The Hamilton Spectator

Replacing modern LEDs is no light task


OK, life is really hard but sometimes I think it’s just a little over the top.

This is rich coming from someone who types for a living. I’m not hungry or cold or sober. Wait. I shouldn’t have said that.

Still, sometimes, it’s just too much and we bring it on ourselves.

Well, maybe chasing wildebeest­s and killing them with rocks and such was harder than air frying chicken fingers, but I say life is harder now and it’s our fault.

For example — how many columnists does it take to change a light bulb?

This isn’t a joke.

The house I moved into just a few years ago — the one with the fancy push-button toilets that I’ve already had my issues with — also has many little hockey-puck sized ceiling lights.

They look nice. That’s all I know about them except that some of them started to flicker and fizzle a few months ago.

I’m no electricia­n — some also say I’m not a real bright bulb — but I always thought the appeal of these LED lights was that they would outlive me.

How many columnists does it take to change a light bulb? Who cares? I’ll never have to do it.

I was wrong.

The first time one of these bulbs faded out, I learned a lot. I pried it from the ceiling, pinched my finger in the beartrap strength spring that holds it in place, and discovered something weird. These aren’t just light bulbs you unscrew and replace. These things are mini machines.

After a lot of googling, I discovered the replacemen­ts are ridiculous­ly expensive. If they would last forever, they’d be worth the price — but mine were dead after just a few years. Tragic is probably too strong a word here but maybe not.

I did the frugal thing and took a working light from a place I didn’t care about and swapped the dead light with it. I’ve done that a few times now and I’m out of options.

I did a bunch more research, figured out the type and size of lights I have, and I bought some new replacemen­ts.

Like I said, though, these lights are mini machines. I unplugged the dead bulb, a process that involves unplugging a little wire, and went to plug in the new bulb. The connector wire looked the same with three little pins that match three little holes.

Except the replacemen­t light I bought has a slightly smaller connector — barely visible to the naked eye but there is no way they fit together.

I could not believe it. More googling led to more frustratio­n. I figured out the lights have sizes. Mine are four inches. But there is nothing to say the connector thingy is a 9-millimetre or a 14-gauge or a double salchow. NOTHING.

How could I confidentl­y return my lights and order different ones if I have no idea if the connector is going to fit?

More googling led to even more frustratio­n.

From what I can tell, these lights that are supposed to last forever but really only last a couple of years have to be replaced entirely — the whole mini machine. This means I have to replace the light itself plus a little box that connects directly to the home wiring.

Are you kidding me here, Life? How hard do you need to be?

I want to change a couple light bulbs and I need to take a community college course to do it? Come on.

I packed up the lights and prepared to return them but then I stewed and decided not to admit defeat. More googling and a glimmer of hope. I watched videos about how to replace the lights — wire connection­s and all. I went for it. I cut the power, I pulled some wires and I put one of those new lights in place. And it worked! There was light! And I didn’t die!

I was feeling so confident I moved on to the next burnedout light. I followed the same steps and … nothing. Still no light.

I don’t know if I broke something or if one of the new lights is bad or what. I have more googling to do. Starting with: Why is life so hard?

 ?? ??

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