Repair Tips

Some tricks and tips to keep in mind are universal across all repairs. Instead of having search through the blog or repeat them in each post, this page will have a brief list of the tips.

Removing the Socket Shell from Cap

Most every metal socket shell is marked with "Press" close to the key shaft or the push thru knob. Using a flat head screw driver at this point, apply pressure between the cap and shell of the socket. The socket will click loose on that side then rock the shell loose from the cap. Most repairs allow us to reuse the socket cap and shell so do you not want to warp, cut, bend, or break the shell or cap.


removing the socket shell from the socket cap
Plastic or Bakelite (phenolic) sockets usually screw loose. Some heavy metal sockets have a screw coupling holding the cap and shell together.


UL Knot

The UL knot is easy to mast and should be used in every lamp socket. This knot holds the cord in the socket with out putting stress on connections to the socket terminals. 





 Some sockets have a quick connect base. I do not recommend these because they seem to have a high failure rate and do not work well in repairs (the plastic clips break).


It is common to find a lamp wired with no UL Knot. Not to worry: you can put one in when you make the repair.

Other Knots

It is a good idea to include other knots in lamps to protect the cord from getting pulled from the lamp. Often we will put a knot in the base of  the lamp or in a non-molded plug. If someone pulls the lamp or the cord, the stress and pressure is on the knot. 

This plug should have a knot in the plug so the cord gets held inplace and any stress on the cord does not transfer to the terminals in the plug.

Polarized Plugs

Modern plugs are polarized for a common and hot line. Modern house outlets have matching polarized terminals (one large and one small). You can find more technical information about polarization in other places, but here I will always recommend using polarized plugs and wiring sockets to match the right current. 

These plugs clearly show the difference between a polarized plug and an older plug.

lamp cord comparison

Polarized Sockets and Wires

Modern lamp cords and wires have identifying hot and neutral marking. Like the plug, this directs the flow of electricity through the lamp and increases the safety of the components. Cord sets with parallel cords and a molded plug have one ribbed wire and one smooth wire to help guide the installation to the lamp socket. Modern lamp socket interiors have a brass (gold) screw and a nickle (silver) screw. The ribbed wire should connect the silver screw and the smooth wire to the brass screw.

In this photo you can see the ribs on the wire in the foreground.

Wire Tipping and Direction

It is important to reduce the wire fray in a socket and keep everything tidy. Two important tips for this is to make sure you bend the wires in a clockwise position around the terminal screws and solder tip the wires. In the photo below you can see the wires are wrapped around the screw in a clockwise direction. When the screw is tightened, the cord is pulled into place and not backed out of the screw. 
lamp socket wired

Adding a dab of solder to the wire will help with reducing wire fray.

lamp cord close up

Lamp Socket Insulators

Every lamp socket new and old has a cardboard insulator to keep the wires away from the metal socket cap and shell. Over time these insulators deteriorate and break down. This creates a very dangerous situation. You should plan to replace any insulator that is brittle. Insulators will last years and are inexpensive so they should be replaced. In the photo below you can see three insulators. The one on the left is new and the other two need to be replaced.

paper lamp socket insulator

Swivels

Many lamps have movable parts. Swivels allow you to adjust the angle of light or the direction of the lamp without moving or adjusting the lamp base. While swivels come in different sizes and styles they all have one thing in common: they take the lamp cord along for the ride. While lamp cords are generally flexible, if they are twisted or bound you could have serious issues. Swivels, like clusters, generally open for threading the lamp cord.

Pole Lamp Swivel

Butterfly Knob Swivel
Some arms have a swivel feature. As we witnessed in a recent repair, these swivels can be very tricky to thread a lamp cord. Remember to removed the caps at the joints, takes your time, and do not twist the wire in the arm. 




43 comments:

  1. I bought some lamp cords and sockets on amazon for lamps that I want to make and sell. The sockets are plastic and came with no paper insulator. The cords do not have a ribbed side just a blue and a tan coming out of a brown cord. Are these safe ?

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    1. The sockets should be fine; plastic sockets do not have an insulator. For cords, there are a couple of thing to keep in mind: 1) they should be 18 gauge 2) they should be 105 degree rating 3) the center of the socket is the hot wire, so any color is ok. The guage and temp rating should be marked on the cords.

