Undercounter Halogen 120v bulb (soft start device?)

We just finished a complete kitchen rehab, and used the little peanut halogen lamps under the new cabinets. I love the way the look, but they are blowing on a regular basis. YES, I know not to touch them with bare fingers or anything else with any oil on them, but they keep blowing. They're hard to replace, too. And, to replace them altogether is not a good option - there's lots of thick granite in the way now. So, I got to thinking that maybe an electronic component inline with the (single) wall switch that turns them on could start "softly" when I turn on the switch so as to avoid the big start surge. That's when they always blow, so I know it's hard on them. So far, I've replaced at least everyone of them. I have 6, and they've only been installed since October. I know I could put in a dimmer switch that would do it, but I don't have much room in that switch box, and would rather not do that. Anyway, others in the family would probably go right to ON instead of "turning it up".
Any ideas? Looking for a component that I could wire in that would "clamp" the starting voltage for a second or so, then allow the full voltage to come thru in a "ramp up" manner.
Steve Henderson
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Steve Henderson wrote:

I'd find a way to put a dimmer in,,, its nice to have them dimmed anyway...
Mark
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Mark wrote:

dark green granite - even on the backsplash, and even tho they're halogen, they're not overly bright in that atmosphere anyway, so we would never dim them on purpose.
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Do they have a lens protecting the bulb from airborn grease, are your sure its a 120v feed. Any oil will shorten life, I use a paper towel to replace them, and alcohol to clean. Soft start I dought will help. It could be cheap chinese bulbs, try a name brand like GE. I have seen tube halogen 150 watt burn out from loose contacts making extreme heat and cracking the bulb, look at the base connection, is it blackened from a poor socket not making solid connection. Think about T8 flourescent, they are really long life and save 75%-80% in electricity, nice for undercounter with warm white bulbs. Pucks cost alot to run.
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m Ransley wrote:

"hamilton bay?") bulbs. They do have a shield glass, and they are 120v bulbs (no transformer needed). It's just gonna be hard to replace them with another type since I have 3cm granite splash boards (same thickness as the regulation counter top) that won't go quietly into that good night. Guess I could just cut the zip cord at the light, and then splice in the T8's... I just really like the bright white halogen lights on that dark granite. Guess I can't have everything, huh? Steve
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Steve Henderson wrote:

One thing you can try is installing ballast(just a light bulb) in series. The size of bulb has to be calculated using your total load. Tony
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Replace the halogen bulbs with xenon bulbs. They run much cooler and have a much longer lifespan.
www.pegasusassociates.com/products/XenonLamps/XenonLightBulbs.html
--
Murray Peterson


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Murray Peterson wrote:

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Steve Henderson wrote:

Check the voltage incoming to the transformer and outgoing from it.
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Joseph Meehan

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Then measure the current the string uses and calculate a resistor to drop the voltage 5%. Mind the resistor's wattage rating.
--
Jim Yanik
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Perhaps you could install a dimmer under the new cabinets, adjust it once to just slightly dim the bulbs, and leave the on/off toggle in place.
Steve Henderson wrote:

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Lutron and Lightolier make some top of the line dimmers with a built in "soft start" and a memory dim level. Family would treat it like a switch, but it just goes to the set level. BTW any dimmer will drop your voltage slightly.
If your system is using a transformer you'll need to find out if it's electronic or magnetic. (Is is a small light weight plastic box or a metal, shoe box sized one that would really hurt you foot if you dropped it?)
Also ask your electrican! You paid him for a quality job it's his job to deliver.
RickR
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You could switch to LED undercounter lights. They would probably outlast you and me.
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Jim Yanik
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Unfortunately, so-called soft starting doesn't help bulb life much -- a few hours at most -- according to the data that I've seen. It's more likely that you have some bad bulbs. I hope you replaced the failed bulbs with high-quality name brand bulbs. That's the best way to ensure rated bulb life and at least you can complain with some hope of replacements if there is a problem.
It's an urban legend that bulb life of halogen lamps is shortened by finger oil. The surface of the bulb may degrade somewhat where dirt and oil react with the quartz; but that doesn't affect bulb life only the appearance of the bulb.
TKM
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I do not believe this "urban legend" claim;can you provide any proof?
It's not that dirt or oil react with the quartz,it's that they carbonize and create hot spots,and then absorb more heat.
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Jim Yanik
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Hmmm. Never heard that one. There are already hot spots along the surface of a halogen lamp due to filament supports and circulating gas currents. They don't affect lamp life. What does is the temperature of the lamp seals (where the filament wire comes through the quartz). Overheat those and the seal cracks letting in air and the lamp fails.
But, the concern about finger prints is confusing. Strangely, Philips says that lamp life will be shortened; but GE and Osram-Sylvania don't. Take a look at the respective caution notices packed with halogen lamps or printed in lamp catalogs.
I was part of the product service group for a large US lamp manufacturer for a number of years shortly after the tungsten halogen lamp was introduced in 1958. We tested halogen lamps of 50-500 watts for general lighting service. Dirt, fingerprints, etc. never did anything more than make a slight haze on the surface. In a highly-tuned optical system that might cause light distribution problems, but it doesn't affect lamp life.
TKM
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