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Old 04-09-2010, 02:27 PM   #1
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Default premature light bulb failure

I was wondering if anyone had any knowledge on this issure ( premature incandescent bulb failure ) .

Here's my situation :

I am using sylvania 100 watt rough service bulbs in a paper mill dryer section . This section is enclosed at a temperature of 168 - 200 Fahrenheit , with moisture in the air due to the steam and heat and small amounts of vibration caused by the dryer cans spinning . The bulbs are incased in a seal tight light fixtures ( suppose to be tightly sealed ). The bulbs only last for 2 weeks and then have to be replaced . We have tried to contact companies for suggestions but no one has a solution. I was wondering if any one can help me out with a solution so that I dont haveto replace the bulbs so frequently , even if I haveto install and re-design the whole lighting system.

could it be the wiring ?
bulbs ?
vibration ?
heat and moisture ?

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Old 04-09-2010, 02:42 PM   #2
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The first thing to check is the wattage limitations of the fixture itself. Installing a 200 watt bulb in a fixture rated for 60 watts not only will cause the 200 watt bulb to burn out too quickly, but it also becomes a fire hazard. This is due to the excessive heat that will build up in the fixture and surrounding area.
If the bulbs installed are of the correct, or lower, wattage required by the fixture, the next step is to make sure you are using quality bulbs. Light bulbs have two exterior components, the metal base and the glass bulb. In order to keep the filament inside from burning out, manufacturers remove the normal air from inside a bulb and replace it with an inert gas. In order to keep this gas in, and air out, a seal must be made between the metal base and the glass.
And some makers save a little money by using a lesser-quality sealant than others. Over a short period of time, this cheap sealant can become hard and brittle, allowing air to seep into the bulb and burn out the filament. Using a better quality bulb avoids this problem.
If you’ve made sure you’ve got the correct wattage of quality bulbs installed and you still are replacing them too often, it may be due to excessive vibration. Some bulbs are subject to shaking simply due to their location. Fixtures near a door are a prime example. Another source of vibration may be the occupants of the building, such as a childs bedroom, or equipment such as an exercise room. The constant movement of these items shakes the walls, floors & ceilings, and that vibration is transferred to the bulb's filament. If the fixture can be outfitted with 'rough-service' bulbs, that would be one option to try. Rough service bulbs may also be called garage-door operator bulbs, appliance bulbs, or ceiling fan bulbs. They are designed with additional support for the filament than a standard bulb. Another option to look at is Compact Fluorescent (CF) bulbs, which have no filament. And with todays advancing technology, you may want to look into Light-Emitting-Diode (LED) lights as well.
If none of the above suggestions seem to help, there’s one more thing to try.
And it comes as a surprise to many that there actually are right and wrong ways to proverbially, ‘screw in a light bulb'. You may be twisting them into the socket too tightly.
By ‘cranking down’ on a bulb during installation you may be causing the most damage to the bulb and socket. Premature bulb failure is often caused by bulbs that have been installed too tightly into light fixtures.
Look into the base of a light fixture socket and you will see a brass tab. This tab is bent at an angle when the fixtures are new and will spring back and forth if depressed slightly. Now take several new light bulbs and inspect the base of each one. You will quickly notice that the bottom of most light bulbs has a small dot of solder in the center of the base. More importantly the size of this drop of solder is not exactly consistent. It is close in size, but not always the same size or height.
If the brass tab at the base of the socket does not make firm contact with the bottom of the light bulb, two things may happen. If there is a poor connection between the brass tab and the base of the bulb, the connection may heat up, and this heat cause the filament to burn out too soon.
If the connection is extremely poor, a small electrical arc can occur that starts to melt the solder and eventually burn a tiny hole through the bottom of the bulb.

