Wednesday, April 12, 2017

How to Wire/Rewire Chandelier Arms

Wiring or rewiring a chandelier is like rewiring a bunch of small table lamps with keyless sockets and tying them all together. The wires typically join together in a cluster.

First, turn off the power at the breaker.

Next, decide if you want to rewire the chandelier hanging or by taking it down. If it is large and only needs a few socket rewired, leaving it hanging might be an option. If all the arms need to be rewired and you are interested in a complete cleaning and dusting, bring it down.

Most all lamps are connected with threaded parts (rods, nuts, and washers). For over a century lamp parts use International Pipe (IP) standard sizes for rods and threads. The most common size is 1/8IP and it measures about 3/8 inch. For chandelier arms, you can find 1/8IP threads on both ends.

11934 - 3 1/2" X 2" Cast Brass Lamp or Fixture Arm

12063U - 1 3/4" Brass Bent Lamp or Fixture Arm

Even glass chandelier arms will have a 1/8IP connection in the ferrules.

11883 - 6" - 14" Cut Glass Chandelier Arm

Once you have located the nut or tapped piece holding the arm to the chandelier, unscrew it. Take your time and be careful. Often these parts are brass, a soft metal. The steel nut may look rusty and you might need to use some rust inhibitor but still take it easy. If you damage the threads or break an arm, you will create more work.

With the arm off the body, you have a  great chance to clean the chandelier. If the arm has old wiring try to connect the new wire before you pull the old wire out. Often the wire will be too brittle or too short, so you will need to remove the old wire.

Pulling new wire through the arm can be a challenge. Remove any other cups or bobesches from the arm to eliminate and minimize turns and bends.

Parallel cord is too soft and 2 wire might be too thick to push through the arm. You will need to fish a line in the arm to pull the wire back through. Our favorite is a beaded chain with gravity.

Push the beaded chain in one side of the arm and feed it some slack. Using gravity, rotate the arm around and continue to feed the chain. The beaded chain seems to have enough weight to make it through without getting snagged.

Next, you will need to connect your new wires to the chain. Make sure the connection is strong by using some thin wire or solder at the connection.

Pull the chain so the wires are completely through the arm.

Now you can slip the socket cap over the wires and connect it to the arm.

Now you can wire the socket interior to the wires. Remember the black wire goes on the brass screw and the white wire on the nickel screw. Polarity is always important and increases the more load (amps) you are pulling from a circuit.

Pull the cord slack back down the arm and connect the socket shell. 

Now the arm is ready to join the chandelier body. 

Great! Only 5 more to go!

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