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Monday, January 11, 2010

Electric Blogging

How many Americans does it take to change a light bulb in Cairo?

We had four light bulbs that were apparently burnt out when we arrived here on Monday.  I took one bulb out to check it and it appeared good so I though I'd try tightening the bulb in the socket.  I already know to hold on to the socket since they turn in place but tightening the bulb only led to this:

That bulb says "Made in Egypt:" on top.  The cement holding the glass and the base gives way pretty easily, especially after the heat from a little use.  I screwed in a Hungarian replacement.  Still no light.

We had experienced similar outages in a couple of fixtures last year, so I knew it was time to send for the electrician.

Egyptian light sockets come apart like this:

It's that ceramic piece in the middle that causes the problem.  While U.S. sockets use a different scheme, these rely on more friction contacts that can become corroded.  Egyptian electricians carry a supply of these ceramic doo-dads in their tool bag.  Here's a closer look:

No wire nuts here.  This is still "twist 'n tape" territory.

 With the job complete, we again had light by the kitchen table.

And our ceiling lights look pretty good too.

 Especially compared to the bare bulbs seen in many residences and shops:

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