How to change a Samsung fridge freezer 40W light bulb

Samsung fridge interior lampWith every previous fridge we owned, replacing the light bulb was as simple as removing the cover and inserting a new 15W SES appliance bulb.  When the bulb blew in our Samsung fridge freezer (model RL38SCTB), it was a rather surprising challenge to replace.

The cover is tricky to remove and the lamp holder base is recessed.  Its 40-watt bulb is smaller than a typical GLS size.  Even with a bulb that screws in, it may not even light!  The instruction manual was anything but helpful, advising to get a service engineer to replace the interior bulb.

Before we get started, we need the following tools:

  • Flat blade screwdriver
  • Long nose pliers

Before sourcing a replacement light bulb, I recommend removing the failed light bulb to check its base type and dimensions.  Before proceeding, unplug the fridge and remove all items from the top shelf.

Removing the lamp cover

To remove the cover, push the bottom tab up with a flat-blade screwdriver (1), then pull the cover out (2):

Remove Samsung Fridge lamp coverUnplug the fridge and remove the bulb by screwing it anti-clockwise.

Choosing the right light bulb

The original bulb from our fridge is 9cm long and 5cm wide.  The base is recessed, so the new bulb cannot be any wider than 3cm for about 1cm above the base.  For example, a typical golf ball bulb will not fit.  If the bulb is longer than 9cm, the lamp cover will not fit.

After looking for potential replacements, I found two LED bulbs that should fit.  The Osram “Star Classic” 6W E27 LED bulb and the Philips Lustre 6W.  I chose the Osram 6W as it was cheaper.  Both bulbs claim to be the equivalent of a 40W incandescent light bulb.

The following image gives a comparison of the Osram bulb to the original fridge bulb (middle) and a standard GLS size LED bulb (right):

Samsung 40W size comparison

When I screwed in the new Osram bulb, it would not light.  When I tried it in a Samsung fridge 40W base vs normal bulbtable lamp, it lit up fine.  Upon closer inspection of the base against the failed bulb, the genuine bulb has a slightly pointer tip, as shown to the left.  As a result, the tip did not reach the metal contact inside the lamp holder.

To overcome this, I used a pliers to pull the metal contact out a little, as indicated by the red arrow below.

Caution: Make sure the fridge is unplugged first!

Samsung fridge 40W bulb holderThe following image shows how little clearance there is around the bulb base.  This is why a golf ball bulb will not fit:

Samsung Fridge new bulb fitted

Switching on the light

Close the fridge door and plug in the fridge.  Wait about 30 seconds before opening the fridge door.  If the fridge door is open while plugging it in, it will not power the bulb.  Finally, fit the lamp cover by sliding it directly to the back until it snaps in place.

The following shows our fridge lit with the Osram 6W bulb.  It appears to light the fridge just as evenly and bright as the original bulb.

Samsung fridge lit up

25 thoughts on “How to change a Samsung fridge freezer 40W light bulb”

  1. Lovely. I was stumped when my new bulb didn’t work after fitting it. Your pliers trick worked perfectly. Much appreciated.

  2. Thank you- perfect advice and really clear to follow. Much better than the guidance on the Samsung site.

  3. Wow. I tried all the steps and I got the light working perfectly again after months of darkness..thank u! 🙂

  4. I came across this whilst trying to find out how to wrestle the cover off, came back to it when I couldn’t get the new bulb to work…thank you so much for the pliers tip, I think I’d be without a light in the fridge until I bought a new one without you as the new bulb wasn’t very obviously more shallow than the old one but clearly enough to not make contact! Brilliant!

  5. Glad I found this, I have one of the similar model and its bulb stopped working with a little bang which also blown our fuse box. The fridge also stopped working. Called somebody who named himself as a fridge mechanic but had no idea how to remove this cover, he damaged this bulb cover base with screwdriver in a failed attempt to remove cover when at this point I realised I did big mistake calling this guy in. I called someone else whose call out charges were £25, strange thing was when this guy was at my door step, my fridge started working on its own, sadly I still had to pay call out charges. Now its time for bulb replacement and I am going to get the one you mentioned above. Sorry for this lengthy story but I thought I should share this.

