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Old 01-20-2010, 10:01 AM   #1
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One light kills bulbs too fast


i have two exterior coach lights on either side of my garage door. They are both wired to the same switch. For some reason i have noticed that every six months or so i need to replace the bulb on one side ( the side furthest from the switch) I have tried incadescents, CFs, halogens, and even LED bulbs, (changing both bulbs at the same time) but it seems no matter what i try, that one side seems to kill the bulb prematurely.

any ideas

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Old 01-20-2010, 12:02 PM   #2
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One light kills bulbs too fast


I read an article on this, I have used this method on some customers light fixtures which had a history of bulbs burning out "prematurely", and it seems to work, so far. With the power to the fixture turned OFF, and I'd rather this be at the breaker than the switch. Reach into the socket itself with a pair of thin needle nose pliers and gently pull the brass looking (most of them are) tab outward/forward just a little. These "HOT" tabs (according to this article) tend to get bent back too far as people screw light bulbs into the sockets too tightly, and eventually will not have the "spring" necessary to make good contact with the base of the bulb. This will create a very small contact surface that theoretically can cause arcing and lead to shorter light bulb life. Then, when replacing the new bulb, only screw it in until it lights up. As I stated, this has seemed to work on some light fixtures I have tried it on. I will say that some of the plastic fixtures with the cheap lamp bases are just pure junk and cannot be saved, replace them. Good Luck , David

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Old 01-20-2010, 12:27 PM   #3
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One light kills bulbs too fast


Quote:
Originally Posted by Thurman View Post
I read an article on this, I have used this method on some customers light fixtures which had a history of bulbs burning out "prematurely", and it seems to work, so far. With the power to the fixture turned OFF, and I'd rather this be at the breaker than the switch. Reach into the socket itself with a pair of thin needle nose pliers and gently pull the brass looking (most of them are) tab outward/forward just a little. These "HOT" tabs (according to this article) tend to get bent back too far as people screw light bulbs into the sockets too tightly, and eventually will not have the "spring" necessary to make good contact with the base of the bulb. This will create a very small contact surface that theoretically can cause arcing and lead to shorter light bulb life. Then, when replacing the new bulb, only screw it in until it lights up. As I stated, this has seemed to work on some light fixtures I have tried it on. I will say that some of the plastic fixtures with the cheap lamp bases are just pure junk and cannot be saved, replace them. Good Luck , David
I agree with your conclusions and remedies. But in some cases as in the one of the OP (and in mine and many others) the problem tends to be with EXTERIOR lights. MY conclusion would have been that the problem is weather-related. In my particular case, the problem was resolved by using CFL bulbs. !
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Old 01-20-2010, 12:35 PM   #4
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One light kills bulbs too fast


Weather related could still be that the metal 'spring' needs adjusting anyway. I seem to remember something from college physics about metal shrinking and expanding with temperature changes.
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Old 01-20-2010, 12:43 PM   #5
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Another weather factor would be moisture. Is your fixture still relatively sealed against wind-driven rain? My neigbor had a fixture, but the top was a bit deformed, and allowed some moisture instrusion into the lamp/socket area. I suspect this caused a lot of bulb failures, as well, possibly contributing to an arcing problem. A new fixture solved their problems. Short of that, make sure things are as rain resistant as they should be.
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Old 01-20-2010, 03:21 PM   #6
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One light kills bulbs too fast


i origanilly thought it was weather, made extra sure they were sealed about three bulbs ago. i will try the tabs. i also have two ceiling mounted interior lights in my garage with the same problem. the funny thing is the two problem sockets are on same side of garage, but one inside and one outside....

thanks, i will give it a try
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Old 01-20-2010, 05:09 PM   #7
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One light kills bulbs too fast


is that side of the garage also have a passage door?
I have a bulb issue with the fixture besdie the passge door of my shop.
I think it is due to vibrations when closing the door. (jiggles the filament)
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Old 01-21-2010, 09:16 PM   #8
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One light kills bulbs too fast


Quote:
Originally Posted by Leah Frances View Post
Weather related could still be that the metal 'spring' needs adjusting anyway. I seem to remember something from college physics about metal shrinking and expanding with temperature changes.
I agree. It nearly drove me out of my mind (Whatever is left of it). Thanx!
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Old 01-21-2010, 09:19 PM   #9
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One light kills bulbs too fast


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Originally Posted by oberkc View Post
Another weather factor would be moisture. Is your fixture still relatively sealed against wind-driven rain? My neigbor had a fixture, but the top was a bit deformed, and allowed some moisture instrusion into the lamp/socket area. I suspect this caused a lot of bulb failures, as well, possibly contributing to an arcing problem. A new fixture solved their problems. Short of that, make sure things are as rain resistant as they should be.
My original problem (and many others that I was asked about) was where the area was protected from moisture but not from wind and frigid temperature. I think Poster Leah Frances had it right. It makes sense!!

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