my newfound electrical skills put to the test

Last night, I discovered a dead makeup mirror. Since it had given me trouble in the past, and since it was a fairly inexpensive piece to begin with, I suspected the worst: it was shot, and any repair would be beyond my ability. But, I’ve been building dollhouses. With electricity. And that qualifies me as an electrician. So, I decided to tackle the problem.

First, I noticed two small screws whose removal led me to discover a regular lightbulb inside, not the specialty bulb I thought I’d find. It looked okay, no evidence of burnout, plus it was one of those multi-year models and the light was just a couple of years old. I decided it must be the on/off button, which had given me trouble previously.

I peeled off the felt covering on the bottom and found a thin hex nut. I didn’t have a hex wrench, so I grabbed an adjustable pipe wrench and tried to turn it, but the nut wasn’t about to budge. After a few tries with different wrenches, I sprayed on a little Lock-Ease lock fluid and bingo! Worked like a charm.

This step got me to the on/off mechanism, and it was a little loose, so I tightened it, and then plugged in the light and hoped for the best. The bulb flashed on briefly, but then died. Hmm.

I didn’t have a replacement bulb. I couldn’t even find a light bulb receptacle in which to test it because I don’t have a single table lamp in the house. I finally came across an accent light. I tested the bulb and nothing. Dead. OK, wait. So, it was just a bad bulb all along? I didn’t need to employ my newfound electrical skills? That was a bit of a letdown.

The next day, when I bought a replacement, I confirmed it did all come down to a bad bulb. An easy fix, so kind of an embarrassing episode, but the moral of the story is the confidence I’ve gained from small homebuilding is what made me look into the possibility of an actual repair. Before, I would have just tossed the mirror into the trash and bought a new one. So, hooray! Dollhouse building not only boosted my confidence and handyman skills, but it also resulted in one less piece of usable trash in the local landfill.

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