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Electricians - why do my lightbulbs not work?


Colin Lindsay
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For years now we've had a small ornamental glass bottle display and each bottle has a G4 two-pin light bulb in it for internal illumination. They're on a dimmer but give off quite a bit of heat so that after two bulbs failed (albeit after many years) I decided I'd try LEDs. They won't light! I've gone for the correct 220v AC dimmable G4 bulbs - after a lot of checking - but they just don't light at all on any setting. What am I doing wrong and if I've bought the wrong LEDs what should I go for?

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Colin - Sorry to state the obvious, but you have fitted them the correct way round. They are diodes and normally only pass current one way. I used similar led bulbs to covert an old storm lamp to 9v DC. One way in they are fine, wrong way, nothing. That is using them with a cheap oriental remote control as well.

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53 minutes ago, Badwolf said:

Colin - another thought, you have tested the old bulbs haven't you. I have a salt crystal lamp which I thought was blowing bulbs ..a new cable and bulb holder sorted it.

Yes, two out of four still work, and I've replaced those. It stays on as a kind of nightlight, softer than the wall lights, so a dimmer is a necessity as the full bulbs are way too bright, and the LEDs probably worse. I reckon that as it's only the bottles that are the 'expensive' part (none of it really was) then I could probably replace the electronics if I ever needed to. 

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1 hour ago, dougbgt6 said:

Ooo Colin! What's in the decanters? Something exotic?

Doug

Just light... and some heat. When I have four bulbs, they all light up. There are actually two on the right, a little dumpy one you can just see around the taller one in front. Probably a souvenir of some holiday or other.

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Colin, from memory, conventional dimmers switch the leading edge of the mains waveform. LED compatible dimmers switch the trailing edge. Also, the LED has to be dimmer compatible and I can't see anything on that packet that says your bulb is. Is the dimmer an in-line jobbie in the mains lead? Is there more than one bulb in each decanter? If so, try one conventional bulb and one LED. My guess is that the dimmer can't "see" a bulb - it doesn't recognise the LED as a light bulb. If there's only one bulb then take the dimmer out of circuit to check it does actually work, then go and buy an LED compatible dimmer.

Cheers, Richard

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24 minutes ago, rlubikey said:

Colin, from memory, conventional dimmers switch the leading edge of the mains waveform. LED compatible dimmers switch the trailing edge. Also, the LED has to be dimmer compatible and I can't see anything on that packet that says your bulb is. Is the dimmer an in-line jobbie in the mains lead? Is there more than one bulb in each decanter? If so, try one conventional bulb and one LED. My guess is that the dimmer can't "see" a bulb - it doesn't recognise the LED as a light bulb. If there's only one bulb then take the dimmer out of circuit to check it does actually work, then go and buy an LED compatible dimmer.

Cheers, Richard

I've tried everything from one to four bulbs and one of each, but no go. Each takes one bulb and all are on their own cables from the dimmer unit.

I had the same problem on my trailer - the LED lights wouldn't work until I added conventional light clusters too whereupon both worked, so tried it here but still nothing.

The bulbs are sold as dimmable but as you have suggested it may be the actual dimmer - it may be worth splicing a new version into the wiring. Undimmed they're far too bright, you could land planes. 

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They're on a common dimmer and it doesn't work with at least one conventional bulb. Sounds like maybe the LEDs are dodgy. Sold as dimmable, but does it actually say that on the packet? Even so, I would remove the dimmer and try direct on the mains, then you know to either get an LED compatible dimmer ... or new (different) LEDs.

Richard

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A thought comes, in that do the LEDs have enough load for the dimmers to work. I had a situation some time ago where I had to put a conventional bulb in the circuit with several LEDs to get the dimmer to work. I have also had a situation where the leds would flash when the dimmer was set very low.

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