The Self-Healing Lightbulb

I can't believe this. I was working up in the loft in the shed when I bumped my trouble light. As always, there was a bright flash and the bulb burned out. They always burn out at the worst possible times. I was in total black, and getting down from that loft is no easy task. After saying a few 4 letter words I grabbed the light and was preparing to climb down from the loft. All of a sudden the light flashed on for a second, then off again. I shook the light and once again there was a very bright flash. I knew for sure the bulb was dead after that...... Or so I thought.... Still holding the light, I shook it again, not expecting it to re-light. Much to my amazement, it lit again. This time it was normal brightness, but as soon as I moved it, it went black again. This happened about 4 times, and then the light stayed on. I hung the light from a nail and proceeded to do what I had been doing, and waiting for another bright flash. I was almost done with my tasks up there and just hoped that the bulb would last long enough. I really suspected that as soon as I started to pound a nail with my hammer, the vibration would destroy the bulb. I finished pounding in about ten nails, and the light remained burning. I grabbed the light and proceeded down the ladder. The bulb remained burning. I hung it up next to my workbench and shut it off. I closely looked at the bulb. I could see the scrape marks in the inside coating where the filament had scraped off that coating. At least six very noticable scrapes. I was sure that as soon as I turned the switch back on, the bulb would burn out with a bright flash. I flipped the switch, and the bulb worked as a normal bulb......
This all happened a week ago. I've used that trouble light with that same bulb several times. I've moved it, banged it, and turned it on and off many times. I can tell the filament is loose because whenever I move the cord even the slightest, the movement of the filament is visible. I have been carrying around a new bulb, but I dont plan to install it until this bulb really does burn out. I simply can not believe that a bulb that burned out with a bright flash TWICE, and shows all the scratch marks on the glass from a dangling filament, is still working and apparently healed itself. I have never seen anything like this...
Mark
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snipped-for-privacy@UNLISTED.com wrote:

..
The filament separated. FLASH. It happened to be in a spot where it can reconnect easily. In time it will quit doing that.
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Joseph Meehan

Dia duit
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Yeah, if it can reconnect easily enough, it'll temporarily weld itself back together. I've seen this happen before.
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manufacturers should add a low wattage rugged lightsource always on when the droplight is on for such occasions which seemingly always happen at the worst possible time....
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Better would be a low-voltage bulb. Line voltage filaments are long and thin -- most have "coiled-coil" construction and that makes them act like flabby springs. Low voltage (12 volt, say) are short and tough. The automotive types that plug into a car's lighter socket are quite rugged. Maybe we need a transformer model to use those on line voltage. But the fluorescent trouble lights are fairly rugged too.
TKM
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Joseph Meehan wrote:

I know a cat has nine lives, but that bulb of yours is beating tabby by a mile.
That's the kind of thing which probably gave the inventor of those old Xmas tree bulbs with the thermostat blinker switch built into them his bright" idea. <G>
Jeff
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Jeffry Wisnia

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On Wed 25 Jan 2006 02:56:47a, Thus Spake Zarathustra, or was it ?

Miracles do happen!
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Wayne Boatwright տլ
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On Wed, 25 Jan 2006 03:56:47 -0600, snipped-for-privacy@UNLISTED.com wrote:

I see that happening with C9 holiday lights a lot (considering the mythical nonsense common that time of year, I mention proof of life after death). However, it's nearly always short.
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Mark Lloyd
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At least six very noticable

As has been said by another poster, there are better options for trouble lights... low voltage models and even fluourescent models.
But, if you like the old fashioned ones with the incandescent bulb in a metal cage, you might want to consider using what are called "Rough Service lamps". These have thicker filaments and are less susceptible to damage from vibration.
Beachcomber
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Beachcomber wrote:

I'm not sure it's thicker filaments, but I do know that they employ multiple filament supports along the span of the filament to reduce its unsupported length/mass.
Jeff
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Jeffry Wisnia

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Thank you Jaysus!!!!!!
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Happens a lot with automotive bulbs and is a good tip for those occasions when a headlight bulb blows and a spare is not available. Turn the lights on and give the fender or the lens a good tab. Sometimes - not always - the filament will reweld itself and work perfectly well.
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snipped-for-privacy@UNLISTED.com wrote:

Many of the rest of us have. It is not uncommon.
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I haven't used an incandecent bulb in one of these for at least years. Spring for a couple of compact fluorescent bulbs. It costs a lot more when you break one, but it's MUCH harder to do. You also won't burn yourself on the light or start nearly as many fires. You can also work under a car with the light next to your ear without it ever causing you to use foul language...
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Actually I did start a fire on my engine once. I was using a gas coated rag to wipe grease off my engine. Prior to this, I used commercial engine cleaner and a putty knige to remove the heavy grease. I bumped the trouble light, it fell and the bulb cracked. igniting the rag. I threw the rag onto the lawn. The fire on the engine went out in a few seconds because I had not coaked the engine with gas, just wiped it, but the fumes were still there.
A few wires on the engine melted their insulation and I had to tape them. Otherwise no damage to the car. My shirt was burned badly and my arms had painful burns. The rag was destroyed, it just burnrd up.
A real freak accident.
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(good tale snipped) Treat yourself- get one of those 2aa maglite or similar penlights, and a belt holster, and carry it along as backup when you work in dark places. That way, next time the droplight gets dropped and goes dark, you still have a backup light source to make your escape with.
aem sends...
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On Thu, 26 Jan 2006 22:17:51 GMT, "ameijers"

I've seen headbands designed to hold that same flashlight. One of those may help.

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Mark Lloyd
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