Friday, December 15, 2017

Not So Obvious Lamp Repair

In this technological world of automation and instant results, some basic steps can easily be overlooked. Combine that with the disposable product mentality and you can find yourself thinking "I just need a new one." Even in the world of lamp repair, a non working lamp can easily frustrate any mild tempered person. That is why the inspection is so important.

Every repair mentioned on this blog starts with an inspection. Repairs can be symptom based (not working) or desire based (want a different color socket), but every repair should start with a thorough inspection. A customer brought in a lamp the other day and complained it wasn't working.

Like every repair, we start with an inspection. First, we look at the lamp from top to bottom.

Next, we add a bulb and plug it in.

Now we test the bulb and socket.

Turns out this lamp only needed a bulb replacement.

Total time < 30 seconds. Total cost < $20 (3-way bulb)

Light bulb jokes!

Q:  How many bureaucrats does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A:  Two. One to assure that everything possible is being done while the other screws the bulb into the water faucet.

Q: How many Psychiatrists does it take to change a light bulb?
A: Only one, but the bulb has got to really WANT to change.

Credit to a University Of Maryland do-gooder.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Simple Cord Replacement on Table Lamp

Older table lamps have outdated and nonpolarized plugs. New lamp cords are safer, polarized and have better insulation than their decades old predecessors. There are also many more colors on the market today to match the color and style of the lamp.

This old lamp has an ugly white cord set on an antique brass color body and socket. A new cord set will make this lamp look better and be safer for the user.

For this lamp repair we need three lamp parts: an antique brass color lamp cord set, a socket cap insulator and a turn knob paper insulator . We are going to break it down into 5 steps.

40324 - Socket Cap Liner for Standard Electrolier Sockets

40326 - Paper Insulator for Turn-Knob Electrolier Socket

46718 - Antique Brass Color, 18/2 Plastic Covered Lamp Cord Sets

Step 1: Inspect Lamp

Always inspect the lamp before you get ready for repair. There may be other parts that are worn out and need to be replaced. If the lamp is working, test the socket with a good bulb. Make sure the switch feels and sounds as it should. Inspect the harp, harp saddle and finial. Doing the repair 1 time will save you time and frustration. 

Our inspection on this lamp revealed an outdated plug and worn socket insulators. 

Step 2: Remove the Socket

If the harp is still attached, remove the harp by lifting the locking couplings and squeezing the harp toward the socket. Lift the harp out of the harp saddle. 

With the lamp unplugged, you can open the socket shell from the socket cap. The socket on this lamp has a snap in socket. There are two spots marked "Press" on the socket shell. With a flat head screw driver, you can apply pressure to these points and release the socket shell from the cap.

Step 3: Remove the Socket Interior

With the socket interior completely exposed, you can unwire the interior by unscrewing the socket terminals and removing the lamp cord. 

Step 4: Remove the Old Lamp Cord

Untie any UL Knot in the cord so you are able to pull the cord from the base of the lamp. For this lamp the base has a wire way hole. To access the cord from the center of the base we peeled back the bottom felt cover and pulled the cord through the lamp body. 

Step 5: Replace the Lamp Cord and Rewire the Lamp

With the old lamp cord out of the lamp you are ready to rewire the lamp. If the lamp spins or seems loose in any way, now is the right time to tighten the lamp body by tightening the nut on the bottom of the base to the socket cap. 

The new lamp cord uses the same path as the old lamp cord and goes up to the socket cap. Make sure you tie a UL Knot in the lamp cord. The smooth lamp cord connects to the brass screw and the ribbed cord connects to the nickel plated screw terminal on the socket interior. Pull any cord slack back through the base of the lamp, then out the wire way.

Pull out the old socket and cap insulators and replace them with the new ones. The socket interior should rest on the socket cap before the socket shell is snapped in place. Make sure you orient the socket switch center of the harp saddle and snap the socket shell into the socket cap. The harp goes back in the saddle by squeezing the posts and locking the tabs. Using a good bulb, test the lamp. 

Finished! Total time < 20 minutes Total Cost < $7.00

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