I recently moved into a new (to me) house and there's a thing in the crawl space that looks like a light socket, but it's not. It might be some sort of fuse? There's a chain I can pull but I'm not sure what it does.

What is this? Please see pictures.

enter image description here


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    Danger! The center terminal will be at 115 VAC if the pull-switch is on! – Upnorth Nov 29 '17 at 18:16

It looks like the outer shell broke off that the lamp screws into. These are simple 2 wire fixtures with a pull chain on off switch. You can still purchase ceramic ones just like the one you have and there are some plastic ones that can be found for less than 5$. Make sure to turn the power off Remove the 2 screws and lower the fixture. Some of these have screws that the wires are attached to some pig tails. Make sure to note the wires they should be white on the shell and black on the switch and then to the center conductor. A real easy fix.

  • You should plan on doing this replacement sooner than later, as the present situation is extremely dangerous, having exposed and accessible conductors that may be energized by pulling the string/chain on the fixture (if not already "on"). You must then screw in either a bulb or a receptacle adapter/converter to make it safe. – Upnorth Nov 29 '17 at 18:11

It's a broken light socket. It needs to be replaced. It's a very inexpensive fixture.



I put in 7 of these from a major brand (made in China) bought at the same time from a big box store. They began failing one-by-one--the switches failed. I replaced them with another brand (Cooper Wiring Devices also made in China) and have not had any problems. I figure that a whole batch of switches had the same manufacturing fault.

I like the ones with the "grounding outlet" in case you need to plug in an extension cord. The outlet (receptacle) is not switched.

  • A bulb won’t screw in, there is no thread. That’s what prompted me to ask on here. – adivis12 Nov 26 '17 at 23:30
  • Edited my answer. – Jim Stewart Nov 26 '17 at 23:43
  • The screw shell is missing @JimStewart – Tyson Nov 27 '17 at 0:52

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