I am re-wiring a very old lamp. The lamp has two curved arms that come out of a center cluster. The area they all come together is very small, with sharp turns. I can get 18/2 wire through one arm, but there is not enough room for the wire from the other arm.
Can I use 20/2 wire in each arm, and then attach them to 18/2 in the center? I have to use a pre-wired switch at the bottom of the lamp. I assume the switch uses 18/2 wire. Each arm wnds in a small chandelier socket that will have a 25 watt chandelier bulb.
Is it safe to use 20/2 wire in the entire lamp?

  • 1
    You can't use #20 wire at all. So no. Think more like #18 on the spindly branches and #14 for the common. If that wire has a problem, the circuit breaker will be able to protect it. Sep 17, 2018 at 23:20
  • 1
    Are these cables you are trying to use, and if so, what sort of cables are you trying to use? The fact you're using cables may just be the source of your issues here... Sep 17, 2018 at 23:22
  • The arms will not come off and 18/2 wire will not fit. There are two arms, so 2 wires have to fit through a 90 degree turn and then the center of the cluster. It's just too crowded. I'm using regular 18/2 lamp cord
    – Sonia
    Sep 18, 2018 at 0:15
  • Try using individual #18 wires that are rated 600V. Look for one whose diameter (with insulation) is smaller than 18/2 lamp cord. Use 2 colors obviously. Sep 18, 2018 at 2:36

1 Answer 1


When you state 20/2 and 18/2 are these cables? 2 conductors of fixture wire would be the way I would go high temp rating and easier to fish through the fixture arms. 25w on a 120v circuit would draw less than 1/2 amp 2017 NEC 402.6 states fixture wires shall not be smaller than 18 AWG. Table 402.5 shows 18 awg as 6 amps max.

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