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Cheap Chinese Lamp sockets from Lowes and CFL bulbs

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Posted by Jim on January 23, 2010, 11:08 am

I am just experimenting with solar panels, and have several of the
Solsun CFL lamps which are really nice lamps, having a standard base
just like a regualr light bulb.

Well, I bought some of the lamp fixtures from Lowes, the only ones
they had in the electrical department, and yes, they were cheap,
plastic (not porcelin) and worked OK for the first few hours.

Well, apparently whatever material the socket contacts are made of
develops some kind of oxide or coating where the lamp contacts touch
the metal lamp base , and the 12VDC is not enough to get through this
buildup.  Result: the lamp goes out and no amount of wiggling will get
the lamp to light.  It requres a cleaning of the contact points with a
pencil eraser to get the thing to light again.  And yes, it only
lights for a few hours before the same thing happens again.   I'm
thinking that spraying the socket with WD-40 might prevent the
buildup, but I just wante to pass it along that if you need
reliability don't use these Chinese junk sockets.  

Any recommendations from others who have experienced this problem?

Posted by Morris Dovey on January 23, 2010, 11:23 am

On 1/23/2010 5:08 AM, Jim wrote:

I had a similar problem and solved it by solder tinning bulb contact
points - crude, but effective.

Morris Dovey
DeSoto Solar
DeSoto, Iowa USA

Posted by vaughn on January 23, 2010, 12:38 pm

   Ace hardware has good name-brand electrical stuff (or used to anyhow).  As I
previously wrote, I have been using plain-ole Home Depot porch lamps outdoors
for several years now with 12-volt CFLs in them with no particular issues.  You
DO want to be sure that your entire wiring path has less than 1 ohm (or so) of
resistance, or your lamp will not get full voltage.


Posted by Michael B on January 23, 2010, 2:08 pm

How about a dab of Vaseline?

Posted by Bob F on January 23, 2010, 7:07 pm

Jim wrote:

I bet an electrical supply store would have a special grease for this. Perhaps
the stuff they use for connections to aluminum wire.

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