How do I change a (halogen) light bulb?
February 26, 2010 5:39 PM   Subscribe

How do I change a lightbulb? Sounds like the start of a bad blonde joke, but I'm seriously struggling to work out how to change my blown halogen lights without breaking the halogen leads of bulb after bulb.

I've got two sorts of halogen lights in my home. The first type is in my bathroom (photos: empty socket and with bulb inserted). My uncle replaced one of these bulbs once for me - it theoretically should be a simple pull out the blown bulb and insert a new bulb into the two small holes. However, there is a metal plate inside the two small holes which I assume is spring loaded to hold the bulb in place. The problem arises because you need to apply an inordinate amount of force to get the bulb leads to push that plate aside and I've gone through about 6 bulbs so far trying to force them in ... my uncle did it once so I'm assuming this is the correct technique ... am I missing something? Surely it can't be so hard to change a bulb?

The second type is more common throughout the rest of my house (photo). Given the difficulties I've had with the bathroom halogens, I'm a bit scared to have a shot at replacing these. Am I supposed to pull out the bulb and replace it like in the bathroom, or is the whole reflector 'dish' and bulb supposed to come out as one?

Thanks in advance.
posted by tobtoh to Home & Garden (6 answers total)
On the second one, the reflector (dish) and bulb are typically one unit. For both, my one point of advice is DEFINITELY use a clean rag to hold them. Halogens (once lit) and the oil on your skin do not play nice -- you'll halve the life of the bulb, at best, and it'll blow the first time it lights, at worst.
posted by frwagon at 5:41 PM on February 26, 2010

Bulbez. Also, that first set of pictures looks like you socket connector may have been mechanically messed up by prior insertion attempts. Examine it carefully, with a good flashlight and magnifier, to see if there isn't a remnant of previous bulb's pins, or bent metal, obstructing insertion of the new bulb.
posted by paulsc at 5:58 PM on February 26, 2010

When you're putting the new bulb in, you should be getting the pins into the holes and then gently pushing in and out until you should find a sweet spot where the bulb will slide in.

It is possible that one of the clips has moved too far past where the hole is and you are pushing against a flat surface that doesn't allow the pin to slide in easily.

You should not be applying enough pressure to bend the pins.
posted by davey_darling at 6:31 PM on February 26, 2010

On the second one, the reflector (dish) and bulb are typically one unit.

Agreed. I replaced some of those in my bathroom a few weeks ago. I swore at it for a while, then realised you need to pry the entire unit from the ceiling (it is held in by spring clips around the edge) and then you remove the bulb/reflector unit from the back and push it back in to the ceiling.
posted by Brockles at 7:00 PM on February 26, 2010

Often the "sockets" are not sockets, but screw-terminal blocks. You're not meant to push the bulbs in/out with force, you must undo the little screws on the side of the block first, replace the globe (zero force required), then do the screws up again. This applies to the second type of bulb that you have around the rest of your house, with the integrated reflector.
posted by polyglot at 7:55 PM on February 26, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks guys - I'll go have another shot/look at the sockets and see how I go.
posted by tobtoh at 3:27 AM on February 27, 2010

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