2
    weeks.

    3. Is there a decorative glass "shade" covering the CFL light? If
    so, it's a great way to block air flow and overheat the bulb. I have
    that problem also on my overhead fan. However, I solved it by
    removing the fan as it was giving visitors hair cuts due to the
    relatively low ceiling.
     
  7. **FWIW, I use a CF lamp in exactly that situation. It is a combo heat lamp,
    fan and regular lamp (XLTastic). I swapped out the standard mirror back
    incandescent for a 23 Watt Philips CF lamp. The fan hardly gets used and the
    heat lamp gets used infrequently. The CF lamp gets a lot of use. It has been
    operating very nicely for 22 months. I swap it out for a brand new 23 Watt
    Philips CF lamp, since I want to gauge the degradation in light output over
    time. So far, there is no appreciable fall in light output. It's a win-win
    for me. The CF lamp uses lots less power than the incandescent, delivers
    more useful light into the room and causes less heat. I will add, however,
    that several of the cheaper CF lamps I've used do not perform as well as the
    Philips ones, IME.

    Trevor Wilson
     
  8. Note that he said normal lamps were burning out quickly. This is usually
    a bad connection problem since they aren't as sensitive to overheating.

    But, also check the maximum rated wattage for each lamp in the fixture.

    It's often much lower than you would like.

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  9. What angle are the lamps at? Most filament types give their longest life
    when vertical. Horizontal next. 45 degrees worst of all. Some CLFs are
    sensitive too - but usually the larger ones which like to keep the heat
    from the lamp away from the ballast, which usually means vertical and base
    down.
     
  10. Guest

    For the most direct comparison, use a lamp socket to 2-prong converter
    in one of the fixture's sockets, then plug in a work light (with cage
    removed)
    and install a bulb base down in that socket (or run an extension to to
    a
    table lamp).

    TM
     
  11. I have noticed the same thing. What I beleive is happening is that the
    bulb is inverted at an angle and that allows heat to collect inside the
    glass globe and around the base of the CFL where the electronics are
    located. I am sure it is a heat problem because I installed one of these
    lamps in an inverted reading lamp and it went out after 10 minutes. It
    would come back on again, suggesting a thermal runaway type failure.

    I have noticed the same thing. What I beleive is happening is that the
    bulb is inverted at an angle and that allows heat to collect inside the
    glass globe and around the base of the CFL where the electronics are
    located. I am sure it is a heat problem because I installed one of these
    lamps in an inverted reading lamp and it went out after 10 minutes. It
    would come back on again, suggesting a thermal runaway type failure.

    --
    Joe Leikhim K4SAT
    "The RFI-EMI-GUY"©

    "Treason doth never prosper: what's the reason?
    For if it prosper, none dare call it treason."

    "Follow The Money" ;-P
     
  12. James Sweet

    James Sweet Guest

    Are you using decent quality bulbs? The quality of CFLs is all over the
    board, and incandescents are getting worse. Back when I was still using
    incandescents, I had some Feit bulbs that not one lasted more than a month.
     
  13. LouB

    LouB Guest

    Funny you mention Feit. I have had their CFLs fail very quickly, but
    they always happikly sent a free replacement
     
  14. PeterD

    PeterD Guest

    Fan? Lightbulbs? Vibration?

    Humm, wonder if there is a relationship?

    Try ruggedized (for high vibration applications) bulbs, they are
    available from most proper suppliers. (No, you won't find 'em at
    WalMart.)
     
  15. Guest

    Have you checked the voltage at the sockets. If you are close to the
    mains transformer outside or some other problems exist, you may be
    getting excessive voltage at the sockets. Motors typically do not do
    badly at +10% voltage (130+V), but lamps and ballasts typically do
    not.

    Peter Wieck
    Wyncote, PA
     
  16. Smitty Two

    Smitty Two Guest

    I think the OP said he rarely uses the fan.
     
  17. jakdedert

    jakdedert Guest

    I believe the OP said that he did not use the actual fan, only the
    lights....

    jak
     
  18. Guest

    quoting:

    If it is heat, try commercial grade cfl, like Panasonic GEN IV. They
    are built to withtand heat from being in completly enclosed fixtures.

    But with the incandescent bulbs, it's probably the odd angle they are
    at in the fan, with the fact that most GE and Sylvania bulbs don't
    even have filament supports and that odd angle means the filament
    stretches out of shape in strange ways But, I have had early burn
    outs with bulbs with filament supports simply due to bad quality.
     
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