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  2. Is there any way to tighten up a ball socket (where the lamp head swivels in multiple directions)? I have one on a tension pole lamp where the ball pops out of the socket. Thank you

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    Replies
    1. Some ball joints are serviceable and can be tightened. Next time they slip out, take some pliers and squeeze the house together. Do not collapse the sides, but a little to increase the tension on the ball.

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  3. I have a set of Ashley lamps, marked 0572. All the hardware from the lamp base up is very loose. Can you tell me how to tighten this up without me tearing them up please.

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  4. Most lamps have a threaded rod from the base of the lamp to the socket. You can try to peal back any felt or bottom cover and put a wrench on the nut at the base. It would probably take only a 1/4 or 1/2 turn to make it tight. Do not over tighten or twist the lamp wire.

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  5. I have a lamp stand that the threads are stripped in the middle of the pole. It is really heavy and my husband says loctite won't hold it. He wants to put two pieces of medal on it. Is there any way to repair this without changing the look?

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  6. Hi Mike - I have a swivel lamp attached to the wall above a bed but the lamp arm will not stay up at a 90 degree angle like the matching lamp on the other side of the bed that does not hang down. How can I fix it to stay up? Would a rubber gasket or elastic band between the base and arm help or do I have to take it all apart to fix it?

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  7. I have a Vintage Kovacs Pharmacy lamp that does not want to stay up when the ring is tightened. Any tips?

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  8. It depends on the swivel, but you could consider a rubber washer or plumbers putty?

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  9. I stalled a new 3 wire 2 circuit switch in a lamp and when I tested it, one of the turns of the switch works sometimes, and if wiggled, comes on and off. The wires are tight! Could I lube/clean the shaft by squirting dry Teflon spray?

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  10. I rewired a table lamp but the socket seems very loose and it appears that the cord at the base needs to be secured. Suggestions?

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    1. Sounds like the light socket top shell (see 2nd pic from top of this page) is not seated in the base. When it is installed correctly, you should feel or hear a click.

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  11. I have a push through switch that stopped working on my mason jar lamp. I tried WD 40 on the push through openings without success. The wires are through holes on the bottom of the socket. I can't find a way to get to the screws holding the wires to find out if they are loose. It was made in China. Any hope for my jar lamp?

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  12. It's not advisable to repair a push through, but it is easy to replace. The light socket has an outer shell, made up of two parts. The base of the shell screws onto a nipple in the jar lid. The top of the shell is a snap-fit to the base. Somewhere on that top part, near the base, will be the words: Press here. Most of the time if you put pressure there with your thumb, the top will tilt and come out of the base. Sometimes a very small slotted screw driver has to be inserted between the top and the base at the same spot where it says to press. That's usually enough to loosen the top, if not, a little prying and maybe an assist from the thumb may be needed. When the top can now be pulled off of the socket/switch; the wiring and screws are revealed. Be sure to make note of the wire that goes to the brass colored screw on the old switch and attach it to the brass screw on the new switch. Finish installing the new switch. When replacing the top of the socket, make sure it is pushed down enough until you hear a click, which indicates it is seated.

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  13. Do you repair these kind of lamps or replace the socket because I would not like to try it.

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  14. I'm not real sure what you are asking. I have a business that repairs lamps in College Station, TX.

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  15. I have 2 electric Aladdin table lamps that belonged to my grandparents. 1 is a lily of the valley design and the other is a lustre lamp, both with night light sockets to them. I want to try to find replacement electric socket parts to get them both working properly again. Also the lustre lamp was missing the collar that the socket screws into. Discovered that some sort of caulk was used to hold socket on. Where can I find replacement parts for these. They both are in excellent condition just need to get them working.

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    Replies
    1. Working on the same thing. Lehman's (https://www.lehmans.com) has some of the Queen Anne style. www.antiquelampsupply.com has some of the other styles as well as the Queen Anne style. Also, check eBay for Alladin electric or electrified burner and check Google for the same.

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  16. .Having your handheld gadget repaired can be preferred and more financially savvy over paying your cell phone protection deductible.Iphone reparatur

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  17. I bought a new floor lamp and when I put it together the head faces backwards. I have tried reassembling it over and over again and tge same thing happens.
    There is a nut at the bottom of the lamp but it seems to be soldered into place so I can't loosen or tighten it.

