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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have been using 13 watt GE CFL lights.My light fixtures is rated for 2 standard 60 watt incandesent bulbs.I have no problems with standard light bulbs but CFL bulbs blow out frequent.I have changed 6 in my house today that has blown in the last week.The bulbs are only 1.5 years old.I installed them all at the same time.We don't use lights that much.We are on grid and rarely have problems with black outs.Black outs are usually storm related.We don't have brown outs.I have checked the electrical in my house and everything is in order.What scares me, is most of the bulbs have melted,turned black,and cracked where the glass loop goes into the ceramic base.Does anyone know what could be the problem?I am considering replacing all the CFL bulbs with standard issue bulbs.



 

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Master Of My Domain
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beyond a poor qualilty batch of CFLs, i would recheck the brown out situation. be sure you have nothing drawing near peak on the circuits you use the CFLs on. i had a similar situation with a cheap (not inexpensive, just shoddy) LED array i bought. it was made to screw into a standard 110 AC lamp holder. i had an overloaded circuit...1000 watt space heater, two desktop pcs, 50 watt sound system and a color tv...plus some standard lighting, that didn't blow the breaker, but would show power spikes in my computer equipment. i think the brown out conditions toasted the electronics in the LED array. i feel if i hadn't caught the array melting plastic, that it would have caught fire.
 

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I've noticed when my CFLs burn out, they tend to crack somewhere on the tube, and if it is near the base, the base is usually discolored due to what I assume is overheating during failure. I have noticed my GEs doing what you have pictured and I have thought they don't seem to last as long as other brands.

Must be a quality control issue. My other brands seem to last longer, and any discoloration is not nearly as bad (charred looking, etc.) as the GE bulbs.

Kendall

PS- I notice this is your first post. Welcome to HT.
 

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With all that *printing* I can see on the base of the cfl, can you tell if they are all from the same batch--or your 'first purchase' . . .??

My nickle says you got a poor quality bunch of cfl's

This country did get flooded with inferior quality cfl's when the "cfl craze" really got going.

Have you used a GOOD meter to test your incoming grid voltage . . . .?
(NOT the $7.95 kind from china freight)
Over\under grid voltage can be a very big issue...............
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I recently checked my electrical work after having a main breaker trip and it wouldn't reset.Everything is in order no over loads.Turned out to be a faulty breaker.I rechecked my electrical work after this rash of blown bulbs and everything checks ok.I live in a rural area and close to our power station so brown outs have never hit us.We get an occasional black out from a winter storm,car wreck or bad transformer.We haven't had that problem in 4 or 5 years.The bulbs I bought came in five packs and I bought three to do the entire house.All are from the same batch and have the same time stamp.Yep I live in a small house.We don't use any light except the over head room lights and 1 lamp in the bedroom.We are very power concious and limited excessive lighting.I sent GE's lighting department an email with the bulb particulars and my problem.I didn't send hate mail or threats.That's just not in my nature and it's why we lawyers.Just kidding about the lawyer part.I have a twisted sense of humor.Anyway,I am going to wait for a response from GE.in the mean time, I am installing standard bulbs and cutting back on light usage.

Jim-mi,
Yes,I checked incoming voltage.It hovered between 117 and 121 volts.I don't have an amp meter capable of handling 100 amps.I checked the amps at each breaker with a 20 amp clamp on gauge.Everything was below the breakers rating.I don't have much using power in my house.Mainly the dryer,oven,and hot water heater.They all have their own circuit and breaker.That's also the only 220 volt appliances that we have.
 

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Offgridkindaguy
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Low voltage and frequently turning them on/off will shorten the life of them big time. Gotta remember that they are fluorescents.
 

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I don't know if those GEs are "Energy Star" labeled or not, but I have personally noticed a difference between non-Energy Star, and Energy Star labeled bulbs, and find the Energy Star ones to be of better quality. I pay the extra for Energy Star labeled bulbs now. the percentage of bad ones is way down over what they were a few years ago, too.
 

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Would your power company come out and measure your amp draw on those circuits? I think our co-op would do that for free to members.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Would your power company come out and measure your amp draw on those circuits? I think our co-op would do that for free to members.
It would be a stretch to get our power company to do anything.It took 15 years and 2 major ice storms, with wide spread black outs, to convince them to trim the trees back off the power lines.I checked everything with my amp meter.I am,or was, before I became disabled,an industrial maintainence mechanic.Knowing electricity was party of my daily job duties.
 

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If you are "near" to a substation then over voltage could be a problem.
`The voltage can\could be cranked up enough so that there is sufficient voltage out at the far end of that circuit.
Its done all the time..............
And those "close by" have to put up with the hotter than normal voltage.

