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A little while ago our 14 year old garage door opener broke and we had the choice of retrofitting it with modern safety gear (required by code before they could even try to fix it) and then a "moderately simple fix" or replacing it with a new opener that came with all the safety gear, and would work, and would be significantly quieter, and would cost less all said and done than just the retrofit parts for the old unit. Needless to say, we picked the new one.

When they put the new opener in, we just moved the light bulb from the old one. it had been in there for a year or two and was still fine. 2 weeks later it flashed and died when opening the door one day. It was an old bulb, so I thought nothing of it and replaced it later that day with another 40w incandescent bulb. That bulb lasted 2 months at the most before it did the same thing... flash and die when turning on (switch on, opener wasn't activated, so no vibrations at all). Another new bulb, this time a 60w "fan light" supposedly vibration resistant long life bulbs intended for ceiling fans and similar environments, one of the ones pictured is a garage door opener. That one lasted a bit over 2 weeks, maybe 3 weeks. Assuming it had to be a bad bulb, I swapped in another from the package... same thing in about a month. So I took one out of our ceiling fan that has been in there for months running just fine. That one flashed and died yesterday, after about a month.

It's a Raynor Corporal 1/2 hp residential opener which says it's rated for 100w max bulb, I've been putting 40 or 60w bulbs in, that seems fine. The unit doesn't have a lot of vibraion, in fact it's far less than our old opener (a 1/3 hp Raynor as well). Anyone have any other ideas what's killing light bulbs in here?

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Same thing happens to the kitchen lights in my mom's house. –  Joe Philllips Mar 12 '11 at 23:42
    
...which has no vibration –  Joe Philllips Mar 14 '11 at 18:51
    
Yeah it's assumed to be vibration. I've seen this too, some lights blowing in certain sockets a little too frequently –  Matt Jul 17 '13 at 22:25
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5 Answers 5

I've had exactly the same experiences. Bulbs burn out quickly in new garage door opener. Special vibration-resistant bulbs (specifically for garage door openers) don't last any longer.

I've had some luck with compact fluorescents. They last several months, but certainly not as long as they're supposed to, nor as long as you'd expect a normal incandescent bulb to work. Given that CFLs are so much more expensive and require special disposal, I'm just going to buy a box of cheap incandescents and replace it regularly.

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I put a compact florescents in my garage door opener. Since they don't have a filament, they seem immune to vibration.

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Lower wattage bulbs don't last as long as higher wattage bulbs. If your garage has a high ceiling the longer braces between the tracks and the ceiling allow for more vibration than in installation with a lower ceiling.

When I had problems with frequent bulb changes, I used one of these in place of the bulb:

Bulb socket outlet adapter
Bulb socket outlet adapter

Then I mounted one of these on the ceiling:

Porcelain Ceiling Lampholder Keyless Light Socket
Porcelain Ceiling Lampholder Keyless Light Socket

Then I used one of these to connect the two:

White 15 Ft. Lamp Cord w/2 Prong Plug
White 15 Ft. Lamp Cord w/2 Prong Plug

and routed the cord along the supports and used zip ties to hold it out of the way of moving parts.

Once I did this, the bulb was much more isolated from the vibration and bulb changes were much less frequent.

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Good idea to isolate the lamp from vibration, but does this meet minimum code? I think there would also need to be a light box, not a direct connection to the ceiling, and NM would be required, not lamp cord, since the fixture is "permanent." (IANAE) –  richardtallent Mar 14 '11 at 0:32
    
Yeah, it probably doesn't meet code, but it doesn't penetrate a wall and is, in essence, a "lamp". There's sometimes a channel molded into the bottom of those bases for routing a cord along the surface. Each of those components is much more than sufficient to handle a 100W light bulb. Because the light turns of automatically, it won't be in continuous use. It's a simple DIY project. If in doubt, you can consult a licensed electrician. –  Dennis Williamson Mar 14 '11 at 0:44
    
I've done this with two separate fixtures on my opener; it has worked great. –  Eric Gunnerson Jul 18 '13 at 3:42
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Try this too.... Make sure the opener is unplugged. Get some steel wool and scrub the bulb receptacle, making sure it is clean and smooth. Screw the bulb in very tightly. This may do the trick. Bulbs burn out when they over heat or just have a lot of use. Over heating is caused by a poor connection ... or an arc caused by a loose connection.

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I thought about poor connection too, there is no sign of arcing on the last two bulbs, and they fit very snug in the socket. –  cabbey Mar 13 '11 at 4:13
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Vibration is still a good guess. Try a "rough service" bulb, usually sold for the work lights that you hang under the hood of your car.

You can also try a 130V bulb; cheaper bulbs are rated at 120V, and so don't tolerate line voltage fluctuations as much.

Another option is an LED bulb. A 40W-equivalent is in the $10 range, and they are supposed to be very vibration resistant.

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These "fan lights" are supposed to be rough service bulbs. Interesting idea on the 130v lights, going to check for them tommorow. –  cabbey Mar 13 '11 at 4:46
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