Question on re-wiring a lamp

Discussion in 'Shop Talk' started by HilltopDaisy, Dec 4, 2004.

  1. HilltopDaisy

    HilltopDaisy Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I bought the stuff to do this today. I have the new wire through the lamp, and am ready to connect to the socket. Here's the problem....."the neutral wire (ribbed) should be connected to the silver colored screw, and the other wire should be connected to the brass colored screw". The two pieces of wire are identical, neither is ribbed. Help!
     
  2. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

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    Assuming you have a 2 prong male plug on the other end, the one with the larger blade is the neutral.
     

  3. moopups

    moopups In Remembrance

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    There should be some kind of marking on the wire, it could be indentions,stripes, color of inner wire, ect. Anything different from the other wire. If there is no differance the wire associated with the most narrow plug in spade is to the brass screw, also wrap the wire in a clockwise direction so that the underside of the screw head will pull it inward upon tightening.
     
  4. HilltopDaisy

    HilltopDaisy Well-Known Member Supporter

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    OK, is it possible that the silver screw isn't silver, but gold color?? There is a brass screw, and directly across from it is a gold screw. And, no, there is no difference in the wires, so I traced from the larger prong to the end of the wire, and that gets attached to the gold?? And the small prong side goes to the brass.
     
  5. HilltopDaisy

    HilltopDaisy Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Well, I did something wrong, because I tripped the circuit breaker when I plugged it in. Back to the drawing board..............
     
  6. moopups

    moopups In Remembrance

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    Right, the wires connections are a 'polorization issue', not a requirement, it will work either way, just more cheaper to run as directed.
     
  7. HilltopDaisy

    HilltopDaisy Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Moopups, I don't understand what you just wrote. Huh??
     
  8. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

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  9. HilltopDaisy

    HilltopDaisy Well-Known Member Supporter

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    This is nuts!! Either way I hook up the wires, I flip the circuit! What could be wrong? This can't be that difficult. Certainly frustrating. Agmantoo, I had just come from the page you posted, as you were posting it. Thank you.
     
  10. aaatraker

    aaatraker Well-Known Member

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    question? Was there a problem with the lamp tripping the breaker?
    Was that the reason for your rewiring it? If thats the case you could have a internal short in the lamp, that new wire won't fix.
     
  11. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    Yup there's a short somewhere and unless you pinched the new cord so it arcs it's in the socket. Most come apart (be sure it's unplugged! I would have thought you'd see where it arcs.........
     
  12. moopups

    moopups In Remembrance

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    Make sure that the bare portion of the wires inside the lamp only touch where they are supposed to touch. Any stray wire touching anything else will trigger the circut breaker. Then try the lamp in a different circuit, if it works there your wall socket has a problem, or the circuit breaker needs replacement.

    On the polorization issue, house wireing is with the supply (hot, black) going to the smaller spade,this so that 'phantom load' is reduced, thats the electricity that is in your wires up to the lamp or appliance, before you turn it on at its switch. Phantom load is the electricity thats came through the meter, your paying for it but not useing it, until you activate your lamp.

    Also be aware that electricity comes in on the black wire but does not go back on the white wire, the white wire is the pathway for it to return but it is consumed at the point of useage instead. Further than this it gets very complicated rather quickly.
     
  13. HilltopDaisy

    HilltopDaisy Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I bought these lamps at a flea market. I plugged them in to see if they worked, and tey did. The cords were very rotted, so I knew I had to replace them. I was at Lowes yesterday and I picked up 2 12' lamp cords (gold polarized plug, 18-2 SPF-1 wire). I also bought 2 turn knob sockets (brass finish tapped 1/8-IP 2 circuit socket). When I had the lamp done, I plugged it into the same wall outlet that I use for my coffee maker every day. There was no bare wire anywhere, all I did was put it together the way I took it apart. I even pulled apart another working lamp to make sure I should hook the wires directly across from each other like it showed in all the pics I could find.

    The new socket has a brass screw, opposite a gold screw. There is a turn knob opposite a silver screw, so the silver screw and brass screw are only 1/4 the way around the socket from each other. I did not attach to this silver screw because it simply looked to be in the wrong placement.

    I had an electrician here less than 2 years ago, switch the old fuse box for a new circuit panel and never had a problem since.
     
