It is easy to get an incandescent lamp that has very long life. Just get
a 240V bulb and use it on 120V. It will last nearly forever. But you
won't get much light out of it. That is what "long life" bulbs do. There
is a trade off of bulb life and light output. What is the light output
of the Centennial and other long lived bulbs in this thread?
Failure of incandescents is complex but mostly due to sublimation and
thinning of the tungsten filament with time. When I bought my house
over 35 years ago we had bulbs filled with krypton rather than the usual
argon which slows sublimation and several of these bulbs are still in use.
As others point out there is a lot or circuitry in these new bulbs that
can fail before the actual light source itself.
That reminds me of a street light that was about a block from where I grew
up at. This light was over the middle of an intersection in town. The road
was not used much at night as this was about 50 years ago. We would get in
the street and throw and kick a football around. Once or twice every year
one of us would kick the football and hit the light and break it by
Just replaced a cfl(18Watt,220Volt, Philips).
Cause:bulging capacitor and brown burned plastic/electronics.
Life: around .5 to 2 years.
It is never a burned-out tube, always carbonized electronics.
The left-over tubes are fun to play around with, you can light
them with the static charge on the front of old tv-s.
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