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How to Tell if a Halogen Bulb is Blown

It can be quite frustrating when you turn on your lights, and the room remains dark. Most people assume that the issue is caused by a blown bulb, which may not be the case. They will immediately replace a new one, only for the situation to happen again.

If you’ve been in this situation and can’t tell if your halogen light bulb is blown, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Fortunately, there are several ways to determine whether or not your halogen bulb is blown.

In this post, I will discuss how to tell if a Halogen bulb is blown… along with some crucial tips for replacing a blown bulb.

Table of Contents

Related: How to Change A 2-Pin Halogen Light Bulb

What is a Halogen Bulb?

How to Tell if a Halogen Bulb is Blown

A halogen light bulb is an advanced type of incandescent light bulb. The thin tungsten wire (filament) in the lightbulb is heated until it glows. What separates a halogen bulb from a traditional incandescent bulb is that it comes with halogen gas inside, which prevents the tungsten from oxidizing.

The combination of filament and halogen leads to a halogen-cycle chemical reaction, which redeposits the evaporated tungsten, thus prolonging its life. The halogen bulb is well-known for its light quality, high efficiency, and durability compared to traditional incandescent lights.

Although they are more durable, they are very sensitive to vibration, wattage, and contamination.

How to Tell if a Halogen Bulb is Blown

The following are signs that a Halogen bulb is blown:

Blackened or Discolored Bulb

A blackened or discolored halogen bulb can signify a blown bulb. This is mainly caused by the filament burning out. If the filament burns out, it will cause the bulb’s glass to turn black.

Check for Broken Filament

A broken filament is the most common sign of a brown halogen bulb. If the filament inside the bulb is broken, then your halogen bulb is blown. The halogen bulb’s filament can break for various reasons, including too much voltage or heat. This may also cause the surge protector to trip.

Flickering Light

If the light from your halogen bulb is flickering, then it can be a clear indication that your bulb is about to blow. If the bulb’s filament becomes loose, it can cause the light to flicker. When you notice the light from your bulb flickering, then it is time to replace the halogen bulb. However, check whether the flickering is caused by any other problem like a loose wire connection.

No Light Output

If your bulb doesn’t emit any light, this is a sign of a blown bulb. Conversely, if the halogen bulb is not lit, it is either due to insufficient power or a broken filament.

Loud Popping Noise

If your halogen bulb produces a loud popping noise, this may be a sign your bulb is blown. The loud noise is usually caused by the explosion of the filament inside the bulb. If this occurs, the bulb’s glass can also break. The bulb’s glass can also break first and the filament explodes.

Burning Smell

If your halogen bulb has a burning smell, chances are that the bulb is blown. This burning smell is caused by the electricity arcing inside the lightbulb. This mostly happens if the filament is broken or if the filament is not seated correctly in the bulb. If you notice this sign, ensure that the bulb is replaced to prevent further damage.

Testing A Halogen Bulb to Determine If It Is Blown

  • Set your multimeter: Set the dial to the ‘ohm’ setting to measure resistance.
  • Test your multimeter: The multimeter has two leads: black and white, representing the negative and positive, respectively. Insert the black lead into the COM (common) socket and the white lead into the volt socket. Touch the two probes and check if the reading is zero or close to zero. This confirms that your multimeter is functioning well and can check the bulb.
  • Connect the pins: Once you have tested the multimeter, you can check the bulb. Attach the two small probes to your halogen bulb. Attach one to the bulb’s bottom on the button and the second probe to the side of the casing.
  • Check the reading: The readings on your multimeter will vary depending on the bulb type. For halogen bulbs, if the reading is zero, this means that your bulb is blown, and if it shows above zero, your bulb is functioning.

Safety Precautions to Take When Handling Halogen Bulbs

  • Always invest in high-quality light bulbs. A high-quality halogen bulb will last longer and have a lower defect rate compared to an off-brand or unknown one.
  • Ensure to follow the right wattage for your light fixture. Do not overload your fixture with too high wattages that can lead to heat build-up and shorten the lifespan of your bulb.
  • If you want to adjust or move your halogen lightbulb, switch off the power to avoid getting burned. Halogen bulbs produce a lot of heat that can cause severe burns.
  • Check if the bulb has sufficient ventilation. Poor ventilation can lead to heat build-up around the bulb, thus shortening its lifespan.
  • Always keep the halogen bulb clean. Dirt and dust accumulation on the bulb’s glass can cause it to fail prematurely and overheat.


Now that you know how to tell if your halogen bulb is blown, you can easily check when it needs to be replaced. Doing so will help you continue enjoying bright, cheerful spaces, and you won’t have to worry about the expense of replacing the entire fixture. Always read the light bulb’s manual to ensure you are using it safely and correctly.

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