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markhod 07-29-2004 04:03 AM

Exploding light bulb!
Imagine my suprise when this morning the light bulb in the hall exploded showering hot glass everywhere. Any ideas what could cause this? (googling suggests putting it in a microwave could cause this...but it was just running normally and it is a normal light bulb as far as I know). Could this be dodgy wiring? (I just moved to a new flat). Any ideas or websites that can help ( as I said googling doesnt seem to help me),



joe83 07-29-2004 10:22 AM

Light bulbs can sometimes do this, but it is rare. Have someone check the wiring to
ensure :
1. appropriate voltage is present.
2. the neutral and hot wires are connected correctly.
3. that your bulbs are not made by Microsoft!!

Also home repair outlets carry cheap simple to use outlet / circuit testers that I recommend you use, especially before plugging in sensitive electronics such as computers. I have done repairs in a lot of apartments over the years and some of the "creative" wiring I have encountered is downright scary.


hacker supreme 02-17-2007 08:30 AM

If you're going to use a circuit tester or other device with Mains voltage. I would definitely recommend rubber-soled shoes or standing on something insulating.
I've conducted UK (230VAC @ 13A) mains more times than I'd care to, it's not recommended.

If you're worried about the possible risks of electrocuting and/or killing yourself you may be better off calling in a qualified electrician. Better safe than sorry.
Just my :twocents:.

Mega Man X 02-17-2007 08:49 AM


Originally Posted by joe83
3. that your bulbs are not made by Microsoft!!

There is nothing wrong with bulbs made by Microsoft. But you will need to use third party products to make them safe to use. Unless they are not connected to the network... I mean... unless you don't turn them on :D

masonm 02-17-2007 12:14 PM

My guess would be that the filament burned out very suddenly and a piece of the filament flew off and shattered the thin glass bulb.

dasy2k1 02-17-2007 12:32 PM

lightbulbs somtimes just explode wehn the break, its rare but natural,
bit i woudl still recomed checking your voltage
there are cheap test plugs taht cna be bought that are perfecly safe to use and liht a series of neons to show you if your mains is wired correctly

dasy2k1 02-17-2007 12:35 PM

on a slightly more funny not look at

J.W. 02-17-2007 12:39 PM

Could it have gotten wet? Back in college an idiot friend of mine replaced an outdoor bulb with an indoor one in a sidewalk lamp, and when he switched it on, it just popped (it wasn't raining but it was a very gray, damp day). Maybe you've got condensation of some kind.

Or it could just be a defective bulb. I wouldn't worry about it yet, but if it happens again anytime soon, and you've eliminated other reasons, then maybe you should contact the landlord, as it could be a safety issue

IBall 02-17-2007 08:14 PM

When the glass is hot, it becomes vulnerable to shattering. If the filament burnt through (not a wiring fault, just the age of the bulb), and a piece hit the glass it may shatter. Also, a drop of water would cause the glass to shatter. It could also have been a weak spot on the globe. Also, was the globe touching the shade? This could cause the bulb to heat up unevenly, and shatter.

This is one thing to be very careful of if you have a metal-halide light above a fish tank. The bulb gets extremely hot, and a small drop of water from a fish splashing at the surface will shatter the glass. In this case, you must have a good gap between the water and the globe but it can still happen.

I have had cheap light globes burn out explosively before. Normally, the whole glass bulb bursts forth from the metal enclosure and lands intact on the carpet... What causes this I am not quite sure.


taylor_venable 02-17-2007 08:25 PM

You should replace it (or have "them" replace it) with a CF bulb. I recently replaced a bunch of my incandescent bulbs with CFLs and I can't tell the difference (except for a very slight (< .5 sec) start-up time after they've been cold for a couple hours). And supposedly they save a bunch of energy, so you can feel good about that. They do require special disposal (for mercury); however, you probably won't need to replace them for a long time. Yay, energy efficiency!

johngreenwood 02-19-2007 06:50 PM

You didn't shoot it with a BB gun did you? That's how my bulb exploded. There was another time too, when I squirted it with cold water to see what would happen (I was about 6 at that time). Light bulbs seem to be quite a popular topic for discussion here, this is the second thread I have seen today concerning light bulbs.

pixellany 02-20-2007 01:26 AM

I once put a champagne cork into a flourescent tube from maybe 6 feet away. No big deal---except for the food buffet directly under the fixture....;)

IBall 02-20-2007 07:00 PM

This is an interesting topic, especially since Australia's Environment Minister has just decided he is going to ban incandescent globes within 3 years.,00.html

I think he is being simplistic - these "energy efficient" globes have a much reduced life span if they are turned on and off regularly, such as a toilet light. Also, what is he going to do about disposal? They reckon it will save about 1,000,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions every year. I think maybe they should do something about car emissions and industry though - probably will have more effect.

At least they don't get hot and explode though :)


J.W. 02-20-2007 07:58 PM

I recently made the switch to CFL's in my apartment, and replaced 6 100W standard bulbs with 6 23W CFL's that throw an equivalent amount of light. I still have some standard bulbs (despite having the same base, some CFL's just won't fit into some light fixtures. CFL's are more squat, and regular bulbs have longer 'necks') but so far, these CFL's are really a good thing.

I've put the CFL's into all the lamps I use the most - reading lamp, table lamp, and the lights in the room with all my PC's. I've been using them regularly since about November, and can say that they really do make a difference. They don't generate any heat to speak of, the light is very natural (unlike typical fluorescents, which I think is ugly and harsh and makes other people look like they're sick) and best of all, they are 4 times more efficient than the older bulbs I was using.

This article made me switch. I'd recommend reading it, it's pretty fascinating stuff (I think anyway) and what clinched the deal for me was finding a local store selling 4 packs of the 100W equivalents for the bargain price of $1.99. Deal! Apparently the State of California was offering a subsidy to retail outlets for a while to try to get people to try the CFL's, hence the unbelievable $1.99 for 4.

I'd encourage everyone to at least look into CFL's.... as the article says, even if each household replaced only one regular bulb with a CFL, if enough people did it the aggregate difference could be huge.

brianL 02-21-2007 10:24 AM

If your lightbulb explodes, how many LinuxQuestions forum members will you invite round to change it?

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