Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Replacing a Dimmer Socket with a Turn Knob

A customer brought in this lamp the other day and complained the dimmer switch was bad. Full range dimmer switches are a mechanical device and have a higher tendency for failure. The customer decided a regular turn knob socket would work better so we changed the socket interior.

The only lamp part for this repair is a Medium E26 on/off socket interior.

48201i - On/Off Medium Base E26 Socket Interior With Short Mandrel
First, we start be removing the lamp harp. The locking covers slide up and the harp base is squeezed out of the harp saddle.

Next, we open the socket to remove the socket shell from the socket cap.

Now, un-wire the old socket interior (the dimmer socket) from the lamp cord.

Wire the new socket interior on the lamp cord. Make sure you connect the smooth lamp wire to the brass screw on the socket interior. The ribbed lamp wire connects to the nickel screw.

Next, tuck the lamp cord in the socket cap and pull the cord from the base of the lamp to reduce excess cord in the socket. Slip the socket shell over the socket interior. Snap the shell in the socket cap.

Add a bulb and test the lamp.

Perfectly good working lamp. Total time < 15 minutes Total Cost < $2.50

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Floral Table Lamp Needs New Socket and Harp

A customer brought in this lamp the other day and asked us to wire a new socket and harp on the lamp. We noticed some odd things on the lamp and agree it could use some new parts.

Lesson 1: Know Your Lamp Anatomy

This lamp to the untrained eye might seem a little dated but otherwise completely functional. Here are some trouble spots: unused side outlet in socket cap and uni-body lamp harp.

Socket side outlets have a purpose: allow lamp cord to bypass the lamp body. Some bottle lamps or urn lamps might not have a hole through the lamp body to run a cord and need a side outlet socket. This lamp has a threaded rod from the base of the lamp for the cord, so the side outlet is strange.

Crimped harps to bases are common in older lamps. They never thought the shade would be replaced and a different harp size might be needed. Today's harps have a saddle on the bottom and the top of the harp can be changed easily depending on the harp size needed.

Lesson 2: Make a List

Nothing worse than finding out your morning run to the hardware store was wasted from an incomplete list, or your latest online order for parts need more items so you have to wait for delivery. Making a list helps eliminate the time wasting errors.

For this lamp, we will only need the following lamp parts: socket cap, brass plated harp, and a new lamp cord. We will reuse the socket interior, socket shell, neck, threaded rod, and the rest of the lamp.

40300 - Leviton Brand Socket Cap

12758 - 9" harp, brass plated, regular weight

46717 - Unfinished Brass Color Lamp Cord Set
Lesson 3: Remove Old Parts

With the lamp unplugged, you will want to pry the socket shell from the socket cap. Pull the socket shell off the socket interior and unwire the lamp cord from the screw terminals.

Untie the UL Knot and pull the lamp cord down through the base of the lamp.

Remove the old socket cap and the old harp base from the threaded rod.

 Lesson 5: Reassemble The Lamp

Going in reverse order from the disassembly, the new lamp parts go back on the lamp is similar order. First, the new harp saddle and socket cap go on the threaded rod. Make sure the harp saddle is oriented so the face of the lamp is in front.

Push the new lamp cord up through the threaded rod to the socket cap.

Tie a UL Knot in the lamp cord.

Attach the socket interior to the lamp cord. For polarity, the smooth wire connects to the brass screw and the nickel screw connects to the ribbed wire. Pull any cord slack from the lamp base and seat the socket interior on the socket cap.

Slide the socket shell over the socket interior and snap it into the socket cap. The socket shell should fit snugly in the cap and not have any wiggle room or movement.

Add a bulb and test the lamp.

Complete! Total time < 30 minutes Total Cost < $15

Friday, October 13, 2017

Adding a USB Charging Port To a Lamp

In a previous post, we rewired this Mid-Century table lamp. The job included new sockets, lamp cord, plug, and felt. After the job was complete the owner decided to add a USB charger to the lamp base. This allows you to charge a phone, tablet, camera with your lamp and not tie up another plug or have to use a long cord.

The only lamp part we need for this is the USB adapter itself.

48472 - Table Lamp USB Charger for Cell Phones, Tablets, Etc.
You are reading a blog on lamp repair so you can also consider re-purposing an old phone charger. This might involve some soldering and delicate wiring, but is an option. An important note to consider is this really only works for lamps with hollow bases or some cavity to hide a charger.

For this old table lamp we will turn  the lamp on its side and peel back the felt bottom. Pick a spot on the lamp base to add the USB outlet and mark accordingly.

