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Some of the red and orange indicator lights on my 1983 NewMar Nautilus electrical breaker panel are burned out. I've got the replacements in hand. Both the old and the new have a white plastic tube about an inch long that butts up to the light. Now that I've looked at the back side of the panel, I see that the old ones are held in by a flat piece of slightly springy metal that slides onto the white plastic tube. Am not sure of the technical name of this sort of fastener. The springy metal thing has edges that are slightly bent, so once you push it on it gets stuck on. Sort of like a Chinese finger trap. The visible side of the light has a tiny metal ring that keeps it from falling back into the inside of the panel. They are not screw on nuts, unfortunately.

What is the best way to get the springy fasteners off and/or what is the best way to get the old indicator lights out without damaging the face of the panel? Remembering that the back of the panel is a tightly packed area - very awkward to reach in with cutters or pliers or grippers. I have already discovered that the coating on the face of the panel scratches relatively easily, so don't really want to attack from the front, by, for instance, crushing the old lens and the keeper ring on the front which would allow me to then simply push the light into the inside of the panel. I am really tempted to try crushing one of the lights and the little ring keeper thing and just push it back through the panel, but want to see if there is a smarter or trickier way that I haven't thought of, before scarring up my beautiful panel face.

When I bought the replacement lights I hadn't discovered the springy fasteners, so now I am with the boat thousands of miles from home in a country where it is somewhat more difficult to find things like new springy fasteners. Hopefully there is a way to get them off so they can be reused.

Thanks.
 

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Telstar 28
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Try putting a tube over the back of the bulb and flattening the metal spring clip, and see if the indicator light will come out when you do that. If it does, you should probably be able to re-use the spring clip.
 

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Not much good news here. Those clips are made of spring steel, so they REALLY don't like being removed. They usually break in the process. The good news is you can usually get replacements at NAPA auto parts. Once upon a very long time ago, they used those things to hold trim mouldings on the the sides of cars.

If you're absolutely sure of replacing the lamps, you can cut the holder off.
 
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