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-   -   Alternative light source for fuel effect fires. (https://www.vintage-radio.net/forum/showthread.php?t=186316)

broadgage 27th Nov 2021 6:40 pm

Alternative light source for fuel effect fires.
 
Many older electric fires incorporate a fake fuel effect, intended to resemble burning logs or coal.

Often a couple of transparent amber "fireglow" lamps, the rising currents of warm air from these causes a spinner to rotate under the GRP moulding and gives the illusion of burning logs or coal.

Best IMHO to keep these in original condition if possible. If however the spinners have been lost or broken, then an alternative "self flickering" light source is worth considering.
Several suppliers on ebay offer "LED flicker flame bulbs" these contain numerous small orange LEDs connected to a pseudo random flicker circuit.

They give a reasonable effect without any moving parts. They use little energy and seem long lasting.
Various colours are available, the orange or amber is the most realistic. A very large fuel effect fire that uses several lamps may benefit from several orange lamps and one blue one, thus partially simulating the blue flames and orange glowing embers that occur with some real fires when burning smokeless coal.

The green lamps dont simulate any likely real fire but produce an interesting effect that children find entertaining.

Also applicable to the more elaborate fuel effect fires with a now non functioning motorised fuel effect.

And of course to gas heaters that include a "real fire" flicker effect. Any modification to the gas burning parts is foolhardy, but fitting different electric lamps seems OK.

John M0GLN 28th Nov 2021 8:42 am

Re: Alternative light source for fuel effect fires.
 
Thanks for that, we've got a coal effect fire with 2 incandescent bulbs and I'll look at changing it to LED's, we never use the fan heater part of it only the coal effect.

John

Stuart R 28th Nov 2021 8:49 am

Re: Alternative light source for fuel effect fires.
 
I notice that Wilkinson's Fireglow bulbs are now LED filament, so they're not going to get warm enough to turn the spinners.

Fridge, oven and microwave lamps seem to be the only incandescent ones there now.

I hadn't heard of the flicker ones, so thank you.

SR

paulsherwin 28th Nov 2021 11:43 am

Re: Alternative light source for fuel effect fires.
 
You really need to use a completely different technology to get a realistic flame effect without any heat - you can't simply relace a Fireglow bulb and spinner with something else in a vintage fire.

Googling will find many modern LED based flame effect fires, many of which look a lot more realistic than the traditional Fireglow ones.

Buzby123 28th Nov 2021 11:51 am

Re: Alternative light source for fuel effect fires.
 
BigClive has an interesting item ....

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OzqQM84vUvM&t=12s

G6Tanuki 28th Nov 2021 4:16 pm

Re: Alternative light source for fuel effect fires.
 
I wonder if a small ex-laptop fan run at a reduced voltage from a wall-wart [everyone's got loads of ex-phone chargers] and pointed towards the spinners might provide suitable pneumatic 'excitation' ??

Drop in a couple of the Philips 'hue' Zigbee-connected colour-adjustable LED bulbs, then sit back on your sofa and have fun changing the colour and brightness from your phone.

[I once fitted Blue and Green bayonet-base incandescent bulbs [as used in strings of christmas-tree-illuminations that feature in every town-centre] to a fake-log-effect fire. The result was deeply perplexing, all the moreso after a few beers!]

paulsherwin 28th Nov 2021 4:54 pm

Re: Alternative light source for fuel effect fires.
 
Using fans is an interesting idea. You can get really tiny ones, both from scrap equipment and Chinese sellers. They would only need to rotate quite slowly.

Another idea would be to just fit fan motors to the spinners.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Buzby123 (Post 1428095)
BigClive has an interesting item ....

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OzqQM84vUvM&t=12s

My local pub has something very like that in one of its fireplaces. It looks quite convincing from a distance.

The Philpott 28th Nov 2021 5:00 pm

Re: Alternative light source for fuel effect fires.
 
The only part i saved from our scrapped fire 'with coal effect' was the sizeable resistor which allowed 2 levels of brightness (So any attempt to run it on basic LED lamps would have meant disconnecting that option)

McMurdo 28th Nov 2021 9:24 pm

Re: Alternative light source for fuel effect fires.
 
We inherited my auntie's Belling flame effect fire (from the 70's) and that had a reflector bar turned by a synchronous motor. It was ok till the bearings went noisy

John M0GLN 28th Feb 2022 7:34 pm

Re: Alternative light source for fuel effect fires.
 
Further to my post #2 one of the bulbs in our Dimplex coal effect fire burnt out last week, after taking the front of the fire off I found the coal flame effect is achieved by a full width small diameter centrifugal fan, I must have seen it before but not taken any notice of it, anyway I replaced the two 40W incandescent bulbs with two 7W LEDs and it works as good as before, and cheaper.

