Repare chandelier sockets or buy a new one?

Have a chandelier in our dining room that is about 40 years old. Some of the lights don't work that well. One has to twist the bulb(s) to just the right spot in the socket to get them to stay lit. Through vibration or for some other reason some of them will shut off by themselves.
I can twist the bulb back in to make it work again to make it work. However, I'm getting tired of that game. I was thinking of replacing the whole unit as one can buy a new one for $100-$200. Or, is there a simple and inexpensive way to repair these type of sockets?
http://www.shadesoflight.com/images/chandsolution.jpg
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The light fixture probably has plastic light bulb sockets and they are charred and loose fitting on the bulb base. They need replacing, which can be a lot of work. If the fixture is not a valuable one, it may not pay to attempt such a potentially difficult job to thread the wires through the fixture in order to replace the sockets. If you are satisfied with a cheap replacement, possibly you should go this route. If you do want to rebuild the fixture use only porcelain sockets, an electrical supplier can get them from Leviton, as I have done the same thing to some of my fixtures. If the wire is in bad shape be sure to replace it with similar wire rated at 105 degrees C, so that it is heat resistant.
If you buy a new one, look for a model with porcelain sockets, it will outlast any with cheap plastic sockets.

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I totally agree with the above, but I would suggest that you can try this: Take a nice new pencil with a new clean eraser on it. Turn off the power to the lamp and use the eraser to clean to bottom connection. While it will only work if that is the problem, it may work and it is a lot easer and cheaper than replacing the sockets.
I could not agree more about buying quality parts. I would also suggest looking for real brass base lamps, not aluminum or brass colored lamps.
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Joseph Meehan

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Look at the bottom of the socket there might be a piece of metal on the bottom that can be bent up
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The suggestion to bend up the center contact is a good one. Just don't forget to have the power switched off, sometimes less experienced people focusing on a task can forget, especially in a case like this where the bulbs might be off due to the failure and not the switch.
Can also using sandpaper or emory paper clean the center contact and the screw shell until shiney. The center contact could be bent up slightly, maybe 30 degree angle, the bulb will push down.
On Mon, 21 Jan 2008 08:51:25 -0800 (PST), ransley

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The white candle-tubes that sit below the lightbulbs may be a bit too long for your bulbs, preventing proper contact of the base of the bulb with the bottom of the socket. Just pull of the tubes and take a good look at the connections. Try the bulbs without the tubes. Easy to shorten the tubes.
Also, I switched from 60 w bulbs to 15 w bulbs. My sockets are plastic, are 40 years old and work like new. My chandelier has eight bulbs, just right for a pleasant dinner ambience.
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Walter
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The white candle-tubes that sit below the light bulbs may be a bit too long for your bulbs, preventing proper contact of the base of the bulb with the bottom of the socket. Just pull of the tubes and take a good look at the connections. Try the bulbs without the tubes. Easy to shorten the tubes.
Also, I switched from 60 w bulbs to 15 w bulbs. My sockets are plastic, are 40 years old and work like new. My chandelier has eight bulbs, just right for a pleasant dinner ambience.
--
Walter
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You all seem to be on target as far as this unit is concerned. I'll try to reply to most of your postings below. (Sorry for any redundancy.)
The sockets are made of plastic and most fit loosely on the base. Tightening might be impossible as there is a 1" specialized grommet that runs through the center of socket itself. I doubt I could replace them with a regular grommet tool as I would be squeezing the grommet through plastic.
There is also a screw on the bottom of the socket. I see wire fragments attached beneath it. Seems odd to me. Loosening or tightening the screw might be an option to explore. I don't think that screw is a supportive screw. I could be wrong. I haven't tried the eraser idea yet. There isn't any metal to bend up or down. The screw must be the metal connection.
The outer plastic sheath does rise rather high and may be causing problems in sockets I haven't tested. Will try removing each one that gives me trouble to find out if that might be a culprit. If so, I'll trim it down.
In some candles there is some play between the bulb and the socket.. Others fit snugly. I took the outer sheath off of one of them to see if that made a difference. Still had the same problem. There is too much play between the bulb and the socket. In other candles there is too much play at the base.
Thanks for the idea of replacing with porcelain parts or replacing the whole unit with a brass base lamp. Most likely buying a new unit is the route I will take. Although, I do have a friend who is electrically inclined. If I can get him to help me, I might replace each of the bulb units with porcelain.
Can't really replace with each bulb with 15 watt bulbs. This unit already gets pretty dim when 2 or 3 of the bulbs mysteriously decide to shut off. Has me thinking though. These bulbs are using a lot of electricity when the light is on. Maybe I should be looking at a more energy efficient lamp fixture. Or, if I do replace the sockets, then test out the 15 watt bulbs.
Thanks for your help.
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To save electricity, take a look at these (or similar) CF bulbs. http://www.1000bulbs.com/Decorative-Torpedo-CFL /
--
Peace,
BobJ



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re: There is also a screw on the bottom of the socket. I see wire fragments attached beneath it. Seems odd to me.
I can't see your fixture from here, so I'm curious as to why the wires attached to the screw seem "odd".
Is it possible that you are looking at the wire that powers each socket and that the wiring has deterioated to a point where everything is loose? Is it possible that you only make a good electrical connection between the wire and socket when the *socket* (not the bulb) is in a specific postion?
If you only have "fragments" of wire making the connection at the sockets, I would say that the fixture needs some major repairs.
Just throwing in one more possibility.
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wrote:

I can't see your fixture from here, so I'm curious as to why the wires attached to the screw seem "odd".
Is it possible that you are looking at the wire that powers each socket and that the wiring has deterioated to a point where everything is loose? Is it possible that you only make a good electrical connection between the wire and socket when the *socket* (not the bulb) is in a specific postion?
If you only have "fragments" of wire making the connection at the sockets, I would say that the fixture needs some major repairs.

It's probably odd because I'm not used to looking at the bottom of these sockets. I always thought there was usually a raised piece of metal, but not a screw type piece of metal.
The wire fragments seem pretty secure under the screw. I had to look carefully just to see them.
With a little bit of playing with the unit I got all but one of the bulbs to work. It's pretty bright when they are all on. Lucky we have a dimmer, so we can adjust the brightness. Chances are the other lights will go out in the next couple weeks and I'll be back to square one.
To the previous poster. Thanks for the CF light link. I'll check into it over the weekend.
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