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I built a light fixture out of a water pipe and some "vintage" fillament bulbs. I have a micro switch that is operated by a plumbing valve. Everything works, however, when I put 4 bulbs, 40w each, one randomly burns out after 20 sec. I checked the connections, they seem OK, the switch is rated at 240v( im in europe) and 16A. With 3 bulbs the fixtures works. What could be the issue?

picture of DIY light fixture

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    Is it always the same spot that burns out? My guess would be they are not wired correctly -- they should all be in parallel. Can you draw a diagram of how you wired them, and also double-check that they're wired that way? – gregmac Aug 2 '15 at 16:36
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    Aside, how did you make the connections inside the pipes? Is there a ground connection (I don't see one)? If one of the internal wires ever shorts to the metal inside and the metal isn't grounded, someone who touches this will get electrocuted. Because there's also a switch that people will touch, this is a very real hazard you should be concerned about. (Also, I'm not really sure about the usefulness of a switch like that on a ceiling fixture, but the switch mechanism itself is certainly a neat idea, if you're into the steampunk thing). – gregmac Aug 2 '15 at 16:42
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    Nice design, great idea :) – Marek Oleszczuk Aug 3 '15 at 11:46
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I notice that the failing bulb is next to your switch... so i'm suspecting damage from shaking the bulbs while turning them on and off. Which is a pity since I like the switch design... maybe you could redesign it as a wall-mounted switch?

(I have an old gas key which I'm planning to adapt as the knob of a dimmer switch.)

  • Thanks, for all the answers:) The bulb burns out at random places. I discovered that I had mixed 40w and 60w bulbs.. Only the 40w were burning out. I replaced all bulbs with 60w and after one more burn out now all are working. I read that tightening them too much might cause issue and was really careful the last time. Now it has been working for hours with no issues. Bulbs are wired in paralel, i do not have a ground but I plan to add one- a wire connected to the metal pipe and to the ground from the socket on the ceiling should work? – David Bello Aug 3 '15 at 15:16
  • Anyway everything is well insulated inside and you touch only the plastic part of the valve to switch on/off, requiring only 1/3 turn. s4.postimg.org/6psfu2x8d/image.jpg – David Bello Aug 3 '15 at 15:17
  • Love that gas knob dimmer idea. I actually came up with the same late last night... Just need to figure out how to attach the know to the dimmer box:) – David Bello Aug 3 '15 at 15:21

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