John

emeritus 28th Feb 2022 9:07 pm

Re: Alternative light source for fuel effect fires.
 
When I was a student I used to make my own coloured bulbs from ordinary GLS bulbs using permanent marker pens.They stank a bit initially as the solvent evaporated, but the pigment used to stay put. Woolworths own brand did fade but the better-quality ones from a stationers were pretty colour-fast.

Silicon 28th Feb 2022 10:58 pm

Re: Alternative light source for fuel effect fires.
 
I have seen a B22 based bulb that simulates the 'mirror balls' that hang from Disco ceilings.

Unfortunately it is too long for a standard coal effect fire.

hamid_1 28th Feb 2022 11:57 pm

Re: Alternative light source for fuel effect fires.
 
That's a good tip about using LED flame-effect bulbs in electric fires. I have one fire which uses the heat from incandescent bulbs to turn a foil spinner - but the spinners were missing when I acquired it from a car boot sale. Consequently the flickering flame effect does not work. Those LED flicker-flame bulbs look like an easy solution.

I already have some neon flickering candle bulbs. These have two parallel electrodes in the shape of a candle flame inside a clear glass bulb filled with a mixture of 98.5% Neon + 1.5% Argon gas. When connected to the mains, a discharge occurs around the electrodes inside the bulb, giving a pink-orange glow. The glow moves around the electrodes, then extinguishes, then starts again, creating a flickering effect. These bulbs have been around for decades (I first encountered one over 30 years ago) but you can still buy them. They are very long-lasting and quite fascinating to see working, however they don't actually give out much light. They are not really ideal to replace the fuel-effect bulbs in electric fires.

Poundland still seems to have the old style incandescent fireglow bulbs as well as 'antique' filament bulbs from time to time.

I've since acquired another electric fire (Dimplex Optiflame) which uses another method to generate the flickering flame effect. A small electric fan causes some loose strips of ribbon or cloth to flap about in front of an ordinary lightbulb, making it look like the light is flickering. Since it doesn't rely on heat emitted by the bulb, an energy-saving bulb can be used.

One possible point to be aware of. Energy-saving LED bulbs are usually plastic-cased. When replacing an old glass and metal incandescent bulb with an energy-saving one in an electric fire, care must be taken to ensure the heat generated by the fire will not melt the new bulb.

Oldcodger 8th Apr 2022 12:10 pm

Re: Alternative light source for fuel effect fires.
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by paulsherwin (Post 1428094)
You really need to use a completely different technology to get a realistic flame effect without any heat - you can't simply relace a Fireglow bulb and spinner with something else in a vintage fire.

Googling will find many modern LED based flame effect fires, many of which look a lot more realistic than the traditional Fireglow ones.

I seem to remember that these used something like a red lacquered lamp and the speed of the flicker could be modified by "adjusting" the angle of the vanes on the rotating disc as the speed of the flicker depended on hot air from the lamp passing upwards. Of course a few shavings from a pencil lead would help. These days I'd suggest the modern versions rely on LED and processor technology to produce the strobe effect.
But for older ones, where heat is needed, might I suggest something like one or more Auto lamps run from a dropdown network to give the heat to spin the disc.( although I'm not certain if red @20w id available these days, but orange @12v/20 w certainly are).

cheerfulcharlie 8th Apr 2022 12:54 pm

Re: Alternative light source for fuel effect fires.
 
Why not just stick an old flat screen monitor in there and run a loop video from
an old player/computer?

Unless you intend to use the fire as well - if it is a Belling style 3KW bar fire - then the best of luck to you running it at today's energy prices ..Jeez !

high_vacuum_house 9th Apr 2022 5:28 pm

Re: Alternative light source for fuel effect fires.
 
I noticed today that the poundsaver shop in Belper had 40W GLS BC traditional filament fire glow lamps in stock for 2 for 2. I would presume this is old stock being run down rather than current production lamps.

Christopher Capener

Steve G4WCS 9th Apr 2022 7:54 pm

Re: Alternative light source for fuel effect fires.
 
Ive just put 2 red led bc lamps in ours as the centre of the vanes had fallen apart and its just to give a warm background glow to the room.

John M0GLN 10th Apr 2022 8:07 am

Re: Alternative light source for fuel effect fires.
 
Further to my post #10, after running the two 7W Daylight LEDs for a couple of weeks my wife thought they were a little too bright and white for the correct flame redness, I then swapped them for two 4W Warm White LEDs and these we both agree give exactly the same effect as the two 40W incandescents.

John


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