Socket-Bulb Problem

Discussion in 'Landscape Lighting' started by Rainman7, Jul 27, 2012.

  1. klkanders

    klkanders LawnSite Senior Member
    from Midwest
    Posts: 848

    I agree. I have recently ordered and installed the Illumicare G4 LED's on a couple of projects and noticed the pins were thicker. I am expecting good results with this lamp. Time will tell.
  2. INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting

    INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,102

    Isn't it amazing that we continue to have socket issues after all of this time? Here we have untold dozens of quality manufacturers out there and yet so few seem to have found sockets that are trouble-free or will last as long as the fixtures. Some of the sockets out there are simply atrocious. Generally those that claim to be "universal" bipins (accept both G4 and G5.3 lamps) are the worst. Years ago I started to request T5 Wedge sockets in place of BiPins when ever possible.

    One interesting correlation: It is often the case that those fixtures that have crappy sockets are also the easiest to change! Find yourself a source of good quality bipin sockets and buy a bunch... and be prepared to spend the 10 mins it takes to change out the poor ones when you are lamping the fixtures. As you do this, you will also discover that many of those crappy sockets are attached to the fixture lead wires with un-sealed, aluminum crimp connectors; offering you the opportunity to improve the internal connections as well. (or just buy better quality products :) )

    To give credit where it is due; I have found the BiPin sockets used by Auroralight, Hunza and BK to be the most trouble-free.
  3. GreenLight

    GreenLight LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 467

    While in theory I agree with a lot of what you are saying, I would be very careful encouraging folks to change out sockets on fixtures, especially drop in LED fixtures that carry long term warranties. Changing out sockets is an instant modification that will kill your warranty. Whether the socket is an upgrade or not, if as a contractor you are selling your fixtures with warranties, modifications of this kind will set you up for shouldering all responsibility. So even if you have a fixture that simply had a faulty lamp, broken shroud, waterproofing issues, etc.. you are providing the manu with an out anytime you modify their product.
  4. INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting

    INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,102

    I understand your point but I have to ask: In reality, how often have you taken the time, and gone to the trouble and expense to return a fixture on a warranty claim for a faulty socket? Perhaps it is my relative distance from distributors that causes me to repair fixtures far more often then I return them. It is far easier, cheaper, quicker and less hassle for us to simply swap out a faulty socket with a new one rather than:

    Remove faulty fixture from system.
    Take back to shop.
    Package fixture.
    Request RMA or Warranty Replacement from Dist.
    Ship fixture back (at our cost)
    Received warranty replacement into inventory
    Return to site
    Install new or repaired fixture.

    My sense is that most opt for the field repair rather than the warranty claim.

  5. GreenLight

    GreenLight LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 467

    Im referencing more of the overall warranty. If you are dealing with a LED drop in fixture from the factory, if you modify the socket and you have premature bulb failure (through no known fault of the new socket), you are more than likely going to be eating a replacement because the manu will say it's been modified and not using their specs.
  6. INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting

    INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,102

    Greenlight, I am not understanding your terminology.

    There are two types of fixtures that I know of.
    1: Those that use lamps, be they incandescent or LED.
    2: Integrated LED fixtures. (the LED source is part of the over-all fixture design)

    I can't see how a switch from one socket to another would void the warranty from a 3rd party LED lamp manufacturer. Obviously if you are bending the LED lamps pins in such a way so to fit the wrong socket type then you may have issues, but other than that I don't think you would have a problem.
  7. emby

    emby LawnSite Senior Member
    from Ontario
    Posts: 380

    I 100% agree with James! This forum contains enough feed back and information on design flaws of the entire landscape lighting industry products from all of us designers / installers. Some take that information and have actually done something about it but others simply have not, leaving all these issues with the contractor / installers to figure out and pay for.
    As usual most of the inferior products are supported by lower pricing and kick backs of overall quantities sold. What a great goal to push on designers"don't worry about the lighting design just sell more fixtures and we will compensate you with a present each year"
    There is no reason for socket issues to have continued for this long. Another example of the quick race to the bottom and that's referring to the bottom line.

  8. GreenLight

    GreenLight LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 467

    Im not referencing 3rd party Lamp manufacturers. Let's take for instance Hadco (I know you love them!). Their LED fixtures are not integrated for the most part. It contains a Phillips drop in lamp that comes from the factory and through ewing it carries a lifetime warranty. These lamps are also not considered field replaceable. If the lamp fails, Hadco will not allow you to replace the lamp, you have to replace the fixture under their warranty. Thus, all of their testing has occurred under their own elements (sockets, shrouds, etc) and they will not warranty any modifications.
  9. INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting

    INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,102

    I am not familiar with this specific product offering. As you describe it, it is essentially being offered as an integrated LED fixture. When I was talking about changing and upgrading sockets, I was talking about traditional fixtures that use lamps.

    Have a great day.
  10. LLC RI

    LLC RI LawnSite Member
    Posts: 149

    From my experience with this same phenomenon, my guess is that when you pull a G4 bi pin lamp out of the socket, from which, it was not working, you will see that the pins are often darkened. This, I'm thinking, is carbon build up, a result of the arcing that takes place because the contact area is small, and if the tension on the springs of the contacts within the socket, are weak. This arcing and subsequent carbon build up actually insulates the pins from making the electrical connection with the socket contacts.

    If you take the lamp out and run the pins along an emery board or a small piece of sand paper, you can shine the pins up and the lamp will work.... for a little while.

    I used to have this problem a few years ago with Coppermoons path lights as they used G4 bi pins.. but now, since they switched to G 6.53 bi pins, there is no more problem.

    So besides contact grease, I would get a good quality electrical contact cleaner and spray that into the socket holes with the little plastic tube ( a la WD40) and that should buy you some more time.

    IF the socket in the fixture you are using will accept a G 6.53 lamp, then use it, but be cautioned that once you do, you can't go back to a G4... the problem will only be worsened.


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