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Hints, Tips and Solutions (Do NOT post requests for help here) If you have any useful general hints and tips for vintage technology repair and restoration, please share them here. PLEASE DO NOT POST REQUESTS FOR HELP HERE!

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Old 27th Nov 2021, 6:40 pm   #1
broadgage
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Default 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.

Last edited by broadgage; 27th Nov 2021 at 7:05 pm. Reason: typo
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Old 28th Nov 2021, 8:42 am   #2
John M0GLN
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Default 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.

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Old 28th Nov 2021, 8:49 am   #3
Stuart R
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Default 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
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Old 28th Nov 2021, 11:43 am   #4
paulsherwin
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Default 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.
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Old 28th Nov 2021, 11:51 am   #5
Buzby123
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Default Re: Alternative light source for fuel effect fires.

BigClive has an interesting item ....

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OzqQM84vUvM&t=12s
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Old 28th Nov 2021, 4:16 pm   #6
G6Tanuki
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Default 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!]
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Old 28th Nov 2021, 4:54 pm   #7
paulsherwin
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Default 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 View Post
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.
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Old 28th Nov 2021, 5:00 pm   #8
The Philpott
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Default 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)
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Old 28th Nov 2021, 9:24 pm   #9
McMurdo
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Default 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
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