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Light bulb and socket problem
Old 05-21-2016, 10:32 AM   #1
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Light bulb and socket problem

My garage door opener has a light bulb that turns on when motor is used. Very helpful when returning at night in the dark. Lately, however, the bulb won't turn on. If I reach up and tighten it a bit it does, but after a few days it goes dark once again.

The bulb is not making contact inside the socket. I saw a little metal tab on one side, pulled it out a bit, and that fixed the problem, but only for a few days. I guess the metal tab is permanently flattened to one side.

Any suggestions on what I can do to remedy this problem of the light bulb no longer having adequate contact inside the socket? The socket itself is not removable.
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Old 05-21-2016, 10:43 AM   #2
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If the poor contact is caused by oxidation of the tab, a bit of sanding should clear it up. To reach inside the socket, I would wrap a bit of sandpaper onto the end of a wood stick. Of course, power would be turned off to be safe.

If this does not solve the problem, I would mount an external socket to the ceiling of the garage, and wire it to the opener. This would require taking the cover off the opener and find a way to connect the wires.

No matter what it takes, I am not going to replace the entire door opener just because of a bad contact.
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Old 05-21-2016, 11:15 AM   #3
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How many early retirees does it take to change a light bulb?

None, it's too much work.
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Old 05-21-2016, 11:37 AM   #4
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Try a new bulb, it may have just enough extra metal to make contact.
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Old 05-21-2016, 11:38 AM   #5
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I thought your answer would be: "None. Some do not even have a garage, let alone a door opener".

My answer would be: "One. But ten to advise on how to do it right."
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Old 05-21-2016, 12:22 PM   #6
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Try a small strip of soft solder laid lengthwise across the threads of the bulb as it is screwed in. This should keep the bulb from vibrating loose. Power off for safety of course.
P.S. a small piece of twisted steel wool will also work - threaded section only, avoid continuity with the center contact. (bizzzt)
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Old 05-21-2016, 01:15 PM   #7
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Umm... Be careful that this strip of solder does not get pushed in, shorting out the two terminals.
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Old 05-21-2016, 01:25 PM   #8
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Umm... Be careful that this strip of solder does not get pushed in, shorting out the two terminals.
Yes, I did try to make that point in my p.s. . I have done this fix and it works fine. I used solder but most soft metals will work e.g. - small piece of twisted aluminum foil. Once screwed in tight, it stays put.
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Old 05-21-2016, 01:52 PM   #9
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Its easier to use an eraser on an old fashioned pencil to clean the contacts rather that sand paper. Just make sure end of the eraser is clean and not dried out.
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Old 05-21-2016, 01:56 PM   #10
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Or, you could rig up a light using another socket in the garage, that's not even connected with your garage door opener in any way. Get something that you can turn on and off remotely.

Sojourner reported on the Amazon thread that he got this inexpensive device that can be operated via smart phone. Seems pretty cool to me, and maybe it could be pressed into service in a situation like MichaelB's.

http://www.amazon.com/TP-LINK-Amazon.../dp/B0178IC734

Since the interior car lights turn on when the ignition is turned off, it would be easy to get to one's smart phone and turn on the light before stepping out of the car. Or, you could set it up for voice control and just speak to turn it on.

I know, it's probably not as innately satisfying as just fixing the original light. But, you'd get to play with this cool new toy, and there's some value in that.
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Old 05-21-2016, 02:00 PM   #11
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First turn off the circuit breaker. My method is then to use a small screwdriver to scratch the middle tab a few times. You could change bulbs as well, they sometimes have a bad connection inside the Edison base.
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Old 05-21-2016, 02:04 PM   #12
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People usually put a 100W bulb there, as the operating cost is not of a concern for something that stays lit so short. The heat of the bulb may have softened the tab in the socket. Hence you bend the tab, and it only works for a while. A new LED light will prevent this problem.
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Old 05-21-2016, 03:01 PM   #13
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No new opener. This one opens the garage door just fine. I've changed bulbs to no avail and use 60W as instructed by the manufacturer (LiftMaster)

So, it's clean the contacts, then wrap some solder or aluminum foil around the thread of the bulb - but don't let it touch the base. Did I get that right?

If that doesn't work the smartphone operated remote light is a good fallback.
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Old 05-21-2016, 03:29 PM   #14
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So, it's clean the contacts, then wrap some solder or aluminum foil around the thread of the bulb - but don't let it touch the base. Did I get that right?
My proven method is to lay the solder, or other twisted soft metal across (perpendicular) to the threads on the bulb base (don't make contact with the center conductor). You are trying to create a pressure point, not wrap the threads. Sorry, I don't have the skills to draw a diagram. This assumes that the problem is a loosening bulb, not a faulty connection elsewhere.
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Old 05-21-2016, 04:26 PM   #15
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A friend had a similar problem, and it turned out that his opener wasn't mounted as securely as it could have been. That gave it quite a bit of vibration when it operated, which messed up the filament inside the bulb. He bought a "vibration proof" light bulb (Home Depot carries them) and that fixed it.
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Old 05-21-2016, 05:11 PM   #16
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If a repair doesn't work, mount a cheap motion sensor light inside the garage...or if you already have a motion light on the outside, simply connect another fixture from that to a light inside the garage.
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Old 05-21-2016, 05:37 PM   #17
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The issue is not the filament, for certain. The contact in the socket is not solid enough ( I think). There are two bulbs, and it has happened to both. Tomorrow I'll see if I can get a photo of the socket.

The LiftMaster tech support has a FAQ question on this

Quote:
With a small flathead screwdriver, pry the two contacts inside the socket out so that they will make better contact with the bulb.

I did this (using a piece of wood) but the fix only lasts a few hours. I'm reluctant to continue doing this for fear of breaking the contact.

The motion sensor light in the garage is another good idea.
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Old 05-21-2016, 06:00 PM   #18
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Of course the problem is poor electrical contact, but it is not always between the bulb and the light socket contacts. It can be the tabs from the light sockets to the wiring harness. A bit of motion, of wriggling, of vibration may give some electrical continuity, but then it will fail again.

I would open up the case and pinpoint the source, and fix it once for all. If the light socket is bad, as I said, an external porcelain socket can be mounted to the ceiling, and wired to the opener.
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Old 05-21-2016, 06:47 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by MichaelB View Post
The issue is not the filament, for certain. The contact in the socket is not solid enough ( I think). There are two bulbs, and it has happened to both. Tomorrow I'll see if I can get a photo of the socket.

The LiftMaster tech support has a FAQ question on this


I did this (using a piece of wood) but the fix only lasts a few hours. I'm reluctant to continue doing this for fear of breaking the contact.

The motion sensor light in the garage is another good idea.
Isn't that what pennies are for?

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Old 05-21-2016, 07:10 PM   #20
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If a repair doesn't work, mount a cheap motion sensor light inside the garage.............
This is what I did when the internal light switch died.
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