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Vacuum Tube LEDs: Knockoff Neopixel Failure

The knockoff Neopixel epoxied atop the big incandescent bulb just failed:

Vacuum Tube LEDs - ersatz heatsink plate cap

Vacuum Tube LEDs – ersatz heatsink plate cap

It stopped changing colors and began blinking high-intensity bursts of the RGB LEDs. Which was interesting, I’ll grant you, but didn’t produce the desired, ah, mood.

Differential diagnosis:

  • Reboot that sucker: fail
  • Shot of circuit cooler: fail
  • Failing LED with known-good Arduino Pro Mini: fail
  • “Failing” Arduino Pro Mini with known-good LED: work

Looks like a permanent WS2812B controller failure this time around.

It’s been plugged into a Kill-a-Watt meter that reports it ran for 415 hours and used 150 W·h of energy, for an average 360 mW dissipation. I think the actual power falls well below the meter’s lower limit, so I doubt the accuracy, but it’s a whole bunch less than a nightlight and much more interesting.

Now, to break that epoxy bond without breaking the bulb …

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  1. #1 by TravelingServiceMan on 2016-03-10 - 07:27

    Hot/cold cycle should break the epoxy loose.

    • #2 by Ed on 2016-03-10 - 08:29

      I eventually gave in to temptation, grabbed the “heatsink” in the bench vise, twisted hard enough to break it free, then scraped the remaining epoxy off the glass with a sharp chisel…

      No style points, but the “heatsink” with its defunct LED will serve as an exhibit on buying cheap junk from eBay. [sigh]