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.
Thanks for the quick reply, Mark. I may end up doing that, but we have
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.
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.
thanks for the suggestions. I suspect the cheap (home depot branded -
"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?
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
Also ask your electrican! You paid him for a quality job it's his job
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
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.
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