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Ideas to waterproof a standard candelabra (C7) bulb socket?


tlogan

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I found a company that sells full size patterns to make wooden decorations. One of the decorations is an old-timey lamp post. I figure I can make a bunch of them once I cut a wood pattern and then control them individually. You can get a weatherproof light kit that looks like a candle, but they are like, $12, so it will add up pretty quick. I want to put a single amber C7 in a standard candelabra socket to light it, which is much cheaper. I found some pretty cheap sockets and plug with the tabs that you would use to replace a broken one in, say, a blow mold.

Any ideas for a way to make it a little weatherproof since the bulb and socket would be upright? Would some of that liquid electrical tape around the base of the bulb and the edge of the socket work? I've never used the stuff. Any other ideas?

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When I used c7 and c9 in my display years ago I bought rubber washers that where made for the Christmas lights but don't remember who I bought them from I'm sure if you Google c7 water proof washers you should find them.

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1 hour ago, caniac said:

what about dielectric grease?  Works on my extension cords, haven't tested it on a socket.

There are 3 parts to weather protect. 1 The cord-socket connection. 2 the Bulb-socket 3 the bulb glass must be rated for outdoor (xmas bulbs usually are, but household bulbs are not).

Bulb down(ward) discourages water from accumulating in the socket.

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Or don't do anything. I use standard c-9 sockets pointing straight up. Installed on SPT1 to customize my lengths. My can luminaries are going on 7 years without one of the forty failing yet. When you try to waterproof, you typically end up just trapping the water in. Bought them here & the individual led lamps...

https://www.allthingschristmasandmore.com/Christmas-Light-Sockets_c_1345.html

https://www.allthingschristmasandmore.com/C7-LED-Christmas-Lamps_c_1275.html

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Thanks for the replies! I posted and then got seriously busy and here it is Wednesday already. One of the things is I had to be home for an electrician to add a 60 amp subpanel outside so I don't have to run such a large snake out of the garage. I now have 4 shiny, new, weatherproof 20amp circuits outside. I've also been receiving all the stuff I ordered for this year.

The bulbs are outdoor rated Christmas lights, so I'm good there. I popped one into the socket and I think the amber color will give me the look of an old-timey lit lamp post. I figure I can find some PVC that the socket will fit into and make it look like a candle. So, to answer the other suggestion, they need to be upright. I think the cord-socket section will be OK inside the PVC. 

I was headed down the dielectric grease road and came across liquid electric tape. Not sure if it's the same thing, but I don't think it is. It comes in black and white so I could use black around the space between the base of the bulb and the socket and then white around the top of the PVC and the socket. That leaves the switch that's part of the socket/cord assembly, which I can wrap in a little plastic wrap. I'll leave the plugs alone as I haven't had any issues leaving all the other plugs untouched and even lying on the ground. One year I had a couple of colored spots lights (the ones that are only a couple of inches above ground) and we had about 18 inches of snow. All the lights still came on and you could see the big circles of colored snow. It was actually a pretty cool effect!

And now, just to see if it simplifies things I try that search for the washers!

 

Thanks again, I'm sure I'll have more questions. 

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Liquid tape is rather permanent (good). This is not one of the places (bulb-socket) I would use it.

Grease 👍 (and allow that you might need to replace the socket in a few seasons. No epoxy 😀)

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OK, update. I found a place that specifically has C7 washers. $14 for  bag of 100. HOWEVER, shipping will be over $19. I don't think so.

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5 minutes ago, TheDucks said:

Liquid tape is rather permanent (good). This is not one of the places (bulb-socket) I would use it.

Grease 👍 (and allow that you might need to replace the socket in a few seasons. No epoxy 😀)

Hmmm...wasn't aware of that. I'll look closer at the grease. Although I did buy a lot of extra bulbs (they came in a pack)  and few extra sockets.

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