I have brought US lamps to the UK. The sockets are rated 300W, but the cables are 18/2 gauge rated 10A/120V (UL rated, purchased 3 years ago).

What would happen if I ran 230V at 0.05 amp with a 9W UK Edison E27 bulb? The cables also have a switch on it.

I called several electricians and they all offered to replace the plug but not to rewire the lamp and said the amps were so low it didn't matter, but I figured I'd ask the group re: safety.

Thanks! Mark

  • You trust random people on the internet that did not even see the hardware more than local electricians? – Turbo J Apr 13 '18 at 10:50
  • Electrically, the lamp would lit up and stay lit without issues until you turn it off or it breaks. You will however violate the rules/law/void some warranty by doing so. – winny Apr 13 '18 at 11:02
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    @Turbo J - Interesting question. I trust Wikipedia (which is as / more reliable than Encyclopædia Britannica). Also, I tend to trust someone who has no skin in the game more than someone trying to make a quick buck by chopping a cable, replacing the plug and calling it a day for £100. And, when the electrician doesn't know the difference between E26 and E27, I lose all trust I had left. – Mark K. Apr 13 '18 at 11:35

The cable is not the problem. It takes less current to supply the same power at 240 V as it does at 120 V. The wires intended for 120 V operation therefore have excess current capability.

However, you have to consider voltage on other parts. The switch has to withstand more voltage when open, and so does the insulation between you and the high voltage. Probably both of these can handle the extra voltage. However, if something happens, the liability is on you. If the lamp catches fire and burns the house down, the insurance company would have a legitimate reason not to pay. If someone got electrocuted by touching this lamp, you could be in serious trouble.

All around, this is a bad idea. Leave the US lamp in the US. Get a UK lamp for use in the UK.

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  • Thank you! That's what I was worried about and didn't trust the electricians' answers. – Mark K. Apr 13 '18 at 11:32
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    @MarkK. It's quite common for cables and switches to have their voltage ratings printed on them, or embossed into the plastic. Have a good look at them to see. – Simon B Apr 13 '18 at 12:21

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