You just purchased a beautiful antique lamp at a yard sale but the wiring needs to be repaired. Rather than paying an electrician to do the work, learn how to wire your own lamp. With some patience and the proper supplies, nearly anyone can do this project. You can finally repair that old lamp your grandmother had, which has been sitting in your attic for years.
You will need:
Step 2: Purchase the lamp cord. For most lamps, this will be two strands of 18-gauge wire in one cord, called 18/2 SPT cord. Lamp cord contains ribs on one side for proper polarization of the lamp during wiring. Some people use 18-gauge speaker wire rather than lamp wire. Speaker wire features clear insulation and wires that are silver colored on one side and copper colored on the other. The copper wire is the positive side.
Step 3: Household electric receptacles may be no more than 12 feet apart along a floor line, per National Electric Code. Therefore, a lamp should have at least six feet of cord running from its base in order to sit between two receptacles and be able to reach either one.
Step 4: Make sure that you purchase a plug that is polarized. One prong of a polarized plug is wider than the other.
Step 5: Unplug the lamp and remove the lamp socket base and interior. To remove the base, press hard with your thumb on the word “press” located on the socket. Use your thumb to push the interior from the top of the socket out to the bottom. Leave the cardboard insulator in the socket- this keeps the outer part of the socket from contacting live current on the interior and prevents live contact between the outer part of the circuit and the light bulb threads.
Step 6: Feed the lamp cord through the base of the lamp. The National Electric Code stipulates that a special type of knot, called an underwriter’s knot, must be tied in the socket base. Split the lamp cord into a V three inches from its end. Remove 5/8 inch of insulation from the end of each wire. Tightly twist each wire clockwise to prevent loose strings. Make a loop with each wire to create an M at that end of the cord. Curl the left side of the wire around and put it through the V, facing away from you. Put the right side up over the end placed through the V and back under it toward you. Insert this wire through the first loop made on the left. Pull on both wires until the knot is compact and tight.
Step 7: Locate the brass-colored socket screw that connects to the hot wire (copper colored wire in speaker wire). The other screw, which is silver colored, attaches to the ribbed wire (silver wire in speaker wire) that returns the current to ground. Twist each stripped wire to ensure that no loose strands stick out. Curl the wire clockwise when wrapping it around the correct screw, giving it a stronger hold. Tighten the screw with the screwdriver. Repeat this process to attach the other wire to its screw.
Step 8: A polarized plug must be attached to the cord. The wider prong of the plug is silver colored, indicating that it should be attached to the ribbed wire (silver wire in speaker wire) in order to carry current back to ground. Improper polarity connections can cause electrocution, even if the lamp is turned off. Attach the other wire to the narrower prong and then slide the prongs back into the plug.
Step 9: Plug the cord into an electrical outlet and carefully turn on the lamp.