Let's Improvise This

Discussion in 'Home Improvement' started by Von Jones, Dec 24, 2022.

  1. John Brunner

    John Brunner Senior Staff
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    I innovate so often in my home repairs that none of it is notable. I recall talking to the deacon of a local church here when we were helping him repair the home of one of his flock, and he told me that when he was a kid, they did not have door hinges...he would repair them with straps of leather.

    One thing I've done is on under cabinet lights I have. They take these 2 pronged bulbs:

    [​IMG]

    The problem is that the sockets are cheap poop and the prongs don't make very good contact...the bulb kinda sags and flickers. I've wrapped aluminum foil around the prongs to fatten them up, but it does not work very well. So I fatten them up with solder. I just can't find a puck light that I think is worth the trouble of swapping them out with, so for the time being, I get out the solder gun.
     
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  2. Nancy Hart

    Nancy Hart Veteran Member
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    Amazing you posted this right now. I was just going to ask about this yesterday but didn't know where to put it.

    I have an outdoor light fixture. I think the bulbs and the metal in the base of the socket are not making good contact. I do NOT want to replace the fixture or the socket. I read about using a piece of tin foil before, and swear I remember someone saying you could use a drop of solder on the tip of the bulb, instead, but I couldn't find it yesterday.

    Since I've never welded anything in my life, I'd rather take a chance ruining a bulb than the socket. So I assume it would be OK to put a drop on the bulb? Just a regular size base like any old 60 watt bulb.

    So what I need to know now is what type of solder.

    I have one roll that says .062 in, rosin core, lead free, melts at 445 F.

    And a little chunk of solder came with the soldering iron, about the same thickness but no specs at all. :rolleyes: It looks like solid metal. (i.e. no different core).

    Would either one work?
     
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    Last edited: Feb 10, 2023
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  3. Faye Fox

    Faye Fox Veteran Member
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    Rosin core is the right one for electrical work. The key to "tinning" (applying a thin even layer) these prongs will be to keep the heat above the solder. You will need to make sure you have enough heat so the solder flows and doesn't build up in a cold presentation. If an LED you best put a heat sink clip up by the glass. You can always take a small knife blade and scrape the solder smoothly. Holding the bulb up at a slight angle will help the solder run and also if the sleeve is soldered on the bulb wires will keep them from sliding off.
     
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    Last edited: Feb 10, 2023
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  4. Nancy Hart

    Nancy Hart Veteran Member
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    Thanks Faye. Believe it or not, I was going to put the question in your Ask Ms. Fox .thread. You said serious questions were OK. (Not LED. Just a plain old light bulb)
     
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  5. Faye Fox

    Faye Fox Veteran Member
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    Thanks! What I have done is replace all my bulbs with LEDs. The LEDs don't seem to have the same problem that the incandescents do because they don't generate so much heat on the socket that can lead to oxidation and taking the spring out of the socket contacts. The problem with this solder fix is when you have to remove the bulb in time, you may damage the socket by pulling it out. I have had to replace sockets because of this. Now with LEDs no problems. They are also a better light. This is my recommendation ... replace it with an LED.
     
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  6. John Brunner

    John Brunner Senior Staff
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    Here is something else that might work you can find at Lowes for under $5:

    [​IMG]

    This is designed to remediate problems where you connect copper wire to aluminum wire. Long story short, it fills in the gaps and conducts electricity. You can dip the bulb's prongs in it before inserting into the socket. My sockets are too loose for this to completely fix the issue, but every little bit helps.
     
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  7. John Brunner

    John Brunner Senior Staff
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    I've had to replace fixtures when the bulb blew so violently, the arc actually welded it to the socket. That's when I started to use dialectic grease on the prongs. But that does not fix the problem with a sloppy fit.
     
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  8. Faye Fox

    Faye Fox Veteran Member
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    You picked the right thread, but also remember that Ken started that "How do I do It" forum that seems to have died a quick death after a brief chicken coop discussion.
     
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  9. Faye Fox

    Faye Fox Veteran Member
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    That is my point that replacing with a LED is best because those spring socket contacts lose their spring with the heat from an incandescent. A 60-watt bulb with small contacts is sure to weaken those socket contacts in time. Those small contacts don't disperse the heat like a larger one. Also if corrosion is suspected then a high-quality electronic contact cleaner and restorer like D5 Deoxit is my recommendation. since the contacts are NOT dissimilar metals that cause corrosion. In any case, I am a firm believer in investing in LEDs. If a very old appliance, then I always spray the socket contacts with D5 before installing the new LED.
     
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  10. Faye Fox

    Faye Fox Veteran Member
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    One reason for this is many sockets are solder tinned and the heat from blow out, melts the solder on both the bulb prongs and the tinned socket.
     
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  11. Nancy Hart

    Nancy Hart Veteran Member
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    Well this is embarrassing. Turns out this IS an LED bulb. I bought a pair way back when they cost a fortune. It works in a lamp.

    I tried 3 different light bulbs in the outdoor fixture just now, to make sure it wasn't just the fixture. All of them worked. So it must be the LED bulb, right?

    No, then I go out and give the bulb one more try, and this time it worked. :rolleyes:

    Now I think it has to do with the temperature outside, or the temp after a bulb heats up. That is back to it not making a good contact but only sometimes. I will leave it on and see what happens.

    Sorry for the trouble. But I learned a lot. Thanks
     
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  12. Faye Fox

    Faye Fox Veteran Member
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    No trouble Nancy, I want to thank you for giving me the opportunity to use my knowledge. I have had trouble with those outdoor fixtures. Most likely oxidation. I would invest in a can of D5 Deoxit. Spendy but worth every penny. Use it sparingly. It makes me cranky that D5 is now made in China. You can restore most any socket, switch, or relay contacts with it. It not only cleans but leaves a layer that helps conduct electricity and prevent oxidation.

    I might add that if you ever solder on an LED or silicon diode and don't have any clip aluminum heat sinks, then put a pair of needle nose pliers on the wires up by the bulb and wrap a rubber band around the handles to hold them firm on the wire and bleed off the heat that might damage the diode.

    Caig Labs DN5S-2N Deoxit D5 Contact Cleaner and Deoxidizer Mini: Amazon.com: Industrial & Scientific
     
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  13. John Brunner

    John Brunner Senior Staff
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    You all made me put some dimmable 120v LED G8 bulbs in my Amazon Wish List for my next order. We'll see if this lasts longer.
     
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  14. Faye Fox

    Faye Fox Veteran Member
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    Atta boy!
     
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  15. John Brunner

    John Brunner Senior Staff
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    One you clean the socket, you might try some dielectric grease on the prongs instead of the other stuff I recommended, since this is an outdoor application and you may have a moisture problem. Dielectric grease will keep the moisture out. When I installed my rooftop antenna, I stuffed all of the coax connectors with it. You can get it at Lowes.
     
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