Can I use a pen or mechanical pencil

Thread Starter


Joined Nov 30, 2018
I'm attempting to repair a fiber optic Christmas tree. The power wires that go to the light have metal clips on the end that go into the ceramic lamp holder. There are two channels one for each wire but channels are bigger than the metal clips that fit in each channel, and there are old rusted springs that help hold it into place in each channel. The lamp leads fit down into each channel wedging into the springs further holding everything into place.

My question is I'm trying to replace the rusted springs and was wondering if a standard spring from an ink pen or mechanical pencil would work as replacements. I don't want anything that would overheat and burn my house down. Lamp is 75w, 12v 6.5amp


Joined Sep 17, 2013
Welcome to AAC!
If the new springs are of similar size/gauge to the old ones and importantly can provide the same compressive force as the old ones they should be ok.


Joined Jan 18, 2008
That spring is pretty much a standard spring. Slim chance it is beryllium-copper ( a springy copper alloy). I would use any steel spring that fits.


Joined Feb 8, 2018
If you intend to use a quartz-halogen lamp, I strongly recommend replacing the lamp holder. Adequate pressure is important to reliable contact. The terminals will operate at very high temperature, so ordinary electrical wires are not safe. Most newer lamp holders like that use silicone insulation, often with glass or ceramic braid over the silicone, or insulation that is entirely high-temperature fibre of some sort. Poor contact pressure and/or incorrect wire insulation poses a fire hazard.

Lamp sockets can be found on ebay and the like, though getting types that actually have a safety agency approval can be a challenge. I think I've seen ceramic sockets for sale in hardware stores, but I can't really say for sure. You would have to know the pin spacing, which may be metric. The lamp looks like it may be an MR16 type (Multi-faceted Reflector, 16 eights of an an inch in diameter).

this should bring up some images; I have know knowledge of any of the vendors,online_chips:mr16+lamp&usg=AI4_-kTUAl76ejpB7OemvhGUfmzZjthuVQ&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwi2uuaWk_3eAhUnFjQIHQegCm8Q4lYIKCgC&biw=1216&bih=621&dpr=1.58
Most are small round types that you probably can't use, but there should be enough to help you formulate a better search.

If the optical fibres are a bundle that sort of terminates at the actual small envelope around the filament, you may have little choice but to stick with a QH lamp. You might be able to find a LED lamp that performs adequately, but you have to be careful. Some LED types have a number of small LEDs over a large area and probably wouldn't optically couple well. Others have a single emitter (or what looks like a single emitter) centrally in the reflector and would probably optically couple reasonably well. A LED lamp would run dramatically cooler. With a LED lamp, you probably could refurbish the exiting holder and use ordinary wire quite safely.