Monday, September 22, 2014

Brass Table Lamp with Burnt Socket Interior

According to the National Fire Protection Association, an estimated 47,700 home fires were reported in 2011 and nearly half (48%) were related to lighting equipment. Yikes! Our next patient was on track to add to that statistic, but fortunately the owner realized there was a problem and decided to do something about it.

This patient was brought in and the owner complained that it smoked and smelled "like chemicals." Looking in the socket it is obvious there was some major heat in this socket.

This lamp has a 3 way socket and the bulbs should not exceed 150 watt max. That is not to say that a higher wattage bulb was used, it could be a surge, dust, or other foreign object to burn in this socket, either way it was dangerous and stinky. The lamp parts needed to fix this lamp include a new 3 way socket interior and socket insulator.

First thing is to inspect this lamp. Make sure there are no other signs of stress like a damaged lamp cord or a loose socket cap and shell. The socket cap spins a little bit and twisting it could put a strain on the cord in the socket, but there are no visual signs of problems.  The socket shell is removed from the socket cap.

This socket interior is a quick connect type. It does not require any stripping of the wires, but when we removed the socket shell the interior socket was broken. Since the wires are not stripped, they are placed in a channel that locks the lamp cord in place. This channel has a plastic clasp and on this interior the clasp was broken. There might have been a short inside this socket. The most important thing is the problem is being addressed.

As the photos show, the socket insulator was also slightly charged. It was the source of the smell and replacing it will eliminate the odor. The brass key from the old interior is placed on the new socket interior and the new insulator is placed in the socket shell. The lamp cord is stripped and a UL knot is tied in the cord.

Since the socket cap was loose, the cap is tightened on the threaded rod and lamp body. Since there is no socket on the lamp the cord does not get twisted or bound. The new socket interior is attached to the lamp cord. The smooth wire attaches to the  brass screw and the ribbed wire connects to the nickel screw.

The cord slack is pulled from the base of the lamp so the interior sits on the socket cap. The socket shell in snapped into the socket cap. A bulb is added and this lamp is tested.

Great! This lamp is back and ready. Total cost <$3.00  Total Time < 15 minutes

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