This is a very stupid question, but I just cannot figure out how to detach the wires from this lamp ceiling socket.

Lamp socket

Lamp socket

I know these wire connectors usually have a screw or some sort of lever to tighten and loosen the wires, but I've tried for an hour and just cannot detach the wires so I can install the lamp that doesn't need the socket but connects directly to the wires from the ceiling.

  • 3
    Looks like a spring loaded stab-in connection. To release probably insert a screwdriver into the holes (perpendicular to the wire) and pry or twist to relieve the grip on the wire. Dec 17, 2016 at 19:18
  • Thanks, that did help – it appears I was just too cautious before. I'm still not quite sure how the mechanism works, but it's done now, so I'm happy with that. :-) Dec 19, 2016 at 8:31

1 Answer 1


One sure option is to cut the wires off immediately adjacent to the socket. Then you strip off a short bit of additional insulation on each wire to expose the electrical conductor inside.

It looks like that socket used to also provide a hook from which the cordage or swag chain of the old lamp would hang. You will have to carefully evaluate how the new lamp is secured. If it is a hanging unit you cannot simply let it hang from the electrical connections. If the lamp is a ceiling mounted fixture then make sure to hang it in a Code compliant way so that it is safe and does not put a strain on the electrical connections.

  • Also, it does not appear that the wire connections were contained in an approved electrical box with a strain relief. Was there more to the fixture that does not appear in the pictures? Could this be a low voltage fixture? Where are you in the world? Dec 17, 2016 at 20:09
  • 2
    @JimmyFix-it - If you look at the lamp socket picture it is fairly clear that this is not a USA type lamp attachment. Use of "an approved electrical box" may not have meaning in other parts of the world even if USA type electrical code requirements would make more common sense or be safer.
    – Michael Karas
    Dec 17, 2016 at 20:33
  • You're right, I'm in Finland. Of course, cutting off and stripping would have worked, but doesn't seem right when the purpose of a connector is to easily connect and disconnect wires without permanently attach them to each other. Also, the new lamp obviously does not work with the hook, else I wouldn't have taken it off in the first place. I detached the wires now, but still not sure how – poking viciously into the holes with a screwdriver helped in the end... Dec 19, 2016 at 8:31
  • If you intend to re-use the end if wire that were previously in a poke-in stab connection, particularly if it was stranded wire, check carefully that there are parts of some strands that could break off due to having been nicked and scored by the stab connector contact spring. Broken ends of wires inside of some fixtures or connection blocks could lead to shorts and sparking.
    – Michael Karas
    Dec 19, 2016 at 16:38
  • I am not so sure about the comment that stab-in connections were ever designed "to easily connect and disconnect wires". In fact they are designed to easily connect only. Disconnection is often a pain and re-use of a fixture that has had wires removed, via releasing the contact spring with a tool in a hole, is not recommended. The contact never retains the pressure it had from new. And even from new the failure of stab connections is a known reliability risk over screw down connections.
    – Michael Karas
    Dec 19, 2016 at 16:44

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