CFL failures

We’ve been using Compact Fluorescent Lamps for many years. They use less power for the light output and our supply voltage is on the high side and incandescent lamps don’t last long.

Compact Fluorescent Lamps seem to fail more often than they should. Usually the electronics fizz and go bang or sometimes they just won’t start. I’ve pulled a lot apart and based on what I’ve seen it’s due to heat. These things pack too much into too small a space with not enough ventilation. They run too hot and fail. If they just won’t start it’s generally due to a capacitor that’s been too hot for too long.

I was working away and one above me made a lot of arcing and fizzing noises but did not stop. I replaced it and opened it up to find a failed 400V 0.1uF capacitor that was connected across the mains supply. This is a bit worrying, but probably not too much of a safety hazard. The arcing would eventually cause the capacitor to short circuit, which would isolate the electronics from the supply by blowing the small internal fuse.

I do not recommend this at home: but I have found that improving the ventilation significantly increases their life expectancy.

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