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Old 04-15-2013, 06:11 PM   #1
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Troubleshooting: Hallway light burns through bulbs @ 1/month


X-posted from electriciantalk.com (which has since closed the thread and directed me here):

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Hello. This is my first time here, so please bear with me. I am having a problem in a hallway which I can't seem to figure out. The light socket in our stairwell has blown through SEVERAL lightbulbs, including a CFL bulb, all lasting an average of a month or so. I was able to check the voltage and it's measuring 120VAC. I'm an electrical engineer, but my experience is with low voltage electronics, so I'm a bit out of my depth here. Any idea what can be causing this? Fuses look fine. Any help is appreciated. Thanks!
As far as I can tell, the wiring looks solid - there's no breaks in the lines, and the grounds are all tied up correctly. I was asked to check the switch, which is part of a double gang box with the other switch controlling the light in the closet directly beneath the stairwell, but I've had no problems with that light at all. There appears to be no cross wiring on the box, either.

For the life of me I can't figure this out - it's not the lights that bother me, but the fact that I'm blowing through one a month could indicate a bigger problem... Thanks for the help!!

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Old 04-15-2013, 06:33 PM   #2
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Troubleshooting: Hallway light burns through bulbs @ 1/month


Spikes are what kills CFL'S.
A lot of CFL's use electronics in them.
you are probably getting spikes on the line !
A normal rms volt meter will not show these.
They are usually very breif,
but the voltage can increase substancially,
electronics dont like this !
and wont tolerate it for too long.
try putting a spike filter on the line.

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Old 04-15-2013, 07:44 PM   #3
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Troubleshooting: Hallway light burns through bulbs @ 1/month


One thing could be excessive vibration. Bouncy floor joists from the floor above can do this.

Another thing might be a bad socket. Look carefully at the innards of the socket, and I'll bet you a dollar to a donut that the rivets that hold it together are loose, and there are signs of arcing in the base.

That loose connection heats up the base of the bulbs, and literally cooks `em from the inside out.

The result either way is premature failure of the bulbs.
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