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Lesson 59.

Recipes for Home Repair by Alvin Ubell & Sam Bittman

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How To Replace a Lamp Socket

The lamp socket, found in all lamps and occasionally in ceiling fixtures, comes in four basic types: no switch, chain switch, turn switch, and push switch. Each is installed virtually identically. The type you choose depends solely on your personal preference. The following procedure applies to all four types and includes some advice on how to handle special problems with ceiling fixture types.


Medium screwdriver Test light Diagonal cutters Wire stripper Soldering iron Long-nosed pliers


New lamp socket Soldering paste or flux (non-acid) Coil of solder, resin core

Approximate Time: 60 Minutes

1. If it is a ceiling fixture that needs a new lamp socket, it is advisable to cut off power supply by finding and unscrewing the appropriate fuse, or by tripping the appropriate circuit breaker, or by disconnecting the main switch for the entire house. If it is a lamp you are working on, just pull plug from the wall.

2. To insure that power is off on ceiling fixture, touch one lead of the test light to an inner side of the socket and the other to the bottom terminal inside the socket. If the test light doesn't respond, electrical power is off.

3. Disassemble new socket by inserting screwdriver into base cover and snapping it open. It comes apart in four sections: socket cover, insulation cover, base of socket, and base cover. See Figure 59A.

Note: If, when removing old socket, you notice any broken wires, it is advisable to test with test light for possible flow of current (ceiling fixtures only).

4. With diagonal cutters, cut wire away from old socket, and with wire stripper, strip back each wire 3/4" inch until bared.

  • 5.

    Twist strands of wire ends clockwise and dip into solder paste.

  • 6.

    Heat each wire end with soldering iron.


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  • 7.

    Apply end of solder coil until it melts and runs through strands.

  • 8.

    Let cool.

  • 9.

    Reinsert wires through base cover.

  • 10.

    Tie underwriter's knot, as shown in Figure 59B.

  • 11.

    Form a hook at the end of each wire with long-nosed pliers.

  • 12.

    Unscrew-but do not remove-screws at base of socket.

  • 13.

    Place wire hooks beneath screws in clockwise direction and

tighten securely. Cut away excess wire with diagonal cutters.

14. Once insulation cover is replaced over socket base, force both into socket cover.

  • 75.

    Make sure all grips are in position.

  • 16.

    Screw in bulb.

  • 17.

    Restore power.

  • 18.

    Switch on lamp or ceiling fixture to test.

Base Cover

Underwriterís Knot

Socket Cover

Base of Socket

Insulation Cover

Base of Socket

Base Cover

Figure 59. Repairing Lamp Socket Assembly


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