Thursday, June 26, 2014

Floor Lamp with Busted Socket Cluster and Pull Chain Sockets

A customer brought this patient in the other day and said it needed some major work . The lamp cords were completely missing from the lamp and the sockets were bad. This floor lamp had been painted so matching the color was not going to work. The customer said it was to be repainted so not to worry about finishes. After closely inspecting the lamp we found the sockets were molded to the cluster, so the lamp parts needed to fix this floor lamp include cluster body, 2 pull chain sockets, lamp cord, plug, reducing neck, and 4 lead wires.

Remove the cap from the socket cluster and undo any wiring. Unscrew the cluster body from the lamp body.

Take stock of any parts that can be reused. Unfortunately for this lamp, the socket caps are molded to the cluster body and the socket insulators are completely shot. We love reusing old parts, but safety must come first. This post of the floor lamp body has a 1/4IP thread. The replacement cluster has a 1/8IP thread, so we will need a reducing neck to connect the lamp base to the new cluster body.

Connect the socket caps to the cluster body and tighten the seating screws. Since we added the neck just below the cluster body the socket caps are a little tight. Using a flat head screw driver we carefully adjust the rods for the socket caps.

Wiring the sockets is relatively easy. Using 6 inch lead wires we attached the black wire to the brass screw and the white wire to the silver screw. Tip: If you do not have lead wires, recycle a piece of lamp cord. Make sure you wire the correct wire to the right screw on the socket interior.

Feed the lead wires up the socket caps and lock the socket shells in place. Remember to have the pull chain in the right position on the lamp. Usually the chains are at opposing sides.

With the socket cluster and sockets attached, the lamp is ready for the lamp cord. Laying the lamp on its side makes it much easier to get access to the base and feed the cord in the lamp.

Take your time and go easy. You do not want to put a kink in the cord. Once it reaches the top it might need some assistance. Here the small clamps come in handy.

The customer wanted a special rayon covered lamp cord and antique style plug. It looks really good on this style floor lamp. Trim some of the rayon off the cord and expose the wires. Tie a knot in the cord to keep it from falling down the lamp and to keep the rayon from unraveling. These wires are already stripped, but we will need to strip the lead wires from the sockets.

Using wire nuts, connect the black wires together and the white wires together. Carefully inspect the wire nuts and make sure no bare wires are visible from the bottom of the wire nut. The wires might need to be trimmed, but they should completely fit inside the nut.

Tuck the wires into the cluster body.

Screw the cluster cap onto the cluster body.

Add some bulbs and test the lamp.

Finished! Total Cost: <$ 70.00 Total Time< 45 minutes

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Wooden Bridge Arm Socket Interior Replacement

In this post we plan to cover the simple and complicated procedures. This repair is about as basic as it comes, but it has universal application: socket repair. Every lamp has one.

A customer brought this patient in and complained it wasn't working properly. This lamp is quite simple and we can only guess it belongs to a floor lamp and this is the bridge arm or maybe it can go on the post of a bed frame. The customer only brought in this piece and it is all we need to fix the lamp. First thing we do it test the problem. We plugged the cord in and added a bulb and nothing happened. This lamp needs a new push through socket interior and looking at the plug it needs a new polarized lamp cord.

With the cord unplugged, pry the socket shell from the socket cap.

This socket has a brass hang straight swivel attached to the socket cap. This swivel helps make minor adjustments to the socket, but over time it can twist the cord. Since this cord is going to be replaced, the old interior is clipped at the base.
While inspecting the old shell, it is apparent the shell insulator needs to be replaced. The top of it is loose and peeling off.
The new lamp cord is threaded through. A UL knot is tied in the cord and it is attached to the socket interior. The smooth wire goes to the brass screw and the ribbed wire goes to the silver screw.
The socket shell is snapped on to the socket cap. The lamp is tested with a bulb.
Complete. Total Cost: <$7.00  Total Time <10 minutes.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Light Fixtures and Your Decor

Homeowners, interior decorators, and real estate agents know that lighting is highly important to the mood and style of a home. Lighting fixtures can help to maximize or minimize the amount of lighting in a room, affecting the ambiance, and the look of the decor.

The type and style of the light fixtures, is often ignored and thought to be unimportant, but choosing the right light fixtures can set the stage of how you want the space to be utilized, and how your friends and family feel when their enjoying the space.

Here are some valuable tips on how to choose the right light fixtures to compliment your home’s decor:

1. Lighting fixtures for the bedroom, should allow in various levels of light, because the bedroom is often a multi-functional space. You will want dim lighting for times of rest, relaxation, and to create a peaceful mood; while having the luxury of a brighter light, when needed for reading or doing homework with the kids.

2. Pendant style lamps are perfect for family rooms, entertainment spaces, or areas used for reading. They offer a nice stylish alternative to the table lamp, which is usually common in these types of spaces.

3. If your home boasts a sleek and modern design, recessed lighting, is a wonderful option. It really compliments modern and minimalist design and decor, and takes up less space in a room, while offering an ample amount of lighting.

