Talk about vintage Christmas lights

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 Post subject: whitish stuff on C-9s
PostPosted: Fri Apr 03, 2015 3:39 pm 
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A reader writes:

My question is, I have a few strings for the C-9 and the slightly smaller ones, but over the years the sockets have collected a whitish substance on them. Since some of the new bulbs won't light in these sockets, I'm thinking this white build up is why. Is there a way to clean off that stuff so the bulbs can make contact inside the socket? Otherwise, I bought all those new bulbs for nothing. Thank you.

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You're probably right about the whitish stuff in the sockets of your light sets, but I'm copying my friend Fred Fox, who runs the Noellkat vintage Christmas decoration site on Etsy, and has a lot more experience with these things than I. For one thing, Fred probably knows something to remove that corrosion without making the problem worse, like I probably would. :-)


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 03, 2015 3:49 pm 
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Fred replied:

Corrosion is common in sets used outdoors but it is extremely rare that this would prevent a light from lighting. To remove the corrosion, use a piece of steel wool twisting it around in the socket and they should come up pretty clean. Make sure it's not the wiring to the sockets by moving good bulbs around. Also, squared off thread bases on newer C9s don't always thread in far enough to reach the center contact on older brass shell socket sets.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 03, 2015 4:25 pm 
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The reader replied:

Thank you for your response. I think it's more the thing you said about the newer bulbs, which I wouldn't have known -- that they don't always reach to the contact in the socket. I kept playing with different bulbs and some would light in one socket, not another. I kept wondering, is it the bulb, the socket, what? So, at any rate, I'll clean the sockets as you suggested, and screw the bulbs in as deeply as I can and hope for the best. They are so beautiful that I want to continue using them.
----------------

Fred's reply:

Some C9 socket sets have a movable center contact which you can easily pull up by hooking underneath with a nail or such. If yours are not movable and you or someone you know is handy with a soldering iron, you can very easily add an extra blob of solder to the contact on the base of your new lights giving it the extra length - Fred


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