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I have a chandelier that was bought in Europe in early 1990s, and I would like to hang it in my house in the US on a standard 120V AC circuit. There is nothing in the box or in the manual stating that the wiring is appropriate for the US, the wires follow European coloring scheme and "250V" is prominently stamped on the inside of the ceiling canopy, so I assume that the safest option is to rewire it. Below is my plan, and I appreciate if you could point out any obvious safety or code compliance issues and answer the questions at the end.

  • The chandelier has 8 arms, each labelled "40W". I plan to replace the European socket in each arm with a candelabra socket. The ones I consider buying are rated up to 75W, so the max total wattage of the chandelier would be 75W * 8 = 600W (*)

  • Replace the black/blue wires in each arm with 18/2 SVT or SJT stranded lamp cord and connect it to the new sockets

  • Replace the black/blue/green-yellow wires in the rod with 18/3 SVT or SJT stranded lamp cord. Connect the ground wire of the new 18/3 lamp cord to the original grounding screw at the bottom of the rod.

  • Connect the hot and neutral wire in each arm to the hot and neutral wires in the rod, respectively

My questions are:

  1. Is 18 AWG wire appropriate for this load (600W) or do I need a heavier gauge?
  2. Is SVT or SJT wire type important here?
  3. In the last step, I need to connect nine wires together (one from each arm + the main one). Is there a wire connector that is designed to handle 9 18 AWG wires? Could the red wire nut handle it? If there is no single connector that can handle all 9, what would be the best option to minimize pigtails, and what connectors should I use? For example, I could connect 4 wires from arms + 1 pigtail and then connect the two resulting pigtails to the main wire. Which wire connectors should I use in that case?

(*) In reality, I will probably use LED candelabra bulbs equivalent to either 25W or 40W, but I do not see any significant cost or time savings in cutting corners here in terms of max wattage, even if safety is not an issue.

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    What is the size (mm2) of the existing European wire in the fixture? Does it have a TUV, CE or UL listing? – Harper Nov 27 '17 at 23:10
  • CE doesn't count as a listing mark, but yes -- what is the wire size of the existing fixture wiring? – ThreePhaseEel Nov 28 '17 at 0:03
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The 18-gauge wire for the arms is fine. You could even go a bit smaller safely if you wanted. The code, Table 400.5 (A) & (B) says that the 18-guage can also handle the entire fixture, although I would like to see 16-guage for the entire fixture.

I would definitely use fixture wire, SVT & SJT would be good.

I would use a pre-insulated crimp connector. Use the smallest one that will handle all the wires. Get and use the right tool.

Spice once only for each lead.

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    SVT and SJT are cordage types, not fixture wire types... – ThreePhaseEel Nov 28 '17 at 12:42
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NEC 240.5(B)(2) indicates that fixture wires of either 18 or 16 AWG can be tapped to a branch protected at 20A, but that presumes they are of a type shown in Table 402.3, not "flexible cords". 400.7 authorizes use of "flexible cord" for wiring of luminaires.

Note also that Article 410 includes numerous sections regarding wiring of luminaires, including 410.52 requiring insulation suitable for the temperature and 410.90 related to wiring of screw shell lampholders.

In particular however, 410.6 requires that

All luminaires, lampholders, and retrofit kits shall be listed.

Therefore, in theory, it would be a violation of the Code to connect a retro-fitted luminaire that is not listed, unless (perhaps) the retrofit kit is listed.

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