  6. Hi Sean
    Followed your instructions, popped out tab but light cover will not slide forward, cover is held at the front in two places, left and right of the screws visible in your picture with the cover removed.
    Any advice?

    1. Hi Ged,

      I’ve just achieved this today after an hour of head scratching and wrestling with it. The design is shockingly bad at best and in the end it took some brute force. I levered the bottom tab up and managed to pull the bottom out enough to get my fingers around each side at the bottom. In theory it should slide straight out towards the front of the fridge, but there are two very small plastic lugs at the top (as you say left and right of the screws) which hold it in place. I used a combination of a small flat screw driver at the top (separating the lens from the plastic above it) and hard pulling. I have tried clicking the lens back in (quite easy) and removing it again and it wasn’t much easier the second time!
      Hope this helps a bit.

  7. Would you be able to offer any further advice on how to remove the cover? I press the bottom tab in and try to pull the cover toward me but it won’t budge. That is probably the most difficult part for me and after that it should be smooth sailing. Thanks

  8. I’m founding it extremely difficult to take the cover off, it’s not budging, I’m out of breath trying to remove this cover, why couldn’t they make it simply to remove, building a sweat here. Can someone put up a video, on how to remove it please.

  9. Great guide. Thanks very much for taking the time to create this guide. I found some considerable brute force was required to remove the cover, but managed it in a couple of minutes. There was swearing!

    Alas the bulb had failed with such force that the glass had separated from the metal thread, which stayed in the socket. I was able to remove this with needle-nose pliers, having turned off the electricity first (easier than moving the fridge out to unplug!)

  10. Thank you for making this guide because the user manual is useless when it comes to the simple thing of changing a bulb (it instructs you to contact a service engineer!?!) and the design of the cover is not very obvious. Yes, the cover does not come off easily, but a combination of two flat screwdrivers will do the trick (one to pull up on the bottom tab and one to separate the cover from the back at the same time, left or right). Thank you again.

  11. Hi
    My bulb went last night, I was wondering if the link for the bulb listed will be suitable for the Samsung RL38SBSW?

    1. The only thing I can suggest is remove the cover, unscrew the bulb inside and use a ruler to get a rough measurement of the base diameter. If the screw base of the bulb is 27mm wide (roughly 1 inch), the above LED bulb I suggested should fit fine. If the screw base is 14mm (slightly over 1/2 inch), you’ll need an 15W SES bulb, which you can pick up at most hardware stores.

  12. Thanks alot…
    I went to the store 6 times. I got to a fight with couple of managers. On the study lamp they all worked. I even took the bulb from my other samsung fridge it worked. To me it had to be the brand of bulbs. Then also I believed in Philips. I went for it, still the same happened.

    So today, I decided to search this issue of mine as it has been 12 days with the fridge bulb. And you saved the day. All works 100%
    Thanks again..

  13. Thank you so much, this blinking light cover had me totally flummoxed!
    Your tip about pulling the metal contact out a bit was magic, all working. Just need to get a smaller bulb now, will look at that one you suggested.
    Heartfelt thanks, I was going nuts here trying to remove the cover without breaking it!

  14. Thank you !
    I was about to get a hammer and a crowbar…
    pressing the tap up and then with brute force yanking the cover untill it released from the fridge.
    was sure I broke something, and that it wouldnt fit back inn, but it looks factory fresh..

    Most apreciated

    <3
    akaEvilD.

  15. Thank you for the detailed instructions. Thanks to you, I did not damage the fridge. The covers in these refrigerators are mounted very specifically.

  16. Right, I have the cover off!
    Tips:
    Use: 2 small flat screw drivers: Had to push that tab up with a bit more force than expected, being cold hard plastic.
    Then stuck the 2nd screwdriver between the light shade and the fridge, then the back was loose.
    Net I loosened the back left and right of the shade, then stuck my fingers in both sides and pilled straight forward and Bob’s your Uncle!

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