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is this light fixture OK or is it scarey?

Posted by suburbanhousemom (My Page) on
Tue, Jan 26, 10 at 21:40

About a year and a half ago, we remodeled our kitchen and had Kichler xenon low-voltage under cabinet light strips put in, with a single wall switch to control them all and high/off/low switches on the individual strips. One of the strips under a narrow cabinet has just a single bulb. I keep it set on bright because it better matches the output of the multiple lights in the other strips, which are on the dim setting. The bulb in the single-light strip began to cast a dim bluish light and burned out within 3 months. Three more bulbs did the same. The last bulb seems to have crisped the ceramic socket, or at least it's brown in the area around where the pins of the bulb go in.

I expected this light to burn out faster than the others - but that fast? And do xenon bulbs normally turn silver when they burn out? The bulb called for on the fixture label is a T5 base Xenon bulb, max. 20 watts, 12.5 volts, and the actual bulb is an 18 watt bulb. More than wondering if the bulb in this strip ought to burn out this fast, am I going to set the house afire if I keep the fixture on high? And what does it mean that the bulb socket has turned brown near the bulb? Is there something wrong with the fixture itself?

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: is this light fixture OK or is it scarey?

Normally a xenon lamp will outlast a Halogen by about 5 times, as they do not get as hot as a Halogen.
They typically rate a Halogen for 2000 hours and a Xenon for 10,000 hours.
We have had Xenons under counter for over 3 years now, about a dozen of them, and none have burned out or even discolored. They are low voltage (12 volt) and all are on a wall dimmer made to work with step down transformers.
I would try changing out the fixture and use one that has the same wattage bulb as the rest of your Xenons and run them all in the dimmed position, They will last even longer that way and of course use less power.


RE: is this light fixture OK or is it scarey?

I emailed Kichler Tech Support, and the person on the other end replied that it could be the internal transformer or "something else." They sent a new fixture and requested the old one be returned to their lab. He said that normally they don't get complaints like this until the fixtures are four years or older, with the expectation that they will generally last until 10 years.

Nice to have the replacement - but aargh, I'm not looking forward to playing electrician and having to cram all those big wire nuts into the tiny space they have to fit in!

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