To prevent this arcing you must be sure the brass tab is always at about a 30 degree angle inside the bottom of the socket. People who twist bulbs in tightly will depress and flatten the tab so it does not spring back when a bulb is replaced.
If you discover the tab is flattened, then you must turn off the power to the lights at the switch. As an additional safety measure, turn off the circuit breaker to the lights. Use a needle-nose pliers and carefully grasp the sides of the brass tab and slowly pull it up so the end of the tab is about one quarter inch off the base of the socket.
When you install a bulb always do so with the power off and the light switch on. Screw the bulb in enough for the thread to hold the bulb in place. Turn on the power, and continue turning the bulb. As soon as the bulb comes on, turn the bulb one-eighth of a turn. If you screw the bulb in too tightly, you will once again flatten the brass tab.

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Old 04-09-2010, 02:54 PM   #3
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The old saying: HOW MANY ELECTRICIANS DOES IT TAKE TO SCREW IN A LIGHT BULB.???
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Old 04-09-2010, 03:01 PM   #4
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Seriously.. I have seen light bulbs screwed in so tight, that you break them trying to remove them.
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Old 04-09-2010, 03:13 PM   #5
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I was going to suggest that you are using 130V bulbs but I believe the rough sevice bulbs are 130V-- check that and make sure
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Old 04-09-2010, 03:15 PM   #6
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Make sure you are using 130v bulbs not 120v
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Old 04-09-2010, 05:17 PM   #7
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You got to hate things that blow premature.
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Old 04-09-2010, 05:17 PM   #8
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Welcome to the forum.
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Old 04-09-2010, 05:35 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Electric Al View Post
The old saying: HOW MANY ELECTRICIANS DOES IT TAKE TO SCREW IN A LIGHT BULB.???

Answer....just one. He holds the light bulb and the job revolves around him
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Old 04-09-2010, 05:51 PM   #10
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Quote:
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The old saying: HOW MANY ELECTRICIANS DOES IT TAKE TO SCREW IN A LIGHT BULB.???
None. He gets an apprentice to do it.
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Old 04-09-2010, 07:49 PM   #11
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If all of the above advice doesn't handle it, you might try replacing the 100 W incandescent bulb with a 23 W or 32 W compact fluorescent bulb, assuming the light fixture is big enough to accommodate the bulb length.
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Old 04-09-2010, 07:58 PM   #12
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You also may just have stumbled across a bad batch of lamps.
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Old 04-09-2010, 10:56 PM   #13
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If the fixture were vibrating enough to make a difference you would have noticed. If it isn't then the lamp most likely is not, unless the socket assembly is loose. It probably is that the fixture is not allowing the heat to dissipate into the surrounding air. Could you install a dimmer and just back off on the brilliance for a while as a test? Or else, like another poster suggested go CFL.
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Old 04-10-2010, 02:04 AM   #14
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There may a other idea I do not know if that will work in your situation but If I recall it right someone did make a viberation isolater socket which it mean the bulb socket is mounted on some sorts of spring or something so that way it will not transmit the viberation or really reduce the viberations down to very low levels to prevent bulb filment burn out early.

I know Phonix { sp } used to make them so I do not know if they are still in bussiness or not. { they do make industrail grade and marine grade luminaires so they will handle very rough useage }

Merci,Marc
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Old 04-10-2010, 11:57 PM   #15
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You might want to record the voltage with a suitable VOM. Just a guess, but I suspect that the switching device is the problem. If the contacts of the switch is bad it could induce a voltage spike higher than the bulb is rated for.
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Old 04-11-2010, 10:07 AM   #16
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I assume that this is a 24/7 application? If so, 2-3 weeks would be about the average life of a 100 watt incandescent lamp- especially in this hot environment. I don't think that CFL lamps will last long in a 200 deg. ambient environment either. Probably, the most reliable, but somewhat expensive, would be HID fixtures ( metal halide, HPS, ect. ) with remote ballasts. I have used this arrangement in some VERY hot locations.
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Old 04-11-2010, 10:57 AM   #17
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Quote:
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You got to hate things that blow premature.
Very much.
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Old 04-11-2010, 11:28 AM   #18
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Very much.
I'm surprised that it took this long for someone to pick up on my comment.
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Old 04-11-2010, 11:45 AM   #19
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I bet your nickname is Speed E Jack.
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Old 04-11-2010, 02:08 PM   #20
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Quote:
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I'm surprised that it took this long for someone to pick up on my comment.
well, I did sleep in this morning........

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