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Old 12-24-2007, 06:00 PM   #1
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A faulty bulb or a faulty fixture?

Last year I installed two close to ceiling crystal fixtures which uses
candlabra bulbs (60 watt max). One allows for three bulbs, the other five.
(The original fixtures (50 years old) also had the same bulb capacity but used regular incadescent bulbs. The wiring in the house remains in good shape from what I can tell installing the new fixures. So, it's not a matter of overloading circuits with the new fixtures!)

I decided to replace one of the two brand new crystal fixtures last year only days of installing it because one of the three bulbs styarted flickering and "buzzing/sizzling".....I tried replacing the one bulb acting up and the new bulb ALSO flickered and buzzed. So, to be safe, I just replaced the entire fixture. No more problems (so far) in that fixture. But now the other crystal fixture is showing signs of what the first one had done!

That second crystal fixture (that uses five 60 watt candlabra bulbs) started having one bulb flicker and sizzle. This time however, there was a "poof-pop" noise when I turned the fixture on, yet all the bulbs l remained lit.(There was a slight electrical burn smell afterwards, but no smoke) This has happened twice now and it's scary! Until I get some answers here or get an electrician I'm not using the fixture! But, why would this particular fixture work flawlessly up until now?

I'm also wondering too....COULD this be an instance of faulty candlabra bulbs? You see, I've used 25 and 40 watt candelabra bulbs elsewhere throughout the house for many years with no problems (although occasionally one will "poof-pop" when it burns out) Are the 60 watt candlabra bulbs "proned' to acting this way, perhaps over time?

I have used the newly installed crystal fixtures rather sporadically anyway last year, but I'm now baffled as to what could be going on. --Ideas anyone?

btw....These are SYLVANIA double-life bulbs, too which I thought were of good quality!

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Old 12-24-2007, 06:29 PM   #2
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Scottsdale, AZ
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A faulty bulb or a faulty fixture?

Several things jump into mind. But, I'm going to suggest that the sockets are not properly contacting the bulbs, thereby causing the audible crackle, sizzle, flicker, etc. Perhaps the socket ends of the bulbs are coated or covered with a clear protective coating so that the brass doesn't discolor on its way over on the boat from China. Seriously, that is what many manufacturers have to do with Asian imports because the sea voyage is so long. Dessicant doesn't always work. Try wiping each bulb's socket end with a rag with a small amount of mineral spirits on it such as turpentine or simply an isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol. Brass must be coated unless you want it to oxidize rapidly.

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Old 12-24-2007, 06:31 PM   #3
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Virginia Beach, Va
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A faulty bulb or a faulty fixture?

I would think it would point to the fixtures being an issue.

Bulbs are bulbs as along as your old/new fixtures used the same amount of bulbs at the same total wattage.

I would stop using the fixtures until its corrected.

Its either pull the fixtures if you are comfortable with that and check for smokie burn damage or call a qualifed electrician.

Any brand names on the fixtures or boxes they came in if you still have them?
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Old 12-25-2007, 12:07 PM   #4
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A faulty bulb or a faulty fixture?

First...thanks for the first replies.

Originally Posted by Sammy View Post
"...Any brand names on the fixtures or boxes they came in if you still have them?"
The fixtures were purchased from LOWES and were indeed "imported".
I had to order a crystal last year to replace one broken prism and THAT effort was through a company in L.A. Calif.. LOWES has dropped the fixtures now from their lighting gallery inventory (after having it many years) I had repainted the room which these two fixtures were installed in last year so my concern is having to deal with ugly places left in the ceiling (now) should these fixtures need replacing! Needless to say, I'm trying to avoid that job!

I cannot understand why this problem of this one sizzling, popping candlabra bulb is suddenly occurring at all---given the fact the fixture has worked fine for well over a year! If it's not a bad bulb, then I would suspect there must be some kind of problem with the socket itself now, but what would cause THAT all at once?

Last year, with the very same malfunction occurring, I first tried changing the bulb on the other fixture (I mentioned in the orig. post) and the sizzling noise and flickering still continued with the new bulb! That's when I went ahead and changed out that fixture all together to be on the safe side. And, it's that experience from last year that I suppose has me almost skiddish to even try another bulb in this other particular socket (thinking history will only repeat itself).

I guess I was just hoping others of you could tell me that 60 watt candelabra bulbs have some kind of history behaving this way!.....to save me the hassle of changing out the fixtures yet again! ...that maybe over time the higher 60 watt candlabra bulbs don't seem to last too long and start behaving the way I've described.
(Uhhh, there's still time to tell me this! )

Elsewhere in the house, I've never had any trouble at all with other smaller wattage candlabra bulbs over a number of years. Reducing the 60 watts to say 40 or 25 watts is of course an option in these problematic fixtures, but it would reduce the lighting considerably in that room. I'd rather not have to resort to that.

Seriously, WHY would there be some kind of physical breakdown in sockets and their individual wiring all at once in a light fixture after such a short period of time? The labels clearly state "60 watt max. bulbs" and I've certainly stayed within that boundary. As I've stated before, I've always used LESSER wattage bulbs in other chandeliers through the house and never had such problems before! That's why I'm suspicious about this possiblity perhaps behind what's happening. The plastic sockets might get hotter with the 60 Watt bulbs?
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Old 12-25-2007, 12:25 PM   #5
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Virginia Beach, Va
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A faulty bulb or a faulty fixture?

An electrical fixture being in place for a period of time does not mean it is safe or correct. Could be a loose connection in a socket that took that long to finally deteriorate.

Hmmm.. Wonder WHY Lowes doesnt stock them anymore?

I would check the box for a name and model number and see if its had any recalls.

But either way I would pull the fixture and inspect it. Sizzle means there has been something getting hot.
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Old 12-25-2007, 04:38 PM   #6
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Location: Lilburn, GA
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A faulty bulb or a faulty fixture?

I vote bad made in China fixture.

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