How to Wire a Lamp Socket

How to wire a lamp socket

To wire a lamp socket, before beginning, ensure your lamp is unplugged. Locate and loosen the silver screw on the socket interior’s cap until a smooth wire can slip beneath it, then wrap ribbed wire clockwise around it.

Slide the socket’s ring over the wire next, with its wider side toward where you plan on mounting the socket. Screw in its interior section onto the cap’s set screw.

Things to Focus on When You Wire a Lamp Socket

The Wires

No matter whether you are wiring an old lamp or starting from scratch, some key points should always be kept in mind when working with electricity. Always double check that your socket can accommodate for the bulb you plan on using; otherwise it might overheat and discolor, endangering both yourself and others working nearby. Also keep in mind that you are working with live current; thus you should take extra caution not to electrocute yourself or others when handling live voltage. And lastly, always disconnect power before beginning any work on a lamp!

Start by unplugging the shade from your lamp, unscrewing its lightbulb, then gently squeeze the socket shell at the switch to separate it from its cap. Now pull out as far as possible of your old socket using attached wires as leverage; if necessary push up from underneath for additional slack.

Next, examine the conductors of an old cord. Typically there will be two wires connected to the lamp switch and a main cord that runs down through the base of the lamp. Note any protective screws protecting each of these cords–typically brass ones cover cords with black (hot) wire while silver ones protect white (neutral) cords.

electric cables to wire a lamp socket

Once you know which cords are hot and neutral, disconnect their wires from their respective socket terminals. Untie any knots tying them together before trimming off one inch of insulation at each wire end – this will enable you to splice in new cord’s beginning without it getting caught inside old wire’s cloth cover or plastic insulation.

Preparing the new cord: Cut three lengths of lamp cord; one long enough to connect from the lamp plug to socket connections and two shorter pieces that will go to two sockets on the base of the lamp. Strip away part of each plastic insulation to expose their conductors; use self-fusing electrical tape to join these wires together as you work, thus keeping any splice from fraying during assembly. Finally, secure either a collar- or screw-top strain relief onto the socket cap’s interior section using screws.

The Socket

Lamp sockets are an integral component of lamps, playing an integral role in their aesthetic appeal. You’ll find various types of sockets at lighting or home improvement stores; each offering different shapes and styles to complement your lamp fixture. Furthermore, sockets come with various switching options including pull chain switches, turn knob switches and push-thru mechanisms.

Before beginning work on your lamp, it must first be disconnected from its power source. Always unplug a lamp before disassembling or working on it as failure to do so could result in electric shock. Remove the shade and unscrew bulb from socket using care – some sockets may still be hot! To safely decommission them squeeze socket shell at switch to separate cardboard insulator from socket cap if this occurs.

Once completed, it’s time to start wiring the new lamp. First, prepare the cords you will use by cutting three lengths of lamp cord–one long enough to run from base to plug (the exact length depends on personal preference) and two short cords that connect each socket. For the long cord, separate its ends and connect it to its neutral terminal–the silver-colored screw in this instance–by twisting together its bare wires and screwing wire nuts over both ends; do the same with both short cords.

white light bulb in lamp socket

First, feed each short cord through each socket’s nipple and into its center channel. Before beginning this step, cut a 14 inch piece of electrical or masking tape and wrap it around one cord end; this will prevent fraying while you work.

Once the cords are through the nipple, feed them into the channel through the socket body and out through its top cap. Tie loose knots on each cord to prevent them from getting tangled as you feed them into the socket, and finally secure each with a locknut on its respective nipple for security.

The Cord

Building or renovating a lamp requires basic components: light bulb; lamp cord and socket. You should also invest in quality lamp plug and lampshade accessories to complete your new or improved fixture.

As part of rewiring a lamp, the first step should be disconnecting it from its power source–typically an outlet or ceiling light fixture. Next, take steps to unclip its lampshade from its attachment housing; remove any lampshades; cap on wire connection housings and caps on wire connection housings as necessary. Pop off outer shells of bulb sockets revealing metal sockets inside. Disconnect any screw or wire nut connections as necessary and pull out main lamp cord as well as two shorter cords leading directly to bulb sockets.

Each cord consists of two conductors connected by insulation – one with smooth insulation and another with ribbed or tinned insulation. As you continue working on your lamp, take note of which wires belong to which conductor. This will allow you to distinguish them easily.

Now that your old cord has been untangled, you can begin prepping a new one to enter the socket interior by feeding it up through the nipple from the base of the lamp and threading it until its knot drops into its socket cap and clicks into place inside.

Once the new cord is threaded through, use your wire stripper tool to remove about 3/4 inch of insulation from each conductor end using your wire stripper tool. Twist both sets of conductors together then fold flat along your cord with twists twisted together before wrapping with electrical tape to cover your splice.

Attach the neutral (the portion with faint ridges on its jacket) and hot wires at a center socket cord connector by tightening their respective terminal screws in its housing. Be sure to cover twisted ends beneath their respective screw heads, preventing any visible wires.

The Switch

Restoring an old lamp or creating one from scratch requires dismantling and rewiring its socket, harp (a silver wire hoop connected to a cord at the base of a bulb socket), and plug. Without prior knowledge this process may prove challenging; but with our helpful tips in this article your lamp should turn on and off correctly each time a switch clicks.

Before beginning work on your lamp, take some pictures of its internal wiring so you can refer back to them later. Remember to never touch a live wire; use a voltage detector if unsure if a wire is live or not before beginning any repair efforts on it.

To prepare your cord for rewiring, cut three lengths of lamp cord (also known as zip cord). The main cord should be long enough to run from socket connections all the way to its plug and any shorter ones should reach from socket connections to center wire housing on lamp base.

lamp socket switch on white painted wall

When splicing wires together, always use self-fusing electrical tape as it bonds directly to itself and the plastic insulation of each wire, keeping them from unnecessarily unraveling when being pulled apart or bent in different ways.

Before attaching a new socket to a cord, twist each conductor clockwise so as to avoid pulling away from their screw terminals as you tighten them. Fold these twists flat along the cord and use self-fusing electrical tape to cover them up.

Locate and loosen the brass screw that connects the neutral wire to a bi-pin socket’s brass screw, using a screwdriver until there is enough room for you to wrap clockwise around it with your neutral wire. After wrapping is completed, tighten up and double check that there are no exposed metal spots before tightening back up again.

Connecting a new socket to a cord requires sliding its insulated shell over the main wire spliced end and threading it through its cap and threaded rod, pulling until you hear and feel a “click”, an indication that all parts have been securely installed.

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