Transmission line loss is a large issue that the utility's don't talk about.

Don't worry about the "amp draw" . . .If its hot (higher) voltage than it should be, thats something to deal with.
Any lesser quality electrical items in your home >may< have trouble dealing with it.
You can ask for the utility to come out and check your voltage . . . because your having a problem (s)--the cfl's.

Hope fully it (the voltage) is not a problem, and you just got stuck with a poor quality bunch of bulbs.

But it still concerns me seeing those pix's with those black burn marks.

Fires are NOT nice.
 

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You should have 125v for optimum performance. Your 117v is too low. The power company regulates that with the tap that feeds your house. If it's too low, they can move up to a higher tap.

You may have a problem with power surges and brown outs. When you're on a long line in the country, power fluctuates more than it does in the city, where the load is more predictable. A whole house surge protector will help. A good power conditioner is better, but more expensive.

Genebo
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
New developments.A bulb started to flicker in my bedroom lamp.I grabbed my meter,pulled the lamp shade off,and watched it.The bulb got blindingly bright, and so hot I could not put my hand close to the base or light tube.When it blew,it went very dim and went out.It looked just like the one pictured above.I grabbed a hand towel and quickly took the bulb out.I tested power in the bulb socket at 125.7 volts and 125.9 volts at the wall outlet.The reading was steady with no fluctuations over a one minute test.I believe I just got a bad run of bulbs.
 

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Please call your utility asap for a "come out check"

In a way I'm glad you got to witness that...............

Those things are your worst enemy right now........

House Fires are Not nice.
 

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A friend of mine had trouble with power surge protectors. He went through 10 of them and called the power company multiple times. Nope. Not our problem. Our equipment is fine they would say. Then one day he saw them working on the power station within sight of his house. He hasn't burned out another surge protector since.
 

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There could be a heat related cause. Some light fixtures will cause them to overheat and cause the symtoms you describe. Older canister and track lighting for example.

Although it would void the bulb warranty, you may want to drill some small holes in the plastic base to dissipate more of the heat generated. Use a depth stop to protect the electronics. If the base is 'potted' this would not help.

Have some antique ballasts (+10 yrs) with the replaceable plug in 'U' shaped 13W bulbs. These ballasts have vents moulded in them. They work fine and that may be why they are impossible to find now.
 

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poor baby . . .(about workin xmas eve) . . thats his job . . and you had a legit reason for his services.
Hope he was truthful with you (voltage tolerance)

But at least your question about cfl's has been pretty much answered.
 

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.My light fixtures is rated for 2 standard 60 watt incandesent bulbs.I have no problems with standard light bulbs
I'd like to know what standard incandescent bulbs you folks that have no trouble with them are using. For some years now I've not found any incandescent bulb that lasts more than 6 months and many burned out immediately or within a week. Neither namebrand or price seem to matter one whit. Hasnt been that many years ago that a quality incandescent would last several years. Back then those with the brass base rather than aluminum tended to be the better quality.

I first switched to halogen (yes they make a screw in version that replaces standard incandescent), they last around 2 years in a bed lamp used daily and are rather pricey. Then at suggestion of penpal, I tried one of newer CF I bought at Aldi of all places. I was resistant as I had tried one of early ones few years before and wasnt impressed in slightest. Its going on close to 2 years now. Upstairs I put up a cheapo flourescent shop light using the four foot tubes. Bought the daylight tubes as I cant stand the coool or warm cheapies. Have been quite happy with it, going on a year with it now. Lights the room better than anything I've ever had up there and that includes a halogen torche lamp. I am finding I need very bright light to work in anymore.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I'd like to know what standard incandescent bulbs you folks that have no trouble with them are using. For some years now I've not found any incandescent bulb that lasts more than 6 months and many burned out immediately or within a week. Neither namebrand or price seem to matter one whit. Hasnt been that many years ago that a quality incandescent would last several years. Back then those with the brass base rather than aluminum tended to be the better quality.

I first switched to halogen (yes they make a screw in version that replaces standard incandescent), they last around 2 years in a bed lamp used daily and are rather pricey. Then at suggestion of penpal, I tried one of newer CF I bought at Aldi of all places. I was resistant as I had tried one of early ones few years before and wasnt impressed in slightest. Its going on close to 2 years now. Upstairs I put up a cheapo flourescent shop light using the four foot tubes. Bought the daylight tubes as I cant stand the coool or warm cheapies. Have been quite happy with it, going on a year with it now. Lights the room better than anything I've ever had up there and that includes a halogen torche lamp. I am finding I need very bright light to work in anymore.
I am currently using GE soft white long life bulbs.They usually last me around 2 years.I can't get CFL's to last a year.Half of that time there's no one here.
 
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