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Westcott Light explosion

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Bryce Moose
Westcott Light explosion
on Feb 4, 2012 at 3:30:24 am


About six months ago I purchased a Westoctt light kit with two softboxes and a stand up light. The softbox light bulbs are 500W and the stand up light is 100W Today one of my softboxes made a popping noise and then smoke came out. I unplugged the thing and the whole bulb inside shattered leaving the bottom intact inside the softbox. Is there something wrong with my softbox? I cant' figure out what would cause this. I never plug it into a surge strip nor do I leave it on long periods of time.



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Bill Davis
Re: Westcott Light explosion
on Feb 4, 2012 at 9:11:35 pm

Bulbs explode.

Not regularly, and thankfully not often - but the ones that generate a lot of heat likely always will.

One classic "insider" piece of knowledge, is if you have lamps that heat up and cool significantly every time you use them - it's critical that you not touch the glass of the lamp with your bare fingers.

Doing do will leave skin oil on the surface of the glass. That in turn can cause uneven heat distribution at the point where the oils are deposited, and with regular expansion and contraction via heat - that area can weaken and cause a lamp to "blow up" earlier than it otherwise would.

Use clean gloves or a paper towel or similar whenever you handle a lamp that's going to be used in a "high heat" environment.


"Before speaking out ask yourself whether your words are true, whether they are respectful and whether they are needed in our civil discussions."-Justice O'Connor

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Dennis Size
Re: Westcott Light explosion
on Feb 5, 2012 at 6:18:06 am

The bulb blew up. It's not uncommon. They're under high pressure in a compact glass envelope. Replace it. Be sure not to touch the new bulb with your bare fingers.


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Scott Sheriff
Re: Westcott Light explosion
on Feb 9, 2012 at 8:44:15 pm

Yep. Just like Bill and Dennis said. Lamps explode. Never run them in an open face instrument without some type of guard.
Skin oil will make them fail. Fast. Either wipe it off with alcohol, or use rubber gloves, or the bulb package itself to not touch the bulb with your bare hands. And even then they will occasional fail catastrophically. These are very high performance items, that have very little in common with consumer lamps. It's like the difference between a race car engine, and a street car engine.
Crappy sockets can make them explode too. A poor connection causes resistance and arcing, creating heat in the socket, creating more resistance and arcing...and so on. Eventually they will die. Make sure the lamps are firmly in the socket, and it isn't corroded.
Also try to avoid moving lights when they are on, or even off but still hot. This weakens the filament in the lamp and will shorten their already short life.

Scott Sheriff

"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur." ---Red Adair

Where were you on 6/21?

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