LEDs have been hailed as the next evolution of the electric light bulbs on which we so dearly depend. Although they’re still a bit more expensive that traditional incandescent bulbs or those swirly CFLs, LEDs offer vastly better lifespans and energy savings. Unless they don’t work, that is.
Hacker and general electricity enthusiast Todd Harrison recently purchased some candelabra-style LED bulbs to test in his home’s chandeliers. If successful, Harrison would have been able to switch from 40-watt incandescent to 2-watt LED bulbs—a savings of 228 watts in just one chandelier—saving a bundle of money in the process. But after just a week, the bulb seemed to have died. Always curious, Harrison decided to perform open-bulb surgery to see why it failed and learn more about how it worked. Here’s what he found:
As this HackADay review points out, Harrison ultimately discovered that that the circuit powering the light bulb was not overly complicated. More surprising was the fact that, when connected to his own personal power supply, the candelabra LED lit up again good as new!
Harrison’s best guess as to why it died is that the shrink wrap around the PCB managed to cause a short, though he also noticed that one of the bridge rectifier’s legs was not soldered down and it had almost zero copper under the leg so that could have been causing an intermittent current flow as well.