Next, you will need to connect the wires from the adapter to the lamp wires. This lamp is a prime candidate with its large hollow base and the preexisting wire nut connection. The USB charger uses the same power source as the lamp sockets. The pigtails wire directly in the wire nut connection. For our lamp, the black wire from the adapter connects to the smooth lamp wires and the red cord connects to the ribbed wires.

Using a cutting tool like a Dremel, cut the hole in the lamp base. Connect the charging side of the USB adapter to the lamp. Tuck in the charger body and replace the felt bottom.

Plug in the lamp; plug in the electronics.

Viola! Since the charger is on the wall side of any switch, the charger works even when the lamp is not on.

Total Cost < $25.00 total time < 1 hour

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Mid-Century Table Lamp Rewired and Washed

We came across this lamp the other day in one of our old warehouses. It is a nice old Mid-Century era table lamp with two (left) metal cone shades and swivels. The original lamp had three shades but that is not going to stop us from re-purposing this lamp.

First thing that strikes me about this lamp is the dirt. It is really nasty and needs a good cleaning. More that some Swiffer or 409; a real bath. The rewire is a perfect time to dip these lamp parts in some warm soapy water and give it a little scrub. 

Making a list of the lamp parts needed for this repair include: 

12 Foot of Rayon Covered Lamp Cord (Just a Preference for the Plug Wire)

1 Large Plug for Large Round Wire (like the Rayon Cord above)
6 Foot of SPT-1 18-2 Lamp Cord (can be recycled from other projects, no plug needed)

1 - 7 Inch Round Felt Pad for the Base

First, disassemble the lamp. Turning the lamp on it's side you can see the wiring and wire nuts. Some lamps might have a felt bottom or covering that would need to be removed. Disconnect the wire nuts, untie the knot, and pull out the old plug wire. 

Next, we cut the old lamp cord next to the post nut and take each post off the lamp.

Now we remove the old socket and shade from the poles. The socket is attached at the top of the shade with a nut and the swivel connects to the shade with a 9/16 inch nut inside the shade.

Cutting the old cord from the shade is the easiest way to remove the shade from the swivel. 

Next, we remove the swivels from the posts. These swivels had a set screw in the post that is now rusted and not removable. We are going to carefully drill out these old set screws and unscrew the swivel from the post. 

Now the old cord can be pulled out of the post.

The old cord is removed from the lamp and all the parts are separated. It is time for a wash and dry. Using warm water and some dish liquid soap the parts are washed like dishes in a sink. I let them set and completely dry before we start putting everything back together.

To reassemble this lamp, we start with putting the post back on the base. We re-stack the large heavy washers; in the lighting industry these are known as loaders and work as a bottom weight to keep the lamp from tipping over. 

Next, we tighten down the nuts on the bottom of the poles and feed the new STP-1 wire up the lamp posts from the base. The old swivels slid over the lamp cord and screw back in the lamp poles.

To keep an authentic look, we are reusing the heat sleeves from the old lamp cord. They simply slide over the cord. 

The cord is split, stripped, and the old shade slips over the cord and connects to the swivel. I reused the old rusty 9/16 inch nut, but they could be replaced. 

The socket is attached to the lamp cord. To be Polarity Correct, the smooth wire connects to the brass screw and the ribbed wire connects to the nickel screw terminal. Then remove the new nut from the socket and slip the top of the socket through the hole in the shade. Carefully tighten the nut on the switch with a wrench. 

With a strong friend or bench vise, pull the lamp cord slack back down the lamp base. Be careful not to snag or scrape too much of the wire sheathing off. Repeat the steps for each lamp pole. 

Now we move to the base of the lamp and attach the final cord and plug. For this, I chose a Rayon Covered cord. The hole needed to be widened and we added a bushing to the hole in the base. 

The new cord is pushed in the new bushing and a knot is tied in the cord. The Rayon has a tendency to fray so I used some electrical tape on the cord to hold the Rayon in place. The plastic sheathing is stripped back and the wires are stripped. The black wire connects to the smooth wire and the white wire connects to the ribbed wire. Wire nuts are recycled from the lamp to join the wires together.

The plug is attached to the other end of the Rayon Cord. I marked the hot leg of this lamp since the plug is not Polarity Correct. This black marked prong goes in the small side of the outlet. 

Finally we add a felt bottom to the lamp so it will not scratch the table top. 

With shades and cords and socket back in place it is time to test the lamp! 

Very nice. Total time: 3 Hours, total cost < $30.