How could you hack an incandescent light bulb to last longer?

I found a youtube video (can't find it now) that showed how to attach a silicon diode to the cap of a bulb before inserting into the socket. Apparently this reduces the power so the filament burns cooler and lasts for several years in constant use. However the video wasn't very clear, especially for someone like me who knows little about electronics.

Could someone do a fool-proof hack instructable? There was also mention of a commercial version which I can't find anywhere. It was a diode-cap combo that you place between the bulb cap and the socket.

Or are there any other ideas?

It would be timely with all the health concerns over CFLs and the imminent  lack of availability of incandescents!

With thanks.

Dimming any bulb makes it last longer. The health effects of CFLs are nothing compared to the health effects of mining coal and burning it.

Bulb life goes up as the third power of reduced voltage.
jrh065 iceng3 years ago
+1 as well

If we all dispose of CFLs correctly and don't eat them, then I think the health concerns are basically nil. Personally, I love CFLs, and still have one that is five years old and has survived three apartments and two storage units.

That being said, when I do use incandescent bulbs I always just put one bulb in the fixture instead of filling it all the way up. I save on electricity and bulbs that way.
I hate to be the one to tell you this, but... just like Roy Batty, filament style light bulbs were not designed with longevity in mind.

In fact this is the result of a vast conspiracy on the part of light bulb manufacturers to intentionally limit the life span to 1000 hours or less, as revealed in a documentary titled "The Lightbulb Conspiracy"

According to this film, light bulbs were one of the first products to be re-engineered to make them fail more quickly, and this idea of planned obsolescence spread to numerous other products, like um, almost everything!  The film also examines printers that self-break after counting a set number of pages, Ipod(r)s with batteries that die after 18 months, etc.

Right.  But like Roy Batty, you WANT MORE LIFE, for your light bulbs that is.

Putting a diode in series with your filament might work.  It would definitely make the filament colder, and dimmer. 
rickharris3 years ago
Leavingt the bulb on all the time will lengthen its life as the shock of heating up and cooling down is when they break.
Kiteman3 years ago
The diode will cut off half the AC supply (that half of the cycle where the current is "going the other way".

Think of it as a crude form of PWM, effectively switching the bulb off and on sixty times a second, which would let the bulb run cooler, but also much dimmer (the hotter a filament gets, the brighter it gets, that is how filament bulbs work). I'd worry that the rapid switching cycle might actually stress the filament, shortening the bulb's life. You'd have to test a number of bulbs over several years to check.

So, you'd have to get a diode capable of running at 120V, and you would also have to have twice as many bulbs running to get your room up to the same brightness as you started.