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    Replies
    1. Turn everything else in the room 180 degrees. Then your lamp matches the rest of the room.

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  18. Go exchange it for another. Otherwise pictures would help. Sometimes you can find repair manuals for your lamp on line.

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  19. Factors, for example, the quantity of vehicle washes, kinds of vehicle washes, driving condition and overnight leaving areas will influence the neatness of your split. for more info

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  20. I have a concord floor lamp that I am trying to replace the cord and socket but I can not remove the top outer nut. The cord coming from the socket goes through the first straight pipe and is connected to the second cord that goes to the receptacle. It has a clear plastic connector that appears to have a threaded pipe on the inside of that and it's inside of the top straight pipe that I am unable to remove or get into that pip6. Any suggestions, thank you in advance and have a blessed day.

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  21. There are many Concord floor lamp designs. Can you provide pics of lamp and close up of part you are asking about?

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  22. Is there a trick to get off the lamp sockets Restoration Hardware brand? They look like the Heavy Turned Brass, Heavy Brass Knob Premium Lamp Sockets No. 48242B. I looked inside the socket where you screw in the light bulb and don’t see a metal tab that I can bend up.

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  23. In general, heavy duty brass sockets have a screw coupling holding two pieces of the socket together. Unscrew the coupling ring and the socket comes apart.

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  24. Hello, how can you identify the neutral from the hot screw on a socket when they are both silver? the only thing setting them appart on my socket is that one has a small hole over it and the other dont...

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  25. The screw for the hot wire will be directly in line with the copper-color contact tab inside the socket.

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  26. What tool do I need to remove the top of a 2-piece cluster body without damaging the brass surface?

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  27. I am trying to replace a 3 way light socket. The small end with the tiny screw that goes on to the lamp is too small to screw over the existing threads on the lamp base. What do I do? Thank so much! Michelle

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    Replies
    1. I'm guessing that your light socket has what is called a hickey on the bottom, a silver colored odd shaped piece attached with a tiny screw. You have one that has a threaded hole for a 1/8th inch threaded rod. I think you have a 1/4 inch threaded rod in the existing lamp. The easy solution is to buy another 3-way socket with a 1/4" hickey.

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  28. Thanks for sahring with us such a awesome content, By the way here are so many people read this article too. If any home holder looking for modern lights for home lighting then you can check it out please: CLAXY

    ReplyDelete
  29. Hi Folks, I need some help with an old Dayton Electric Mfg. Co. flex arm lamp base repair. Someone not so good southern engineered repairing the flex arm into the base. Anyone have experience with one of these lamps?
    Thanks,
    Rex

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  30. Just purchased Ashley poly table lamps the wire is not treaded and I cant get it to go in there. What now?

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  31. You haven't supplied nearly enough info. Did you buy lamps from Ashley Furniture? Do they need assembly? I've never seen threaded wire, so what wire are you talking about? Cant get it to go in where? If you can answer these questions, I will try to help.

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  32. There is an adjustable wrench with nylon jaws, but I'm not sure it will open to 2 inches. Or there is a rubber strap wrench that is used in auto repair to remove oil filters. It's not much more than a long strap and a handle that you use as a fulcrum.

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  33. I have a holtkoetter floor lamp #9424 I am trying to rewire, not sure how to gain access to the ceramic socket without just yanking off the brass swing arm joint, can you advise?

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  34. I have a fixture with a twin bulb bakelite socket. I want to fit a diffuser under it. There is a hole in the bottom of the socket, but it doesn't match any threaded pipe that I can find. Can that hole receive a pipe for a diffuse plate? If so, what size is the hole? This hole is on the opposite side from where the wires go into the lamp nipple.

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  35. Pipe thread and Lamp thread are different. Pipe thread is NPT (National Pipe Thread standard) and Lamp thread is IP. Standard diameters for lamp threaded rod is either 1/8IP = 3/8" dia or 1/4IP = 1/2" dia.

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  36. I have a 3 plug tension light pole that has 3 wires coming from the plug(s) end and a standard lamp cord from the other end. None of them are connected but all meet in the middle at a single wire turn switch. How do I wire this back together?

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