I've got an old lamp that we want to use as an overhead light fixture, which has lamp wire coming out of it. Currently, that wire terminates in the outlet prongs, but I intend to cut those off.

The question is, how do I safely connect that lamp wire to the overhead light circuit? Just hot to one wire and neutral to another? Somehow this seems not right to me.

I know it can be done, as there are plenty of examples of light fixtures with lamp wire going to the actual lights. I just don't know if those fixtures are hiding some sort of regulator or converter behind the scenes.


That's all there really is to it - white to white and black to black. If they are not color coded then the black wire should be connected to the pin at the bottom of the light socket.

This assumes your light is line voltage (120V in North America). If it is not line voltage then there should be a transformer somewhere in the fixture already.

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    At least in the US, lamp cord is coded by a ribbed surface on the neutral side and a smooth surface on the hot side. Still a good idea to test that it's wired that way, of course. – Kevin Reid Jun 5 '12 at 23:27
  • Unless the lamp has a switch, then it doesn't really matter which wire is hot. – Vitaliy Jun 5 '12 at 23:47
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    @Vitaliy - it still matters -- the point of having the hot wire go to to the inside pin contact rather than the outer metal threaded part of the socket is because you're a lot less likely to accidentally contact that inner pin than you are to contact the outer threads. Sometimes the metal is exposed above the plastic insulator so it would be very easily to accidentally touch it while changing a bulb, but even if it's not, when the bulb is half way in the socket, the metal threads on the bulb will be in contact with the socket and could be a shock hazard if those threads are "hot". – Johnny Aug 13 '15 at 16:11

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