Saturday, September 23, 2017

Danger, Danger - High Voltage!

Fire in the disco
Fire in the Taco Bell
Fire in the disco
Fire in the gates of hell

Morning folks - I'm not sure whether any of you have heard of The Electric Six, but you should immediately go to Y'Tube and seek out 'Danger! High Voltage'  . . . oh go on and 'Dance Commander' too. Much fun and great music, and appropriately for once, relevant to my next tale (well 'Dance Commander' isn't, being more of a wonderfully noisy take on The Fast Show's Channel 9, but I like it anyway) . . . so.

Anyway this is just an interim post just to provide a warning for all of you with DeVere enlargers contemplating your navels and wondering where your next bulb is going to come from.
The bulb in question . . . the equivalent of 3 megatons of course! - the 250Watt 240 Volt ELC. 
It's bright, hot and er, potentially dangerous if not handled correctly. 
Well, the replacements might well be. 
You see in our urge to get even more for our pennies, safety and quality seem to have been utterly thrown out the window. 
Take as a good example, my new replacement bulb, the FXLab 250W 24V GX 5.3. It was very reasonable I thought, so I ordered one.
Now for a start that should have got the alarm bells ringing, but reading around it seemed OK and decently reviewed in a number of places (damn . . should have checked Amazon).
It arrived quickly, looked decent in the box, so I rushed to the 504, unscrewed the lamp compartment and pushed it into the holder . . . it was all too easy, except the pins hadn't engaged at all, the lamp fell off the socket and I realised that the pins had disappeared!
  WTF were my mental words. I looked at the bulb and the whole sorry tale of woe unfolded. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so here's some pictures.

The white 'ceramic' appeared to have the consistency of a very soft Minto . . you know the sort you see melting on a hot pavement, all chalk and squidgieness - it actually turned out to be softer than chalk!
Now can you imagine if the pins hadn't disappeared and I'd fitted it and then the 'Minto' had decided to give? 
One exceptionally hot, ie 'Ooo ya!', third degree burns hot, bulb, just hanging about unsupported and ready to cause chaos. 
Very very dangerous.

So, the moral?
Well, this may have been a one off, but more reading and I discovered that it was 'a thing' with this make, so, my hard won advice?
Buy something from a 'known' manufacturer like GE or Osram or Philips or even some NOS ones on eBay, i.e. something that was made/is made, where the old (and currently very much neglected in this world) QC (Quality Control) reins supreme.

Over and out . . . now, where's my 'tache?


  1. What a tale of woe. Frankly, it irritates the sh*t out of me that people are allowed to sell such tat.

    If I had boundless energy, limitless time and a private income, I'd devote the rest of my life to hounding the purveyors of such blatantly unfit for purpose dross out of business / the country / existence (delete as appropriate).

    Sadly, I fall for this sort of thing all too often. "Buy cheap, buy twice," rings in my ears. I nod sagely. Lesson learnt. Until the next time...

  2. I'm exactly the same Julian - you might not believe me, but we're a growing movement!
    Even to the point of madness I will hold something up in a shop and say "Aha - made in Europe [or USA, or Japan, or UK]!" I will stand and shake my head sadly when I see PRC or the dreaded MiC on a once proud brand.
    You see, there is some very very good stuff made in the Far East (stand up Vietnam!) but you'll find that the QC is good with stuff like that. There is also an ocean of shite which is frankly not worth bothering with.
    Everyone is free to spend their money how they like, but, like me and my friends in the States (search any number of product forums) I would rather spend MORE and get something that lasts and was made by people who get paid a reasonable wage so they care about their work, than have to go through the time-wasting, soul searching that results from a purchase of something cheap and iffy.
    I'm not saying everything that comes from the Far East is crap, but there needs to be a serious amount of game-upping. My brother has this joke about products in China being made with a new alloy called 'Shite-ite'. . .

    The FX lamp? - well I used the tubey bit (sans reflector) as a tester to make sure the timer on the DeVere wasn't sending horrible voltages through it, and then I swapped it for a GE lamp . . made in the USA.
    Buy cheap, buy twice indeed!

  3. Well... I'm writing this on my beautifully finished MacBook Pro, made (or rather, assembled) in China. There are purveyors of rubbish in every country. If you buy a new De Vere, it will have been made in China, and it will be very well made too. I've seen one.
    You're not the first one to comment on this. John Ruskin said:
    "There is nothing in the world that some man cannot make a little worse and sell a little cheaper, and he who considers price only is that man's lawful prey."
    I had half-thought that it was William Morris, but I don't doubt that he would agree. And so do I.
    If I could find a Scottish quotation, I'd offer it, but anecdotes about Scotsmen and spending money are two a penny.
    And, as with most things, there's probably an elegant Latin version.

  4. Fully agree with you David - posting this via MacMini (PRC) and a Das Keyboard (USA) and a Eizo monitor (Japan) . . but the thing is quality control. I'm wearing Vietnamese shoes (great) Chinese trousers (also great) Indian pants (great!) Indian tee (also great) Chinese socks (utter shite). There's a 25%+ returns rate on Chinese stuff and that is the stuff that is reported. If good QC were in place it would be a lot less, and it's the lack of QC that frustrates, because time is precious and I hate wasting it.
    I know most people think I am mad, but I am not the only one - what set me off was looking for a crowbar in B&Q - being young and naive, I saw JCB onee - ah I thought, that proud Scots company giving its name to a range of crowbars . . must be good. Well, every single one was a different size and shape (Chinese made) and were no more use than 5 knitting needles taped together, so from that I looked around and found a bar, for the same price, made in Europe and strong enough to wreck a lot of things. Good steel and good QC.

    As an ammendum to the bulb thing - I now have a bunch to compare.
    Bottom, FX Lab (as you can see), next up Sylvania (strangely and I thought the name would guarantee decent build, not great, but at least the ceramic is ceramic and solid and the bulbs are centred properly. Next up, GE - made in USA and superbly made and finished, and finally, the gold standard a Philips built beautifully and finished to an incredible standard.

    My favourite penny-pinching saying, not about Scots but originating here: He wouldnae give y' the steam off his shite.


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