  14. moopups

    moopups In Remembrance

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    There is something odd about this problem and at this point getting some one else to look at it sound about the only way to cure it. The third screw present is not something I am familiar with but have seen the same in RV light bulb sockets so there could be both a 110 system and a12 volt system. Check the packageing these items came in and see if that may be the case.
     
  15. John Hill

    John Hill Grand Master

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    Not being familiar with US wiring practices I may be totally wrong but if there is a third screw this may indicate terminals for phase, neutral and ground. In our practice neutral is connected to ground at the distribution panel (meter box). Is that done in the US too?

    In our environment lamp fittings are earthed if there is a conductive part that can be accidently touched.

    If you have three screw terminals one should connect to the centre of the socket (for an Edison screw type socket, I am assuming not bayonet fitting), this centre one would be connected to the switch, if the lamp standard has one, and thence to the phase of the plug, the screw that connects to the threaded part of the socket should be connected to neutral. If there is a third terminal it should not be connected to either, it should connect to the exposed part of the lamp and would be connect to the ground wire as in a three core flex to a grounded wall socket.

    If I were faced with your situation I would be inclined to believe that I had connected the flex to the earth and the neutral terminals, as there are joined at the distribution box there is the short.

    Like I said, your environment may be different. Please be careful, phase on the earth connection could negate your pension plan! :)
     
  16. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Let's get this straight:

    You bought some 2 conductor lamp cords (not 3 prong, but 2 prong) and you bought some new switched light sockets.

    The instructions with the light sockets said to hook up to the brass & silver screws with your 2 wires.

    But, you didn't like the silver screw for some reason, so you are trying to hook up to some gold screw you found somewhere?

    And this is causing the light to short out every time you plug it in?

    Is that how it is going?

    At this point, do you have any friends that can do this for you? I'm scared to try to suggest anything, as I'm not sure where you are or where you should go from here.

    A lamp will work 'just fine' no matter which wire goes to which conductor screw. Placing the right (ribbed, special color, the thicker lug) wire to the proper screw only 'polarizes' the appliance. One of your wires carries electricity all the time, and the other only carries excess electricity back to the power company when the device is being used, or on. Experts have decided it is best to keep the live (electricity always on) wires as short as possible - it both saves a tiny bit of electricty, and more importantly it makes these devices less likely to shock you.

    But, the lamp itself will not care which wire goes to the silver & brass screws, and 20 years ago or so there was no difference - hook up the wires either way. It would be good for you to trace it out like you did & make it right tho n todays world - a bit safer, & the proper way to do it.

    However, if you insist on using the gold screw - whatever & wherever you found that, and not the proper ones, it just isn't going to work, and will maybe hurt someone along the way.

    Please look for help from a friend who has done this before. It is so easy to show in person, but words from a distance is very difficult - one wrong word, or we assume one little thing that you do not - and more sparks or even worse.....

    --->Paul
     
  17. JustinThyme

    JustinThyme Active Member

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    Is there a metal tab under the silver screw that doesnt look like it belongs ? Might be for making contact with a wire ... Can you go back to where you bought them and get some advice? Its a lot easier if someone can show you (even if its more fun this way)
    Careful you dont shock yourself !!
     
  18. HilltopDaisy

    HilltopDaisy Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Thanks everyone. I took it to work with me today to get hands on help. My coworker said he had never seen a socket like this. He had one of the tester things in his truck, and showed me that by hooking the wires to the screws opposite each other, that was causing it to short out. The screw that appears to be the *odd* one was actually the one I needed to hook the neutral wire to. Every picture I saw, and the good lamp that I took apart as an example, had the wires attached opposite each other. This was the only socket that Lowes had in their lamp department, with the lamp cords. Weird, huh? So, in the morning, I'll finish this project, and move on to the next!
     
  19. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Glad you got it figured out with a little help. :) I was trying to plumb a 220 deep well pressure switch one time, I think I went through 3 fuses - had to go ask the well people. Switch wiring just wasn't intuitive either.

    Once in a while the written instuctions are actually right! :)

    --->Paul
     
  20. BobK

    BobK Well-Known Member

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    Once in a while the written instuctions are actually right!


    BK
    Written instructions? Sounds like something my wife would suggest...
    :haha:


    Actually you might want to invest in a hand held meter ot check things like continuity....you could have diagnosed the problem in seconds with a meter!
    regards,
    Bob