I was reading an electrical book titled "Your Old Wiring" by Shapiro.
Fantastic book by the way - see if your library has a copy of it if you want
to learn about wiring in older houses.
There is a paragraph discussing replacing incandescent bulbs with compact
flourescents. The author was saying that the replacement flourescent bulbs
can lead to socket damage due to the weight of teh compact flourescecnts and
the heat that their ballasts produce.
Personally I've not run into any problems (yet) with my compact
flourescents - and I was wondering if anyone else has?
Well, they put out less than 10% of the heat as what they replace, so it
doesn't seem to make sense. And I have been using them for years without
damaging anything; so I am inclined to say Mr. Shapiro is silly.
I had some problems about 12 years ago with CFs being too heavy for some
inexpensive lamp sockets , pulling the shell
out of the base, but CFs are much lighter and smaller now and none of the
current ones have given any problems like that.
Probably the same lamp sockets that sometimes fall apart even while using
standard "A" lamps - the thin fake brass shell with the paper insert that
simply snaps into it's base, the base having the threaded nipple to accept the
Tough without pictures. In a very enlarged form, think of a soda bottle
with the spout down, and cut it off a couple of inches above the spout. That
is the part that attaches to the lamp body. The socket rests on that and
the cover and support for the socket (the remaining bottle) fits back into
the base, only held by pressure. Pretty common, actually.
Yeah, I know those sockets. Pretty much the standard in table lamps.
In the olde days they were made of heavier and springier brass and had some
pretty well formed sharp edged detents to keep the body retained in the cap
part. IIRC the bodies had the word "PRESS" stamped at the point where you pushed
in to release the detent on one side. And, you usually had to use a fair amount
of muscle to get the pieces apart after pressing there.
The present makers seem to have copied the original design, making it with
shittier materials on worn out tooling. I've been annoyed by having those
sockets tip apart while just changing table lamp bulbs.
Probably a bit of JB Weld in the joint area would fasten them together enough to
prevent their collapsing when bumped into by a bumbling moth. You generally
don't have to take those sockets apart again very often once they are in place.
I suppose somebody somewhere still makes quality versions of those bulb sockets,
but you aren't likely to find them in lamps made for sale to the present
generation of "value oriented" consumers.
Just my .02,
Jeff Wisnia (W1BSV + Brass Rat '57 EE)
"If you can keep smiling when things go wrong, you've thought of someone to
place the blame on."
Fantastic book, but inaccurate on this subject.
At work I have 3 cf's in one stairwell, two in another. They have been in
there for a minimum of 6 years in one place, maybe 9 or 10 in the other. No
damage and only a couple of replacements. Three are on 24/7, the others are
on a sensor.
FWIW, the light sockets are about 50 years old.
The book did say that ceramic sockets were ok to use with cf's. I'm
guessing your 50 year old ones are probably ceramic.
As another poster said - the cf's have gotten lighter in recent years - so
maybe the issue is no longer of concern (as long as we are using the newer
It also depends on the design of the socket. I use CFs in my workshop
because I like the light, the fact that they turn on easily in the cold, and
the energy savings since I leave one on all the time (the switch is a real
pain to get to). One of my fixtures is an outdoor twin PAR set that I
originally used floods in. I had two different sizes of CF in the sockets.
One had a larger ballast base than the other, so that it barely fit in the
socket. It quit working the next day, so I figured that the base had been
to large and the ballast overheated and burned out. A month or so later
when I was replacing it, for the fun of it I put it into a different fixture
and it worked fine. It must have had some sort of thermal cutout that got
triggered. All in all, make sure there is plenty of air space around the
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