alt Waking up in the morning has always been hard for all of us. Its been made a little easier by our Philips HF3475 wake-up light alarm clock. In brief, this device is a combination of a lamp with an alarm clock, and throughout the half hour before the alarm goes off, the light is gradually switched on. When we purchased the light a couple of years ago, I recognized that it sometimes "blinked" - not a big deal, since dimming an energy-saving lamp is not so easy, I thought.


No reason to go through the hassle to send it back for warranty repair. A few days ago, however, the thing completely failed to switch on. A quick glance in the manual made clear that the manufacturer wanted us to mail the wake-up light in for fixing, but I don't like to mail things in for EUR 15 and pay big bucks for fixing when I suspect that only a EUR 7 lamp needs to be replaced. So I started to take the thing apart. What a hassle. One has to rip the entire thing into pieces, some plastic pieces are clipped and need to be separated carefully, the electronics needs to be removed, ... The light bulb was fixed to a custom-made socket with hot-glue and an extra electrode was mounted to the lamp that was not part of the replacement lamp. No wonder Philips does not want the average user to exchange the light bulb. But worse was a small crack in the light bulb that I found. In the vicinity of the crack the illuminative coating on the inside of the lamp had vanished entirely, which told me that the crack had been there for a while already. This was the obvious cause of the blinking! Always good to know that you have been sleeping next to a source of mercury for the last years (it is comforting to know, though, that this particular type of lamp a Philips Master PL-C 26W/827/4p, has only very little mercury in it). Anyway, I carefully replaced the light bulb with the exact same bulb type and put everything carefully back together. And? It works. And? It doesn't blink any more. All's well that ends well.


The only puzzle left is when the light bulb was damaged. This could have happened during the original assembly of the wake-up light, or during shipping. Clearly, it did not happen in our place, since the lamp blinked from day one. During shipping? Maybe, but the socket is mounted in a suspended way and shocks from the  outside of the wake-up light shouldn't be able to get through to the light bulb. I thus believe that the bulb was most likely damaged during the complicated mounting, with hard-to-drive screws close to the lamp, an extra lock-in-place socket, and the hot-glue. The original crack was small, so it probably didn't register with quality control as the light switched on properly after assembly.