Lights of America, 32W base up in a desk lamp.
I heard a pop and found the two parts of that form the base separated
with the bulb dangling from a pair of internal wires, and a scorch mark
on the shade. Near the edge of the circuit board there is a DIP with
pin 6 completely gone--just a hole surrounded by black emanating to the
edge of the board. Another nearby component (whose type escapes me
94-4944 042P 2671) has scorch marks on its heat sink and a little bump
poking out of the packaging.
It's not uncommon. From your description, it sounds like a capacitor
failure on the ballast circuit board. It's scary because you can see the
damage and sometimes smell a bit of smoke and see the flash. All electronic
fluorescent lamp ballasts have capacitors. Now, with the circuitry almost
exposed on CFL lamps, failures are noticed. When the ballast is inside a
metal can inside an enclosed fixture, there isn't as much of a "show" when
If the CFL is UL listed (most are), the design has been tested so that it is
not likely it will start a fire or be an electrical safety hazard; but with
electricity anything can happen sometimes. Flick a drop of water on a
standard 100 watt incandescent bulb that's been burning a while and be
prepared for fireworks and flying glass. On second thought, don't do that;
it's dangerous. And standard light bulbs are not UL listed for safety.
Wasn't there an epidemic of bad caps going around a few years ago?
Anyway, none of the things I think look like capacitors look blown.
I think that bulb dates back to the Enron blackouts of 2001.
It was getting ready to die. The last few weeks it would spontaneously
go out until I jostled the lamp (or just walked over to it).
I got the autofucos issues worked out on my PointOrShoot camera and
took some pictures of the aftermath. The macro mode images of the blown
DIP look even more dramatic than with the naked eye.
Some rudimentary html and the images can be found at:
Yes, great pix. Looks like it may have been the electronics rather than the
usual capacitor failure; but it looks like a normal failure. I don't like
the part about the lamp coming off the base; but other than being a bit
startling, the failure does't appear likely to be extensive enough to cause
damage or hurt someone.
control chip. (uba2021p) - looks like the connection to the resistor
beside it overheated and opened up causing the chip to lock on,
vapourizing the lead..
Pin 9 is the current monitor . Looks like it is pin 9 that has blown
WOW! What kind of Nikon? That's a classic textbook picture of a pin blow
out. IMHO, that shouldn't happen - a fusible link of some sort should open.
People with CPD can get a good blast of very nasty fumes when a CFL dies.
She removes all bulbs in her sewing/office areas when they either show
blackening or start humming (that's a few, now) to avoid breathing that
stuff in during yet-another smoky CFL bulb failure. I'm hoping "death by
stinkout" is something they really get squared away in the future. The
worst an incandescent bulb has done around here is flare out.
Anyway, your "PointOrShoot" seems to have done a remarkable job. Some
cameras can't get close without resorting to tricks (my favorite is holding
a large magnifying glass in front of the camera lens). I've bought a lot of
digicams - not one of them is a do-it-all camera. I go back to using my
Sony TRV video-tape cam because the smaller, higher-res cams have
hard-to-work menus in place of the discrete buttons on the Sony.
On 18 Jan 2012 09:25:03 GMT, firstname.lastname@example.org (Fake ID) wrote:
I was on a website recently where people post serious problems with
CFLs, such as yours. There are quite a few of them mentioning things
such as what you bulb did. At the time I was on that site, I was busy
and wanted to read more later, as well as post about the two of them
that "blew up" on me. I thought I bookmarked the website, but I guess I
didn't. Now I cant find the site.
I think the link to that site came from a message on this group (but
I had one (60W equiv) in my bathroom emit a shower of sparks and smoke
immediately after turning it on. I shut the switch off. The base was
burned away in a spot and the glass part was separated, but still in
place (the bulb pointed upward). I had another one in the garage (100W
equiv) on the ceiling. It was working, when suddenly it got dim, I
heard a loud pop, and smoke started pouring out of it. I shut that one
off too. That one pointed downward. The glass stayed in the base but
was loose and soot covered. This garage bulb had about 2 hours of use
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