4. Bathroom lighting fixtures are very important, because the fixtures must be able to light the space for great vision, while offering shadow-free lighting. Side lights around the bathroom mirror can be a wonderful solution to this common problem. This makes it easier to see for grooming and applying make-up.

5. Wall sconces are beautiful accents to any room. Sconces come in a wide variety of styles and designs that will suit any and every decor. Sconces are not only great lighting fixtures, as they can minimize lighting to create just the right mood, but can also be focal points in your room’s design.

6.  Chandelier lighting is more popular than ever. They are always on trend in home decor and design, because they are available in a myriad of colors, shapes, and designs. From the classic jeweled look, to brass, copper, wood, and modern art designs; chandeliers make a statement in a space, and often sets the entire mood and decor of the room.

Floor Lamp Cord Replacement with Swivel Arm and Mogul Socket

Lighting is a personal choice and often we are asked to "fix" something that is not technically broken. No problem. Changing out lamp parts is similar to fixing them so we will include these types of "repairs" in this blog too.

This patient was brought in for a minor cosmetic procedure: change the cord to a clear gold lamp cord. This floor lamp has several unique characteristics about it. It has a swivel arm and mogul socket. The only part we will need for the repair is the clear gold lamp cord.

floor lamp with mogul socket and swivel arm

We start by making sure the lamp is unplugged and disconnecting the mogul socket. There are two flat head screws holding the mogul socket to its base. Then two screws holding the wire to the socket body. Note: Mogul sockets and porcelain sockets have porcelain bodies and steel bases not caps and shells like other lamp sockets.

mogul socket connected to lamp cord

Next we remove the end caps of the swivel arm. This gives us access to the lamp cord as it threads through the arm.

Bottom of Mogul socket and swivel arm caps

Using our small clamps we remove the wire from each joint in the swivel arm.

The old cord is pulled completely out of the swivel arm and through the lamp body and floor lamp base. The new gold cord is placed in the lamp base. We tie a loose knot in the base. Keep it loose so it can be adjusted until the end of the project.

Like the old cord came out, the new cord has to be carefully and slowly laced through the swivel lamp arm. Some key things to keep in mind are to keep the cord flat and do not allow it to get twisted, take your time, at each arm elbow and cap hole, pull extra slack in case you need it.

With the new cord pulled through the mogul socket base, we strip the wires and attached the cord to the socket body. The stripped wire attaches to the silver screw and the smooth wire to the brass screw.

Using the slack from the bottom of the socket, pull the cord tight so the socket body is close to the socket base. Tip: Use the socket key to align the socket body in the right orientation before its attached to the socket base. With the flat head screws, reattach the socket body to the base.

The socket is in place so the slack needs to pulled out of each point in the swivel arm. Use a firm grip and soft touch with pliers to pull the slack out. Remember the cord should not be twisted. Continue pulling the cord through each joint in the arm and finally the lamp body and lamp base. Tighten the knot in the cord base.

Place a mogul bulb in the mogul socket (or the appropriate bulb for the right socket). Plug the lamp in and make sure it works.

Finished! Total cost: <$3.50 Total time: <30 minutes

Small Porcelain Table Lamp Broken Base and Socket

A small porcelain table lamp came in the shop the other day with a broken base and broken socket.
small porcelain table lamp broken base and socket
While replacement wooden lamp bases can be purchased, we are going to try to fix this one simply by gluing the broken piece back in place. Many types of glue will work with this wood. Next we move to the socket. This lamp was brought in with the socket shell removed from the socket cap. It is apparent this socket interior has a unique design. It has a quick connecting system that does not require an wire stripping or screwing onto posts.
busted and broken lamp socket

lamp socket interiors
New socket interior on the left and old socket interior on the right
After careful inspection of the old socket, we determine it is broken beyond repair. The clipping mechanism that locks the wire onto the socket is broken. It would not be safe to reuse this socket interior. Our preferred socket interior has screw posts, so we clip off the old plastic clip, spread the parallel wires about 3 inches and strip of about 3/8 inch of wire sheath.
lamp cord split and stripped
 Being a professional lamp shop, we  solder the wire ends. It helps keep the wires together around the post. A tight twist of the wires for home repair would be adequate.
soldered lamp wires stripped
Now we are ready for our UL knot in the wire.
UL knot
The new socket interior is attached. The ribbed wire goes on the silver screw and the smooth wire goes on the gold screw. This makes sure the lamp is polarized. With the socket attached, the cord slack is pulled through the lamp body. The socket shell is snapped onto the socket cap. The customer did not bring the lamp's shade in with the lamp, but since there is no harp base the shade it probably a bulb clip shade. The orientation of the socket key is not too important with no obvious front or back to this lamp.
The cord is plugged in and a bulb screwed into the socket. We test the work.
small porcelain lamp complete
Perfect. For this repair we used some wood glue on the base and a new lamp socket interior. Those were the only lamp parts needed. Total cost: <$3.00 Total time: < 10 minutes