I have been renting from Erika for 18 months now. She has a BIG two car garage with a door opener I have been using since day one. With her insane surgical resident hours she was always worried about waking up her room mates opening the garage door at all hours so she has always parked outside. As the weather has gotten cold and icy again I assured Erika that since the garage is on the opposite end of the house as the bedrooms there is no way she would disturb anyone so by all means she should park in the garage and keep her car warmer and ice free.
Now the garage door opener has two light bulb sockets on it but they have never worked. When I first moved in I tried two different compact florescent lights (CFL) in both of the sockets and they did not work and they would both work in other light sockets so clearly it was not a light bulb problem.
Say la vie, no big deal, I have excellent night vision plus walking around in the dark garage is a fun game I like to play. Can I put my hand exactly on the door handle the first try? If I touch any part of my car before the door handle I loose. (yeah, I find fun in this, I'm a nerd, so what's new? Leave me alone!)
Anyway, that was fine for me but now that Erika is parking in there I felt the manly need to solve the problem! I mean we can't let Erika walk around in the dark now can we? No we can not!
So with tool kit in hand and testosterone surging through my bloodstream I started disassembling the garage door opener yesterday. I figured that since garage door openers vibrate a lot it was probably a loose connection somewhere that would be very simple to find and fix. I had to pull some innards out to do it but I traced all the light wires and I could see that everything was connected. Hmmmm.
So I borrowed a multi-meter and put probes on leads. Ok, power comes OUT of the circuit board to excite the relay, good... The relay kicks on and power flows out the relay into the wire, excellent... and at the light bulb end of wire I have power. Huh? So I stick the multi meter probes into the light socket and I have power in the socket!? What?
I screw the CFL bulb in again and no light. A bad bulb? But I checked that before! Well, check it again. So I go to a nearby closet and unscrew the conventional bulb and screw in the CFL and it lights. What? It's not a bad bulb and I have power to the socket, how is this possible? In my highly testosterone charged state this is really starting to piss me off!
So, standing there in the closet in the garage with a conventional bulb in one hand and manly hormones charging through my system, a Zen-like state of oneness with the universe overcomes me and I contemplate the deep mystery of how a bulb that works in the closet won't work in the garage door opener.
Suddenly it dawns on me to try the conventional bulb in the opener.
Yeah, I had to think HARD to come up with THAT brilliant plan! :(
And voila! There is light!
So, I have been parking in the dark for a year and a half, I have the opener all pulled apart, multi meter intently probing circuit boards all because I never thought to try an ordinary bulb in the socket. Suddenly I have the overpowering urge to do my Forest Gump imitation. "I... do... so... know... what... love... is... Jen-ney". I feel so dense that nearby objects are being effected by my growing gravitational field. I feel sure light is beginning to bend around me.
Look at these bulbs.
On the CFL bulb in the foreground look right above the threaded portion that goes into the socket. See how it flares out and gets lots bigger? Now look at the conventional bulbs in the background. See how the area above the threads does not get much wider? On the CFL bulb that wide area hits the outer edge of the garage door opener's unusually deep socket before the end of the threaded portion gets all the way down to the contact.
Oh so simple. DUH.
I start putting the opener back together. There is no joy, no testosterone, no victory over the inanimate now. I just needed a new light bulb. That's all.
"ICE CREAM LIEUTENANT DAN! ICE CREAM!"